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U.S. missile defense system test sputters out

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A test of the only U.S. defense against long-range ballistic missiles failed on Friday, the third consecutive failure involving the interceptor system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said. “Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which…

BART service resumes in San Francisco with 30-day stopgap agreement

By Jim Christie Commuter rail service in the San Francisco area resumed on Friday after striking employees of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system agreed to extend current contracts by 30 days. The strike, the first since 1997 by BART’s workers, began on Monday after talks broke down just hours…

Detroit accuses bond insurer of stifling agreement with creditors

By Karen Pierog and Steve Neavling (Reuters) – The city of Detroit filed a lawsuit against bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc claiming the company blocked an agreement the city hopes to conclude with major creditors involving revenue from the city’s three casinos. The suit filed on Friday by Detroit’s state-appointed…

New Mexico on alert for wildfires amid dryest conditions on record

Amid driest conditions on record, New Mexico sweats every spark (via The Christian Science Monitor) New Mexico is a tinderbox ready to spark. In its third consecutive year of drought, the state is currently experiencing the warmest, driest conditions on record. According to New Mexico state climatologist David DuBois, the…

Researchers: Cockatoo species shows problem-solving ability

Da Vinci-code, bird-style: Cockatoos can solve complex puzzles (via The Christian Science Monitor) These are birds with intellects to rival even those of Alfred Hitchock. Researchers have found that Goffin’s cockatoos can complete a complicated sequence of tasks in pursuit of a reward, suggesting that species’ cognitive ability to innovate…

Volcano ash stops more flights into Mexico City

Two US airlines canceled a handful of flights to and from Mexico City’s international airport on Friday after the Popocatepetl volcano spewed a new column of ash, officials said. United Airlines canceled its flights from and to Los Angeles and the Texas city of Houston, while AirTran scrapped one, an…

Snowden leaks now threaten U.S.-EU cooperation on travel, financial data

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is threatening to suspend two agreements granting the United States access to European financial and travel data unless Washington shows it is respecting EU rules on data privacy, EU officials said on Friday. The threat reflects European disquiet about allegations that the United States…

Head of Anglican Church says that women priests must be allowed to serve as bishops

LONDON (Reuters) – The Church of England must follow through on plans to ordain women bishops, its spiritual head said on Friday, as talks on the issue that have divided the church were set to re-open. In his first address to its national assembly, the General Synod, Archbishop of Canterbury…

Swiss pilot cleared to finish solar plane trek across U.S.

For Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, flying an experimental solar aircraft across America has been exhilarating, but perilous at times. His wispy, fuel-free aircraft, the Solar Impulse, is poised to take off Saturday on its final leg of a cross-country US tour aimed at showcasing the promise of clean energy. The…

Zimmerman’s lawyers demand an acquittal

SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) – Lawyers for George Zimmerman asked a judge on Friday to consider acquitting the former neighborhood watch volunteer of second-degree murder charges in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, arguing the state failed to meet its burden of proof. The motion came as prosecutors prepared…

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