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Rev. Jesse Jackson prays for improved U.S.-Venezuelan relationship at Chavez funeral

Hollywood star Sean Penn, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and a pair of US politicians joined mourners at Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s funeral Friday, with the reverend praying for better US-Venezuelan relations. A somber-looking Penn, wearing a black suit and tie, sat among the crowd of foreign dignitaries who paid…

Vatican gives blessing to ‘adopt a cardinal’ website

The Vatican on Friday gave its blessing to a new German website called “Adopt a Cardinal” that is encouraging the faithful to pray for individual cardinals chosen at random by a computer programme. “The cardinals were informed about the website. A lot of people have signed up,” Vatican spokesman Federico…

Bin Laden son-in-law court appearance reignites debate over handling of terrorism cases

NEW YORK — With the surprise appearance in a New York courtroom of Osama bin Laden’s son in law on Friday, the US justice system’s handling of terrorism cases itself went back on trial. Until now, alleged Al-Qaeda figures have been more likely to be blown apart by a missile…

Diners at one of world’s top-rated restaurants in Denmark get nasty food poisoning

Diners who forked out for a top-notch meal in a Danish restaurant dubbed the world’s best eatery got more than they bargained for when dozens came down with a nasty case of food poisoning. The two-Michelin-star Noma restaurant in Copenhagen prides itself on dishes like pike perch and cabbages or…

News Corp. spins off $2.6 billion newspaper and publishing arm

The newspaper and publishing unit being spun off by media giant News Corp. will begin operations with $2.6 billion in cash, according to regulatory documents filed Friday. The company to be created by a split of magnate Rupert Murdoch’s conglomerate will get a cash infusion when the breakup takes place,…

State Department cancels award to Egyptian activist over 9/11 tweets

Just hours before a high-profile ceremony, the United States Friday canceled an award to an Egyptian activist after learning she had praised the 9/11 attacks and the killing of Israelis. Samira Ibrahim was to have been honored along with nine other women at the International Women of Courage Award hosted…

Group: Kentucky ‘religious freedom’ bill would allow discrimination over birth control

“The Religious Freedom Act,” a bill created in response to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage mandate, cleared Kentucky’s Senate Thursday night despite activists’ warning that it could topple years of civil rights progress in the state and “make discrimination legal.” “[The] legislation could be used by an individual…

Park ranger files claim for $1.2 million reward for information about cop killer Dorner

By Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian February manhunt in California led to $1.2m reward offered by LA authorities – and several people are vying for the cash It was the biggest US manhunt in living memory, which ended with the fugitive taking his own life as his mountain cabin redoubt burned around…

Report raises concern over Europe’s land-use footprint

PARIS — Imports to meet Europe’s ever-growing food demand require it using land beyond its borders roughly the size of Scandinavia, according to a new study that urges belt-tightening. China, Brazil, Argentina, India and the United States are the main land hosts for European consumption, but poorer nations like Ivory…

Israeli president: Obama visit a ‘good occasion’ to restart peace process

US President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel is a “good occasion” to relaunch the stalled Middle East peace process, Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Friday. Obama is due in Israel at the end of this month on a trip that will also see him travel to see Palestinian…

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