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Gabby Giffords launches initiative to push for tougher gun laws

Former US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a famous survivor of gun violence, launched a major initiative on Tuesday to challenge the nation’s powerful gun lobby and press for tougher gun laws. Giffords — shot in the head in January 2011 while meeting constituents in her native Arizona — unveiled “Americans for…

French budget minister under investigation for tax fraud

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac is under investigation for tax fraud after a media report that he had an undeclared UBS account in Geneva which he then moved to Asia, prosecutors said Tuesday. Cahuzac, who is in charge of battling tax evasion, has denied the report by the respected Mediapart…

European unemployment hits ‘unacceptable high’

BRUSSELS — European unemployment has hit an unacceptable high, as one national leader put it on Tuesday, with dire figures in Spain highlighting a growing north-south divide that experts warn will only get worse. The unemployment rate across the troubled 17-nation eurozone hit 11.8 percent in November, up from 11.7…

Physicists: 2.5 million seagulls would be needed to lift Roald Dahl’s giant peach

Physicists have taken a close look at Roald Dahl’s children’s book, “James and the Giant Peach,” in which a flock of gulls fly an outsize fruit and its occupants across the Atlantic. In Dahl’s tale, it took 501 gulls to haul the peach to New York from the mid-Atlantic, where…

French Internet access provider Free ceases blocking online ads

French Internet access provider Free has ceased blocking online advertising following a ministerial request, in a case that tests the relative strengths of telecommunications providers and Internet giants such as Google that use the net to generate huge revenue streams. A system that blocked online advertising via the Freebox Revolution…

Poachers slaughter 11-member Kenyan elephant family

Kenyan wildlife rangers on Tuesday were tracking a team of poachers who massacred a family of 11 elephants in what they said was the worst single such killings in the country in the past three decades. “We have not lost as many elephants in a single incident since the early…

Only iPads stolen in raid on Microsoft office in Silicon Valley

Apple products were the only items taken when thieves targeted Microsoft’s research and development centre in California.  Microsoft’s reputation as the “less cool” rival to Apple appears to have been reinforced, after thieves raided its Silicon Valley offices – but only stole a collection of iPads. The thieves made away…

Climate change, debt and inequality ‘threaten financial stability,’ according to World Economic Forum report

Ahead of Davos 2013, World Economic Forum calls on policymakers to step up their efforts to tackle the three big dangers cited by a panel of 1,000 experts Persistent economic weakness is sapping the ability of governments to tackle the growing threat of climate change and threatens a global “perfect…

Amnesty International demands Egypt stop military trial of journalist

Advocacy group Amnesty International has called for the release of an Egyptian journalist facing military trial under a controversial law that allows the army to court-martial civilians. The army arrested Mohamed Sabry, a freelance video journalist and an activist who opposed military trials, in the eastern Sinai peninsula while he…

Nepal jails mob for burning suspected ‘witch’ alive

A court in Nepal has jailed members of a mob who burned alive a 40-year-old woman after accusing her of casting black magic spells in a remote southern village, an official said Tuesday. Mother-of-two Dhengani Devi Mahato died when she was severely beaten, doused in kerosene and set alight in…

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