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Survey: Private sector hiring picked up in August

The US private sector stepped up hiring more than expected last month, a closely watched survey showed Thursday on the eve of the much-awaited August government jobs report Friday. Payrolls company ADP said private-sector employment rose by 201,000 in July, after an upwardly revised July gain of 173,000. The August…

New Emily Dickinson photo surfaced

A photograph believed to be an extremely rare image of Emily Dickinson has surfaced in her home town of Amherst, Massachusetts, showing a young woman in old-fashioned clothes, a tiny smile on her lips and a hand extended solicitously towards her friend. There is, currently, only one authenticated photograph of Dickinson in…

Human Rights Watch: U.S. covering up the extent of waterboarding in CIA prisons

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the US government of covering up the extent of waterboarding at secret CIA prisons, alleging that Libyan opponents of Muammar Gaddafi were subjected to the torture before being handed over to the former dictator’s security police. The New York-based human rights group has cast…

Brazil is world’s largest crack market: study

SAO PAULO (AFP) – Brazil is the world’s largest market for crack and the second for overall cocaine use, researchers from the Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP) said Wednesday. A survey by UNIFESP’s National Institute of Science and Technology for Public Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs found that…

Hong Kong goes to the polls amid China tensions

HONG KONG: Hong Kong goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new legislature that will lay the ground rules for direct elections, amid growing disquiet over mainland China’s hold over the former British colony. The vote is taking place against a steady drumbeat of protests, fueled by resentment…

Google and Microsoft field smartphones to take on iPhone 5

NEW YORK: Google and Microsoft have introduced new champions in the fiercely competitive smartphone arena a week ahead of what is likely to be the hotly-anticipated debut of a next-generation iPhone by Apple. On Wednesday, Microsoft and Nokia joined to boost their smartphone arsenal with two new Lumia handsets powered…

Australia PM cancels speech over ‘gay lifestyle’ controversy

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday withdrew from speaking at a Christian lobby conference after its head suggested smoking was healthier than a gay and lesbian lifestyle. Gillard was due to address the Australian Christian Lobby’s meeting in October but pulled out over the “offensive” and “inappropriate” comments about…

Frenchman takes PCs to lap of luxury

Does your laptop clash with your Empire-style interior? No problem. A French entrepreneur has signed up a team of traditional craftsmen to turn out PCs fit for a royal home. Out with dull office-grey plastic — even the slick lines of an iPad: Georges Chirita’s workshop outside Paris turns out…

Police arrest 6 after fireworks blaze kills 38 in India

Indian police arrested six people on Thursday and were hunting for the boss of a fireworks factory where 38 people were killed in a blaze that highlighted the industry’s lax safety standards. Firefighters battled for hours to control the fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at Om Sivasakthi plant in…

Girl found alive under bodies of her slain family in France

The father of a family slain in the French Alps was identified Thursday as Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old born in Baghdad, a French police source said. The father, mother and grandmother from the same family were found dead on Wednesday following a shooting in which another man also died. Two…

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