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HIV-positive patients lose hope after Guinea Bissau loses access to aid

HIV-positive people in Guinea Bissau have been without access to treatment since the Global Fund to fight AIDS suspended funding over an April military coup, the west African nation’s AIDS boss said Wednesday. “Our main funders, the Global Fund, suspended financial aid” following the April 12 coup, said Joao Jose…

Savvy holiday shoppers compare prices on smartphones

Anyone with a smartphone can now be a savvy cybershopper for the holiday season. With mobile Internet and apps, it is easy for someone in a store to compare prices on specific items, and then make a quick decision to buy or leave or to instantly make a purchase elsewhere.…

Poll: Americans to spend 3 to 4 percent more on holiday shopping this year

Americans are likely to spend between three and four percent more on their holiday shopping this year than last, in an apparent sign of increased consumer confidence, according to a survey published Wednesday. The poll, conducted jointly by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association…

Oops: Russia bans YouTube over ‘technical mistake’

Web-surfing Russians endured a brief scare Wednesday that the authorities had blocked YouTube after the video-sharing website appeared on a list of banned addresses, in what officials later called a “technical mistake”. The new registry of blacklisted websites introduced this month showed the website youtube.com as having been added there…

Transportation agency dumps BlackBerrys and gives federal employees iPhones

A US government agency has decided to buy iPhones for its employees, dumping its BlackBerry smartphones, citing their unreliability. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a public notice last week it would be contracting with Verizon Wireless for the iPhone 5, saying it is the “only device” that meets…

Hamas and Israel agree to cease fire

A deal to end a deadly week-long conflict between Hamas and Israel in and around the Gaza Strip was agreed on Wednesday, a senior Hamas official told AFP. “The deal has been agreed. There will be an announcement in half an hour,” the official said on condition of anonymity. UPDATE…

Swiss woman restores Transylvanian organs

In the medieval fortified churches of Transylvania, dozens of majestic church organs have fallen prey to rodents and the ravages of time. But thanks to the dedication of Swiss restorer Barbara Dutli, these imposing instruments — “whole orchestras by themselves”, as French writer Honore de Balzac used to say —…

Wormhole sleuth peeks into ancient beetle history

Wormholes reproduced in ancient wood-printed illustrations have revealed the odyssey of European beetles, set against a backdrop of climate change and globalisation. In an unusual study, biologist Blair Hedges at Penn State University in Pennsylvania looked at art printed with carved blocks of wood, a technique that illustrated millions of…

Artists stage exhibit of trash found on Mount Everest

A group of artists is staging an exhibition of sculptures made from tonnes of trash collected on Mount Everest, highlighting the toll that decades of mountaineering have taken on the world’s highest peak. Discarded oxygen and cooking gas cylinders, ropes, tents, glasses, beer cans, plastic and even the remains of…

Global mobile data traffic doubled in a year

The amount of data used by mobile devices doubled over the past year, boosted by growth in video streaming services, according to a study released on Wednesday by Swedish telecom group Ericsson. Data traffic doubled in the third quarter of this year on an annual basis, and rose 16 percent…

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