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Lego sales skyrocket as sales of girls’ toy line outpaces production

Toy maker Lego said on Thursday that net profit jumped 35 percent in 2012 on sales rising 25 percent, as demand for a controversial girls’ range outstripped production capacity. The unlisted Danish company posted a net profit of 5.61 billion kroner (752 million euros or $992 million) on revenue that…

‘The Gatekeepers’: Israeli intelligence under spotlight at the Oscars

Already under scrutiny over the Prisoner X affair, Israel’s all-powerful spy agencies have once again found themselves in the spotlight with the explosive Oscar-nominated documentary “The Gatekeepers”. The film, which has been nominated for best documentary, is a French-Israeli production that sheds a harsh and unforgiving light on the operations…

Chinese revolt over government plan to ban BBQ in order to fight epic smog problem

China web-users were furious Thursday over plans to tackle pollution with a ban on barbecues, wryly asking if Beijing would stamp out fried food and normal bodily functions in its war on smog. While many residents have grown tired of donning face-masks or having to stay indoors during prolonged bouts…

U.S. ambassador to Moscow and Russian lawmaker trade blows via Twitter over adopted boy’s death

The US ambassador to Moscow and a top Russian lawmaker traded verbal blows Thursday over the death of a Russian child adopted in the United States, in a row that threatens to overshadow upcoming talks with the new US secretary of state. The emotionally charged exchange came after US ambassador…

Israeli guards left ‘Prisoner X’ hanging for an hour

Israeli guards supposedly keeping a round-the-clock watch on a mystery dual nationality prisoner held in isolation failed to notice his suicide for a full hour, a newspaper reported on Thursday. Although his cell was fitted with four CCTV cameras, the guards did not see Ben Zygier, identified by media as…

India plans $70 million mission to Mars in 2013

India said on Thursday it will send a $70 million space mission to Mars this year to study the red planet’s atmosphere. The unmanned Mars orbiter mission, to be launched in October by the Indian Space Research Organisation, will undertake a 300-day journey to the planet to collect data about…

China says U.S. has ulterior motives and calls hacking allegations a ‘hullabaloo’

Chinese state media stepped up the war of words Thursday over allegations of sophisticated cyberattacks on US firms, branding the accusations a “commercial stunt” and accusing Washington of ulterior motives. American Internet security firm Mandiant earlier this week said that a Chinese military cyberspy unit had been targeting US and…

Nike suspends contract with Oscar Pistorius

US sportswear giant Nike has suspended its contract with South African Paralympics star Oscar Pistorius, the company’s UK and Ireland spokesman said Thursday. “Nike has suspended its contract with Oscar Pistorius,” the spokesman told AFP. “We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor…

Tape played during trial of once-prominent lawyer Paul Bergrin features attorney discussing witness-killing plot

Bergrin trial: Tape played during testimony features attorney discussing witness-killing plot Paul Bergrin, left, and Hiram Ortiz, right, appear in court at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark in this 2007 file photo. Bergrin is currently on trial in Newark federal court, facing 26 criminal counts including racketeering, drug running…

Ex-Haiti dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier due in court as judge mulls ‘crimes against humanity’ trial

Two years after his return to Haiti following 25 years in exile, ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier is due in court Thursday as a judge mulls whether he can be tried for crimes against humanity. Known as “Baby Doc,” Duvalier was the world’s youngest head of state when, at the age of…

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