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Prisoner 552, Fayez al-Kandari, still waiting for Obama to make good on 2008 promise to close Gitmo

US President Barack Obama begins his second term having failed to honor a promise from his first to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, to the bitter regret of prisoner 552, Fayez al-Kandari. The 34-year-old Kuwaiti, accused by US authorities of being an advisor to slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin…

Father of Aurora, Colorado massacre victim yells at gunman in courtroom: ‘Rot in hell!’

The father of a victim of the Colorado cinema massacre yelled “rot in hell!” at the alleged gunman on Friday, when a judge delayed officially charging him a day after ruling he stand trial. Four or five people walked out of court after judge William Sylvester postponed for two months…

As Obama meets Karzai, future troop level in Afghanistan isn’t the only big issue

As Obama meets Karzai, future troop level in Afghanistan isn't only big issue President Obama hosts Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the White House for lunch and talks Friday, but the big questions hanging over the visit won’t be answered there. Rather, pressing issues that remain after more than a…

Poachers hack apart 2-month-old rhino with axes and machetes

A two-month old rhino was hacked at least 18 times with axes and machetes when she got too close to poachers cutting off her slain mother’s horn in South Africa, a conservation NGO said Friday. “The poor baby had obviously tried to return to its mother while the poachers were…

Belgium becomes conception haven for French lesbians

As France braces this weekend for giant protests against gay marriage and adoption, neighbouring Belgium has become a haven for French lesbians, who flock there in their thousands to conceive babies they are denied at home. Some 2,000 babies conceived in Belgium through artificial insemination by donor are thought to…

NASA: ‘Doomsday’ asteroid poses no threat to Earth

A space rock popularly dubbed the “doomsday asteroid” because of fears it could smash into Earth a couple of decades from now poses no risk, NASA said after new observations of the object. Asteroid 99942 Apophis was scanned by optical telescopes and deep-space radars as it made a flyby this…

6 million volunteers clean up garbage worldwide

More than six million volunteers from 96 countries collected an unprecedented 100,000 tonnes of garbage last year as part of a global, web-driven clean-up campaign, cyber-environmentalists said Friday. “Last year the most astonishing numbers of volunteers attended clean-ups in Sweden, Bulgaria and in Slovenia,” Tiina Urm, spokeswoman for World Cleanup…

EU and U.S. agree to share cybercrime data

The European Union and the US agreed Friday to share more data on cross-border cybercriminals at the opening of a new hi-tech unit aimed at helping police catch up with increasingly imaginative criminals. “This agreement will reinforce the cooperation, the exchange of information,” Europol chief Rob Wainwright told AFP at…

Saudi King appoints woman to advisory council for first time

Saudi King Abdullah appointed 30 women to the previously all-male consultative Shura Council in decrees published on Friday, marking a historic first as he pushes reforms in the ultra-conservative kingdom. The decrees gives women a 20 percent quota in the Shura Council, a body appointed by the king to advise…

Russia to allow some orphans to be adopted in U.S.

Russian children whose adoptions have already been approved by courts will go to the United States despite a blanket ban on all American adoptions, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday. “Those who have received a court decision will go,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP. “Those who do…

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