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Global smartphone sales soared in 2012

Global smartphone sales soared in 2012, taking a huge slice of a mobile market that was otherwise flat, survey data showed Friday. Research firm Strategy Analytics said global smartphone shipments grew 43 percent to 700 million units in 2012, with South Korea’s Samsung capturing more than 30 percent of the…

More than 1 in 5 infected with H1N1 virus worldwide during 2009-10 flu season

More than a fifth of the world’s population was infected by the H1N1 virus in the 2009-2010 flu pandemic, according to new estimates released on Friday. The study confirms warnings that so-called swine flu was highly contagious. It also estimates that the flu’s lethality — as previously reported — was…

Dung beetles use Milky Way light to guide them

Dung beetles use light from the Milky Way to roll their balls of precious dung out of the way of competitors, scientists reported on Friday. Even though they have just a tiny brain and weak eyes, the beetles use the progressive gradient of light in the skies, provided by the…

Russia prepares to advance anti-LGBT bill

Russia’s parliament was expected Friday to give initial backing to a bill banning homosexual “propaganda” among minors that could lead to gays being fined for demonstrating or kissing in public. The highly contentious measure is based on a law passed in President Vladimir Putin’s native city of Saint Petersburg last…

Wagner in command at U.S. figure skating championships

Defending champion Ashley Wagner seized a comfortable lead in the ladies’ short programme at the 2013 US figure skating championships. Wagner, a heavy favorite to retain the title she won last year, amassed 67.57 points, putting herself in position to become the first woman to win back-to-back US titles since…

N.Korea threatens rival South over UN sanctions

North Korea on Friday threatened “physical counter-measures” against rival South Korea — the latest in a series of bellicose warnings sparked by a tightening of UN sanctions against Pyongyang. “If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the so-called UN ‘sanctions’, strong physical countermeasures would be taken,”…

Study of new mutations may show how cancers grow

Scientists have discovered two new genetic mutations that occur together in 71 percent of malignant melanoma tumors, an aggressive and deadly cancer of the skin, a study said. The mutations, detected in a part of the cancer genome that controls genes but not in the genes themselves, could aid understanding…

J.J. Abrams to direct new ‘Star Wars’ film

Sci-fi and action filmmaker J.J. Abrams has been tapped to direct a seventh “Star Wars” movie expected to be released by Disney in 2015, a Hollywood trade publication reported. After purchasing “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’s Lucasfilm for $4 billion in October, Disney announced it was planning a new trilogy…

Henry Kissinger warns of Iran nuclear crisis in ‘very foreseeable future’

Israeli officials said Thursday that military action against Iran needed to stay on the table, as former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger warned of a crisis over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in the “very foreseeable future”. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defence…

Australians warned to leave Benghazi immediately

Australia on Friday joined three European nations in urging its citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi due to a “specific, imminent threat to Westerners” linked to French action in Mali. The advice followed similar warnings from governments in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, which sparked an angry response…

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