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Head of Oktoberfest’s lost-and-found office reveals what drunk partygoers leave behind

With about eight million beers downed each year at the Oktoberfest, you might expect a few items to go awry, but the lost-and-found office at the world’s top beer fest really has seen it all. A total of 4,900 items were lost at last year’s festival, with the objects missing…

Belgian finance minister calls a tax on the wealthy ‘a door we must leave shut’

Belgian Finance Minister Steven Vanackere on Sunday ruled out the idea of creating a wealth tax despite mounting criticism in the country that wage-earners are hardest hit by the current tax system. “A wealth tax is a door we must leave shut during this legislature,” Vanackere said of the 30…

Fifth Hezbollah demonstration against ‘Innocence of Muslims’ ends peacefully in Lebanon

Thousands of supporters of the powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah took part on Sunday in Hermel, eastern Lebanon in the last in a series of protests against a US-made film which mocks Islam. “Death to America! Israel, enemy of Muslims!” chanted the crowd made of men, women in all-covering black…

Obama thanks Egypt for embassy protection, says Morsi

CAIRO — US President Barack Obama has thanked Egypt’s leader Mohamed Morsi for securing the American embassy in Cairo during protests against an anti-Islam film, according to Morsi’s official Facebook page. Morsi received a handwritten letter from Obama in which the US leader “presented his thanks to the Egyptian president…

Shell attacked over four-year delay in Niger oil spill clean-up

Two large crude oil spills from Shell pipelines in the Niger delta four years ago have still not been cleaned up by the company despite an outcry by the UN, Amnesty International and the Nigerian government about pollution in the area. Shell, which made £19.1bn profit last year, accepted responsiblity…

Strike on Iran would trigger ‘World War III’: Revolutionary Guards

TEHRAN — Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike if Israel prepares to attack it, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander told broadcaster Al-Alam on Sunday, a day after his boss warned that conflict was inevitable. Should Israel and Iran engage militarily, “nothing is predictable… and it will turn into World War…

Rebels claim control over most of Syria

ATMA, Syria — The rebel Free Syrian Army said on Sunday it now controls most of the war-torn country, a day after announcing that it has moved its command centre from Turkey to “liberated areas” inside Syria. UN chief Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held talks…

Egypt Copts fear fallout from anti-Islam film

CAIRO — Egyptian Christians, who have long complained of discrimination, say they fear that an anti-Islam film produced by Copts in the United States will lead to further persecution at home. Egypt’s churches were among the first to condemn the low-budget Internet film that portrays the Prophet Mohammed as immoral…

Fur bikinis? Brazil is new horizon for booming fur trade

PARIS — Fur on Copacabana beach? Why not. Boosted by a 10-year surge in sales to Asia, the global fur industry is primed to take on what it sees as the markets of tomorrow. Hobbled during the anti-fur 1980s and 1990s, the trade has rebounded as all but a few…

‘Cranks and crazies’ have taken over GOP: Australian official

Australia’s foreign minister on Sunday insisted that Canberra had good relations with both US political sides, despite a senior minister labelling Tea Party Republicans “cranks and crazies”. Treasurer Wayne Swan, also Australia’s deputy prime minister, on Friday warned that “extreme” Tea Party elements of Mitt Romney’s Republican party had shown…

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