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    Smoke rises in the city of Latakia August 14, 2011. Syrian tanks and navy ships shelled the main Mediterranean port city of Latakia on Sunday, residents and rights groups said, killing 24 people as President Bashar al-Assad's forces launched an offensive by land and sea to crush protests against his rule.



    Police officers raid a property in Pimlico, London August 12, 2011. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is under growing pressure to abandon plans to cut police funding, part of the government's austerity drive, after the worst looting and rioting in decades hit cities across England.

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    Interior Ministry officers detain opposition activists for violation of law and order during a rally to protest against policies conducted by Russian authorities, in central Moscow August 12, 2011. Opposition supporters held a rally dubbed the Day of Wrath on Friday, local media reported



    A woman takes part in a SlutWalk rally against sexual abuse in central Berlin, August 13, 2011. SlutWalk is protest movement that attract thousands of people in various cities who rally to denote sexual inequality in general and, in particular, the injustice of blaming the victim rather than the rapist or abuser, the organisers said during speeches at the rally.

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    A man wades through the flooded banks of the Tawi river after recovering his belongings, outside his submerged house in Jammu August 12, 2011. Heavy rains triggered floods in the Tawi, local media reported



    A heap of cars destroyed by the March 11earthquake and tsunami is seen at a devastated area in Rikuzentakata, north of Japan, August 14, 2011

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    A French monk joins pilgrims in a game of tug of war in Oviedo, northern Spain, August 14, 2011 during celebrations leading up to Pope Benedict's visit to Spain on August 18-21 for World Youth Day. Up to a million pilgrims are expected to attend various events during the week, culminating in the Pope's arrival in Madrid.



    People stand at a makeshift memorial in front of the home of a 32-year-old pregnant woman who was killed by one of her pit bulls, her mauled body found by her husband, in Pacifica, California August 12, 2011. The woman was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon at the couple's home in the seaside village south of San Francisco.

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    Deadly Explosions Rip Through Iraqi Cities
    At least 56 people were killed in a wave of bombings across more than a dozen Iraqi cities on Monday -- a deadly reminder of the ongoing insurgency. Here: A man inspects some damage at a church following a blast in Kirkuk



    Google Buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion
    Motorola Mobility Vice President Spiros Nikolakopoulos introduces the "Xoom" tablet in Tokyo on Feb. 28. Hoping to bolster its Android mobile phone software, Google said it will purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash.

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    Sailing for a Cause
    The Turanor PlanetSolar, the first solar-powered boat to embark on a trip around the world, arrives in Hong Kong on Monday. The global journey was undertaken to promote solar energy for pollution-free shipping.



    Lost Loved Ones
    South Korean relatives of World War II victims hold portraits of their loved ones during the 66th Independence Day ceremony in Seoul on Monday. Korea was liberated from Japan's 35-year colonial rule in 1945.

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    An exiled Tibetan girl runs through the rain to her school hall for a display of traditional dancing in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala

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    A professional diver dons an Elvis Presley costume in an aquarium in the Philippines capital, Manila, a day before the 34th anniversary of the singers death

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    Grand National course to be altered on safety concerns





    The Grand National course at Aintree will be changed for 2012 after a review of April's race in which two horses were fatally injured.

    A reduction of between four and five inches to the drop on the landing of Becher's Brook is amongst the changes.

    "It is not possible to completely eliminate risk in horse racing," said Aintree managing director Julian Thick.

    "However, I am confident the course changes we are announcing today will, over time, have a positive impact."

    The fourth will be reduced in height by two inches to 4ft 10in (1.47 metres) after a statistical review found that it and Becher's were the most difficult jumps to clear on the course.

    Both fences were omitted from the second circuit in this year's edition of jump racing's showpiece after Dooneys Gate and Ornais suffered fatal falls on the first lap.

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    Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean banned from driving



    Steve Kean passed a police car at 90mph on the M6 in Cheshire


    Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has been given an 18-month driving ban after admitting drinking and driving.

    The 43-year-old pleaded guilty at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court earlier, but tried to escape a ban claiming his drink had been spiked.

    A district judge rejected his "special reasons" application, saying he had failed to prove the drink had been spiked.

    Kean, of Weybridge in Surrey, was also fined 1,800.

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    Furniture chain Lombok goes into administration



    Furniture chain Lombok has gone into administration and closed nine stores.

    The three remaining outlets and one department store concession are remaining open, in addition to the company's website business.

    These have been bought out of administration by Lombok's owner, Angora, in a "pre-pack" deal.

    Under a pre-pack administration agreement, a buyer for a firm or its assets is lined up in advance to the administrations being called in.

    No details have yet been released on how many jobs will be lost at Lombok.

    The stores being closed are in Guildford, Hampstead, Brighton, Leamington Spa, Kingston, Wimbledon, Bluewater, Chiswick and London's Kings Road.

    Those that will remain open are Lombok's shops in Tottenham Court Road in London, Batley in West Yorkshire and a clearance outlet in Fulham.

    Lombok's concession that will continue trading is in the London Oxford Street branch of House of Fraser.

    A Lombok spokeswoman said a consultation on job losses was now underway.

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    Bristol International Balloon Fiesta: Inquiry after house is hit




    An investigation is under way after a hot air balloon hit a house in Kingswood during the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

    Festival organisers are investigating and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is considering whether to launch a full investigation.

    Fiesta chairman Muir Moffat said: "We are very disciplined about how we fly and we brief the pilots."

    More than 500,000 people visited the fiesta over the weekend.

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    Greene and Co estate agents guilty of parking fraud




    A group of high-end estate agents in west London have admitted a parking permit scam investigators fear may have cost the taxpayer thousands.

    Employees at the Maida Vale branch of Greene and Co used flats they were selling to fraudulently apply for residents' parking permits.

    This meant they could avoid pay-and-display costs.

    Westminster Magistrates' Court fined the agents for knowingly making false statements.

    Four of the estate agents pleaded guilty - but two of the employees, Simon Cole and Daniel Ginsburg, continued to claim they were innocent until last week.

    They changed their plea to guilty.

    Some of the agents claimed in mitigation that it was a company policy and in effect they were just following orders.

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    Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China




    A Tibetan monk has burned himself to death in China's Sichuan province, in an apparent anti-Beijing protest.

    Activists said the monk, whom they named as Tsewang Norbu, had shouted slogans including "long live the Dalai Lama" before setting himself alight.

    A similar action sparked weeks of confrontation earlier this year in another town in Sichuan.

    Unrest is fuelled by a widespread belief that the government is suppressing Tibetan culture.

    The argument has been going on for decades, with many Tibetans accusing the government of forcing monks to attend re-education camps, encouraging the migration of Han Chinese to Tibetan areas, and crushing any sign of dissent.

    But the authorities say they have brought relative wealth and prosperity to a region that was a rural backwater.

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    Libyan interior minister 'flies to Egypt'




    Libya's interior minister has arrived in Egypt on an unannounced holiday with nine members of his family, officials at Cairo airport say.

    Nasser al-Mabruk arrived on a special plane from Tunisia and told Egyptian officials that he was "on a tourist visit", the sources said.

    The visit has led to speculation of a possible defection from Col Muammar Gaddafi's inner circle.

    It comes as rebel fighters advance on Col Gaddafi's stronghold in Tripoli.

    Although the capital is not under immediate threat, rebel forces are now in their strongest position since the uprising began in February against 41 years of Gaddafi rule.

    After a weekend of heavy fighting, the rebels have taken control of Sorman, west of Tripoli, and Garyan to the south.

    They are reportedly advancing against government forces in the key oil town of Zawiya, just 30 miles (50km) west of Tripoli.

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    Driver spotted using two mobile phones is banned




    A man spotted using two mobile phones while behind the wheel of his car has been banned from driving for 12 months.

    Norwich magistrates heard David Secker, 34, of Rimington Road, Sprowston, near Norwich, was seen talking on one phone while holding the other as if texting.

    Secker, who is unemployed, did not appear to be holding the steering wheel when he was spotted on the 70mph A47 at Blofield, near Norwich on 17 May.

    He was found guilty in his absence last month and sentenced on Monday.

    He was also fined 150 and his licence was endorsed with 14 penalty points.

    His solicitor Simon Nicholls told the court Secker was holding the second phone to read out a telephone number with his hand on the wheel and that he was not, as has been reported in the press, using his knees to drive his M-registration Vauxhall Tigra.

    The court heard that when officers pulled Secker over, they had to wait for him to finish his phone conversation.

    Prosecutor Denis King said: "He was seen holding a mobile phone to his right ear and as he moved closer the officer saw he was holding another phone in his other hand as though he was texting."

    Secker had been found guilty in his absence of using a mobile phone while driving, having no insurance and not being in a position to have proper control.

    Outside court, Secker said: "I think the magistrates treated me fairly."

    Mr Nicholls said: "We hear about people driving while eating apples and doing all kind of stupid things.

    "He accepts he made a mistake and will learn from it."

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    Cathay Pacific scandal may delay ad campaign




    Cathay Pacific may delay a global marketing campaign, after photographs of crew members allegedly engaging in a sexual act were published.

    The airline was due to launch the campaign in September.

    Its tagline was "meet the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special".

    "We are thinking of holding the campaign back for a little while because the timing doesn't suit us at the moment," a spokeswoman said.

    Last week, the Hong Kong-based carrier announced that two crew members photographed in "compromising situations" were no longer working for the company.

    It gave no details on their duties for the airline.

    A number of photographs were recently published online and in Chinese-language newspapers.

    The newspapers claim the woman in the photographs was a flight attendant and the man a pilot, both of whom were working for Cathay Pacific.

    They allege the photographs were taken in the cockpit of a Cathay Pacific plane.

    Cathay's chief executive, John Slosar, said there no evidence to suggest that the incidents happened on any flights while airborne.

    "I find any behaviour that recklessly soils the reputation of our company or our team members as totally unacceptable," Mr Slosar said in a statement.

    The airline is in the process of handing over details of its internal investigation to Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department.

    September's marketing launch was supposed to be the second phase of an international campaign.

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    German boy, 11, calls police over housework



    The boy had repeatedly threatened to call police, his mother said.


    A boy of 11 called a German police emergency line to complain of "forced labour" after his mother told him to help clean the home.

    Police say the boy from Aachen, who has not been identified, spoke to an officer via the 110 number.

    They say he complained: "I have to work all day long. I haven't any free time."

    His mother told the officer the boy had kept threatening to call them, having repeatedly complained of having to do housework during the school holidays.

    A transcript of the conversation, printed in local newspapers, revealed the officer asking the boy to describe the kind of "forced labour" he was doing.

    The boy replied that he had to clean the home and terrace, it said.

    Asked if he knew what forced labour was, the boy said he did, and the police officer asked to speak to his mother, who at that stage was standing next to him.

    She explained he had called after being asked to pick up paper from the floor, adding: "He plays all day long and when told to tidy up what he's done, he calls it forced labour."

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    NASA astronaut Ron Garan caught this picture of a Perseid meteor from the International Space Station on Saturday.

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    Restrained by a harness, Anders Behring Breivik reconstructed his actions for police in a secret daylong trip back to the crime scene where he killed 69 people at Utoya island near Oslo.






    The reconstruction took place amid a massive security operation that aimed to avoid escape attempts by Breivik and protect him against potential avengers. Breivik walked roughly the same route as the one he took during the shooting spree and explained what happened with as little interference as possible from police,

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    Residents inspect a damaged church after a bomb attack in central Kirkuk, August 15, 2011. A parked car bomb and a motorcycle bomb killed one person and wounded 12 others in central Kirkuk

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    A villager and his horse wait for worshipers to hire him to travel near the volcanic crater during the annual Kasada festival at Mount Bromo in Indonesia's East Java province August 15, 2011. Villagers and worshipers throw offerings such as livestock and other crops into the volcanic crater of Mount Bromo to give thanks to the Hindu gods for ensuring their safety and prosperity.



    Villagers stand at the mouth of the volcanic crater during the annual Kasada festival at Mount Bromo in Indonesia, August 15, 2011.



    A worshiper carries a chicken to be sacrificed during the annual Kasada festival



    A villager holds a net to catch the offerings thrown by worshipers into the volcano



    Indonesian legend of a princess who hurled her youngest child into a fiery volcano to appease mountain gods who had granted her fertility six centuries ago, still draws the hopeful to it's edge. Today pilgrims flocked to Mount Bromo on East Java as they have every year, to offer food, live animals and money in return for prosperity and health. The poor arrive early, some carrying fishing nets, to catch the donations

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    Cameron heckled as divided Britain debates riots | Reuters

    [I]"Cameron heckled as divided Britain debates riots



    By Mohammed Abbas
    WITNEY | Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:45pm BST
    (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron's promise to fix Britain's "broken society" prompted heckles from a teenage audience in his rural powerbase on Monday, underlining the deep divisions about what caused the country's worst riots in decades.

    In speech at a youth club in the picturesque town of Witney, Oxfordshire, Cameron blamed the trouble on a society where fathers abandon families, gangs flout the law and people refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

    But the young audience was unimpressed, heckling the Conservative leader and pointing the finger at public spending cuts, inequality and higher university fees which they fear will widen the gap between society's haves and have-nots.

    "He is blaming everyone but himself," said Jake Parkinson, 17, unemployed. "The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. I'd love to go to university, but it's the money that is putting me off."
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

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    The new twin-engine T-50 fighter flies Sunday near Moscow. MAKS 2011, an international air show, will be held in the small science town of Zhukovskiy, 25 miles southeast of Moscow from Aug. 16-21, 2011.

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