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Anti-immigration protests grow in Germany Reuters 18/12/2014

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.

In photos: Palestinian youths perform parkour in Gaza war zone Reuters 18/12/2014

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 state bans pet tattooing, piercing Reuters 18/12/2014

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.

Afghanistan's Bruce Lee 'reincarnation' becomes Web hit Reuters 15/12/2014

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.

Ex-British Guantanamo inmate says CIA 'torture' report won't help Reuters 15/12/2014

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.

North Korea orders everyone sharing leader's name to change it Reuters 08/12/2014

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.

HIV's ability to cause AIDS is weakening Reuters 08/12/2014

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.

Special Report: Crimean savers ask: Where's our money? Reuters 01/12/2014

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.

Dog has its day as mayor of San Francisco Reuters 01/12/2014

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.

Two Warhols fetch $153 million in biggest art auction in history Reuters 24/11/2014

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.

UN says Islamic State commanders liable for mass war crimes Reuters 24/11/2014

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.

Photo essay: Acting in Prison Reuters 24/11/2014

"I have become one with the other guys. We have all become closer and more comfortable. We have all shown our true selves, and the goodness that lies within us. The goodness that just needed to be cultivated, " says Jerrawe, an inmate participating in a project to rehabilitate prisoners in the USA. Inmates participate in the the The Actors' Gang Prison Project program at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco. The program was created in 2006 to teach prisoners how to develop empathy, express themselves in a positive manner and create healthy relationships. Every year The Actors' Gang conducts these workshops inside a prison system where eight out of ten inmates will return to prison within three years of release. Photographer Mario Anzuoni gained unique access for Reuters.

EU moves step closer to law on national GMO crop bans Reuters 17/11/2014

EU politicians have backed a plan to allow nations to ban genetically modified crops on their soil even if they are given approval to be grown in the European Union, raising the chance their use will remain limited on the continent. Widely grown in the Americas and Asia, GM crops in Europe have divided opinion, with opposition in many countries including France and Germany, while Britain favors them. Reuters reports.

Scientists find rare burial site of Ice Age infant in Alaska Reuters 17/11/2014

Archaeologists working in Alaska's remote interior have discovered the burial site of an Ice Age infant and a late-term fetus believed to be the youngest remains found in the Americas from that period. The burials, found underneath the cremated remains of an Ice Age toddler, date to about 11,500 years ago and provide new insights into mortuary practices of the people who lived at the time.

Special Report: In France, the discreet charm of a far-right mayor Reuters 10/11/2014

David Rachline, the mayor of the French Riviera town of Frejus, quietly loaned a free room to the town’s Jewish community recently to celebrate Yom Kippur. In most other towns in France the gesture would have been unremarkable. But Rachline belongs to the far right National Front, a party whose founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was convicted of inciting racial hatred in 1996 when he said the gas chambers used to kill Jews in the Holocaust were "merely a detail” of World War Two. Reuters reports.

Acid attacks in Iran sharpen row over Islamic dress and vigilantism Reuters 10/11/2014

It is a question all Iranians are asking: who is stalking the streets of Isfahan, throwing acid into women's faces? The attacks - there have been at least four in the busy city in central Iran in recent weeks - appear aimed at terrorizing women who dare to test the boundaries of the Islamic dress code. The crimes coincided with the passage of a new parliamentary bill that allows private citizens to enforce "morality" laws. The bill has sparked a clash between hardline politicians, who overwhelmingly support it, and moderates including President Hassan Rouhani. Reuters reports.

Robots to sell coffee machines in Japan Reuters 03/11/2014

Nestle SA will enlist a thousand humanoid robots to help sell its coffee makers at electronics stores across Japan, becoming the first corporate customer for the chatty, bug-eyed androids unveiled in June by tech conglomerate SoftBank Corp.

Britain's 'Naked Rambler' loses legal battle to reveal all Reuters 03/11/2014

A British man who spent a total of seven years in jail for going naked in public lost his legal battle to wear no clothes as Europe's human rights court told him he must respect the feelings of others. Stephen Gough, dubbed "The Naked Rambler" by British media for his bid to trek the length of the country wearing no more than a hat and bulky rucksack, faced some 30 convictions for public order disturbances and other offences.

Fukushima film shows reality sinking in for 'nuclear refugees' Reuters 27/10/2014

Before the Fukushima nuclear crisis forced them from their homes, residents of Futaba had praised the Daiichi power plant as a "godsend" that brought jobs and money to the Japanese coastal town. Now, more than three years after the disaster, they remain stuck in cramped emergency housing facing the reality they will likely never go home, with Futaba set to become a storage site for contaminated soil, a new documentary film shows.

Petition calls on Roche to cut breast cancer drug price Reuters 27/10/2014

A British-led petition signed by 29,000 people has demanded that Switzerland's Roche, the world's biggest maker of cancer medicines, cut the price of its expensive new breast cancer drug Kadcyla. The campaign shows the growing pressure on drug companies as a raft of promising new cancer treatments reach the market. U.S. insurers also say they are alarmed by a coming flood of cancer medicines with "astronomical price tags", while pricing rows have flared in France and Italy.

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