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Sri Lanka faces impatience in U.S.

WASHINGTON — Sri Lanka is looking to ease growing friction with the United States, but it faces exasperation from policymakers who see little progress on concerns three years after a bloody civil war ended. Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris meets Friday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after a week…

U.S. defends visa granted to Raul Castro’s daughter

WASHINGTON — The United States Thursday defended its decision to grant a visa to the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, saying there was no blanket ban on visits by officials from the communist state. Mariela Castro, a sexologist who backs gay rights, is due to attend the annual conference…

NASA says competition is key to private space race

WASHINGTON — Competition is vital to the race among private companies to replace the space shuttle, NASA said Thursday, after Congress called for the US space agency to fund a single company. “We believe that competition is key to accelerating this program,” said NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver in a…

U.S. group to send 22 observers to Egypt’s election

WASHINGTON — The Atlanta-based Carter Center has the green light to send 22 observers to monitor Egypt’s presidential election next week, the US State Department said Thursday. “The Carter Center has received accreditation as one of the organizations that will witness the election by Egypt’s Supreme Presidential Election Commission,” State…

Zimmerman legal defense fund has raised $1,000 a day so far

A new legal defense fund for George Zimmerman, the crime watch volunteer accused of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, has raised about $1,000 a day so far this month, his lawyer said Thursday. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting death in Sanford, Florida. The…

Disco legend Donna Summer dies at 63

Grammy-winning disco legend Donna Summer died Thursday after a battle with cancer, aged 63, her family said in a statement. The singer, who shot to fame in the 1970s with hits including “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls,” before songs like “She Works Hard for the Money” in the 1980s, died…

U.S. unemployment claims remain unchanged

New claims for US unemployment benefits were unchanged last week from the week before amid a slowly recovering jobs market, official data showed Thursday. Initial jobless claims totaled 370,000 in the week ending May 12, matching the previous week’s upwardly revised figure, the Labor Department said. The flat reading broke…

Billionaire Warren Buffett buys small newspaper chain

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company unveiled plans Thursday to pour millions into a chain of small newspapers, saying they represent “an important institution” for communities. A subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, BH Media Group, will purchase all of the newspapers owned by Media General, with the exception of the Tampa…

World’s oldest surviving Chinese sailing vessel returns to Taiwan

The world’s oldest surviving Chinese junk returned home to Taiwan on Thursday, nearly 60 years after it set sail on a historic voyage to the United States, organisers said. The Free China arrived in the northern port of Keelung aboard a cargo ship from San Francisco. It will be restored…

Romney nearly matches Obama with $40 million in April fundraising

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign raked in an impressive $40.1 million in his first month as the presumptive Republican nominee, his team announced Thursday, nearly matching US President Barack Obama’s haul. Romney’s April fundraising total is dramatically stronger than the $12.6 million he generated the previous month, and comes close to…

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