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U.S. accuses Russia of ‘witch hunt’ against activist groups

Russian authorities seem to have launched a “witch hunt” against activist groups that is damaging the country’s path to democracy, a top US official said Thursday. Washington is concerned by an “unprecedented” wave of raids on at least 100 top Russian and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), State Department spokesman Victoria…

Three astronauts blast off on fastest ride to the International Space Station

A crew of two Russians and an American blasted off Friday on a Russian rocket for the International Space Station, in a trip scheduled to be the fastest ever manned journey to the facility. The trio successfully launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with a journey time expected to…

Germany pledges to help Greece develop renewable energy

The German government is to help Greece develop its renewable energy sector under an agreement signed Thursday by the two countries and an EU taskforce for the debt-laden country. The accord, which entails German cash and advice, aims “to improve the general conditions for the development of renewable energies in…

Pope Francis riles conservatives by washing feet of Serbian Muslim woman

The ritual washing of feet is a gesture of humility based on the belief that Jesus Christ washed the feet of his apostles on the evening of their final meal together before his arrest, crucifixion and death. Vatican tradition has it that each year on Good Thursday the pope washes…

How the BBQ and golf lobbyists changed daylight savings time in the U.S.

Europeans will lose an hour of sleep this Sunday, something most Americans did three weeks ago. And in the fall they’ll get it back a week before their US counterparts. So why this trans-Atlantic divide? Look no further than the US golf and barbecue industries. For years, the United States…

Alleged ‘cybersquatting’ cases jumped to new record last year

The number of cases of alleged cybersquatting handled by the World Intellectual Property Organisation jumped five percent to reach a record 2,884 last year, the head of the UN agency said Thursday. “The areas where cybersquatting is most prevalent, judging by the cases, are retail, fashion and banking and finance,”…

British scientists develop ‘holy grail’ vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease

British scientists have developed a “holy grail” vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease that is safer and more resilient than current vaccines, according to an article published in journal PLOS pathogens Wednesday. At the moment, animals are given a small dose of live infectious virus to stimulate the body’s immune system into…

Indonesian environmental groups allege paper producer broke promise to stop clearing forests

Indonesian green groups on Thursday accused the world’s third-largest paper producer Asia Pulp & Paper of again breaking its promise to stop clearing natural forests and peatlands in the country. APP in February announced that it had stopped using logs from Indonesia’s natural forests after years of campaigning by Greenpeace…

Train derailment spills 30,000 gallons of oil in Minnesota

Crews were working Thursday to clean up as much as 30,000 gallons of oil that spilled onto a Minnesota field after a mile-long train derailed. It was not yet clear whether the Canadian Pacific train was transporting regular crude or oil from the Alberta tar sands, but the spill will…

California ‘Digital Detox’ summer camp promises to break addiction to technology

By Isabel Choat, The Guardian California’s Camp Grounded caters to a growing demand for time off-line, but also offers bizarre back-to-childhood activities, including ‘truth or dare, and sneaking out at night’ A summer camp for adults where activities include “truth or dare, laughing contests and sneaking out at night” sounds, at…

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