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Pope Francis to atheists, agnostics: ‘God forgives those who obey their conscience’

Pope Francis responded at great length to questions from Eugenio Scalfari, the former editor of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, in a letter published Wednesday. In it, he said that non-believers must “obey their conscience,” because “God forgives those who obey their conscience.” The carefully-worded letter, which stretched over four…

Secret deal allows NSA to share Americans’ data with Israel

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals. Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and…

Russia hands Syria chemical arms plan over to the U.S.

Russian officials have given the United States a plan to put Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal under international control, ahead of a key meeting between Moscow and Washington’s top diplomats in Geneva, reports said Wednesday. “We handed over to the Americans a plan to place chemical weapons in Syria under international…

Olbermann: Sports ushered in a return to normalcy after 9/11

On his eponymous show last night, Keith Olbermann reflected on the value of sports on 9/11. He began by mocking the case of The Tumbledown Trails golf course, which offered a special 9/11 promotion: “18 holes with cart for $9.11! 9/11/13 Only!” He then advocated for the effectiveness of sports…

American blogger calls 911 to report person texting during movie

An American blogger annoyed by texting and emailing on smartphones during a movie at the Toronto film festival called police this week. Alex Billington reportedly first complained to theater managers at the Monday midnight screening of Ti West’s “The Sacrament.” But when no action was taken, he called the police…

Sen. Grassley: Marijuana prohibition based on ‘what science tells us’

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Conflicts between State and Federal Marijuana Laws,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) claimed that marijuana prohibition was based on “what science tells us about this dangerous and addictive drug.” He followed that by noting that there’s “a process that exists for moving drugs on…

One third of food — worth $750 billion — wasted every year

One third of the food produced worldwide is wasted, costing the global economy around $750 billion (570 billion euros) a year, a new report by the UN food agency said Wednesday. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said some 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, with…

German town decides it doesn’t want Adolf Hitler to be an honorary citizen any more

Adolf Hitler will lose his honorary citizen’s title in Goslar, Germany, the latest town to distance itself from the former Nazi leader, officials said Wednesday. The northern town’s council adopted a motion Tuesday to drop Hitler as an honorary citizen, town spokesman Christian Burgart told AFP. Town councillors from the…

Syrian jihadist fighters attack Alawite civilians

Twelve civilians from Syria’s Alawite minority, to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs, have been killed by jihadist fighters in the central province of Homs, a Syrian NGO said Wednesday. Fighters from the Al-Nusra Front and another rebel group attacked three Alawite villages near the city of Homs Tuesday, the Syrian…

U.S. marks 12th anniversary of 9/11 attacks

Americans on Wednesday marked the 12th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in somber fashion, with ceremonies of remembrance in New York and Washington. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives observed a moment of silence on the White House lawn. The president was to deliver…

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