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France bans controversial chemical BPA in food packaging

The French parliament voted Thursday to ban the use of bisphenol A, a chemical thought to have a toxic effect on the brain and nervous system, in baby food packaging next year and all food containers in 2015. The chemical, commonly known as BPA, is used in “polycarbonate” types of…

Defiant N.Korea holds mass rally, promises more launches

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans held a mass rally on Friday to celebrate the nuclear-armed state’s rocket launch, as its youthful leader vowed new launches in defiance of US-led outrage. Days before his first anniversary in charge of the isolated country, Kim Jong-Un upheld North Korea’s “unshakable stand” that…

Republican senators say Susan Rice right to withdraw

The US Republican senators who fiercely opposed Susan Rice’s bid to become secretary of state welcomed her decision to back down Thursday, while Democrats voiced their disappointment. The UN ambassador, a close ally of President Barack Obama, had been a frontrunner to replace Hillary Clinton as Washington’s top diplomat but…

Many Americans see hint of Apocalypse in extreme weather

A third of Americans believe the intensity of recent natural disasters is linked to the Apocalypse described in the New Testament, according to a poll released Thursday. Many more blame global warming, the survey added. Seeking to explain floods and heat or cold waves, 36 percent of those surveyed, and…

NASA probes set to smash into Moon

NASA will smash two tiny probes into the Moon on Monday after they spent months gathering data from orbit miles above the lunar surface, the US space agency said Thursday. “We’re not expecting a big smash, a big explosion,” said project manager David Lehman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Their…

Senate Intelligence Committee decries CIA torture as ‘terrible mistakes’

The US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday approved the findings of an investigation into CIA “enhanced interrogation” — techniques the panel’s leader decried as “terrible mistakes.” The committee voted nine to six to approve the 6,000-page report on the former use of the tactics, which have been deemed torture by…

Chris Christie insists he’s not too fat to be president

The governor of the US state of New Jersey, leading Republican politician Chris Christie, says it’s “ridiculous” to think that his being fat would make him a poor president. Christie is increasingly talked about as a possible candidate to replace President Barack Obama, a Democrat whose final term expires in…

‘Turn that down!’ FCC orders TV ads to lower volume

In the end it took an act of Congress, but US television advertisers are finally required to do something parents have been pleading for for decades: turn down their excessively loud ads. “A small bill with a big impact for the American consumer” is how Representative Ann Eshoo described the…

Google users seeking porn must now be more explicit

US Google users on the prowl for erotic images needed to be more explicit on Thursday after the search engine was tuned to avoid delivering porn in results for “ambiguous” queries such as “boobs.” An adjustment to Google search rolled out in the country over several days simplified image search…

Microsoft scores win with Santa Claus tracking

In the battle for Christmas, Microsoft has scored a win over Google as the official maps partner for Santa and his reindeer. Microsoft announced this week it had sealed a partnership with the Pentagon’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors the skies over Canada and the United States,…

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