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U.S. steps up Pakistan surveillance: Washington Post ‘black budget’ analysis

While US intelligence agencies spend billions monitoring enemies like Al-Qaeda and Iran, they pay just as much as attention to ally Pakistan, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The United States has intensified surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, is concerned about biological and chemical arms sites there and tries to evaluate…

Dennis Rodman heads back to North Korea to see ‘friend’ Kim Jong-Un

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman Tuesday said he was heading back to Pyongyang to see his “friend”, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but refused to say if he would come back with an imprisoned US citizen. Korean-American Kenneth Bae, 44, has been held prisoner in the North since November, and…

Hagel and Kerry to make case to Congress for attacking Syria: Failing to act ‘unravels the deterrent impact of the international norm against chemical weapons use’

The US secretaries of state and defense go before a Senate panel seeking support to attack Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, warning failure to do so might embolden Hezbollah and Iran. In what will be one of the most high-profile political set pieces in Washington in weeks,…

350-million-year-old Gondwana supercontinent land creature discovered

A 350-million-year-old fossilised scorpion discovered in South Africa is the oldest known land animal to have lived on Gondwana, part of Earth’s former supercontinent, a university said Monday. The new species, named Gondwanascorpio emzantsiensis, provides tantalising clues about the development of life before Earth’s continents broke apart to form the…

British government says big change needed before new Syria vote

The British government has said it has no plans to hold another parliamentary vote on Syria air strikes after last week’s defeat but might revisit the issue if circumstances change “very significantly”. Prime Minister David Cameron lost a House of Commons ballot on Thursday on taking action to punish Syria…

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says he’s eager to experiment at The Washington Post

Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post’s future owner, says he is eager to try new things in search of an exciting future for the venerable but struggling daily. In his first interview with the Post since the $250 million dollar acquisition was announced in August, the Amazon founder said he has…

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge delights drivers with early opening

< Work went so smoothly on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge that it opened to traffic earlier than expected Monday night, delighting the first drivers to cross the span. Rumors swirled all weekend that the bridge would be open to traffic sooner that…   Watch a video of…

Somali president ‘ambushed,’ Shebab militants say

Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents ambushed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Tuesday, the militants said, claiming to have destroyed vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades. “We ambushed a convoy that was escorting the self-appointed Somali president,” Shebab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP, adding that fighting was continuing near the port of Merka.…

New skin-eating fungus is killing salamanders

A new kind of skin-eating fungus has been killing fire salamanders in the Netherlands at an alarming rate, European researchers said Monday. The boldly colored yellow and black salamanders have dwindled rapidly since 2010, with just four percent of their original population left. Based on an analysis of the dead…

Seized shark fins dumped in Marshall Islands ceremony

The Marshall Islands symbolically disposed of confiscated shark fins at sea Tuesday in a ceremony witnessed by regional leaders attending the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The gesture underscored the progress made towards protecting the marine predators since the Marshalls declared a two million square kilometre (770,000 square mile) shark sanctuary…

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