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Anchors aweigh for China’s first aircraft carrier

China’s first aircraft carrier entered service on Tuesday, the defence ministry in Beijing said, as the country expands its blue-water fleet at a time of increasing maritime tensions in the region. The ministry named the 300-metre (990-foot) vessel, a former Soviet ship bought from Ukraine, the Liaoning after the northeastern…

No tax, no sacraments, decrees German Catholic Church

Germany’s Roman Catholics who refuse to pay a church tax will be barred from receiving the sacraments or becoming a godparent, under controversial new restrictions entering into force on Monday. In a move decried by a progressive Catholic group, the German bishops’ conference last week issued a decree, saying it…

Europe rights court approves Muslim cleric Abu Hamza extradition to U.S.

Britain vowed to hand over radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza to the United States on terrorism charges as soon as possible after the European Court of Human Rights rejected his final appeal. The court upheld an April 10 ruling against the hook-handed terror suspect and four others which had approved…

Mexican gangs control majority of prisons: ombudsman

MEXICO CITY — Mexican gangs control 60 percent of the country’s prisons, where they hold cell keys, punish inmates and charge for protection, a human rights report said in the wake of a mass escape. The government’s National Human Rights Commission issued the report after visiting around 100 state prisons…

Goebbels love letters and fiction go to auction

NEW YORK — Poems, love letters and works of fiction written by Joseph Goebbels before he became Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief went on sale this week near New York. Alexander Historical Auctions described the archive of Goebbels’ pre-war literary efforts as “the most important cache of World War II autographs…

Libyan president vows his country will not be a burden

NEW YORK — New Libyan President Mohamed al-Megaryef on Monday vowed his country would not be a burden to the international community as he held his first face-to-face talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After voicing his condolences again for a militant attack on the US mission in…

Iran unveils drone amid Israel tensions

TEHRAN — Iran has tested anti-air and anti-ship missiles and unveiled a new drone, its powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Monday, in a show of military readiness for a war with Israel their chief says is inevitable. Medium-range surface-to-air missiles designed to knock attacking aircraft out of the sky at…

Danish sperm donor passes genetic disorder to five children

COPENHAGEN — A Danish sperm donor has passed a potentially severe genetic disorder to five children after a screening test failed to catch that he had the disease, health officials said Monday. The donor transmitted the tumor-producing nerve disorder Neurofibromatosis type I, sometimes known as Von Recklinghausen’s disease, to five…

Tibet exiles seek new tactics to shake off despair

DHARAMSHALA, India — Tibetan exiles will hold their biggest gathering in four years from Tuesday where delegates will try to come up with new policies to end a spate of gruesome self-immolations. About 400 Tibetans from around the world have come together in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala…

New Zealand man gets eel stuck up his butt

An unnamed New Zealand man showed up at an emergency room in Auckland City Hospital, New Zealand within the last week with an eel stuck in his butt. “The eel was about the size of a decent sprig of asparagus and the incident is the talk of the place,” a…

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