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Workers end strike at South Africa coal mine

Miners have ended a six-week strike and returned to work at the Mooiplaats coal mine in northeastern South Africa after the company agreed to a 26 percent pay increase, Coal of Africa said Friday. The legal strike had begun on September 25 and staff returned to work at the colliery…

Britain’s Foreign Office under fire for spending £10,000 to re-stuff a giant anaconda named Albert.

Britain’s Foreign Office has come under fire after it emerged that it paid £10,000 to re-stuff a giant anaconda named Albert. The 20-foot snake, which has been in the possession of the foreign office for at least 120 years, is believed to have been presented to colonial officials in what…

Citizens of China and Japan support Barack Obama for a second term, poll shows

Citizens of China and Japan overwhelmingly support President Barack Obama to win a second term, according to an AFP-Ipsos poll which suggests Mitt Romney’s tough talk on the Asian powers could have dented his image. The US elections may be a toss-up at home but the survey carried out by…

Outrage as Antarctic ocean sanctuary talks end in failure

SYDNEY — Conservation groups expressed outrage after resistance led by China and Russia stymied efforts to carve out new marine sanctuaries and protect thousands of species across Antarctica. Hopes were high that a reserve covering 1.6 million square kilometres (640,000 square miles) would be green-lighted for the pristine Ross Sea,…

Trick-or-treating kids given cocaine in the United Kingdom

LONDON — Children out trick-or-treating in northern England on Halloween got more than they bargained for when they were given bags of cocaine instead of sweets, police said Thursday. A 23-year-old man has been charged with possession of class A drugs after the children’s parents found the resealable plastic bags…

Amnesty urges Israel to free Palestinian activist

JERUSALEM — Amnesty International on Thursday called on Israel to release Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi “immediately and unconditionally,” after he was again arrested during a protest in the West Bank. The London-based rights group said in a statement that Tamimi, who has been acknowledged by the European Union as a…

Canada police arrest more than 100 in drug ring bust

OTTAWA — Police arrested 103 people and seized stolen explosives, illicit narcotics, some 400 prohibited firearms and money in raids across Canada Thursday morning, dismantling a major drug ring. “We have succeeded in neutralizing this network,” a Quebec police spokesman said in a televised news conference. More than a thousand…

Debt-ridden Japanese city selling name to highest bidder

A debt-ridden Japanese city is offering to rename itself after the highest bidder, an official said Thursday. The city in the western prefecture of Osaka — currently called Izumisano — owes its creditors well over 100 billion yen ($1.25 billion), the official said, adding the presence of nearby Kansai International…

Amsterdam’s mayor: cannabis cafes will remain open for tourists

Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops will remain open for business with foreign thrill-seekers despite the new government’s plan to restrict sales to locals only, the mayor said Thursday. In an interview with the leftist Volkskrant, Eberhard van der Laan said the city’s 220 coffee shops will continue to sell pot to…

Yemen’s ‘swap marriages’ can end in disaster, murder

The deal is simple: I marry your sister and you marry mine. No dowry necessary. But if one marriage fails, the other must end as well. Such is Sheghar, or swap marriage, a widely practised tradition in impoverished Yemen. Beyond tying the knot between two people, it links the future…

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