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Russia prepares to advance anti-LGBT bill

Russia’s parliament was expected Friday to give initial backing to a bill banning homosexual “propaganda” among minors that could lead to gays being fined for demonstrating or kissing in public. The highly contentious measure is based on a law passed in President Vladimir Putin’s native city of Saint Petersburg last…

Wagner in command at U.S. figure skating championships

Defending champion Ashley Wagner seized a comfortable lead in the ladies’ short programme at the 2013 US figure skating championships. Wagner, a heavy favorite to retain the title she won last year, amassed 67.57 points, putting herself in position to become the first woman to win back-to-back US titles since…

N.Korea threatens rival South over UN sanctions

North Korea on Friday threatened “physical counter-measures” against rival South Korea — the latest in a series of bellicose warnings sparked by a tightening of UN sanctions against Pyongyang. “If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the so-called UN ‘sanctions’, strong physical countermeasures would be taken,”…

Study of new mutations may show how cancers grow

Scientists have discovered two new genetic mutations that occur together in 71 percent of malignant melanoma tumors, an aggressive and deadly cancer of the skin, a study said. The mutations, detected in a part of the cancer genome that controls genes but not in the genes themselves, could aid understanding…

J.J. Abrams to direct new ‘Star Wars’ film

Sci-fi and action filmmaker J.J. Abrams has been tapped to direct a seventh “Star Wars” movie expected to be released by Disney in 2015, a Hollywood trade publication reported. After purchasing “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’s Lucasfilm for $4 billion in October, Disney announced it was planning a new trilogy…

Henry Kissinger warns of Iran nuclear crisis in ‘very foreseeable future’

Israeli officials said Thursday that military action against Iran needed to stay on the table, as former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger warned of a crisis over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in the “very foreseeable future”. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defence…

Australians warned to leave Benghazi immediately

Australia on Friday joined three European nations in urging its citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi due to a “specific, imminent threat to Westerners” linked to French action in Mali. The advice followed similar warnings from governments in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, which sparked an angry response…

Egyptians to protest on second anniversary of revolution

Huge crowds were expected to demonstrate in Egypt on Friday for the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak and brought in an Islamist government, at a time of political tensions and economic woes. The secular-leaning opposition called for mass street protests against President Mohamed Morsi and the…

SEC nomination signals Obama’s tougher approach to Wall Street

The woman who prosecuted Mafia boss John Gotti is about to take over the policing of Wall Street. Barack Obama is expected to nominate former star government prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as the regulator attempts to dodge criticism that it has been…

UN to investigate legality of U.S drone strikes

A newly-announced UN inquiry into the rise of drone strikes and targeted killings around the world has drawn measured optimism and concerns from national security experts and the international human rights community. Ben Emmerson QC, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, announced on Thursday that he will head…

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