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SXSW film opener sees return of Jim Carrey

Rubber-faced comic Jim Carrey returned to the big screen in fan-pleasing form by way of the opening feature of the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival. “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” stars Steve Carrell as a washed-out Las Vegas magician in ghastly sequined suits whose refusal to change with the times…

Greek Prime Minister says no more austerity

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday promised his recession-weary nation that there would be “no more austerity measures” as international creditors prolonged an audit of crisis reforms. “There will be no more austerity measures,” Samaras said in a televised speech to his conservative party’s political committee. “And as soon…

Online museum project unearths ‘filthy’ Van Dyck masterpiece

A filthy oil painting locked away in a museum in the northeast of England was on Saturday revealed to be an original masterpiece by Van Dyck. The portrait was spotted when it was photographed for an ambitious project to catalogue every single one of Britain’s oil paintings in public ownership…

Prohibition lives on in Haddonfield, New Jersey

Anyone who wants a beer in Haddonfield, New Jersey had better be ready for a drive: buying or selling alcohol anywhere within city limits is punishable with jail time. Since long before Prohibition — the 13-year national ban on alcohol that started in 1920 — Haddonfield has been a “dry…

Saudi rights activists given heavy jail terms

A Saudi court on Saturday dissolved a human rights group and handed down heavy jail terms to two of its members, an AFP correspondent reported. The judge at the criminal court in Riyadh, in delivering his verdict ordered “the dissolution of the Saudi Association of Civil and Political Rights (ACPRA),…

Philippines still confident U.N. peacekeepers will be released from Syria

The Philippines still expects its 21 UN peacekeepers held hostage in the Golan Heights to be freed, despite shelling by Syrian forces that scuttled a handover, a military spokesman said. A UN convoy that entered the Syrian village of Jamla on Friday to pick up the Filipinos abducted by rebels…

Talk of 3D printing ‘renaissance’ kicks off ‘South by Southwest’ festival

The 27th edition of South by Southwest kicked off Friday with a bold prediction that desktop 3D printing will unleash a new industrial revolution guided by “creative explorers.” Inventing or replicating everyday objects in three dimensions using laser beams and molten plastic is a major theme of the interactive segment…

U.S. economic recovery leaving Europe and Japan ‘stagnant’

A sharp fall in the unemployment rate Friday and a fresh all-time record for stocks show the US economy pulling away from its peers, gaining ground while Europe and Japan remain stagnant. The Federal Reserve’s easy-money policy and the government’s modest stimulus spending appear to be paying off, distancing the…

Czech officials baffled by wave of cyber attacks

The Czech Republic has been hit by an unprecedented wave of cyber attacks this week, with investigators stumped over their origin amid concerns they could lead to worse mayhem. “We don’t know anything about the motivation for now, because no one has claimed the attacks,” Radek Holy, spokesman for the…

Human rights activists push U.N. for action over Vietnam’s treatment of cyber-protesters

Campaigners urged the UN Human Rights Council Friday to take Vietnam to task over its jailing of dozens of cyber-dissidents, claiming Hanoi was in breach of international law. “We call upon the Council to press Vietnam to put an end to this repression,” said Vo Van Ai, speaking on behalf…

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