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(MENAFN - AFP) The US Supreme Court will make a rare foray into popular clothing Wednesday to weigh in on accusations that Abercrombie and Fitch illegally rejected a Muslim job applicant because of her hijab.

Abercrombie argued that its store policy forbids sales staff -- whom it calls "models" -- from wearing "caps" of any sort, and that Samantha Elauf, then 17, should have ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Hong Kong's leadership Wednesday blamed months of pro-democracy protests as the economy fell well short of predicted growth in 2014, and said "prolonged political bickering" could do more damage to investor confidence.

The growth rate was just 2.3 percent in 2014, down from 2.9 percent the previous year and far slower than the three to four percent predicted ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen dampened speculation of a rate hike before summer, and as eurozone finance ministers backed Greek reforms critical to avoiding a disastrous default.

Sydney rose 0.30 percent, or 17.92 points, to 5,944.90, and Seoul added 0.73 percent, or 14.35 points, to finish at 1,990.47.

Tokyo ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Incense smoke wafts through the cold air of the centuries-old Buddhist temple as a priest chants a sutra, praying for the peaceful transition of the souls of the departed.

It is a funeral like any other in Japan. Except that those being honoured are robot dogs, lined up on the altar, each wearing a tag to show where they came from and which family they belonged ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) In a loft in a disused school, Dutch artist Noortje Zijlstra takes a frozen crow carcass from a refrigerator and cuts it open, pursuing her latest "dead animal art" project.

Wearing surgical gloves, Zijlstra gingerly cuts into the dead bird's breastbone before going on to remove most of its insides.

"This is what I do. I take its 'jacket' off and use ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) International ratings agency Moody's said it had downgraded all ratings for scandal-plagued Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

Until recently, Petrobras had been considered one of the best and most prestigious businesses in Brazil. But Moody's dropped its unsecured debt rating from Baa3 to Ba2.

"These rating actions reflect increasing concern about corruption ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Alaska became the third American state to allow the recreational use of marijuana, following in the steps of Colorado and Washington state -- and soon to be joined by Oregon.

The changes in the remote frontier state's law come after voters in November narrowly approved a ballot measure making it legal to smoke, grow and own pot, though the drug remains illegal ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) European surgeons and engineers have devised a mind-controlled bionic hand that restores function almost as well as a flesh-and-blood transplant, but without the risk of rejection, a research paper said Wednesday.

The three Austrian beneficiaries of the unprecedented technique had suffered injuries in car and climbing accidents to the "brachial plexus" -- a ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Asian stocks broadly rose Wednesday after US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen damped speculation of a rate hike before summer, and as eurozone finance ministers backed Greek reforms critical to avoiding a disastrous default.

The regional uptrend tracked fresh record highs on Wall Street and in Europe as investors breathed a cautious sigh of relief over the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Foreign investors will have to pay new fees to buy Australian real estate, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Wednesday, under a proposal which includes a crackdown on illegal purchases.

Cashed-up foreigners, many from China, have been blamed for driving up prices in Australian property markets, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, and placing home ownership out ...

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