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Toyota reaches $1.1 billion deal with US owners over recalls

Toyota has agreed to pay about $1.1 billion to settle a class action lawsuit launched by US vehicle owners affected by a series of mass recalls, the Japanese automaker said Wednesday. The deal will cover the cost of installing a free brake override system in millions of vehicles affected by…

Pakistan prepares to mark five years since PM Bhutto’s murder

Pakistan Thursday marks the fifth anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, with her son expected to launch his political career with a speech in the family’s ancestral home town. Bhutto, twice elected prime minister, was killed in a gun and suicide attack after an election rally…

Unusually harsh winter hits Morocco’s mountain region

In a country on the doorstep of western Europe and popular for sunshine holidays, an unusually bitter winter has hit isolated mountain villages, causing hardship not usually associated with Morocco. On an icy morning in December, Salem Said trudges with his son along a snow-swept road to the only school…

Oil prices jump ahead of renewed ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

Oil prices jumped Wednesday as President Barack Obama headed back to Washington for a last-ditch attempt to secure a “fiscal cliff” deal with Republicans ahead of a year-end deadline. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery, gained $2.37 to settle at $90.98 a barrel, its highest…

Massive winter storm leaves 7 dead as it heads to northeast

A massive winter storm system that whipped up tornadoes, ice and snow from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes on Christmas Day, killing at least seven people, headed for the northeastern US Wednesday. The storm snarled holiday travel as 1,500 flights were cancelled and people were warned to…

Netflix blames Christmas Eve outage that affected 27 million users on Amazon

Netflix on Wednesday was blaming Amazon for an embarrassing outage that left millions of people unable to snuggle up with the online film streaming service on Christmas Eve. More than 27 million Netflix members in the Americas may have been unable to access shows or films online due to a…

UN predicts 1.1 million Syrian refugees by June

The United Nations on Wednesday predicted the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries will double to 1.1 million by June next year if the country’s war is not ended. There are now more than 540,000 registered refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt, according to the latest UN…

Iran grounds domestic flights during call to prayer

Iran has ordered domestic airlines to take off half an hour after pre-dawn Muslim prayers, the website of country’s civil aviation organisation quoted its chief as saying on Wednesday. “According to a directive we issued to the domestic airlines, from now on the airlines will be authorised to take off…

‘Thunderbirds’ creator Gerry Anderson dies at 83

Gerry Anderson, the British director and creator of the cult sci-fi animation series “Thunderbirds”, died on Wednesday aged 83, his son said on Wednesday. Anderson had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease since 2010 and his health had deteriorated in the past six months, Jamie Anderson said on his personal website.…

JFK conspiracy theorists ask for inclusion in 50-year ceremony

Officials in Dallas, Texas, where former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, want to honor the 50th anniversary of his death with a celebration of his life in 2013. But conspiracy theorists who believe government officials played a role in his demise on Nov. 22, 1963, refuse to be sidelined,…

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