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Mohamed Morsi declares emergency in three Egyptian cities

by Patrick Kingsley State of emergency and curfews announced for Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez in response to wave of political violence President Mohamed Morsi has announced a state of emergency in three cities near Egypt’s Suez Canal, following four days of civil unrest that have left at least 40 dead and over 500

Turkey bans hookah in public places

After banning smoking in public places, the Turkish government has gone one step further by clamping down on an ancient tradition — the hookah, or water pipe. As of Sunday it is no longer permitted to smoke the “hubbly-bubbly” in cafes, bars or restaurants as the conservative Islamic government cracks down on use of

French health body probes acne medication linked to deaths

French health regulator ANSM has launched a probe into the drug Diane-35, used to treat acne and also as a contraceptive, after linking it to four deaths over the past 25 years. Produced by the German drugmaker Bayer, Diane-35 is authorised in 135 countries and sold in 116. In 2012, about 315,000 women in

Thousands gather in Paris to support same-sex marriage

Thousands of gay rights campaigners packed the streets of Paris on Sunday to call for the legalisation of gay marriage, two days before a key parliamentary debate on the hugely divisive issue. Waving rainbow flags and carrying banners reading “For equality now, against discrimination always”, the demonstrators gathered to promote their cause exactly two

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to eight years in prison

A Tehran court on Sunday sentenced an Iranian-American pastor to eight years in prison over his role in underground churches in the Islamic nation, a US group supporting him said. Saeed Abedini, a naturalized US citizen who converted to Christianity, was convicted of threatening Iran’s national security over underground church activities a decade ago,

Berlusconi praises Fascist dictator Mussolini on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Italy’s gaffe-prone former premier Silvio Berlusconi sparked outrage Sunday with remarks praising wartime dictator Benito Mussolini despite Il Duce’s persecution of Jews and allowing thousands to be deported to Auschwitz. “The racial laws were the worst mistake of a leader, Mussolini, who however did good things in so many other areas,” Berlusconi, who is

Syrian civil war leaves ghost towns in Kurdish region

In this green, mountainous part of northwest Syria, the boom of shells vibrates every few hours through dozens of villages abandoned by their terrified Kurdish inhabitants. Small groups of rebel fighters have now taken up position in some of the empty homes, patrolling the rocket-scarred streets in vehicles with markings declaring them to be

Japan launches new satellites to boost surveillance

Japan on Sunday launched two satellites to strengthen its surveillance capabilities, including keeping a closer eye on North Korea which has vowed to stage another nuclear test. One of them was a radar-equipped unit to complete a system of surveillance satellites that will allow Tokyo to monitor any place in the world at least

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