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Condemned Florida inmate confesses just before execution to woman’s rape and murder

After claiming his innocence for over two decades, William Happ finally confessed to murder as he was put to death by lethal injection in the US state of Florida. News reports said Happ took over 15 minutes to die, as his body repeatedly made convulsive movements, as the state corrections…

Death toll from Philippines earthquake reaches 99

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck the central Philippines rose to 99 on Wednesday and would likely climb further as rescuers reached isolated areas, authorities said. A 7.1-magnitude quake struck the island of Bohol on Tuesday morning, destroying centuries-old churches and triggering landslides that engulfed homes alongside…

U.S. joins Australia and France in pushing for Antarctic sanctuaries

Australia, New Zealand, the United States, France and the EU on Wednesday stepped up pressure on Russia for a swift agreement to create vast Antarctic marine sanctuaries. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), comprising 24 nations plus the European Union, meet in Australia next week…

New York Times executive editor: Reporting on Snowden’s NSA info has served the public

Jill Abramson says on BBC’s Newsnight that Guardian articles on NSA files are ‘very much in the public interest’ Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, has mounted a defence of the ability of journalists at her own paper and at the Guardian to publish public interest stories…

Stock market stalls as federal budget talks hit the wall

U.S. stock markets closed deep in the red Tuesday as politicians in Washington remained deadlocked over a deal to reopen the government and avoid default on its debts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 133.25 points (0.87 percent) at 15,168.01. The broader S&P 500 fell 12.08 (0.71 percent) to 1,698.06,…

Lawsuit accuses Blackberry of forecasting sales ‘based on prophecy rather than fact’

BlackBerry shareholders on Tuesday launched a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging its optimistic sales forecasts for its new smartphones cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, lawyers announced. The lawsuit on behalf of Canadian shareholders who purchased BlackBerry stock between September 27, 2012 and September 20 of this year,…

Ex-Georgian minister on the lam detained in France

French authorities have detained a former Georgian defence minister wanted in his homeland on corruption charges, a police source said Tuesday. Davit Kezerashvili, a close ally of outgoing president Mikheil Saakashvili, was detained Monday at the Nice airport just before 1:00pm (1100 GMT), as he was trying to board a…

Dalai Lama tells Mexican audience he supports medical marijuana use

The Dalai Lama weighed in on Mexico’s marijuana legalization debate on Tuesday, telling an audience that he backs the drug’s use for medicinal purposes. The Tibetan spiritual leader, speaking at an event hosted by former Mexican president Vicente Fox, said that “the exception” for smoking marijuana would be if it…

Italian conservative Catholics hold Nazi funeral amid protests

Catholic breakaway traditionalists held a funeral for Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke in a town near Rome on Tuesday as hundreds of angry protesters outside shouted “Assassin!” and “Hangman!” The ultra-conservative Society of St Pius X in Albano celebrated a private ceremony in Latin with family and far-right extremist sympathisers…

Church of Sweden elects first female archbishop

The Church of Sweden announced on Tuesday that it had elected a woman as its leader for the first time in the institution’s history. The Bishop of Lund, Antje Jackelen, won 55.9 percent of the votes from the 324-strong ecclesiastical college and will replace the current archbishop Anders Wejryd. “I’m…

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