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Over 30 Mich. schools closing early cite Mayan apocalypse, Sandy Hook

Over 30 Michigan schools — in some part due to fears that the Mayan “prediction” that the world will end on Dec. 21 may come true — ended the semester two days early, reported NBC News. An official said that shortened semester was due in large part to the shooting…

Argentine woman to marry her sister’s convicted killer

An Argentine woman plans to marry the convicted killer of her twin sister. Victor Cingolani is serving a 13-year sentence for murdering girlfriend Johana Casas, a fashion model, in August 2010 but insists he is innocent and plans to marry her twin on Friday in his prison in Santa Cruz…

Foie gras removed from menu in Britain’s House of Lords

Britain’s House of Lords has taken foie gras off the menu after animal rights activists complained it was being served in its restaurants, a spokesman for the upper house of parliament said Thursday. Catering chiefs in the Lords, which broke up for Christmas on Wednesday, have decided not to serve…

Texas state rep’s ‘Merry Christmas’ bill protects right to holiday greetings

A Republican state representative in Texas is concerned that the right to say “Merry Christmas” in schools is under threat — so he’s pushing legislation to codify the right to various holiday greetings, reported the Fort Bend Sun. Dwayne Bohac, a representative from Houston, has pre-filed a “Merry Christmas Bill”…

12 congressional Democrats pledge to take up Bangladesh factory conditions

US lawmakers on Thursday urged a quick review of the duty-free access granted to many products from Bangladesh, voicing alarm over labor conditions after a factory fire killed 111 workers. The 12 Democratic lawmakers, many of whom serve on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said that Bangladesh appeared…

Record 111 countries vote against death penalty at UN

A record 111 countries voted Thursday for a moratorium on capital punishment at a keynote UN General Assembly human rights meeting. Although not legally binding, campaigners say the vote held every two years sends a strong signal to the slowly shrinking number of nations — including China, Iran and the…

Pyramid-shaped mountain in Serbia attracts Mayan doomsday believers

A pyramid-shaped mountain in Serbia, believed by some to be a source of unusual electromagnetic waves that could shield it from catastrophe, was attracting record numbers of visitors ahead of the predicted Mayan apocalypse on Friday. All the hotels around the Rtanj mountain in southeastern Serbia have been booked up…

Accounting of dark money puts Adelson election spending at $155 million

By Theodoric Meyer, ProPublica Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and emblem of the Citizens United-era of campaign finance, spent gobs of money on the 2012 elections u2014 more money than anyone else in American history. Exactly how much, you ask? We don’t really know, and it’s likely we never…

GOP Texas lawmaker’s efforts to ban abortion medication could increase risk of side effects

By Mary Tuma A GOP lawmaker is looking to make Texas the latest state to restrict the use of abortion medications in a way that some experts warn could increase the drugs’ side effects while making them more expensive. Anti-abortion activists and legislators can’t enact an outright ban on abortion-inducing drugs…

Ikea monkey owner sues to get custody back

OTTAWA — The owner of a stylishly-attired monkey — which became an instant Internet celebrity and was seized by authorities after it was found wandering in a Canadian car park — went to court Thursday to get it back. Canadian media said Yasmin Nakhuda’s lawyer told an Ontario Superior Court…

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