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Windows 8 sales hit 40 million: Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft said Tuesday it sold 40 million licenses for its Windows 8 operating system in the first month after a launch which got a mixed reception. One of the new heads of the Windows unit, Tami Reller, made the announcement to an analysts’ meeting and Microsoft provided…

French Jewish student union sues Twitter to reveal author of anti-Semitic messages

France’s main Jewish students union (UEJF) has started legal action against Twitter to force the site to reveal details on people who posted a slew of anti-Semitic hate messages, its lawyer said Tuesday. A hearing is set for January 8 at a Paris court, attorney Stephane Lilti said, adding that…

Facebook tells users to ignore copyright change rumors

Facebook is telling its users to ignore rumors spreading on the social network that they need to post a statement to protect their copyrights of their comments and other materials. “There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content…

‘Casablanca’ piano to be auctioned for up to $1.2 million

Here’s sellin’ to you, kid. The piano used as the prop for the key flashback scene between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” will go on sale next month. Sotheby’s says the auction in New York should raise between $800,000 and $1.2 million for the 58-key piano on which…

Most HIV-infected youth are unaware they carry the virus

More than a quarter of new HIV infections in the United States strike young people aged 13 to 24 and 60 percent of those don’t know they’re sick, health officials said Tuesday. An estimated 12,200 youth were infected with HIV in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)…

Europe’s snakeskin fashions threaten pythons

Europe’s love of snakeskin fashion items could threaten the very survival of pythons, according to a report published Tuesday. Nearly a half million python skins are exported each year — almost exclusively for use in European fashion — in a massive market with a legal value of more than $1.0…

Vietnam refuses to stamp Chinese passports that claim nearly all of South China Sea

Vietnamese immigration officers said Tuesday they were refusing to stamp entry visas into controversial new Chinese passports which feature a map of Beijing’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam has said the computer-chipped passports violate its sovereignty and has demanded Beijing withdraw the documents, which show…

Ethiopian Jews plan to return to ‘Holy Land’

It was one of the most daring operations in Ethiopian history: Israel’s 1991 airlift of Ethiopian Jews, when nearly 15,000 people were crammed into a series of non-stop flights lasting 36 hours. Clutching only a few belongings, in planes with seats removed to make more space, they left a nation…

Scientists: Climate change threatens black truffle

Scientists said on Tuesday they had proof that climate change was hitting the Perigord black truffle, a delight of gourmets around the world. Trufflers have long suspected that global warming is affecting Tuber melanosporum — dubbed “the black diamond” on account of its colour and extraordinary price — in its…

Deforestation of Amazon slowed to lowest recorded rate

Deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon has slowed for a fourth consecutive year to its lowest rate since authorities began monitoring the world’s largest rainforest, officials said Tuesday. The National Institute of Space Research found that the Amazon lost 4,656 square kilometers (1,797 square miles) of rain forest over a period running…

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