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U.S. officials halt Bahrain outreach featuring ‘King of Partying’ Andrew W.K.

WASHINGTON — The US State Department was forced to deny Monday that it had invited a notorious rock star behind such classics as “Party Til You Puke” to represent America in the conservative Gulf state of Bahrain. Musician, DJ, motivational speaker and self-styled “King of Partying” Andrew W.K. had earlier…

Facebook adds iTunes credits to gift service

Facebook said Monday it was adding Apple iTunes digital credits to its new gift service at the social network. “Starting today with Facebook Gifts, you can instantly gift your friends iTunes digital gifts and recommend albums, movies, games, apps, and more available on the iTunes Store,” a Facebook statement said.…

UN: Migrants send double the amount of foreign aid back but little of it benefits the country

Migrant workers from the world’s poorest countries sent home $27 billion (21 billion euros) in 2011 despite the global financial slowdown, but developing nations are failing to benefit fully from the cash, the UN said Monday. Remittances “could prove particularly valuable for capital-scarce developing countries,” by helping to reduce poverty,…

White House: Going over ‘fiscal cliff’ will ruin consumer spending in 2013

The White House warned Monday that American consumers will spend $200 billion less in 2013 if the looming fiscal cliff is not averted and automatic tax hikes are triggered across the board. The fresh warning came as US lawmakers return to work after the week-long Thanksgiving holiday with time running…

U.S.-EU counterfeit crackdown seizes 132 websites

US and European authorities said Monday they seized 132 websites in a transatlantic law enforcement crackdown on online sellers of counterfeit merchandise. The seizure was the latest in a string of efforts by US officials to shut down online forgers, but the first joint effort with EU officials. Monday’s announcement…

New York police chief criticizes Obama’s silence on gun violence

New York‘s police chief has hit out at President Barack Obama over his refusal to tackle gun violence, accusing him of uttering “barely a peep” on the issue. NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly is quoted in the New York Daily News as noting that Chicago is “maybe the city most affected” by gun violence, adding: “The…

Secret Thanksgiving parade confetti baffles New York police

It rained confetti — and secrets — on last week’s Thanksgiving parade in New York. The traditional deluge of shredded paper over the Macy’s parade in Manhattan on Thursday turned out to include legible snippets of police files, including a mention of a motorcade used by Republican Mitt Romney. Officers…

UN: HIV infections in Arab countries have more than doubled in 8 years

The United Nations said on Monday that the number of people in Arab countries infected with HIV more than doubled to 470,000 in the eight years to 2009. “The number of adults and children living with HIV has more than doubled between 2001 and 2009 from 180,000 to 470,000,” according…

Germany moves to toughen bestiality laws

BERLIN — Germany is set to tighten its laws against bestiality in a bid to improve animal welfare, a lawmaker involved in drafting the legislation said on Monday. Bestiality was removed from Germany’s penal code in 1969 and since then has only been against the law if “significant harm” is…

Catalonia independence movement reels after sovereignty vote fails

Catalonia’s fight for statehood and a historic divorce from Spain floundered Monday after a snap election left no single party in command. Pro-sovereignty parties from right and left emerged with a clear combined majority, but the prospects of them joining in battle for a new nation were deeply uncertain. That…

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