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French first lady threatens to sue over ‘malicious rumors’ in biography

French first lady Valerie Trierweiler plans to sue the authors of the latest book about her because it spreads malicious rumours, her lawyer said Wednesday. Trierweiler, a 47-year-old journalist and partner of President Francois Hollande, is suing the authors of “La Frondeuse” (The Rebel) — a biography due to be…

Archaeologists claim to find spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed

Archaeologists said Wednesday they believe they have found the exact spot in Rome where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on March 15, 44 BC. The stabbing of the dictator by Roman senators was recorded by ancient historians and dramatised by William Shakespeare who gave Caesar the last words: “Et…

France sets marriage equality draft law date

France on Wednesday named October 31 as the date when a draft law authorising gay marriage will be approved by government ministers, amid mounting opposition to the proposed legislation. More than 1,200 French mayors or deputy mayors have signed a petition opposing the government’s plans, with many of them warning…

Australian restaurant agrees to remove urinals shaped like women’s mouths

A sumptuous new French restaurant in Sydney said Wednesday it would remove two urinals designed to resemble a woman’s lipsticked mouth, apologising for any offence they have caused. The Ananas Bar and Brasserie said the bright red-lipped urinals shaped like an open mouth were “a commonly used European design piece…

Brazil Supreme Court gets first black president: official

Joaquim Barbosa, the tough justice overseeing Brazil’s high-profile corruption trial, was officially nominated president of the Supreme Court, the first black to assume the post. In a plenary session, the court’s 10 justices picked the 58-year-old Barbosa, the most senior member, to assume the rotating presidency for a two-year term.…

Putin’s stunt to encourage bird migration fails spectacularly as public learns birds taken back to reserve by plane

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bid to encourage a group of endangered cranes on their winter migration appeared to have failed spectacularly Wednesday when it emerged the birds had been taken back to a wildlife reserve by plane. The 60-year-old president already earned mockery last month when he took to a…

French woman astonished at trillion euro phone bill

A Frenchwoman who received a telephone bill for an amount equivalent to nearly 6,000 times the country’s annual economic output has had the real amount she owed waived — after finally convincing the company they must have made a mistake. Solenne San Jose, from Pessac in the Bordeaux region of…

German cabinet approves law allowing circumcision

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet Wednesday passed a draft law to allow circumcision in Germany after a court said the rite amounted to grievous bodily harm, a ruling that caused international uproar. The new legislation, which must now be passed by the German parliament, “makes clear that circumcision is possible in…

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: ‘Leave me alone!’

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has pleaded to be left alone and says he is facing a “media assault” in an interview with French weekly Le Point. “I have never been convicted, not in (France) nor in any other country,” he said in the interview, due to appear on…

Pope prays in Arabic for first time

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday pronounced a blessing in Arabic at his weekly audience in front of 20,000 pilgrims on St Peter’s Square — the first time the language has been used at such an event. “The pope prays for all Arabic speakers. May God bless you all!” the pope…

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