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Blackwater founder sets up mercenary group in United Arab Emirates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times said Sunday. The Times said it obtained documents that showed the unit being formed by Erik Prince’s new company Reflex Responses…

Floodway opening a blessing for Louisiana refineries

KROTZ SPRINGS, Louisiana (Reuters) – The opening of a key spillway to relieve flooding along the Mississippi River could create logistical headaches for big Gulf Coast refiners, but will likely spare the lion’s share of the area’s refining capacity from flooding danger. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Saturday…

Boehner says ready to cut budget deal with Obama today

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said he is ready to cut a deal on raising the debt limit if only President Barack Obama would get serious about spending cuts. Obama warned that congressional failure to raise the debt limit could lead to a worse…

Scientists find ‘master switch’ to controlling human fat

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have found that a gene linked to diabetes and cholesterol is a “master switch” that controls other genes found in fat in the body, and say it should help in the search for treatments for obesity-related diseases. In a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, the British researchers…

Obama warns on debt ceiling risk

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama warned the United States risked plunging back into recession if a standoff over the US debt ceiling lingers, as a top Republican said he was ready to cut a deal. The United States is due to hit the $14.29-trillion ceiling set by Congress on…

Astronauts board Endeavour for next-to-last shuttle flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AFP) – Astronauts boarded the space shuttle Endeavour on Monday as it prepared to blast off toward International Space Station on the penultimate flight for the US shuttle program. The 8:56 am (1256 GMT) launch is expected to draw as many as 500,000 onlookers to the area…

Members of Congress question seizures of alleged pirate domain names

For the last several months, two Democratic members of Congress have been asking the Department of Homeland Security/ICE to clarify the policy behind its seizures of the domain names of websites that are alleged to be involved in copyright violations. According to TorrentFreak.com, they’ve finally gotten a response, but it’s…

Paul Ryan mulling Senate run

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said on Sunday he would decide this week whether to run for the seat of Democratic Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin who is not seeking re-election. “I plan on making an announcement very quickly,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of…

Gingrich suggests Ryan Medicare plan is ‘right-wing social engineering’

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Sunday that he doesn’t support the GOP budget plan created by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would turn Medicare into a voucher system. “Do you think Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into…

Japan widens evacuations outside plant zone

TOKYO — Japan on Sunday started the first evacuations of homes outside a government exclusion zone after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled one of the country’s nuclear power plants. Some 4,000 residents of Iidate-mura village as well as 1,100 people in Kawamata-cho town, in the quake-hit northeast, began…

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