Fifty-four years after nine young black men became the first U.S. civil rights protesters to serve jail time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter, surviving members of the 'Friendship Nine' will return to a South Carolina courtroom to be exonerated of their crimes. Their "jail, no bail" strategy helped galvanize the fight against racial inequality in the South and became a model for other protesters. The convictions are among a number of decades-old cases that have been revisited across the South in recent years as courts acknowledge racial injustice in the criminal justice system.
Almost 1 billion more people will face a life of extreme poverty unless world leaders make progress on poverty and climate change at two crucial summits this year, according to a campaign backed by public figures such as Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu . The "action/2015" campaign was recently launched by 1,000 groups to put pressure on governments ahead of a U.N. summit in September. An open letter signed by Yousafzai and a host of celebrities, warned governments that there were millions of voices they could not afford to ignore.
Lithuania is publishing a manual to advise its citizens on how to survive a war on its soil as concerns grow that Russia's intervention in Ukraine heralds increased assertiveness in its tiny Baltic neighbors. "Keep a sound mind, don't panic and don't lose clear thinking," the manual explains. "Gunshots just outside your window are not the end of the world." The manual, which the Defence Ministry will send to libraries next week and distribute at army events, also says Lithuanians should resist foreign occupation with demonstrations and strikes, "or at least doing your job worse than usual".
Switzerland's frugal pizza lovers have had their hopes dashed for a special rule that would have allowed them to keep ordering cheaper pizza delivery from neighboring Germany. Around a year ago the Swiss customs administration scrapped an exception that potentially allowed food delivery like pizza into Switzerland without having to pass through customs. Despite lobbying for an exception in the case of pizza delivery, the Swiss customs administration has decided against such a move for the time being.
In China, millions of gay men have found new love and freedom by using a free dating app. Blued lets users scan profiles, chat privately with the potential Mr Right or hang out in a group chatroom. Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but remains a taboo subject. LGBT activists in China say the app has helped gay men develop a positive self-image and fight social prejudices that force homosexuals to stay anonymous. It also promotes safe sex among gay Chinese by giving users easy access to information on condom use and AIDS.
People in Venezuela's savannah heartlands struggling to survive the national economic crisis have found a novel way to make ends meet: fish-smuggling to Colombia. Venezuelans pile tonnes of fresh-water fish onto long, motorized canoes and traverse dangerous waterways for days into Colombia. They negotiate with Colombian guerrillas and bribe Venezuelan authorities in a trade that keeps whole villages fed. "There's no other work. The fish pay for our food, our clothes, our children's studies, everything," said Jesus Rodriguez, 53, who supplies coporo fish to buyers at the beginning of the smuggling chain.
An online buyer from New York overcame spirited bidding to grab a painting by modern Indian artist Tyeb Mehta for $2.8 million at a Christie's auction in Mumbai, highlighting global interest in the finest works of Indian art. Mehta's untitled 1999 painting, featuring the central figure of a falling bull, sold to a private bidder at the auction. The sale beat pre-sale estimates of between $1.3 million and $1.9 million. A pocket book belonging to Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, was sold for $331,325. Art analysts ArtTactic said confidence in the Indian market was at its highest since 2007.
A wedding is always memorable occasion, but for some, a traditional ceremony followed by a sit-down meal just doesn't cut it. Here's a look at a few couples who have opted to say "I do" in a number of unusual places, from cliff faces, fast food restaurants and an aquarium - yes we mean in actually in the water with snorkels – to a ceremony conducted inside igloos and in zero gravity.
A centuries-old time capsule buried by Paul Revere, icon of the American Revolutionary War, has been unearthed during repairs in Boston, USA. The box-shaped capsule from 1795 has not yet been opened, but is believed to contain artefacts that include coins, papers and a metal plate made by the silversmith-turned-soldier, Galvin. The capsule had been placed in the cornerstone of the State House by Revere and fellow American revolutionary Sam Adams, who was then governor of Massachusetts. Revere is best known for alerting Colonial fighters to the approach of British Forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.
Support is growing for new grass-roots movement that blasts the German government for ignoring its fears of being overrun by Muslims and other immigrants. A recent march held by PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, in Dresden attracted a record 15,000 supporters. Since October, the movement has drawn support from the far-right as well as some ordinary Germans alarmed by a sharp rise in refugees, many fleeing conflict in the Middle East. Despite many Government officials condemning the movement, similar rallies are taking place across Germany, Reuters reports.
Amid the chaos, destruction and devastation in Gaza, Palestinian youths have found a perfect use for the rubble that surrounds them: a training ground for parkour. This Reuters photo series follows a group of young Palestinians aged between 13 and 17 as they practice their parkour skills over the ruins of houses, which witnesses said were destroyed during a seven-week Israeli offensive in the Shejaia neighborhood east of Gaza City.
New York is banning pet tattoos and piercing under a state law aimed at curbing the “trendy” practice of inking or even maiming animals to make fashion statements. The decision comes after controversies over pet owners tattooing or piercing animals and circulating those images on the Internet. In March 2013, a man from Brooklyn tattooed his pit bull while the dog was unconscious during spleen surgery and posted a photo of the ink work on social media. Violators of the law, which applies to dogs, cats and all other pets, face up to $250 in fines and up to 15 days imprisonment.
In Kabul, a young Afghan man bearing a striking resemblance to kung fu legend Bruce Lee is high-kicking his way to Internet fame, aiming to show another side to his war-weary nation. Videos and photos of Abbas Alizada, aged 20, posted on the Facebook page "Bruce Hazara" show him performing back flips and striking Lee's famous poses. "The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war ... I am happy that my story is a positive one," says the man who is quickly becoming known as the Afghan Bruce Lee.
A former British inmate of Guantanamo Bay says CIA "torture" of terrorism suspects, detailed in a recent U.S. Senate report, has fuelled violence and the rise of Islamic State, and that cataloguing it wouldn't help. Moazzam Begg was held for nearly three years at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he said psychological tortures included execution threats, light deprivation and solitary confinement. He believes such harsh interrogations have inflamed tensions and made torture, abuse and arbitrary killings "the norm" around the world.
Bad news for anyone living in North Korea by the name of Kim Jong Un: the country has ordered people who share the name of leader Kim Jong Un to change their names, reported South Korea's state-run KBS television on December 3. Kim Jong Un's name is not allowed for newborns and people who share the name must not just stop using it, but must change it on their birth certificates and residence registrations.
Rapid evolution of HIV is slowing its ability to cause AIDS, according to a recent study of more than 2,000 women in Africa. Scientists say the research suggests a less virulent HIV could be one of several factors contributing to a turning of the deadly pandemic, eventually leading to the end of AIDS.
Outside a high-rise building in Crimea, a steady stream of frustrated residents exited a government office, clutching folders of bank records and shaking their heads in disgust. "They are not returning the money," complained Margarita Pobudilova, a 77-year-old retired factory worker who for months has been unable to access her life savings. Ten months after Russia invaded this Black Sea peninsula and seized it from Ukraine, the financial fallout is still being felt. Thousands of ordinary citizens have little or no access to their funds because Russia has basically blown up the existing banking system, forcing Ukrainian banks to close and people to deal with a Kafkaesque bureaucracy to try to get their money returned.
A previously unknown female Chihuahua named Frida was named Mayor of San Francisco for the day as part of a campaign to support the city's animal shelter.
Christie's held the biggest art auction in history recently, selling $853 million worth of art, led by a pair of Andy Warhol works featuring Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando. The impressive haul beat Christie's high pre-sale estimate of $836 million. It was the fourth successive time since May 2013 that the auction house's post-war and contemporary sale broke the record for the highest-ever total of a single sale.
Islamic State commanders are liable for war crimes on a "massive scale" in northeast Syria where they spread terror by beheading, stoning and shooting civilians and captured fighters, the UN said. Experts told world powers to make sure that commanders guilty of war crimes were held accountable by the International Criminal Court. The latest report is based on interviews with more than 300 men, women and children who fled or still live in Islamic State's northeastern stronghold, including Aleppo.