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California-based group gets Disney to pledge to stop using rainforest paper

Publisher pledges to use alternative sources as activist rejoices: ‘The Jungle Book will no longer be destroying the jungle’ Environmentalists campaigning to prevent the wholesale destruction of the Indonesian rainforest scored a major victory today after coaxing the Walt Disney company, one of the world’s largest children’s books publishers, to…

Appeals court lifts sales ban on Samsung phones

A US appeals court Thursday lifted a sales ban on Google-branded Samsung smartphones in a patent fight with Apple, saying there was no evidence sales were driven by features copied from the iPhone. The appeals court in Washington overturned an injunction issued by a judge in California for the Galaxy…

Researcher: More chocolate consumption linked with more Nobel prizes

The more chocolate people in a country eat, the more Nobel prize winners the country produces per capita, according to a note published Thursday in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Flavonoids, antioxidants found in cocoa, green tea, red wine and some fruits, appear “to be effective in slowing…

Astronomers find rare spiral shell of cosmic dust with powerful Chile telescope

Astronomers using a powerful Chile-based telescope on Wednesday released a rare image of a spiral shell of cosmic dust and gas surrounding a red giant star. The discovery marks the first time that scientists have found such a structure and obtained full three-dimensional information about the spiral. Researchers said a…

Released Pussy Riot member says authorities are playing ‘strange game’ of ‘calculated harassment’

A member of the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot freed unexpectedly from prison said there was no split within the group, accusing the authorities of playing a “strange game” against the women. A Russian appeals court on Wednesday unexpectedly ordered the release of Yekaterina Samutsevich, but upheld the two-year prison…

South African miners reject new pay offer

South Africa’s gold miners have rejected a new pay offer secured by their unions and aimed at ending months of industrial unrest that has curbed production of the precious metal. “We gave the offer to the striking mine workers and they said ‘no’,” Kenneth Buda, coordinator of the National Union…

Pope urges Catholics to come back to their faith

The Vatican celebrated the 50th anniversary on Thursday of a Council that changed the face of Catholicism, as it tries to rekindle the religious fervour of the time amid rising secularism. Hundreds of bishops from around the world held a solemn procession through St Peter’s Square, after which Pope Benedict…

EBooks pick up steam in Europe after slow start

Electronic books, which have sparked excited chatter for several years in the publishing world, are now gaining momentum among European readers, despite a late start compared to the US, industry insiders say. The digital share of the book market in European countries still lags behind the United States but publishers…

Spot where Julius Caesar was killed will be open for tourism in 2013

The area among Rome’s ancient ruins where general Julius Caesar was assassinated will be open to tourists starting in 2013 following long-running excavation work, local officials told AFP on Thursday. “Next year we will complete the excavation work and give the area back to visitors,” said Umberto Broccoli, the head…

Right-wing French politician sues over claims he had affair with Socialist first lady

A right-wing politician is to sue the authors of a book on French first lady Valerie Trierweiler that claims she had an affair with him while also seeing the current Socialist president, his office said Thursday. Patrick Devedjian, who was a minister under ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, is suing the authors…

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