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Birds’ heads torn off in Australian zoo rampage

Nine birds, including an endangered swift parrot, had their heads smashed in or ripped off and more than 60 animals were missing on Saturday after vandals went on the rampage at an Australian zoo. Tasmania Zoo owner Dick Warren said he found the mutilated animals when he opened up on…

Kidnapped Syrian TV host ‘executed’

Syrian television presenter Mohammed al-Saeed, kidnapped from his Damascus home in mid-July, has been executed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday. “The television presenter, a well-known figure on state TV, has been executed, and the Al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the killing,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel…

Double amputee Pistorius makes Olympic history

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius made history on Saturday when he became the first double amputee to compete in an athletics event at the Olympics. The 25-year-old qualified for the semi-finals of the 400 metres by running a season’s best of 45.44 seconds in finishing second. Pistorius, who had both legs…

Proposed Tunisian legislation would criminalize ‘mockery’ of religion

A bill to criminalise offences against “sacred values,” filed in parliament this week by Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party Ennahda threatens freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch warned on Friday. “The draft bill would provide prison terms and fines for broadly worded offenses such as insulting or mocking the ‘sanctity of…

Belarus expels Swedish ambassador over ‘Teddy Bear Incident’

MINSK — Belarus expelled Sweden’s ambassador Friday saying he tried to “destroy” ties with the ex-Soviet state run by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, after a pro-democracy stunt by a Swedish firm. The move came after Swedish activists illegally flew a plane into Belarus early last month and dropped hundreds of…

Vietnam to host first LGBT pride parade

Vietnam is to host its first gay pride parade this weekend, event organisers said Friday, after the communist country’s justice minister said it was time to consider legalising same-sex marriage. The parade, organised by Hanoi’s small but growing Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, will see people cycling through the centre of the capital…

UK publisher withdraws ‘Imagine’ over Jonah Lehrer’s falsified quotes

Jonah Lehrer’s British publisher Canongate has withdrawn his book Imagine from sale, following the former New Yorker writer’s admission that he made up quotes from Bob Dylan for the bestselling title. Lehrer, a staff writer for the New Yorker, admitted at the start of this week that he had falsified quotes from the singer…

Pakistani-born British couple jailed for ‘honor killing’ of 17-year-old daughter

A Pakistani-born couple were jailed for life by a British court Friday for murdering their “westernised” teenage daughter in an apparent honour killing. Iftikhar Ahmed, 52, and his wife Farzana, 49, were told at Chester Crown Court in Cheshire, north-west England, that they would serve a minimum of 25 years…

German rower Nadja Drygalla leaves Olympics after team discovers her neo-Nazi boyfriend

German rower Nadja Drygalla (fourth from left) is to leave the Olympic village in London, the country’s Olympic committee said on Friday, after press reports that her boyfriend was a member of a far-right group. “Today the management of the German Olympic committee received information about the private associates of…

Canada policewomen file sex harassment class action

More than 200 policewomen and former cops have alleged sexual harassment on the job in a class action lawsuit against Canada’s federal police force. Hearings opened in British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver Thursday to certify a law suit filed in March by Janet Merlo, a 19-year veteran of the…

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