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Pregnant woman accuses NYPD officer of choking her over barbeque dispute

By Curtis Skinner NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York woman who is seven months pregnant complained on Monday that she was put in a chokehold by a New York police officer after barbecuing outside her home, fueling a controversy that has raged in the city following a man’s death…

Conservationists: ‘Scaly anteaters’ face extinction after becoming Asian delicacy

Geneva (AFP) – The scaly anteater, which looks like an artichoke with legs and a tail, is being eaten out of existence as its tasty meat is served up at banquets across Asia, conservationists said Tuesday. The mysterious mammal, also known as a pangolin, is the prey of poachers with…

VT Sen. Leahy set to introduce bill placing more limits on NSA phone data collection

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new Senate proposal to curb the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records and increase transparency about the program has White House backing and may get more traction with critics who have dismissed other bills as too weak. Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the…

Rocket carrying U.S. ‘neighborhood watch’ spy satellites launches from Cape Canaveral

By Irene Klotz (Reuters) – An unmanned Delta 4 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Monday with a pair of U.S. military satellites designed to keep watch on other countries’ spacecraft. The 206-foot (63-meter) tall rocket, built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of…

San Diego City Council approves raising minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – The San Diego City Council gave formal approval on Monday to an ordinance incrementally raising the minimum wage in California’s second-largest city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, mostly for workers in the restaurant and retail sectors. The council adopted the Democratic-backed…

California drought dries up plans for historic gold rush celebration

By Shawn Hubler SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) – California’s drought has claimed yet another historic casualty in this parched capital city — the annual heritage celebration known as Gold Rush Days. Staged for the past 15 years by tourism groups who turn the city’s Old Sacramento district into a dirt-paved scene…

It’s not just Facebook: OKCupid admits to experimenting with user compatability data

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, regularly mismatches users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service revealed on Monday, weeks after Facebook Inc admitted to misleading users in a psychological study. “When we tell people they are a good match, they act…

Seaside resorts turn into refugee camps for Ukrainians escaping conflict

Sedove (Ukraine) (AFP) – With their sunburnt backs, flip-flops and baseball caps, the families lolling about the Ukrainian resort town of Sjedove on the Azov Sea could be mistaken for holidaymakers. But they are all refugees, fleeing the deadly combat in east Ukraine as the fighting has escalated in recent…

Can evolution explain why so many domesticated mammals have floppy ears?

By Don Newgreen, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Jeffrey Craig, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Take a look at several domesticated mammal species and you might spot a number of similarities between them, including those cute floppy ears. The famous naturalist and evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin even observed in the first…

Pussy Riot takes Kremlin to European court of human rights for ‘punk prayer’ imprisonment

Two members of the feminist group Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government in the European court of human rights (ECHR) over their imprisonment for a 2012 “punk prayer” protest at a Moscow cathedral. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were given an amnesty in December after serving 21 months in prison and pre-trial…

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