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Post-festival haze chokes New Delhi

Air pollution in New Delhi yesterday hit 18 times the healthy limit under a thick, toxic haze after a night of fireworks to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali — despite a court-ordered ban on their sales. Residents of the sprawling Indian capital, which already ranksFULL STORY

Victoria State edges toward permitting assisted deaths

The parliament of Australia’s second-largest state yesterday passed legislation to allow terminally ill patients to seek medical help to end their lives, a bill that is expected to act as a catalyst for the rest of the country to adopt similar laws. Any resident of VictoriaFULL STORY

Film highlights South Korea’s mega-church scandals

Catholic corruption and sex abuse allegations have made global headlines for years. Now a new film shines a spotlight on scandals at South Korea’s vast and politically powerful Protestant churches. South Koreans are enthusiastic religious believers, with 44 percent practicing or considering themselves religious, state dataFULL STORY

Czechs poised to hand power to populist tycoon

A Czech billionaire facing criminal charges for fraud is poised to win parliamentary elections this weekend, eclipsing traditional political parties on a pledge to run the state like a business, fight Muslim immigration and defy deeper integration with the EU. Andrej Babis, who as the second-richestFULL STORY

Plague cases in Madagascar rise rapidly in days

The number of plague cases in Madagascar has almost doubled in the past five days and medical experts project the situation will worsen, with 1,000 cases expected every month if funds are not rapidly provided, the UN said on Thursday. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reportersFULL STORY

Feature: Ancient Turkish town to vanish under floodwaters

At first glance all is as normal in the Turkish town of Hasankeyf, which has seen the Romans, Byzantines, Turkic tribes and Ottomans leave their mark in more than 10,000 years of human settlement. The Tigris river languidly flows through the historic center of the townFULL STORY

World’s deepest lake in peril, scientists warn

Lake Baikal, Russia, is undergoing its gravest crisis in recent history, experts have said, as the Russian government bans the catching of a signature fish that has lived in the world’s deepest lake for centuries, but is now under threat. Holding one-fifth of the world’s unfrozenFULL STORY

Obama blasts ‘politics of division’ at election rally

Former US president Barack Obama, back on the campaign trail on Thursday for the first time since he left the White House, called on voters to reject a growing “politics of division” that he said was corroding US democracy. Without mentioning US President Donald Trump byFULL STORY

CIA head warns of other threats after IS defeat

Islamic State group (IS) militants are capable of orchestrating and carrying out an attack against the US, possibly downing an airplane, even after being evicted from the group’s self-declared Syrian capital of Raqqa, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Thursday. Pompeo said the US is threatenedFULL STORY

Infant covered in white powder dies in LA

An infant on Thursday died and a young girl and a woman were hospitalized after they were found naked, unconscious and covered in a white powder in a store parking lot in Los Angeles, police said. Officers shortly before 2am responded to reports of a womanFULL STORY

Sao Paulo plan to distribute leftover pulp ridiculed

Nicknamed “dog food” and made from nearly expired left-overs, a new product designed to fight hunger among school kids in Brazil’s largest city has sparked controversy. Sao Paulo Mayor Joao Doria this week presented the dry pellets at a press conference and promised they will reduceFULL STORY

‘I knew enough to do more than I did’: Quantin Tarantino

US film director Quentin Tarantino has said he knew about instances of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein for decades, but failed to act in order to protect women, adding: “I knew enough to do more than I did.” In an interview, Tarantino, who worked with WeinsteinFULL STORY

World News Quick Take

AUSTRALIA PM dismisses N Korea letter Prime Minister Malclom Turnbull has dismissed an extraordinary letter from North Korea to the parliament and other countries as a “rant” against US President Donald Trump and a sign that Pyongyang is “starting to feel the squeeze” of escalated sanctions. TheFULL STORY

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