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Pope Francis blesses hundreds of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts in St. Peter’s Square

Hundreds of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts from all over the world received the pope’s blessing on Sunday, drawing cheers and applause from pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square for a pro-life mass. Pope Francis, riding through the throngs aboard his popemobile, made the sign of the cross toward the bikers, who are…

Julian Assange celebrates one-year anniversary of asylum in Ecuador Embassy

LONDON — It is an odd sight: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is wearing a jacket and tie, but no shoes. Then again, if you have not stepped outside Ecuador’s London embassy for a year, shoes are largely pointless. In an interview with AFP to mark this strange anniversary, the man…

Obama, Chinese president agree to phase out dangerous greenhouse gas

China And US Agree To Phase Out HFCs (via Clean Technica) Carbon dioxide gets a lot of press by virtue of the sheer quantities with which we pump it into our atmosphere, but it is by no means the worst of the greenhouse gasses humanity is exhaling with each day…

China blasts U.S. surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden

China’s official army newspaper on Sunday branded the United States Internet surveillance programme exposed by former spy Edward Snowden as “frightening”, and accused the US of being a “habitual offender” when it comes to network monitoring. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily hit out at the US for implying that…

Obama fails to use National Environmental Policy Act despite calls for climate change action

By Patrick Rucker and Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has vowed to tackle climate change in his second term, but so far has not acted to strengthen a tool that does not require backing from Congress – the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA, a statute that dates…

Solar Impulse plane lands in D.C. as cross-country tour winds down

The single-seater, solar-powered Solar Impulse aircraft landed near the US capital early Sunday, on the second to last leg of its cross-country journey, organizers said. The plane, which runs on four electric propellers powered by 12,000 solar cells mounted on the plane’s 63-meter wingspan, touched down smoothly in the dark…

Australia cracks down on synthetic marijuana and other ‘alternative’ drugs

Australia imposed an interim ban on 19 synthetic cannabis and cocaine-like drugs as part of a crackdown on the psychoactive substances which mimic the highs of their illegal counterparts. Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the 19 products would be banned from sale and supply for up to 120 days under…

European defense firms ask governments to launch drone programs

Three top European defence firms called on Sunday on governments to launch a programme to manufacture drones that European countries are currently having to buy from Israel or the United States. France’s Dassault Aviation, European aerospace giant EADS and Italy’s Finmeccania argued such a joint programme would “support the capability…

Contaminated water suspected as workers fall sick in Bangladesh garment factory

More than 140 workers, mostly women, at two Bangladeshi garment factories near the capital Dhaka fell ill on Sunday after drinking suspected contaminated water in their workplace, police said. A series of tragedies since last November when a fire killed 111 people in another factory have triggered renewed scrutiny of…

German spy service to monitor Internet traffic ‘as closely as possible’

Germany’s foreign intelligence service plans a major expansion of Internet surveillance despite deep unease over revelations of US online spying, Der Spiegel news weekly reported on Sunday. Spiegel said that the BND planned a 100 million euro ($130 million) programme over the next five years to expand web monitoring with…

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