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NSA chief Clapper praises Snowden: Data spying debate ‘probably needed to happen’

Leaks from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have generated a much needed debate about surveillance even though his disclosures have jeopardized national security, America’s spy chief said Thursday. “As loathe as I am to give any credit for what’s happened here, which is egregious…” said National Intelligence Director James…

French navy intercepts Syrian ship carrying 20 tons of marijuana

The French navy said Thursday it had made a record cannabis seizure in the Mediterranean sea after intercepting a ship carrying 20 tonnes of cannabis worth up to 50 million euros. “To the best of our knowledge it is the biggest seizure by the French state in the Mediterranean,” vice-admiral…

New HIV outbreak leaves the porn industry divided over condoms

Derrick Burts was a newly minted porn actor in Los Angeles, using the screen names Derrick Cameron and Cameron Reid in a handful of productions, when he learned he was infected with HIV. “I was desperately shocked. You hear about it but you don’t think it will actually happen to…

NASA’s Voyager 1 becomes first spacecraft to leave our solar system

Never before has a human-built spacecraft traveled so far. NASA’s Voyager 1 probe has now left the solar system and is wandering the galaxy, US scientists said Thursday. The spacecraft was launched in 1977 on a mission to explore the outer planets of our solar system and to possibly journey…

U.S. fights child pornography with new iPhone app

The US Department of Homeland Security enlisted smartphone users in its fight against child pornography Thursday with an iPhone app intended to make it easy to report suspected child predators. The Operation Predator app lets informants submit information via email or a telephone tipline, and also includes a run-down of…

Switzerland probes Goldman Sachs over alleged labor law violations

Swiss labour inspectors said Thursday they were investigating the Zurich offices of US bank Goldman Sachs after staff complained about breaches of rules on working hours. The issue of bankers’ often-lengthy working hours has hit the headlines following the death of a trainee at the London offices of Bank of…

New York Times fends off criticism after publishing Putin op-ed

President Vladimir Putin won’t be getting a check from The New York Times as a “freelance journalist” but his controversial article on Syria was accepted for its newsworthy viewpoint. The newspaper’s public editor Margaret Sullivan said Thursday that the Russian leader’s editorial, submitted via a US public relations firm, created…

Walmart victorious as D.C. mayor vetoes living wage bill

The mayor of Washington DC has bowed to pressure from Walmart and vetoed minimum-wage legislation that would have hampered the supermarket giant’s push into urban America. Vincent Gray said the legislation, which would have forced large retailers to pay staff at least $12.50 an hour, would drive away employers and…

Syria’s Assad promises to hand over chemical weapons to avert strikes

President Bashar al-Assad vowed to hand over Syria’s chemical weapons Thursday as Moscow and Washington were set to begin high-stakes talks on a Russian plan to avert US-led military action against his regime. Speaking to Russian television, Assad said Syria would place its chemical weapons under foreign control in line…

Egypt’s interim authorities extend state of emergency

Egypt’s interim authorities on Thursday extended a state of emergency in force since mid-August by another two months because of the country’s continued insecurity. President Adly Mansour had initially announced a month-long state of emergency on August 14, at a time when deadly unrest swept Egypt as police dispersed two…

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