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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…

11-year-old Pakistani girl faces death penalty for Quran burning

An 11-year-old Christian Pakistani girl said to suffer from a mental disorder could face the death penalty under the country’s notorious blasphemy laws, after she was accused by her neighbours of deliberately burning sacred Islamic texts. Rifta Masih was arrested on Thursday, after complaints against her prompted angry demonstrations, and…

JetBlue passenger relates premature landing on Twitter

A film producer who was sitting next to a man whose erratic behaviour caused a JetBlue flight into a premature landing has posted a dramatic account of the experience. Cassian Elwes, who spent much of the New York to Los Angeles flight next to a man he identifies as Marco,…

Joint chiefs chair: Afghan leaders ready to curb ‘insider attacks’

Afghan leaders appear ready to take decisive action to curb unprecedented “insider attacks” by Afghan recruits that have killed 40 Western troops this year, the top US military officer said Monday. “For the first time, I found that my Afghan counterparts are as concerned about the insider attacks as we…

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