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Anti-smoking efforts save 800,000 U.S. lives: study

WASHINGTON — Higher taxes on cigarettes, limits on selling to kids and campaigns to educate people on the dangers of smoking have saved nearly 800,000 lives, according to a US study released Wednesday. The research is based on scientific models that counted how many people smoked up until 1970 and…

Canada to allow foreign ownership for small telecoms

OTTAWA — Canada will lift foreign ownership restrictions on small local telecommunications firms, Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced Wednesday. The current limit of direct foreign investment in broadcasting and telecommunications carriers is 46.7 percent. Paradis told a press conference the restriction would be lifted for telecom companies that hold less…

Secret Assad emails lift lid on life of leader’s inner circle

By Robert Booth Messages show Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran • Leader made light of promised reforms• Wife spent thousands on jewellery and furniture Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, according to a cache of what appear to be several…

Autistic London teen wins damages over police restraint

An autistic teenager with epilepsy won damages on Wednesday from the Metropolitan Police after he was forced into handcuffs and leg restraints during a school trip in what the High Court ruled was an “assault”. Police used “wholly inappropriate” restraint in their “over-hasty and ill-informed” response after the young man…

Suspected suicide bomb attack at Afghan air force base during Panetta visit

A member of NATO-led forces was injured in an “incident” as US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta arrived at a military base in Afghanistan Wednesday, the military said. “At no point was the secretary or anyone on the aircraft in any danger from this incident,” the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)…

Congolese warlord guilty in war crimes court for conscripting children into his rebel army

The International Criminal Court on Wednesday convicted Congolese militia chief Thomas Lubanga of war crimes for conscripting children into his rebel army, the tribunal’s first ever verdict. Lubanga, 51, was found guilty in The Hague of abducting children as young as 11 and forcing them to fight and commit atrocities…

Egyptians design ‘faster, cheaper’ hepatitis C test

The American University in Cairo said Wednesday that a team of its researchers has designed a faster and cheaper test for all types of hepatitis C, which it says affects about 10 million Egyptians. The development “reduces the two-step testing process carried out over a number of days to a…

Homeless people turned into Wi-Fi hotspots at SXSW

A global advertising firm used homeless people as roving Wi-Fi hotspots, sparking controversy among technology trendsetters at an interactive festival in the United States. Debate over whether the stunt by Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) was helping or misusing the homeless spread from the streets of Austin onto the Internet by…

Former Google exec slams search giant as an ‘advertising company’

A former Google executive went public on Tuesday with a lament that the Internet star has become obsessed with advertising and seizing the online social networking crown from Facebook. James Whittaker left Microsoft in 2009 for a high-level software engineering job at Google only to recently jump back to the…

Goldman Sachs director quits ‘morally bankrupt’ Wall Street bank

By Juliette Garside – Greg Smith resigns as executive director of Goldman’s European equity derivatives business after devastating attack A Goldman Sachs director in London has resigned after publishing a devastating open letter accusing senior staff of being “morally bankrupt” and bent on extracting maximum fees from clients by offloading…

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