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Mechanic husband and unemployed wife win Powerball lottery

A Missouri mechanic and his unemployed wife came forward Friday as holders of one of two winning tickets in the second largest lottery in US history: a $587.5 million Powerball jackpot. Mark and Cindy Hill vowed to stay grounded and not let the massive windfall go to their heads after…

Cuba to punish musicians producing ‘vulgar’ songs

Musicians that perform songs deemed vulgar or that “violate ethical standards” will now be punished in Cuba, the state-run Institute of Music said Friday. In communist Cuba, most everything — especially the airwaves — belongs to the government. Aside from hotels that cater to foreigners, there is no MTV, VH1…

Senate approves increased sanctions against Iran

The US Senate unanimously approved new economic sanctions Friday aimed at further crippling Iran’s energy, shipping and port sectors, a year after Congress passed tough restrictions against Tehran. The amendment, tacked on to a sweeping defense spending bill being debated by the chamber, passed 94-0, and should sail through the…

Israel to build 3,000 settlements after Palestinian U.N. recognition

Israel is to build 3,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Palestinians won recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations, an Israeli official told AFP on Friday. Asked if he could confirm a report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided…

Three more babies die of whooping cough outbreak in UK

Three babies died of whooping cough in England and Wales in October in the biggest outbreak for 20 years, health officials said Friday. The resurgence of the highly contagious bacterial infection has surprised doctors, a report on the issue from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said. There are concerns the…

‘Holy Grail’ producer sues Monty Python stars over musical royalties

The producer of the cult film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” took its comedy stars to court on Friday in a bid for royalties from a hit spin-off musical, Spamalot. Three of the six Pythons — Eric Idle and Michael Palin, both 69, and Terry Jones, 70 — are…

China and U.S. military hold joint disaster exercise

The Chinese and US militaries held joint disaster response exercises Friday, as Beijing increases its global reach and Washington continues its “pivot” to the Pacific. The joint drill, which saw officers from both nations express hopes for closer ties, came amid rising concerns in Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam over…

British government divided over new proposals to curb press

British lawmakers started work Friday on a draft law to regulate the nation’s unruly newspapers as proposed by a major press inquiry, despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s strong objection to the legislation. Cameron’s government is divided on the future of the press after the Liberal Democrats, the junior partners in…

Phones and Internet cut for second day in Syria

Phone and Internet networks were down across most of Syria for a second straight day on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. “In some areas, it is possible to access the Internet but with great difficulty,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. “It is also very difficult…

Strauss-Kahn settles out of court with maid in sexual assault case

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund and French politician, has reached a preliminary settlement with the Manhattan maid who accused him of sexual assault, The New York Times reported Thursday. According to the Times, quoting unidentified sources “with knowledge of the matter,” Strauss-Kahn and the…

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