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New York governor plans corruption crackdown

The governor of New York on Tuesday proposed new legal powers to tackle corrupt politicians, following the announcement last week of bribery charges against lawmakers in the US state. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the crackdown would raise public corruption crimes above regular white collar crimes. It comes the week after…

South Korean lawmaker: We need our own nuclear weapons

A prominent South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday his country should consider developing nuclear weapons or bringing back a former US arsenal as a way to pressure North Korea and its ally China. Chung Mong-Joon, a billionaire businessman who belongs to the ruling conservative New Frontier Party, said on a…

‘Ding Dong! The witch is dead’ heads to top of UK charts after death of Margaret Thatcher

“Ding Dong! The witch is dead”, as sung by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, on Tuesday raced to the top of the Amazon download chart in Britain, a day after the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Another version sung by jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald placed at…

Democrats pressure Republicans for a vote on background checks

US Senate Democrats on Tuesday demanded a vote on a gun bill as Vice President Joe Biden slammed a Republican threat of a filibuster as “mind-boggling” in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was shocked that 13 conservative senators had lined up to…

Jackie Chan’s plan to move ancient buildings to Singapore angers China

A plan by Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan to move ancient Chinese buildings to Singapore has sparked controversy in a nation already sensitive about losing its artifacts, state media said Tuesday. Beijing has pressured overseas auction houses to cancel the sale of antiques it says were looted during the…

Thatcher was trailblazer who said she ‘owed nothing’ to feminism

Margaret Thatcher once said she owed nothing to feminism, but the only woman ever to become British prime minister unwittingly cleared the way for other women to succeed in the male-dominated world of politics, observers said on Tuesday. In the impassioned debate sparked by her death on Monday, Thatcher’s role…

Canadian high school student improves experimental cancer treatment

A Canadian high school student has improved an ineffective experimental cancer therapy with a simple tweak — pairing it with antibiotics — earning accolades from a panel of eminent scientists on Tuesday. Cancer “photothermal therapy” — or PTT — involves injecting a patient with gold nanoparticles. These then accumulate in…

Land desertification and drought causes up to $450 billion in lost farm output

Loss of land through desertification and drought costs up to five percent of world agricultural gross domestic product (AGDP), or some $450 billion (340 billion euros), every year, said a study presented at a UN conference Tuesday. Each year an area roughly three times the size of Switzerland is lost…

Google announces experimental superfast Internet service to be installed in Austin, Texas

Google announced Tuesday that its experimental superfast Internet service will spread to Austin, the Texas home of a South By Southwest festival beloved by technology trendsetters. Google Fiber should start connecting its so-called gigabit Internet to homes in Austin, the Texas state capital and a hotbed for Internet entrepreneurs, by…

South Africa creates offshore marine refuge

South Africa has turned two small islands in the southern Indian Ocean into its first offshore marine protected area, the environment ministry said Tuesday. The protected status for the windswept Prince Edward islands, lying 1,777 kilometres (1,104 miles) from the South African mainland, aims in part to help toothfish populations…

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