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MESSENGER offers close-up of mysterious Mercury

WASHINGTON — NASA celebrated hundreds of stunning photographs from the Mercury MESSENGER probe as it began a year-long mission to orbit and map the solar system’s mysterious innermost planet. After more than six and a half years and a 4.9-billion-mile (7.9-billion-kilometer) journey, the spacecraft — which stands for MErcury Surface,…

Santorum: Abortion is slowly killing Social Security

WASHINGTON – Long-shot Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Tuesday that America’s “abortion culture” is harming Social Security, reviving an ages-old argument largely confined to the fringe. “The Social Security system, in my opinion, is a flawed design, period,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the New Hampshire station WEZS…

Wi-Fi cars hitting the information superhighway

WASHINGTON (AFP) – More cars are hitting the information superhighway thanks to new automotive Wi-Fi technology that allows vehicles to become rolling “hot spots.” Analysts say consumers are warming to the notion of more connectivity in their cars, with “apps” for information and entertainment just as they have with their…

HBGary chief tech officer: ‘Anonymous’ members are criminals and pseudo-journalists

The chief technology officer of the data security firm HBGary described the collective of hacktivists named ‘Anonymous’ as a small group of criminal hackers who “use the media as a tool.” “They are not at all what people think they are,” HBGary CTO Greg Hoglund told Robert Lemos of CSO…

NASA spacecraft prepares to enter Mercury’s orbit

WASHINGTON – A NASA spacecraft is poised to enter the orbit of Mercury later Thursday, and it will circle for one Earth year in an unprecedented study of the tiny, hot planet that is closest to the Sun. The craft, known as MESSENGER, began its journey more than six years…

US bank bailout was ‘critical’: Congress watchdog

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US government’s multi-billion-dollar bank bailout helped avert a second Great Depression and cost taxpayers much less than expected, but was far from perfect, a congressional watchdog said Wednesday. The Congressional Oversight Panel said the controversial $700 billion dollar bailout, launched in 2008, provided “critical” support for…

China congress chief rules out multi-party system

BEIJING — China’s parliament chief Thursday ruled out any shift to multi-party democracy in a speech that appeared to pour cold water on political reform hopes sparked by remarks from Premier Wen Jiabao last year. Wu Bangguo, who is officially number two in the country’s leadership behind President Hu Jintao,…

Beijing to trial mobile tracking system: report

BEIJING – A system designed to track the location of millions of mobile phone users is to be tested in Beijing, sparking concerns over privacy, state media reported Thursday. The information platform will enable authorities to check on the location of China Mobile’s more than 17 million users in the…

Russia launches navigation system satellite

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia launched on Saturday one of the final satellites needed to complete a space-based navigation system, which Moscow hopes will challenge the dominant U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). The satellite, Glonass-K, which was launched shortly after 6:00 a.m. local time, reached orbit, said Aleksei Zolotukhin, spokesman for…

Lebanon youths revolt against confessional system

BEIRUT – Protests sweeping the Middle East have given new impetus to Lebanese youths who have launched their own revolt on Facebook in a bid — albeit improbable — to bring down Lebanon’s confessional system. Using slogans popularised by protesters in Tunisia and Egypt, several pages urging the Lebanese to…

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