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U.S. demands ‘concrete steps’ by Moscow on Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday urged Russia to take “concrete steps” to implement an agreement on defusing the crisis in Ukraine. The accord, struck last week in Geneva, was meant to lower the heat on the worst confrontation between Washington and Moscow since the Cold War, but…

Hitachi delivering 45-mile-per-hour elevator to Chinese high-rise

Japan’s Hitachi said Monday it will provide the world’s fastest elevators, which can clock speeds of up to 72 kilometers (45 miles) per hour, to a high-rise building in China. The lifts will be delivered to the 111-story, 530-metre (1,740-foot)-tall Guangzhou CTF Financial Centre due to be opened in the…

Red ink: New survey shows newspapers’ continuing ‘inability to compete’

U.S. newspapers suffered further revenue declines in 2013, seeing only mixed success in a transition to digital, according to industry figures. Total newspaper industry revenue amounted to $37.59 billion in 2013, a 2.6 percent drop from $38.60 billion in 2012, according to a report released Friday by the Newspaper Association…

Japanese scientist’s digital eyes show your emotions for you

Can’t be bothered to show anyone what you’re thinking? Then a Japanese scientist has the answer — a pair of digital eyes that can express delight and anger, or even feign boredom. Building on a long line of slightly wacky and not-very-practical inventions for which Japan is famous, Hirotaka Osawa…

Mock executions, beatings: Journalists describe ‘surreal’ imprisonment by Syrian radicals

Mock executions, hunger, thirst, cold, beatings, a makeshift chess game to pass the time… and a “surreal” snowball fight with their jailers. Details are starting to trickle through of the ordeal experienced by the four French journalists who returned home Sunday after being held hostage for 10 months at the…

Supreme Court to review ‘born in Jerusalem’ passport law

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh the constitutionality of a law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem – the historic holy city claimed by Israelis and Palestinians – to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports.…

Atheist lawsuit claims ‘under God’ in NJ school’s daily pledge recital harms children

On Saturday, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit in New Jersey on behalf of an atheist family seeking to erase the phrase “one Nation under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. According to the lawsuit, “John Doe and Jane Doe are atheists…who have personally experienced the public’s prejudice against…

Court orders U.S. to release legal memo that authorized drone strike on Anwar al-Awlaki

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal appeals court ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to turn over key portions of a memorandum justifying the government’s targeted killing of people linked to terrorism, including Americans. In a case pitting executive power against the public’s right to know what…

Justice Department to make it easier to grant clemency for nonviolent drug offenders

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department will widen the criteria it uses to decide which drug offenders to recommend to the president for clemency, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday. The department expects thousands of drug offenders currently serving time to be eligible for reduced sentences under the…

About 20 worshippers injured as car plows into Florida church

A runaway car plowed into a Florida church, smashing through a wall and injuring around 20 worshippers attending Easter services, police said on Monday. About 20 people were hurt when the Lexus sedan crashed into the Second Haitian Baptist Church in the city of Fort Myers where some 200 people…

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