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U.S. considering speeding up Afghanistan pullout: NYT report

The United States is seriously considering speeding up the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan because of frustration with President Hamid Karzai, the New York Times reported. And a so called ‘zero option’ — having no US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 — is also on the cards, the daily…

Silicon Valley’s ugly rich-poor gap is growing

When Catherine Bracy moved to San Francisco’s Mission district from Chicago to head up the technology team for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, she was struck by the difference half a minute can make…  …

Second ‘Prisoner X’ held in top secret in Israel

A second ‘Prisoner X’ was being held in top-secret conditions in the same jail where an Israeli-Australian spy took his his own life in 2010, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. Court documents cited by Haaretz newspaper said the prisoner was being held in another wing of Ayalon prison at the…

Data analytics firm Spotter launches social media ‘sarcasm detector’

French tech firm Spotter has apparently devised an analytics platform capable of identifying sarcastic comments, according to the BBC. Spotter’s platform scans social media and other sources to create reputation reports for clients such as the EU…   [Finger caught with a mousetrap on a white background via Shutterstock.com.]…

How spiders use an electrical charge to trap insects

< The spider web – already one of nature’s greatest marvels for its strategic architectural design and the adhesive strands – has now been found to have another advantage: a negative electrical charge, which can snap up positively charged insects…  …

New abortion restrictions reignite culture wars

A crowd shouts ‘Shame, shame, shame!’ as law enforcement officers stand outside the North Carolina legislative building after the state Senate gave its approval to a series of abortion restrictions July 3.…  …

Pentagon puts 650,000 workers on unpaid leave due to cuts

Heavy US government spending cuts took a sharp swing as the Pentagon began putting about 650,000 civilian workers on unpaid leave. The Department of Defense’s civilian employees face furloughs of up to 11 days through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The unpaid leave will slash their…

White House dodges questions of Egyptian ‘coup’ as military aid continues

The Obama administration attempted to sidestep questions over the legality of military aid to Egypt on Monday, claiming it was not in its “best interests” to decide yet whether the armed overthrow of the country’s elected president amounted to a coup or not. US law prevents any administration providing support…

Supreme Court asked to suspend NSA and FBI’s blanket collection of phone data

The US supreme court will be asked to suspend the blanket collection of US telephone records by the FBI under an emergency petition due to be filed on Monday by civil rights campaigners at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic). This new legal challenge to the power of government agencies…

Strength and frequency of tropical cyclones could increase dramatically: study

The world typically sees about 90 tropical cyclones a year, but that number could increase dramatically in the next century due to global warming, a US scientist said Monday. Rising greenhouse gas emissions could lead to a 10 to 40 percent increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones by the…

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