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Europe writes off biggest environment satellite

PARIS — The European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday declared the official end of Envisat, the Earth-monitoring satellite that went offline last month after operating for twice its predicted lifespan. Designed to operate for five years, Envisat was launched in March 2002, carrying instruments to monitor the Earth’s oceans, ice,…

News Corp reaffirms support for Murdoch

NEW YORK — A top News Corp. executive on Wednesday reaffirmed support for embattled magnate Rupert Murdoch and “flatly” rejected a British parliamentary report calling him unfit to run the media conglomerate. Murdoch is “one of the smartest and most forward-thinking executives of our time and both I and the…

Michele Bachmann granted dual Swiss-American citizenship

Fond of saying she’s proud to be American, former presidential contender Michele Bachmann also frequently has spoken of her family’s Norwegian ancestry. Now the Republican lawmaker is touting new-found ties to Switzerland, after being granted dual citizenship, US media reported Wednesday. “Congresswoman Bachmann’s husband is of Swiss descent so she…

FDA committee urges approval of new Pfizer arthritis treatment

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday urged US regulators to approve a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis made by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Tofacitinib, taken orally, could serve as an alternative approach to treating moderate to severe patients who did not respond to one…

Celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon dead at 84

Pioneering celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon has been found dead at his California home, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. He was 84. Referred to by some as the “founder of hairdressing,” he is said to have pioneered the bob haircut and, after opening his first salon in London in 1954,…

50-person Russian jet goes missing in Indonesian air

A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 with about 50 people on board went missing in a mountainous area south of the Indonesian capital Jakarta during a demonstration flight Wednesday, officials said. The plane disappeared from radar screens 50 minutes into what was meant to be a brief flight and rescue teams…

Canadian police bust international credit card fraud ring

Canadian police said Wednesday they have broken up an international fraud ring that drained some $100 million from the accounts of unsuspecting bank card holders. Authorities arrested 45 people in a series of raids by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, mostly in the Montreal region but also in…

South Korean court sentences U.S. soldier to six years for raping teen

A South Korean court on Wednesday sentenced a US soldier to six years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager last year. The Seoul Central District Court found Private Kevin Robinson, 21, guilty of raping the girl, then aged 17, at her home in the city in September, a…

German man offers to bite the head off a lizard at customs to prove exotic animals were for eating

A German man stopped at customs with 49 live exotic lizards in his bag claimed they were destined for the cooking pot and even offered to bite one’s head off to prove it, officials said Wednesday. Customs officials halted the 28-year-old at Munich airport on his way back from Oman…

Study: Testosterone shots can help older men lose weight

Obese older men with low testosterone levels can lose weight by taking supplements of the male hormone, according to the findings of a study released Wednesday. In a test group of 115 testosterone-deficient men with a mean age of 61, hormone injections over five years yielded an average weight loss…

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