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NATO brands Taliban leader Omar’s Eid message ‘insane’

The Taliban’s reclusive leader Mullah Omar has issued a bellicose Eid statement that was swiftly denounced by the commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan Friday as a message of hate from a deranged man. The rare statement by the Islamic militants’ one-eyed leader claims victories on the battlefield against NATO…

Google searches for ‘Paul Ryan shirtless’ soar

Suddenly, even political foes approve of Republican vice presidential pick Paul Ryan — for his looks. Until being picked as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Ryan was almost exclusively mentioned in connection with his conservative ideas on solving America’s debt crisis. But his brawn, not brain, is hot now. Google searches…

Picasso piece rediscovered after 50 years in Indiana museum storage

It had sat unnoticed in storage for almost half a century after being mistaken for a work by the little-known, and non-existent, artist Gemmaux. But a closer inspection of the glasswork at Indiana’s Evansville Museum revealed the telltale signs of a 20th century European master. The bold lines, the nod…

Paul Ryan ‘grew up on Ayn Rand’

Ayn Rand is the high priestess of undiluted capitalism and a champion of looking after number one. With an estimated 25m copies of her books in print, including Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, her ideas about small government and unfettered markets still resonate in conservative circles, with a young Paul…

Romney, Obama campaign spar again over taxes

WASHINGTON — White House hopeful Mitt Romney offered his fullest explanation yet about his tax status Thursday, saying he paid at least 13 percent a year over the past decade, but President Barack Obama’s campaign offered a prompt retort: prove it. Romney, a multimillionaire former investor, has been under assault…

North Korea could produce dozens more nukes: study

WASHINGTON — North Korea could build an arsenal of up to 48 nuclear weapons, several times more than it has now, if the communist state were able to step up its program unchecked, a US think tank said Thursday. North Korea’s nuclear program is shrouded in secrecy, but the Institute…

U.S. holds ‘serious’ talks with Russia on Syria

WASHINGTON — The United States said Thursday it held “serious” talks with Russia about Syria and renewed its call for a political transition after months of disagreement over the bloodshed. Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of state for political affairs, “had very serious discussions” in Moscow with senior officials, the…

Carney defends Biden: Wouldn’t go to McCain for VP advice

WASHINGTON — The White House on Thursday ruled out dropping Vice President Joe Biden, and told former Republican nominee John McCain that with his track record he was in no position to give advice on running mates. Several prominent Republicans suggested the gaffe-prone Biden should be replaced on President Barack…

Assange asylum decision leaves Britain in uncharted waters

LONDON — Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange puts Britain in uncharted diplomatic and legal waters, as it insisted Thursday it would go ahead with extraditing him to Sweden. When Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced to applause in Quito that his government was giving the…

Romney paid ‘at least 13%’ in taxes over past decade

WASHINGTON — White House hopeful Mitt Romney insisted Thursday he has paid at least 13 percent per year in taxes over the past decade, dismissing obsession over his personal finances as “small-minded.” Romney, a multimillionaire former investor, has been under assault by Democrats for his refusal to release pre-2010 tax…

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