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Obama: U.S. should be ashamed if horror of Newtown has already been forgotten

Barack Obama rejected criticism on Thursday that he has delayed too long on gun reform, allowing memories of the Newtown shooting to fade and allowing time for opponents to regroup. In a speech at the White House, attended by parents of gun victims, he said bluntly that the United States…

New York cops get strict new rules for Facebook

New York City’s police commissioner announced new restrictions Thursday for cops who want to tweet and post on Facebook. Police will not be allowed to specify their jobs on YouTube, Facebook and other Internet platforms, NY1 television and the New York Daily News reported. They also can’t post photos of…

Barbara Walters set to retire in 2014: reports

US broadcasting icon Barbara Walters, 83, is poised to announce her retirement next year in the coming weeks, US news media reported Thursday. The New York Times, quoting “an executive familiar with the newswoman’s plans,” said a formal announcement of Walter’s retirement would likely be made on “The View,” a…

Obama launches commission to investigate voting irregularities

US President Barack Obama Thursday tasked a presidential commission to probe long lines at polling stations and other irregularities faced by voters in last year’s election. Obama, making good on a promise issued in his victory speech last November, signed an executive order to charter the commission, which will deliver…

Solar-powered plane prepares for flight across the United States

A groundbreaking solar-powered Swiss aircraft is ready to make a coast-to-coast flight across the United States, its creators said Thursday. The experimental Solar Impulse plane, which has made several trips since its maiden flight in 2009, will take off on May 1 on a transcontinental tour split in five stages.…

Obama ‘deeply concerned’ for Nelson Mandela

US President Barack Obama said Thursday he was “deeply concerned” for the health of Nelson Mandela, after the former South African president was again admitted to hospital. “We are deeply concerned with Nelson Mandela’s health — he is a hero, I think, to all of us,” Obama said as he…

U.S. will ‘respond’ to North Korea’s provocations, says Chuck Hagel

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the United States was “prepared to deal with any eventuality” from North Korea and warned that danger from Pyongyang was on the rise. “We will unequivocally defend — we are unequivocally committed — to that alliance with South Korea as well as our…

Former U.S. soldier charged with fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria

A former US soldier has been arrested and charged with terror offenses after he allegedly travelled to Syria and joined an Al-Qaeda-linked rebel group, the Justice Department said Thursday. Eric Harroun, a 30-year-old army veteran from Phoenix, Arizona, is alleged to have joined a squad of guerrilla fighters from the…

U.S. accuses Russia of ‘witch hunt’ against activist groups

Russian authorities seem to have launched a “witch hunt” against activist groups that is damaging the country’s path to democracy, a top US official said Thursday. Washington is concerned by an “unprecedented” wave of raids on at least 100 top Russian and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), State Department spokesman Victoria…

Three astronauts blast off on fastest ride to the International Space Station

A crew of two Russians and an American blasted off Friday on a Russian rocket for the International Space Station, in a trip scheduled to be the fastest ever manned journey to the facility. The trio successfully launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with a journey time expected to…

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