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A Pakistan passenger plane issued a Mayday call before a deadly crash that killed everyone on board

AFP/AAMIR QURESHISaddha Batolni (Pakistan) (AFP) - A Pakistani aircraft carrying 47 people issued a Mayday call before losing radar contact and crashing into a mountain, killing everyone on board, authorities said, as they began collecting DNA Thursday to identify victims.   The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight smashed into a hillside in the country's north after one of its two … [Read more...]

Michael Jordan just won a landmark case over Chinese copycats

Thomson ReutersSHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's highest court has ruled in favor of former basketball star Michael Jordan in a long-running trademark case relating to a local sportswear firm using the Chinese version of his name, overturning earlier rulings against the athlete. The former Chicago Bulls player sued Qiaodan Sports in 2012, saying the company located in southern Fujian province had built … [Read more...]

A secret to sustainable development might be right before our eyes

George Washington had Mount Vernon. Thomas Jefferson had Monticello. Now President-elect Donald Trump has his eponymous Manhattan skyscraper, Trump Tower. Our first and third presidents saw their plantations as both productive and symbolic of American identity that was rooted in the land itself. President-elect Trump looks out from his tower onto a dense, dynamic cityscape that represents American … [Read more...]

Leonardo DiCaprio just met with Trump to talk about clean energy

GettyLeonardo DiCaprio and the head of his foundation met Wednesday with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss how jobs centering on preserving the environment can boost the economy. In a statement to The Associated Press, Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, confirmed the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City. Tamminen said the pair gave a presentation to Trump, … [Read more...]

US and UK spies targeted commercial airline passengers’ mobile phones

AFPParis (AFP) - American and British spy agencies have tried to intercept data from passengers' mobile phones on commercial airlines including Air France, media reports say, citing documents from US whistleblower Edward Snowden. The French flag-carrier was an early target of the US National Security Agency and its British counterpart GCHQ as it was seen as a terrorist mark and it carried out … [Read more...]

Chinese media is pushing for more nuclear arms to prepare for Trump

REUTERS/Thomas PeterBeijing (AFP) - China should "significantly" increase military spending and build more nuclear weapons as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump, an editorial in the nationalistic Global Times newspaper said Thursday.  China should "build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile" to protect its … [Read more...]

Pope likens scandal-seeking media to excrement lovers

© AFP Vincenzo PintoVatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis on Wednesday compared scandal-obsessed media outlets who smear politicians and spread gossip to people sexually excited by excrement -- and described their readers as faeces eaters. He also lambasted "disinformation," a subject in the headlines amid debate about the growth of fake online news, and its possible influence on the US presidential … [Read more...]

An Arizona-based advocacy group is accusing US Border Patrol of using the desert’s harsh terrain as a ‘weapon’

Thomson Reuters The US Border Patrol agency has engineered the death and disappearance of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants by using the desert wilderness as a “weapon”, according to an advocacy group. Agents chase and scatter border crossers across hostile terrain in a strategy that leaves many people injured, dead or lost, turning the US’s south-western frontier into … [Read more...]

Israel could become a counterterrorism training hub for countries worried about ISIS

Thomson Reuters Israel could become a training hub for security and counterterrorism units from Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries concerned about Islamic State and other terrorist groups, according to Michael Brodsky, Israel’s envoy to Kazakhstan.In advance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit to Kazakhstan next week, Brodsky wrote in The Astana Times on … [Read more...]

There’s a big change happening to Social Security in 2017 — here’s what you need to know

Allison Shelley/Getty ImagesThe maximum Social Security tax in 2017 will be $7,886.40 per employee, which represents a pretty big increase over 2016. That's the simple answer. Below, find out why the maximum Social Security tax is increasing so much, whether the increase will affect you, and what to expect in the coming years. The maximum Social Security tax in 2017 The current Social Security tax … [Read more...]

Here’s an addict’s take on Duterte’s war on drugs

REUTERS/Ezra Acayan/File PhotoMeth. Syabu. Ice. Crystal: call it what you will, but prices on streets of Manila have fallen. A sachet split three ways that used to cost up to 500 pesos (HK$78) now goes for only 200 pesos. Often “cooked”, Breaking Bad-like, in makeshift, temporary laboratories, the drug is made from a combination of harsh chemicals typically obtained from toxic … [Read more...]

For China, climate change is no hoax – it’s a business and political opportunity

How Hwee Young/AP PhotoIn mid-November, while Americans were preoccupied with election returns, China sent some of its clearest signals yet that it will continue to pursue an international leadership role on issues including climate. At an international climate change summit in Marrakech, the Chinese government reasserted its commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The government … [Read more...]

A lesson on life’s end: How one college class is rethinking doctor training

Thomson ReutersA person’s breath is usually invisible. It’s quiet and automatic, unseen and unheard. It can be so silent that anxious parents hold mirrors next to their newborns’ faces, trying to catch a glimpse of it. But in the days before death, the nature of breath changes. Instead of passing through the body unnoticed, it calls for attention. It becomes noisy, hollowed, … [Read more...]

Florida is stockpiling an untested lethal-injection drug

Associated Press/Sue OgrockiMuch like the rest of the U.S., Florida is running out of lethal-injection cocktails. But the Sunshine State is reportedly now stockpiling new execution drugs, including one that’s apparently never been used in any state. The move raises more questions about the state’s already controversial capital punishment protocol. According to records obtained by … [Read more...]

In Alabama, you can be sentenced to death even if jurors don’t agree

AP/Pat SullivanRonald Bert Smith walked into a Huntsville, Ala., convenience store with a Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol on Nov. 8, 1994, and shot clerk Casey Wilson to death during a robbery captured on video. A jury in August 1995 unanimously convicted Smith of capital murder. Then the jurors, in a 7-5 vote, recommended that the judge sentence Smith to life without parole instead of death. So … [Read more...]

Donald Trump’s conflict-of-interest blind spot

REUTERS/David MoirPresident-elect Trump will face an array of conflicts of interest when he takes office. These conflicts are not minor or isolated. They are legion. And, to use his own favored language, they will be “huge.” His real estate holdings abroad make him vulnerable to offers of favorable treatment (or financial threats) by governments overseas. He stands to personally … [Read more...]

Court blocks New York City from discarding undocumented immigrants’ records

New York City Hall via APA New York state court on Tuesday temporarily stopped New York City from destroying the personal records of hundreds of thousands of municipal I.D. card holders after Republicans argued the records might be needed to track criminals. Seeking to protect illegal immigrants who fear deportation under a President-elect Donald Trump administration, city officials had been … [Read more...]

Homebuyers aren’t ready to be deterred by rising mortgage rates

Last week, rates for a 30-year-fixed mortgage crept up to 4.08 percent, according to the most recent numbers released by Freddie Mac. That’s an increase of a little over half a percent in just three weeks, and the highest rate seen since July of 2015. How will homebuyers react? A Redfin survey in early November asked just that. The majority of homebuyers said that rates were “very … [Read more...]