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Mexico’s new prez signs five-point pact with opposition parties

A day after taking office, President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a pact with rivals Sunday to strengthen democracy, in what could be a bold break with his party’s bad old days. The “Pact for Mexico” was agreed after hard bargaining among Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the conservative National…

Biogas created by waste fuels Nepal’s tree regrowth

While forests in Nepal have been shrinking for years, between 2007 and 2010 trees in the South Asian country of 27 million inhabitants began to grow again, reported Al Jazeera English. Biogas has been credited with the shift, as roughly 250,000 Nepalese now use the fuel. Biogas is created by…

Israel withholds tax revenue from Palestinians after UN move

After Palestine’s successful bid to become a non-member observer of the Untied Nations, Israel is withholding $120 million in tax revenue it collected for the Palestinian Authority, reported Newsy. Israel is claiming it will use the money to pay for Palestinian debt to the country, but now the Palestinian Authority…

Artificial brain passes basic IQ test

An artificial brain created by neuroscientists at the Unviersity of Waterloo in Canada can pass a basic IQ test according to researchers, reported ExtremeTech. The Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network — SPAUN — contains 2.5 million simulated neurons. It can complete eight different tasks, and an attached arm can even…

As ban nears, Calif. bear hunters take final trips with dogs

The sun is up, first rays streaming through the canopy, and the two hunters pause to inspect tracks – big, dusty imprints with five toes – on the forest floor. They move on, boots crunching twigs as they climb a ridge. “What you reckon the chances we’ll get one?” asks…

Harris-Perry guest: ‘Underlying civil war’ will ‘break out’ among GOP in 2016

On MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry on Sunday, the host “begged for forgiveness” for already beginning speculation on the 2016 GOP race for president as her roundtable of guests speculated on which Republicans would take a shot at the open seat. Harris-Perry threw out a range of possibilities, from second-timers like Rick…

Former Microsoft exec plans high-end marijuana business

A former Microsoft executive and Washington state resident is planning to enter the upscale marijuana business, in the hopes that it will help bring some respectability to the industry, reported KiroTV. Jamen Shively plans to name his business after his grandfather, who supplied hemp rope to the Spanish Armada at…

Carbon credit controversy could thwart UN climate negotiations

Brazil has said a row over carbon credits could derail the United Nations climate change negotiations taking place in Qatar this week. The row concerns whether countries entering the second round of the Kyoto protocol should be allowed to carry over emissions credits from the first phase. Some countries, including…

Napoleon essay fetches record price at French auction

PARIS — A 200-year-old letter in which Napoleon Bonaparte vows to blow up the Kremlin fetched 187,500 euros at a French auction on Sunday, while an essay by him on the failed Russian campaign set another record. The coded missive, written in numbers and signed “Nap”, said: “I will blow…

Watchdog: Israel must explain ‘targeting’ journalists

JERUSALEM — Israel must provide an “immediate and detailed explanation” for its targeting of journalists and media buildings during last month’s Gaza conflict, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Sunday. In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the watchdog said it was “gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes…

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