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Occupy May Day protesters sense chance to regain autumn momentum

About 80 Occupy Wall Street organisers are gathered in the stuffy basement of a lower Manhattan office building to discuss the final stages of the movement’s most anticipated action this year. On a pair of tables in the corner of the room sit stacks of Occupy literature – magazines and…

Racial profiling at airports? Here’s an app for that

WASHINGTON — Travelers who suspect they are victims of profiling by security screeners at US airports can now lodge a complaint in minutes, thanks to a smartphone application released on Monday. The Sikh Coalition, supported by African American, Latino and Muslim civil rights groups, said its FlyRights app can be…

Obama pokes Romney on bin Laden raid

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama Monday questioned whether his foe Mitt Romney would have taken out Osama bin Laden, but denied indulging in “excessive celebration” over the terror leader’s death. Obama personally stepped into a fierce election-year row sparked by the anniversary of bin Laden’s death in a raid…

Philippines appeals for U.S. help in building armed forces

WASHINGTON — The Philippines, lamenting the poor state of its armed forces, appealed Monday for US and international help in building a “minimum credible defense” amid an escalating territorial dispute with China. Philippines Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin called for assistance in boosting their country’s…

U.S. denounces burning of Koran copies by U.S. pastor

WASHINGTON — The US State Department on Monday denounced the burning of copies of the Koran and a depiction of the prophet Mohammed by a Florida pastor, saying the acts did not reflect American values. “We find such action deplorable. We find it disrespectful. I, frankly, don’t want to give…

Chavez returning to Cuba for more cancer treatment

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Monday he would soon return to Cuba for another round of radiation treatment in his ongoing battle with cancer, which resurfaced earlier this year. “I will return in the next few hours to Havana,” he said in a message broadcast on radio…

SpaceX test fires rocket ahead of ISS cargo launch

WASHINGTON — SpaceX on Monday successfully test-fired its Falcon 9 rocket in a dress rehearsal for the May 7 launch of its Dragon spacecraft on a cargo-bearing mission to the International Space Station. The test, known as a static fire of the rocket’s nine main engines, lasted just two seconds,…

U.S. sees spike in painkiller-addicted babies

WASHINGTON — Prescription painkiller abuse among mothers-to-be has driven up the rate of babies born in the United States with opiate addiction almost threefold in a decade, said a US study on Monday. The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a five-fold increase in maternal…

Radical Egypt group to back moderate Islamist candidate

CAIRO — The radical Egyptian Islamist group Gamaa Islamiyya, implicated in acts including the assassination of ex-president Anwar Sadat, on Monday threw its support behind a moderate Islamist in next month’s presidential election. “The general assembly (of Gamaa Islamiyya) voted in favour of supporting” Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, the spiritual…

Osama bin Laden complained of al Qaeda ‘disaster’

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden bemoaned “disaster after disaster” inflicted by US drone strikes on Al-Qaeda before he was killed and even mulled changing his terror group’s name, a top US official said Monday. President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan said Al-Qaeda was losing “badly” under a huge…

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