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Female representation in local Scottish government rises to 25 percent

Standing back from the propaganda battle between the Scottish National party and Labour over which has the most to brag about after Thursday’s council elections, one neutral fact emerges: local government in Scotland is a little less male, pale and stale. An analysis of the final results by Meryl Kenny…

MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom targets New Zealand politician with rap video

Kim Dotcom’s penchant for online films is well documented. His recent YouTube releases include an expensively produced rap song in which the internet tycoon screams around a German race track with Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen, and the famous Mega Song in which Dotcom is joined by the like of…

Putin returns to Kremlin under protest shadow

Vladimir Putin took office on Monday as Russian president for a historic third term in a glittering Kremlin ceremony shadowed bybloody clashes between police and protesters against his rule. Putin, president from 2000-2008, took over from outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev after swearing in his oath to protect the rights of Russian citizens and defend the country’s…

Suzuki recalls over 100,000 ‘Swift cars’

Japan’s Suzuki Motor said Monday it will recall about 109,000 Swift subcompact cars worldwide, half of them in Japan, to repair a defectthat may cause petrol leakage. The cars were produced between September 2010 and last month with 55,146 of them shipped to the domestic market and 53,801 others exported outside the country, including Australia, Mexico,…

Obama invites Hollande to White House

President Barack Obama congratulated French president-electFrancois Hollande for his victory Sunday, but warned of “challenges” ahead, a clear reference to Afghanistan and eurozone debt crisis. The US president was among the first world leaders to welcomeHollande’s election as France’s first Socialist president in nearly two decades, a result sure to have major implications for Europe as…

Germany says renegotiating EU pact ‘not possible’ after French election

The German government on Monday ruled out reworking the European Union’s fiscal pact despite calls to do so by French president-elect Francois Hollande. “It is not possible to renegotiate the fiscal pact,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference. He noted that 25 of the 27 EU member states had already signed…

‘Al-Qaeda’ kills 20 Yemen troops after leader eliminated by U.S. drone strike

Suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen killed at least 20 soldiers in attacks on two army posts in southern Yemen on Monday, a day after a wanted top militant died in an air raid, a military official said. Jihadists attacked the military posts outside the city of Zinjibar, which they have controlled since…

Afghan woman sets sights on presidency in a man’s land

Leading Afghan women’s rights champion, author, lawmaker and presidential hopeful, Fawzia Koofi, has a revealing anecdote about life as a woman in a man’s land. As she walked out of the Presidential Palace in Kabul recently, a conservative male parliamentary colleague approached her and said: “‘Ms Koofi, if you would…

French hope for change as ‘Mr. Normal’ defeats ‘President of the Rich’

François Hollande has won the presidency of France, turning the tide on a rightwards and xenophobic lurch in European politics and vowing to transform Europe’s handling of the economic crisis by fighting back against German-led austerity measures. The 57-year-old rural MP and self-styled Mr Normal, a moderate social democrat from…

European leaders endorse ‘growth pact’ following French socialist victory

By Dave Clark PARIS — France’s new president-elect won a quick early victory Sunday when other European leaders fell in behind his plan to build a new common growth strategy as soon as his rival’s defeat was confirmed. When Socialist flag-bearer Francois Hollande began his campaign there was concern in…

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