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Charlie Chaplin’s Hitler parody at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate

BERLIN — Charlie Chaplin’s Hitler parody “The Great Dictator” will be screened late Friday at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on the 80th anniversary of the star’s visit to the German capital, city authorities said. The film, which makes fun of the Nazi leader, was originally released in 1940. It was written,…

Gargantuan tempest spotted on Saturn

PARIS — Imagine being caught in a thunderstorm as wide as the Earth with discharges of lightning 10,000 times more powerful than normal, flashing 10 times per second at its peak. Now imagine that this storm is still unfolding, eight months later. One of the most violent weather events in…

Mansion linked to “The Great Gatsby” demolished

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bulldozers have razed a storied mansion where F. Scott Fitzgerald partied and which some say inspired his classic 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby” The Colonial Revival-style Lands End mansion was built in the early 20th century in Sands Point, New York, overlooking the waters of Long…

Was Gandhi Gay?

In his Wall Street Journal review of Joseph Lelyveld’s Great Soul, a biography of Mohandas Gandhi, conservative historian Andrew Roberts calls Gandhi “a ceaseless self-promoter”, a “sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist” and accuses the revered Indian leader of repeatedly botching his nation’s independence movement. In subsequent…

Space sleuths solve riddle of missing sunspots

PARIS (AFP) – Space scientists on Thursday said they could explain why spots disappeared off the face of the Sun for two years, a mystery that had challenged a mainstream theory about our star. The years 2008 and 2009 were marked by a near-absence of sunspots, which reflected an unusually…

Father of Great Firewall forced to remove microblog

BEIJING – The man widely seen as the architect of China’s vast Internet censorship system known as the “Great Firewall” has had to take down his microblog after a storm of criticism by web users. Fang Binxing, the 50-year-old president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, removed his microblog…

Europe-sized cyclone batters Saturn for five years

A whirlwind the size of Europe lashed Saturn for five years, becoming the longest-lasting cyclone ever seen on the Solar System’s great planets, scientists reported Wednesday. The cyclone, with a vortex 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) wide, is being tracked by Spanish scientists with images from the pioneering US spacecraft Cassini.…

Frank Rich: Obama is ‘Rodney Dangerfield of 2010′

According to Frank Rich, President Barack Obama just can’t get no respect. With days left in the mid-term campaign season, the New York Times columnist argues that the president has gotten an unfair shake on his track record so far. But he puts some of the blame on the “White…

House passes historic Wall Street overhaul

WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives gave its final approval Wednesday to the biggest overhaul of Wall Street rules since the Great Depression of the 1930s, leaving the landmark bill in the Senate’s hands. Lawmakers voted 237-192, largely along party lines, for the compromise legislation that President Barack Obama…

Chinese ship ‘gouged two mile scar’ in Great Barrier Reef

A Chinese ship that spent nine days stranded on the Great Barrier Reef gouged a three-kilometre (two-mile) scar in the coral that could take decades to recover, a top expert said on Tuesday. David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the body overseeing the heritage-listed marine park, said the Shen Neng 1…

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