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‘Cool geology’ ahead in NASA Mars mission

WASHINGTON — NASA said Thursday all was well ahead of its landmark mission to Mars, with its most advanced robotic rover poised to hunt for clues about past life and water on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor. On a mission to seek out signs of environments that once sustained life, the…

British police charge former News of the World editor with hacking

LONDON — British police on Thursday formally charged former tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks with phone hacking in a long-running press scandal which has struck at the heart of the country’s institutions. Police last week charged Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media chief Andy Coulson and six other current or former employees…

Facebook estimates 83 million profiles are fake

Facebook has more than 83 million fake profiles, including millions created for users’ pets and a large number of accounts the company deems “undesirable”, it has admitted. The figure emerged in Facebook’s first quarterly report to US financial regulators since the world’s biggest social network made its much-criticised stock market…

India plans unmanned spacecraft to Mars in 2013

India plans 2013 mission to Mars (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor) India plans to send an unmanned orbiter to Mars in November 2013 to study the climate and the geology of the Red Planet. According to AFP, India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has given his authorization and the final…

U.S. drought worsens and will likely affect next year’s crop

The worst drought in 50 years has intensified across the US midwest, not only condemning this year’s corn crop but threatening the prospects for next year’s too, new figures showed on Thursday. The political fallout intensified as well, with growing pressure for the Obama administration to end its support for…

Goldman Sachs invests $9.6 million in New York inmate rehabilitation

New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail would not immediately suggest an obvious source of lucrative profits for the banking industry. But investment giant Goldman Sachs is now hoping to make potentially millions of dollars by helping persuade the prison’s inmates to turn over a new leaf. The strange turn of…

‘Several hundred’ police patrol Jerusalem gay pride parade

Thousands marched in central Jerusalem on Thursday for a milestone 10th anniversary Gay Pride parade, passing by the spot where an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants in 2005. Some carried rainbow banners and others had signs proclaiming: “A decade of marching in Jerusalem,” and: “Love thy neighbour.” Opposition to such…

Senate kills cybersecurity bill

A bill aimed at protecting the United States from cyber attacks failed to advance in the US Senate on Thursday, dampening hopes for passage of a measure backed by President Barack Obama. The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians — who feared it could…

IMF: U.S. political infighting over ‘fiscal cliff’ threatens global economy

Political infighting over the “fiscal cliff” threatens to wipe out the US’s fragile recovery with “very bad” consequences for the rest of the world, a senior International Monetary Fund economist warned Thursday. Updating its annual report on the US economy, the IMF said the recovery remained “tepid”, and risks to that recovery had…

Kofi Annan quits Syrian special peace envoy

Kofi Annan is quitting as UN-Arab League envoy for Syria after battling to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to accept a peace plan, the UN said Thursday. UN leader Ban Ki-moon announced “with deep regret,” that Annan had tendered his resignation, as the Syrian civil war spiraled further out of control.…

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