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Russian anti-Putin female punk band ‘Pussy Riot’ kept in jail

A Moscow court Friday ordered three young women on trial for staging an anti-Putin concert in a Moscow church to stay in jail until next year, a surprise move their lawyers branded “repression”. The Khamovnichesky court ruled that the detention of the members of the Pussy Riot punk rock group…

Food security still a concern in Somalia: UN

Somalia has made strides toward food security one year since its famine but the situation remains critical, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said Friday. “Today Somalia is on the path to recovery but the situation remains critical and continued aid is vital in order to preserve food security,” the…

PETA urges Indian snake charmers to switch to fakes

Animal rights group PETA on Friday called on India’s snake charmers to use fake reptiles during an upcoming serpent festival and spare the animals their annual torture. The Indian unit of US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said snakes were abused during the annual Naag Panchami festival,…

Outcry as Aussie women’s basket team fly economy

Australian basketball officials on Friday said they would review travel policies after stinging criticism that the men’s team travelled to the London Olympics in business class but the women in economy. Sports Minister Kate Lundy called for more equitable arrangements after learning that the Australian Opals, captained by global star…

Syria rebels seize Iraq border after deadliest day

Syrian rebels sought to seal off President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime from the outside world by seizing border posts amid calls for protests nationwide Friday on “the Ramadan of victory.” Members of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) fought a raging battle with Syrian troops at the Bab al-Hawa border…

Thrill-seeking American tourists take aim at West Bank firing range

Norman Solomon is a 65-year-old real estate agent from Los Angeles, a world away from the West Bank settlement firing range where he is spending the day learning to shoot a gun. “We came to show the kids how the Israelis protect themselves and to have a good time,” he…

French lawmakers abolish tax breaks, boost taxes on rich

PARIS — French lawmakers Thursday backed a series of measures abolishing tax breaks and taxing the wealthy as the new Socialist government pursued efforts to kickstart the economy with a tax-and-spend programme. The measures were part of the first budget bill presented by President Francois Hollande’s government since he unseated…

Syria’s Assad emailed sexist jokes: WikiLeaks

PARIS — Hundreds of emails purportedly written by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad show he sent several sexist or irreverant messages in the months before the ongoing Syrian uprising began. The French website owni.fr on Thursday published extracts from the latest cache of Syrian documents made avaiable by WikiLeaks, which on…

U.S. Navy helicopter crashes in Oman

A US Navy helicopter crashed on Thursday in Oman during a transport mission, and the fate of its five-member crew is unknown, the US military said, ruling out an attack. The MH-53E Sea Dragon, used for long-range mine sweeping, crashed 58 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of the Omani capital Muscat…

German legislators call to protect religious circumcision

German MPs adopted a cross-party motion on Thursday calling on the government to protect religious circumcision after a court ruling branding it a crime sparked outrage at home and abroad. The resolution urges Berlin to draw up legislation in the autumn that “ensures that the circumcision of boys carried out…

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