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Qatar-based company to make $1 billion 7-film Prophet Mohammed biopic

Qatar-based company Alnoor Holding has said it will raise the budget for a planned movie series on the life of Prophet Mohammed to $1 billion dollars from the $1.5 million announced three years ago. The biopics will be produced as a series of “seven films — instead of three films…

Twitter reaches 200 million active users

Twitter said Tuesday the number of active users of the service has topped 200 million, in a sign of the sizzling growth of the messaging platform. News of the milestone came in a tweet, of course, from the official Twitter account: “There are now more than 200M monthly active @twitter…

Toyota to pay $17 million fine for Lexus safety defect

Toyota Motor will pay a record $17.35 million dollar fine for failing to promptly notify US authorities about a safety defect on 2010 Lexus models, a federal agency said Tuesday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Toyota had agreed to pay the penalty, the maximum fine allowable under the…

Report: Only 9 states carried out executions in 2012

WASHINGTON — Only nine of the 50 US states carried out executions in 2012, the fewest in 20 years and the latest indication of a decline in the use of capital punishment, a report said Tuesday. The study by the Death Penalty Information Center found that the number of new…

2012 likely to be one of the deadliest years for journalists

The year 2012 is likely to be one of the deadliest for journalists around the world, with at least 67 killed while doing their jobs, a US-based media rights group said Tuesday. The Committee to Protect Journalists said the number of deaths is up 42 percent from last year, due…

School resumes in Newtown, but not for survivors

Most children in Newtown returned to classes Tuesday for the first time since last week’s massacre, but survivors of the shooting stayed at home and their school remained a crime scene. In a thin drizzle, yellow school buses once again rolled through the Connecticut town, where some 5,400 children are…

UN: Increasingly hard to provide food aid in Syria

The UN’s World Food Programme warned Tuesday that the spiralling violence in Syria was making it increasingly difficult to distribute food in the war-torn country. “Food needs are growing in Syria,” said WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, whose organisation distributes most of its aid in Syria through the Syrian Arab Red…

Investment firm to sell stake in company that makes assault rifle from Newtown shooting

Private capital group Cerberus Capital Management announced Tuesday it would sell its shareholding in the company that makes the assault rifle used in last week’s US school massacre. Amid a surge in calls for tough gun control legislation after the Connecticut murder of 20 elementary school children and seven adults,…

Ministers name chunk of Antarctic in Queen Elizabeth II’s honor

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attended her first-ever cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where ministers marked her diamond jubilee by naming a chunk of the Antarctic in her honour and giving her 60 placemats. In the only visit by a British monarch to a cabinet meeting for more than 200 years, the…

UBS Libor-fixing fine may reach $1.5 billion

Swiss banking giant UBS may be slapped with a combined fine of $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) to settle allegations that it manipulated Libor interest rates, the Financial Times reported Tuesday. “UBS is close to finalising a deal with UK, US and Swiss authorities in which the bank will pay…

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