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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…

Germany pledges to help Greece develop renewable energy

The German government is to help Greece develop its renewable energy sector under an agreement signed Thursday by the two countries and an EU taskforce for the debt-laden country. The accord, which entails German cash and advice, aims “to improve the general conditions for the development of renewable energies in…

Pope Francis riles conservatives by washing feet of Serbian Muslim woman

The ritual washing of feet is a gesture of humility based on the belief that Jesus Christ washed the feet of his apostles on the evening of their final meal together before his arrest, crucifixion and death. Vatican tradition has it that each year on Good Thursday the pope washes…

How the BBQ and golf lobbyists changed daylight savings time in the U.S.

Europeans will lose an hour of sleep this Sunday, something most Americans did three weeks ago. And in the fall they’ll get it back a week before their US counterparts. So why this trans-Atlantic divide? Look no further than the US golf and barbecue industries. For years, the United States…

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