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'Danny the Red' brings down the curtain on 20 years as EU lawmaker

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the firebrand May 1968 student leader in France who then made Germany's Greens the world's most powerful environmental party, brought down the curtain Wednesday on 20 years as an EU lawmaker. In a typically fiery parting speech that won a standing ovation, the European Parliament's impish Greens leader reiterated that "we need a federal Europe", that "nations are dead" and that "we must fight eurosceptics whether rightwingers or left."

Alibaba steals Yahoo's thunder ahead of IPO

If Yahoo appears back in favor, it can thank Alibaba, the Chinese Web giant in which it holds a big stake and which is set for a public stock offering. Yahoo shares soared 7.3 percent to $36.71 at the opening Wednesday on the heels of a better-than-expected quarterly report, but some were more focused on the Alibaba financial results buried in the document. "The salient point of Yahoo's first quarter results was the very strong December quarter results from Alibaba," said Jordan Rohan, analyst at the brokerage Stifel.

France freezes benefits in controversial cuts drive

France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Wednesday unveiled a politically risky freeze in state benefits as part of a plan to cut government spending by 50 billion euros ($70 billion). The Socialist government has pledged to make the savings over the course of three years (2015-17) in order to fund a programme of tax cuts for individuals and companies aimed at reviving a flagging economy and reducing unemployment from record levels.

National event urges Americans to plan for the end

By Randi Belisomo NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - With taxes filed, Americans today are being asked to consider life's other certainty: death, and the myriad complications that often now accompany it. National Health Care Decisions Day, marked on this date for the seventh year, is one in which patients and health providers are encouraged to think about their own end-of-life preferences. The man behind it, health care attorney Nathan Kottkamp, says such considerations have never been more critical.

Journalists face jail in Thailand for people-smuggler report

Two journalists face jail if found guilty of defamation after citing a Pulitzer-prize winning report alleging Thai military links to people-smuggling, one of them said Wednesday, raising fears for media freedom in the kingdom. Australian editor Alan Morison and his Thai colleague Chutima Sidasathian are due Thursday to hear the criminal charges brought by the Thai navy at a court in the southern island of Phuket. They could face up to two years' imprisonment for defamation and five years for breaching the Computer Crimes Act, as well as a $3,100 fine.

S. Korea, Japan hold first talks on sex slavery

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- High-level officials from South Korea and Japan sat down Wednesday for talks on resolving their decades-old differences over the Japanese imperial army's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II. The director-level meeting marks the first of its kind on settling the issue of Japan's wartime sexual atrocities. Historians say up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea and China, were coerced into working at front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during the war.

Sexual violence against Egypt women goes unpunished

Sexual violence against women has been rife since the 2011 uprising in Egypt, where hundreds of female protesters have been the target of attack with apparent impunity, rights groups said Wednesday. "Successive Egyptian governments have failed to address violence against women, with serious implications for women's participation in the political transition of their country," said a group of rights organisations led by FIDH, the International Federation for Human Rights.

Sexual violence against Egypt women goes unpunished

Sexual violence against women has been rife since the 2011 uprising in Egypt, where hundreds of female protesters have been the target of attack with apparent impunity, rights groups said Wednesday. "Successive Egyptian governments have failed to address violence against women, with serious implications for women's participation in the political transition of their country," said a group of rights organisations led by FIDH, the International Federation for Human Rights.

Juncker wants politicians not bureaucrats in new EU executive

Jean-Claude Juncker, a front-runner in the race to become president of the European Commission, told AFP he was ready to fight to have politicians rather than bureaucrats on his team. And to revive the European Union, it will be vital to get France and Germany back on the same page after May's European elections, the long-time former Luxembourg premier said in an interview.

Juncker wants politicians not bureaucrats in new EU executive

Jean-Claude Juncker, a front-runner in the race to become president of the European Commission, told AFP he was ready to fight to have politicians rather than bureaucrats on his team. And to revive the European Union, it will be vital to get France and Germany back on the same page after May's European elections, the long-time former Luxembourg premier said in an interview.
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