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China’s Communist Party opens pivotal congress

BEIJING — China’s all-powerful and secretive Communist Party on Thursday officially opened its 18th congress to unveil a new slate of leaders who will oversee the world’s number two economy for the next decade. Party number two Wu Bangguo declared the congress open inside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People,…

International observers cite ‘concerns’ in U.S. elections

WASHINGTON — The 2012 US elections were conducted in a “professional manner,” but “real concerns” remain, international observers said Wednesday. “The electoral process enjoys broad public confidence,” Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe mission chief Daan Everts said in a statement the day after the vote that saw President…

Asian Americans vote overwhelmingly for Obama

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama enjoyed soaring support from Asian Americans to win another term, a survey said Wednesday, as voters elected new faces to Congress including its first Hindu lawmaker. A poll conducted for community groups found that 73 percent of Asian Americans voted for Obama on Tuesday, a…

Republicans lay down battle lines over fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON — Republicans offered newly re-elected President Barack Obama a short-term fix to the fiscal cliff Wednesday, but insisted they would not cave in to tax increases to boost revenues. Laying down battle lines for urgent new talks on deficit-fixing measures, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said he and…

Judge jails anti-Muslim filmmaker for a year

LOS ANGELES — The man behind the anti-Islam video blamed for sparking deadly protests in the Muslim world was jailed in the US for a year for breaching the terms of his probation for a previous offense. Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, will serve the sentence in a US federal prison…

Re-elected Obama faces countdown to fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s re-election as US president set the stage Wednesday for a fresh political battle over the year-end “fiscal cliff” budget crunch which threatens to force the economy back to recession. US markets plunged more than two percent at the prospect that the White House and Republicans, who…

Psy brings some ‘Gangnam Style’ to Oxford University

LONDON — South Korean pop sensation Psy was mobbed by screaming fans as he arrived in Britain on Wednesday to bring a touch of his “Gangnam Style” to the prestigious Oxford University debating society. Wearing his trademark dapper suit and sunglasses, the rapper attracted a horde of fans and photographers…

Romney defeat exposes Republican minority problem

BOSTON, Massachusetts — Mitt Romney’s presidential defeat exposed the growing gulf between his Republican Party and minorities, a trend conservatives must reverse if they want to take back the White House. Every demographic minority, not to mention the largest voting bloc of all — women — voted heavily in favor…

Despite Obama victory, Clinton still aims to leave State Dept

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still plans to step down as America’s top diplomat despite President Barack Obama’s re-election, but will ensure a smooth transition, US officials said Wednesday. “I don’t think the secretary’s plans have changed,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. “You’ve heard her say many…

Scientists ‘see’ through solid layers

PARIS — Scientists said Wednesday they have developed a method to “see through” layers of thin, solid material in a breakthrough that holds promise for medical imaging, nanotechnology — and the spy trade. Still in its infancy, the technique using laser and computer decoding has allowed a team from the…

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