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Thrill-seeking American tourists take aim at West Bank firing range

Norman Solomon is a 65-year-old real estate agent from Los Angeles, a world away from the West Bank settlement firing range where he is spending the day learning to shoot a gun. “We came to show the kids how the Israelis protect themselves and to have a good time,” he…

French lawmakers abolish tax breaks, boost taxes on rich

PARIS — French lawmakers Thursday backed a series of measures abolishing tax breaks and taxing the wealthy as the new Socialist government pursued efforts to kickstart the economy with a tax-and-spend programme. The measures were part of the first budget bill presented by President Francois Hollande’s government since he unseated…

Syria’s Assad emailed sexist jokes: WikiLeaks

PARIS — Hundreds of emails purportedly written by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad show he sent several sexist or irreverant messages in the months before the ongoing Syrian uprising began. The French website owni.fr on Thursday published extracts from the latest cache of Syrian documents made avaiable by WikiLeaks, which on…

U.S. Navy helicopter crashes in Oman

A US Navy helicopter crashed on Thursday in Oman during a transport mission, and the fate of its five-member crew is unknown, the US military said, ruling out an attack. The MH-53E Sea Dragon, used for long-range mine sweeping, crashed 58 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of the Omani capital Muscat…

German legislators call to protect religious circumcision

German MPs adopted a cross-party motion on Thursday calling on the government to protect religious circumcision after a court ruling branding it a crime sparked outrage at home and abroad. The resolution urges Berlin to draw up legislation in the autumn that “ensures that the circumcision of boys carried out…

French soft drink makers unveil ‘DSK’ aphrodisiac beverage

A fizzy drink with alleged aphrodisiac qualities carrying the initials of disgraced IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will hit French night clubs this summer, its makers said. The Drink Safran Kiwi (DSK, or Saffron Kiwi Drink), to be sold in Paris and the French Riviera, is geared towards “the in-crowd, night…

Austrian farmer fined €100 because his cowbells were too noisy

There are few things more typically Alpine than the gentle ringing of cow bells, but one Austrian farmer has been fined because those of his herd were too noisy, authorities said Thursday. Two families in the village of Stallhofen in the southeastern Austrian state of Styria filed a complaint with…

Massive police state controls North Korea: study

North Korea’s notoriously harsh secret police consists of vast and sometimes competing agencies that will pose a major challenge to any potential attempts at reform, a study said Thursday. In a lengthy study of the workings of the ultra-authoritarian state, a rights group said that North Korea has maintained control…

Japan’s female athletes fly economy while men’s team sits in business

Japan’s female national football team Nadeshiko Japan placed in economy seats on flight to France sparking gender debate They are world champions and brought hope to a nation reeling from a natural disaster, but Japan’s female Olympic footballers had to make do with economy class seats during their gruelling flight…

Five charged with terrorism offenses in London

The Metropolitan Police have charged five people with terrorism offences following their arrest in operations carried out earlier this month. Police charged three men from London with preparing for acts of terrorism and one woman with possession of a document likely to be of use to a terrorist. All four…

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