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‘Terrifying explosions’ in Syria’s Homs

Syrian regime forces pounded rebel districts of the flashpoint central city of Homs for a 20th straight day on Thursday, a watchdog said, as activists spoke of “terrifying explosions”. The neighbourhood of “Baba Amr, as well as parts of Inshaat have been shelled since 07:00 am (0500 GMT), while mortar…

Alleged WikiLeaks source Manning to be charged

Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of leaking a trove of secret military and diplomatic documents to the WikiLeaks website, was to be formally charged in a military court on Thursday. The 24-year-old will be charged with 22 counts — the most serious being aiding the enemy — in a…

Rare Shepherd’s beaked whale caught on film for first time

Australian researchers Thursday revealed they had filmed a pod of extremely rare Shepherd’s beaked whales for the first time ever. The Australian Antarctic Division team was tracking blue whales off the coast of Victoria state last month when they spotted the reclusive mammals, which are so rarely seen that no…

Faulty wire error blamed for ‘faster-than-light’ particles

WASHINGTON — A European experiment that in September showed particles moving faster than the speed of light has been exposed as a mistake due to a faulty wire connection, the US journal Science said Wednesday. “A bad connection between a GPS unit and a computer may be to blame,” said…

Britain probes sex-selective abortion claims

LONDON — The British government on Thursday vowed to investigate newspaper reports that doctors illegally approved abortions that were requested due to the sex of the unborn child. Thursday’s Daily Telegraph claimed that it had hidden camera footage which showed doctors at British clinics offering to falsify paperwork in order…

The money men shaping the election campaign

WASHINGTON — A quarter of the money that has fuelled a bitter nomination battle among Republican White House hopefuls, from which no settled favorite has yet emerged, has come from just five super-rich Americans. The sway that wealthy donors have been able to exert has come about due to them…

Three U.S. lawmakers sent threatening letters: official

Three US lawmakers received threatening letters containing a harmless white powder, but the sender said more missives including a “harmful material” could follow, a Senate official said Wednesday. The anonymous sender “has indicated that additional letters containing a powdery substance will be arriving at more Senate offices,” Senate sergeant-at-arms Terrance…

Plea deal for Pakistani at Guantanamo: report

WASHINGTON — A Pakistani held at Guantanamo Bay has reached a plea agreement with US prosecutors that will require him to testify at the trials of other terror suspects in return for a reduced sentence, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing US officials. Majid Shoukat Khan, 31, who has been…

Virginia approves toned-down abortion ultrasound bill

Lawmakers in Virginia approved Wednesday a watered-down version of a highly contested bill requiring women in the eastern US state to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion. By a 65-32 vote, the Republican-dominated House of Delegates gave its green light to 11th hour revisions proposed by Governor Bob McDonnell…

Legalization of gay sex challenged in India court

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing more than a dozen petitions filed to overturn a 2009 ruling that decriminalised gay sex between consenting adults. Homosexuality was ruled lawful three years ago by a Delhi High Court order that declared the colonial-era ban was unconstitutional, in a…

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