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Germany’s Merkel agrees to Social Democrats demand for a universal minimum wage

Germany is set to introduce a national minimum wage, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, giving in to a key demand by her likely centre-left governing partners. “The Social Democrats will not conclude negotiations without a universal legal minimum wage,” she said about ongoing talks to form a ‘grand…

UN needs ‘all hands on deck’ to combat ozone-damaging nitrous oxide

Levels of nitrous oxide, a gas that both depletes the ozone layer and stokes global warming, could nearly double by mid-century, the UN warned on Thursday. “We need all hands on deck to combat the serious and significant increases in N2O [nitrous oxide] levels in the atmosphere,” UN Environment Programme…

UN representative Samantha Power: U.S. has ‘nothing to apologize’ to Afghanistan for

Washington’s UN representative Samantha Power said Thursday Afghanistan is owed no apology for US actions in the country since the overthrow of the Taliban 12 years ago. “We have nothing to apologize for. Our soldiers have sacrificed a great deal,” Power told CNN, as Washington hammered out the details of…

Weekly unemployment claims fall to 2-month low

First-time claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week to their lowest level in two months as the recovery in the jobs market grinds forward, government data released Thursday showed. Initial jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, fell to 323,000 in the week ending November 16, from…

‘Dead’ baby wakes at Chinese funeral parlor before cremation

A Chinese baby boy who had been declared dead was saved from being cremated alive when he started crying at a funeral parlour, media reported Thursday. The parents of the critically-ill boy, who was less than one month old, had agreed to end his medical treatment at Anhui Provincial Children’s…

Jewish leader blasts return of Nazi art trove to hoarding recluse

The leader of Germany’s Jewish community on Thursday slammed a decision by authorities to return hundreds of paintings to a recluse accused of hoarding priceless artworks believed stolen by the Nazis. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said the aim by prosecutors to give…

Health-care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years

President Obama makes a statement before the start of a meeting with representatives of health insurance companies in the White House in Washington Friday. (Evan Vucci/AP) Health care spending is growing at the slowest rate on record, and health-care…  …

Honda’s ‘Hydrogen Boy’ pees his way to a cleaner world

A little boy urinating might not easily conjure up images of a cleaner world, but Honda had other ideas Thursday as it tries to promote its green-car technology. The Japanese firm erected a 6.6-foot replica of famous Brussels landmark Manneken Pis — the bronze statue of a boy peeing into…

Uzbekistan’s cosmopolitan first daughter documents downfall on Twitter

With allegations of sorcery and featuring a feared autocratic ruler and the downfall of an ambitious daughter, it could be one of those mediaeval verse epics for which Central Asia is famed. But it is the very contemporary medium of Twitter that has exposed the extraordinary rift at the heart…

Home of North Dakota white supremacist defaced by racist graffiti after revelations about his ‘African’ DNA

Authorities revealed today that Neo-Nazi and Canadian hate-crime fugitive Craig Cobb’s arrest over the weekend stemmed from an incident involving a former follower of the racial purist. According to local prosecutors, after other white supremacists in Leith learned that Cobb possessed “sub-Sarahan African” DNA, one of them — currently not…

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