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Assange case a contrast to Ecuador’s embattled media

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has found an unlikely ally in Ecuador President Rafael Correa, who defends the document-leaking website while cracking down on media in his own country, experts say. On Thursday Correa granted asylum to Assange, who has taken shelter at the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition…

Syria denies vice president has defected

Syria denied opposition claims on Saturday that top regime official Vice President Faruq al-Shara had defected as its armed forces pounded rebels in several key flashpoints across the country. The United Nations, meanwhile, won support from the West as well as Russia and China for its new envoy for Syria,…

What Curiosity rover is up to next: Martian target practice

What Curiosity rover is up to next: Martian target practice (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor) After nearly two Earth weeks on the surface of Mars, NASA’s rover Curiosity is getting set for target practice. Within the next few days, scientists using the laser-based ChemCam plan to zap their first…

Paul Ryan stumps with his mother to combat allegations he wants to dismantle Medicare

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan campaigned with his mother on Saturday to combat allegations he wants to dismantle Medicare, a politically sensitive public health program for seniors. “Like a lot of Americans, when I think about Medicare it’s not the program. It’s not a bunch of numbers. It’s what…

Hands matching severed head, foot found in Canada

Canadian police on Friday discovered a pair of severed hands, after earlier this week finding a head and foot from what is believed to be a woman’s dismembered body in a Toronto area river. “We believe they all belong to the same person,” a police spokesman told AFP, adding the…

Libor inquiry chairman slams ex-Barclays boss

The head of the select committee inquiry into the Libor rate-rigging scandal has attacked ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond for giving “highly selective” evidence, as its report was published Saturday. “Select committees are entitled to expect candour and frankness from witnesses before them,” said Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chaired…

Obama calls for making education priority

US President Barack Obama on Saturday called on local and national lawmakers to prioritize education and stop firing teachers as a way to balance budgets. “At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America, these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for…

After Ramadan fast, Indonesians ‘eat with a vengeance’

As Indonesia shifts from a month of fasting during Ramadan to a week-long eating binge for the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday, doctors are braced for an annual spike in complaints of rapid weight gain. Millions in the world’s most populous Muslim nation typically mark the end of the Ramadan fasting…

Baboon baby boom worries Uruguay zookeepers

A population explosion of baboons at a Uruguayan zoo has their keepers worried that the 130 increasingly aggressive animals will forcibly resist being moved to a larger enclosure. For years the troop of Hamadrya baboons — a species Old World monkeys native to the Horn of Africa and Yemen —…

6.3-magnitude quake hits Indonesia’s Sulawesi

A powerful 6.3-magnitude quake shook Indonesia’s central Sulawesi province on Saturday, damaging buildings and injuring at least three people. Panicked residents in two mountainous districts near the epicentre ran from their homes into the streets as the quake rocked their villages for around 15 seconds. An AFP reporter in the…

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