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Obama urges ‘concrete steps’ to prevent gun violence

President Barack Obama Monday heaped pressure on Congress for action “soon” on curbing gun violence, flanked by uniformed police officers he said should not be outgunned on US streets. In his most high profile intervention in the guns debate since unveiling a package of executive actions and recommendations for new…

House Republicans pressure Obama over budget

Republicans are pressuring US President Barack Obama to unveil a federal budget, saying failure to introduce a blueprint by Monday as required shows the White House is not serious about curbing spending. House Republicans plan to take up a measure this week that would force the president to identify the…

Alabama kidnapper killed and child rescued: report

A US gunman and murder suspect who snatched a five-year-old boy and held him for a week underground in a bunker besieged by police has been killed and the child is safe, media reported Monday. The end of the siege was confirmed by CBS News and CNN, citing federal authorities.…

USS Cole suspect raises court censorship issue

Defense lawyers Monday lost a bid to suspend proceedings at Guantanamo against the suspected mastermind of the USS Cole attack over revelations of outside government censorship. The issue first arose last week in pre-trial hearings for five accused 9/11 plotters when Judge James Pohl disclosed that, without his knowledge, someone…

Online search ads expose racial bias: study

Ads pegged to Google search results can be racially biased because of how certain names are associated with blacks or whites, according to a new study. Harvard University professor Latanya Sweeney found “statistically significant discrimination” when comparing ads served with results from online searches made using names associated with blacks…

Gene therapy in mice gives hope to the deaf

Scientists using gene therapy have partially restored hearing and balance in profoundly deaf mice, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Nature Medicine. The research, still in its early stages and restricted to lab animals, may open up new avenues for tackling Usher syndrome, an inherited form…

Kashmir cleric calls all-girl rock group ‘un-Islamic’

Indian Kashmir’s most senior Muslim cleric has called for the plug to be pulled on an all-girl rock group, calling the band “un-Islamic” and accusing them of “indecent” behaviour. Pragaash (First Light) sprang to prominence last December when the high school trio, all of whom are Muslim, won an annual…

Most promising vaccine to replace TB jab doesn’t protect against the disease

PARIS — The most promising vaccine to replace the world’s 91-year-old tuberculosis jab does not protect against the disease, according to results released Monday of large-scale trials conducted among infants in South Africa. Doctors have had high hopes for the formula, known as MVA85A, as the existing Bacille-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine…

Study: Israeli and Palestinian textbooks offer one-sided view of conflict

Israelis and Palestinians rarely demonise each other in their schoolbooks but each side’s texts offer children a one-sided view of their conflict, says a joint study released on Monday. “Dehumanising and demonising characterisations of the other are rare in both Israeli and Palestinian books,” according to the study funded by…

Romanian cancer patients demand better access to treatment

Cancer patients in Romania on Monday called on the government to make the latest treatments for the disease affordable to end what they called an “inhumane situation”. The call by Romania’s federation of cancer patient associations came on World Cancer Day. “There is a huge discrepancy between the treatments available…

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