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Obama warns Republicans against blocking immigration reform

Barack Obama has warned Republicans that if they attempt to block his drive towards comprehensive immigration reform he will send his own legislation to Congress and force them to vote on it. In a speech that sounded at times more like a campaign rallying cry than a presidential address, the…

Volkswagen sticks by ‘racist’ Super Bowl ad

Volkswagen of America said Tuesday it’s going ahead with a Super Bowl ad that some critics are calling racist because it depicts a cheerful white office worker speaking in a Jamaican accent. Titled “Get In, Get Happy,” the 60-second spot has been seen more than 614,000 times since it went…

Senate confirms Kerry as next secretary of state

The US Senate on Tuesday confirmed Senator John Kerry as the next secretary of state, approving President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Hillary Clinton by a wide majority. The Senate voted 94-3 in favor of Kerry, after the chamber’s Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination earlier in the day. His…

Judge approves BP’s $4.5 billion plea deal over Gulf oil spill

A US judge on Tuesday approved a $4.5 billion deal in which BP pleaded guilty to criminal charges from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill — but the British energy giant’s legal woes are far from over. BP is set to return to the Louisiana courthouse on February 25…

Lawyers of accused 9/11 plotters seek access to prison

Lawyers for five alleged 9/11 plotters urged a military judge Tuesday to allow them two days to visit the super-secure prison and cells where they are being held. The defendants, meanwhile, boycotted proceedings on the second day of hearings at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to prepare for their trial…

Judge grants last-minute reprieve to Texas woman on death row

A US judge on Tuesday granted a last-minute reprieve to Texas death row inmate Kimberly McCarthy, who had been scheduled to become the first woman executed in the United States since 2010. McCarthy — who has been on death row for 14 years — had been due to be executed…

Dissident Chen Guangcheng urges no compromise on changing China

Dissident Chen Guangcheng voiced confidence Tuesday that China’s political system will eventually open up as he urged fellow activists and the United States not to compromise on human rights. In an address in the US Capitol complex, the blind self-taught lawyer offered his most philosophical remarks yet about China since…

Gun rights activists plan ‘day of resistance’ for Feb. 23 in honor of .223 assault weapon

Campaigners to hold rallies on February 23 – a date that bears a similarity to the .223 cartridge – in protest at Obama’s gun reforms Gun rights activists are planning a nationwide “day of resistance” on 23 February, a date that bears a typographical similarity to .223 assault weapon cartridges…

Quarter of ethnic Chinese genetically more susceptible to dangerous flu

Nearly a quarter of ethnic Chinese have a tiny genetic variant that boosts sixfold their risk of falling gravely ill when infected with flu, a study published on Tuesday said. Researchers in China and Britain looked at Chinese hospital data from the 2009-2010 pandemic of H1N1 influenza. Patients who had…

3 in 10 Americans think God determines Super Bowl outcome

Is the Super Bowl in God’s hands? Three in 10 Americans seem to think so, according to a study released Tuesday. Sunday’s annual American football extravaganza will see the Baltimore Ravens square off against the San Francisco 49ers. As millions stock up with snacks and beer to watch the game,…

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