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Elvis Presley’s original crypt withdrawn from auction after protests

The crypt in which Elvis Presley was first buried has been withdrawn from a huge auction of sports and music memorabilia in Los Angeles following virulent protests from the King’s fans. The crypt — in which Presley was buried in 1997 before being moved to his final resting place at…

Former Afghan parliamentarian arrested on kidnapping, rape charges

A prominent Afghan lawyer close to a possible presidential candidate has been arrested on charges of kidnapping and raping a woman, prosecutors said Sunday. Kabir Ranjbar, the president of the Afghan Lawyers’ Union and a former member of parliament, was detained on Saturday, deputy attorney general Rahmatullah Nazari told AFP.…

Text message alternatives cost wireless companies $13.9 billion in 2011

Text messaging, the simple telecoms service that turned into a global phenomenon, is under threat from free smartphone services and operators need to find alternative revenue streams, analysts say. The short message service, or SMS, started as a way to use spare telecoms capacity but has become a key cash…

Iraqis plan to unearth more than 270 mass gravesites from Saddam regime

Iraq wants to put the legacy of murderous dictator Saddam Hussein behind it, but faces a huge need for specialists to excavate mass graves thought to contain at least half a million unidentified victims. The stakes are high for Iraq, a country seeking reconciliation with itself, where countless families lost…

Runaway ‘Penguin No. 337′ to finally receive a name from Tokyo aquarium

A penguin whose break-out from an aquarium in Japan gave him a following around the world is to be formally named after months of being known just by his number, an official said Monday. Humboldt penguin No. 337 spent 82 days at large in and around Tokyo Bay after bolting…

Spain requests €100 billion Euro loan to prevent financial meltdown

Spain formally requested a rescue loan of up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) from its eurozone partners in a letter released Monday. No new figures were included in the letter, after reports by independent consultants last week said stricken Spanish banks could need up to 62 billion euros to…

Assange wants guarantee he won’t be sent to U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Monday called for diplomatic guarantees he will not be pursued by the United States for publishing secret documents if he goes to Sweden to face criminal allegations. The Australian, 40, said he is prepared to go to Sweden to face questioning over sex assault claims, but…

Wildfires force evacuations in the West

Wildfires have forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes in the western US state of Colorado, authorities said. The latest blaze broke out Saturday in Waldo Canyon national park, west of Colorado Springs, spreading out over 2,000 acres (800 hectares), according to officials. Authorities said 1,050 homes were evacuated…

Italy’s Berlusconi may be hoping for comeback

John Hooper, The Guardian STANDFIRST: Disgraced former PM’s remarks fuel speculation that he is aiming to regain power on ticket of withdrawal from euro He may have been jeered from office last year. He may be on trial accused of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl. And last week…

NYC gay pride march marks one year of marriage rights

NEW YORK — Tens of thousands celebrated the first anniversary of the legalization of gay marriage in New York state at the annual Gay Pride March Sunday. “Let’s celebrate. We have a lot to celebrate,” said singer Cyndi Lauper, 59, the parade’s grand marshal, “Everybody can be married in New…

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