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Fukushima panel chief hopes for change in Japan

WASHINGTON — The head of a hard-hitting panel that blamed cultural factors for the Fukushima nuclear disaster voiced hope Tuesday that the tragedy would help open up Japan’s system of government. The independent commission issued a damning report in July that blamed the world’s worst nuclear accident in a generation…

Ohio’s white men: The holy grail that Obama and Romney must win over

Larry Bushnell is one of the undecideds, that rarefied group of Americans who have yet to make up their minds whom to back on 6 November and whose vote could decide who holds the world’s most powerful office. He lives in Ohio, one of the most crucial swing states in…

Masked men torch key Sufi shrine in Tunis

LA MANOUBA, Tunisia — One of Tunisia’s main mausoleums of the Sufi sect has been burned down in an overnight arson attack, an AFP journalist said Tuesday, amid a spate of attacks on Sufi shrines by increasingly assertive Salafists. The Saida Manoubia shrine or zawiya in the western La Manouba…

Obama boosted by court win on Ohio early voting

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court handed an advantage to the Democrats and President Barack Obama on Tuesday in ruling that the key battleground state of Ohio cannot limit early voting in the final days before the election. The decision comes two weeks after a judge ordered state officials not to…

Cheers! Debate drinking games get beer flowing

WASHINGTON — Americans of all stripes watching Tuesday night’s presidential face-off will be constantly toasting their candidate or drowning their sorrows as debate-related drinking games surge in popularity. The election-related fun took off two weeks ago when US President Barack Obama squared off against Republican Mitt Romney in their debut…

Legal spat delays World Trade Center rebuild

OTTAWA — A Quebec steel firm is delaying the finishing touches on the rebuilt World Trade Center by refusing to deliver the antenna for New York’s tallest skyscraper, saying on Tuesday it was owed money. “We’ve just about finished making the antenna but it will remain here until our invoices…

Clinton’s mea culpa spurs intrigue over Obama ties

NEW YORK — If President Barack Obama wins re-election in three weeks time, he will begin his second term heavily in debt to Bill and Hillary Clinton, one-time tormentors turned power couple protectors. As Obama headed to New York for a crucial debate against resurgent Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the…

In death Canadian teen Amanda Todd sheds light on cyberbullying

OTTAWA — The suicide of a Canadian girl tormented by an anonymous cyberbully has sparked a national debate in Canada on what is appropriate online behavior, calls for criminalizing the cruel practice and a police warning on Tuesday against vigilantism. In a YouTube video watched by millions worldwide, Amanda Todd,…

Czech inspectors seize thousands of litres of toxic liquor

PRAGUE — Health inspectors in the Czech Republic said Tuesday they had seized thousands of bottles of counterfeit rum containing deadly amounts of poisonous methanol. The seizure comes after the deaths of 28 people in September and October, when victims in the Czech Republic died after swallowing methanol-tainted, bootleg drinks.…

How financial aid letters often leave students confused and misinformed

The financial aid award letters that colleges send to prospective students can be confusing: Many mix grants, scholarships and loans all under the heading of “Award,” “Financial Assistance,” or “Offered Financial Aid.” Some schools also suggest loans in amounts that families can’t afford. Take Parent Plus loans, a federal program…

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