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Walmart victorious as D.C. mayor vetoes living wage bill

The mayor of Washington DC has bowed to pressure from Walmart and vetoed minimum-wage legislation that would have hampered the supermarket giant’s push into urban America. Vincent Gray said the legislation, which would have forced large retailers to pay staff at least $12.50 an hour, would drive away employers and…

Syria’s Assad promises to hand over chemical weapons to avert strikes

President Bashar al-Assad vowed to hand over Syria’s chemical weapons Thursday as Moscow and Washington were set to begin high-stakes talks on a Russian plan to avert US-led military action against his regime. Speaking to Russian television, Assad said Syria would place its chemical weapons under foreign control in line…

Egypt’s interim authorities extend state of emergency

Egypt’s interim authorities on Thursday extended a state of emergency in force since mid-August by another two months because of the country’s continued insecurity. President Adly Mansour had initially announced a month-long state of emergency on August 14, at a time when deadly unrest swept Egypt as police dispersed two…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: J.K. Rowling writing Harry Potter spin-off films

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is writing a series of spin-off films set in the magical world of the British boy wizard, she announced on Thursday. The first film will be called “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and will be based on a textbook of the same name…

Flash flooding in Colorado kills at least three

Severe flooding in the western US state of Colorado has killed at least three people and prompted hundreds of evacuations, officials said Thursday. Firefighters in the city of Colorado Springs recovered two bodies due to the flooding, they reported on their twitter feed. A third death was reported in Jamestown,…

The ‘sharp decline’ in U.S unemployment was actually a glitch

US jobless claims fell sharply last week mainly due to technical problems that affected some states supplying data, the government said Thursday. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dived by 31,000 to 292,000 in the holiday-shortened week ending September 7, the Labor Department reported. Analysts had expected new claims, a sign…

Archaeologists uncover tomb of ancient female ‘prime minister’ to China’s first empress Wu Zetian

Archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a 7th-century female politician who was one of the most powerful women in China’s ancient history, local media said on Thursday. Shangguan Wan’er — who lived from 664 to 710 in the Tang dynasty — was a trusted aide to China’s first empress Wu…

Russian concerned about North Korea’s ‘nightmarish’ nuclear reactor re-start

Russia said on Thursday that North Korea was apparently conducting work on a nuclear reactor, warning that the ageing facility was in such a “nightmarish state” it could cause a disaster. “It is obvious that some works are being conducted, and for a long time at that. According to some…

World’s largest LED streetlight retrofit completed in Los Angeles

The world’s largest LED streetlight retrofit was recently completed by the City of Los Angeles — the enormous street light swap-out, one that saw the installation of 141,089 brand-new LED street lights, was finished up just towards the end of June…  …

Arctic ice continues to thin, European satellite reveals

The Arctic’s ice thinned ever more this past winter, again sounding the alarm bells that Arctic ice melt is continuing unabated. (Brennan Linsley/AP) The thickness of the Arctic’s ice was whittled to a new winter low, according to data from the…  …

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