Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies from suspected drug overdose

(Reuters) – Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the leading actors of his generation, who won an Academy Award for his title role in the film “Capote,” was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday in what a New York police source described as an apparent drug overdose. Hoffman, 46, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Greenwich Village apartment by police responding to a 911 call, and Emergency Medical Service workers declared […]

China: Japan’s ‘hype’ on air defence zone spreads tension

(Reuters) – China does not feel threatened by countries in Southeast Asia and is optimistic about the situation in the disputed South China Sea, the Foreign Ministry said, warningJapan not to “spread rumors” it plans a new air defense identification zone. China alarmed Japan, South Korea and the United States last year when it announced an air defense identification zone for the East China Sea, covering a group of uninhabited islands at the center of a bitter ownership spat between China and […]

Catalan leader says Spain cannot block independence vote: report

(Reuters) – Spain cannot block a non-binding vote on Catalan independence that could become the basis for negotiations on Catalonia’s future, the president of the northeastern region said in an interview published on Sunday. “If I call a consultation, not to declare the independence of Catalonia nor to break with the Spanish state, but to know the opinion of the citizens of this country, a knee-jerk anti-democratic response from Spain would be pretty bad and disgraceful in the view […]

Syrian forces kill 83 in barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo: activists

(Reuters) – Syrian military helicopters dropped more improvised “barrel bombs” on the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, a monitoring group said, bringing the death toll to at least 83 people in the latest episode of a campaign many consider a war crime. Most of the victims killed since Friday have been civilians from the city’s eastern districts, including women and children, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a broad […]

UNICEF Ambassador Angie Harmon returns from Nicaragua, urges public to help protect children

Actress and UNICEF Ambassador Angie Harmon recently returned from a visit to Nicaragua, where she traveled to bring attention to the horrors of child trafficking within the Central American country and across the globe. During her trip Harmon witnessed UNICEF programs to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse and spoke with adolescent girls and boys about their experiences. During her trip, Harmon travelled to the Northern town of San Lucas where she witnessed efforts […]

Thousands protest vs Western Australian government’s shark culling programme

Thousands of people protested at various beaches across Australia on Saturday (February 1) to voice opposition to the Western Australian Government’s controversial shark culling programme. Up to 6,000 people gathered at Cottelsoe Beach in Perth holding up placards and chanting “rights, rights, rights for great whites.” At Manly, one of Sydney’s surfing beaches, about 2,000 people turned up to show support for the sharks. “We are surfers, we are divers, we walk the beach, we love the beach, we love the […]

Demolition experts bring down Frankfurt skyscraper

Thousands of spectators have watched the demolition of a skyscraper in Frankfurt that once formed part of the university. The collapse took all of ten seconds. Almost one ton of explosives inserted into 1,500 drilled holes were used on Sunday to raze the so-called “AfE Turm” (“AfE Tower”), standing at 116 meters (381 ft). Police estimate that more than 10,000 people gathered in the center of Germany’s financial hub Frankfurt to watch the spectacular demolition. […]

Indonesia’s Mt. Sinabung volcano erupts, kills at least 14 people

(Reuters) — Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung volcano erupted and killed at least 14 people on the western island of Sumatra on Saturday (February 1), the first time it is known to have claimed any lives, a senior government official said. The volcano has becoming increasingly active in recent months, regularly spewing columns of ash several kilometres into the air. The government has evacuated tens of thousands of residents near the area. The head of the evacuation team, […]

Canada strips newspaper publisher Conrad Black of honors

(Reuters) —  Canada has canceled two prestigious honors for Conrad Black, who once ran a newspaper empire stretching from the Chicago Sun-Times to Britain’s Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post but who ended up in U.S. prison for fraud. The government on Friday (January 31) terminated his appointment as an officer of the Order ofCanada, which recognizes a lifetime of high achievement and merit. It also removed him from the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, ostensibly a group of cabinet ministers and other prominent Canadians appointed […]

Thai vote starts peacefully, but political paralysis looms

(Reuters) – Thailand went to the polls under heavy security on Sunday in an election that could push the divided country deeper into political turmoil and leave the winner paralyzed for months by street protests, legal challenges and legislative limbo. Voting started peacefully a day after seven people were wounded by gunshots and explosions during a clash between supporters and opponents of embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a north Bangkok stronghold of her Puea Thai Party. […]

Mexican president to seek OK on telecom, oil reform specifics

(Reuters) – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Friday he will send secondary laws that flesh out landmark telecoms and energy reforms for congressional approval as he seeks to boost competition and economic growth. Pena Nieto pushed a series of reforms through Congress last year, which also spanned taxes and education, but the implementation of energy and telecoms reforms requires a separate batch of secondary laws. He held off fast-tracking the reforms. The move […]

Amanda Knox conviction in Italy could spur lengthy extradition fight

  (Reuters) – Italy’s conviction of Amanda Knox for the murder of her British roommate when the two were exchange students together could spur a drawn-out fight over extradition in the United States, where supporters contend she is the victim of a faulty foreign justice system. If Knox’s conviction is ultimately confirmed pending further appeals, her lawyers are expected to argue that the United States cannot send her to Italy in part because of U.S. constitutional guarantees […]