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Mandela’s daughter raps media ‘vultures’ as he lay critically ill

By Siphiwe Sibeko PRETORIA (Reuters) – Former South African President Nelson Mandela is still clinging to life, his eldest daughter Makaziwe said on Thursday, but she blasted foreign media “vultures” for violating his privacy as he lay critically ill in hospital. Makaziwe’s outburst came after the government reported another downturn…

PayPal launches quest for intergalactic currency

Earthbound financial transactions service PayPal launched a quest for an intergalactic currency, saying it is time to figure out what space travelers will use as cash. “The time has now come for us to start planning for the future; a future where we aren’t just talking about global payments,” said…

Singapore gripped by Hello Kitty frenzy

Tempers flared and police had to be called in Thursday as anxious Singaporeans rushed to McDonald’s outlets to buy Hello Kitty plush toys being sold by the fastfood chain as a promotion. Hundreds had begun queueing from Wednesday night to get their hands on a kitten in a skeleton outfit,…

U.S. boss held captive by angry Chinese employees released

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese factory workers on Thursday released their U.S. boss, held captive for a week, after a compensation dispute was resolved, a company official and union representative said. Chip Starnes, president of Specialty Medical Supplies, in the Beijing suburb of Huairou, was allowed to leave the factory and…

Defense seeks to undermine key witness in Trayvon Martin case

By Tom Brown and Barbara Liston SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) – Defense attorneys in the murder trial of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman on Thursday will try to pick apart the testimony of a key witness who was on the phone with unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin moments before he was gunned…

Envoy says U.S. loses trust in Hong Kong after Snowden

By Greg Torode HONG KONG (Reuters) – The top U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong warned on Thursday of a “big struggle” ahead to repair Washington’s trust in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory after the flight of fugitive spy agency contractor Edward Snowden. Speaking publicly for the first time since Snowden flew…

No sign of cyber leaker Snowden on flight to Cuba

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian passenger plane left Moscow for Havana on Thursday without any sign of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden on board, witnesses said. Cuba is considered a possible destination for Snowden on his way to Ecuador, where he is seeking asylum. The 30-year-old American is…

North Dakota pro-choice advocates file lawsuit against strict abortion law

Abortion and reproductive rights advocates filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against legislation that would impose the nation’s toughest anti-abortion ban on women in North Dakota. It is the latest of several anti-abortion measures in the state advocates say are unconstitutional and represent and “all-out assault on women’s rights.” The lawsuit…

Pope Francis orders investigation of Vatican bank

Pope Francis has set up a commission to review the secretive and scandal-dogged Vatican bank in a bid to personally oversee a “greater harmonisation” between its activities and the wider Roman Catholic church. A panel of five people – including two cardinals and Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor…

Texas executes its 500th death row inmate

The US state of Texas executed its 500th convict since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, a record in a country where capital punishment is in decline elsewhere. Kimberly McCarthy, 52, was declared dead by lethal injection at 6:37 pm (23:37) GMT in the “Walls Unit,” a red brick…

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