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US jobless claims jump to January high

WASHINGTON — New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits surged more than expected last week to the highest level since January, official data showed Thursday. The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 429,000 in the week ending April 23. That was sharply higher than the…

Belgian barkeepers demonstrate against smoking ban

BRUSSELS (AFP) – More than 800 Belgian bar owners and their supporters demonstrated Saturday against a decision to widen a smoking ban in public spaces to cover all cafes and the kingdom’s nine casinos from July 1. The demonstration in Brussels was organised by the federation of cafe owners and…

Donald Trump, secret liberal? The top 10 reasons conservatives should distrust him

Donald Trump has surged to the top of Republican 2012 polls after wholeheartedly embracing and vigorously touting in recent weeks the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. But the billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star — who insists he’s serious about…

Palestinian support for attacks drops

JERUSALEM — Overall Palestinian support for suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and the firing of rockets into Israel has dropped since 2009, with a majority opposed to both, a poll showed on Sunday. The survey conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre found that support for Palestinian “military operations”…

Hundreds in Tunisia protest political exclusion

TUNIS — Hundreds of supporters of ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s party held a protest in Tunis Saturday, the first since his toppling in January, against their exclusion from politics. “No to exclusion” and “Tunisia is for everyone”, chanted the group — backers of the Rally for…

Israel closes probe on Gaza civilian deaths

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military advocate general is to close an investigation into the shooting deaths of four Palestinian civilians who were carrying a white flag, a military spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday. “Due to lack of evidence, the army advocate general Avishai Mendelblit is to close the inquiry into the…

U.S.-Pakistan intelligence operations frozen since January

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Joint U.S.-Pakistan intelligence operations have been halted since late January, a senior Pakistani intelligence officer said, reflecting strain in a relationship seen as crucial to combating militants and the war in Afghanistan. Uneasy U.S.-Pakistani ties have become even more tense after a string of diplomatic disputes so far this…

Obama friend Dick Titcomb arrested for soliciting sex in Hawaii

A close friend of President Barack Obama was arrested in a prostitution sting Monday in Hawaii. Robert Richard Titcomb, 49, of Waialua was arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover officer, according to Hawaii News Now. CNN confirmed the arrest with Honolulu Department of Public Safety Wednesday. Obama has…

Consumer spending up for eighth consecutive month

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer spending rose for an eighth straight month in February as households tapped savings to cover higher food and energy prices. Spending rose 0.7 percent in February after a 0.3 percent increase in January, and inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since June 2009, the Commerce Department said on Monday. Adjusted…

Astronaut hopes Giffords will be at shuttle launch

HOUSTON (Reuters) – NASA astronaut Mark Kelly said Thursday there was “a pretty good chance” his wife, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, critically injured in a shooting in January, will attend his space shuttle launch in Florida next month. Giffords was shot through the head as she met with constituents outside…

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