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New Zealand troops begin withdrawal from Afghanistan

New Zealand troops began their withdrawal from Afghanistan Friday, with the lowering of the flag for the last time at their base in Bamiyan to mark the end of a 10-year involvement in the war. The government announced the early withdrawal last year, with the New Zealand contingent originally scheduled…

Bill Nelson becomes 51st senator to support same sex marriage

US Senator Bill Nelson endorsed gay marriage on Thursday, shifting the chamber in favor of rights for same-sex couples. Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, became the 51st lawmaker in the 100-seat Senate to support gay unions, the latest in a string of lawmakers to change their position on the sensitive…

Obama ‘very optimistic’ about immigration reform, but not gun control

US President Barack Obama said Thursday he was more upbeat about the prospects of immigration reform making it through Congress than tougher gun control legislation. “I am very optimistic that we get immigration reform done in the next few months,” Obama told Democratic donors at an event in Atherton, California,…

Rick Santorum: I could run for president in 2016

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) hasn’t ruled out running for President of the United States again. “I’m making no commitments at this point, but we’re not doing anything inconsistent with running in 2016,” he told Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg on Thursday. Following his failed bid for the White House…

Teen hikers found safe in California after four-day search

California emergency workers found a second missing hiker Thursday, a day after her companion was rescued and four days after they got lost while hiking on Easter Sunday. A massive ground and air search had been launched to find Nicholas Cendoya, 19, and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack in Trabuco Canyon, 55…

Scientists use 3D printer to make tissue-like material

British scientists have used a custom-made 3D printer to make living tissue-like material that could one day serve medical purposes, according to findings released Thursday. The material is made up of thousands of connected water droplets, encapsulated within lipid films, that can carry out some of the functions of human…

U.S. taking ‘necessary precautions’ on North Korea

The United States is taking “all the necessary precautions” in the face of escalating threats from North Korea, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday. “What we’re seeing now is a familiar pattern of behavior… regrettable but familiar,” Carney said aboard Air Force One as President Barack Obama returned to…

‘Extinct’ turtle species actually never existed, scientists say

A Seychelles freshwater turtle species declared extinct after decades of futile searches, in fact never existed, scientists said Thursday. While Man has the extinction of several turtle and tortoise species on his conscience, DNA evidence has now cleared him of exterminating Pelusios seychellensis, a team from Germany and Austria wrote…

Navy relieves four of duties after minesweeper runs aground in the Philippines

The commanding officer and three crew of a US minesweeper which ran aground on a protected coral reef in the Philippines have been relieved of their duties, the US Navy said Thursday. A statement from the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii said an initial investigation had found that the commander…

Animal rights groups slam fox hunting organization after horse dies on first day of meet

LONDON — Animal rights campaigners slammed Grand National organisers after a horse died on the first day of the meeting at Aintree on Thursday. The world famous National will be staged on Saturday, with the welfare of the horses firmly on the agenda after Battlefront became the 23rd horse to…

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