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Most countries do little to combat corruption in arms trade, study finds

Transparency International estimates cost of corruption in defense sector amounts to at least $20 billion a year Most countries, including a large majority of the world’s biggest weapons importers, lack the tools to prevent corruption in the arms trade, according to an unprecedented international study of national defense ministries and…

‘Finnegans Wake’ is Chinese publishing hit

A new Chinese translation of “Finnegans Wake”, renowned for its linguistic difficulty in the original, is proving a hit in China — although one academic called the author James Joyce “mentally ill”. The first-ever mainland Chinese edition of the novel sold out its initial print run of 8,000 copies just…

Google unveils detailed North Korea map… with gulags

Google has rolled out a detailed map of North Korea that even labels some of its remote and infamous gulags. Until now North Korea was pretty much a blank canvas to users of Google’s Map Maker, which creates maps from data that is provided by the public and fact-checked in…

Obama discusses gun control with police from places hit by shootings

Barack Obama has met police chiefs from communities hit by the worst shooting atrocities to have occurred during his presidency, and promised to take on board their views concerning gun violence. Anticipating a “robust conversation” on Monday, Obama hosted officers from Oak Creek, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown. Also in attendance…

U.S. soldier receives rare double arm transplant

A US soldier who lost all four limbs in a 2009 roadside bomb attack in Iraq has successfully received a rare double arm transplant, Johns Hopkins hospital said Monday. The infantryman, whose name and age were not released, is one of just seven people in the United States who have…

Congress approves $50 billion in disaster aid for Hurricane Sandy victims

Congress on Monday finally approved more than $50 billion in emergency disaster aid for Hurricane Sandy, 13 weeks after the superstorm ravaged much of the coastal US northeast and left thousands homeless. The bill, approved earlier this month by the House, comes after a nearly monthlong delay triggered bipartisan rage…

Talk of CIA prisons censored at Guantanamo hearing

US authorities censored part of a preliminary hearing Monday at a Guantanamo military tribunal that touched on CIA secret prisons where suspected 9/11 plotters say they were tortured. Reporters watched the proceedings against the five 9/11 suspects at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba behind a thick, sound-proof…

U.S. military plans to build drone base in North Africa: official

The US military plans to set up a base for drones in northwest Africa to bolster surveillance of Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the region as well as allied Islamist extremists, a US official told AFP on Monday. The base for the robotic, unmanned aircraft would likely be located in Niger, on…

Housing market continues upward trend despite dip in home sales

US pending home sales dipped in December as inventory remained tight, but the upward trend in the housing market continued, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The NAR’s pending home sales index, an indicator of future sales, fell 4.3 percent to 101.7 in December, down from a 106.3 reading…

Porn pops up in Editor’s Picks section of Twitter’s new Vine video service

Twitter’s iPhone video-snippet sharing service Vine had concerns about porn exposed on Monday after adult content was bared briefly in an “Editor’s Picks” section. Twitter apologized for the mistake, blaming “human error” but providing little detail, and quickly removed the video. The globally popular one-to-many message sharing service last week…

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