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Commission into French church sex abuse claims opens

Paris - An independent commission set up by the French Catholic Church to look at allegations of sexual abuse by clerics begins its work on Monday by launching an appeal for witness statements.

Commission into French church sex abuse claims opens

Paris - An independent commission set up by the French Catholic Church to look at allegations of sexual abuse by clerics begins its work on Monday by launching an appeal for witness statements.

Banksy in Venice? New work appears and perhaps the artist himself

Venice - The mysterious British artist Banksy has apparently left his mark on a crumbling wall in Venice, and even claimed to have set up an unlicensed art stall in Italy's famous "floating city".

France's 'yellow vests' mark six months of protests with numbers dwindling

Reims - "Yellow vest" protesters turned out across France Saturday to mark six months of rallies against President Emmanuel Macron's policies, but with their numbers dwindling, according to a government tally.

France's 'yellow vests' mark six months of protests with numbers dwindling

Reims - "Yellow vest" protesters turned out across France Saturday to mark six months of rallies against President Emmanuel Macron's policies, but with their numbers dwindling, according to a government tally.

Fake news war: in Libya, battles also rage on social media

Tripoli - On Libya's front lines, fighters often hold a gun in one hand and a smartphone in the other, using their cameras in the propaganda war.

Pope rounds off Morocco visit with mass for thousands

Rabat - Pope Francis has called for tolerance and peace at a mass for thousands of Catholics during a rare visit by a pontiff to Morocco, after warning the faithful there against trying to convert others.

Moroccan teachers stage new demo over benefits

Rabat - Thousands of teachers flooded the streets of the Moroccan capital on Sunday to demand better conditions after a nighttime protest dispersed by riot police left dozens wounded.

Iraqi Kurds commemorate Halabja massacre

Halabja - Hundreds of Kurds gathered in the Iraqi town of Halabja on Saturday in a tearful ceremony commemorating Saddam Hussein's poison gas attack there which killed some 5,000 people, mostly women and children.

Danish shows take TV world by storm

Copenhagen - With original boundary-breaking content, thrilling plots and charismatic actors, Danish television series have captivated audiences worldwide in recent years.

Fears tourists will stay away after hikers murdered in Morocco

Tafingoult - The murders of two young Scandinavian women trekking in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco have shaken the region and fuelled fears that tourists will stay away.

Winter risks 'dire' for 1 mln children in MENA region: UNICEF

Apo - The UN children's fund warned Tuesday that a funding gap and the start of winter could leave nearly one million children "out in the cold" in the Middle East and North Africa.

Moroccan teen in gang-rape case urges other girls to be brave

Beni Mellal - A Moroccan teenager allegedly kidnapped and gang-raped by men from her village called Wednesday on other girls "to be brave" after meeting with the judge investigating her case, which has shaken the nation.

Austria tiring of being 'ashtray of Europe'

Vienna - Austria is tiring of its reputation as "the ashtray of Europe" -- at least according to the results of a nationwide petition backing a ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants.

Dozens of Moroccan activists appeal jail terms

Casablanca - A group of 53 Moroccan activists involved in protests which rocked the North African country will appeal their jail terms of up to 20 years, their lawyers said Monday.

Islamist-backed candidate becomes first woman mayor of Tunis

Tunis - Islamist-backed candidate Souad Abderrahim defeated a city official who served under ousted despot Zine el Abidine Ben Ali on Tuesday to become the first woman mayor of the Tunisian capital.

Iran in U-turn on women in stadiums as World Cup fever takes hold

Tehran - Tehran's largest football stadium is to admit thousands of women together with men for the first time since the the Islamic revolution of 1979 as World Cup fever grips Iran for its Wednesday evening group game against Spain.

Facebook confirms it collects data beyond users

San Francisco - Facebook, embattled in a scandal over the mishandling of user data, confirmed Monday that it also collected information from people beyond their social network use.

Four dead, thousands injured in Iran fire festival celebrations

Tehran - Four people have been killed and thousands injured during celebrations of Iran's annual fire festival ahead of the Persian new year, an official told state TV on Wednesday.

Bullfighting in Colombia under pressure from animal rights campaign

Bogota - With his tight trousers and boots, Luis Miguel Castrillon is dressed to kill as he prances, feints and pirouettes around a charging bull. The crowd applauds, but for animal rights campaigners in Colombia, the bullfighter is a cruel killer.

Award-winning Bosnian Roma actor dies penniless

Sarajevo - Bosnian Roma actor Nazif Mujic, who won a Silver Bear acting award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2013, has died aged 48, following a harrowing descent into extreme poverty despite his film success.

Ceausescu auction points to lingering nostalgia among Romanians

Bucharest - A trove of objects from the household of the former Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu will go under the hammer on Wednesday in an auction drawing on the enduring fascination his memory holds amid the country's current political turmoil.

Beirut protest after spate of violent deaths of women

Beirut - Dozens of people protested on Saturday outside the Lebanese parliament against violence against women, denouncing inaction by the authorities after eight women have been killed since early December.

Saudi women will also be allowed to drive motorcycles

Riyadh - Saudi Arabian women will be able to drive trucks and motorcycles, officials have said three months after the kingdom announced a historic decision to end a ban on women driving.

After Weinstein scandal, powerful men fall like dominoes

Washington - Democratic Senator Al Franken on Thursday became the latest in a succession of famous American men felled by allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Exasperated Kenyans plead for new leaders

Nairobi - As Kenya wrestles with its worst political crisis in a decade, more and more of its people see themselves as hostages of the ethnic rivalries of the country's politicians and beg for new leaders who will fight for all citizens.

Families of jailed Morocco protesters face long road

Casablanca - A 1,200-kilometre (750 mile) round bus trip taking about 22 hours: that is the weekly grind faced by families of activists arrested over a protest movement in northern Morocco if they want to see their loved ones jailed in Casablanca.

Chinese man wins suit over forced conversion therapy

Bejing - A Chinese court has ordered a psychiatric hospital to compensate and apologise to a gay man who was forced to undergo conversion therapy -- a ruling hailed by LGBT rights groups.

Cutting edge: K-pop band praise plastic surgery beauty

Seoul - Rounder eyes, narrower faces, bigger breasts: a South Korean girlband is celebrating the country's obsession with surgically-enhanced beauty by going under the knife to praise the virtues of "Becoming Pretty".

Cutting edge: K-pop band praise plastic surgery beauty

Seoul - Rounder eyes, narrower faces, bigger breasts: a South Korean girlband is celebrating the country's obsession with surgically-enhanced beauty by going under the knife to praise the virtues of "Becoming Pretty".
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