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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…

Rights group joins fight for justice for raped and bullied high school student

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced Thursday that it has joined the fight for justice on behalf of a high school girl who was sexually assaulted on campus, then bullied in classrooms, hallways and in online forums. The NWLC filed a Title IX lawsuit in U.S. District Court of…

UN investigating possible human-to-human transmission of new deadly bird flu in Shanghai

Chinese health officials are reporting that the new H7N9 strain of influenza could be making the leap from animal-to-human infections to human-to-human cases. According to Reuters, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is analyzing “family clusters” of people who have fallen ill in hopes of understanding more about…

Burmese Buddhist monk Wirathu uses YouTube to spread anti-Muslim hatred to thousands

Thousands watch YouTube videos of 45-year-old ‘Burmese Bin Laden’ who is inciting violence against country’s Muslim minority His name is Wirathu, he calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden” and he is a Buddhist monk who is stoking religious hatred across Burma. The saffron-robed 45-year-old regularly shares his hate-filled rants through…

Science of light diffusion brings Gollum and other digital characters to life

Watch Visual Effects artist Joe Letteri explain how the science of light diffusion made digital characters more realistic. It was near midnight in the winter of 1998 when computer graphics researcher Henrik Jensen made a discovery about light. While playing with a laser pointer, he…  …

77-year-old Japanese woman got $4 million from 79-year-old man for sex and romance

A 77-year-old woman who received $4 million from a 79-year-old man in exchange for sexual and romantic favours has been ordered to repay the cash by a court in Japan, a report said Thursday. The woman succeeded in getting around 400 million yen out of the man over a seven-year…

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