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Drilling begins on high-speed Alpine rail running from France to Italy

A six-metre-wide drill roared to life Tuesday in Chiomonte in northeast Italy and began boring a reconnaissance tunnel for a controversial fast train from Lyon, France to Turin, Italy. The latest phase in a project which has suffered years of delays kicked off with only Italian and French dignitaries as…

NASA says ‘Orion’ deep space vehicle on track for 2014 test

The first test mission of a new deep space capsule that could one day take humans to Mars is on track for September 2014, the US space agency said Tuesday. Orion aims to replace US capacity to reach space — which ended with the retirement of the space shuttle program…

Pastor who worried God wasn’t ‘hearing’ him commits suicide

A Macon, Georgia pastor who expressed concern over his connection to God killed himself while his family and congregation were at his church, WMAZ-TV reported on Monday. The Rev. Teddy Parker Jr. was found dead outside his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head following the Sunday service…

Thousands of protesters converge on Russian embassy in Poland

Poland was in hot water on Tuesday after ultra-nationalist rioters went on the rampage outside the Russian embassy in Warsaw, igniting a diplomatic row with Moscow. The violence, which marred Polish independence day on Monday, reflects growing far-right and anti-Russian sentiment in Poland, an ex-communist country and European Union member.…

Right-wing French magazine assails Black minister with racist slur

France’s justice minister has been publicly subjected to racist taunts for the third time in barely a month, triggering a wave of outrage Tuesday over the hounding of the country’s top black politician. In the wake of two highly-publicised incidents in which the minister, Christiane Taubira, was compared to a…

California man pleads guilty to ‘sextortion’ plot against Miss Teen USA

A US student pleaded guilty Tuesday to hacking online accounts of Miss Teen USA and other women and threatening to publish nude photos of them, the FBI said. Jared James Abrahams surrendered in September to FBI agents probing so-called “sextortion” cases, in which he made demands in return for agreeing…

World Bank president: Typhoon Haiyan should end ‘silly’ climate change debate

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Tuesday that the deadly typhoon disaster in the Philippines should put an end to “silly” arguments denying climate change. “If you think of the number of storms that have hit over the past year, the severity of those storms… The frequency of these…

Archaeologists uncover secrets of Portus, once gateway to Rome

University of Southampton team finds evidence explaining why opulent Roman empire port was dismantled in 6th century British archeologists digging near Rome have built up an accurate picture of Portus, the once-mighty port that could host 350 ships at a time and kept the ravenous capital of the Roman empire…

Popularity of ‘Hunger Games’ inspires pink bow and arrow toy for girls

But why must so many toys for girls – even those that encourage outside play – be marketed as something pretty? Who wouldn’t want to be like Katniss Everdeen? Strong, kind and tough, the heroine of the Hunger Games trilogy wields a bow and arrow so brilliantly she beats all…

Stephen Hawking: Physics would be ‘more interesting’ if Higgs boson hadn’t been found

World-famous cosmologist admits to losing bet as a result of particle’s discovery Physics would have been “far more interesting” if scientists had been unable to find the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Cern, according to Stephen Hawking, who has admitted to losing a bet as a…

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