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Texas fertilizer plant explosion has devastating effects on small town

Rescue workers were on Thursday night picking through the devastation caused by an explosion at a Texas fertiliser plant that destroyed scores of homes and killed up to 15 people. The blast devastated a large section of West, a small town around 20 miles north of Waco, leveling buildings and…

Boston bombing casts grim shadow over London Marathon

Sunday’s London Marathon will take place amid a climate of heightened security and increased vigilance following the fatal bomb attacks that plunged the Boston Marathon into tragedy. The twin blasts that killed three and wounded more than 180 in Boston on Monday have prompted organisers of the London race to…

Judge dismisses Viacom lawsuit against YouTube

A US judge dismissed for the second time a billion-dollar lawsuit by entertainment giant Viacom accusing Google-owned website YouTube of knowingly profiting from pirated video clips. US District Court Judge Louis Stanton firmly stood by his original decision in the case after being instructed by an appellate court to take…

Gun lobby funded all but three senators who voted against background checks

All but three of the 45 senators who torpedoed gun control measures in Congress on Wednesday have received money from firearms lobbyists, according to new analysis by the Guardian and the Sunlight Foundation. Some, such as Indiana Republican Dan Coats, registered donations from pro-shooting groups as recently as three weeks…

‘Carbon bubble’ leading to another financial crisis, economists warn

The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists. “The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed,” said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the…

Texas fertilizer factory was fined by regulators in 2012

The Texas fertilizer factory where an earthquake-like explosion killed up to 15 people was fined by US regulators in 2012 over its transport of hazardous materials, documents showed Thursday. The blast at the West Fertilizer Company on Wednesday — which destroyed dozens of homes in the small town of West…

Guatemala judge drops ex-dictator’s genocide trial

The current genocide trial against ex-Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was dropped Thursday in a surprise legal move, but a judge is likely to launch fresh proceedings, officials said. The development, on account of procedural reasons, will delay public deliberations over events that have divided the country for 30 years.…

‘Gang of 8′ admit immigration reform faces perilous future

A bipartisan group of US senators finally rolled out an immigration reform bill Thursday, insisting it was the best chance in a generation to fix a broken system, but admitting perils lie ahead. The comprehensive reform effort, filed with the Senate this week, is a huge measure aimed at bringing…

John Kerry says North Korea talks conditions ‘unacceptable’

US Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday dismissed a set of pre-conditions laid out by North Korea for talks as “unacceptable,” calling them an opening “gambit” from Pyongyang. The isolated North on Thursday responded for the first time to an offer from Kerry during his weekend visit to the Korean…

Baghdad cafe bombing kills 27 ahead of elections

A late-night bombing at a Baghdad cafe frequented by young men playing billiards and video games killed 27 people on Thursday, just days before Iraq’s first elections since US troops withdrew. The attack was the single deadliest in the country in a month, and comes amid concerns over the credibility…

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