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Putin welcomes China’s Xi for landmark talks

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s new leader Xi Jinping are to hold landmark talks on Friday in the hope of further cementing the two countries’ partnership with a range of economic and strategic agreements. The Chinese leader chose Russia for his first trip abroad after China this month completed…

Pope Francis feels ‘close’ to the non-religious

Pope Francis on Wednesday promised “friendship and respect” for all faiths at a meeting with representatives of major world religions in the Vatican in which he said he felt “close” to non-believers. The Roman Catholic Church would “promote friendship and respect between men and women of different religions,” the pope…

Apple to guard against hackers with new mobile phone protections

Apple is introducing two-factor authentication for users of its iCloud and other services, adding an extra layer of protection against hackers trying to access peoples’ accounts by requiring mobile phone verification for changes in personal details or online purchases. The move was announced coincidentally just hours after the weakness of…

U.S. says ‘no indication’ Syrian rebels used chemical weapons

The United States has found no evidence to support a Syrian government allegation that opposition rebels used chemical weapons in an attack this week, a US official said Thursday. “We have no indication that chemical weapons were used,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Syrian government and…

Yoko Ono: We are turning this beautiful country into a war zone

A sobering image of John Lennon’s bloodstained glasses ricocheted around the Internet on Thursday after his widow Yoko Ono posted them on Twitter in an appeal for tougher US guns laws. “The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 33 years, our son Sean and I still…

Los Angeles holds earthquake drill to prepare for the ‘big one’

Emergency teams staged a mock operation to respond to a catastrophic 7.8-magnitude quake in Los Angeles, saying the West Coast megalopolis needs to be ready for an “overdue” Big One. Some 300 people took part in the office-based drill on Thursday, organized by LA County’s Office of Emergency Management, based…

Planck spacecraft’s map of ‘almost perfect’ universe could point to new physics

Today is a great day. The European Space Agency has released the most precise map so far of the oldest light in the universe. The best news is that is reveals an ‘almost perfect universe‘. By that they mean it almost conforms to expectations – but not quite. While the basic…

Federal judge: ‘Clipping’ news articles violates copyright law

A US federal judge has ruled that the online news “clipping” service Meltwater violates copyright law by using excerpts from Associated Press articles, the parties said Thursday. The US news organization sued Meltwater, claiming the service infringed on AP’s copyright by delivering its articles to clients without paying a subscription…

Obama appeals for peace to young Israelis

In a powerful direct appeal to Israelis, President Barack Obama Thursday insisted a two-state peace with the Palestinians could still be forged and was their only hope of true security. In a trademark soaring address, Obama also built on his vow of an “eternal” defence of the Jewish state in…

New York man released after being wrongly imprisoned for 23 years

A New Yorker was freed Thursday after serving more than 20 years in prison for the murder of a rabbi that the authorities now say he did not commit. David Ranta was sentenced to 37 years behind bars after being convicted in 1991 of killing an Orthodox Jewish rabbi during…

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