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Twitter chair Jack Dorsey joins Disney’s board of directors

US entertainment giant Walt Disney Company announced Monday that it tapped Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey to join its board of directors. Disney chief executive Robert Iger praised Dorsey as a “talented entrepreneur who has helped create groundbreaking new businesses in the social media and commerce space,” according to…

Palestinian prisoner released from Israel under terms of hunger strike deal

A Palestinian prisoner held in Israel since July 2012 who staged a life-threatening hunger strike was released from prison on Monday, an AFP journalist said. Samer Issawi, whom authorities had accused of “terrorist” activities, ended his strike in April after he was taken to hospital in critical condition, in return…

Tribune buys music data service from Sony for $170 million

US media company Tribune plans to acquire Gracenote, a giant in music data, for $170 million from media giant Sony, the companies announced Monday. Gracenote is a leader in music “metadata” enabling online music services, as well as smartphones and tablets, to recognize and describe musical works. “Gracenote is the…

Federal livestock waiver gives Santa Claus green light to enter U.S.

Santa Claus was officially cleared for entry into the United States on Monday as federal agriculture officials waived stringent livestock checks on his nine reindeer. The US Department of Agriculture announced in a light-hearted statement that a “Mr. S.Claus” of the North Pole was free to enter the United States…

Utah judge who declared same-sex marriage legal refuses to stay his ruling

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby, who issued a controversial ruling on Friday allowing same-sex couples in Utah to marry, shot down the state attorney’s attempts to halt the flood of same-sex marriages currently being recognized by the state. Governor Gary Herbert is dismayed by Judge Shelby’s decision. “It’s not…

Francis meets Benedict XVI on first Christmas as pope

Pope Francis visited his predecessor Benedict XVI on Monday for an informal Christmas greeting, as the Argentine pontiff prepares to celebrate his first Christmas as leader of the world’s Roman Catholics. Francis met with the 86-year-old Benedict in a former monastery building on a hill inside the Vatican City walls…

Israeli prime minister lashes out at ‘unacceptable’ U.S. spying

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday hit out at the United States for what he described as “unacceptable” wiretapping of his predecessor Ehud Olmert, as reported in the media. “Given the close relations between the United States and Israel, there are things we cannot do, and that is unacceptable…

Obama symbolically signs up for Obamacare during Hawaii vacation

US President Barack Obama has symbolically signed up for health insurance to promote his own controversial health care reform legislation, a White House official said Monday. The official said Obama — on vacation with his family in Hawaii for the holidays — signed up over the weekend for “a health…

Cory Booker challenges Rand Paul to traditional Festivus ‘feats of strength’ on Senate floor

Republican Senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul decided to celebrate “Festivus” today by participating in the traditional “airing of grievances.” The holiday originated in an episode of Seinfeld called “The Strike,” in which George Costanza’s father, Frank, describes how he became disillusioned with with the holiday season. “Many…

Edward Snowden says he is unwilling to swap NSA information for asylum

US leaker Edward Snowden said in a TV interview here that he would accept asylum in Brazil if offered, but not if it were in exchange for information about US intelligence. Snowden, in an interview broadcast late Sunday on the news show “Fantastico” on Globo TV network, also criticized the…

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