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Valentina Tereshkova became first woman in space 50 years ago

On June 16, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space in a major propaganda coup for the Soviet Union. Two years after Yuri Gagarin’s historic first manned flight, Tereshkova blasted off in a Vostok-6 spaceship, becoming a national heroine at the age of 26. She remains…

Iranians take to streets to celeberate Rowhani victory

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Tehran on Saturday evening to celebrate the election of moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani as president, with chanting pro-reform slogans and demanding more freedom. Large crowds were converging in main streets and squares, as security forces and police units looked on. Thousands of…

Turkish police break up occupation of Istanbul’s Gezi Park

The protesters had been warned time and again but when the police intervention finally came, it came suddenly, in a haze of acrid tear gas, confused screams and trampled tents. Within minutes, the occupation of Istanbul’s Gezi Park was over. The clouds of white smoke still lingered when dozens of…

Turkey pursues 2020 Olympics bid despite unrest in Istanbul

Istanbul will emerge from its current bloody strife with its credentials as potential hosts of the 2020 Olympics enhanced even further, the city’s bid team insisted on Saturday. The Turkish city is vying with Tokyo and Madrid to stage the Games and presented its case in a 15-minute pitch to…

Graft scandal threatens to implode Czech government

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas risked the collapse of his shaky centre-right minority coalition Saturday over a massive corruption scandal in which his top aide was indicted for bribery. Leftist rival President Milos Zeman said Saturday it was “rather clear” that Necas must step down, while some politicians in the…

Judge nixes Fort Hood shooting suspect’s defense strategy

Fort Hood shooting: Judge nixes Nidal Hasan defense strategy. What now? (via The Christian Science Monitor) A military judge overseeing the court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan ruled Friday that the Army psychiatrist cannot argue in court that he killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood in defense of Taliban leaders in…

Chemical blasts spur questions about Southern petrochemical corridor

Donaldsonville explosion: With Southern industrial boom come dangers (via The Christian Science Monitor) Back-to-back explosions at chemical plants only miles apart along the Mississippi River have given pause to those who live in the shadows of America’s dirtiest industries. On Thursday, an explosion at a chemical plant in Geismar, La.,…

U.S. now has most Spanish speakers outside Mexico

There was a time when Latino immigrants in the United States hushed up their Spanish, trying to blend in. Now you hear it all over, as Latinos flex their growing political and media muscle. Indeed, the trilled R’s and staccato bursts of the language of Quixote liven up city streets…

Pope Francis suggests marriage equality is a political ‘fashion’

Pope Francis urged French members of parliament to shun “fashions” in legislation, a day after the pontiff spoke out against gay marriage. “Your role… consists in proposing laws, amending them or even repealing them,” the pontiff told a delegation of MPs from France, adding that it is “necessary… to inject…

‘Insolvent’ Detroit moves closer to filing for bankruptcy

By Bernie Woodall and Steve Neavling DETROIT (Reuters) – Detroit said on Friday it would stop making payments on some of its about $18.5 billion debt, which would put it in default, and the “insolvent” city called on most of its creditors to accept pennies on the dollar to help…

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