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Scientists name creature with ‘scissor hands-like claws’ after Johnny Depp character

The science world has paid homage to Johnny Depp by giving his name to an extinct creepy-crawly with “scissor hand-like” claws reminiscent of one of the Hollywood actor’s best-known roles. Kooteninchela deppi, a 505-million-year-old distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, has been named for Depp’s famous portrayal of a gentle…

British lawmaker calls Google ‘evil’ over failing to pay taxes

A senior British lawmaker on Thursday described Google as “evil” and accused the US internet giant of unethically avoiding paying vast amounts of tax in Britain. Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of parliament’s influential Public Accounts Committee, made the comments as she questioned the company’s vice-president Matt Brittin. But the Google…

Czech ‘Velvet Revolution’ leader who helped topple communist regime dies at age 82

Czech economist and politician Valtr Komarek, a leading figure in the 1989 “Velvet Revolution” that brought down the communist regime, has died at age 82 after a long illness, his family said Thursday. As head of an institute on economic forecasts, Komarek was instrumental in explaining to his fellow countrymen…

In Philadelphia, murals breathe life into city

On a scaffold five meters off the ground, artist Meg Saligman uses her paintbrush to carefully touch up an enormous mural covering an entire wall of a Philadelphia parking lot. “At first, I was afraid of heights, but I’m not anymore. Now I actually love it,” Saligman said from her…

Law designed to block predatory payday lending to vets too easy to circumvent

By Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Mitchell Hartman, Marketplace This story was co-produced with Marketplace. Listen to their coverage. Seven years after Congress banned payday-loan companies from charging exorbitant interest rates to service members, many of the nation’s military bases are surrounded by storefront lenders who charge high annual percentage rates,…

Police arrive at sci-fi convention to bust up argument between rival fans

Police officers were called to sort out a bust-up at a British science-fiction convention as rival groups of “Star Wars” and other sci-fi fans rowed, reports said Thursday. An argument broke out at the fourth Norwich Sci-Fi and Film Convention, staged by the Norwich Star Wars Club, when members of…

Georgia’s Orthodox Church urges ban on LGBT rights rally

The head of Georgia’s influential Orthodox Church called Thursday on the authorities to ban a gay rights rally set to be held in the deeply religious country. The call came a day before gay rights activists were to stage a brief demonstration in central Tbilisi to mark the International Day…

NASA’s Kepler telescope is in trouble, but it doesn’t end the search for another Earth

Even if Nasa’s Kepler space telescope is coming to the end of its mission, the search for other Earths will continue The Kepler space telescope is in trouble. On Tuesday, during one of their regular twice-weekly communications slots, Nasa scientists found the telescope in “safe mode”. An investigation has now…

Pope urges world leaders to give up the ‘cult of money’

Pope Francis on Thursday called on world leaders to put an end to the “cult of money” and to do more to help the poor, warning that insecurity was rising in many regions of the world and the “joy of life” was diminishing in developed countries. “The worship of the…

Swedish Assange assault accuser: I received many threats

One of the two Swedish women who accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sex crimes has spoken out publicly about her ordeal for what is believed to be the first time. The woman, whose name has not been officially disclosed or published in the Swedish media but has been circulated…

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