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North Korea warns South of ‘merciless’ strike for Kim dynasty effigies

North Korea has threatened a “merciless” strike against the South after activists burned effigies of the ruling Kim dynasty on the second anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong-Il, officials said Friday. The warning was contained in a message sent Thursday by the secretariat of the National Defence…

Australia throws out appeal from convicted ‘collar bomber’

An Australian investment banker who tied a fake bomb around the neck of a schoolgirl to extort money from her wealthy family had his appeal against his jail sentence thrown out Friday. Paul Peters, who was arrested and extradited from the United States in 2011 with the help of the…

Obama calls for immediate end to violence in southern Sudan

President Barack Obama called for an immediate end to the fighting in South Sudan, warning the country stands at the “precipice” of civil war. Obama, who earlier announced he had deployed 45 troops to the violence-wracked country on Wednesday to protect US personnel and interests, warned that “recent fighting threatens…

Syrian official defends al-Assad’s right to seek re-election

A senior Syrian official said nobody can stop embattled President Bashar al-Assad from seeking re-election and that a government team has been formed for peace talks, in an exclusive interview Thursday with AFP. “Nobody has the right to interfere and say he must run or he should not run,” Deputy…

Ryan O’Neal wins right to keep Warhol painting of Farrah Fawcett

A US jury on Thursday found in favor of veteran actor Ryan O’Neal in a dispute over an Andy Warhol painting of his ex-lover Farrah Fawcett, saying it rightfully belonged to him. The six-man, six-woman panel rejected a claim by the University of Texas, where the late “Charlie’s Angels” star…

U.S. tries to defuse row over strip-searched Indian diplomat

The United States sought to end a row with close ally India over the arrest of a diplomat, with the State Department’s top officials calling their Indian counterparts for the third time in two days. “What we’re focused on now … is working to move the relationship forward,” State Department…

Researchers: ‘Incorrigible’ Robespierre suffered from auto-immune disorder

Depending on what you read, Maximilien de Robespierre was a defender of the poor and downtrodden — “the Incorruptible” who defended the values of the French Revolution to the end. Or he was a monster who slaughtered thousands for revolutionary crimes, a lawyer who opened up the path of legalised…

Mark Zuckerberg cashes in as Facebook prepares to sell 70 million shares

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg will sell a chunk of his stake in the company, cashing in some $2.3 billion, as part of a new share offering by the huge social network. A Facebook filing Thursday said the company would sell 70 million shares in a follow-on offering to the huge…

Google fined for privacy violations by Spanish data watchdog

Spain’s data protection watchdog ordered US Internet giant Google on Thursday to pay a 900,000-euro fine for “serious violations” of users’ privacy. The Spanish Data Protection Agency accused the popular search provider of “illegal processing of personal data” obtained from users of various services such as Google email accounts. Google’s…

U.S. Olympic delegate Brian Boitano announces he’s gay

Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic figure skating gold medalist who was named this week to the US delegation to the 2014 Sochi Games, Thursday announced that he is gay. Saying that “being gay is just one part of who I am,” Boitano said in a statement: “First and foremost I…

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