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Police kill hostage-taker at S.African hospital

Police snipers shot dead a 30-year-old man who had taken two women hostage inside a Durban hospital Friday, ending a nearly five-hour standoff, a spokesman said. “The suspect was shot by police snipers in the head. He has succumbed to his wounds,” police spokesman Jay Naicker told reporters outside Westville Hospital. Police believe the man…

U.K. company to build Sun orbiter

The European Space Agency said on Friday it had awarded a 300-million-euro ($400 million) contract to a British technology firm to build a satellite to examine the Sun from closer up than any before it. The Solar Orbiter, to be built by Astrium UK, is due to launch in January 2017 — coming to within 45 million…

Wills and Kate celebrate 1 year, fans await baby news

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine will this weekend mark a triumphant first year of marriage as a hopeful nation waits for news they are expecting a royal heir. The couple have lost none of their popularity in Britain and abroad 12 months after their fairytale wedding drew cheering crowds and two billion…

Bin Laden family deported from Pakistan

Osama bin Laden’s family were deported from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia Friday, officials said, nearly a year after the Al-Qaeda leader was killed in a US raid. The 9/11 mastermind’s three widows and their children were detained by Pakistan after the Saudi was killed on May 2 last year in a secret US Navy…

Escaped Chinese blind activist’s YouTube plea

Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese lawyer, confirmed his dramatic escape from house arrest and appealed to Premier Wen Jiabao to keep his family safe, in a video posted online on Friday. In the video, Chen — speaking with obvious emotion in a dark room in an undisclosed location — also revealed the names of severalgovernment…

DOD to move 9,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam

The United States is to shift 9,000 Marines out of Japan in a move Washington hopes will ease sometimes fractious relations with its ally over a huge American military presence. The redeployment, which will see troops moved to Guam, Hawaii and Australia, will go ahead regardless of any progress on…

Climate change has accelerated the rainfall cycle: study

An Australian study of ocean salinity over the past 50 years has revealed a “fingerprint” showing that climate change has accelerated the rainfall cycle, according to a researcher. The study published in the journal Science and conducted by Australian and US scientists looked at ocean data from 1950 to 2000…

Brazil to boost military presence to protect Amazon

Brazil will boost its military presence in the Amazon region to protect its huge natural resources from any external threat, Defense Minister Celso Amorim told the Senate. “The commitment to the defense of the Amazon is fundamental. Navy, Air Force, all services will boost their presence in the Amazon in…

Blind Chinese activist ‘escapes’ from house arrest

Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese lawyer who won global acclaim for uncovering rights abuses under China’s “one child” policy, has escaped from house arrest, according to his supporters. Chen had been unable to leave his home in east China since he was released from a four-year jail sentence in September…

U.S. environmental official apologizes for ‘crucify’ gaffe

An official from the environmental protection agency has apologised for advising staff to pursue harsh punishment or “crucify” companies that break environmental laws. The embarrassing episode – which came to light through the efforts of the Republican senator Jim Inhofe – has been a godsend for the GOP’s efforts to…

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