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Hollywood studios lose landmark download case

SYDNEY — Top Hollywood film studios Friday failed in their attempt to stem the flow of illegal downloads when they lost a landmark appeal against an Australian Internet provider. A group of international and Australian companies, including Warner Bros, Disney and 20th Century Fox, alleged that iiNet authorised the infringement…

Two Tibetans set themselves on fire in China

BEIJING — Two more Tibetans have set themselves on fire in a restive southwestern region of China, a rights group said, the latest in a wave of such protests against Beijing’s rule. The incidents occurred Thursday in the Tibetan prefecture of Aba in a rugged area of China’s Sichuan province,…

Plane crashes in Gulf of Mexico, pilot ‘unresponsive’

WASHINGTON — A small private plane with only an “unresponsive” pilot on board crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after circling for more than two hours, US officials said. The US Air Force had scrambled two F-15 fighter jets to intercept and monitor the Cessna 421 aircraft, which…

Nearly 60 archeological sites unearthed near Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Nearly 60 archeological sites dating back 6,000 years have been unearthed during construction of a road near Rio, an archaeologist said Thursday. “Last week, we found a small stone well dating back to the (Portuguese) colonial period with clear water and we stopped work,” said…

Clooney to make Obama the $6 million dinner man

WASHINGTON — Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney will host a $6 million fundraising dinner for Barack Obama at his Los Angeles home as the president fills his campaign coffers to battle Mitt Romney. The event, on May 10, will feature in the “Dinner with Barack” campaign which the president’s political braintrust…

U.S. judge allows tech ‘poaching’ suit to proceed

SAN FRANCISCO — A US judge has given a green light to a lawsuit charging Apple, Google, Pixar and other technology-driven firms with colluding to keep salaries in check by agreeing not to poach one another’s software engineers. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, in a decision released late Wednesday, rejected…

New York police open new leads on child missing 33 years

NEW YORK — New York police and the FBI dug into a Manhattan basement Thursday to pursue new leads in a child disappearance case that shocked the city 33 years ago. Swarms of officers gathered outside the building where agents hoped they might finally get to the bottom of the…

Obama’s popularity abroad on the wane, survey finds

WASHINGTON — US leadership has lost some of its luster abroad, suggesting President Barack Obama can’t count on as much global euphoria as he gears up for a fierce reelection campaign, a new survey found Thursday. The report card was particularly dire from Serbia and Iran where approval ratings for…

U.S. calls for ‘restraint’ after Indian missile tests

WASHINGTON — The White House Thursday urged restraint among nuclear capable states after India tested a long-range missile, but rejected any comparison between New Delhi’s behavior and that of North Korea. “We urge all nuclear capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities and continue to discourage actions…

Australian troops to stay in Afghanistan through 2014

BRUSSELS — Australia vowed in an apparent U-turn Thursday to keep combat troops in Afghanistan through 2014 after Prime Minister Julia Gillard had indicated they would come home earlier than planned. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Defence Minister Stephen Smith made the pledge during talks with NATO counterparts to…

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