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Boy Scouts hope opening ranks to gays as ‘eventful as Y2K’

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will begin accepting openly gay youths into its ranks on New Year’s Day, 2014. This sea change in BSA policy has raised many questions, from pragmatic concerns about the logistics of showering to symbolic issues, like whether Scouts can march in gay pride parades.…

New Pentagon blueprint sees bigger role for robot warfare

At a NASCAR racetrack in Miami earlier this month, teams from NASA, Google, and 14 other groups of engineering gurus put cutting-edge robots through some challenging paces. The aim was to see how well the robots could tackle tasks that may sound simple…  …

Indian train inferno kills at least 26 people

Fire raced through an Indian train carriage packed with sleeping passengers on Saturday, killing at least 26 people, and forcing terrified passengers to smash windows in a frantic bid to escape. Some passengers were able to break the train’s toilet cabin windows, but other victims were overcome by the thick,…

Saudi Arabian police ‘pounce on woman defying drive ban’

Saudi police on Saturday pulled over a woman minutes after she got behind the wheel in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after activists called for a new challenge to a driving ban. “Only 10 minutes after Tamador al-Yami got behind the wheel police stopped her,” activist Eman al-Nafjan told…

Four U.S. servicemembers freed after a brief detention by the Libyan government

Four US military personnel have been freed after a brief detention by the Libyan government, the US State Department said on Saturday. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who hours earlier announced that the Americans had been detained, did not say why they were held. “All four US military personnel being…

Four new species of deep sea creatures discovered off Scottish coast

Large sea snail, marine worm and two kinds of clam are believed to live near a cold seep vent in north Atlantic Marine scientists have hailed the discovery of four new species of sea creature in deep ocean waters off the coast of Scotland. The new species – a large…

France seeks to ban anti-Semitic comedian who popularized ‘reverse Nazi-salute’

French authorities are debating whether they can ban performances by a comedian who regularly insults Holocaust victims on grounds that he threatens the public peace. On Friday, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said he is seeking a legal means of banning performances by Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a comedian repeatedly fined for…

Racist attacks elderly black man to see whether his ‘knockout’ would be ‘nationally televised’

A Texas man has been charged with a federal hate crime after he assaulted an elderly black man in an attack motivated by the “knockout game.” Conrad Alvin Barrett singled out his victim — who authorities did not identify — because of the color of his skin, and federal prosecutors…

‘Game of Thrones’ retains title as most pirated television show on BitTorrent in 2013

TorrentFreak declared that the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones remains the most pirated show on BitTorrent. When TorrentFreak declared it the most downloaded show of 2012, Time Warner CEO Alan Bawkes said, “I think you’re right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world, and…

Off-duty bomb squad officer saves suspected drunk driver from burning vehicle

An off-duty bomb squad officer with the Los Angeles Police Department is being praised as a hero after saving a man from a burning vehicle on Wednesday. Officer Don Thompson was on his way to work when, according to an interview with ABC News, he “saw this car just veer…

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