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Wiesenthal Center to Germany: restore circumcision

The Wiesenthal Center on Thursday urged authorities in Berlin to overturn a court ruling banning circumcision, saying it would be “a stain on today’s Germany” to let it stand. The Los Angeles-based Jewish lobby group said Chancellor Angela Merkel and German lawmakers should act immediately to reverse the June 26…

UN calls for ‘billionaires tax’ to help world’s poor

The United Nations on Thursday called for a tax on billionaires to help raise more than $400 billion a year for poor countries. An annual lump sum payment by the super-rich is one of a host of measures including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, currency exchanges or financial transactions…

Libyan oil terminals shut down by demonstrators

Two oil terminals in east Libya were forced to halt production Thursday by federalism backers, an AFP journalist at the scene and local sources said. “The harbour is closed… The pumping and loading of oil has been stopped… The group that came were federalists,” said Tumi Shakari, a supervisor at a major oil terminal in the port…

Former Argentine dictators sentenced to long jail terms in “stolen babies” case

Two former Argentine dictators were handed heavy prison sentences Thursday for their involvement in the kidnapping of babies from leftist activists killed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Jorge Videla, 86, was sentenced to 50 years in prison and Reynaldo Bignone, 84, was given a 15-year jail term, presiding judge Maria Roqueta said as she read the…

EU votes to end whaling in Greenland

Denmark on Thursday lost a bid to extend whaling by Greenland’sindigenous people beyond this year, with EU nations sharing concerns that tourists were being served a glut of whale meat. In a surprise at International Whaling Commission talks in Panama, all other European Union nations voted against fellow member Denmark after saying they failed to reach…

Hamburg moves forward with concert hall designed to rival Sydney Opera House

German city Hamburg ended a row Thursday with the firm building a concert hall intended to rival the Sydney Opera House, already years behind schedule and millions over budget. Under the deal between the local government and the construction company Hochtief announced in a joint statement, the Elbphilharmonie hall, which…

Google and Italy partner to put film heritage on YouTube

US Internet giant Google and Italy’s Istituto Luce-Cinecitta on Thursday announced a joint project to make much of the country’s silver screen heritage available on a YouTube channel. “This announcement represents an important step in our efforts to safeguard Italy’s rich culture and allow global public access to it,” said…

UN Human Rights Council backs Internet freedom

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva passed its first resolution on Internet freedom on Thursday with a call for all states to support individuals’ rights online as much as offline. Despite opposition on the issue from countries including China, Russia and India, countries promoting the resolution hailed the…

Irish president: World leaders backsliding on women’s rights

Women’s rights are under the greatest attack for almost 20 years after a failure of world leaders to continue to support reproductive rights, according to Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland. Her comments come amid fears that religious conservatives are eroding support for family planning around the world.…

Indian police are still using ‘truth serum’

It is the sort of scene that belongs in a film noir, not a 21st-century democracy: an uncooperative suspect being injected with a dose of “truth serum” in an attempt to elicit a confession. But some detectives in India still swear by so-called narcoanalysis despite India’s highest court ruling that…

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