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Phones and Internet cut for second day in Syria

Phone and Internet networks were down across most of Syria for a second straight day on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. “In some areas, it is possible to access the Internet but with great difficulty,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. “It is also very difficult…

Strauss-Kahn settles out of court with maid in sexual assault case

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund and French politician, has reached a preliminary settlement with the Manhattan maid who accused him of sexual assault, The New York Times reported Thursday. According to the Times, quoting unidentified sources “with knowledge of the matter,” Strauss-Kahn and the…

Australia beaches reopen after strange red algal bloom

Beaches around southeastern Australia’s coastline reopened after a red algal bloom that glowed a phosphorescent blue at night forced them to close to the public. The algae, noctiluca scintillans, forced swimmers and surfers out of the water at Sydney’s Bondi and a number of neighbouring beaches earlier this week, and…

Activist Ron Swanda discusses challenge of growing old with HIV

Old age comes faster and hits harder for those infected with HIV, a fact aging health activist Ron Swanda knows all too well. Swanda, 66, diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1989, takes six different drugs to keep his illness in check and to treat a litany of physical complaints from cardiovascular…

Robot companion to keep Japan’s astronaut company on 6-month mission

A small humanoid robot that can talk will be sent into space to provide conversational company for a Japanese astronaut on a six-month mission, according to new plans. The miniature robot will arrive at the International Space Station next summer, a few months ahead of astronaut Koichi Wakata, Japan’s Kibo…

Beastie Boys call for sampling lawsuit to be dismissed

The Beastie Boys have called for the dismissal of a lawsuit charging that they illegally sampled material on their first two albums. The rappers deny there is any “substantial similarity” between the tracks on Licensed to Ill and Paul’s Boutique and the songs they sampled by the go-go band Trouble…

Canadian woman in largest U.S. eco-terrorism case surrenders

LOS ANGELES — A Canadian women wanted over the “largest eco-terrorism case” in US history surrendered Thursday, after a decade on the run for a series of arson attacks starting in the 1990s, investigators said. Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, 39, handed herself in to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation…

Man arrested after approaching Romney at White House

WASHINGTON — US Secret Service officers arrested a man who became “combative” Thursday after approaching a motorcade carrying defeated Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney to the White House. The incident happened as Romney arrived at a security checkpoint before entering the White House complex for his first meeting with…

Ecuadoran villagers drag Chevron to Canadian court

TORONTO — A 19-year court battle that resulted in a staggering US$18.3-billion judgment from an Ecuadoran court against Chevron last year moved to Canada on Thursday as the plaintiffs seek to collect. Ecuadoran villagers who brought the original lawsuit over decades of oil pollution in the Amazon are asking an…

Most Americans and Canadians favor marijuana legalization

OTTAWA — A majority of Americans and Canadians want marijuana legalized, saying cannabis should be readily available for those who want to use it, according to a survey released Thursday. The Angus Reid online survey of 2,007 people in the two countries found that 57 percent of Canadians and 54…

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