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U.N. committee votes to condemn rights abuses in Syria

A UN committee on Tuesday slammed rights abuses by the Syrian government after a debate marked by a bitter clash between the UN envoys of Saudi Arabia and Syria. The UN General Assembly rights committee voted overwhelmingly for a Saudi-drafted resolution which expressed “outrage” at the escalation of the 32-month-old…

Bob Dylan releases interactive music video for ‘Like A Rolling Stone’

Bob Dylan put a 21st-century interactive spin on a 48-year-old song that many consider his greatest composition when he released an official video for “Like a Rolling Stone.” Posted on bobdylan.com, it invites viewers to channel-surf between mock TV shows where the song is lip-synched by newscasters, reality TV stars,…

Stamp collectors split after USPS honors ‘foreign’ Harry Potter

The loss-making US Postal Service (USPS) introduced Harry Potter stamps Tuesday, delighting fans of the fictional boy wizard but angering some philatelists who complain he’s not American. The limited edition of 20 stamps feature images of Scottish author J.K. Rowling’s best-selling character “with the friends, heroes, villains and creatures that…

Atop the Material World: Madonna leads Forbes’ highest-paid musician list

Business magazine Forbes named Madonna the highest-paid musician in the world on Tuesday, estimating her earnings at $125 million in the year to June. Revenues from her MDNA concert tour plus sales of Madonna-related products and merchandise put the Material Girl, 55, well ahead of Lady Gaga at $80 million.…

U.S. probes Tesla vehicle fires as company vows ‘full investigation’

A US government agency said Tuesday it was investigating fires in Tesla electric vehicles, as the company ordered modifications aimed at reducing what it called a negligible risk. The move by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came after Tesla requested such a probe, saying it wanted to quash any…

Saudi Arabia deports 60,000 immigrants in government crackdown

Saudi Arabia has deported more than 60,000 illegal foreign workers in a crackdown over the past fortnight and more are to follow, Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said Tuesday. Police have rounded up tens of thousands of people for deportation since an amnesty for foreign workers to regularise their…

Venezuela gives Maduro power to rule by decree for a year

Venezuela’s National Assembly on Tuesday gave President Nicolas Maduro wide-ranging special powers to rule by decree for one year. The socialist president of the OPEC member state says he needs the greater personal power as his government struggles with soaring inflation and shortages of basic goods. Maduro requested the special…

Botswana bans fracking in Kalahari Game Reserve

Botswana’s government Tuesday said environmental protection was key in its search for natural gas, rejecting claims that fracking was already under way in the country’s top wildlife park. “There are currently no fracking operations going on in the country except exploration drilling by various exploration companies,” said a statement from…

African fruit bat found to carry a double virus risk

A large fruit bat that ranges over most of sub-Saharan Africa carries two animal viruses that pose a potential infection risk for humans, scientists said Tuesday. Bats are a known source for animal viruses, including the deadly Ebola virus, that have leapt the species barrier to other mammals. In a…

NATO tech expert gets seven-year jail sentence for data theft

A German court Tuesday sentenced a former NATO employee to seven years in jail for spying after the IT expert copied secret data in order to sell it to a foreign intelligence service. The 61-year-old man, identified only as Manfred K., had worked for the transatlantic military alliance at the…

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