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Thousands take part in mass 12/12/12 weddings

Thousands of couples in Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore flocked Wednesday to tie the knot on 12/12/12, seeking good fortune for marriages begun on the century’s last repeating date. Authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively said 696 and 540 couples were scheduled to attend marriage registries, continuing a…

Bloomberg: New Yorkers live longer due to health policies

New Yorkers are living longers than Americans overall, and the margin is increasing, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, as he praised his administration’s health policies. A New Yorker born in 2010 has a life expectancy of 80.9 years, 2.2 years longer than the national life expectancy of 78.7 years at the…

Pope to answer questions of faith on Twitter

Pope Benedict XVI is due to send out his first, much-anticipated Twitter message on Wednesday, with hundreds of thousands of followers already signed up to receive the tweet. Since the pope last week announced he would start tweeting under the name @pontifex, around 625,000 people have registered to follow his…

North Korea launches long-range rocket despite international pressure

North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday, in defiance of UN sanctions threats over what Pyongyang’s critics have condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test. North Korea said the three-stage rocket, which Pyongyang insists was solely aimed at placing a satellite in orbit, had achieved all its objectives.…

Iraq abuse inquiry was a cover-up, whistleblower tells court

A former investigator into allegations that British troops abused Iraqi prisoners resigned because she did not want to be implicated in “a cover-up”, the high court has heard. Louise Thomas, 45, left the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) in July because she thought it was not a genuine investigation but…

Obama recognizes Syrian rebels as ‘legitimate representative’ of the people

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Syrian opposition was now “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, in the most significant US intervention yet in the brutal civil war. “We have made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of…

American detained in North Korea

An American citizen has been detained by the communist authorities in North Korea, a country that has no diplomatic ties with the United States, a US official said Tuesday. “We’re obviously aware of these reports that a US citizen has been detained in North Korea. We obviously have no higher…

Canadian police chief sends Christmas cards to gangsters

Gangsters in one of Canada’s most crime-ridden cities can expect a special greeting card this Christmas — from a local police chief dressed as jolly Santa Claus and packing heat. The card is being mailed out this week to “prolific offenders, property offenders and persons known for drug and gang…

Republicans push for more spending cuts in fiscal cliff bargain

US President Barack Obama and Republicans waged a new spat over spending cuts Tuesday, as time ran short and little progress was evident towards ending a vexing year-end austerity and tax crisis. After days dueling over Obama’s demand for higher taxes on the rich, each side accused the other of…

Sen. Rand Paul congratulates Michigan on new right-to-work law

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Tuesday congratulated the heavily-unionized state of Michigan after its legislature approved a so-called “right-to-work” bill. “I offer my congratulations to the Michigan state legislature on their hard work on and passage of freedom in the workplace legislation, and to Gov. Rick Snyder for…

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