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UN: Nelson Mandela helped end ‘conspiracy of silence’ on South African AIDS problem

The head of the UN’s AIDS prevention agency hailed Nelson Mandela, who on Thursday was fighting for his life in hospital, for his role in breaking the silence and shame surrounding the deadly disease. “He was the one who really helped us break the conspiracy of silence,” Michel Sidibe, the…

Obama promises he won’t ‘scramble jets’ to get Snowden

DAKAR — US President Barack Obama said Thursday he would not “scramble jets” to intercept any flights carrying fugitive leaker Edward Snowden and scoffed at spending political capital to win him back from Russia. Obama, questioned in Africa on the latest twists of the international spy drama involving Snowden and…

The Expendables: Major corporations rely on temporary workers who have little protection

By Michael Grabell, ProPublica It’s 4:18 a.m. and the strip mall is deserted. But tucked in back, next to a closed-down video store, an employment agency is already filling up. Rosa Ramirez walks in, as she has done nearly every morning for the past six months. She signs in and…

Philippine police rescue 29 mail-order brides on their way to South Korea

MANILA — Philippine police rescued 29 women and arrested five people accused of illegally supplying mail-order brides to South Korea, an official said Thursday. Police raided a house in Bacoor, near Manila, on Wednesday following a tip-off from a government agency that documented complaints by earlier victims, said Chief Superintendent…

Researchers sequence ‘world’s oldest’ genome from horse ancestor

Straight from the horse’s toe: The world’s oldest genome (via The Christian Science Monitor) Researchers have sequenced the genome of a horse that lived some 700,000 years ago – the oldest genome ever sequenced – making it possible to reconstruct an evolutionary narrative of the modern horse, whose journey through…

Defense secretary: Same sex military spouses to see benefits ‘as soon as possible’

DOMA: Military spouses to see benefits 'as soon as possible,' Hagel vows (via The Christian Science Monitor) With the Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Pentagon will move “as soon as possible” to make all the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless…

Disgruntled viewer sues Japanese public broadcaster over using English words

Elderly viewers confused by increasing trend to use anglicised terms instead of their Japanese equivalent Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, is in a spot of toraburu with a disgruntled viewer who has filed a damages lawsuit against the company for the “mental distress” caused by its excessive use of words derived from English.…

Japan to send ‘creepy’ talking robot into space with astronauts

Talking robots in space have a bad track record – just watch 2001: A Space Odyssey. So good luck to his fellow astronauts on the International Space Station This August, a consortium of Japanese scientists, engineers and advertising bigwigs will send a talking robot into space. The robot will be…

WikiLeaks staffer helping Edward Snowden flee U.S. authorities

Holed up with a fugitive computer expert and negotiating a legal minefield to avoid the US authorities — WikiLeaks staffer Sarah Harrison has been here before. As one of Julian Assange’s closest aides, the blonde, willowy Briton is uniquely qualified to help US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden avoid extradition to…

Official figures reveal Ireland is back in a recession

Ireland’s bailed-out economy slumped back into recession in the second half of last year, and continued to shrink in the first quarter of 2013, official figures showed on Thursday. GDP tumbled 1.0 percent in the third quarter of 2012 and by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, meeting the definition…

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