General News

"Twittering" in German parliament causes outrage

"Twittering" in German parliament causes outrageBerlin - Germany's presidential election last Saturday, in which incumbent Horst Koehler won a second term, may well go down as the breakthrough moment in Germany for social networking site Twitter.

While few were surprised at the outcome of the vote, the manner in which the result became known has been causing a political stir.

Roughly 15 minutes before the official announcement, two parliamentarians posted the result on the Twitter website, informing media-savvy internet users of Koehler's re-election.

Peru seeks unwitting lottery jackpot winner

Peru seeks unwitting lottery jackpot winner Lima - The firm that runs Peru's biggest lottery turned to the media Thursday in an effort to find a jackpot winner, who has not yet claimed a 12-million-sole (about
4-million-dollar) prize.

The winner bought the ticket in the La Tinka lottery on Sunday for about 1 dollar at a pharmacist's store in the jungle town of Pucallpa. The shop assistant could not remember who bought it.

Taipei Zoo unveils "Ring-a-Panda" service

Taipei Zoo unveils "Ring-a-Panda" service Taipei - Taipei Zoo on Thursday launched a "Ring-a-Panda" service, enabling people to watch the two Chinese pandas live via videophone.

The service allows Panda-loving 3G phone users to dial a number and then view either two hours of live broadcasts from the Panda's cage, or hours of prerecorded footage of the pair.

The two pandas were originally given to Taiwan by Chinese president Hu Jintao to improve ties between the two sides, split since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

The pair arrived at the zoo last year.

Patek Philippe, Napoleon dominate Sotheby's watch auction

Patek Philippe, Napoleon dominate Sotheby's watch auctionGeneva - Two watches by famed Geneva manufacturer Patek Philippe were sold by Christie's auction house on Monday for nearly 2 million Swiss francs each.

With the buyer's premium, a rare 1960 chronograph wristwatch with pink gold sold for 1,935,800 francs (1,745,060 dollars). The watch was initially retailed by Gobbi of Milan and was put on the block by the family of the original owner.

Four teens admit attacks in former Austrian concentration camp

Four teens admit attacks in former Austrian concentration camp Vienna - Four Austrian teenagers on Monday confessed to having attacked participants commemorating the liberation of a former concentration camp, an Interior Ministry official said.

The Austrian public and politicians were shocked about the incident at the Ebensee camp in Upper Austria province on Saturday, when the four reportedly fired plastic ammunition on a group of French visitors with a fake machine gun.

Eight-year-old Saudi girl divorces 50-year-old husband

Eight-year-old Saudi girl divorces 50-year-old husband Riyadh  - An 8-year-old Saudi girl got divorced from her 50-year-old husband after the marriage drew severe criticism, the girl's lawyer said on Thursday.

Abdullah al-Jeteily said that the court in Onayza city approved the divorce decree after several officials in the region talked with the husband.

Two request by the girl's mother for a divorce were rejected before, and one judge ruled that the girl would be able to file for divorce herself only after she reaches puberty.

Earthquake of 5.7 strength shakes Mexico

Earthquake of 5.7 strength shakes MexicoMexico City - An earthquake rated at 5.7 strength shook the capital Mexico City Monday, sending thousands of people flooding out of office buildings and restaurants. However, no major damage was reported, according to Mexico City Civil Protection authorities.

The epicentre of the quake was near the Pacific coast in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, about 300 kilometres south of Mexico City.

According to a report by the National Seismological Service, the quake happened at 11.46 am (1646 GMT).

Telephone lines were briefly cut off. (dpa)

Van Gogh landscape paintings exhibition to open in Basel

Van Gogh landscape paintings exhibition to open in BaselBasel, Switzerland  - A collection of 70 landscape paintings by Vincent Van Gogh will open in Basel next week, the Kunstmuseum in the Swiss city announced Thursday.

The art museum is billing the exhibition, set to run until September, as "the world's first complete survey of landscape paintings" by the Dutch legend.

Alongside the main exhibit, the museum will also put on display landscapes from Van Gogh's contemporaries in France, where he spent the last years of his short life, including Camille Corot and Henri Matisse.

Hitler's "hardly Picasso" works fetch 95,000 pounds

Hitler's "hardly Picasso" works fetch 95,000 pounds Hitler's "hardly Picasso" works fetch 95,000 pounds London  - A rare collection of early paintings by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler fetched more than 95,000 pounds (139,000 dollars) at auction in Britain Thursday.

The 13 pictures, including oil and water colours, were painted between 1908 and 1914, when the Nazi leader was in his 20s and hoping to become an artist, specialist auctioneers Mullock's said.

Iranian Nobel laureate awarded German Dignity Award

Iranian Nobel laureate awarded German Dignity AwardBerlin  - Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi was awarded one of Germany's top prizes Tuesday for her human rights advocacy work, and vowed that she would continue her efforts despite threats posed by Tehran authorities.

Together with Paris-based organization Reporters without Borders, Ebadi was awarded the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award by German President Horst Koehler. The prize was established in Germany last year to promote peaceful cooperation in the world.

At least 13 killed in latest Afghan violence

At least 13 killed in latest Afghan violence Kabul  - Five Afghan security guards, two civilians, five suspected militants, and two unidentified persons were killed by Afghan and international forces in the latest clashes and explosions in Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.

A bomb hidden in a bicycle went off Saturday in Kandahar city, capital of the province of the same name, killing two civilians including a woman and wounding four more, provincial police chief Matiullah Qateh said.

Earthquake panics Lebanon, but no reported injuries

Earthquake panics Lebanon, but no reported injuriesBeirut - An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale struck southern Lebanon Friday afternoon, causing fear and panic among the residents, Lebanese police said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the tremors.

The quake, which was felt at around 1200 GMT, was also detected in northern Israel.

Rashid Jumaa of Lebanon's Geophysical Institute, told the German News Agency dpa that the quake was felt in areas east of the southern port city of Tyre and the village of Srifa.

Jordanians protest attempts by Jews to enter Islamic shrine

Jordanians protest attempts by Jews to enter Islamic shrineAmman - Hundreds of Jordanians staged a sit-in Thursday to protest what they called attempts by extremist Jews to storm Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.

The protest was organized by the Islamic Action Front, Jordan's largest political party and an arm of the influential Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Participants raised placards and chanted slogans urging the government to sever diplomatic ties with Israel and to close down the Israeli embassy in Amman.

Twenty nine killed in Zimbabwe bus crash

Twenty nine killed in Zimbabwe bus crash Harare  - Twenty-nine people died and at least 44 were injured in a bus accident in Zimbabwe Thursday, state-owned media reported.

The accident took place when a tyre of the bus burst, forcing the vehicle off the Harare-Masvingo road, about 100 km south of the capital, police spokesman Andrew Phiri said.

Air Force helicopters airlifted the injured to Harare.

The accident took place on the same road on which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife Susan died in March in a car crash. Tsvangirai survived with head and neck injuries. (dpa)

German vessel rescues 75 from sinking ship off East Africa

German vessel rescues 75 from sinking ship off East Africa Hamburg - A German container ship rescued 75 passengers from a sinking passenger ship off the coast of Tanzania on Thursday, a spokesman for the German ship's operators said.

He said the MS Dorian responded to an SOS from the stricken vessel after other ships in the vicinity declined to provide assistance, fearing the call was a trap set by pirates.

The incident happened in an area where pirates have often attacked commercial shipping and held their crews for ransom.

Nobel laureate's papers found in rubble of German archives

Nobel laureate's papers found in rubble of German archivesCologne, Germany - A novelist's papers, including the scroll awarding him the 1972 Nobel Prize for Literature, have been recovered from a pile of rubble in the German city of Cologne, officials said Thursday.

Manuscripts and letters by Heinrich Boell, who died in 1985, had been placed in the city archives for safekeeping. But the building collapsed, killing two people, on March 3, apparently after a pothole had formed in a construction site under the street outside.

Polish hostel where 22 died is ruled unsafe

Polish hostel where 22 died is ruled unsafe Warsaw  - A Polish hostel where a fire killed 22 failed to meet fire safety standards, firefighters said Thursday after an inspection.

Deputy Premier Grzegorz Schetyna said those responsible for the technical state of the building will be held accountable.

The commission ruled that the building's construction was a life hazard to residents, the Polish Press Agency PAP reported. The hallways, for example, were lined with easily inflammable furniture. The head of the commission called the building unlivable.

ROUNDUP: Suicide bomber injures 17 in Iraq

Suicide bomber injures 17 in IraqBaghdad  - Iraq's Defence Ministry said on Thursday that 17 were injured when suicide bomber blew himself up at a military base in western Iraq, contradicting earlier reports that 16 were killed.

It was reported earlier that the bomber blew himself up inside a restaurant in al-Habania military base in Anbar province, killing 16 and injuring more than 50.

The defence ministry statement said there were no fatalities.

The attack took place at lunchtime when officers and soldiers were eating in a big dining hall, the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency reported.

Tulips entered Europe 500 years earlier than thought, study says

Tulips entered Europe 500 years earlier than thought, study says Madrid  - The tulip entered Europe through Moorish Spain five centuries earlier than previously thought, according to a Spanish study made public on Thursday.

The study by the University of Cordoba and the School of Arab Studies contradicts the generally accepted version that the flower, which is now a symbol of the Netherlands, arrived there from the Ottoman Empire, passing through Central Europe.

Clash leaves 12 dead in Mexico ahead of Obama's visit

Clash leaves 12 dead in Mexico ahead of Obama's visit Mexico City - Twelve people were killed in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero in a clash between the military and suspected drug traffickers just hours ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to the country on Thursday.

Guerrero's Public Security Minister Juan Heriberto Salinas Altes confirmed the deaths late Wednesday. He said the clash happened when a military patrol was attacked near San Nicolas del Oro.

The attackers were armed with rifles, police said. Several managed flee on vehicles they had been using in the region's dirt roads, they added.




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