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Zookeepers try to curb Indonesian orangutan’s smoking habit

Zookeepers in Indonesia have been forced to move an orangutan out of visitors’ reach after it developed a serious smoking habit. Tori learned to smoke 10 years ago by imitating zoo visitors, who would throw their cigarette butts into her open cage. She has been smoking ever since, according to…

Fukushima was ‘man-made’ disaster: Japanese probe

Last year’s nuclear accident at Fukushima was a man-made catastrophe and not only due to the tsunami that hit the plant, a Japanese parliamentary panel said Thursday in its final report on the disaster. “The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the…

China starts stockpiling rare earths: report

China has started stockpiling rare earths for strategic reserves, a state-backed newspaper said Thursday, in a move that may raise more worries over Beijing’s control of the coveted resources. China has already started the purchase — using state funds — and storage of rare earths for strategic reserves, the China…

Baby giant panda born in a Tokyo zoo

A baby giant panda was born at a Tokyo zoo on Thursday, in a rare success for Japan’s captive breeding programme, a zoo official said. The as-yet unnamed infant is Ueno Zoo’s first baby panda for 24 years, and its first ever from natural sexual intercourse, she told AFP. “The…

WikiLeaks publishes emails from Syrian officials

WikiLeaks said Thursday it was publishing over two million emails from Syrian political figures dating back to 2006 amid the bloody crackdown on dissent by Syria’s ruling regime. “Just now… WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria files, more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies dating…

Spain’s disco island toils to make partying pay

Sunburnt and full of beer and rum, thousands of Britons cheer as their national treasure Elton John takes the stage, in a glittery purple jacket under a Spanish sunset. On Ibiza, island of parties, this is the biggest of the summer: a festival of top singers and DJs aiming to…

‘Rightful heir’ to British monarchy dies in Australia

An Australian forklift driver who some historians argued was the true heir to the British throne has died in the small New South Wales town he called home, his local newspaper reported Thursday. Mike Hastings, 71, was a real-life aristocrat, born the 14th earl of Loudoun, who moved to Australia…

Marxism goes mainstream

Capitalism is in crisis across the globe – but what on earth is the alternative? Well, what about the musings of a certain 19th-century German philosopher? Yes, Karl Marx is going mainstream – and goodness knows where it will end Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote…

Algeria celebrates 50 years of independence

Algerian celebrations to mark 50 years since gaining independence from France kicked off with a giant open air performance inspired by the liberation struggle, followed by nationwide fireworks displays. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika attended the historical musical “The Hero” being staged at a theatre in the seaside resort of Sidi Fredj,…

Assange charges are ‘hilarious’: Ecuadoran Foreign Minister

Ecuador’s foreign minister has said that rape and sexual assault cases lodged in Sweden against Julian Assange are laughable, but no ruling has yet been made on the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum application. “Personally, (I think) this is hilarious,” Ecuadoran chief diplomat Ricardo Patino told reporters, explaining that Assange “is charged…

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