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Swiss voters likely to reject salary cap bill for executives

Swiss voters look set to reject a law to rein in executive pay in a looming referendum, with a poll released Wednesday showing only around a third back the plan. The survey by pollsters Gfs showed that 36 percent of the electorate now supported the “1:12″ initiative, named after the…

Only 100,000 people have enrolled in Obamacare

Only 100,000 people have enrolled in the new US Obamacare health plan so far, and fewer than 27,000 have made it through a faulty federal sign-up website, the government said Wednesday. The figure of 106,185 registrations represents only 1.5 percent of the estimated total sign-up for the plan by the…

Drug combination kills antibiotic-resistant germs

Scientists Wednesday unveiled a drug combination that destroys antibiotic-resistant germs in mice, potentially opening a new front against chronic and relapsing infections in humans. Big Pharma had been closely interested in a compound dubbed acyldepsipeptide (ADEP), only to drop it when some germs became resistant to it. But scientists in…

Filipino boy slashed and stabbed as anarchy spreads in typhoon-ravaged city

As anarchy spread across a Philippine city demolished by one of the world’s strongest typhoons, a 13-year-old boy holding a toy car and walking alone at night was slashed across the neck and stabbed in the stomach. Jonathan Salayco said he was on the debris-strewn streets of disaster-hit Tacloban when…

New study shows black holes recycle matter and energy back into space

Black holes spit out mighty high-speed jets of matter that include heavy atoms, a study published in Nature said on Wednesday. Astronomers have been intrigued for decades by narrow beams of matter spewed out from black holes, the most powerful phenomena in the Universe. The jets are known to contain…

Anti-mob prosecutor: Pope Francis making the mafia ‘nervous and agitated’

Pope Francis’s crusade against corruption has made him a target for Italy’s all-powerful mafia clans, a leading anti-mob prosecutor has warned. Nicola Gratteri, who has battled Calabria’s shadowy ‘Ndrangheta mafia, said on Wednesday that Francis’s attempt to bring transparency to the Vatican was making the white collar mobsters who do…

Hamas accused of torturing Palestinian political prisoners

Hamas has arrested and tortured dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks on political grounds, a Palestinian rights group said Wednesday. The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemned the “arrest campaign launched by the Internal Security Service (of Hamas) against dozens of persons, including…

‘A verbal lynching’: Far-right French magazine compares black politician to a monkey

A magazine with a front page comparing a black government minister to a monkey hit newstands in France on Wednesday, despite legal objections and a nationwide outcry over the racist slur. Amid mounting concern over recent incidents of racist abuse in public life, the far-right satirical weekly Minute went on…

Senate Republicans to grill Federal Reserve nominee Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen will face hostile Republicans doubtful of the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies when she appears before senators Thursday to defend her nomination to lead the US central bank. Yellen, chosen by President Barack Obama to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed chair, is expected be easily approved by the…

World Meteorological Organization: Higher sea levels are making coastal populations more vulnerable

Sea levels this year posted a record high, making low-lying coastal populations ever more vulnerable to extreme weather like super-storm Haiyan, the UN said Wednesday. In an interim report on the planet’s climate, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also estimated that 2013 was on course to be one of the…

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