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White House says Jay-Z’s Cuba rap just a ‘song’

President Barack Obama did not personally approve Beyonce and Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba, the White House said Thursday, after the US rapper released a single online slamming criticism of their travels. In “Open Letter,” Jay-Z — who with Beyonce worked to raise funds for Obama’s re-election campaign last year —…

Israeli army injures ‘physically disabled’ Palestinian man

Israeli troops shot and wounded a physically disabled Palestinian man during an arrest operation in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, a prisoners’ rights group said. Motazz Obeidu, 32, was “seriously wounded by Israeli army gunfire during an arrest operation” at dawn, the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club said,…

Stocks surge to new record highs after jobs report

US stocks pushed to new record levels after a government report pointed to lower-than-expected jobless claims. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 61.29 (0.41 percent) to 14,863.53, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 5.47 (0.34 percent) to 1,593.20. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 recorded…

Obama tells North Korea to end ‘belligerent approach’

US President Barack Obama on Thursday called on North Korea to end its “belligerent approach,” as the world waited for Pyongyang to carry out an expected missile launch. Obama, who spoke alongside UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after talks in the Oval Office, said “nobody wants to see a conflict”…

Cornerstone laid for Palestinian culture museum

Palestinian officials on Thursday joined a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for a new museum of Palestinian culture, history and society in Bir Zeit near Ramallah. Organisers said the museum would provide Palestinians with “a valuable source of information on Palestine and its history”. The museum is to be constructed…

YouTube to broadcast debut concert of Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ follow-up live

YouTube will livestream a debut concert performance of Psy’s hugely anticipated follow-up to his global hit “Gangnam Style,” the South Korean sensation announced in a teasing video message. The 35-year-old rapper appeared to do a snippet of what might be the next big dance craze, to go with his new…

Non-amputees also experience ‘phantom limb’ sensation

Amputees often experience “phantom limbs”, or the sensation that their missing limb is still present, but a Swedish study published Thursday showed that even non-amputees can experience the bizarre sensation. “Our results show that the sight of a physical hand is remarkably unimportant to the brain for creating the experience…

French ‘Little Prince’ stories mark 70th anniversary

France is marking the 70th anniversary of the world-loved “The Little Prince” with a host of special editions, including a new biography of its author, native son Antoine de Saint-Exupery. “Le Petit Prince”, a series of parables in which a boy prince recounts his adventures among the stars to a…

Lawyers: Guantánamo hunger strike could be deadly

Lawyers describe detainees’ dramatic weight loss as guards attempt to end the protest through force-feeding and isolation Lawyers representing hunger-striking detainees at America’s controversial Guantánamo Bay prison have warned they fear some of the protesters could soon die in the ongoing protest. The news comes as fresh details emerge about…

Fidel Castro attends school ribbon-cutting in Cuba

Leaders inaugurating public works projects is a staple of Cuba, and a surprisingly spry-looking 86-year-old Fidel Castro has done it for the first time since stepping aside as president in 2006, media here reported on Thursday. The elder of the Castro brothers opened the Havana school for 140 children that…

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