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15-nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) pact wins U.S. support to aggressively combat climate change

A new Pacific regional pact calling for aggressive action to combat climate change has achieved a “major accomplishment” by gaining US support, officials said Sunday. The Majuro Declaration, endorsed by the 15-nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) at their summit last week, contains specific pledges on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The…

Neuroscientists find secrets of ‘sex on the brain’

Survey asks men and women to rank parts of the body by pleasure – and some of the results prove surprising The mind, said Raquel Welch, is an erogenous zone. And it is the brain, and how it organises our erogenous zones, that has intrigued scientists for decades. Why is…

Thousands of Berliners join anti-NSA protest

Thousands took to the streets in Berlin Saturday in protests against Internet surveillance activities by the US National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, and the German government’s perceived lax reaction to them. Organisers, among them the opposition Greens, The Left and Pirates parties, said 20,000 people turned out. Police…

U.S. Federal Reserve faces midstream changeover, with Bernanke’s successor still unnamed

There’s never a good time to change the head of the US central bank, according to Ethan Harris, who wrote “Ben Bernanke’s Fed” about the chairman of the Federal Reserve. But it’s even more the case currently as Bernanke appears poised to depart in January, even though the US economy…

Prince Andrew challenged by police in palace gardens

Prince Andrew was challenged by jittery royal protection officers in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last week as they stepped up security following a break-in, police admitted on Sunday. The Duke of York, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II, was approached by two armed officers as he took an…

Asif Ali Zardari set to step down as Pakistan president

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari steps down on Sunday having defied expectations by holding onto power for a record five years but facing criticism for leaving the economy and security in a shocking state. Never popular and always shrouded in controversy, Zardari — once jailed for 11 years for alleged…

Legacy of Pinochet questioned 40 years after coup

Forty years after the coup that toppled Salvador Allende and brought the dictator Augusto Pinochet to power, Chile remains a country ill at ease with itself. Life is very good by Latin American standards. The roads are spiffy and shopping centers are shiny, things work and poverty is greatly reduced.…

‘Were you wearing a bra?’ Rape accuser at US Naval Academy faces aggressive and withering questioning on the hearing stand

The pre-trial hearings in a military courtroom at the U.S. Naval Academy have exposed a Navy midshipman who has accused three academy football players of rape to pointed cross-examination of the kind a civilian accuser wouldn’t face, according to news reports covering the case. Under defense questioning over the last…

French consulate worker arrested at Israeli border with 334 pounds of gold and $2 million in checks

Israeli customs officials on Tuesday arrested a French consulate employee carrying nearly $2 million in checks, 152 kg in gold bars — about 334 pounds — and a half ton of tobacco as he tried to cross between Jordan and the West Bank in a diplomatic vehicle, a French source…

Tokyo wins vote to host 2020 Olympics; PM Abe personally lobbied voters worried about Fukushima

Tokyo has won the race to host the 2020 Olympic Games after the Japanese prime minister flew in to personally reassure voters that radioactive leaks from the Fukushima power plant would not create a health risk. The intervention from Shinzo Abe helped the Japanese capital defeat Madrid and Istanbul in…

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