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Special Olympian tackles Ann Coulter over ‘retard’ tweet

WASHINGTON — Combative US conservative pundit Ann Coulter came under fire Wednesday from a Special Olympian with Down syndrome after she branded President Barack Obama a “retard” on Twitter. “Come on Ms Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow,” John Franklin Stephens, a soccer player and “global messenger” for…

Clinton downplays Facebook claim on Benghazi attack

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House on Wednesday downplayed reports that a Libyan group claimed responsibility on Facebook for the deadly strike on the US consulate in Benghazi. US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the September 11 attack, for which…

Tom Cruise sues magazine over daughter story

LOS ANGELES — Troubled Hollywood actor Tom Cruise is suing the publishers of US magazine Life and Style for $50 million over a cover claiming he had abandoned his daughter Suri, his lawyer said Wednesday. The weekly’s July 30 issue splashed with the headline “Suri in tears, abandoned by her…

Survey: 1 in 4 American Muslims still undecided two weeks before election

WASHINGTON — More than 90 percent of American Muslim voters plan to go to the polls on November 6, but one in four have yet to decide who to back, a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group suggested. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said 68 percent of the…

Mentally disabled man wins execution stay in Florida

A convicted murderer who has spent 34 years on death row won a last minute stay of execution, as judges agreed to consider whether he was mentally competent. John Ferguson, who says he is the “Prince of God” and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had been scheduled to be…

The Netherlands expands parental rights for LGBT families

Dutch kids may soon be able to have three or more mothers or fathers after the government said it was seeking to enshrine parenting rights for the Netherlands’ 25,000 children in gay families. “The justice ministry is going to investigate and see what the possibilities are for recognising three parents…

Dutch lab monkeys retire to sunny Spanish Balearic islands

Eighteen female monkeys used in lab experiments in the Netherlands are to be flown Wednesday to Spain’s Balearic islands to enjoy the “exceptional” fate of a leisurely retirement in the sun. “These monkeys are around 12 years old, and this species can live to 30-35 years old in captivity,” Saskia…

Clint Eastwood makes TV ad for Mitt Romney

Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood made Mitt Romney’s day Wednesday, urging Americans to join him in supporting the Republican White House challenger in a TV ad against President Barack Obama. The gruff-voiced “Dirty Harry” star said four more years of Obama would mean four more years of policies that have left…

Danish company develops eye-control software for smartphones

A Danish company hopes to clinch deals with major mobile phone and tablet makers after developing software that enables users to control their devices by moving their eyes, it said Wednesday. “You can use it for basic control, such as turning to the next page in an e-book, and playing…

Scientists make progress on mechanism for stopping genetic diseases

Scientists on Wednesday reported that, in pioneering experiments on human eggs, they had replaced a genetic mechanism blamed for crippling diseases. The laboratory breakthrough could one day lead to human trials to avert so-called mitochondrial disorders, they said. Other experts praised the work but sounded caution. Described in the journal…

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