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Carbon tax controversy may spark trade war: Airbus boss

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A widening split in the global aviation industry over an unpopular European carbon tax may trigger a trade war, the head of plane manufacturer Airbus said Monday.

“I have to say I’m really worried also as a manufacturer about the consequences,” Airbus Chief Executive Thomas Enders told a conference on the eve of the Singapore Airshow.

“I have seen the position in China, in Russia, in the US, in India, and what started as a scheme to present a solution for the environment has become a source of potential trade conflict,” he added.

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The European Union imposed the tax with effect from January 1, but over two dozen countries, including India, Russia, China and the United States, have opposed the move, saying it violates international law.

The EU has said the carbon tax will help the 27-nation bloc achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 20.0 percent by 2020.

China has barred its airlines from complying with the requirement while Europe’s low-cost carriers accused their Chinese and US rivals of employing “gunboat” diplomacy in opposing the scheme.


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Ghislaine Maxwell seeks release on $5 million bail

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Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers asked a New York court Friday to release her on bail of $5 million, insisting she will stay in America to fight sex abuse charges related to Jeffrey Epstein.

The British socialite has been charged with sex trafficking minors for Epstein, her former boyfriend and convicted sex offender who killed himself in prison last summer while awaiting trial.

In documents filed with the Southern District of New York, her attorneys said the daughter of late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell "vigorously" denies the charges and "intends to fight them."

They argued that "she is not a flight risk" and asked Judge Alison Nathan to release her from custody on $5 million bail, signed by six of her associates and secured by a $3.75 million property in Britain.

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Sudan criminalizes female genital mutilation

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Sudan's highest governing body Friday ratified a law criminalizing female genital mutilation, a widespread ritual in the African country, the justice ministry announced.

The sovereign council, comprising military and civilian figures, approved a series of laws including criminalization of the age-old practice known as FGM or genital cutting that "undermines the dignity of women", the ministry said in a statement.

The reform comes a year after longtime president Omar al-Bashir was toppled following months of mass pro-reform protests on the streets in which women played a key role.

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Venice completes first test of all flood barriers

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Venice's long awaited flood defense system designed to protect the lagoon city from damaging waters during high tides on Friday survived a first test of its 78 barriers.

The massive infrastructure project known as MOSE, which relies on sluice gates that can be raised to protect the city's lagoon during high tides, has been underway since 2003, but has been plagued by cost overruns, corruption scandals and delays.

The complex engineering system uses a network of water-filled caissons, designed to be raised within 30 minutes to create a barrier capable of resisting a water rise of three meters (10 feet) above normal.

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