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S. Korea to Close Japan-Funded 'Comfort Women' Foundation

South Korea on Wednesday announced the formal shutdown of a controversial Japanese-funded foundation created to help former wartime sex slaves -- a move that will further sour ties between the neighbours.

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U.S. Fails at U.N. to Weaken Measure on Sexual Harassment

The United States failed on Monday to water down a U.N. resolution on combating sexual harassment and violence against women despite backing from Russia, China, India, several Muslim countries and the Vatican.

President Donald Trump's administration sought to scrap language in the non-binding resolution on access to reproductive health care services, safe abortions and recognizing the right of women to decide on matters related to their sexuality.

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Spanish Catholic Church Wants to 'Eradicate' Sexual Abuse

Spain's Catholic Church wants to "eradicate" cases of sexual abuse of minors within the church and not cover them up, the president of the Spanish bishops' conference said Monday.

As in other countries, Spain's Catholic hierarchy is under pressure from local scandals and cases elsewhere that have seen critics accusing it of dragging its feet in delivering a response to abuse allegations.

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German Priest Blows Parish Cash in Online Lottery Scam

A Catholic priest in Germany, lured by a get-rich-quick Internet scam, has admitted to embezzling a small fortune from his parish, a diocese spokeswoman said Monday.

The preacher in the central Harz Mountains region confessed to his congregants at this week's Sunday mass that he had skimmed 120,000 euros ($137,000 dollars) from church funds.

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Topless Femen Activists Disrupt Rally of Franco Fans in Madrid

Bare-breasted protesters from the feminist activist group Femen on Sunday disrupted a rally of some 200 people in Madrid to mark the anniversary of the death of the country's former dictator Francisco Franco.

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Saudi Women Mount 'Inside-Out' Abaya Protest

Saudi women have mounted a rare protest against the abaya, posting pictures on social media wearing the obligatory body-shrouding robe inside out.

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Islamic Scholar Tariq Ramadan Released from French Jail

Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar held in France since February on charges of raping two women, was released on bail Friday after he persuaded judges he was not a flight threat.

The 56-year-old Swiss academic, who took leave of his teaching post at Oxford University late last year to fight the rape claims, won bail on his fourth request to be freed from Fresnes prison near Paris.

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Michelle Obama Rips Trump in New Book

Former first lady Michelle Obama blasts President Donald Trump in her new book, writing how she reacted in shock the night she learned he would replace her husband in the Oval Office and tried to "block it all out."

She also denounces Trump's "birther" campaign questioning her husband's citizenship, calling it bigoted and dangerous, "deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."

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Woman at Center of Pakistani Blasphemy Row Leaves Jail

A Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail after an acquittal that triggered Islamist protests, but is still in Pakistan, officials said Thursday amid appeals for her to be offered asylum.

Asia Bibi's conviction was overturned by the country's highest court last Wednesday, but she remained in prison as the government negotiated with hardliners who blockaded major cities and demanded her immediate execution.

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Kuwaiti Sculptors Struggle for Right to Be Seen

Kuwaiti sculptor Sami Mohammed finished his towering statue of the country's first emir over four decades ago, but now it just gathers dust unseen in a long-shuttered office block.

Stymied by a conservative view of Islam that bans representations of the body, the 75-year-old faces any artist's nightmare: he can't get his work displayed to the public in his homeland.

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