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Pilot embarks on first solar-powered intercontinental flight

A Swiss adventurer soared above sun-splashed Spanish valleys toward Morocco on Tuesday on the world’s first intercontinental flight in a solar-powered plane. Bertrand Piccard, a 54-year-old psychiatrist and balloonist, took off into the night skies above Madrid in the Solar Impulse plane, a giant as big as an Airbus A340 but as light as an average…

Mystery virus sought ‘designs from Iran’

A mystery computer virus discovered last month and deployed in a massive cyberattack chiefly against Iran sought to steal designs and PDF files from its victims, a Russian firm said. Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s biggest producers of anti-virus software, announced last month the discovery of the Flame virus, which it described as…

Liberal blogger stabbed in the Maldives

An outspoken Maldivian blogger known for his liberal views on religion is in intensive care after being stabbed by an attacker outside his home in the capital Male, police said Tuesday. Ismail Rasheed, who is better known as “Hilath,” had his blog blocked late last year by the Maldivian telecommunications authorities who…

Queen Elizabeth II attends jubilee church service

Queen Elizabeth II attended Tuesday a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London at the climax of her diamond jubilee celebrations, but without her husband who remains in hospital. Royals, churchmen, politicians and the cream of British society were packed into the pews beneath the iconic dome of the 17th-century cathedral in…

China tells embassies to stop issuing pollution data

China said Tuesday foreign embassies were acting illegally in issuing their own air quality readings and that only the government could release data on the nation’s heavy pollution. China’s cities are among the world’s most polluted, but until recently, official air quality measurements regularly rated their air quality as good — even as data…

Australia awaits key transit of Venus

Australia was gearing up Tuesday for the transit of Venus, an event with historical significance as a previous occurrence in 1769 played a key part in the “discovery” of the southern continent. When Venus on Wednesday passes between the Earth and the Sun, an astronomical event that will not occur again until 2117,…

U.S. drone strike targeted ‘Al-Qaeda No. 2′

A senior Al-Qaeda figure was the target of a US drone strike inPakistan’s tribal belt, reports said Tuesday, as officials kept tight-lipped on whether he may have been among the 15 people killed. Abu Yahya al-Libi, described by American officials as Al-Qaeda’s second in command but by other security experts as one…

Sony executives give up performance bonuses

Sony said Tuesday that seven senior executives, including its new chief, will not receive bonuses tied to its latest annual results, which saw the troubled firm post a record $5.8 billion loss. Former chief executive Howard Stringer and his successor Kazuo Hirai are among those who will not be paid performance-linked bonuses, but a company spokesman declined to specify…

Samsung unveils computers running on Windows 8

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics unveiled notebook and tablet computers running on Windows 8 Tuesday, the latest firm toshowcase products that use Microsoft’s eagerly-awaited new operating system. On the opening day of Asia’s leading IT fair in Taipei, Samsung showcased the products, including the Series 5 Hybrid which has features of both a laptop and a tablet, in a…

Stephen Breyer opens up on Supreme Court life in 21st century

WASHINGTON — Resolving modern-life social and legal issues by applying a constitution drawn up over 200 years ago is a tough and ever evolving challenge, says US Supreme Court judge Stephen Breyer. “George Washington knew about commerce between the states, he did not know about the Internet,” Breyer told AFP…

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