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Italy cruise ship passengers file $528 million U.S. lawsuit

MIAMI — Thirty-nine survivors of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off Italy last month filed an amended lawsuit in Florida state court Tuesday seeking more than half a billion dollars in damages. The suit filed against Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines Inc., and its subsidiary Costa Cruise Line —…

Panetta voices caution on Taliban prisoner deal

WASHINGTON — US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday he would not approve the transfer of any Taliban inmates held at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay unless he was sure the detainees would not return to the battlefield. President Barack Obama’s administration has confirmed tentative discussions with the Taliban…

Websites of Nasdaq, BATS hit in online attack

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Websites of exchange operators Nasdaq and BATS have been attacked by hackers over the last 24 hours, causing ongoing disruptions for those trying to use the sites, spokespersons for the companies said on Tuesday. Only the banner carrying the logo at the top of the web…

‘Anonymous’ hacks New Zealand FM’s email: report

WELLINGTON — Online activist group Anonymous hacked New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s private email account and used it to send messages mocking him, it was reported Wednesday. The group breached McCully’s email account last April after New Zealand passed laws cracking down on illegal file-sharing and threatening to disconnect…

Antibiotics don’t help sinusitis: U.S. researchers

WASHINGTON — Antibiotics provide little help to people with sinus infections, according to a study released Tuesday which suggested doctors are prescribing the drugs too often. The study appearing in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association found that using the common antibiotic amoxicillin for patients with acute uncomplicated rhinosinusitis…

U.S., Afghans near deal on post-2014 mission: Panetta

WASHINGTON — US and Afghan officials are weeks away from clinching a security pact allowing an American military mission to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday. The two sides still had to resolve disagreements over controversial night raids by US troops, which Afghan President Hamid…

Geithner asks Congress to act on budget, tax reform

WASHINGTON — US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged Congress to do more to help the nation’s ranks of unemployed Tuesday, as he previewed tax reform plans and defended President Barack Obama’s budget. Stressing the fragile nature of the US recovery — and dinging the previous Republican administration for helping dig…

Syrian activists resort to pigeons to communicate

BEIRUT — Cut off by a relentless barrage of government shelling, activists in the besieged Syrian city of Homs have reverted to the age-old practice of using carrier pigeons to communicate with each other. “From the activists in Old Homs (district) to those in Baba Amr, please tell us what…

Palestinian hunger striker to petition top Israel court

JERUSALEM — The lawyer for an interned Palestinian who has been on hunger strike for 59 days said on Tuesday that he would ask Israel’s supreme court to overturn a military order imprisoning his client without trial. Attorney Jawad Bulus said he would file an urgent request to the Jewish…

Graffiti star’s invisible secret found 24 years after death

LONDON — Experts at London’s Sotheby’s auction house on Tuesday revealed they had discovered an invisible ink signature made by US graffiti icon Jean-Michel Basquiat on his painting “Orange Sports Figure”. The work will be the top lot in Wednesday’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale and had been expected to sell…

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