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Bad news, Olympics fans: No big parties planned for Sochi Games

Don’t expect a party at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, skiing’s top official said Friday, denouncing spectator restrictions at the races and calling for a return to smaller, more familiar venues. International Ski Federation (FIS) President Gian Franco Kasper, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC),…

U.N. advocates ask Security Council to pressure Syria into allowing more aid

The United Nations humanitarian chief on Friday called on the UN Security Council to put “sustained pressure” on the Syrian government and rebel groups to let in desperately needed relief. Valerie Amos told the council the United Nations had been unable for nearly a year to reach more than 2.5…

JPMorgan will pay $5.1 billion to settle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac claims

Deal settles lawsuit brought by Federal Housing Finance Agency – but has still to agree on bond sales fine JP Morgan reached a $5.1bn (£3.2bn) settlement with the US mortgage company regulator on Friday as the bank continues to negotiate with the justice department over what is expected to be…

Hackers suspected of causing NSA website to crash

The National Security Agency’s website went down Friday and the U.S. spy service known for hacking into computer networks said it was investigating the outage, a spokesperson said. “We are looking into this,” said Vanee Vines of the NSA, without offering any details about what had caused the site to…

Macedonian Orthodox Church bans clergy from using Facebook

Macedonia’a Orthodox Church on Friday ordered its priests and nuns not to use Facebook or be ready to face unnamed sanctions, church officials said. “Everyone among the clergy will face sanctions if using Facebook,” the church’s spokesman, Bishop Timotej, told reporters. The bishop did not reveal the reasons for the…

Eight-state coalition forms to provide spark for electric car industry

States form coalition to support electric cars (via The Christian Science Monitor) A Nissan Leaf tops off it’s battery in Central Point, Ore., at one of the charging stations along Interstate 5. The Leaf is one of several electric cars that qualify for a sizable federal tax credit. (Jeff Bernard/AP/File)…

YouTube prepares to launch paid music service

Google’s video-sharing arm YouTube is preparing to launch a paid music service this year competing against other streaming outlets, with the added feature of video, media reports said Friday. The New York Times said the service designed for mobile devices would cost around $10 a month for an ad-free service…

Germany and Brazil working on UN resolution concerning NSA spying

Germany and Brazil are working on a UN General Assembly resolution aimed at highlighting international anger at US data snooping in other countries, diplomats said Friday. The resolution would not mention the United States and would call for extending the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to internet activities.…

Nazi war criminal’s grandson wants to change his name

The Argentine grandson of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke wants to change his last name, just weeks after the death of his grandfather sparked turmoil when various countries refused his body. Tomas Erick Ramon Priebke Ortiz, 23, told the press in Bariloche, the southern Argentine city where he lives, that…

Cuba will allow foreign investors into new duty-free port zone

Cuba is setting up shop for foreign investors interested in getting in on its upgraded port in Mariel and a surrounding duty-free zone. Oscar Perez, head of the government’s office of business evaluations, said a new office will open November 1 to handle foreign investment in the port’s so-called Special…

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