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Bradley Manning lawyer: Alleged WikiLeaker had ‘no evil intent’ toward U.S.

David Coombs tells military hearing that Manning had ‘no evil intent’ to help enemy and selected harmless material to publish Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of instigating the largest leak of state secrets in US history, consciously selected the information he passed to WikiLeaks to ensure that it would be…

Study: Nearly 14 million women engage in binge drinking three times a month

Binge drinking is an under-recognized problem for US women, nearly 14 million of whom engage in it about three times a month, downing about six drinks each time, says a study released Tuesday. The practice is most common among women aged 18 to 34 as well as high school students,…

EU launches public consultation on artificial sweetener aspartame

The EU’s food safety agency on Tuesday launched a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion regarding the safety of the artificial sweetener aspartame. “All stakeholders and interested parties are invited to comment on the draft opinion through the online public consultation by 15 February 2013,” the European Food Safety…

Chinese man pleads guilty to pirating $100 million in software

A Chinese man pleaded guilty in a US federal court Tuesday to pirating software that investigators said was worth more than $100 million. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that it had broken up an operation run by Xiang Li, 36, of Chengdu in Sichuan, China, that the bureau…

Gabby Giffords launches initiative to push for tougher gun laws

Former US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a famous survivor of gun violence, launched a major initiative on Tuesday to challenge the nation’s powerful gun lobby and press for tougher gun laws. Giffords — shot in the head in January 2011 while meeting constituents in her native Arizona — unveiled “Americans for…

French budget minister under investigation for tax fraud

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac is under investigation for tax fraud after a media report that he had an undeclared UBS account in Geneva which he then moved to Asia, prosecutors said Tuesday. Cahuzac, who is in charge of battling tax evasion, has denied the report by the respected Mediapart…

European unemployment hits ‘unacceptable high’

BRUSSELS — European unemployment has hit an unacceptable high, as one national leader put it on Tuesday, with dire figures in Spain highlighting a growing north-south divide that experts warn will only get worse. The unemployment rate across the troubled 17-nation eurozone hit 11.8 percent in November, up from 11.7…

Physicists: 2.5 million seagulls would be needed to lift Roald Dahl’s giant peach

Physicists have taken a close look at Roald Dahl’s children’s book, “James and the Giant Peach,” in which a flock of gulls fly an outsize fruit and its occupants across the Atlantic. In Dahl’s tale, it took 501 gulls to haul the peach to New York from the mid-Atlantic, where…

French Internet access provider Free ceases blocking online ads

French Internet access provider Free has ceased blocking online advertising following a ministerial request, in a case that tests the relative strengths of telecommunications providers and Internet giants such as Google that use the net to generate huge revenue streams. A system that blocked online advertising via the Freebox Revolution…

Poachers slaughter 11-member Kenyan elephant family

Kenyan wildlife rangers on Tuesday were tracking a team of poachers who massacred a family of 11 elephants in what they said was the worst single such killings in the country in the past three decades. “We have not lost as many elephants in a single incident since the early…

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