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Illinois Senate panel approves marriage equality bill

The state of Illinois moved one step closer to legalizing same sex marriage on Tuesday. The Senate Executive Committee approved the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act by a 9-5 vote, with Republicans opposing the measure. The full state Senate is expected to vote on the bill by next week.…

Quake strikes Solomon Islands, triggering Pacific tsunami

A major 8.0 magnitude earthquake was feared to have flattened villages in the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, and triggered a tsunami with destructive potential for Pacific nations’ coasts, monitors said. A small tsunami wave reached part of the Solomons and watches were in effect as far afield as Hawaii, the…

Ahmadinejad issues challenge to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Iran’s president seven years ago, he made his presence felt through incendiary statements targeted at Israel and the west. Now, in his dying days in office, he is going out all guns firing. Only this time he is taking aim at the edifice of the political system…

Allen Ginsberg photos recall Beat generation

The writers of the Beat Generation, who shocked America with their bohemian lifestyles and upended literature half a century ago, are celebrated in a new photo exhibit by one of their most famous members, Allen Ginsberg. The New York exhibition, “Beat Memories, the photographs of Allen Ginsberg,” comes just after…

Afghanistan’s Karzai to leave power in 2014

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed Tuesday in Oslo that he plans to step down next year when his mandate expires. “The question of me staying as the president beyond 2014 is out of the question,” Karzai said when reporters asked about recent speculation that he was keen to stay on.…

U.S. prosecutors have no plans to press charges on Lance Armstrong

US prosecutors said Tuesday they have no plans to press criminal charges against cycling cheat Lance Armstrong, despite his confession that he owes his Tour de France victories to illegal doping. US Attorney Andre Birotte, who led a federal investigation into the disgraced rider, did not definitively rule out action,…

Senate approves plan to beef up embassy security

US lawmakers have moved toward freeing up $1.1 billion to boost America’s diplomatic security, just as new Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to work to improve safety at missions around the world. The US Senate late Monday approved a State Department request to dip into unused funds that had…

California teens lose fingers in school’s tug-of-war contest

Two Californian teenagers had some of their fingers ripped off when a school tug-of-war contest went horribly wrong, officials said Tuesday. The pair of senior students, a girl and a boy, were said to be in stable condition in hospital after the lunchtime accident Monday, said an official from the…

Treasury sells last Citigroup holding

The US Treasury Department said Tuesday it was selling its last holding in Citigroup, one of the banks rescued by the government amid the 2008 financial crisis. The sale of Citigroup subordinated notes is expected to add $894 million to the Treasury’s coffers, bringing the overall positive return to US…

FDA on the verge of approving first bionic eye for the blind

After years of research, the first bionic eye has seen the light of day in the United States, giving hope to the blind around the world. Developed by Second Sight Medical Products, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System has helped more than sixty people recover partial sight, with some experiencing…

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