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Military expands mental health counseling in Afghanistan to soldiers over ‘classified Skype’

Bagram airbase has 40-strong team of psychologists and others on hand, though stigma of such care in the military remains The US military in Afghanistan has slowly been building up ways to help troops who are scattered across a harsh, hostile country which is almost as big as Texas, with…

U.S. commemorates Columbia disaster for 10 year anniversary

With somber ceremonies, the United States on Friday commemorated the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew on the tenth anniversary of the disaster. Columbia, NASA’s first space shuttle orbiter to be put into service, disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003, as it was ending its…

Google agrees to pay French news sites for content

Google and France signed Friday a groundbreaking agreement that will see the US Internet search giant compensate French news websites for linking to their content. “France is proud to have reached this agreement with Google, the first of its kind in the world,” the French president’s office said on Twitter…

Apple claims top spot with 34 percent of U.S. mobile phones

Apple dethroned Samsung as the top US mobile phone vendor in the final quarter of last year, claiming a record share of 34 percent, research firm Strategy Analytics reported Friday. Apple shipped an estimated 17.7 million iPhones as “robust demand” for Internet connections on the move caused overall shipments of…

Japanese police arrest mobster over Fukushima clean-up

Japanese police have arrested a high-ranking yakuza over claims he sent workers to the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant for the clean-up without a licence. Officers in northern Yamagata prefecture were quizzing Yoshinori Arai, a 40-year-old senior member of a local yakuza group affiliated to the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, a police…

Russian satellite plunges into Pacific just after launch

A Russian rocket carrying a US telecommunications satellite plunged into the Pacific Ocean on Friday only moments after being launched from a mobile sea platform in Moscow’s latest space failure. The rocket may have veered off course from the moment of take-off because of heavy waves battering the former northern…

America dodges Super Bowl chicken wing shortage

In the run-up to Super Bowl Sunday, millions of American football fans can rest assured: there is no looming shortage of their beloved chicken wings. The National Chicken Council estimates that the nation will wolf down 1.23 billion chicken wings over Super Bowl weekend, or nearly four wings for each…

Tokyo zoo stages ‘zebra escape’

About 60 staff at a Tokyo zoo chased around a keeper dressed as a zebra on Friday in a drill to simulate one of the park’s animal inhabitants making a break for freedom. The drill saw the zookeeper tackled and mock stun-gunned by his colleagues. Visitors to the Tama Zoological…

At least two killed in bomb blast outside U.S. embassy in Turkey

Two security guards were killed and several other people were wounded in a blast outside the US embassy in Ankara on Friday, local television reported. It was not immediately known what caused the explosion but some media speculated it could have been a suicide bombing. The force of the blast…

‘Rent-a-boyfriend’ services popping up on some Chinese websites

Selling a kiss online, accompanying a stranger overnight for a fee — none of the “rent-a-boyfriend” services popping up on some Chinese websites sound at all family-friendly. Yet the budding market aims to help young singles address the most traditional of values: respecting their elders, meeting their demand to find…

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