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Gov. Rick Snyder’s expected move to name ‘emergency manager’ of Detroit draws charges of racism

Residents of Detroit, a US city which has long been a poster child for urban decay, may lose the ability to govern themselves if their city council is replaced by a state-appointed technocrat. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is expected to name an emergency manager in the coming days in an…

Maldives court orders flogging of 15-year-old girl allegedly raped by stepfather

A Maldives court has sentenced a 15-year-old alleged rape victim to 100 lashes and eight months under house arrest after she admitted having had premarital sex in a separate incident, an official said Wednesday. During a police probe into allegations that the girl had been raped by her stepfather, investigators…

White House mulling ‘non-lethal’ aid to Syrian rebels: Washington Post

The White House is mulling a major shift in policy on war-torn Syria and could supply rebels with “non-lethal” aid such as body armor, armored vehicles and perhaps even military training, according to the Washington Post. Citing unidentified US and European officials, the newspaper also reported Tuesday that Washington could…

Nobel laureates urge China to release Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo

More than 140 Nobel laureates led by archbishop Desmond Tutu urged China on Wednesday to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a rights activist jailed for subversion since 2009. In a letter also signed by 400,000 people from more than 130 countries, the laureates called on China’s president-in-waiting Xi…

83-year-old widow asks Supreme Court to strike Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on grounds of discrimination

Lawyers for Edith Windsor file brief ahead of March 7 hearing that urges justices to find anti-gay legislation unconstitutional Edith Windsor, the New York widow at the centre of a US supreme court legal challenge to the act that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage, put her case on Tuesday…

Young African-Americans see lives shattered by gun violence

In 1998, Ismael Watkins was walking down a street when a bullet hit him in the neck. He never took another step. Today, the 33-year-old relies on a wheelchair to get around and still remembers those life-changing moments as if they had happened yesterday. “I heard the shot, it hit…

Neurons can be reprogrammed long after they’ve matured, study finds

These drawings by Santiago Ramón y Cajal show the cellular structure of three different areas of the human cerebral cortex. The cortex is the seat of higher mental functions such as language and decision-making, and contains dozens of distinct, specialised areas. As Cajal’s drawings show, the cortex has a characteristic…

Christopher Dorner case rekindled distrust and resentment of police

One strange, sad, but telling aspect of the recent manhunt for Christopher Dorner, the fired Los Angeles cop who pursued a fatal vendetta against the city police department, is that many African-Americans in Los Angeles and elsewhere cheered him on via Twitter and Facebook and in public online forums…  …

Scientists reconstruct Russian meteor trajectory

A duo of Colombian scientists say they have reconstructed the orbit of the meteor that exploded earlier this month over Chelyabinsk, Russia.  Relying on videos of the meteor from Chelyabinsk’s Revolutionary Square and in the nearby city of Korkino, astronomers Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin at…  …

Looming budget cuts prompt U.S. to free hundreds of detained immigrants

US authorities revealed Tuesday that they have released hundreds of detained immigrants in recent days to trim expenses ahead of massive automatic budget cuts due to take effect this week. With three days to go before the so-called “sequester” — $85 billion in across-the-board cuts — takes effect, federal agencies…

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