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Authoritarian regimes use Silicon Valley software to censor Internet: report

Authoritarian regimes around the world are using technology from a Silicon Valley firm for Internet surveillance, filtering and censorship, according to a report by Canadian researchers. The report this week from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said devices from California-based security firm Blue Coat Systems were being used in…

Robert Redford: Debate on movie violence ‘overdue’

Studying the impact of movies on real-life gun violence is “overdue,” veteran director Robert Redford said Thursday, suggesting a possible link between guns and box office takings. Redford was asked about the gun debate triggered by last month’s school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, at the start of the annual Sundance…

‘Anonymous’ hacks Argentina data agency

Hacker group Anonymous blocked the official website of Argentina’s National Institute of Statistics and Census amid an international stand-off over claims the country has lied about its economy. “They lie to the people, but the people are true to their word,” the hacker collective’s Argentina branch wrote on its Twitter…

Study: Flu shots pose no extra risk for pregnant women

Pregnant women in Norway who got vaccinated against the swine flu virus that caused the 2009-2010 pandemic showed no increased risk of pregnancy loss, contrary to popular belief, says a study released Thursday. Pregnant women who came down with the flu did however have increased risk of miscarriage and still…

Report: Work in U.S. and Spain losing its appeal for Latin Americans

For Latin Americans seeking work abroad, traditional magnets like the United States and Spain are losing their appeal because of weak economies, said a report released Thursday. Instead, more and more are looking to countries such as Canada, Japan, South Korea and Australia, according to the study by the Organization…

‘Dear Abbey’ founder Pauline Phillips dies at 94

Pauline Phillips, who consoled millions around the world as the creator of the iconic Dear Abby advice column, has died at the age of 94, her syndication service said Thursday. In a statement, Universal Uclick said Phillips — who wrote Dear Abby from 1956 until her daughter Jeanne Phillips formally…

Obama daughters take White House childhood in stride

The Obama girls have quietly made a mark of their own: shielded from public over-exposure, they are growing up with rules and responsibilities and making it look easy, even though they live in the White House. Malia and Sasha Obama were 10 and seven respectively when they followed their father…

Amazon unveils music store ‘optimized’ for Apple devices

Amazon said Thursday its 22-million song music catalog was now “optimized” for users of Apple devices, making it easier for iPhone owners to circumvent the iTunes store. The move is part of a new initiative by the Internet retail giant challenging Apple’s dominance of the digital music market. “For the…

Russia plans national park for joint U.S.-Russia nature reserve

Russia on Thursday decreed a national park in its remote Far Eastern Chukotka region, paving the way for a joint US-Russian nature reserve spanning the Bering Strait, an idea first proposed by the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree to create the new national…

U.S. attorney defends handling of Aaron Swartz case as ‘appropriate’

A US prosecutor at the center of a controversy over the handling of a case involving an Internet activist who committed suicide has defended the government’s actions as “appropriate.” Assistant US Attorney Carmen Ortiz expressed regret over the death of Aaron Swartz, who was accused of illegally copying and distributing…

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