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Somalis attempt to install first stable central government in 21 years

MOGADISHU — Somalia’s newly appointed legislature will elect the country’s next president Monday, in a fresh bid to end two decades of unstable central government in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation. The election of the new president would complete a complex process set in motion through a UN-backed agreement…

Pussy Riot protesters arrested in France under anti-niqab law

Several people protesting peacefully in Marseille against the trial of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were detained by police for wearing balaclavas, under France’s controversial law that bans Muslim niqabs and all face-coverings from public places. About 30 demonstrators gathered outside the Russian consulate in the southern French city…

Vatican newspaper makes bald Barbie appeal

The Vatican’s official daily newspaper has appealed to the makers of the Barbie doll to put a bald version of the doll on toy shop shelves for children who have lost their hair through chemotherapy or illness. Mattel has already launched a bald Barbie shorn of her cascading blonde locks,…

Jerusalem police arrest suspects in anti-Arab attack

JERUSALEM — Jerusalem police on Sunday arrested three Jewish teens suspected of a brutal hate attack on young Palestinians, and magistrates remanded in custody another suspect detained a day ago. “Altogether four people have been arrested,’ police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “The latest three people to be arrested are…

Christian girl with Down’s Syndrome arrested for blasphemy in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — A Christian girl with Down’s Syndrome has been arrested on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, accused of burning pages inscribed with verses from the Koran, police and activists said on Sunday. Police arrested Rimsha, who is recognised by a single name, on Thursday after she was reported holding in…

Syrian children face grim Eid holidays

BEIRUT — Syrian children had little to celebrate on Sunday as Muslims marked the first day of the Eid religious festival in the grip of unrelenting violence. “The children in the Old City district are sad because there are no sweets, no food, no gifts, no new clothes this Eid,”…

Arrests, breasts, chainsaws: Punk world backs Pussy Riot

A topless Ukrainian feminist felled a cross with a chainsaw, balaclava-clad New Yorkers braved arrest to picket an Orthodox church and Bulgarian punks re-decorated a war memorial. Protesters took to the streets in cities around the world Friday to protest Russia’s jailing of female punk trio Pussy Riot, in colorful…

World must brace for higher food prices, experts say

With drought parching farms in the United States and near the Black Sea, weak monsoon rains in India and insidious hunger in Africa’s Sahel region, the world could be headed towards another food crisis, experts say. Asia should keep a catastrophe at bay with a strong rice harvest while the…

63-year-old engineer is Japan’s ‘Last Ninja’

A 63-year-old former engineer may not fit the typical image of a dark-clad assassin with deadly weapons who can disappear into a cloud of smoke. But Jinichi Kawakami is reputedly Japan’s last ninja. As the 21st head of the Ban clan, a line of ninjas that can trace its history…

U.S., Afghan officials concerned over ‘insider attacks’

Pentagon chief Leon Panetta urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday to crack down on a rise in attacks by Afghan security personnel on their Western colleagues, officials said. U.S. concern is mounting over the unprecedented number of such “green-on-blue” attacks, which have now killed 39 international troops in 29…

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