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Scientists urge fresh push for AIDS cure

WASHINGTON — International scientists on Thursday urged a new push for a cure to AIDS, saying the three-decade epidemic is outpacing medications to curb it. The seven-step scientific strategy focuses efforts on key areas such as the reservoirs where human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) holes up in the body, and the…

French lawmakers abolish tax breaks, boost taxes on rich

PARIS — French lawmakers Thursday backed a series of measures abolishing tax breaks and taxing the wealthy as the new Socialist government pursued efforts to kickstart the economy with a tax-and-spend programme. The measures were part of the first budget bill presented by President Francois Hollande’s government since he unseated…

Google profits surges on growing ad revenue

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Thursday reported that its quarterly profit surged to $2.79 billion on rising online advertising revenue, besting Wall Street expectations. The California-based online search titan said that its profit rose 11 percent in the quarter ended June 30 as consolidated revenue climbed 35 percent to $12.21…

U.S. stocks score third day of gains

NEW YORK — US stocks notched gains for a third straight day Thursday as investors looked past disappointing economic data to a batch of positive corporate earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a modest increase of 34.66 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,943.36. The S&P 500 advanced…

Syria’s Assad emailed sexist jokes: WikiLeaks

PARIS — Hundreds of emails purportedly written by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad show he sent several sexist or irreverant messages in the months before the ongoing Syrian uprising began. The French website owni.fr on Thursday published extracts from the latest cache of Syrian documents made avaiable by WikiLeaks, which on…

Google introduces face-blurring feature on YouTube to protect protestors

Human rights activists and campaigners will be able to appear anonymously in videos posted to YouTube, after parent company Google introduced new face-blurring technology to the website. Google said the move was designed to help protect the identity of protesters who appear on the video-sharing site from being exposed to…

U.S. Navy helicopter crashes in Oman

A US Navy helicopter crashed on Thursday in Oman during a transport mission, and the fate of its five-member crew is unknown, the US military said, ruling out an attack. The MH-53E Sea Dragon, used for long-range mine sweeping, crashed 58 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of the Omani capital Muscat…

German legislators call to protect religious circumcision

German MPs adopted a cross-party motion on Thursday calling on the government to protect religious circumcision after a court ruling branding it a crime sparked outrage at home and abroad. The resolution urges Berlin to draw up legislation in the autumn that “ensures that the circumcision of boys carried out…

French soft drink makers unveil ‘DSK’ aphrodisiac beverage

A fizzy drink with alleged aphrodisiac qualities carrying the initials of disgraced IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will hit French night clubs this summer, its makers said. The Drink Safran Kiwi (DSK, or Saffron Kiwi Drink), to be sold in Paris and the French Riviera, is geared towards “the in-crowd, night…

Internet ‘superheroes’ defend online freedom with ‘cat signal’

The Internet’s “superheroes” are rallying to defend online freedom, while taking a page from Hollywood’s playbook. The launch set Thursday of the Internet Defense League coincides with the US release of the new Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” and will use a bat — er, cat signal — to…

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