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Shy NY heiress left millions to library, parks

A shy New York woman whom no one took to be wealthy left a shockingly happy surprise when she died: $20 million in donations to the city’s libraries and main park. Mary McConnell Bailey lived modestly and volunteered at a hospital and schools, before dying at 88 last year, the…

End of the road is a beginning for new same-sex newlyweds

The Black Walnut Point Inn is literally at the end of the road in this Chesapeake Bay village, but for seven gay and lesbian couples Tuesday, it was the starting point for a new chapter in their lives together. Same-sex marriage came into force in Maryland on New Year’s Day,…

Singapore arrests Indian boy over Facebook bomb threat

Singapore police on Tuesday arrested a 13-year-old Indian boy for posting a Facebook message in which he allegedly threatened to bomb a luxury casino resort in the city-state. The unnamed boy vowed to take “a big big revenge”, “spit everywhere” and “plant bombs on Marina Bay Sands”, a major tourist…

Record 40,000 people jump into North Sea for annual Dutch New Year’s dive

A record 40,000 people braved icy temperatures on the Netherlands’s North Sea coast Tuesday to take a cold plunge, setting a new record for the traditional New Year’s Day dip, organisers said. “There were around 10,000 swimmers in Scheveningen and a record number of 40,000 across the Netherlands,” spokeswoman Jiske…

British man killed in New Year’s gang shoot-out at Thai resort

A 22-year-old British tourist was shot dead as he danced at a New Year party on one of Thailand’s most famous islands after a fight between rival Thai gangs erupted on the beach, police said on Tuesday. Stephen Ashton was killed when a Thai man opened fire at a bar…

Children of sperm donors demand changes to discover their genetic histories

Hideaki Kato discovered his true identity by accident. During his medical training a decade ago, the now 39-year-old Japanese doctor was performing blood tests on family members when he learned something startling: his dad was not his biological father. Suspecting an extramarital affair, the Tokyo-area physician questioned his mother while…

Documentary filmmaker invites Estonians to visit his 14 man-made lakes

It started as a whim, but snowballed into a life-long passion. Estonian Tonu Tamm has dedicated the past two decades of his life to his obsession of creating artificial lakes. Surrounded by water in the south of the small Baltic republic, his enthusiasm is infectious as he insists everyone should…

Africa’s energy consumption fastest growing in the world

As the sun sets over Africa each day, instead of flicking a light switch or heating up the oven, most people put a match to a kerosene lantern or a burning ember to a charcoal stove.  Africa, home to 15 percent of the world’s population, consumes just 3 percent of…

New laws go into effect on New Year’s Day, from same-sex marriage to ‘Caylee’s Law’

Starting Tuesday, California hunters better not get caught using their dog to chase a bear or bobcat. Kentuckians should think twice about releasing a feral hog, and New Yorkers can get slapped with a $1,000 fine for selling even electronic cigarettes to minors. While much attention has been paid to……

‘Compensation log’ obtained under Freedom of Information Act illustrates human cost of Afghan war

The killing of six members of a family, including a mother and her children, when a rocket overshot a target and hit the compound in which they were living are among the incidents in recent months for which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid out compensation to Afghan civilians.…

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