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Pistorius family distances itself from father’s gun comments

The family of star sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend, on Tuesday rejected his father’s assertion that South Africa’s high crime rates necessitated gun ownership. The family was “deeply concerned” about the comments Henke Pistorius made to the British newspaper The Telegraph, the family’s publicist said…

James Franco rips Australia for banning gay-themed film ‘I Want Your Love’

Hollywood star James Franco has lashed out at Australia for banning the US gay-themed film “I Want Your Love”, calling the decision embarrassing. Australia’s Classification Board deemed the movie’s sex scenes too explicit and refused to allow it to be screened at the upcoming Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the…

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin merging operations

The regulator of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac detailed plans Monday to begin contracting their business while merging their securitization operations. Federal Housing Finance Agency acting director Edward DeMarco said the two, rescued by the government in 2008 in a $180 billion bailout after the housing market…

Barack Obama: Forced spending cuts an ‘empty victory’ for Republicans

Barack Obama warned at the first meeting of his second-term cabinet on Monday that the $85bn in forced spending cuts will mean difficult budget decisions in the weeks ahead and that unemployment will end up being higher than it needs to be. Details of the areas to be cut will…

Ice-strengthened ships will sail directly over the north pole by 2050: scientists

Ships should be able to sail directly over the north pole by the middle of this century, considerably reducing the costs of trade between Europe and China but posing new economic, strategic and environmental challenges for governments, according to scientists. The dramatic reduction in the thickness and extent of late…

Steven Spielberg to use Stanley Kubrick screenplay for mini-series about Napoleon

Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg is to make a television mini-series about Napoleon, based on a screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, he told a French broadcaster. The 66-year-old “Schindler’s List” and “E.T.” filmmaker is working on the basis of a five-decade old script by Kubrick, who directed classics including “A Clockwork Orange”…

Arnold Schwarzenegger to edit bodybuilding magazine

Austrian-born movie legend Arnold Schwarzenegger has been named as senior editor of a bodybuilding magazine he ran before becoming governor of California, its publisher said Monday. The 65-year-old, who made his name as Mr. Universe before becoming a Hollywood star and then politician, is returning as Group Executive Editor for…

House Republicans propose $10 billion spending hike for Pentagon

US House Republicans introduced a proposal Monday that would fund the government through the end of fiscal year 2013, albeit at a reduced level to account for harsh spending cuts already under way. The measure, expected to be brought to the floor for a vote this week, does not cancel…

Hillary Clinton fought ‘tooth and nail’ with staff over Afghan policy, says ex-official

Former US top diplomat Hillary Clinton and her staff fought “tooth and nail” to push ideas for diplomacy in Afghanistan in a bitter turf war with the White House, an ex-official says in a new book. Vali Nasr, now dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies…

U.S. calls on UN to ban drunken diplomats from budget negotiations

The United States on Monday called for drunk diplomats to be barred from United Nations’ budget negotiations. Annual talks on how much the global body spends have become increasingly tense as western nations call for spending cuts. “We make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be…

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