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Freed Greenpeace protester: Russia owes me a medal for trying to save its environment

Greenpeace campaigner Dima Litvinov, first of imprisoned protesters to be freed, tells of relief at leaving Russia The first environmental activist to leave Russia after more than two months of detention said that Russia owed him a medal rather than a pardon for his work to protect the environment. Dima…

U.S. promises to cut South Sudan off from aid if government falls

The United States on Thursday reaffirmed its vow to cut aid to violence-wracked South Sudan if the government of President Salva Kiir is overthrown in a coup. Troops loyal to Kiir have been battling forces allied to former vice president Riek Machar in a wave of ethnic violence that has…

Defiant Turkish PM digs in as government graft investigation is blocked

A graft probe that has shaken Turkey’s government to its core and threatened Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule has been blocked, a prosecutor alleged Thursday. “Clear pressure” from Istanbul’s chief prosecutor and police commanders have stymied further arrests in the investigation, which has already netted several high-profile political and…

LAX shooting suspect Paul Ciancia pleads not guilty

A man accused of opening fire at Los Angeles international airport, killing a security agent and wounding seven other people, pleaded not guilty in a California court Thursday. Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, is accused of pulling an assault weapon out of a duffel bag and opening fire on Transportation Security…

Obama signs bipartisan budget deal and Guantanamo transfer bills into law

President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law the compromise US budget bill recently negotiated by feuding lawmakers and a massive defense bill that takes a step toward ultimate closure of Guantanamo. After signing the legislation while vacationing in Hawaii with his family, Obama praised the National Defense Authorization Act for…

Amazon will cover shipping costs for customers hit by UPS and FedEx delays

Amazon Thursday said it would give $20 gift cards and pay shipping costs for customers affected by problems at UPS and FedEx that delayed some Christmas package deliveries. The Amazon pledge came after UPS in particular came under fire for late packages despite vows from retailers to meet a December…

French unemployment rises despite President Hollande’s promises

France’s number of registered jobseekers rose by 17,800 in November to 3.29 million, the labour ministry said Thursday, challenging government claims to have bucked a trend of spiralling unemployment. Labour Minister Michel Sapin claimed President Francois Hollande’s pledge to curb growing joblessness by the year’s end was still on track,…

Nine people dead after Russian cargo plane hits military warehouse

A Russian cargo plane crashed into a military warehouse complex in Siberia on Thursday, killing all nine people on board, the emergencies ministry said. The Antonov An-12 military transport plane, carrying cargo from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, crashed into storage warehouses at a military unit near Irkutsk, also in…

300,000 Cambodian garment workers join anti-government protests

Thousands of Cambodian garment workers on Thursday joined anti-government protests demanding that Prime Minister Hun Sen step down and call a new election. The opposition had urged the textile industry’s vast workforce to join its daily rallies in the capital against Hun Sen, and the workers’ participation is a boost…

Vasari’s Last Supper reassembled 47 years after 1966 Florence flood

New restoration techniques mean 1546 painting could be ready for display by 50th anniversary of Arno bursting its banks The last casualty of the devastating Florence flood of 1966 has been reassembled, raising hopes of a full restoration before the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest cultural disasters of…

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