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Key anecdote to defend NSA data gathering is full of holes

By Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica Defending a vast program to sweep up phone and Internet data under antiterror laws, senior U.S. officials in recent days have cited the case of David Coleman Headley, a key plotter in the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said a…

NSA chief says U.S. is vulnerable to cyber attacks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. critical infrastructure – which ranges from telecommunications to water to energy supplies – is not well prepared to handle a destructive cyber attack, the top U.S. general in charge of cybersecurity said on Wednesday. National Security Agency chief General Keith Alexander, making his first public appearance…

Swiss upper house approves secretive deal with U.S. on tax evasion

Switzerland’s upper house of parliament voted Wednesday in favour of a secretive deal between Bern and Washington to settle a legal battle over Swiss banks’ alleged complicity in tax evasion by Americans. Twenty-four members of the Council of States voted in favour of the so-called “Lex USA” deal, while 15…

Women’s groups hold out hope for revived rights in Iran elections

Iran’s presidential election is offering a flicker of hope to activists hoping to revive women’s rights after they deteriorated during the eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. The ailing economy, hit hard by international sanctions against Iran’s vital oil income which has sparked high inflation, has grabbed the spotlight in…

Phasing out ‘super greenhouse gases’ could cut warming by half a degree by 2050

Phasing out “super greenhouse gases,” which mass emitters China and the United States have agreed to restrict, could curb global warming by as much as half a degree Celsius by 2050, a report said Wednesday. Issued on the sidelines of beleaguered UN climate talks in Bonn, the report said a…

Health officials urge vaccines as mumps cases on the rise in England

Sharp increase in confirmed cases raises concern among health officials over uptake of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine Health officials are reporting sharp rises in mumps as well as measles in England and Wales as efforts continue to persuade families of 10- to 18-year-olds to get their children vaccinated with the triple measles, mumps…

Thousands march through Moscow against Putin

Several thousand people marched through Moscow on Wednesday to support detained or jailed anti-Kremlin protesters, a day after President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of supporting a protest movement against him. Led by anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, the protest dubbed the “March Against Butchers” was aimed at supporting twelve activists accused…

Mexican authorities rescue 275 tomato workers from ‘slave-like conditions’

Mexican authorities have rescued at least 275 people who were being held in slave-like conditions at a camp where tomatoes are sorted and packed for export, officials said. Thirty-nine teenagers were among those being held against their will at the Bioparques de Occidente camp in Toliman, in the western state…

Astronomers create new class of ‘pulsating’ stars

An intriguing stellar cluster located 7,000 light years from Earth has prompted astronomers to create a new class of stars with “pulsating” brightness, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said on Wednesday. Sky-watchers made the discovery over seven years of patient measurements of 3,000 stars in a cluster called NGC 3766,…

Belgium’s centuries-old beer producers are exporting at astonishing rates

Belgium’s centuries-old beers, product of the tiny country’s location at a culinary and cultural crossroads between north and southern Europe, are taking the world’s tipplers by storm. From red to golden ales and sour cherry froth, lagers to stouts and lambic beers, the fame of Belgian brews has sent exports…

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