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Astronomers find racing star that could prove Einstein was right

US astronomers have found evidence of a star racing tightly around the monstrous black hole at the heart of our galaxy — the closest ever found near the matter-sucking body. The scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, said the discovery will help them test Albert Einstein’s theory of…

NSA director: U.S. needs offensive weapons in cyberwar

The United States needs to develop offensive weapons in cyberspace as part of its effort to protect the nation from cyber attacks, a senior military official said Thursday. “If your defense is only to try to block attacks you can never be successful,” General Keith Alexander, director of the National…

Google announces settlement in long-running book copyright lawsuit

Google and the Association of American Publishers announced Thursday they reached a settlement in a long-running copyright case over books and journals digitized by the Internet giant. The settlement “will provide access to publishers’ in-copyright books and journals digitized by Google for its Google Library Project” and “will end seven…

Facebook reaches 1 billion monthly users

The milestone means Zuckerberg has achieved his stated ambition of reaching 1 billion active monthly users just two years and three months after the social network reached the half billion mark. Facebook reached 900 million active monthly users in April. Facebook has recorded 1.13 trillion Likes, 140.3 billion friend connections…

International Herald Tribune celebrates 125 years

First delivered by horse-drawn carriages to Paris newsstands and hotels, the International Herald Tribune marks its 125th anniversary on Thursday amid troubling times for the newspaper industry. But the pioneer of global journalism — a dependable presence for international travellers whether in Paris, Kuwait or Tokyo — is confident it…

Paris mayor says marriage equality would open door to incest and polygamy

A Parisian mayor has stirred up a row over France’s plan to legalise gay marriage by announcing he will refuse to preside over same-sex marriages on the grounds they could open the door to the approval of polygamous or incestuous unions. Francois Lebel, the mayor of the capital’s 8th district…

Britain to use Facebook and Twitter for government services applications

Government denies scheme to use social networking to access services will be equivalent to identity cards The government will announce plans later this month to allow people to use social networking sites to access public services. Under the Cabinet Office scheme people wanting to apply for services ranging from benefits…

Oxfam: Land snapped up by corporations could have fed nearly 1 billion

International land investors and biofuel producers have taken over land around the world that could feed nearly 1bn people. Analysis by Oxfam of several thousand land deals completed in the last decade shows that an area eight times the size of the UK has been left idle by speculators or…

Facebook to charge users a fee to highlight their posts

Facebook has begun testing a new feature that would allow users to increase the visibility of their posts for a fee, in what appears to be a new bid to add more profitability to the social network. “As part of a test starting today, people in the US can promote…

DNA ‘map’ shows mother of all cultivated rice came from China’s Pearl River

The mother of all cultivated rice was grown on China’s Pearl River, according to a DNA “map” published on Wednesday. The first domesticated strain of rice was Oryza sativa japonica, which was grown thousands of years ago from wild rice in the middle of the Pearl River in southern China,…

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