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Treasury chief says U.S. again perilously close to breaching the debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Congress on Thursday to raise the US borrowing ceiling, warning that not doing so could jeopardize Washington’s creditworthiness and raise fears of a default. With the US closing on the point where spending will surpass available funds, Lew said it was crucial for Congress to…

Canada publishes video of a motorcyclist crashing into a bear

Police released a video Thursday showing a speeding motorcyclist crashing into a bear on a Canadian highway, as a warning to distracted drivers — and wildlife. The video shows the motorcycle taking off and accelerating to 140 kilometres per hour in less than 20 seconds on Highway 7 near Hope,…

Experts worried about ‘alarming’ rate of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Myanmar

Health officials called Thursday for urgent action to tackle “alarming” rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Myanmar where nearly 9,000 people catch the strain of the infectious disease each year. Treatment programmes in the impoverished nation — where the healthcare system was left woefully underfunded during decades of military rule —…

Pope Francis defies Vatican protocol by directly contacting Papal subjects

A teenager who wrote to Pope Francis got a shock when the Catholic leader called him up for a chat — the latest example of the pontiff’s down-to-earth approach. Francis called up a journalist friend on the day of his election and even phoned a newspaper stand in Buenos Aires…

Court strikes down Arizona law defunding Planned Parenthood

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a U.S. District Court ruling that will prevent Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s administration from effectively defunding Planned Parenthood. In their opinion, the panel of judges held that the Arizona law (HB 2800) violates the Medicaid Act’s requirement that Medicaid recipients are free to…

Colin Powell to North Carolina Governor: ‘There is no voter fraud’

Speaking at the CEO Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina to an audience that included Governor Pat McCrory (R), former Secretary of State Colin Powell attacked the restrictive voting law the governor signed into law on August 12. The new law requires photo identification at the polls, limits the number of…

British court rules police can partially examine documents seized from Greenwald’s partner

Britain’s High Court ruled Thursday that material seized from the Brazilian partner of a journalist working to publish secrets from US leaker Edward Snowden can only be partially examined by police. Police in Britain launched a criminal investigation over the data, claiming the files it has seen are “highly sensitive”…

Mother of Japanese pop star jumped from 13th floor in apparent suicide

The mother of Japanese pop singer Hikaru Utada has been found dead after plunging from a 13th storey apartment in an apparent suicide, reports said Thursday. Police believe Keiko Fuji, 62, jumped to her death from the Tokyo home she shared with a man in his 30s, Jiji Press said,…

China establishes ‘experimental’ free trade zone in Shanghai

China has approved an “experimental” free trade zone in its commercial hub Shanghai as it tries to promote economic reforms, the government said Thursday. The State Council, or cabinet, recently approved the zone after giving the preliminary go-ahead in July, the commerce ministry said in a statement. It said the…

Mass grave site found near Mexico city

Mexican authorities are investigating whether human remains found in a park outside the capital belong to 12 young people whose kidnapping in May shocked the city, officials said Thursday. Mexico City’s top prosecutor, Rodolfo Rios, said the remains of seven people have been recovered since the search began Wednesday and…

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