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Russia advances sweeping new spy bill that targets civil groups working with foreigners

Russia’s parliament has advanced sweeping spy legislation targeting civil groups that work with foreigners to upset domestic politics in what rights groups call another attack on freedoms. Friday’s near-unanimous lower house vote in the first of three readings came on the heels of President Vladimir Putin’s decision to ram through…

French ‘Spiderman’ climbs building in China

French “Spiderman” Alain Robert added another structure to his record of climbing achievements on Saturday, scaling most of a 388-metre (1,280-foot) tower in central China. The climber ascended to an observation platform 268 metres up the Central Plains Fortaleza tower in Henan province’s Zhengzhou city in about two hours, Chinese…

Ecuador weighs Assange transfer to Sweden

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has proposed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be transferred from London to Sweden, where he would remain under Quito’s protection. Patino on Friday told journalists Ecuador was weighing such a transfer as a possible alternative for Assange to “remain under our protection while also satisfying…

FARC rebels hope U.S. will release top guerrilla

Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels said Friday they are hoping the United States will allow a senior guerrilla held there to participate in peace negotiations starting next month. The FARC’s negotiating team includes Simon Trinidad, a rebel leader currently serving a 60-year prison sentence at a US Supermax prison for kidnapping…

Bono to receive Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle

Mexico will bestow the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest decoration awarded to foreigners, on U2 singer Bono in recognition of his humanitarian work and close ties with the country. President Felipe Calderon may deliver the medal to the Irish star during his visit to New York next week…

Rio 2016 officials sacked for stealing London files

Ten members of the 2016 Olympics organising committee have been sacked for stealing computer files relating to the organisation of the 2012 London Olympics, a Rio 2016 spokesman told AFP on Friday. The Rio employees, who had been working alongside London staff during the summer Olympics and Paralympics, had downloaded…

Nepalese tigers become nocturnal to avoid humans

Tigers in southern Nepal appear to be changing their habits so they can operate under cover of darkness and avoid coming into contact with humans, scientists said on Friday. A study of the big cats in Chitwan National Park found that forest paths used by locals during the day were…

Russian railways halt ticket sales over time change dispute

Russia’s railways on Friday halted ticket sales for trains leaving after late October amid confusion created by the authorities’ failure to decide in good time whether to put the clocks back this winter. Last year Russia cancelled putting the clocks back at the end of summer time, in a move…

Pussy Riot says they have no regrets over the cathedral protest

The jailed members of Russian all-girl punk band Pussy Riot said in an interview Friday they did not regret their protest against President Vladimir Putin as it revealed the “true face” of his regime. In the interview with French magazine Elle, the trio also said they were convinced their appeal…

Israel sends top officials to the White House

Israel is trying to thaw the frosty relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House, and set up a meeting with President Barack Obama, an Israeli newspaper said on Friday. A report in the Maariv daily said National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror was in Washington and had been…

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