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Spain falls back into recession: official data

Spain fell into recession in the first quarter of 2012 with a decline of 0.3 percent in gross domestic product (GDP), the same rate of contraction recorded late last year, official data showed on Thursday. Final figures released by the the National Statistics Institute (INE) confirmed preliminary data issued on…

Three members of Aussie kids’ group ‘The Wiggles’ to retire

Global children’s phenomenon The Wiggles announced the end of an era on Thursday, with three of the quartet to retire from performing and a woman to don the turtleneck for the first time. The four-man Australian singing and dancing outfit, famed for their colourful jumpers or “skivvies”, said three of…

Mladic war crimes trial suspended ‘indefinitely’

The Yugoslav war crimes court on Thursday adjourned the trial of former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, just a day after it opened, because of “irregularities” by prosecutors. “The hearing is adjourned sine die,” presiding judge Alphons Orie said. “(The court) has decided to suspend the start of the…

Limbless Frenchman swims from New Guinea to Indonesia

A Frenchman who lost his limbs in an accident braved strong winds and currents to swim from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia Thursday, in the first stretch of a mission to swim between five continents. Philippe Croizon, 43, who uses prosthetic limbs with flippers attached, took seven and a half…

White births in U.S. no longer in majority: census

White births in the United States are no longer in the majority, according to US Census Bureau data made public Thursday. Minorities — Hispanics, blacks and Asians and other mixed races — accounted for 50.4 percent of births over a 12-month period to July 2011, marking a majority for the…

New French government to take a pay cut

France’s new government, under Socialist President Francois Hollande, gets down to work Thursday with the first order of business on their agenda being a pay cut for themselves. Hollande unveiled a government of mainly moderate Socialists and longtime allies Wednesday as his new prime minister vowed to work quickly to…

Race is on to save Tasmanian devil down under

It’s been hundreds of years since the Tasmanian devil last lived on the Australian mainland but, in the misty hills of Barrington Tops, a pioneering group is being bred for survival. Rat-like in appearance but with a marsupial pouch and carnivorous jaws that can crack bone, Tasmanian devils are an…

North Korea moving ahead on reactor: pictures

WASHINGTON — North Korea appears to be moving ahead with the building of a light-water reactor that could be used to support its nuclear weapons program, according to satellite images released Wednesday. The signs of progress come amid fears that the secretive communist state is planning a new nuclear test,…

‘Good’ cholesterol doctrine may be flawed, says study

PARIS — Researchers on Thursday challenged a tenet of modern medicine that higher levels of “good” cholesterol automatically boost cardiovascular health. In a study published in The Lancet, investigators said they found no evidence to back the belief that higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol routinely reduce the risk…

Facebook to kick off IPO the hacker way: reports

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook will go public hacker style with an all-night software bending bash to culminate with co-founder Mark Zuckerberg remotely ringing the Nasdaq opening bell on Friday, reports said. Employees were signing up for a “hackathon” to start late Thursday at Facebook’s offices in the Silicon Valley city…

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