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Activists press for additional $25 billion in fines against BP over Gulf oil spill

BP should be on the hook for an additional $25bn to restore environmental damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, even if the company is hit with a record-breaking $17.6bn in fines at a civil trial next week, campaign groups said on Thursday. BP will face the largest environmental…

Scientists warn of melting permafrost if temperatures continue to rise

A global temperature rise of 1.5C would be enough to start the melting of permafrost in Siberia, scientists warned on Thursday. Any widespread thaw in Siberia’s permanently frozen ground could have severe consequences for climate change. Permafrost covers about 24% of the land surface of the northern hemisphere, and widespread…

Obama urged to defend ‘jailbreaking’ of smart phones

The White House will soon have to dial in a response to a petition asking that mobile phone users be allowed to switch locked devices to new carriers, a process known as “jailbreaking.” An obscure official’s decision that the “jailbreaking” of phones violates US copyright law has generated a flurry…

Biden on gun control: The American people are with us

Just miles from the site of the Newtown school massacre, Vice President Joe Biden warned Thursday that US politicians would pay a price if they refuse to back measures to stem gun violence. Biden said in Danbury, Connecticut that there had been a change in American politics which made it…

Americans frequent victims of ‘seafood fraud’: report

Fish sold in the United States is often deliberately mislabeled, making American consumers the unwitting victims of “widespread seafood fraud,” according to a report out Thursday. Fully one-third of 1,215 fish samples collected by researchers proved to be a different variety than what was written on the label, according to…

Obama: Protecting the rich binds together the Republican Party

President Barack Obama on Thursday said the only thing keeping Republicans together was a desire to shield the rich from higher taxes, in a new jab over an imminent budget confrontation. Obama is mounting a full bore campaign push to heap blame on Republicans over a multi-billion dollar package of…

Most Catholics in the United States approve of a Third World pope: poll

Sixty percent of Catholics in the United States think it would be a good thing for the next pope to come from South America, Asia or Africa, a Pew Research Center poll said Thursday. Another 20 percent said it would not matter if Pope Benedict XVI’s successor hails from a…

U.S. warns Iran over ‘provocative’ centrifuges at nuclear plant

The United States warned Iran Thursday that the installation of next-generation centrifuges at one of its main nuclear plants, as reported by the UN nuclear watchdog, would be a “provocative step.” The move “would be a further escalation and a continuing violation of Iran’s obligations under the relevant UN Security…

Massive winter storm blankets central United States

A massive winter storm blanketed much of the central United States Thursday, dumping heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain, and even prompting tornado warnings with its high winds. Tens of millions of people in 24 states were expected to be affected by the storm before it peters out when it…

Google unveils high-end laptop to challenge MacBook

Google on Thursday unveiled a touch-screen notebook computer designed for high-end PC users, throwing down a gauntlet for Apple and its MacBooks. Google said its Chrome Pixel computers blending tablet and laptop technology, boasting heavyweight Intel chips and screens tailored for rich graphics were released in the United States and…

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