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US urges oil output boost to ease prices

RIYADH – US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman on Tuesday called on oil producers to boost output in a bid to ease crude prices, which struck $108 over unrest in the Middle East. “We think that the proper response (to the high prices) is that producers respond to those…

Shuttle Discovery ‘ready to fly’ on last space mission

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – NASA said Tuesday the space shuttle Discovery is “ready to fly” on its final mission to the International Space Station and weather looks good for launch on February 24. “Over the last few months the team has been very busy effecting repairs to the external tank…

US consumer confidence hits three year high

WASHINGTON — US consumer confidence hit a three year high in February as Americans became more optimistic that their finances would soon improve, according to a widely-watched indicator. “Consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions,” said Lynn Franco, director…

World markets slide, oil soars on Libya unrest

LONDON (AFP) – Global markets dived Tuesday and oil prices spiked above $108 per barrel, as sentiment was rocked by violent unrest in Libya, while the safe-haven US dollar gained ground. “The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are continuing to spread across the region. It seems to be Libya’s turn…

BMW launches new electric/hybrid brand

FRANKFURT – The German luxury carmaker BMW unveiled on Monday its long-awaited new brand, BMW i, with two new models to be equipped with electric and hybrid drive systems from 2013. The group is also creating a venture capital unit to offer mobility services such as car sharing and navigation…

City attorney, Pulitzer-winning Seattle paper call for marijuana legalization

Last year, many hopeful drug reform advocates expected California to be the first state to officially overturn the prohibition of marijuana. But after Prop. 19′s failure on the state-wide ballot at the end of 2010, few would have expected the next major push for reform would come from Washington. Yet,…

Oil soars past $105 on Libya violence

LONDON – Brent oil prices soared above $105 per barrel on Monday, striking a fresh two-year peak as deadly violence in Libya fuelled concerns over spreading unrest in the Middle East and north Africa region. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April surged to $105.15 per barrel, the highest…

Shockwaves from Libya hit Italian business

MILAN – Shockwaves from the unrest in Libya on Monday hit its former colonial overlord Italy — a top foreign investor in Libya and a country in which the North African state has also invested billions. Libya’s sovereign wealth fund and veteran ruler Moamer Kadhafi’s family own stakes in Italy’s…

Are plant hydraulics a path to adaptive dream machines?

WASHINGTON – Airplanes might soon have flexible wings like birds and robots could change shape as they please thanks to research under way on mimosa plants, researchers said. The shrub’s leaves, which can retract at the slightest of touches, could inspire a new class of structures that can twist, bend,…

US should prepare for future cyber attacks: NSA chief

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – The US National Security Agency (NSA) chief on Thursday urged top computer security specialists to harden the nation’s critical infrastructure against inevitable destructive cyber attacks. “This is an important time,” NSA and Cyber Command director Gen. Keith Alexander said during a presentation at a premier RSA…

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