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Stocks hit record highs after Federal Reserve meeting

US stocks powered to new record highs Wednesday after Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggested the Fed’s easy-money policies would remain in place for a while longer. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 128.78 (0.88 percent) to 14,802.24, a new all-time closing high. The broad-based S&P 500 surged 19.12 (1.22 percent)…

Test-tube baby pioneer Robert Edwards dies aged 87

British scientist Robert Edwards, who was awarded a Nobel prize for his pioneering work in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF), died on Wednesday aged 87, his university announced. Edwards spent his career making the dream of having a baby come true for millions of people worldwide, running into conflict with…

Anthony Weiner considering a political comeback in New York

Anthony Weiner, the former US congressman forced to resign after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women, said Wednesday that he’s considering a political comeback with a run for mayor in New York. Weiner was once seen as a frontrunner to replace billionaire Michael Bloomberg in November elections to the…

Michelle Obama calls for strengthened gun laws to stop bloodshed

First Lady Michelle Obama returned to her murder-plagued hometown Wednesday to make an emotional plea for strengthening US gun laws, saying she too could have been a victim of brutal street violence while growing up. Making a rare direct foray into the domestic policy debate, Obama held back tears as…

Scientists pinpoint what pain looks like in the brain

Scientists said Wednesday they have figured out how to recognize pain in brain scans, possibly paving the way for future tests that could accurately gauge its severity. “Right now, there’s no clinically acceptable way to measure pain and other emotions other than to ask a person how they feel,” said…

Chuck Hagel: North Korea ‘skating very close to a dangerous line’

North Korea is “skating very close to a dangerous line” with its heated rhetoric and provocative actions, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Wednesday. The United States and its allies hoped Pyongyang would tone down its inflammatory language but the American military was prepared for any possibility, Hagel said.…

Egyptian president withdraws legal complaints against journalists

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the withdrawal of complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumours about him, said a statement posted Wednesday on the presidency’s Twitter account. “The president has ordered the withdrawal of all legal complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumors on him,” the statement said. The…

Obama’s budget faces attacks from both liberals and conservatives

President Barack Obama rolled out a $3.78 trillion budget Wednesday, angering Republicans with a call for higher taxes on the rich while worrying liberals by countenancing cuts to retirement benefits. Much was familiar in Obama’s blueprint, rooted in his enduring campaign to shield the American middle class and to cut…

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.…

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