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Death toll passes 160 as storms rip through US

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (AFP) – Deadly tornados and flash floods flattened buildings and overturned vehicles overnight as major storms churned through the United States, with the death toll surpassing 160 people. The severe weather killed 128 people in Alabama on Wednesday alone, authorities said, and President Barack Obama said Washington would…

Alabama switches execution drug

WASHINGTON — Alabama, one of the US states carrying out the greatest number of executions, has suspended its use of the rapidly dwindling sedative sodium thiopental in favor of another death penalty drug. “Due to the national shortage of sodium thiopental, the Alabama Department of Corrections has amended its execution…

Paul Ryan already benefited from the Social Security fund he now wants to gut

Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s most outspoken advocate for cutting and privatizing Social Security, has already benefited from Social Security himself, in the form of survivor benefits he received after his father’s untimely death. From the age of 16, when his 55-year-old father died of a heart attack, until he…

Threats against ‘Friday’ web sensation Rebecca Black probed

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police said on Tuesday they were investigating two death threats against 13-year-old Internet sensation Rebecca Black over her low-budget music video “Friday.” The threats were made sometime in March, after “Friday” became a YouTube hit and went viral as a web phenomenon, Anaheim Policespokesman Rick Martinez said. “In essence the threats were…

German executives sentenced in death of Italian workers

ROME — An Italian court on Friday sentenced German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp’s director-general in Italy to 16.5 years in jail for the deaths of seven workers after a fire at its Turin plant in December 2007. Harald Espenhahn was convicted by a court in Turin in the north of the country…

US concerned by deaths of detainees in Bahrain

WASHINGTON — The United States voiced concern Wednesday over the deaths of people in police custody in Bahrain, which has cracked down on a wave of Shiite-led anti-government protests. Bahrain’s Shiite Muslim opposition said a fourth detainee, Karim Fakhrawi, has died in Bahraini custody, as Human Rights Watch urged the…

Death anxiety linked to acceptance of intelligent design: study

Research conducted at the University of British Columbia and Union College found that people’s death anxiety was associated with support of intelligent design and rejection of evolutionary theory. Death anxiety also influenced those in the study to report an increased liking for Michael Behe, a prominent proponent of intelligent design,…

China executes 3 Filipinos despite Manila’s pleas

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – China executed on Wednesday three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking despite a flurry of public appeals for clemency in the Philippines, and days after Amnesty International slammed Beijing’s sweeping use of the death penalty. The three, two women and a man, were caught smuggling several kilogrammes of heroin each…

At least 45 killed in Iraq attack

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The death toll from an attack on the Iraqi provincial council headquarters in Tikrit rose to 45 on Tuesday and Iraqi security forces ended a siege by gunmen in the building, a health official said. Jasim al-Dulaimi, head of the health operations center in Salahuddin province, said…

Executions down in 2010: Amnesty

LONDON (Reuters) – At least 527 people were executed around the world last year, down from 714 in 2009, although China is believed to have put to death thousands more, human rights group Amnesty International said on Monday. It said Beijing was thought to have executed far more people than…

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