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Rio Olympics organizers sign off on 2016 venue masterplan

Rio Games Organisers said Thursday they and international Olympic federations have signed off a venue master plan. In a statement, organisers said a two-day eighth IOC Project Review had concluded with “significant progress” on readying the 2016 tournament, the first to be held in South America. “We have enjoyed two…

France begins military intervention in strife-ridden Central African Republic

French troops have begun to deploy to the strife-torn Central African Republic, airlifting men and equipment to Bangui in preparation for an intervention to restore order, an airport source said. “French military aircraft have made several round trips in the past few hours coming mainly from Gabon, to bring in…

New, more aggressive HIV strain found in West Africa

A new and more aggressive strain of HIV discovered in West Africa causes significantly faster progression to AIDS, researchers at Sweden’s Lund University said Thursday. The new strain of the virus that causes AIDS, called A3/02, is a fusion of the two most common HIV strains in Guinea-Bissau. It has…

‘New Voyager’ Rouhani follows Obama onto YouTube

A music video has surfaced on YouTube hailing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a similar way to a famed 2008 paean to his US counterpart Barack Obama. In the video, which has been retweeted on the Iranian president’s unofficial Twitter account, Rouhani is shown along with traditional musical instruments, banned…

Microsoft stepping encryption up to thwart NSA spying

Microsoft moves to encrypt data: report (via The Christian Science Monitor) The Microsoft Corp. logo (left) is seen on an exterior wall of a new Microsoft store inside the Prudential Center mall, in Boston. Microsoft has worked closely with the NSA, according to leaked documents in the Guardian. (Steven Senne/…

Louisiana pastor indicted for alleged sexual attacks against underage choir girls

A Shreveport, Louisiana pastor was denied bond and indicted on federal charges for allegedly taking underage girls in his church’s choir across state lines in order to commit illegal sexual contact with them. KSLA-TV reported on Tuesday that 54-year-old Andrea Lewis is still listed as the pastor and choir director…

World’s oldest bank vows to be ‘profoundly different’ by 2017

The board of troubled Italian lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena — the world’s oldest bank — Thursday approved a restructuring plan which it said will create a “profoundly different” bank by 2017. The plan, which includes significant job and branch cuts and the sale of small subsidiaries, had been…

WTO says it’s made a ‘breakthrough’ in new customs negotiations

The World Trade Organisation said Thursday that negotiators have made a breakthrough in talks towards a major trade deal, just two days after the agency’s chief signaled a stalemate. Diplomats in Geneva have secured agreement on a key sticking point of a trade package to be put to ministers at…

Brazil will use damaged World Cup stadium despite workers’ deaths

A Brazilian stadium will not be removed from the World Cup roster despite a deadly construction accident but its completion will be delayed, officials said Thursday. The Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo is slated to host the opener of the football extravaganza in June. On Wednesday, two workers were killed…

Researchers: Typhoons are spreading Fukushima fallout through Japan

Typhoons that hit Japan each year are helping spread radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the country’s waterways, researchers say. Contaminated soil gets washed away by the high winds and rain and deposited in streams and rivers, a joint study by France’s Climate and Environmental Science laboratory (LSCE)…

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