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Elton John fears son will face homophobia

LONDON — Elton John believes his son Zachary’s childhood is going to be “very difficult”, battling homophobia and the impact of his father’s fame, the pop icon said in an interview published Tuesday. The 65-year-old British star and his Canadian civil partner David Furnish, 49, became parents on December 25,…

Obama dismisses criticism from veterans group

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama said Monday that he was not bothered by an outspoken political attack made on him by a group of former CIA spies and US special forces troops. The group claims to have no partisan affiliation, but last week’s remarks mirrored claims by Republican presidential…

Japanese reporter killed in Syria

TOKYO — A female Japanese reporter has been killed after being caught in gunfire while covering clashes in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, the Japanese foreign ministry said Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three other journalists were missing while covering the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime…

Israel arrests teen girls over hate attack on Palestinians

JERUSALEM — Jerusalem police arrested two 15-year-old girls on Monday, bringing to seven the number of Jewish teenagers arrested in connection with a brutal hate attack on young Palestinians last week. “Two 15-year-old girls were arrested today, in addition to the five youngsters already arrested,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told…

Ancient skull discovery pushes back clock on early human migration

CHICAGO — An ancient skull discovered in a cave in Laos has pushed back the clock on human migration to Southeast Asia by as much as 20,000 years, a study published Monday has found. The skull discovered in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos is the oldest modern human fossil…

Oil prices dip amid Mideast, eurozone worries

NEW YORK — Oil prices eased slightly in cautious trade Monday as investors kept a close eye on Middle East tensions and the eurozone’s economic uncertainties. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in September, closed at $95.97 a barrel, dipping four cents from…

Mexico murders almost triple since 2005

MEXICO CITY — The murder rate in drug-violent Mexico has almost tripled since 2005, government figures showed Monday, though officials did not specify how many homicides were linked to the country’s war on drugs. A total of 27,199 people were killed in 2011, or 24 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, compared…

U.S. denies Julian Assange’s claims of WikiLeaks witch-hunt

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday denied Julian Assange’s “wild assertions” that it has launched a witch-hunt for the WikiLeaks founder, who was holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid extradition. The Australian-born hacktivist rallied supporters Sunday from the balcony of the embassy, accusing the United States…

Voters say they’re worse off than four years ago

Voters say they're not better off than four years ago. Trouble for Obama? (via The Christian Science Monitor) A majority of voters in battleground states say they are not better off than they were four years ago, according to a USA Today/Gallup swing-states poll released Monday. Ever since candidate Ronald…

Curiosity rover zaps Mars rock with rapid-fire laser

Mars rover Curiosity zaps ‘Coronation’ rock with rapid-fire laser (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor) NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has zapped its first rock in what scientists elatedly declare a successful test of ChemCam, a laser-and-telescope combo designed to uncover the chemical composition of rocks on the Red Planet. The…

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