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(MENAFN - AFP) Chinese priest Lin Xiuqiang is pleased with his new Catholic church, its tall tower topped with a cross -- and grateful to the Communist officials who paid $19 million to build it.

China's Christians are divided between state-run churches which pledge allegiance to the officially atheist Communist party, and "underground" congregations who maintain their independence.

Dozens ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Cyprus's Othello Tower, named after the ill-fated Shakespearean hero, reopened Thursday after a facelift with a performance of the tragedy that organisers hope will spread unity among long-divided communities.

The year-long, EU-funded project to renovate the mediaeval tower in the port of Famagusta's 14th century castle comes as Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) US hedge fund Elliott said on Friday it had filed an appeal against a court ruling in favour of the proposed merger of two Samsung Group subsidiaries.

The Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday rejected a request from Elliott to stop Cheil Industries buying Samsung C&T Corp through an all-stock deal worth $8 billion, a move designed to facilitate Samsung's ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Asian markets mostly retreated Friday ahead of the weekend's Greek referendum that could decide its eurozone future, while Shanghai plunged almost six percent, at the end of another torrid week for mainland investors.

Wall Street ended in the red as a strong increase in US jobs was overshadowed by the Greek crisis and stagnant wage growth.

Seoul dropped ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Camp beds, biscuits and bottles of water: each night dozens of asylum seekers find refuge in an unusual yet highly symbolic place, Milan's Holocaust memorial.

"Indifference": the word, carved in huge letters in a grey concrete wall, welcomes visitors to the site behind the north Italian city's central station, also known as "binario 21" (platform 21).

The ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Japanese consumers are used to paying through the nose for fruit, and now the summer's here there's another way for them to empty their wallets: cube and heart-shaped watermelons.

But this pricey produce is not intended to tempt your taste buds -- it's more ornament than the perfect picnic food.

Over at the Shibuya Nishimura luxury fruit shop in downtown ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Still going strong at 81, Italian nun and midwife Sister Maria Concetta Esu recently asked Pope Francis to bless her hands, which have delivered more than 34,000 African babies.

"The task of a midwife brings me great joy because God gives life but he doesn't give birth," she told AFP at a maternity clinic in Zongo in the north of the Democratic Republic of ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) In a nod to its humble beginning in the garage of a Silicon Valley house, Google is building "campuses" around the world intended as fertile ground where entrepreneurs can flourish.

A campus that opened last month in Madrid was the fourth such start-up nurturing facility opened by a Google for Entrepreneurs team at the California-based Internet titan.

The ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) President Barack Obama dipped into what has become a raging national debate pitting traditionalists against innovators when making guacamole, the mashed avocado treat that has become a favorite American indulgence.

The New York Times published a recipe in its weekly "Food" section Wednesday in which it recommends adding a healthy portion of peas to the avocados ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A Chinese company plans to demand its employees seek approval to get pregnant and fine those who conceive a child without permission, reports said, provoking a media firestorm Friday.

"Only married female workers who have worked for the company for more than one year can apply for a place on the birth planning schedule," read a policy distributed by a credit ...

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