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North Korea suffering severe drought: state media

North Korea is suffering a prolonged and widespread drought, state media says, raising fears it will worsen already dire food shortages in the impoverished communist country. If the unusually dry weather persists to the end of the month, it will be the driest May in 50 years in western coastal…

Analysts play down higher-grade uranium find in Iran

Analysts have played down the UN atomic agency’s discovery of higher-grade uranium traces in Iran, saying it was likely due to a technical glitch rather than a covert attempt to enrich to arms grade. The agency’s latest report, seen by AFP Friday, did however say that satellite imagery showed “extensive…

Congress to spend more on tanks than military wants

The US Congress is poised to approve more funds for modernizing the US Army’s main battle tank despite objections from the military that it puts the Pentagon’s overall strategy in jeopardy. In its 2013 budget proposal, which begins in October, the Obama administration requested $74 million to upgrade the M1A2…

Lack of access to Bradley Manning condemned by rights coalition

US rights activists Friday condemned a lack of disclosure in the case against WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning, saying there was even less transparency than proceedings against the alleged September 11 attackers. A coalition headed by the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a petition asking the US Army to order the…

Thousands of shellfish found dead in Peru, Pacific ‘warming’ cited as cause

Thousands of crustaceans were found dead off the coast of Lima following the mystery mass death of dolphins and pelicans, the Peruvian Navy said Friday. The cause of death is under investigation, said Industry and Fishing Minister Gladys Triveno, warning that “it would be premature to give a reason for…

British minister called Murdoch aide ‘papa’

Britain’s culture minister faced fresh pressure Saturday after a press ethics inquiry released dozens of light-hearted text messages between him and a lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, whom he called “mon ami” and “papa”. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt exchanged the friendly and intimate messages with News Corporation’s Fred Michel…

Elderly will no longer have to remove shoes at airports

WASHINGTON — The US government is easing the airport screening process for travelers 75 and older, rolling out new rules just in time for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, an official said Friday. No longer will the elderly have to doff shoes, belts and jackets as they pass through…

‘Disoriented’ passenger subdued in Miami on American Airlines flight

An apparently “disoriented” passenger had to be calmed down and subdued on an American Airlines jet Friday as it was taxiing after landing in Miami International Airport, an airline spokesman said. The FBI said the man, Ryan Snider, a 24-year-old Canadian, was arrested and faced federal charges of interfering with…

Guinea police seized 800 pieces of ivory in trafficking bust

Guinea police seized over 800 pieces of ivory, including sculptures and elephant tusks, in the capital Conakry during a raid that led to six arrests, police said Friday. The arrests were made on May 19 and 21, a police official said on condition of anonymity. Security forces “seized over 800…

Super-telescope project split between South Africa and Australia

A long-running joust to host a radio telescope that would give mankind its farthest peek into the Universe ended on Friday with a Solomon-like judgement to split the site between Australia and South Africa. “We have decided on a dual site approach,” said John Womersley, chairman of the board of…

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