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Mexico kills 2.5 million poultry in bid to contain bird flu

Officials have slain 2.5 million birds at poultry farms in western Mexico over the past three weeks in an attempt to contain a bird flu outbreak, the agriculture ministry said. The virus responsible for Mexico’s current bird flu outbreak, H7N3, has occasionally caused human disease in various parts of the…

Taiwan to stage first same-sex Buddhist wedding

Two women plan to tie the knot next month in Taiwan’s first same-sex Buddhist wedding, as gay and lesbian groups push to make the island the first society in Asia to legalise gay marriage Fish Huang and her partner You Ya-ting, both 30, will receive their blessings from Master Shih…

Afghans protest woman’s public execution

Dozens of Afghan women’s rights activists took to the streets Wednesday to protest against the recent public execution of a young woman for alleged adultery, which was captured in a horrific video. The 22-year-old victim was shot dead as dozens of men cheered in a village about 100 kilometres (60…

Thai pardon for U.S. citizen jailed for royal insult

Thailand on Wednesday said a Thai-born US citizen jailed for insulting the kingdom’s revered monarch had been granted a royal pardon, in a move welcomed by the United States. Joe Wichai Commart Gordon, a car salesman from Colorado, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in December under the kingdom’s strict lese…

Baby giant panda’s death in Tokyo sparks grief

The death of a baby panda in Japan stopped regular television programming and brought a Tokyo zoo director to tears on Wednesday, a week after its birth sent ripples of excitement across the nation. Newscasts had dedicated a nightly segment to the male cub’s daily activities since his birth on…

Warlords enslave huge armies of child soldiers

UNITED NATIONS — More than 11,000 child soldiers were freed from military slavery last year, but the United Nations believes hundreds of thousands around the world remain at the mercy of warlords like Thomas Lubanga. The 14-year jail term ordered against Lubanga by the International Criminal Court on Tuesday is…

Mexico arrests two alleged Sinaloa drug cartel members

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Two alleged senior members of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel who are wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Agency were arrested in Mexico’s crime capital Ciudad Juarez, officials said. The two suspects, identified as Fernando Arellano Romero and Daniel Franco Lopez, were arrested by a special Chihuahua…

Democracy still ‘preferable’ in Muslim nations, survey says

WASHINGTON — Democracy is still popular in six Muslim-majority countries, over a year after the Arab Spring, and the majority in some countries favors laws based on the Koran, according to a poll published Tuesday. The first two Muslim-majority nations to overthrow a dictator still “desire” democracy, with some 67…

Mexico’s ruling party to demand vote buying probe

MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon’s conservative National Action Party (PAN) will formally request that electoral officials probe allegations of vote buying in Mexico’s July 1 presidential election. Enrique Pena Nieto from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the ballot by a solid margin, but opponents claim he engaged in…

Russian court refuses bail for female punk band Pussy Riot

More prison for feminist punk rockers riles liberal Russians (via The Christian Science Monitor) The controversy over the provocatively named Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot, which profaned an Orthodox altar by singing an obscene anti-Putin “prayer” in Moscow’s most important cathedral, notched up this week when a court refused…

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