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Australian gambling mogul pays tribute to his ‘terrifying’ father …and Tom Cruise

Australian gambling mogul James Packer has paid tribute to his “terrifying” late father Kerry and Hollywood star Tom Cruise in a rare and tearful interview on his private life. Packer, who owns casinos in Australia and Macau and is developing a complex in Manila, opened up on his media tycoon…

Smoking out tobacco: The rise of e-cigarettes

The camera zooms in on a stubble-bearded hunk dragging on a cigarette and blowing out a thick cloud of smoke with what seems to be great satisfaction. It resembles the TV smoking ads of yesteryear, now banned in most of the world, yet this modern-day offering is approved for American…

LGBT rights mostly out of reach in central and eastern Europe

Ania and Yga have been inseparable for the last 17 years, living together as a couple in the Polish capital Warsaw but their love is seen as second class in this deeply Roman Catholic country. As Britain and France legalise gay marriage, in January Polish lawmakers voted down three bills…

World’s largest crocodile dies in Philippines

he world’s largest saltwater crocodile in captivity has died in the Philippines, 17 months after the suspected man-eater was hunted down and put on display for tourists, according to his caretakers. “Lolong”, who measured 6.17 metres (20.24 feet), died on Sunday night from a mystery illness inside his small enclosure…

The secret history of drones

The prototype of the drones now used in Afghanistan was actually conceived in 1916, even if it was a monoplane made of wood and tin The drones now snooping over Afghanistan have a longer history than you might think. In 1916, a military scientist conceived of an “aerial torpedo” designed…

Obama to visit Chicago and ‘talk about the gun violence that has tragically affected too many families’

President Obama will travel to Chicago on Friday to speak as part of a three-city tour — and also will address gun violence during a speech aimed at elaborating on his State of the Union address, the Chicago Tribune reported. The visit follows the recent murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the…

Rupert Murdoch hints at ending UK paper’s topless photos

Topless models have featured in the Sun for 40 years but the media mogul tweeted that they may belong in the past For more than 40 years, campaigners have tried to kill off the Sun’s practice of printing photographs of topless women on Page 3 – but to no avail.…

Krugman on Obama’s State of the Union: ‘The less he says about the deficit the better’

Chris Hayes noted on UP with Chris Hayes on Sunday that the Congressional Budget Office recently found, as others had argued before, that the sequester will not be good for the GDP. “GDP will grow slowly in 2013 because of fiscal tightening by the federal government that is scheduled to…

LA Archdiocese used cemetery funds to pay for abuse settlements

In order to help pay for a $660 million settlement for the victims of molestation by Catholic priests, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles moved $115 million from the fund for cemetery maintenance, reported the Los Angeles Times. The money in the cemetery fund comes from the families of those buried…

New governor gives hope to New Hampshire’s coming debate on marijuana

On the heels of successful marijuana referendums in Colorado, Washington state and Massachusetts, New Hampshire will soon debate whether to change its own laws on the drug. The AP reported that a state House committee “is holding hearings Thursday on three bills to decriminalize marijuana,” one of which proposes licensing…

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