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Nobel winner thought prize call was ‘student joke’

When a Swedish voice came down the line informing him he had a “very important call” Tuesday night, Australia’s newest Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt assumed it was an elaborate undergraduate joke. “My first thought was ‘Geez my students have done a pretty good job on this accent’,” the Australian-American astronomer said Wednesday. “She asked…

Rep. Jackie Speier: U.S. military punishes rape victims

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) for the ninth time on Tuesday called on Congress to address the pervasive problem of sexual harassment and rape in the U.S. military. To call attention to the problem, she has been telling the stories of woman who were sexually harassed and assaulted while serving in…

NBC shuts down ‘Playboy Club’ after three episodes

LOS ANGELES — NBC pulled the plug on “The Playboy Club” on Tuesday after just three episodes in the face of poor ratings and an outcry from parents who thought the 1960s-themed drama was too hot for prime time. “That is true,” an NBC spokesman told AFP when asked to…

Sen. Durbin tells BofA customers to drop their accounts, ‘get the heck out’

In reaction to Bank of America’s plans to soon charge customers $5 a month for using their debt cards, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) thinks it’s time for people to leave the banking giant. “Bank of America customers, vote with your feet,” Durbin said on Monday on the Senate floor. “Get…

Van Jones: Marines to stand with Wall Street protesters

In his speech to the “Take Back The American Dream” conference Monday, former Obama advisor Van Jones held up the “Occupy Wall Street” movement as an example of what progressives could do to force change. “I’m not mad at [the tea party] for being so loud,” he said. “I’m mad…

Christie still to be convinced of 2012 run: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Chris Christie faces a deadline by week’s end to decide whether to launch a late run for president and appears to still be leaning against it, a Republican familiar with his discussions said Monday. The New Jersey governor has been wrestling with whether to enter the…

Fall of Syrian regime a ‘matter of time’: US

It is “a matter of time” before the Syrian regime headed by President Bashar al-Assad is ousted from power by a popular uprising, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday. Speaking in Tel Aviv after meeting his Israeli counterpart, Panetta said Washington and other foreign capitals had “made clear…

Toxic mining disasters ‘loom in eastern Europe’

Toxic mining disasters loom in eastern Europe as the European Union has failed to pass legislation a year after Hungary’s lethal toxic mud spill, an environmentalist group said on Monday. “Hungary has let its presidency of the EU pass without taking any action to defuse further ticking time bombs in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Gabor Figeczky, the head…

Israel ‘increasingly isolated’ in Middle East: U.S.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Arab spring has left Israel “increasingly isolated” in the Middle East and that its military might could not make up for a weakened diplomatic position. Speaking to reporters aboard his plane bound for Israel as part of a Middle East tour, Panetta said…

35,000 activists and union members march in UK

A rally of 35,000 demonstrators organized by Britain’s Trades Union Congress marched peacefully in Manchester, UK on Sunday to protest the opening of the Conservative Party’s annual conference. A statement from the TUC had announced that it was “organising a march and rally to show opposition to the coalition government’s…

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