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Venus orbits the Sun inside huge ‘zodiacal cloud’ of space dust

Scientists have discovered that Venus circles the sun embedded within a huge band of dust that is 10-15 million kilometres high and stretches all the way around its orbit. The finding will help astronomers better understand the dust clouds within planetary systems so that they can be taken into account…

Senate Democrats drop the ‘nuclear option’ on Republicans and limit filibusters

The US Senate took the potentially explosive step Thursday of changing its rules to allow executive and lower court nominees to be approved by a simple majority vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the move, known in Washington as the “nuclear option,” to end what he considered long-standing abuses…

Reporters accuse White House of preventing the public from ‘having an independent view’

White House reporters and photographers on Thursday accused top officials of deliberately blocking access to President Barack Obama and of substituting its own “visual press releases” for independent news coverage. In a letter to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) and other news organizations said…

Gaza zoo blames Israel after two lion cubs die

Two lion cubs born in Gaza this week and named in honour of Hamas’ last major clash with Israel died on Thursday, a zoo official said. “The lions named Fajr and Sijil (Dawn and Clay in Arabic) died today due to a deterioration of their health at birth,” Shadi Hamad,…

Potential 2016 contender Marco Rubio urges an interventionist foreign policy

Republican Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 White House contender, urges the projection of US global power in the name of liberty — an interventionist strategy at odds with isolationists in his party. Back home he spearheaded comprehensive immigration reform earlier this year, infuriating hardliners who helped elect him to the…

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal: Republicans must shed image as ‘party of no’

Republican governors’ leader Bobby Jindal turned on his party’s national leadership on Wednesday, calling on the GOP to suggest alternative ideas for healthcare and immigration reform rather than simply defining itself as the “party of no”. Amid signs of a growing backlash among Republican moderates since the failed government shutdown…

London police rescue three women held captive in domestic slavery for 30 years

British police on Thursday rescued three women from a house in London where they are believed to have been held as slaves for at least 30 years. Scotland Yard police headquarters said the victims were a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton. The women were described…

Saudi religious police arrest two men for giving out ‘free hugs’

Saudi religious police arrested two young men offering a “free hug” to passers-by in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom’s capital, local media reported Thursday. The arrests were made in the main Tahlia Street where the two men were waving banners marked “Free Hug” in English, according to news website Sabq.org. Free…

Senate panel advances Janet Yellen nomination to run Federal Reserve

The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved Janet Yellen to chair the US Federal Reserve, setting up a likely confirmation by the full chamber next month. President Barack Obama’s pick to replace outgoing Fed chairman Ben Bernanke passed the committee 14-8, and if approved by the overall Senate would be…

Central African Republic’s president negotiating with infamous rebel leader Joseph Kony

The Central African Republic’s president said Thursday he was in contact with Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals, to negotiate his surrender. “It’s true, Joseph Kony wants to come out of the bush. We are negotiating with him,” Michel Djotodia said during a…

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