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Claire McCaskill leads investigation of ‘horse manure’ weight-loss products

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has launched a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into what she describes as deceptive weight-loss products, including a powder that claims to enhance the taste and smell of food. “I may not have gone to a fancy Ivy League school, but I sure understand that that…

North Korea detainee’s family rips ‘drunk and stressed’ Dennis Rodman

The family of a US missionary held in North Korea accepted Thursday ex NBA star Dennis Rodman’s apology for an “outrageous” TV outburst, but lashed him saying their loved one’s plight was “not a game.” In a statement issued by the sister of Kenneth Bae, jailed for 15 years in…

Senators propose giving Obama ‘fast-track authority’ for trade deals

Lawmakers on Thursday proposed empowering US trade negotiators to push ahead major deals with Pacific Rim and European Union nations, but the move faces stiff opposition. Three key lawmakers on trade policy introduced a bill to give President Barack Obama “fast-track authority,” which would allow his team to negotiate agreements…

Texas firefighter quenches roadside blaze with beer

A Houston firefighter improvised while helping a truck driver put out a blazing tire Monday night, using the driver’s own beer shipment to control the fire. KROI-FM reported that Captain Craig Moreau and his wife were returning from a trip to Austin when they spotted the driver fighting the blaze…

Indian diplomat leaves U.S. amid grand jury indictment for visa fraud

An Indian diplomat, whose arrest in New York sparked a bitter row, left the United States Thursday as she was hit with charges over treatment of her servant, prosecutors said. In a statement to a court, federal prosecutors unveiled that a grand jury had filed two counts of visa fraud…

Portuguese opposition party challenges country’s austerity measures in court

Portugal’s main opposition party said Thursday it has challenged several austerity measures before the country’s constitutional court, which has tended to strike down cuts. The head of the Socialist Party’s parliamentary group said it disputed cuts salaries and retirement benefits to state workers, means-testing of widow benefits, and cuts to…

Virginia predicts need for more prison beds if oral sex is banned for teens

A Republican lawmaker in Virginia has proposed re-criminalizing oral and anal sex — but only for teenagers. State senator Thomas Garrett, who calls himself a “Cuccinelli Conservative,” filed a bill on Wednesday to “amend and reenact § 18.2-361 of the Code of Virginia, relating to crimes against nature.” Last year,…

Mexico’s president signs new banking reforms into law

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday signed into law a banking overhaul designed to increase lending and boost growth in Latin America’s second biggest economy. The legislation is among a series of major structural reforms that Pena Nieto has pushed through Congress since taking office in December 2012. “From…

Czech duo begins converting old phone booths into mini-libraries

Two Czechs have breathed new life into telephone booths made obsolete in the cell phone age, converting them into mini libraries with the first installed at a Prague hospital on Thursday. On the shelves of the red booth, patients of the IKEM hospital will find a plethora of genres, including…

France wins battle to ban anti-Semitic comedian

France’s Socialist government on Thursday claimed a last-gasp victory in its battle to prevent a controversial stand-up comic from launching a nationwide tour with a show widely condemned as anti-Semitic. Less than two hours before the comic, Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, was due to take the stage in the western city…

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