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‘Occupy’ hosts lackluster gathering in Philadelphia

Judging by the Occupy national gathering in Philadelphia this week, the Middle Ages is making a comeback. In the shadow of Independence Hall, America’s secular Bethlehem, hundreds of pilgrims gathered here for a five-day festival of democracy culminating in night-time procession around the manors of power on the nation’s high…

No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani hosts fundraiser for Obama

No doubt about it: pop singer Gwen Stefani is joining a galaxy of stars helping to raise money for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. The Hollywood Reporter said Monday that mother-of-two Stefani will host a “family day” event on Sunday August 12 at her Beverly Hills home, to be attended…

Police: 2,000-person Pakistani mob kills man for burning Koran

A 2,000-strong Pakistani mob snatched a mentally unstable man from a police station, beat him to death and torched his body after he allegedly burned pages from a Koran, police said Thursday. The mob ransacked the police station in a village on the outskirts of central Pakistan’s Bahawalpur city, some…

Hong Kong closes popular tourist attraction after deadly bird flu virus found in cages

Hong Kong on Thursday closed a popular tourist spot where hundreds of caged birds are on display after the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus was detected at one of the stalls. The agriculture, fisheries and conservation department said it was closing the Yuen Po Street bird market in the city’s…

Security researcher warns of Android ‘botnet’

Malware has been spreading on Android mobile phones that takes control of certain email accounts to create a “botnet” to send out spam, a security researcher said this week. Microsoft security engineer Terry Zink said the malware has infected phones of users’ Yahoo email accounts to send out spam messages.…

U.S. unemployment claims fall

New claims for US unemployment benefits tumbled last week, suggesting an easing in layoffs, official data showed Thursday on the eve of highly anticipated June labor data. The Labor Department reported 374,000 jobless claims were filed in the week ending June 30, down by 14,000 from the prior week’s upwardly…

Zookeepers try to curb Indonesian orangutan’s smoking habit

Zookeepers in Indonesia have been forced to move an orangutan out of visitors’ reach after it developed a serious smoking habit. Tori learned to smoke 10 years ago by imitating zoo visitors, who would throw their cigarette butts into her open cage. She has been smoking ever since, according to…

Fukushima was ‘man-made’ disaster: Japanese probe

Last year’s nuclear accident at Fukushima was a man-made catastrophe and not only due to the tsunami that hit the plant, a Japanese parliamentary panel said Thursday in its final report on the disaster. “The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the…

Romney in balancing act on health law ‘tax’

Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has appeared to contradict previous campaign statements by saying President Barack Obama’s health reform law entails a “tax” and not a penalty. Romney, who enacted a similar healthcare overhaul when he was governor of Massachusetts, has had to reassure fellow conservatives who despise so-called…

China starts stockpiling rare earths: report

China has started stockpiling rare earths for strategic reserves, a state-backed newspaper said Thursday, in a move that may raise more worries over Beijing’s control of the coveted resources. China has already started the purchase — using state funds — and storage of rare earths for strategic reserves, the China…

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