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Prepare for yet another budget showdown in Congress

President Barack Obama is facing the prospect of a fiscal fight with Congress, with both sides having three weeks to break funding impasses or risk government default. Two crucial votes are on the horizon for the divided and gridlocked Congress, including approval of a federal budget for fiscal year 2014,…

Terrifying Gastornis bird turns out to have been a vegetarian

A giant “terror bird” deemed to have been one of Earth’s top predators after the demise of the dinosaurs was in fact probably a plant-loving herbivore, German scientists reported on Thursday. Palaeontologists have wrangled for years about Gastornis, a huge flightless bird that lived between 40 million and 55 million…

Chelsea Manning has made ‘several friends who accept her for who she is’

A lawyer for army private Chelsea Manning says the soldier is doing well as she goes through the indoctrination process at military prison. David Coombs said on his blog on Thursday that he was able to speak with Manning, previously known as Bradley Manning, while she goes through the three-week…

Chicago Marathon ups security after Boston bombings

Chicago Marathon organizers and city officials Thursday announced new procedures designed to improve security in the wake of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April. The race on October 13 will mark the first major marathon in a US city since two bombs went off near the finish line of…

Hundreds fill New York’s Times Square to protest attack against Syria

Hundreds of people protested at New York’s Times Square on Thursday over possible US plans to strike Syria’s regime which it believes to be behind a deadly chemical attack. Supporters of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, backers of the opposition who want a US intervention, and Americans who say they can’t…

British parliament votes against military strike on Syria

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday it was clear parliament “does not want to see British military action” in Syria after the government suffered a stunning defeat on the issue. A government motion calling for lawmakers to back military action in principle was defeated 285 to 272, a majority…

New DNA evidence could exonerate death row inmate: lawyers

New DNA evidence could help exonerate a man on death row in the US state of Texas for the murder of his girlfriend and her two adult sons, his lawyers claimed Thursday. Hank Skinner, 51, has been on death row for 20 years over the 1993 triple murder. He has…

UN orders its inspectors out of Syria over fears of U.S. air strike

UN weapons inspectors have been ordered to leave Syria early amid mounting anticipation of US-led military strikes. As the five permanent members of the security council held a second emergency meeting on Syria in two days on Thursday evening, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, instructed the 20-strong inspection team…

Leaked documents show massive expansion of CIA budget

The CIA has mushroomed into the largest US spy agency with a nearly $15 billion budget as it expands intelligence, cyber sabotage and overseas covert operations, secret leaked documents showed Thursday. Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked the government’s “black budget” for fiscal year 2013 to The Washington…

Obama administration hints it could act alone on Syria

The United States hinted Thursday it could act alone to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack, following hesitation by its closest ally Britain and a deadlock at the United Nations. The Obama administration also denied that public skepticism dating to an Iraq war intelligence debacle was complicating its effort…

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