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France’s new unmarried first lady stretches boundaries of diplomatic protocol

By Fabienne Faur WASHINGTON — Valerie Trierweiler pushed the frontiers of US diplomatic protocol on Friday as she took her first steps as France’s new — and unmarried — first lady ahead of the G8 and NATO summits. The domestic partner of Francois Hollande — they’ve been a couple since…

LGBT rights protesters rally in Georgian capital against Orthodox Christians

Dozens of gay rights supporters rallied for a second day in the Georgian capital Friday after being attacked by Orthodox Christians during their initial march in the deeply religious Caucasus state. Around 60 young activists assembled on the steps of the parliament building in the overtly Christian ex-Soviet nation holding…

Japanese whalers set out to kill 260 whales for ‘scientific research’

A pair of Japanese whaling vessels left Friday for the northwestern Pacific aiming to catch 260 whales for “scientific research”, a fisheries ministry official said. The Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No. 2 departed from Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi, western Japan, to join the mother vessel Nisshin Maru, which has…

New ‘psychic’ animals try out to replace Paul the Octopus

Ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final and with Euro 2012 just around the corner, animals of all shapes and sizes are queuing up to succeed Paul the Octopus, the famous clairvoyant cephalopod from the 2010 World Cup. Paul, an octopus who lived at an aquarium in the German city of…

Ex-Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks film in development

The rise and fall of Rebekah Brooks is to get the film treatment, reports said from Cannes Friday, just days after the former Rupert Murdoch aide was charged in Britain’s phone-hacking scandal. The story of the former chief executive of Murdoch’s British newspaper wing News International is in development as…

Obama announces partnership with private sector to feed the world’s poor

US President Barack Obama on Friday reached out to the private sector in hopes of lifting 50 million people in the developing world from poverty, as wealthy nations grapple with a budget crunch. Ahead of talks of the Group of Eight major industrial nations, Obama pledged that the United States…

French IKEA managers fired for spying on staff and customers

Swedish furniture giant IKEA said Friday it was sacking four current and former managers at its French subsidiary over allegations they used illegal police files to spy on staff and customers. French prosecutors in April launched a criminal probe following allegations that IKEA paid for illegal access to secret police…

Memorial plaque to children killed in IRA bomb stolen

Police launched a manhunt on Friday for suspected metal thieves who stole a memorial to two children killed by an IRA bomb as the father of one of the victims branded the theft “disgusting”. The plaque to three-year-old Jonathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry formed part of the River of…

U.K.’s Cameron denies parenting classes are sign of ‘nanny state’

David Cameron said free parenting classes are not a “nanny state” policy as he defended a raft of new initiatives targeting families on Friday. The Prime Minister said it was ludicrous that people had to train before they were allowed to drive a car, but could bring up a baby…

Oil prices slide to multi-month lows

World oil prices slid to new multi-month lows on Friday as the market was rattled once again by concern about the outlook for demand linked to the eurozone debt crisis, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July struck $106.40 per barrel, which was the lowest point since…

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