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U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in December

US manufacturing sector growth slowed slightly in December after six straight monthly gains, the Institute for Supply Management said on Thursday. The ISM purchasing managers index for December fell to 57.0 from 57.3 the previous month. It was still the second highest reading of the year; in January 2013 the…

Lawyer fined for leaking identity of Harry Potter author JK Rowling

The lawyer who blew the cover of Harry Potter author JK Rowling when she wrote a crime novel under a pen name has been fined £1,000 (1,200 euros, $1,650) for breaching the privacy rules of his profession. Chris Gossage confided in his wife’s best friend that Rowling had written “The…

Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford will seek re-election

Toronto’s larger-than-life mayor, Rob Ford, who was stripped of most of his powers in November after admitting he had smoked crack, launched his bid for re-election Thursday. “Just filed my paperwork for the 2014 election. Vote on October 27th,” Ford said on Twitter, alongside a picture of himself, brother Councillor…

Republican attacked by primary challenger for vote against ‘In God We Trust’ resolution

A Michigan businessman who is challenging libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash in the Republican primary for his House seat thinks his vote against an “In God We Trust” resolution is “bizarre.” In a press release sent out on Thursday, Brian Ellis linked Amash’s 2011 vote to the atheist movement. “‘In God…

Drivers tend to view pedestrians with more contempt while behind the wheel: study

When we’re driving through a new place, people on the street are easily seen as potential obstructions or sources of difficulty. When we are walking or biking along, that perception is much less so.;  …

Pakistan’s former dictator Pervez Musharraf suffers ‘heart problem’ on way to treason hearing

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was rushed to hospital Thursday after suffering a “heart problem” on his way to court in the latest dramatic twist in his treason trial. The 70-year-old had been summoned to the special tribunal in Islamabad after failing to show up for two previous sessions…

Chinese ambassador compares Japanese militarism to ‘Harry Potter’ villain ‘Voldemort’

China’s ambassador to Britain has invoked Lord Voldemort, the villain of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, in a diplomatic standoff between Beijing and Tokyo over the Japanese prime minister’s visit to a controversial war shrine. “In the Harry Potter story, the dark wizard Voldemort dies because the seven horcruxes, which…

Wal-Mart’s ‘Five Spice Donkey Meat’ recalled in China after tests reveal product contained fox

Global retail giant Wal-Mart Stores has recalled a donkey meat product from some Chinese stores after tests found traces of other animals’ DNA, the company said Thursday, after authorities said it contained fox meat. The world’s largest retailer will reimburse customers who bought the “Five Spice Donkey Meat” 50 yuan…

Fiat shares surge on historic $3.65-billion Chrysler merger

Shares in Italian car giant Fiat soared on Thursday after it announced it would take full control of Chrysler in an historic $3.65-billion (2.66-billion-euro) deal. Fiat stock jumped 15.8 percent at the opening to 6.88 euros before slipping back slightly to 6.70 at around 0900 GMT. The complex deal announced…

Al-Qaeda-linked fighters control parts of two Iraq cities

Al-Qaeda-linked militants were on Thursday in control of more than half of the Iraqi city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, a security official and witnesses said. Violence first erupted on Monday when gunmen clashed with security forces as they tore down the country’s main Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp…

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