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Elephant tooth reveals evolution of plant-only diet

Once they developed a taste for grass, the ancestors of today’s elephants swiftly broadened their leaf-only diet and placed their progeny on a new evolutionary track, a study said Wednesday. Early tuskers were moving into open grassland millions of years before their teeth were adapted to grazing, according to a…

French mayor lands in court for refusing to recognize same sex marriage

A gay couple in southwestern France on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against a mayor who refused to wed them in defiance of a landmark law, one of a small band of diehards holding out against same-sex marriages. Jean-Michel Colo, the mayor of Arcangues, stirred up controversy by becoming the…

Ecuador asylum expected to take weeks as Snowden waits in Moscow airport

By Alessandra Prentice and Steve Gutterman MOSCOW (Reuters) – A former U.S. spy agency contractor facing charges of espionage remained in hiding at a Moscow airport on Wednesday while the prospect grew of a protracted Russian-U.S. wrangle over his fate. Ecuador, where Edward Snowden has requested asylum, said a decision…

High-tech tombstones link bar codes to memories of dead loved ones

Rick Miller kneels in front of a grave and uses his cell phone to scan a small barcode on a tombstone. Within seconds, he’s looking at photos and videos of a lost loved one. But that’s not all. Without leaving this vast cemetery in a suburb of Philadelphia, he can…

Patriots NFL player arrested in homicide investigation

BOSTON (Reuters) – New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was arrested on Wednesday, according to local media reports, after he was questioned in connection with a shooting death near his home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. The body of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player for the Boston Bandits,…

Julia Gillard ousted as Prime Minister of Australia after party coup

By James Grubel CANBERRA (Reuters) – Kevin Rudd returned as Australian prime minister on Wednesday, executing a stunning party room coup on Julia Gillard almost three years to the day after being ousted by his former deputy and less than three months out from a general election. The reinstatement of…

Controversial fugitive and Clinton-pardoned trader Marc Rich dies at 78

By Alice Baghdjian LUCERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Billionaire Marc Rich, who invented oil trading and was pardoned by President Bill Clinton over the then-biggest tax evasion case in U.S. history and busting sanctions with Iran, died on Wednesday from a stroke in Switzerland at 78. Rich fled the Holocaust with…

Discovery of new flame-headed bird species astounds conservationists

A new species of bird with a distinctive orange-red coloured tuft of feathers on its head has been found in Cambodia’s populous capital city, conservationists said on Wednesday. The remarkable discovery of the Cambodian tailorbird, or orthotomus chaktomuk, in Phnom Penh — and several other locations including a construction site…

Spanish town goes green by turning sewage into clean energy

By Tracy Rucinski CHICLANA DE LA FRONTERA, Spain (Reuters) – A Spanish resort town with sprawling golf courses and tree-lined beaches has added another green site to its attractions: the world’s first plant to convert sewage into clean energy. The facility in Chiclana de la Frontera on the southwest tip…

Pope Francis sets up special review of Vatican bank

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis has set up a special commission to review the activities of the scandal-plagued Vatican bank to ensure that it operated in “harmony” with the mission of the Catholic Church, the Vatican said on Wednesday. The appointment of the five-member panel, which includes four prelates…

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