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Russian court acquits Garry Kasparov of illegal protest

Chess king turned Kremlin foe Garry Kasparov was acquitted on Friday of holding an unsanctioned protest, although he still risks jail for allegedly biting a policeman during the Pussy Riot trial. In a surprise verdict, a magistrate acquitted Kasparov, saying his guilt had not been proven by police witnesses, the…

Sierra Leone passes law that carries heavy sentences for sexual abuse offenders

Sierra Leone lawmakers on Friday passed a sexual offences law introducing stiff minimum sentences for offenders that has been hailed as a victory in a nation where sexual abuse is rife. Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Stephen Gaojia said the new bill was “a victory for Sierra Leoneans as it protects women, children and…

Two U.S. embassy employees shot and wounded in Mexico City

Two US embassy employees were shot and wounded when their car came under fire south ofMexico City on Friday, an official from the attorney general’s office told AFP. “The two are from the US embassy,” the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the shooting took place on a highway leading from Mexico City…

Greenpeace activists raid Russian oil tanker

Greenpeace activists on Friday raided an Arctic oil rig owned by Russian group Gazprom that next year will controversially pioneercommercial drilling in one of the world’s last pristine reserves. Russia’s largest energy group doused the six-member team from helicopters with icy streams of water as they hung down on thick blue ropes from the side of…

Cambodia limits fishing to protect freshwater dolphins

The Cambodian government on Friday said it will limit fishing in a zone in the Mekong River to protect critically endangered freshwater dolphins. The Irrawaddy dolphin conservation area will cover a 180-kilometre-long (110 miles) stretch of river from eastern Kratie province to the border with Laos, the government said after the measure was approved in…

Hundreds of Scottish pigeons go AWOL again in Yorkshire’s Bermuda Triangle

The fascinating question of how homing pigeons navigate so successfully has been raised again by the failure of 219 birds to get safely back to Scotland after a mass release at the weekend. Only 13 of the original release at Thirsk on the plain of York on Saturday returned to…

British recession not as bad as previously thought

Britain’s recession is not as deep as previously thought, according to revised second-quarter data published Friday, but questions remain over the outlook for the rest of the year, analysts said. British gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.5 percent between April and June compared with the first quarter, the Office for…

Chinese women use ‘appearance consultants’ to snag rich bachelors

Young Chinese women in swishy dresses and strappy sandals sit in a row clutching forms that list their weight and measurements as they wait for an interview with the “appearance consultant”. Dressed as if for a beauty contest, they are among more than 1,000 bidding to make it to the…

Berlusconi got me pregnant: German starlet ‘Queen Bee’

A German starlet known as “Queen Bee” for her organising role at Silvio Berlusconi’s raunchy parties said in an interview on Friday that she is pregnant by the former Italian prime minister. Asked by investigative daily Il Fatto Quotidiano about the rumour that Berlusconi could be the father of her…

Haiti Faces New Tragedy as Storm Isaac Swells

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti hunkered down Friday as forecasters warned that Tropical Storm Isaac could dump large amounts of rain on the impoverished country still recovering from a killer earthquake. Packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers (45 miles) per hour, Isaac was centered some 265 kilometers south of Santo…

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