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U.N. inquiry chief wants North Korea hauled before international court

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The chief U.N. investigator into human rights abuses in North Korea appealed to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to refer the situation in the reclusive Asian state to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

Iran mother spares life of son's killer after campaign

The young Iranian man who escaped a hangman's noose with just seconds to spare when his victim's mother intervened was the beneficiary of a high-profile campaign to save his life. In a case that has provoked surprise in Iran and across the world, the killer, known only as Balal, was saved dramatically on Tuesday, as a crowd looked on, awaiting his execution. He survived despite the mother of the man he murdered in a street fight seven years ago refusing an offer of so-called blood money until the very last moment at the gallows.

Direct tobacco marketing linked to teen and adult smoking

By Shereen Jegtvig NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Direct to consumer marketing of tobacco products is reaching significant numbers of teens, as well as young adults, according to a new study. Young people who have seen the promotions are also more likely to take up smoking, the researchers found.

Rape convictions fall sharply in Germany

Rape victims in Germany are finding it increasingly difficult to see their assailants convicted, a national study released Thursday showed. Twenty years ago, the percentage of reported sexual violence cases leading to a guilty verdict and sentencing was at about one in five. But by 2012, the ratio had tumbled to one in 12, according to the study conducted by the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN). "These findings are problematic for a state built upon the rule of law," the authors of the study said in a statement.

Reports of e-cigarette injury jump amid rising popularity, U.S. data show

By Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Complaints of injury linked to e-cigarettes, from burns and nicotine toxicity to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, have jumped over the past year as the devices become more popular, the most recent U.S. data show. Between March 2013 and March 2014, more than 50 complaints about e-cigarettes were filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to data obtained through a public records request. That is on par with the combined number reported over the previous five years.

U.N. Security Council set to address N. Korean human rights issue

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 16 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Security Council will begin informal discussions on human rights violations in North Korea later this week, the U.S. government said Wednesday, amid keen international attention to the problem following the release of a U.N. panel report in February. The council's members plan to open an "Arria formula meeting" on the issue at the U.N. headquarters in New York at 3 p.m. on Thursday, according to the State Department.

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.

B.C. privacy report urges tougher rules for employment checks

VICTORIA - British Columbia leads the country when it comes to stepping on the privacy rights of people who need police information checks for employment, says a report released Tuesday by Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. In what Denham is calling her most important report ever, she concluded too much mental health and so-called non-conviction information is being revealed to employers. Government and police boards should immediately stop providing mental health information as part of the documentation released in such checks, said Denham's report.

NDP questions government handling of Heartbleed at Canada Revenue Agency

OTTAWA - Two New Democrat MPs have written to the minister in charge of the Canada Revenue Agency asking her to explain what they say are discrepancies in the timeline of the Heartbleed security bug. The NDP's Charlie Angus and Murray Rankin put several questions to National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay about the CRA's actions from the time the bug was first made public on Monday to when the agency shut down its website Tuesday evening.
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