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Philippines appeals for U.S. help in building armed forces

WASHINGTON — The Philippines, lamenting the poor state of its armed forces, appealed Monday for US and international help in building a “minimum credible defense” amid an escalating territorial dispute with China. Philippines Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin called for assistance in boosting their country’s…

Rep. Walsh: Country voted for Obama because he’s black

Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, a tea party Republican, said at a town hall event over the weekend that President Barack Obama was an “accidental president” who was only elected because of his race. “Again, lets not overlook the fact, guys and gals, he was a historic figure,” he said.…

U.S. denounces burning of Koran copies by U.S. pastor

WASHINGTON — The US State Department on Monday denounced the burning of copies of the Koran and a depiction of the prophet Mohammed by a Florida pastor, saying the acts did not reflect American values. “We find such action deplorable. We find it disrespectful. I, frankly, don’t want to give…

Chavez returning to Cuba for more cancer treatment

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Monday he would soon return to Cuba for another round of radiation treatment in his ongoing battle with cancer, which resurfaced earlier this year. “I will return in the next few hours to Havana,” he said in a message broadcast on radio…

SpaceX test fires rocket ahead of ISS cargo launch

WASHINGTON — SpaceX on Monday successfully test-fired its Falcon 9 rocket in a dress rehearsal for the May 7 launch of its Dragon spacecraft on a cargo-bearing mission to the International Space Station. The test, known as a static fire of the rocket’s nine main engines, lasted just two seconds,…

U.S. sees spike in painkiller-addicted babies

WASHINGTON — Prescription painkiller abuse among mothers-to-be has driven up the rate of babies born in the United States with opiate addiction almost threefold in a decade, said a US study on Monday. The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a five-fold increase in maternal…

Radical Egypt group to back moderate Islamist candidate

CAIRO — The radical Egyptian Islamist group Gamaa Islamiyya, implicated in acts including the assassination of ex-president Anwar Sadat, on Monday threw its support behind a moderate Islamist in next month’s presidential election. “The general assembly (of Gamaa Islamiyya) voted in favour of supporting” Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, the spiritual…

Osama bin Laden complained of al Qaeda ‘disaster’

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden bemoaned “disaster after disaster” inflicted by US drone strikes on Al-Qaeda before he was killed and even mulled changing his terror group’s name, a top US official said Monday. President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan said Al-Qaeda was losing “badly” under a huge…

Methodists in Tampa rally against private prison industry

The United Methodist Task Force on Immigration held a rally in Tampa over the weekend to protest against the growing private prison system in the United States. “Is this an immigration rally or is this a prison rally? It is a justice rally,” Bishop Minerva Carcano said. More than 500…

Chatting about Girls

Amanda Hess and I will be chatting live for an hour about HBO’s Girls, starting at 2PM, and I’d be obliged if you could drop in and ask questions. They’ve had a number of chats like this, so if you could keep it specific to the latest episode or ask…

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