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Private equity sale of Bushmaster gun firm ‘will not be easy’

The sale by a private equity firm of the largest gun maker in the US, which was announced after one of the company’s weapons was used in the Newtown school shooting last week, is unlikely to be an easy one, experts have said. Likely regulatory changes were signalled by president…

Record-breaking support expected for UN anti-death penalty vote

A record number of countries are expected to back a UN General Assembly call for a moratorium on capital punishment on Thursday, diplomats said. The vote held every two years now sees the likes of the United States, Japan, China, Iran and Iraq stuck in a shrinking minority as pressure…

Fists came first for hand evolution, scientists suggest

Biologists say the human hand is a wonder of evolution, providing dexterity that lets our species perform activities as diverse as bricklaying, writing, ice hockey and brain surgery. But what were the forces that, over thousands of years, sculpted our hand into the shape it is today? Was it to…

Newtown tragedy turns Bloomberg into most-recognized anti-gun champion

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long been a persistent advocate for tighter gun laws, but in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, his voice has become one of the most recognizable in the United States. Bloomberg, 70, is among America’s richest people. He frequently finances pet causes and,…

Benghazi report forces resignation of three State Department officials

Three US State Department officials have resigned after a damning investigation into the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, in Benghazi in on 11 September found “systematic failures” of leadership and “grossly inadequate” security. The report said that US personnel on the ground acted with “courage and…

Obama calls for gun violence proposals within a month

President Barack Obama on Wednesday set up a task force to frame “concrete proposals” on ending an “epidemic” of firearms violence by next month, and denied he had been on “vacation” on gun control. With trauma still raw after the Connecticut school massacre last week, Obama put Vice President Joe…

Three astronauts blast off for ISS in Russian craft

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts blasted off on Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft took off on schedule at 1212 GMT carrying Russian Roman Romanenko, NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield,…

Palestinians flee Damascus camp battles in droves

Talks were held on Wednesday aimed at removing both rebel and pro-government fighters from a Damascus Palestinian refugee camp after deadly clashes, a Palestinian relief official told AFP, as the UN spoke of residents fleeing in droves. “Palestinian organisations that have remained neutral are overseeing talks between the (rebel) Free…

U.S. to open military ties soon with Myanmar: official

The United States is poised to take “nascent steps” to open up military ties with Myanmar as a way of bolstering political reforms undertaken by the former pariah state, a senior US defense official said Wednesday. The Pentagon said the cooperation likely would take the form of “non-lethal” training for…

Canada probes scheme to exploit U.S. energy program

A train carrying biodiesel crisscrossed the Canada-US border repeatedly without unloading its cargo, exploiting a loophole in a US green energy program, Canada’s public broadcaster reported Wednesday. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, citing sources who knew of the scheme, said authorities here are investigating Toronto-based Bioversel Trading Inc. which allegedly organized…

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