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(MENAFN - AFP) As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world's worst city.

That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime ...


(MENAFN - AFP) A French man has claimed responsibility for the theft of a Rembrandt painting worth millions that was stolen from a French museum in 1999 and recovered this week, a source close to the investigation said on Friday.

The 43-year-old from Lot-et-Garonne in southwest France told police he had stolen the Dutch master's "Child with a Soap Bubble" from a municipal ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Cuba's doctors got a big pay raise Friday -- to 64 dollars a month, the official Communist Party newspaper Granma said.

The hike in pay from $25 a month was to reward health professionals for being the country's top source of hard currency export earnings.

President Raul Castro last month rejected pay increases for other state workers, but said they ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Twelve top Russian politicians, members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, and Black Sea and Crimea commanders feature on a new EU sanctions blacklist agreed Friday.

Topping the latest European Union sanctions list -- which brings the total number of Russians and Ukrainians targeted to 33 -- is deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin.

Key Putin aides ...


(MENAFN - AFP) The S&P 500 hit a new intraday record Friday but stocks then pulled back ahead of the weekend amid profit taking and caution over the Ukraine crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 28.28 points (0.17 percent) at 16,302.77.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 5.49 (0.29 percent) at 1,866.52, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slid ...


(MENAFN - AFP) US broadcaster Media General said Friday it will buy LIN Media in a $2.6 billion deal that creates the nation's second-largest television broadcasting company and a digital media powerhouse.

The merged company will own and operate or service 74 television stations across 46 markets, and serve some 26.5 million households, or 23 percent of the US market, ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Swiss bank Credit Suisse agreed Friday to pay $885 million to settle claims that it misled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the sale of mortgage-backed securities.

Credit Suisse will pay about $651 million to Fannie and $234 million to Freddie, the sibling institutions that the US government seized amid the 2008 financial crisis to prevent their ...


(MENAFN - AFP) European Union leaders agreed Friday to step up moves to cut energy dependency, notably on Russia, after events in Ukraine.

EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy said the bloc's 28 leaders had agreed at a two-day summit to outline an energy security framework at their next top-level meeting in June.

"Reducing our energy dependency, especially in ...


(MENAFN - AFP) A Norwegian art museum on Friday returned a precious Matisse painting looted by the Nazis in the Second World War to the American heirs of the French art dealer Paul Rosenberg.

The 1937 painting by Henri Matisse -- "Woman in Blue in Front of a Fireplace" -- worth an estimated $20 million (14.5 million euros), was claimed by the Rosenberg family after it ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Australia's new wave cooking has long been admired in the English-speaking world, and now it seems chefs from the land of haute cuisine are finally waking up to its uninhibited charms.

Drawn by a no-holds-barred culinary culture that has produced creative East-West blends, French Michelin-starred cooks have been travelling to Australia for stints at kitchens ...

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