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Turkey Ruling Party Orders Official to Resign for 'Drinking Alcohol'

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered a senior regional party official to resign after pictures apparently showed him drinking alcohol, media reported Friday.

Mustafa Celebi, the head of the AKP in a district of the southwestern Mugla province, can be seen in photos posted on social media drinking alcohol with two colleagues, according to the website of the Hurriyet daily.

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Report: Japan Woman Dies at Hands of Professional Exorcist, 81

Japanese police probing the death of a woman who reportedly died after being forced to a drink a lot of water, have arrested an 81-year-old professional exorcist, her younger sister and the victim's husband.

Reports said Rie Fukuda, aged 51, was pinned down and made to swallow a large volume of water in what detectives said was an "exorcism" carried out by her husband and two elderly women.

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Pastor of State Church 'Sentenced to 12 Years' in China

A pastor of a state-sanctioned church in China has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, his lawyer and an overseas rights group said Friday, accusing authorities of "fabricated charges.”

Zhang Shaojie was detained with about 20 other members of the Nanle County Christian Church in the central Henan province last November.

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Christians, Hindus Describe Tribal Life with the Taliban

Christians and Hindus who fled from a military offensive against insurgents in tribal northwest Pakistan say the Taliban treated them with relative tolerance, contrary to the militants' brutal reputation.

Some 2,000 people from the country's often embattled religious minorities have fled an army operation that began in mid-June in the North Waziristan tribal district for the nearby town of Bannu, where many have taken refuge in Christian schools.

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Bolivia Congress Allows Child Labor from Age 10

Bolivian lawmakers have approved child workers as young as 10 years old, under a new law that lays out specific conditions for employing children. 

Congress passed the measure by consensus on Wednesday, requiring employers to follow certain criteria to ensure the physical and mental health of employed children, and to prevent child exploitation.

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Putin Calls for More Patriotic Education in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for more patriotic education for his country's youth in order to protect them from foreign influences in what he views as a global ideological battle.

"There is a tough battle in the world for hearts and minds, for ideological and informational influence," Putin said at a government meeting on Thursday, cautioning against "artificial conflicts" stirred by foreign states, including among different ethnicities.

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Pope Gives Exorcists His Blessing

The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, giving its blessing to a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who claim to save the possessed from Satan.

The association's practice of exorcism is now recognized under canon law, the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper reported Thursday.

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France Allows Employers to Ban Wine in Offices

The traditional Gallic "pot" -- a convivial office drinks party -- may be a thing of the past after the French government on Thursday allowed employers to ban wine from the workplace.

The government had so far exempted wine and cider from the list of alcoholic drinks that employers could ban in offices.

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Colorado Leaders Want Gay Marriage Ban Rejected

Colorado's Democratic governor and its Republican top lawyer asked a U.S. court Wednesday to issue an injunction declaring their state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

But Gov. John Hickenlooper and Attorney General John Suthers want the court to delay implementation of the ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue.

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Royal Hair Force: William, Kate Given Waxwork Makeover

Prince William and his wife Catherine have been given a glamorous make-over at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London, with the prince's hair altered to reflect his thinning thatch.

The couple were installed at the attraction two years ago to mark their first wedding anniversary, clothed in the outfits they wore to announce their engagement.

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