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Japanese whalers set out to kill 260 whales for ‘scientific research’

A pair of Japanese whaling vessels left Friday for the northwestern Pacific aiming to catch 260 whales for “scientific research”, a fisheries ministry official said. The Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No. 2 departed from Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi, western Japan, to join the mother vessel Nisshin Maru, which has…

New ‘psychic’ animals try out to replace Paul the Octopus

Ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final and with Euro 2012 just around the corner, animals of all shapes and sizes are queuing up to succeed Paul the Octopus, the famous clairvoyant cephalopod from the 2010 World Cup. Paul, an octopus who lived at an aquarium in the German city of…

Ex-Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks film in development

The rise and fall of Rebekah Brooks is to get the film treatment, reports said from Cannes Friday, just days after the former Rupert Murdoch aide was charged in Britain’s phone-hacking scandal. The story of the former chief executive of Murdoch’s British newspaper wing News International is in development as…

Obama announces partnership with private sector to feed the world’s poor

US President Barack Obama on Friday reached out to the private sector in hopes of lifting 50 million people in the developing world from poverty, as wealthy nations grapple with a budget crunch. Ahead of talks of the Group of Eight major industrial nations, Obama pledged that the United States…

House rejects bill that would have limited indefinite detention on U.S. soil

US lawmakers struck down a contentious provision Friday that would have curtailed the government’s power to indefinitely hold suspected terrorists captured on American soil. The measure, backed by an odd coalition of liberal Democrats and some Tea Party-backed Republican conservatives, had sought to ensure that suspected terrorists detained in the…

French IKEA managers fired for spying on staff and customers

Swedish furniture giant IKEA said Friday it was sacking four current and former managers at its French subsidiary over allegations they used illegal police files to spy on staff and customers. French prosecutors in April launched a criminal probe following allegations that IKEA paid for illegal access to secret police…

NYPD faces criticism over stop-and-frisk

The New York Police Department faces unprecedented fire over stop-and-frisk, a tactic officials herald for curbing the city’s once notorious murder rate, but which critics see as a racially charged assault on human rights. Champions on both sides of the debate chimed in Friday a day after the police commissioner,…

Memorial plaque to children killed in IRA bomb stolen

Police launched a manhunt on Friday for suspected metal thieves who stole a memorial to two children killed by an IRA bomb as the father of one of the victims branded the theft “disgusting”. The plaque to three-year-old Jonathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry formed part of the River of…

Chess contest becomes Moscow’s daily reality show

The man sits at a table with his head in his hands. He has not moved for several minutes. Opposite is an empty chair. Watching him through a glass panel are hundreds of people scrutinising his every gesture. An angst-ridden surrealist nightmare? An image from a Samuel Beckett play? Or…

California chefs in a stew over foie gras ban

A simmering row between animal rights campaigners and a handful of California’s top chefs is coming to the boil, ahead of a looming ban on foie gras in the western US state. Protestors took their message to the streets this week as a series of high-end restaurants staged events —…

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