Sharia law forces gays into hiding in Indonesia's Aceh

Dec 29, 2014

Sharia law forces gays into hiding in Indonesia's Aceh

Overwhelmed by fear, members of the main gay rights group in the Indonesian town of Banda Aceh started burning piles of documents outside their headquarters in late October, worried that the Sharia police would raid them at any moment. Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh ...

Dec 29, 2014

Egypt bans 'Exodus' over 'racism, untruths'

Egypt on Sunday said it banned Ridley Scott’s biblical epic “Exodus: Gods & Kings” because the Hollywood blockbuster distorts Egypt’s history and presents a “racist” image of Jews. The Culture Ministry explained its decision for the first time in a statement issued a few ...

Dec 28, 2014

Egypt reduces sentences in same-sex wedding case

An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday upheld the conviction of eight men for “inciting debauchery” for appearing in an alleged same-sex wedding video, but reduced their sentences from three years in prison to one, a court official said. The court didn’t immediately give a ...

Dec 28, 2014

Extremist al-Shabab leader surrenders in Somalia

A leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, who had a $3 million bounty on his head, surrendered in Somalia, a Somali intelligence official said Saturday. Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi surrendered to Somali police in the Gedo region, said the intelligence officer, who insisted ...

Dec 27, 2014

Sudan steps up pressure on U.N. as it reviews Darfur force

Sudan’s government is stepping up pressure on the United Nations as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prepares recommendations on the future of a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in the country’s violence-racked Darfur region. In the government’s latest move, President Omar al-Bashir ordered the expulsion of ...

Dec 27, 2014

Irish court rules on brain-dead pregnant woman

A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die — a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland’s strict ban on abortion in an age ...

Dec 26, 2014

China extends high-speed rail network to Xinjiang

China tied the restive far-western region of Xinjiang closer to the rest of the country Friday, opening a high-speed rail line between Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi and Lanzhou in neighbouring Gansu, nearly 1,800 kilometers away. A slick bullet train took off from Lanzhou West Railway ...

Once banned in Cuba, Christmas festivities resurgent

Dec 25, 2014

Once banned in Cuba, Christmas festivities resurgent

Cubans this year celebrated Christmas, a resurgent holiday banned for 38 years by the communist government, with an early gift from U.S. President Barack Obama: a historic rapprochement. Across the island, houses, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and state-run stores have put up Christmas decorations, embracing ...

Dec 25, 2014

South Carolina's Healing Springs still drawing believers

Water has bubbled from out of the ground at a natural spring in what used to be deep woods in the South Carolina town of Blackville for longer than anyone has recorded history. Native Americans let four gravely wounded British soldiers in on the ...