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(MENAFN - AFP) Thousands of people opposed to France's hotly contested labour reforms were back in the streets of Paris Thursday in the first violence-free protest in weeks.

Some 2,000 riot police were deployed to prevent a repeat of bloody scenes from the last such demonstration on June 14, just four days after the start of the Euro 2016 football tournament being played ...

(MENAFN - AFP) A high-profile Pakistani cleric who posed for selfies with a controversial model famed for her suggestive photos has been suspended from a senior government committee, the country's religious affairs ministry said, rebuking him for his behaviour.

Mufti Abdul Qavi was removed Wednesday from the country's moon-sighting committee which decides when the ongoing ...

(MENAFN - AFP) European scientists announced Thursday they had discovered antibodies which attack Zika, a step they hope will pave the way for a protective vaccine against the brain-damaging virus.

The antibodies -- frontline soldiers in the immune system -- "efficiently neutralise" Zika in human cells in lab dishes, and are also effective against its cousin virus dengue, ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Ethiopia needs to toss out 69 million condoms that were paid for by international donors to fight the spread of AIDS because of their poor quality, local media reported Thursday.

The disease-defeating contraceptives were found to be defective by the Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency (PFSA), a government body, according to a report on local station Radio ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Dutch anti-cigarette campaigners Thursday launched a lawsuit against the government calling for an end to spaces reserved for smokers in cafes and bars.

Despite a general ban on smoking in restaurants, pubs and bars introduced in 2008, more than 25 percent of the country's cafes still have an enclosed area inside where patrons can legally light up, campaigners ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Britain's pound raced Thursday to its highest dollar level this year, propelled by renewed hopes the world's fifth biggest economy will remain in the EU in a closely-fought referendum.

The pound surged in morning deals to $1.4947 -- its highest level since December 28 -- as Britons headed to the polls in a hotly-contested in-or-out EU membership vote. Results ...

(MENAFN - AFP) A US judge has allowed five directors of media giant Viacom to keep their board seats for now, blocking at least temporarily their removal by controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone.

But the move could turn the focus of the case to the embattled directors' request in a different court to quickly order a mental competency review of the 93-year-old Redstone, ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Blackberry continued bleeding red in the three months ending May 31, extending a two-year losing streak as the Canadian smartphone maker restructures, according to quarterly financials filed Thursday.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company posted a loss of US$670 million while revenues plunged to US$424 million -- about two-thirds of last year's take during the ...

23 Jun 2016   US new-home sales fall in May 
(MENAFN - AFP) Sales of new homes in the United States fell in May following a surge in April, but still remained solidly higher than last year in a growing housing market.

Sales of new single-family houses registered an annual rate of 551,000 units, down 6.0 percent from April, the Commerce Department said. Compared with a year ago, sales were up 8.7 percent.

April's ...

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