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S. Korea state insurer sues three tobacco makers

South Korea's state health insurer said Monday it had filed a lawsuit against three domestic and foreign tobacco makers, seeking damages of 53.7 billion won ($51.6 million) for payouts over smoking-related illnesses. The National Health Insurance Service said the suit, filed in Seoul's district court, named Phillip Morris, British American Tobacco (BAT) and South Korea's largest tobacco firm KT&G. "Smoking is a serious issue affecting people, particularly the youth and women," the agency said in a statement.

South Korea's state health insurer sues Philip Morris, BAT for smoking damages

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's state health insurer said on Monday it was seeking an initial 53.7 billion won ($51.9 million) from three tobacco companies, including the local units of Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, to offset treatment costs for diseases linked to smoking. The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) said it was suing the two global cigarette makers, as well as local market leader KT&G Corp, in a South Korean court.

Venezuela probes 97 security troops for torture

Venezuela is investigating nearly 100 armed forces and police staff for alleged torture during more than two months of ongoing deadly anti-government protests, authorities said Sunday. The military's strategic command chief Vladimir Padrino admitted that security forces had committed "excesses" in recent days. "We are able to say that 97 are being investigated by prosecutors for cruelty, for torture," he told Venevision television.

Three charged over Hollande affair actress photo

A photographer and two executives at the magazine that exposed French President Francois Hollande's affair with an actress are to be charged under France's strict privacy laws, a prosecutor said Saturday. Photographer Laurent Viers and two Closer magazine executives will appear in court on July 1 charged with breach of privacy, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of up to 45,000 euros ($62,500).

China human rights lawyer tells of torture at hands of police

A 45-year-old human rights lawyer who has spent many years concerned with the issue of China's so-called "black jails" where citizens are subjected to human rights violations was severely beaten by guards while recently detained, it was learned by Saturday. Tang Jitian, who was released last Sunday, told Kyodo News in Beijing of the violence he was subjected to, such as being physically assaulted at a police station in the northern province of Heilongjiang while facing such threats as having his kidneys removed alive.

UN criticises Brunei over tough new Islamic law

The UN human rights office on Friday criticised Brunei's planned introduction of the death penalty for a raft of new offences, as part of a shift to harsh Islamic punishments in the oil-rich sultanate. "We are deeply concerned about the revised penal code in Brunei Darussalam, due to come into force later this month, which stipulates the death penalty for numerous offences," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Beijing seeks to ban purchase of cigarettes with public funds

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's capital Beijing is proposing to ban the use of government money to buy cigarettes, either as gifts or to be provided at official functions, state media said on Friday, in the latest move to try and curtail smoking. China, home to some 300 million smokers, is the world's largest consumer of tobacco, and smoking is a ubiquitous part of social life, particularly for men. Cartons of cigarettes are commonly given as presents or provided at formal events.

War-renouncing Article 9 nominated as candidate for Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Prize Committee has officially nominated the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, a civic group said Friday. The Executive Committee for "The Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution" promoted the campaign for the purpose through the Internet, and 13 advocates and one organization sent a recommendation to the Nobel Institute in Norway.

Look out, romantics: Half of all sexts are lies

By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a survey of college students, nearly half of those who had ever sent a sexy text had lied while doing so. Shockingly, sexters aren't always wearing or doing what they say they are, according to the new study. "This already exists in face-to-face interactions, like with orgasms it's common," lead author Michelle Drouin told Reuters Health. "I expected people would also be 'faking it' in sexts."

Edmonton radio station criticized for online poll about sexual assaults

EDMONTON - An Edmonton radio station faced the wrath of public and politicians Thursday for its online poll asking whether women deserve blame for being sexually assaulted. "It's very controversial, but do you think victims of sexual assaults share any blame for what happens?" news-talk station CHED asked on its website. The poll gave people the option of voting "No, women should be able to dress, drink, and walk as they choose without fear of being blamed" or "Yes, if women drink too much, dress too little or walk in harm's way they put themselves at risk."
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