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Microsoft profit hits $4.97 billion

Microsoft said Thursday it made a profit of $4.97 billion in the past quarter, helped by growing revenues from business services, offsetting the hit from a lagging market in personal computers. Chief financial officer Amy Hood said results “were impacted by the decline in the PC market,” but added that…

Deforestation spikes in Brazilian Amazon by 103 percent

Deforestation has soared in the Brazilian Amazon since a new forestry code was passed last year at the urging of the agribusiness lobby, a non-profit environmental group said Thursday. Between August 2012 and June 2013, 1,838 square kilometers (709 square miles) of forest were lost, a 103 percent hike over…

Former CIA station chief arrested over abduction of an Egyptian imam

A former CIA station chief in Milan, sentenced to nine years in jail for the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian imam, has been arrested in Panama, the Italian justice ministry said on Thursday. The minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri, asked for the former CIA agent — Bob Seldon Lady or “Mister…

U.S. credit rating upgraded from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’

Ratings firm Moody’s raised its outlook on the US economy on Thursday to “stable” from “negative,” citing progress in putting the federal government’s debt on a more sustainable path. “Moody’s Investors Service today moved the outlook on the Aaa government bond rating of the United States back to stable, replacing…

NASA hopes to capture ‘first interplanetary photobomb’

Two NASA spacecraft are about to take pictures of the Earth for planetary science research, and the US space agency is encouraging people worldwide to jump into the shot. “Consider it the first interplanetary photobomb,” NASA said. The first chance is on Friday, July 19, from 21:27 to 21:47 GMT,…

Detroit becomes largest city to file for bankruptcy

The city of Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy protection, court documents showed. Once the fourth largest US city, Detroit has seen its population shrink by more than half, from 1.8 million in 1950 to 685,000 today, as crime, flight to the…

Scientists: Warfare was uncommon among hunter-gatherers

Warfare was uncommon among hunter-gatherers, and killings among nomadic groups were often due to competition for women or interpersonal disputes, researchers in Finland said Thursday. Their study in the US journal Science suggests that the origins of war were not — as some have argued — rooted in roving hunter-gather…

Over 1,000 flee homes in south Mexico over violence

Some 1,000 people have fled their homes in southwestern Mexico after gunfights erupted in their villages and criminal groups threatened them, officials said Thursday. Residents of three villages in the state of Guerrero abandoned their homes Wednesday after an unspecified number of people were wounded and houses were set ablaze,…

Jewish leaders ask EU to block Polish kosher slaughter ban

Europe’s Jewish leaders on Thursday asked the European Union to back their call for a Polish ban on the ritual slaughter of animals for food to be overturned. Jewish community and religious leaders from across Europe also urged the EU to review its own legislation on animal slaughter to strengthen…

French authorities release neo-Nazi after arrest for plotting ‘terrorist act’

The French authorities on Thursday released from custody a Norwegian extremist who was detained on suspicion of plotting a “major terrorist act”, a judicial source told AFP. Kristian Vikernes, 40, was detained together with his French wife on Tuesday but investigators found no evidence of a terror plot, the source…

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