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Obama signs bipartisan budget deal and Guantanamo transfer bills into law

President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law the compromise US budget bill recently negotiated by feuding lawmakers and a massive defense bill that takes a step toward ultimate closure of Guantanamo. After signing the legislation while vacationing in Hawaii with his family, Obama praised the National Defense Authorization Act for…

Amazon will cover shipping costs for customers hit by UPS and FedEx delays

Amazon Thursday said it would give $20 gift cards and pay shipping costs for customers affected by problems at UPS and FedEx that delayed some Christmas package deliveries. The Amazon pledge came after UPS in particular came under fire for late packages despite vows from retailers to meet a December…

French unemployment rises despite President Hollande’s promises

France’s number of registered jobseekers rose by 17,800 in November to 3.29 million, the labour ministry said Thursday, challenging government claims to have bucked a trend of spiralling unemployment. Labour Minister Michel Sapin claimed President Francois Hollande’s pledge to curb growing joblessness by the year’s end was still on track,…

Nine people dead after Russian cargo plane hits military warehouse

A Russian cargo plane crashed into a military warehouse complex in Siberia on Thursday, killing all nine people on board, the emergencies ministry said. The Antonov An-12 military transport plane, carrying cargo from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, crashed into storage warehouses at a military unit near Irkutsk, also in…

300,000 Cambodian garment workers join anti-government protests

Thousands of Cambodian garment workers on Thursday joined anti-government protests demanding that Prime Minister Hun Sen step down and call a new election. The opposition had urged the textile industry’s vast workforce to join its daily rallies in the capital against Hun Sen, and the workers’ participation is a boost…

Vasari’s Last Supper reassembled 47 years after 1966 Florence flood

New restoration techniques mean 1546 painting could be ready for display by 50th anniversary of Arno bursting its banks The last casualty of the devastating Florence flood of 1966 has been reassembled, raising hopes of a full restoration before the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest cultural disasters of…

‘We’re heartsick’: Only church official jailed in sex abuse scandal freed on appeal

The only Roman Catholic church official jailed in the U.S. in the sex abuse scandals of recent years has been freed by an appeals court, which reversed his child endangerment conviction Thursday. A three-judge Superior Court panel unanimously set aside the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn on the three- to…

Security professionals withdraw from tech conference after NSA revelations

Add Josh Thomas to the list of security experts cutting ties with RSA Security after the Snowden leaks. “If the allegations are true, a company that’s sole purpose to build trust – and that’s what cryptography is – and they can’t be trusted, then I don’t want to be part…

This delicate flower could be stepping stone to energy independence

If you find it hard to wrap your head around the idea that a shrub bearing pea-sized flowers could have anything to do with energy independence, consider guayule. This weedy little plant thrives in the arid climate of the Southwest, and it could provide…  …

The first to fly: The true story of two eccentric 18th century inventors

The story of the first humans to fly involves two eccentric French brothers, lots of taffeta, a race against the French Academy of Science, King Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, Benjamin Franklin, a scheming scientist…  …

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