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GOP-led House votes to extend all Bush-era tax cuts

WASHINGTON — Defying US President Barack Obama, the Republican-held House voted to extend tax cuts for all Americans, framing a partisan divide over an issue that will not be resolved before November’s election. House lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a substitute Democratic plan that would have let taxes rise for top…

Madonna airs 1944 Warsaw Uprising clip amid concert row

WARSAW — US pop star Madonna aired a World War II-era newsreel on the 1944 anti-Nazi Warsaw Uprising at the top of her gig in the city marking the day 68 years ago when the bloody insurrection was launched. Thousands of fans applauded the two-and-a-half minute long film which ran…

Tunisia’s ruling Islamists file blasphemy bill

TUNIS — Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party Ennahda on Wednesday filed a bill that would prohibit blasphemy, said Habib Khedher, who heads the committee in charge of drafting the constitution. “Today we went ahead with the filing of a bill that would criminalise blasphemy,” said the lawyer, who is also an…

Social news site Digg rises from ashes

SAN FRANCISCO — Digg, the once high-flying social news site, relaunched Wednesday under new ownership after a six-week rebuilding. The newly launched site for Digg is “turning it back into a startup,” the Digg team said in a blog post. “With this launch, we’re taking the first step towards (re)making…

Rep. Rohrabacher compares Iranian exile camp to Auschwitz

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers in Washington accused US and Iraqi leaders Wednesday of perpetuating appalling conditions for Iranian exiles housed near Baghdad, with one Republican comparing the facilities to Auschwitz. The outrage over the conditions came as the US State Department expressed concern over Iraq’s threatened forced closure of Camp Ashraf,…

Cyclist killed in collision with Olympics shuttle bus

LONDON — A man was killed Wednesday when a bicycle was involved in a collision with an Olympics shuttle bus just outside the site of the Games in London, police said. An AFP reporter saw a man’s legs protruding from under the double decker bus on a slip road outside…

Frank Sinatra’s New York pad goes up for sale

NEW YORK — Frank Sinatra’s former Manhattan penthouse, where Ol’ Blue Eyes entertained the hell-raising Rat Pack, has gone on the market for $7.7 million. “Occupy Sinatra’s Party Penthouse Night and Day,” the brokers, Rubicon Property, Tweeted. The apartment that Andy Warhol described as a “glittering grotto in the sky”…

Fed sees weaker growth but holds off stimulus

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve downgraded its assessment of the US economy Wednesday, saying growth had slowed, but shied away from launching a fresh round of economic stimulus. “Economic activity decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year,” the Fed said at the conclusion of a two-day top-level meeting…

San Antonio airport evacuated after bomb threat

CHICAGO — About 1,000 people were evacuated from the airport in the US city of San Antonio on Wednesday after the Texas facility received a “credible” bomb threat by telephone, a spokesman said. Passengers and staff were escorted out onto the sweltering tarmac while a bomb squad swept the terminal…

Dead humpback whale found in Sydney ocean pool

A dead humpback whale washed up in a Sydney ocean pool Wednesday, surprising morning swimmers and causing a major headache for authorities who must now remove it. The 11.6 metre (38 foot) young adult humpback, which appeared to have been dead for several days, washed up at Newport beach’s ocean…

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