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U.S. ‘suffering worst drought in 56 years’

The United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years, according to a release by the nation’s meteorological agency Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that some 55 percent of the contiguous United States, particularly in the Midwest, suffered from drought last month, according to the…

New York Times names new ombudsman, with online focus

The New York Times on Monday named Margaret Sullivan as its “public editor,” an ombudsman who responds to reader concerns, and said the “conversation” on key issues will move increasingly online. Sullivan, currently editor and vice president of The Buffalo News, will succeed Arthur Brisbane as public editor on September…

Why is Mitt Romney hiding his tax returns?

Besieged when they should be on attack, even the pooh-bahs of the Republican party are imploring their man Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns. After weeks of talking about Romney’s finances rather than President Barack Obama’s jobs record, it is time, they say, for the multi-millionaire businessman…

Unique memorial in Rome honors new Christian martyrs

From the Bible of a murdered Pakistani government minister to the prayer book of a slain San Salvador archbishop, a Rome church has created a unique memorial to modern-day Christian martyrs. At a time of outrage over anti-Christian violence in Africa, the exhibits at the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew are…

Mexico drug violence cripples Monterrey

The historic district in this thriving industrial city was once packed with revelers enjoying Mexico’s economic boom times — but today it’s a ghost town, a victim of the country’s ongoing drug war. Most shocking was the speed of the change: just two years. The northern city of Monterrey is…

YouTube videos show nurses as stupid or sex objects: study

Nurses should go on the offensive against YouTube videos that stereotype them as sexual playthings or witless, according to a report published in a nursing journal. Researchers led by Gerard Fealy, a professor of nursing and midwifery at University College Dublin in Ireland, analysed the 10 most-viewed clips on the…

Obama backs 1992 USA team in Olympic debate

American President Barack Obama waded into the USA Olympic basketball debate, saying the 1992 Dream Team with Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley would have beaten the 2012 Olympic team. Obama said Monday he remembers a 1992 gold-medal winning USA team that looked unstoppable from the very first game. “I got…

‘Canadian psycho’ victim’s mother pained by online video

The mother of the Chinese student victim in the “Canadian Psycho” murder and dismemberment case says her “most unbearable pain” is that the killing is still watched online, she told Canada’s public broadcaster. “What a disaster and huge pain for our family,” Zhigui Du said in an interview with the…

South Africa recalls 500,000 HIV test kits

South Africa is recalling 500,000 HIV test kits it ordered from a South Korean company despite a World Health Organisation (WHO) warning over inconclusive results, the health ministry said Tuesday. Authorities are investigating how the SD Bioline tests were ordered earlier this year after the WHO issued notices in November…

Taiwan finds H5N1 virus in birds smuggled from China

Dozens of pet birds smuggled from southern China into Taiwan tested positive for the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus and were destroyed, Taiwanese authorities said Tuesday. The smuggler bought the 38 birds in the Chinese city of Guangzhou and was caught at the Taoyuan international airport in northern Taiwan when…

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