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(MENAFN - AFP) Antarctica will host its first international chess match this weekend, between former world champion Hou Yifan of China and Chilean grandmaster Cristobal Henriquez, officials said Thursday.

The match, which will be played at a Chilean base, will be held either Saturday or Sunday, depending on weather conditions.

"There is no precedent in the world of ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) French linguistic purists voiced online anger Thursday at the loss of one of their favourite accents -- the pointy little "circumflex" hat that sits on top of certain vowels.

A change in the spelling of some 2,000 French words will come into effect in new primary school textbooks being released for the start of the school year in September, the education ministry ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) At least 200 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to female genital mutilation with half of those living in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia, according to the UN children's agency.

Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti continue to show the highest prevalence of FGM globally, but the overall rate in some 30 countries has dropped, said a UNICEF report released ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Panama is mulling releasing millions of genetically modified mosquitoes on its territory to combat the spread of the Zika virus, a prominent health official told AFP on Thursday.

The health ministry and a tropical disease research lab, the Gorgas Institute, are evaluating "the viability and feasibility" of repeating and expanding on just such an experiment ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The World Health Organization on Thursday advised countries against accepting blood donations from people who have travelled to regions affected by the Zika virus, as Spain announced Europe's first known case of the disease in a pregnant woman.

With dozens of cases emerging in Europe and North America from travellers returning from affected areas, WHO stressed ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) United Nations officials in Sierra Leone on Thursday appealed to nearly 50 people wanted for Ebola testing to come forward, as the country seeks to stamp out a fresh outbreak of the virus.

Health authorities freed 55 people from quarantine on Wednesday after declaring them Ebola-free, but medics are urgently seeking to contact 48 others for testing, most of ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Indonesia's economy grew at its slowest pace in six years in 2015, data showed on Friday, hit by plunging commodity prices and and falling exports to key markets including China.

Southeast Asia's largest economy grew 4.79 percent last year, the first time it has fallen below five percent since 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis.

However, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Growing fears that global economic turmoil is seeping into the United States kept pressure on the dollar on Friday -- boosting oil but hitting Japanese stocks -- as investors bet the Federal Reserve will hold off hiking interest rates this year.

After a tumultuous start to the year fuelled by a slowdown from Asia to South America, the focus now turns to the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) News Corp on Thursday reported a 56 percent drop in quarterly profits on weaker revenue from its newspaper operations worldwide.

The group formed by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch said profit in the quarter to December 31 fell to $62 million from $142 million a year earlier.

Total revenues dipped four percent from a year ago to $2.16 billion.

"News ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The home rental web platform Airbnb -- which last year agreed to start charging users in Paris a tourist tax -- handed over nearly 1.2 million euros to city authorities in the last quarter of 2015, the municipality said.

Airbnb reached an agreement with the Paris authorities last year and from October 2015 has charged users a tourist tax of 83 cents ($0.93) ...

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