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Israeli settlements not ‘constructive’ says U.S.

WASHINGTON — The United States said Wednesday that Israel’s settlement activity was not “constructive” for Middle East peace after a committee approved a plan for 500 new homes in the northern West Bank. An Israeli committee legalized the outpost of Shvut Rachel, which had been unauthorized. Officials said the committee…

Britain summons Syrian envoy over journalists’ deaths

LONDON — Britain summoned the Syrian ambassador on Wednesday to lodge a protest over the deaths of two Western journalists and demand the repatriation of their bodies, the Foreign Office said. US-born war correspondent Marie Colvin, who worked for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed…

Fresh scandal embroils U.S. climate science debate

WASHINGTON — A fresh scandal over climate change has erupted in the United States after leaked documents appeared to show a right-wing funded campaign to influence how climate science is taught in schools. The internal budget and strategy documents from a Chicago-based non-profit group called the Heartland Institute were made…

Afghan journalist beheaded: official

KHOST, Afghanistan — An Afghan radio reporter was beheaded in the insurgency-plagued southeastern province of Paktika after being lured to a meeting by unidentified men, an official said Wednesday. The body of Samid Khan Bahadarzai, 25, who worked for a local radio station in the town of Urgun, was found…

French wine company to produce reds in China

Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirits arm of France’s LVMH luxury group, said Wednesday it will make red wine in China where a taste for the better things in life has boomed along with the economy. Moet Hennessy said it had joined forces with VATS, a Chinese wine firm, to…

White House regrets Iran ‘failure’ on UN mission

The White House expressed disappointment Wednesday that Iran had made no progress in its dealings with UN nuclear inspectors, branding the fruitless visit a “failure” on Tehran’s part. “We regret the failure of Iran to reach an agreement with the IAEA,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “It’s another…

American, French journalists killed in Syria

France identified two Western reporters killed in Syria on Wednesday as veteran American war correspondent Marie Colvin of Britain’s Sunday Times and freelance French photojournalist Remi Ochlik. France’s Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the pair had been fleeing a bombardment in the besieged rebel city of Homswhen they were killed. “It’s absolutely overwhelming,…

Obama to propose cut to corporate tax rate

The White House on Wednesday will announce plans for a corporate tax overhaul that would reduce the overall rate while increasing revenues by eliminating loopholes and subsidies, US media reported. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal said the plan would reduce the overall rate from 35 percent to 28 percent…

Iran pushes on with nuclear after failed IAEA visit

Iran’s nuclear work will defiantly go on, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday, after UN inspectors left Tehran following talks that failed to lift their suspicions of atomic weapons research. “The Iranian nation has never been seeking an atomic weapon and never will be. It will prove to the world that a…

Engineer invents floating solar panels

Rays of the winter sun bounce off gleaming mirrors on the tiny lake of Colignola in Italy, where engineers have built a cost-effective prototype for floating, rotating solar panels. “You are standing on a photovoltaic floating plant which tracks the sun, it’s the first platform of its kind in the world!” said Marco…

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