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Head of revived watchdog group pledges open look at U.S. surveillance

By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of a newly revived federal privacy oversight board pledged on Wednesday to be “as transparent and public as possible” as the board reviews recently exposed U.S. government secret surveillance programs. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which has been largely dormant…

North Carolina governor signs law aimed at restarting executions

By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - North Carolina‘s governor, hoping to resume executions in his state, on Wednesday signed the repeal of a law that has allowed death row inmates to seek a reduced sentence if they could prove racial bias affected their punishment. The Racial Justice Act, the only law…

Lawyers for accused Colorado gunman barred from psychiatric exam

By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - Lawyers for James Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 moviegoers in a Colorado theater last year, cannot be present during his court-ordered psychiatric examination, the judge in the murder case ruled on Wednesday. Arapahoe County District judge Carlos Samour Jr. rejected a motion by…

Arizona killer who asked for speedy execution found dead in cell

PHOENIX (Reuters) – An Arizona death row inmate who wrote to the state Supreme Court asking for a speedy execution died on Wednesday after being found unresponsive in his cell, authorities said. Dale Hausner, dubbed the “Serial Shooter,” was sentenced to die by lethal injection four years ago for gunning down four men and two…

Obama challenges Russia to agree to deeper nuclear weapon cuts

By Roberta Rampton and Stephen Brown BERLIN (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama used a speech in Berlin on Wednesday to call on Russia to revive the push for a world without nuclear weapons, offering to cut deployed nuclear arsenals by a third, but Moscow immediately poured scorn on his…

World’s poorest will feel brunt of climate change, warns World Bank

Millions of people around the world are likely to be pushed back into poverty because climate change is undermining economic development in poor countries, the World Bank has warned. Droughts, floods, heatwaves, sea-level rises and fiercer storms are likely to accompany increasing global warming and will cause severe hardship in…

Microsoft reverses course with Xbox One after gamer backlash

Microsoft handed gamers a victory by backing off plans for new-generation Xbox One consoles to require Internet connections and put restrictions on playing second-hand game disks. Microsoft interactive entertainment business president Don Mattrick on Wednesday announced in a blog post that the US technology titan was surrendering in the face…

Dianne Feinstein: Stop force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners

By Jane Sutton GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein urged the Pentagon on Wednesday to stop force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and called the practice “out of step” with medical ethics and international norms. Feinstein, a California Democrat who chairs…

Actor James Gandolfini of ‘The Sopranos’ dies in Italy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of a conflicted New Jersey mob boss in the acclaimed HBO cable television series “The Sopranos,” has died while vacationing in Rome, the network said on Wednesday. Gandolfini, who was 51, died of a possible heart attack,…

Tesla Motors recalls some Model S cars over problem weld

Electric sports car maker Tesla announced a recall Wednesday for some of its Model S vehicles over possible weak welds on back seats. The recall applies to versions of the four-door sedan, which costs up to $87,000, produced between May 10, 2013 and June 8, 2013. Founder Elon Musk said…

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