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Obama backs ending Olympic ‘medal tax’

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday backed legislation designed to spare triumphant Olympic athletes a nasty surprise — a tax on medals they bring home from the London Games. President Barack Obama “supports that bill. If it were to get to his desk, he would support it,” said White…

Candid Marilyn Monroe photos go public in Poland

WARSAW — As fans worldwide mark 50 years since her untimely death, a collection of rare Marilyn Monroe photographs immortalising the American blonde bombshell went on display in Warsaw Monday. Poland’s State Treasury obtained the candid shots of Monroe by a friend. Milton Green, in a collection of nearly 4,000…

White House sidesteps raging Romney tax returns battle

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday refused to be drawn into a fierce row involving the top Senate Democrat Harry Reid, branded a “dirty liar” by Republicans for his accusations about Mitt Romney’s tax record. Senate Majority leader Reid claimed last week that a secret source had told him…

Cocaine use in Swiss cities among highest in Europe: report

GENEVA, Switzerland — Cocaine use in several Swiss cities is among the highest in Europe, researchers said on Monday. “The amounts of cocaine … were in the same range as those European cities with the highest consumption,” said Christoph Ort, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology…

Secretary Clinton offers condolences to Indian government after Sikh temple shooting

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called her Indian counterpart Monday after a man attacked a Sikh temple in Wisconsin killing six people before being shot dead himself, a US official said. Clinton, who is on a visit to South Africa, spoke with Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna a day…

New York Times complains NYPD assaulted a photographer

The New York Times has complained to the city’s police department after one of its photographers said he was assaulted by officers who arrested him on Saturday. Robert Stolarik, a freelance photographer, claimed a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer “slammed” his camera into his face before he was dragged…

Wikipedia blackout caused by accidental cable slice in Florida

Wikipedia was inaccessible globally for a couple of hours on Monday after someone accidentally cut through fibre cables connecting its servers in Florida. The online encyclopedia was down for about two hours on Monday afternoon after the mishap near its worldwide data centre in Tampa, Florida. The site was brought…

Hiroshima marks anniversary of atomic bombing

A bell tolled to mark a moment of silence while people joined hands in prayer as tens of thousands marked the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Monday. Ageing survivors, relatives, government officials and foreign delegates attended an annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park commemorating the US…

Syrian PM ‘defects’ in latest blow to Assad

Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab has defected to the opposition, a monitoring group said on Monday, as state media announced the premier’s abrupt dismissal just two months after his appointment. If confirmed, Hijab’s defection would be the highest-ranking of the 17-month uprising, and a new blow to President Bashar al-Assad,…

Chinese state media tells U.S. to ‘shut up’ in sea dispute

China’s state-controlled media lashed out at the United States on Monday, accusing Washington of “trouble-making” over criticism of Beijing’s claims to a wide swathe of the disputed South China Sea. China’s ire was provoked by a U.S. State Department statement Friday expressing concern over increased tensions in the area and…

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