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Neutral pronoun ‘they’ chosen as word of the decade

AFP New York The neutral pronoun “they” has been voted word of the decade by US language experts, beating out other contenders that included “climate” and “meme”. “They” is used in English by a growing number of non-binary individuals, people who do not identify as either male or female. They prefer the plural neutral pronoun to bypass the traditionally male …

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Syria death toll tops 380,000 in almost nine-year war: monitor

AFP Beirut Almost nine years of civil war in Syria has left more than 380,000 people dead including over 115,000 civilians, a war monitor said in a new toll Saturday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of sources across the country, said they included around 22,000 children and more than 13,000 women. The conflict flared after …

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Amid raging bushfires in Australia, Indian couple works overtime to help victims

PTI Melbourne Extending a helping hand to the hapless victims of the raging bushfires in Australia, an Indian couple is providing fresh meals from their restaurant to those affected by the disaster. Kamaljeet Kaur, along with her husband Kanwaljeet Singh, has been preparing simple meals of curry and rice for the victims in their Desi Grill restaurant in Bairnsdale in …

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US should not ‘abuse force’: China

AFP Beijing The United States should not “abuse force” and instead seek solutions through dialogue, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a call with his Iranian counterpart on Saturday. “The dangerous US military operation violates the basic norms of international relations and will aggravate regional tensions and turbulence,” Wang told Javad Zarif according to a statement by the Chinese …

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US kills top Iranian General in Baghdad drone strike

PTI Washington General Qasem Soleimani, the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq to protect American personnel abroad, the Pentagon announced on Friday, dramatically escalating hostilities between the arch-rivals and spiking tensions in the already volatile Persian Gulf region. Gen Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its …

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Turkish private jet firm says planes used ‘illegally’ in Ghosn escape

AFP Istanbul Turkish private jet company MNG has filed a criminal complaint saying its aircraft were used illegally to transport fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn to Lebanon as he fled prosecution in Japan, the firm said Friday.   It said one employee had admitted to falsifying the records to keep Ghosn’s name off the flight manifest, and that he acted “in …

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Aus navy evacuates tourists, residents from fire-ravaged town

PTI Melbourne The Australian navy on Friday evacuated hundreds of tourists and residents trapped in a bushfire, as the catastrophic blazes ripped through the states of New South Wales and Victoria, killing at least 20 people and destroying nearly 500 homes, as the country braced for the worst during the weekend.  About 4,000 people, including some 3,000 tourists, have been …

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Sri Lanka will not kowtow before any foreign nation: President

PTI Colombo President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday said Sri Lanka would not kowtow before any foreign nation even as he called for electoral and constitutional reforms to make the country a progressive state and a stronger executive presidency to effectively combat extremism.  Rajapaksa was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s seventh President on November 18 after he convincingly defeated the ruling …

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Premadasa takes over as Opposition leader in Sri Lanka’s Parliament

PTI Colombo Sajith Premadasa, the United National Party (UNP) leader who lost to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the presidential election, formally took over as the Leader of the Opposition in Sri Lankan Parliament on Friday.   Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced in Parliament that Premadasa had been accepted as the Opposition Leader, the Colombo Gazette reported.  The UNP-led United National Front …

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Aus PM calls off India visit due to bush fires

PTI New Delhi Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called off his four-day visit to India from January 13 due to devastating bush fires in several parts of his country, diplomatic sources said on Friday. Morrison was scheduled to hold extensive bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the visit. Earlier, Modi had a telephone conversation with Morrison during …

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