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U.S. consumer spending growth slows in March

US consumer spending growth slowed in March after a strong February, even as personal income growth picked up pace, government data showed Monday. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of US economic activity, rose 0.3 percent in March, the Commerce Department reported. That undershot the average analyst estimate…

Obama tries ‘Forward’ campaign slogan after 2008′s ‘Hope and Change’

Four years on, “Hope and Change” has become “Forward” as President Barack Obama road tests a new campaign slogan to encapsulate his reelection bid. Matching the powerful simplicity of his 2008 theme was always going to be tough — especially after Obama’s three-and-a-half years stuck in the grind of governing…

European unemployment has risen two-thirds since 2010: Report

Unemployment has risen in two-thirds of European countries since 2010 as austerity hit growth and jobs, the International Labour Organisation has said. In its annual world of work report, the Geneva-based ILO warned that the weaknesses in the labour market were becoming ingrained, with high levels of long-term and youth…

Liberian journalist threatened, hiding in U.S. after reporting on genital mutilation

Liberian journalist Mae Azango’s courageous reporting on female genital mutilation in her country helped to ignite an international controversy. But she had to go into hiding following threats and is now on a visit to the United States. Her 8 March article, “Growing pains: Sande tradition of genital cutting threatens…

Man offers plan to build Titanic II

One of Australia’s richest men, Clive Palmer, on Monday unveiled plans to build a 21st century version of the doomed Titanic in China, with its first voyage from England to New York set for 2016. Palmer, a self-made mining billionaire, said he had commissioned state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to construct Titanic II with the same dimensions…

British police find 20 cannabis farms a day

Police discovered more than 20 cannabis farms and factories in the UK every day last year, seizing drugs worth up to £100 million, figures showed on Monday. Criminals were attempting to reduce risk and minimise potential losses by employing a large number of so-called “gardeners” to manage smaller farms across residential neighbourhoods,…

Chinese activist ‘in U.S. embassy’

Blind Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng is holed up in the US embassy in Beijing but is not seeking asylum abroad, a fellow dissident said Monday, raising the spectre of a China-US diplomatic wrangle. Hu Jia, who was detained over the weekend for questioning in the affair, also said Chinese security officials…

Australia to protect most vulnerable koalas

Australia moved on Monday to protect its most vulnerable koalas, listing the much-loved furry tree-dwellers as a threatened species in parts of the country. Environment Minister Tony Burke said the most at-risk koalas needed to be on the national list of threatened species, and populations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory would…

China shuts Coke plant after chlorine reports

Coca-Cola has been ordered to temporarily halt production at a bottling plant in northern China, after media reports of chlorine in its products, according to a government statement. Shanxi province ordered an investigation after reports that a batch of drinks contained water with chlorine, the province’s quality bureau said in a statement at the weekend.…

Kim Dotcom in New Zealand political donation row

New Zealand police said Monday they were investigating allegations that a government minister tried to hide campaign donations fromMegaupload boss Kim Dotcom. The German Internet tycoon, who faces extradition to the United States for allegedly masterminding massive online piracy, told the New Zealand Herald he donated NZ$50,000 ($41,000) to ACT Party leader John Banks in 2010. Dotcom, 38,…

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