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NSA diverted computers and laptops from shipping facilities to install spyware

Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that the NSA’s “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO) has been diverting desktops and laptops shipped to U.S. consumers and installing spyware on them. According to the report, the process, which TAO calls “interdiction,” involves intercepting packages on their way from manufacturers like Dell, Cisco, and Seagate,…

Cardinal Dolan lauds Pope Francis for ‘shattering caricature of Church’ Dolan helped create

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday’s edition of This Week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that Pope Francis “has successfully, finally shattered the caricature of the Church.” “What’s that caricature?” he asked. “That the Church is kind of mean and dour and always saying no and always telling us…

Noam Chomsky: World ‘racing towards’ environmental catastrophe and nuclear war in 2014

In an interview with Salon’s Natasha Lennard published on Sunday, Noam Chomsky discussed some of the shocking revelations of 2013 and looked forward to the possible end of the world in 2014. With regards to the discovery of the depth and scope of the NSA’s spying programs, Chomsky noted that…

‘Esquire’ names Pope Francis ‘The Best Dressed Man of 2013′

Esquire magazine has named Pope Francis its “Best Dressed Man of 2013.” Esquire‘s Max Berlinger claims that “Pope Francis’s sartorial decisions have subtly signaled a new era (and for many, renewed hope) for the Catholic Church.” It is the simplicity of Francis’s decisions that impressed Esquire‘s panel of judges, who…

French high court approves 75 percent tax rate on executive salaries

France’s top court on Sunday approved a proposal for companies to pay 75 percent tax on annual salaries exceeding one million euros in line with President Francois Hollande’s drive to limit executive pay at a time of economic hardship. The Constitutional Council had earlier in the year thrown out one…

Female suicide bomber in Russia kills 14 as Olympics near

Female suicide bomber kills 14 at Russia train station (via AFP) A female suicide bomber killed 14 people Sunday when she blew herself up at the main train station in the southern city of Volgograd, raising concerns about security in Russia just six weeks before the Sochi Olympic Games. The…

Spanish artist transforms dictator Francisco Franco’s head into punching ball

First, he stuffed Spanish dictator Francisco Franco into a fridge. Now, he has transformed Franco’s head into a punching ball. Not surprisingly, 36-year-old Spanish artist Eugenio Merino’s headline-grabbing works have won few fans among the late dictator’s admirers. Indeed, the National Francisco Franco Foundation, which sued unsuccessfully over Merino’s earlier…

Candle-light vigils as India remembers Delhi bus gang-rape victim

India on Sunday marks 12 months since the death of a student savagely gang-raped on a Delhi bus — an episode that sparked nationwide protests — with candle-light vigils and prayers. The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died on December 29 last year, nearly two weeks after being brutally attacked by a…

Argentine Greenpeace activist Camila Speziale demands apology over arrest in Russia

An Argentine Greenpeace activist amnestied by Russia after being thrown in jail for protesting oil drilling in the Arctic demanded an apology from Moscow on Saturday. Speaking to reporters at Buenos Aires International Airport following her release, Camila Speziale said Russia owed an apology to the 30 activists who were…

Syria chemical weapons deadline ‘unlikely’ to be met: UN

Syria is “unlikely” to meet a December 31 deadline to move its most dangerous chemical arms out of the country, the United Nations acknowledged for the first time Saturday. The UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said “important progress” has been made on eliminating Syria’s…

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