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National Spelling Bee competition set to begin on Tuesday

The 86th annual National Spelling Bee kicks off Tuesday with 281 youngsters from eight nations putting their ability to spell some of the most obscure words in the English language to the test. Sponsored by the Scripps media group, the three-day competition at the Gaylord National Resort outside Washington is…

Austerity pushes Spain’s youth toward becoming a ‘lost generation’

Despite having a bachelor’s degree, five years of professional experience and speaking three languages, Paloma Fernandez has joined the swelling ranks of Spain’s “lost generation” that can’t find work in a grinding recession. The 28-year-old, who has a degree in translation, lost her job of four years at the justice…

Activists accuse Japanese company of using whale meat for dog treats

Meat from endangered whales caught by Icelandic hunters is being sold in Japan as luxury dog treats, environmental campaigners said Tuesday. Michinoku Farm, a Tokyo-based company, is offering chews made from North Atlantic fin whales on its company website, with the meat described as a “low calorie, low fat, high…

U.S. says retailers are ‘critical’ to improve worker safety in Bangladesh

The United States said Western brands buying clothing from Bangladesh had a “critical role” in improving conditions in the sector, even as leading US retailers refuse to sign a new safety pact. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman visited Bangladesh, the world’s second biggest garment maker after China, to…

Journalist explains how utter lack of expertise in Congress is ruining America

For his new book, journalist Robert Kaiser intensely researched the political maneuvering surrounding the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. His conclusion? Most members of Congress don’t understand what they’re arguing about. Speaking on PBS, Kaiser said Wall Street reform only occurred in the wake of the 2008…

French anti-terrorism police hunt man who stabbed soldier

French anti-terrorism investigators are hunting for a bearded man who was reported to have been praying before he stabbed a French soldier outside a busy train terminal. The man, described as tall and athletic, was spotted on CCTV at the station underneath the business district at La Défense just before…

Tunisia’s culture minister hails success of love film — but ignores lesbian plot

The culture minister in Tunisia’s Islamist-led government on Monday congratulated French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche for winning the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, without referring to the explicit lesbian relationship the movie details. “The minister of culture (Mehdi Mabrouk) congratulated the director Abdellatif Kechiche for this international recognition, wishing him much…

Student delivers Christian prayer at high school graduation ceremony despite objections

A student at Lincoln County High School delivered an overtly Christian prayer at the Kentucky school’s 2013 graduation ceremony, despite opposition from non-Christians. “Thank you for helping us get here safely today, Lord, and thank you for the many blessings you have given us because we are a very talented…

Conservatives freak out over Lena Dunham’s peculiar Memorial Day tweet

Conservatives lashed out at actress and filmmaker Lena Dunham on Monday over her odd Memorial Day message. On the day Americans are supposed to commemorate the ultimate sacrifices made by the country’s veterans, Dunham informed the world of her voiding habits. The tweet left many perplexed. It outraged conservatives in…

Obama returns to New Jersey in chance to move on from scandals

In recent months Barack Obama has visited victims of the Oklahoma tornado, the Boston bombing and the Newtown school shooting, but his visit on Tuesday to beach communities hit by hurricane Sandy is about more than just consoling another group of families hit by America’s run of tragedies. The president…

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