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Russia says Assad regime losing control of Syria

A top Russian diplomat said on Thursday that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is losing “more and more” control of Syria after 21 months of conflict and an opposition victory cannot be ruled out. “As for preparing for victory by the opposition, this, of course, cannot be excluded,” Deputy…

Christmas cruise turns into ‘holiday from hell’ after norovirus outbreak

Passengers say 400 travellers have had winter vomiting bug but cruiseliner claims just six had ‘mild gastrointestinal illness’ A dream Christmas cruise has turned into the holiday from hell, according to passengers who claim as many as 400 travellers have been struck down with the norovirus winter vomiting bug. One…

Great balls of China to defend against next week’s Mayan ‘apocalypse’

As people across the globe tremble in anticipation of next week’s supposed Mayan-predicted apocalypse, one Chinese villager says he may have just what humanity needs: tsunami-proof survival pods. Camouflage-clad former farmer and furniture maker Liu Qiyuan, 45, inspected his latest creation, a sphere several metres tall he calls “Noah’s Ark”,…

Laid-off beef factory worker sues ABC News and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver over ‘pink slime’ reports

A worker laid off by a beef processor after US media reported the use of “pink slime” in fast food and school lunches is suing reporters and a celebrity chef, alleging a campaign of “misinformation.” Bruce Smith is one of some 750 employees laid off earlier this year by Beef…

Politico financier tied to Pinochet money laundering dies at 87

Texas financier and media magnate Joe Allbritton, who lost the scandal-racked Riggs bank to a hostile takeover after it was fined for helping Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet launder money, has died at the age of 87. The son of a Houston sandwich shop owner, Allbritton built a fortune in real…

U.S. alleges Syria has used Scud missiles against rebels

The Syrian regime has fired Scud missiles at rebel forces trying to oust Bashar al-Assad, a US official said, after Arab and Western states recognised the opposition bloc as the sole representative there. “Scuds landed within Syria,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Earlier Wednesday an AFP journalist…

Springsteen, McCartney and Rolling Stones shine at Hurricane Sandy benefit gig

Rock music royalty, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Paul McCartney, joined in a stellar line-up to raise money for victims of superstorm Sandy. The “12-12-12″ concert at Madison Square Garden brought a Who’s Who of rockers under one roof for the event, which was…

Google Maps returns to iPhone after Apple fiasco

Google on Thursday released a new Google Maps app for iPhone users to replace a glitch-ridden Apple program panned for omitting key landmarks and cities and failing correctly to identify locations. The company has promised an “entirely new” experience with its Google Maps app, which includes local search functions, voice-guided…

UK government lifts ban on gas ‘fracking’ despite suspicion it causes earthquakes

The government said on Thursday that a controversial shale gas extraction method known as fracking should resume in Britain, despite the fact that it is suspected of having triggered earthquakes. Exploratory fracking can restart under tight controls to “mitigate the risks of seismic activity”, Energy Secretary Edward Davey said in…

NASA photo error puts Mount Everest in India

The world’s highest mountain should not be hard to spot but American space agency NASA has admitted it mistook a summit in India for Mount Everest, which straddles the border of Nepal and China. The agency said on its website that Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko’s snap from the International Space…

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