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Cubans abandon Pan American Games to defect to U.S.

Cubans abandon Pan American Games to defect to U.S.

Local Source:
At least 28 Cuban athletes defected to the United States during the Pan American Games held in Toronto, Canada from July 10-26. "Everyone knows what happened to our team, seven of our teammates are now in the United States," said Roger Aguilera, one of the remaining eight members of the Cuban field hockey team that eventually lost to Trinidad and Tobago 13-0. "But today, we will represent Cuba as best we can. For our love of sport and the flag," he added. Despite improved diplomatic relations, Cuban athletes take advantage of the proximity to the United States during the Pan American Gam
Right-wing murder rate higher than previously thought

Right-wing murder rate higher than previously thought

Local Source:
Right-wing extremists were responsible for 75 deaths across Germany between 1990 and 2014, a recent inquiry commissioned by the government has revealed. That is more than the 60 murders authorities previously thought to be motivated by race, skin color, or religion alone. The new figure came to light during a parliamentary inquiry launched to address errors that had affected the investigation into German right-wing terror group “Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund” (National Socialist Underground). As part of the inquiry, investigators examined more than 3,000 criminal cases where tho
Tooth 100,000 years older than 'oldest French person' found

Tooth 100,000 years older than ‘oldest French person’ found

Local Source:
Two young archaeologists have found a 550,000-year-old tooth in southwestern France, in one of the country's most famous excavation sites. The tooth is 100,000 years older than the Tautavel Man, also known as the “oldest French person,” whose remains were found at the same site. Volunteers Camille and Vincent were working in the Arago Cave near Tautavel when they found “a large adult tooth.” Paleontologist Amélie Viallet, who runs the digging in the Arago Cave, said they did not know whether the tooth was male or female, but stressed that it was found "during excavations of soil we

Mexico City includes traffic 'superheroes' in budget

Mexico City includes traffic ‘superheroes’ in budget

Local Source:
Miguel Ángel, the mayor of Mexico's capital city, has approved $65,000 in funding this year for the Claustrofobos Association, an NGO of clowns and "traffic superheroes." The powerful Peatonito (Little Pedestrian) is a "superhero" who does not hesitate to stop and even push cars that block the passage of pedestrians, whether it be at a cross walk or side walk. He even goes as far as painting new cross walks with spray paint if cars will not move out of a person's path. "Pedestrians are pleased that they finally have defenders," Peatonito says. "We live in a dictatorship of automobiles.
Reporting corruption anonymously in Czech Republic now an option

Czechs now feel free, encouraged to report corruption

Local Source:
GlobaLeaks, the first open-source framework for anonymous reporting of corruption practices, has been available in the Czech Republic for a month. In that time, 24 reports have been received, nine of them regarded politically engaged people. Corruption is a global problem, but the Czech Republic seems to have become a true breeding ground of graft. Until recently, there were no ways to report corruption anonymously, which made "witnesses" feel too intimidated to act. Cases have been reported of public employees being dismissed when they tried to interfere in dishonest practices; reporting
Taliban make biggest advance since fall of their regime in 2001

Taliban makes biggest advance since fall of their regime in 2001

Local Source:
After a mass surrender, the Taliban in Afghanistan took control over a key base in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan defeating more than 140 local policemen and border guards; seizing the base’s weapons and ammunition. The capture of the base, after days of fighting, was perhaps the Taliban's greatest advance in Badakhshan since being ousted from power in 2001. Badakhshan borders China and Tajikistan. The seized base is only a government post away from a strategic point at the border with Pakistan. Officials have given conflicting reasons behind the fall of the base, but t
Older women rejected or charged more for driving lessons

Older women rejected or charged more for driving lessons

Local Source:
The summer holidays in mainland China are the peak season for driving lessons, and business is booming for driving schools as students enroll in droves. The only applicants being turned away are older women. Female students over the age of 40 are encountering the “hidden rules” of driving schools as they attempt to learn what to do when behind the wheel of a car. It turns out that for them, schools have a policy of charging extra fees or rejecting them outright. Instructors make less money on such student-drivers. The feeling is that this demographic’s driving skills are much we
Opinion: Disillusioned voice of Ukraine's revolution

Opinion: Disillusioned voice of Ukraine’s revolution

Local Source:
Anastasia Dmitruk, the Ukrainian poet who rose to fame in the last year with her nationalist and strongly anti-Russian verses, is "disillusioned" with the results of the Ukrainian revolution, according to a op-ed published by Vesti.ru, a state-owned Russian-language news channel. Despite the fact that her own boyfriend, like tens of thousands of other Ukrainian men, has evaded the draft by escaping to Russia, Dmitruk has been hailed as "the most patriotic poet of the country" in the Ukrainian press. The author of "We will never become brothers," a poem that made her famous after the prot
Maduro calls for dismantling 'useless' OAS

Maduro calls for dismantling ‘useless’ OAS

Local Source:
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for the elimination of the Organization of American States (OAS), defining it as a forum that only serves to organize "conspiracies and coups." Headquartered in Washington, D.C., OAS is an inter-continental organization established to promote regional solidarity and cooperation among its 35 independent state members. "The OAS is useless, it's only good for approving coups. It always becomes a den of conspiracy against progressive governments," Maduro said during a speech commemorating the 61st birthday of late leader Hugo Chavez. Maduro t
Egypt warns against foreign military intervention in Syria

Egypt warns against foreign military intervention in Syria

Local Source:
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry warned against any foreign military intervention in Syria following Turkish airstrikes in the country that allegedly targeted ISIS forces. During a televised interview, Shokry said the political situation in Syria was extremely complicated and the entry of any foreign forces into Syrian land would increase the divide. Intervention would also escalate violence in the ongoing civil war because international military operations in Syria would diminish the country's sovereignty over its own land. The major victims in all of this are the Syrian people who
Pakistan resumes executions after Ramadan break

Pakistan resumes executions after Ramadan break

Local Source:
Pakistan has resumed the execution of death row prisoners a little over a month after it suspended the practice out of respect for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Murder convicts Farooq and Karim Nawaz, were the first two hanged after the temporary moratorium expired in the southern Punjab city of Multan. Arshad Saeed, a senior government adviser for prisons in Punjab province said that the convicted men were awaiting execution for murdering people in two unrelated cases. The number of people hanged has reached 176 since December 2014 when the country ended a six-year moratorium on
86% of Vietnamese consumers spending less, saving more

86% of Vietnamese consumers spending less, saving more

Local Source:
Vietnam's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for the second quarter of 2015 has dropped to 104 points, down eight points from the first quarter. This is the sharpest decline among Asia-Pacific countries, according to Nielsen’s global survey on CCI. The drop goes against the trend of previous quarters, but it indicates what is really going on in the Vietnamese retail market. Unlike in 2012, when it was booming, retailers are now struggling to maintain the increase of 2-3 point growth over the previous year. Vietnamese are the most money-saving consumers in the region (73 percent), accordi
Ex-Tunisian president asks Libya not to execute Qaddafi's PM

Ex-Tunisian president asks Libya not to execute Qaddafi’s PM

Local Source:
Former Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki has asked Libyan authorities not to carry out the death sentence against El-Baghdady El-Mahmoudy, the last Libyan prime minister under former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi before the violent revolution ended his 42-year reign. In a statement posted on Marzouki's official Facebook page, he asked for El-Mahmoudy to be spared because of "the numerous negative reprecussions this would have on Libya's image and on the possibilities of the national discussion" in the civil war torn nation. El-Mahmoudy fled to Tunisia during the earlier phase
Youths in Hong kong believe selling imitation goods is legal

Hong kong youth believe selling imitation goods is legal

Local Source:
Online shopping in Hong Kong is on the rise, but along with that trend, more young people are under the belief that buying and selling knockoff goods is legal. While trade in counterfeit goods runs rampant in mainland China, neighboring Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997 when the island was repatriated to China, has historically seen stricter regulation of intellectual property laws. However, patent infringements are on the rise on the island. In the first half of this year alone, 112 people were arrested for selling counterfeit items online, of which 18 of them were 16 yea
London wants cops speaking Sinhalese

London wants cops speaking Sinhalese

Local Source:
London law enforcement is adding proficiency in Sinhalese, the mother tongue of Sri Lankans, as another criterion for the job. London is home to over 8.6 million people from 40 different countries speaking 14 major languages. There are 200,000 people from Sri Lanka living in London. The new language requirement for police officers implies the importance of the Sri Lankan diaspora in the English capital. Metropolitan police consider bi-lingual policemen as assets in carrying out the complex and challenging task of policing London’s population. Authorities also added several European,
Obama, Kenyan leader differ publicly on gay rights

Obama, Kenyan leader differ publicly on gay rights

Local Source:
Despite being warned by most Kenyan officials, including local senior local politicians, not to mention gay rights during his visit to the country, President Barack Obama did just that. He directly challenged his host, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, over the issue at a joint news conference following bilateral talks in the capital Nairobi. The two leaders used the televised occasion to firmly state their differences on the sensitive subject. Obama spoke strongly against general discrimination against people for “doing (things) differently” – a statement which was seen as a clear ref
Foreigners driving up London house prices by laundering money

Foreigners driving up London house prices by laundering money

Local Source:
Foreign criminals buying houses in London for the purpose of laundering billions are driving up house prices in the city, according to the National Crime Agency. Its economic crime director, Donald Toon, said prices in the British capital were “skewed” as a result of such criminal investments. Toon added that an “alarming” number of homes are registered to complex offshore corporations and were bought with laundered cash. "Prices of high end property are being artificially driven up by the desire of overseas criminals to sequester their assets here in the U.K.,” he said. Eviden
India's rich leaving the country in droves

India’s rich leaving the country in droves

Local Source:
Close to 61,000 millionaires moved out of India to other countries during the last 14 years, according to a joint report by New World Wealth, an NGO that provides information on the global wealth sector, and LIO Global, world residence and citizenship platform. The report says that the change in domicile and applications for second citizenship have increased dramatically since the turn of the century. "In the last 10 years, 27 percent, or 43,400 millionaires among the 160,600 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in India, have left the country for better employment opportunities in the U.S.,
Furor over decision not to allow veil during exam

Furor over decision not to allow veil during exam

Local Source:
A nun in the Indian state of Kerala was denied access to the entrance exam to medical colleges after she refused to remove her veil and a chain with a crucifix on it. The nun had gone to the center where the test was taking place in the morning, where she was informed by authorities that the veil and chain would not be allowed inside. She asked to be allowed to wear them after a checkup, but her request was denied. The Supreme Court had quashed the entrance exam held a month earlier for malpractices in various centers. It asked the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) to co
Ferrari boycotted after quarrel with Formula One boss?

Ferrari boycotted after quarrel with Formula One boss?

Local Source:
An unusual broadcasting choice by international cameras during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday outraged Italian supporters of the sport, who only had a total of a few seconds to see their favorite drivers. After 12 laps, German champion Sebastian Vettel, driving the Scuderia Ferrari car, won the race but the cameras did not have a single frame of him. It soon became clear that was a deliberate vacancy. Italian TV commentators reacted harshly, revealing that Bernie Ecclestone, the longtime boss of Formula One who controls the commercial rights to the sport, recently had

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