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California declares state of emergency amid fires

Authorities declared a state of emergency in northern California, ravaged by fires at a time when several other western US states are also fighting flames. California Governor Jerry Brown said the affected counties were Plumas, Shasta and Tehama, in the north of the state, where dozens of fires are currently…

Google takes ‘maps’ users on online Arctic adventure

Google set out to take users of its free online mapping service on an Arctic adventure with help from an Inuit community in the Canadian tundra. Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined the effort as the Internet titan’s Street View team arrived in the hamlet of Cambridge Bay in the Northwest…

Quebec students protest tuition hikes

Thousands of protesters marched against planned tuition hikes in Montreal, opposing the Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest, two weeks before parliamentary elections. “The people will vote to elect a new government and that new government will feel pressure from the students,” CEGEP college philosophy professor Martin Godon told AFP.…

Obama says tells fundraising audience and Michael Jordan that his opponents ‘play a little dirty’

President Barack Obama at a fundraising event with Michael Jordan likened his re-election campaign to a basketball game in which one’s opponents use gamesmanship, but fail to triumph regardless. “We are in the fourth quarter. We are up by a few points, but the other side is coming strong and…

Syphilis scare prompts call to halt U.S. porn shoots

LOS ANGELES — Reports of several cases of syphilis among porn actors in California has prompted a trade group to call for a temporary halt to shooting in the lucrative US adult film industry. The Free Speech Coalition, which brings together porn film producers, has advocated a “temporary moratorium on…

NASA’s Mars rover makes first test drive

LOS ANGELES — NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Wednesday made its first test drive, leaving wheel tracks near its landing spot — now dubbed “Bradbury Landing” in honor of late science fiction author Ray Bradbury. “Curiosity today had its first successful drive on Mars. We have a fully functioning mobility…

Still time for diplomacy on Iran weapons: U.S.

WASHINGTON — Diplomacy can still solve the crisis over Iran’s suspect nuclear program, the United States said Wednesday, adding that it had relayed the message to close ally Israel. Tensions are taut between Israel and Iran amid threats by the Jewish state to attack nuclear facilities in the Islamic republic…

Man charged over shooting at Family Research Council

WASHINGTON — A gay rights activist was formally charged Wednesday with shooting and trying to kill a security guard at the Washington headquarters of a Christian lobby group, justice officials said in a statement. Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, was indicted by a grand jury on federal and Washington (District…

Federal Reserve leaning toward more stimulus

WASHINGTON — Policy makers at the US Federal Reserve are leaning toward more stimulus action “fairly soon” unless economic data turns around, minutes from their meeting three weeks ago showed Wednesday. The minutes revealed most members of the Federal Open Market Committee were concerned about slowing growth and the vulnerability…

Job stress doubles diabetes risk in women

Work stress doubles the risk of developing diabetes for women who have little or no control over what they do on the job, according to a new Canadian study. The same is not true for men. “Men and women react differently to workplace stress,” Peter Smith, lead author of the…

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