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‘Intersex’ included on Australia’s new gender guidelines

The Australian government has announced new guidelines on gender recognition which state that individuals should be given the option of selecting “male”, “female” or “intersex” on their personal documents. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the new guidelines, which come into operation from July 1, will make it simpler for people to…

WHO says MERS virus death toll hits 33

The global death toll from the SARS-like virus MERS has risen to 33, after two new fatalities in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. Spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the Saudi health ministry had informed the UN agency of three new laboratory-confirmed cases, one of them fatal,…

Prince William has Indian genes, says study

Prince William will become the country’s first king to have proven Indian roots after saliva samples revealed direct lineage to the Commonwealth’s most populous nation, the Times reported on Friday. DNA from the second-in-line to the throne’s sample was linked to that of a woman now known to have been…

Warm ocean water melting Antarctic ice from bottom

Warming ocean waters are melting the Antarctic ice shelves from the bottom up, researchers said, in the first comprehensive study of the thick platforms of floating ice. Scientists have long known that basal melt, the melting of ice shelves from underneath, was taking place and attributed the trend to icebergs…

U.S. to provide ‘direct military support’ to Syrian rebels

By Matt Spetalnick and Erika Solomon WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has authorized sending U.S. weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, a U.S. official said on Thursday after the White House said it has proof the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against opposition forces fighting to…

Two dead as massive Colorado wildfire burns 360 homes

Two people died while trying to flee a wildfire in Colorado that has burned down 360 homes, in the western US state’s most destructive blaze ever, officials said. Some 38,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes as the blaze reached the edge of Colorado Springs, but officials voiced…

Facing pressure from governor, Arizona lawmakers pass Medicaid expansion

By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) – A divided Arizona Senate passed a key piece of President Barack Obama’s Medicaid expansion agenda on Thursday, handing Republican Governor Jan Brewer a policy victory over fierce opposition from conservatives in her party. By an 18-11 vote, the Senate approved the bill with the…

Nevada governor vetoes universal background checks for gun purchases

By Alexia Shurmur LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval on Thursday vetoed Democratic-backed legislation that would have strengthened gun-control rules by requiring background checks on customers in all gun sales in the state, including private transactions. The Republican governor said in a veto statement that the bill amounted…

Biotech industry says Supreme Court’s gene ruling hurts innovation

The US Supreme Court’s rejection Thursday of natural DNA patent protection could hurt biotech companies, but specialists said it left enough safeguards for the industry to keep innovating. The court ruled that Myriad Genetics, which sells expensive tests for the genetic markers for cancer, could not claim patents on the…

U.S. to keep military forces in Jordan: official

The United States will keep F-16 fighter jets and Patriot anti-missile weapons in Jordan after a joint military exercise ends this month, a US defense official said Thursday. The US administration, which is weighing a decision to arm rebels fighting in neighboring Syria’s civil war, also planned to keep a…

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