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Russian singer says Nazi tattoos not ‘political’

FRANKFURT — Russian singer Yevgeny Nikitin, who pulled out of his debut at this year’s Bayreuth Festival in a row over a Nazi tattoo, said Sunday the swastika had no political significance for him. The 38-year-old, who was to have taken the title role in a brand-new production of “The…

China steps up fight against Tibetan separatism

China’s propaganda chief has ordered officials to intensify the fight against separatism in Tibet, a report said, following a series of self-immolations in protest at Beijing’s rule. Li Changchun, ranked fifth in the hierarchy of the ruling Communist Party, called for the campaign during an inspection tour of Lhasa, where…

AIDS charity honors Bill Gates on eve of global conference

Leading AIDS charity amfAR honored Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates on the eve of the International AIDS Conference, for his part in funding an ongoing struggle against the disease. At a gala dinner at the Kennedy arts center Saturday, Gates accepted the Award of Courage on behalf of all scientists, health…

British Channel swimmer dies in attempt

A British man attempting to swim the Channel died off the French coast early Sunday, local authorities in northern France said. The unnamed man in his 40s, who had left from Dover, was only 3.5 kilometres (just over two miles) off France when he was taken ill on board the…

Israel ‘fears Iran Olympics attack’

Israel has bolstered its security presence for the London Olympics amid fears that an Iranian terror squad in Europe may be planning an attack on its athletes, according to a press report Sunday. Scotland Yard and MI5 are believed to have raised their assessment of the threat against the Israeli…

U.S. ‘training’ narcotics units in Africa

The US government is training anti-drug specialists in Ghana and plans to do the same in Nigeria and Kenya to counter Latin American cartels smuggling drugs through Africa to Europe, The New York Times reported. “We see Africa as the new frontier in terms of counterterrorism and counternarcotics issues,” the…

Norway marks anniversary of Breivik’s massacre

Religious services, wreath-laying ceremonies, commemorative gatherings and a concert are scheduled across Norway Sunday on the first anniversary of twin attacks that killed 77 people. On July 22, 2011 right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik first set off a bomb near the government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before going…

HSBC scandal erupts as British banks face shake-up

A scandal erupting at Europe’s biggest bank HSBC has added to concerns over the state of Britain’s financial sector amid the Barclays rate-rigging affair and as the industry faces a major shake-up. HSBC last week apologised and its head of compliance David Bagley resigned after US lawmakers accused the London-based…

India’s ‘Mr Fix-it’ set to be elected president

Powerful politician Pranab Mukherjee looked set to be elected India’s new president on Sunday and analysts said the canny veteran could play a key role in steering the nation through testing times. Mukherjee, 76, a ruling Congress party loyalist, was the overwhelming favorite for the post of head of state…

At least 130 dead in latest battles in Syria

Heavy clashes raged between Syrian troops and rebels on Saturday, with at least 130 people killed nationwide, as the clock ticked down on a 30-day “final” extension of a troubled UN observer mission. At least 64 civilians were among the dead as clashes rocked both of the country’s largest cities,…

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