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After 25 years, TV megastar Oprah cedes stage

CHICAGO (AFP) – Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey bade farewell to her trailblazing television program Wednesday, ending 25 years of intimate star confessions and telling loyal fans they had been the love of her life. In a program taped one day earlier at Oprah’s Harpo Studios in Chicago, Winfrey took…

Astronomers start search for alien signals from 86 planets

WASHINGTON — A massive radio telescope in rural West Virginia has begun listening for signs of alien life on 86 possible Earth-like planets, US astronomers said Friday. The giant dish began this week pointing toward each of the 86 planets — culled from a list of 1,235 possible planets identified…

Two pounds of marijuana earns NOLA man a life sentence

A 35-year-old man from New Orleans was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after he was convicted of possessing two pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute, according to a report in The New Orleans Times-Picayune. It was the fourth marijuana conviction for Cornell Hood…

E.U. plans payments for fishermen who catch plastic

In a unique compromise arrangement, the European Union believes it may have found a way to address the concerns of fishermen and environmental activists, even as it works to address the problem of overfishing that’s devastated marine life in coastal areas. They’re going to pay fishermen to catch plastic instead,…

Obama urges Bahrain king to respect ‘universal rights’

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama urged Bahrain’s monarch to respect “universal rights of the people” on Saturday, two days after the tiny Gulf state sentenced several protesters to death. US officials have criticized Bahrain over the speed of a trial in which Shiite pro-democracy protesters were sentenced to death…

Soviet film classics find new life on YouTube

MOSCOW — The Moscow film company behind some of the greatest classics of Soviet cinema on Wednesday said it had agreed to make dozens of its best-known movies freely available on YouTube. The agreement between Mosfilm and YouTube means that an initial batch of 50 films that still have legendary…

Pope John Paul II sainting process moving quickly

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Is Pope John Paul II approaching his halo too fast? As the Vatican prepares to elevate the late pontiff one step closer to sainthood this Sunday, the Catholic world is caught up with beatification fever. Rome is festooned with posters of the former pope on buses and lamp posts as…

Oklahoma lawmakers approve life sentence for cooking hashish

A bill that mandates a sentence of up to life in prison for converting marijuana or marijuana oil into hashish is heading to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s (R) desk after being passed by the state Legislature on Monday. House Bill 1798 makes the conviction of a first time offense of…

SETI forced to shut down search for alien life

The SETI Institute has been forced to temporarily shut down operations at its telescope array due to federal and state funding cutbacks. The Allen Telescope Array, composed of dozens of radio dishes 300 miles northeast of San Francisco, was put into a state of hibernation last week. The telescope array…

Pakistani gang rape victim says will file appeal

MEERWALA, Pakistan — A Pakistani woman who was gang raped said on Sunday that she would challenge a Supreme Court decision to dismiss her appeal against the early release of five men convicted of abusing her. Mukhtar Mai, now 40, was gang raped in June 2002 on the orders of…

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