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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…

Obama urged to veto NDAA over Guantanamo provisions

A large coalition of human rights and civil liberties groups urged President Barack Obama on Wednesday to veto the annual defense spending bill over provisions related to the Guantanamo Bay Prison Facility. Groups like Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch are pressuring Obama to veto…

Facebook co-founder Zuckerberg donates $500 million to charity

With Christmas just days away, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced a donation of about a half-billion dollars worth of his company’s stock to charity in Silicon Valley. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla, gave 18 million shares to a foundation to orchestrate grants for local causes focused on education and…

FTC unveils new online privacy rules for children

US regulators unveiled new rules Wednesday aimed at strengthening online privacy protection for children, to reflect the growing use of mobile apps and social networks. The Federal Trade Commission said its updated rules require online services to get consent from parents if they are aimed at children under 13 or…

Letters stolen from World War II Nazi postbox delivered after 71 years

Letters written by German soldiers stationed on the Channel Island of Jersey have finally been delivered, 71 years after they were stolen in an act of resistance against the Nazi occupation. The 90 letters and cards were taken just before Christmas 1941 by a group of young men who ‘liberated’…

Army to seek death penalty for U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers

Military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a US soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in southern Afghanistan in March, an army spokesman said Wednesday. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is to face a full court martial authorized to sentence him to a maximum penalty of death, the military decided…

Controversial lawyer Robert Bork dies at age 85

By Godfrey Hodgson, The Guardian Controversial lawyer and legal scholar who was a pugnacious standard bearer for the American right Robert Bork, who has died aged 85, was one of the most controversial American legal scholars of his generation. After two of President Richard Nixon’s attorney generals had refused to obey…

Sandy Hook shooting highlights flaws in mental health care system

Sandy Hook shooting's glare illumines cracks in mental health care (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor) Details about Adam Lanza’s mental health are anecdotal, at best. Unverified news reports have suggested he may have been diagnosed with a personality disorder and/or with Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism (considered…

Mother of 3-year-old named Jihad faces French court for putting ‘I am a bomb’ shirt on her son

The mother and uncle of a three-year old named Jihad, who was born on September 11, were due in a French court Wednesday for sending him to school in a top with “I am a bomb” written on it. The sweatshirt also had the words “Jihad, born on September 11″…

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