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World ministers meet for crunch biodiversity talks

More than 70 environment ministers meet in India on Wednesday for key talks on halting the depletion of Earth’s natural resources, under pressure to put up money to match their political pledges. The high-level gathering comes two years after UN countries agreed at a conference in Japan to reverse by…

Earth-sized planet found orbiting nearest star

European astronomers on Wednesday reported they had detected a planet with about the mass of Earth which orbits the closest star to the Sun. The observation breaks new ground in the hunt for exoplanets — worlds that exist in other solar systems — although the planet itself is not “another…

Novelist Hilary Mantel makes history with second Booker Prize

Novelist Hilary Mantel on Tuesday made literary history by becoming the first woman and the first British author to be a two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for fiction. Mantel picked up the prize, one of the highest profile awards in English-language literature, for “Bring up the Bodies,” part…

U.S. ambassador says he ‘understands anger’ over Okinawa rape claim

The United States ambassador to Japan vowed “complete and unequivocal cooperation” Wednesday over the alleged rape of a local woman by two servicemen on an island already fed up with the US military. Ambassador John Roos moved swiftly to reassure people on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa that he…

Concern as HIV cases rise 8 percent in Australia

Research on Wednesday showed HIV infections in Australia jumped eight percent last year and 50 percent in the past decade, which health activists said was a “call to action”. An annual report of HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections in Australia showed there were 1,137 new cases of the human…

Survival reflex sparks male perception bias: study

PARIS — You glimpse a stranger standing in the street. The light is hazy and the person’s face and clothing are indistinct. Who is it? Chances are you will think it is a man — and the reason for this is a survival reflex, according to an unusual study published…

Mexican drug lord ‘daughter’ arrested in southern California

LOS ANGELES — A woman who identified herself as a daughter of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been arrested after trying to enter the United States with false documents, officials said Tuesday. Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar, 31, was arrested Friday in San Ysidro in southern California, on…

’9/11 mastermind’ to wear military fatigues at Guantanamo trial

US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — Self-declared 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be allowed to wear military-style camouflage at his Guantanamo Bay trial, a military judge ruled. What KSM and four alleged co-conspirators will wear when they eventually appear before a military tribunal has been disputed in…

Fukushima panel chief hopes for change in Japan

WASHINGTON — The head of a hard-hitting panel that blamed cultural factors for the Fukushima nuclear disaster voiced hope Tuesday that the tragedy would help open up Japan’s system of government. The independent commission issued a damning report in July that blamed the world’s worst nuclear accident in a generation…

Ohio’s white men: The holy grail that Obama and Romney must win over

Larry Bushnell is one of the undecideds, that rarefied group of Americans who have yet to make up their minds whom to back on 6 November and whose vote could decide who holds the world’s most powerful office. He lives in Ohio, one of the most crucial swing states in…

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