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Afghan customs fines hike cost of U.S. military pullout

A customs dispute between the Afghan and US governments has disrupted the withdrawal of American military equipment, dramatically inflating the cost of the drawdown, defense officials said. With Afghan authorities insisting the United States owes millions of dollars in customs fines and trucks carrying hardware being blocked at border crossings,…

Japan govt approves stem cell clinical trials

Japan’s government on Friday gave its seal of approval to the world’s first clinical trials using stem cells harvested from a patient’s own body. Health Minister Norihisa Tamura signed off on a proposal by two research institutes that will allow them to begin tests aimed at treating age-related macular degeneration…

Rain no dampener for New Zealand cardboard cathedral

Sections of an innovative New Zealand cathedral being made from cardboard have gone soggy in the rain, but the project will still be completed next month, the Anglican Church said Friday. The structure, which has walls made from cardboard tubes, is a temporary replacement for Christchurch’s Anglican cathedral, which was…

Kerry in final push to get Mideast peace bid on track

US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat in a final push to get a peace bid back on track before heading home. The meeting comes after the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah rejected Kerry’s proposals for a framework to guide the relaunch of peace…

Alcohol deaths among women in 30s see ‘worrying rise’

Alcohol-related deaths of women born in the 1970s have “disproportionately increased” in the last decade, according to a study of three cities in England and Scotland published Friday. Researchers called for urgent action to tackle what they said was a “worrying trend” in rising deaths from alcohol misuse by women…

Judge won’t drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge in Bradley Manning trial

The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against him – that he knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets that were posted on the internet. The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as…

Democrat Rep. Nick Rahall cosponsors doomed nationwide same-sex marriage ban

A congressman from West Virginia has become the first Democrat to cosponsor the Marriage Protection Amendment, BuzzFeed reported on Thursday. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) signed on as one of the 39 cosponsors of the proposed amendment to the U.S. constitution, which would prohibit same-sex marriage nationwide. The other 38 cosponsors…

‘The real face of terror’: Dramatic new images show capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

He is standing with a bright red bead from a sniper’s laser trained directly in the middle of his forehead, his nose bloodied and his blood-stained hand raised in apparent surrender. Around him are the shredded shrouds of the boat in which he made his last stand. According to the…

Senate approves Gina McCarthy as EPA chief despite Republicans

The Senate gave grudging approval on Thursday to the key executor of Barack Obama’s sweeping new climate change plan, voting to confirm Gina McCarthy as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The 59-40 vote, after a four-month standoff by Republicans, puts McCarthy in direct charge of implementing Obama’s strategy…

One in four cancer survivors suffers serious side-effects

At least one in four cancer survivors suffers serious medical side-effects of their treatment such as heart failure, osteoporosis and sometimes extreme pain, according to a new report. Women who have had breast cancer are at nearly double the risk of heart failure than those who have not had the…

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