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BlackBerry maker vows privacy safeguard amid probe

OTTAWA — Research In Motion vowed Tuesday to defend the legal privacy rights of BlackBerry users after a judicial commission in Pakistan ordered copies of smartphone communications in a scandal probe. The Canadian firm reacted to news that a Pakistani commission was seeking records for a probe into an unsigned…

U.S. charges Swiss bankers for hiding $1.2 billion

NEW YORK — Three Swiss bankers were indicted in the United States Tuesday, accused of hiding $1.2 billion in assets of US clients seeking to avoid declaring their full wealth to tax authorities. The bankers, Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller, were accused of “conspiring with US taxpayers and…

Quakes halt Ohio ‘fracking’ waste water well

WASHINGTON — A series of small earthquakes has prompted Ohio to suspend operations at a well used to dispose of waste water from “fracking,” a controversial technology to extract oil and gas from shale, officials said Tuesday. The suspension came amid suspicions, which have not been confirmed, that the disposal…

Iowa to launch 2012 White House war

Judgment day dawned for Republican contenders vying to take on Barack Obama in November’s presidential election, with a pivotal vote in Iowa Tuesday likely to dramatically winnow the field of contenders. The mostly rural heartland state’s caucus is the first formal vote of the war for the White House against…

Music icon Youssou Ndour bids for Senegal presidency

World-renowned singer Youssou Ndour stirred up the battle for Senegal’s presidency on Tuesday by announcing he plans to take on veteran incumbent Abdoulaye Wade in February elections. Revered in his home country as a music icon, it remains to be seen whether Ndour can turn listeners into voters in a…

Anger over secret drug trials on Indian children

Indian activists have reacted angrily after 12 doctors were fined less than $100 each for conducting secret drug trials on children and patients with learning disabilities. The Madhya Pradesh state government said the tests had not been cleared by health authorities, and it added that the doctors refused to disclose…

Pakistan Taliban commanders ‘at each other’s throats’

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani militants have held a series of meetings aimed at containing what could soon be open warfare between the two most powerful Pakistani Taliban leaders, militant sources have said. Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the…

Soul legend Aretha Franklin to wed longtime friend

Aretha Franklin, 69, is making plans to tie the knot with longtime friend William “Willie” Wilkerson, the Queen of Soul said Monday through her publicist. “We’re looking at June or July for our date and no, I’m not pregnant,” said the Grammy-winning voice behind such classics as “Respect,” “Think,” “Chain…

Bird flu virus doesn’t jump between humans: China

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The latest bird flu virus that killed a 39-year-old bus driver in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen over the weekend is not yet transmissible between humans, Chinese health authorities said. “The virus found in the patient was 90 percent similar to H5N1 viruses previously isolated in ducks in China,…

Taiwan mulls armed guards on ships against pirates

Taiwan is considering a plan to place armed guards on board local ships that sail in pirate-infested waters, especially off Somalia, officials and media said Tuesday. “The proposal has been under evaluation, but details of how it can be done have not been finalised,” an official at the transportation ministry told AFP, declining…

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