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Major businesses call for climate change laws

Several major companies issued a joint call Wednesday for the United States to enact legislation to battle climate change, saying that the issue was critical to their businesses. Thirty-three firms including online retailer eBay, tech giant Intel, coffee leader Starbucks and sportswear makers Adidas, Nike, Patagonia, The North Face and…

Government foreclosure relief brings homeowners only $300 to $500

By Paul Kiel, ProPublica The government’s largest effort to compensate victims of the banks’ foreclosure practices is finally sputtering to an end. But for most of those eligible 2013 nearly three million borrowers 2013 it won’t be much of an ending: they’ll be receiving a check for $300 to $500.…

Obama’s budget boosts funding for health and science

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal released on Wednesday would boost funds for major science and health programs while making small cuts at NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. Top projects at the US space agency would continue, including developing a new spaceship to send astronauts to the International Space Station,…

French Senate approves crucial marriage equality measure

France’s Senate on Wednesday approved the crucial first article of a bill granting gay couples the right to marry, clearing the way for a law that has sparked protests from conservatives and religious groups. The upper house approved the article overnight by a vote of 179 to 157, with all…

Study: Northern hemisphere summers now warmest of last 600 years

Summers in the northern hemisphere are now warmer than at any period in six centuries, according to climate research published on Wednesday in the science journal Nature. Harvard University researchers analysing evidence from Arctic tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and thermometer records said recent warm temperature extremes in high…

Scientists find new key ingredient for anti-malaria drug

US scientists on Wednesday said they had used baker’s yeast to make a key ingredient of malaria drugs, a feat that could iron out fluctuations in supply caused by sourcing the chemical from a Chinese herb. One of the revolutions in malaria treatment in recent decades has been the advent…

Court acquits French mother who put ‘I am a bomb’ T-shirt on son

A court in southern France on Wednesday acquitted a mother on trial for dressing her three-year-old son in a T-shirt reading “I am a bomb” and “Jihad, Born on September 11.” Bouchra Bagour, 35, was on trial in Avignon on charges of defending terrorism after sending her boy, named Jihad,…

Punk rocker Patti Smith meets Pope Francis

US punk rocker Patti Smith shook hands with Pope Francis at a general audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday, saying afterwards she found the new pontiff “very interesting” and “liked him a lot”. Wearing a black beanie hat and an oversize brown coat, Smith and the pope appeared to…

Greenpeace ‘polar bears’ protest Arctic drilling in Norway

Two Greenpeace activists dressed as polar bears boarded an oil platform in Norway on Wednesday to protest against Norwegian oil and gas group Statoil’s planned drilling in the Arctic. “No oil company in the world is prepared for Arctic conditions,” said the head of Greenpeace Norway, Truls Gulowsen, one of…

Chilean court scraps Canadian-backed gold mine over environmental concerns

A Chilean court said on Wednesday it has suspended construction of what would be one of the world’s biggest gold mines, accepting a complaint filed by indigenous groups on environmental grounds. The complaint against the project launched in 2009 by Canadian mining company Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer,…

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