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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…

Turkey ammunition depot blast kills 25

Twenty-five soldiers were killed and four others were lightly wounded in an explosion at a military arms depot in western Turkey which officials said Thursday was most probably an accident. The blast occurred around 1815 GMT late Wednesday at a section of the military ammunition site in Afyon province where…

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales blasts UK Internet snooping

Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder, has sharply criticised the government’s so-called “snooper’s charter”, which will track the internet, text and email use of all British citizens, as “technologically incompetent”. Wales said that Wikipedia would move to encrypt all its connections with Britain if UK internet companies, such as Vodafone and…

Romney warns second Obama term would be ‘big mistake’

WASHINGTON — White House hopeful Mitt Romney joined the latest chorus of criticism launched by fellow Republicans at President Barack Obama on Wednesday, attempting to take the shine off the Democratic convention. The Republican nominee, who hunkered down in New England as the Democrats held their gala, emerged from two…

Transgender numbers on the rise at Democratic convention

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Amy, Jamie, Janice, Meghan and Melissa have come from across the United States to support President Barack Obama as Democratic delegates: they are all women who were born men. “Six in 2004, eight in 2008, and we are 13 today,” petite Melissa Sklarz told AFP, her…

Kal Penn defends Obama’s marijuana policy

After his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, Actor Kal Penn defended President Barack Obama’s marijuana policy. As the co-star of the stoner series Harold & Kumar, Penn is closely associated with marijuana culture. However, his appearance in character in an Obama campaign ad and his speech…

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