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Elon Musk’s SpaceX launches second commercial satellite

US company SpaceX said Monday it had deployed a commercial Thai satellite, in its second successful launch in weeks. The private firm’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 2206 GMT, carrying with it the Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite. Space Exploration Technologies,…

Activists drive Japanese whalers out of Antarctic hunting ground: Sea Shepherd

Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd on Tuesday said Japan’s fleet had been separated and driven out of its Antarctic hunting ground, declaring an early success in its campaign to disrupt the annual hunt. The militant group said the five-vessel fleet was “in disarray” and currently not hunting whales, with the harpoon…

Chinese-born man charged over arson attack on China’s consulate in San Francisco

US investigators have arrested a Chinese-born man over an arson attack on China’s consulate in San Francisco which triggered strong protest from Beijing, officials and reports said. Yan Feng, 39, who lives south of the city, surrendered to police on Friday and has been charged with criminal offenses including causing…

Zambian politician arrested and charged with defamation for calling president a potato

Zambian police have arrested and charged an opposition leader with defamation, after he compared the president to a potato, a party ally told AFP Tuesday. Frank Bwalya, head of the Alliance for a Better Zambia, allegedly referred to president Michael Sata as “Chumbu Mushololwa” during a live radio broadcast Monday.…

Natural disasters cost $125 billion in 2013

Natural disasters, led by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and flooding in Europe, cost a total of $125 billion (92 billion euros) in 2013, German reinsurance giant Munich Re estimated on Tuesday. The figure was below the average over 10 years of $184 billion, with insured losses of $31…

U.S. speeds up drone deliveries to help Iraq battle resurgence of Al-Qaeda

The United States says it will speed up its deliveries of missiles and surveillance drones to Iraq as the Baghdad government battles a resurgence of Al-Qaeda linked militants. The White House dismissed claims that the fighting, which has seen militants retake the city of Fallujah, was a result of President…

Update: Trapped Chinese vessel ‘breaks through Antarctic ice’

A Chinese ship that helped rescue passengers from a Russian vessel trapped in Antarctica only to get stuck in the ice itself broke free Tuesday, state media reported. The Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, “pulled free of the ice and navigated into the open waters”, said the official Xinhua news…

Google partners with automakers for dashboard Android system

Google joined Monday with automakers General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai in a new partnership to bring the Android mobile system to vehicles. The companies, with semiconductor firm Nvidia, announced the formation of the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), an industry group “committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting…

Singapore Airlines rescues passengers stranded in Azerbaijan

Hundreds of Singapore Airlines passengers left stranded in Azerbaijan after their Airbus A380 was forced to make an emergency landing were collected Tuesday by a replacement superjumbo. The carrier said the relief plane carrying nearly 500 passengers and crew was expected to land back in Singapore at around 0745 GMT…

Spain will mediaite $1.6 billion dispute over Panama Canal expansion

After emergency Spanish mediation, the Panama Canal Authority and a consortium expanding the major waterway will try Tuesday to resolve a $1.6-billion dispute threatening to disrupt the project. Spanish Public Works Minister Ana Pastor flew to the Central American nation for crisis talks on Monday with Panama’s president, canal officials…

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