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Australia bans ‘branded’ packaging of cigarettes

Starting on Dec. 1, it will be illegal in Australia to sell cigarettes in “branded” packaging, reported Al Jazeera. Instead, the government has created a variety of standardized packages for all manufacturers. “Australia’s government has taken away that flash of color and brand,” says Al Jazeera. The companies attempted to…

Top secret British colonial files missing, some potentially destroyed

Some 170 boxes of top secret files on Britain’s former colonial administrations have gone missing, while those relating to Singapore may have been destroyed in the 1990s, the government said Friday. In a statement to parliament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister David Lidington said the department knew the files had…

Oil dispersants make spills 52 times more toxic, researchers say

While oil spills can cause severe environmental damage to the organisms living in the affected waters, the consequences of using oil dispersants to rectify the spill can make the situation even worse, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Pollution, reported NBCNews.com. The study found that the mixture…

Facebook page tracking sex offenders infringes human rights, says Irish judge

A Facebook page set up to monitor paedophiles has been removed after a judge in Northern Ireland ruled that it risked infringing the human rights of a convicted sex offender. The man, who cannot be identified, started legal proceedings against the social networking site after discovering his photograph and threatening…

Three dead after campus attack at Wyoming college

Three people are dead, including the suspect who apparently committed suicide, after an attack in Casper, Wyo., according to the Casper Tribune. One victim and the suspect, both men, were found dead in a classroom in the physical science building at Casper College, while the other victim, a woman, was…

Star Wars museum auctioning almost 2,000 action figures

If your action figure shelves are looking a little paltry, one nonprofit is offering the chance for a lucky bidder to instantly balloon his or her collection — and seriously nerd out on some Star Wars memorabilia. The nonprofit Star Wars museum Rancho Obi-Wan is auctioning off 1,950 Star Wars…

U.S. birth rate hits record low, plummets especially among immigrant women

The U.S. birth rate, calculated as the annual number of births per 1,000 women between 15-44, hit an all-time low in 2011, reported Pew Research, largely attributed to the Great Recession. While final data are not available, the rate hit 63.2 per 1,000 women last year — the lowest since…

Rep. Gohmert: GOP can ‘leverage’ debt ceiling to force concessions

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said on Friday that Republicans could use the debt ceiling as “leverage” in negotiations with the president on Sean Hannity’s radio show, reported the Huffington Post. “We do have leverage because early next year the debt ceiling gets reached,” Gohmert explained. “And this president has got…

North Korean news agency claims ‘unicorn lair’ of ancient leader discovered

Normally, North Korea’s official state news agency is the place to go for reports ranging from the reclusive totalitarian state’s unparalleled scientific achievements to the limitless love which its inhabitants reserve for their successive leaders. Yet in what appears to be a genuine world exclusive, the inimitable Korean Central News…

Unregulated ‘natural’ label on wine stirs confusion, controversy

Natural wine? Who could possibly object? With a desire for healthy, sustainable food stimulating trends like the farm to table movement and Slow Food, natural wine is positioning itself as the perfect accompaniment. But according to some experts, the unregulated use of the term ‘natural’ is misleading gullible consumers as…

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