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Scientists in quest to find elusive white orca

A team of Russian scientists say they will embark on a quest next week to observe the only all-white, adult killer whale ever spotted — a majestic and elusive bull they have named Iceberg. The researchers from the universities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg first spotted the orca’s towering, two-metre dorsal finbreak the surface…

Facebook beefs up patent arsenal ahead of IPO

Facebook struck a $550 million deal to get its hands on hundreds of AOL patents from Microsoft as the social network hardened its defenses before it goes public on the Nasdaq. Facebook will pick up around 650 of the 925 patents Microsoftbought earlier this month in an auction from AOL in a nearly $1.1…

Sarkozy, Hollande step up battle for far-right votes

Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist rival Francois Hollande stepped up their battle on Tuesday for the six million votes that went to the far-right in the first round of France’s presidential election. “It’s up to me to convince the National Front (FN) voters,” Hollandetold Liberation newspaper, arguing that many of them were in fact left-wing and their support…

Ukraine’s former female PM on ‘hunger strike’

Ukraine’s jailed opposition leader and former premier Yulia Tymoshenko has been on a hunger strike since Friday to protest her treatment by prison wardens and doctors, her lawyer said. “Yulia Tymoshenko has declared a hunger strike,” Interfax quotedSerhiy Vlasenko as saying outside her prison in the eastern city of Kharkiv where Tymoshenko has been jailed since last year on…

James Murdoch faces UK press inquiry grilling

Former News International executive chairman James Murdochbegan giving testimony under oath Tuesday at the British inquiry into press standards set up after the tabloid phone-hacking row. In the day-long session at the Leveson Inquiry, Murdoch was being quizzed about his stewardship of News International, which published the now-defunct News of the World. The tabloid was…

California to vote on ending the death penalty

LOS ANGELES — Voters in California will have the chance to cast ballots on a referendum on ending the death penalty in November, according to state electoral officials. The “Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act,” or SAFE California Act, garnered enough support signatures. It will be considered on…

Panetta dismisses Iran claims on copying U.S. drone

BOGOTA — US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday dismissed claims by Iran that it had gleaned data from a downed US drone and was now building a copy of the robotic spycraft. “I can tell you from my experience that I would seriously question their ability to do what…

Pentagon offers budget compromise to placate states

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has offered to fund more C-130 aircraft for the Air National Guard to placate state governors complaining about proposed budget cuts that scale back fleet and personnel, officials said Monday. Facing growing political pressure in an election year from governors and lawmakers in Congress, Defense Secretary…

Karzai blocks Rep. Rohrabacher from Afghan visit: aide

WASHINGTON — A US lawmaker critical of President Hamid Karzai was barred entry to Afghanistan as part of a congressional delegation meeting with Afghan opposition groups, his office said Monday. Republican Dana Rohrabacher’s office said he was a “last-minute” addition to the delegation when one of the members canceled days…

Jimmy Carter warns against war with Iran

CHICAGO — Former US President Jimmy Carter warned against a possible war with Iran Monday as he decried his nation’s involvement in unjust conflicts at a summit of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Chicago. Carter, a naval veteran who served as Democratic president from 1977 to 1981, said that while…

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