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(MENAFN - AFP) Almost half the 683 people invited this year to join the organization that bestows the Oscars are women and nearly as many people of color, the body announced in a bid to honor its vow to push for more diversity.

The record number of invitees include rising young stars John Boyega of "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" actress Emma Watson, Swedish Oscar winner Alicia ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) One of America's top beauty pageants has axed its swimsuit competition, ditching bikinis for sportswear to fend off years of complaints that parading in a bikini is sexist and demeaning.

Miss Teen USA, open to women aged 14 to 19, said on its website that "in a society that increasingly prioritizes feminism and equality, watching women parade across a stage ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Mexico's Supreme Court rejected a proposal to legalize abortion but suggested more debate on the issue in the country boasting the world's second-largest Catholic population.

Justices of the court's first chamber -- which deals with criminal issues -- voted three to one to reject an initiative to declare as unconstitutional two laws that ban abortion and drastically ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) An experimental vaccine against malaria known as Mosquirix -- or RTS,S -- weakens over time and is only about four percent effective over a seven-year span, researchers said Wednesday.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a phase II clinical trial involving more than 400 young children in Kenya.

There is currently ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Two studies of newborns in Zika-stricken Brazil yielded meagre clues Wednesday about the mysterious workings of the virus, and prompted researchers to call for better tests to identify brain-damaged babies.

Some infants with brain abnormalities may not be diagnosed because they have normal-sized heads instead of the tell-tale small skulls of those born with ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The European Commission on Wednesday extended approval of the weedkiller glyphosate in Europe for up to 18 months amid disagreements over whether the chemical could cause cancer.

The EU's 28 member states are bitterly divided on the dangers of glyphosate, one of the world's most popular weedkillers first used in the Monsanto herbicide Roundup.

Last month, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A controversial project by French energy giant EDF to build two nuclear reactors in Britain has become "more difficult" following the country's vote to leave the European Union, France's finance minister said on Wednesday.

"It is more difficult," Michel Sapin told the BBC, adding that the French government however was still committed to the Hinkley Point project ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) President Francois Hollande said he expected the French economy to perform better than expected this year and add at least 200,000 new jobs, as the deeply unpopular leader shifts into campaign mode ahead of next year's elections.

In an interview published Wednesday on the website of Les Echos daily, the Socialist president also repeated a promise made last ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Hedi Slimane, the former creative director of French fashion house Saint Laurent, is to receive $13 million in a contractual dispute over his departure from the company, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The ruling was made by a Paris commercial court after Slimane took the label's parent company Kering Group to court.

Saint Laurent announced in April that ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that US operations of Germany's Deutsche Bank and Spain's Santander had failed an annual stress test, citing weaknesses in their capital planning and risk management.

The Fed granted a conditional approval to US investment bank Morgan Stanley to return funds to shareholders, while delivering a full endorsement to 30 other ...

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