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Pentagon requests more funding for Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’

The Pentagon has requested $220.3 million in 2014 to bolster Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system despite broader cuts to US military spending, according to budget documents. The US Missile Defense Agency also is asking for an additional $175.9 million in fiscal year 2015 for Israel’s homegrown missile defense network,…

Pink diamond sells for nearly $40 million at U.S. auction

A 34.64-carat pink diamond has sold at auction in New York for nearly $40 million, setting a new record for Christie’s auction house. Dubbed the “Princie Diamond,” the gem is “one of the largest and finest pink diamonds in the world,” with a “fabulous provenance,” Christie’s jewellery chief Francois Curiel…

French executives on trial over faulty breast implants

France launched one its biggest-ever trials on Wednesday as five managers from company PIP faced charges of selling faulty breast implants that sparked a global health scare. More than 5,000 women registered as plaintiffs in the case, which sees the defendants including PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas charged with aggravated fraud…

Were ‘hobbit’ hominids island dwarfs?

Japanese scientists on Tuesday waded into a row over so-called “hobbit” hominids whose remains, found on a remote Indonesian island a decade ago, have unleashed one of the fiercest disputes in anthropology. The most detailed computerised scan of a skull of Homo floresiensis — “Man of Flores” — backs theories…

Tech-savvy Vietnamese coffee farmers brew global takeover

Most Vietnamese coffee farmers have never heard of a double tall skinny latte, but they could tell you the price of the beans that go into one in their sleep. From high-tech Israeli irrigation systems to text message updates of global prices for the commodity, coffee farming in Vietnam’s Central…

Private firm Orbital Sciences ready for first launch of Antares rocket

Orbital Sciences, one of two private US firms chosen by NASA to shuttle cargo to the International Space Station, is preparing for the first launch of its Antares rocket Wednesday. The launch over the Atlantic ocean is scheduled for 5 pm (2100 GMT) from the Wallops flight facility from an…

U.S. busts alleged Russian mob gambling ring

US federal prosecutors have charged 34 people allegedly linked to the Russian mob with running a high stakes illegal gambling business catering to multi-millionaires and billionaires. Clients, including Russian oligarchs, wracked up debts worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, the Justice Department said in a statement Tuesday…

Seth MacFarlane condemns ‘abhorrent’ Family Guy mash-up of Boston Marathon bombing

“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane condemned a doctored online clip of the show depicting its star using a cellphone to trigger explosions at the Boston Marathon. The fake clip was based on scenes from an episode of the cult animated series which aired last month, and which was pulled by…

Hundreds turn out to mourn victims of Boston Marathon attack

Hundreds gathered at Boston Common on Tuesday night in one of a number of vigils held around the city. People lit candles, held signs and hugged one another as a choir sang from the bandstand in the middle of the common. Over 200 people looked on as night began to…

Disturbing report finds U.S. hospitals profit more when surgery goes wrong

US hospitals face a disincentive to improve care because they make drastically more money when surgery goes wrong than when a patient is discharged with no complications, a study published Tuesday found. “We found clear evidence that reducing harm and improving quality is perversely penalized in our current health care…

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