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/ 1 February 2007

Cartoon ads shut down half of Boston

An advertising campaign for a late-night animated series went seriously wrong on Wednesday when police in Boston mistook the ads for explosive devices and shut down half the city. The discovery of five suspect devices sent authorities into a tailspin, closing off major roads, suspending rail services and river transport and causing major disruption in the city as police investigated.

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/ 1 February 2007

Ad campaign sparks Boston security scare

A television network’s marketing campaign went badly awry on Wednesday, causing a day-long security scare in Boston. Apologising for Boston’s biggest security alert since the September 11 attacks, Turner Broadcasting said it had placed electronic devices to promote an animated cartoon.

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/ 31 January 2007

Fresh doubt cast on disputed Pollock paintings

A Harvard study has raised new doubts over the authenticity of three paintings previously thought to be works by abstract artist Jackson Pollock, weighing into a simmering controversy in the art world. The report by the Harvard University Art Museums suggested the three paintings may have employed paints not available until after the painter’s death.

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/ 18 January 2007

Nicotine in US cigarettes rising

The amount of nicotine that smokers typically inhale per cigarette rose by 11% from 1998 to 2005, perpetuating a ”tobacco pandemic” that makes it harder for smokers to quit, a Harvard study said on Thursday. To boost amounts of nicotine inhaled by smokers, cigarette makers intensified the concentration of nicotine in their tobacco and modified cigarette designs.

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/ 1 November 2006

Maine lawyer arrested after dressing as Bin Laden

A Maine attorney who released information in 2000 about President George Bush’s drunken driving conviction was arrested on Tuesday after he dressed up as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and waved a fake gun at traffic. Police in South Portland, Maine, arrested Thomas Connolly (49) of Scarborough, Maine, and charged him with criminal threatening.

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/ 23 October 2006

IBM sues Amazon for violating patents

IBM filed two lawsuits against on Monday, claiming key aspects of the internet retailer’s websites violate patents held by Big Blue. Amazon is accused of infringing on five IBM patents, including technologies that govern how the site handles customer recommendations, advertising and data storage.

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/ 17 October 2006

Gerry Studds, openly gay congressman, dead at 69

Former United States Republican Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early on October 14 at the Boston Medical Centre, several days after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband said. Studds fell unconscious on October 3 because of what doctors later determined was a blood clot in his lung, Dean Hara said.

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/ 9 October 2006

Websites offer students new way to cheat

Even the most efficient student would have agonised over the assignment — a 30-page term paper on the social value of literary criticism. But Richard finished it in one evening, cutting and pasting paragraphs off the internet for an online company that sells papers to desperate United States college students.

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/ 9 January 2006

Survivor describes deadly rock slide on Kilimanjaro

First came the cracking noise, then a bit of dust from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Paul Cunha’s ”magnificent morning” on Africa’s highest peak was over. ”We started hearing some yelling,” he recalled. ”You could see some rocks starting to fall,” the 45-year-old said on Sunday from his bed at Massachusetts General Hospital. ”People were yelling ‘rock, run, watch out!”’

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/ 23 August 2005

Rolling Stones gather no dross

With a combined age of 245 and multimillion-pound fortunes to match, the Rolling Stones could be forgiven for quietly hanging up their guitars. But instead the original bad boys of rock’n’roll kicked off their latest world tour in front of a sell-out crowd at Boston’s Fenway Park on Sunday with a concert so loud it had policemen patrolling outside with sound meters.

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/ 16 August 2005

On the trail of elusive mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger

He has been ”spotted” all over the United States, in Canada, Europe, Mexico and Brazil, Paraguay, and most recently, in two coastal resort towns in Uruguay. Despite unconfirmed sightings in about 30 countries and on every continent but Antarctica, notorious Boston gangster James ”Whitey” Bulger remains elusive after more than a decade on the run.

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/ 20 July 2005

Visa, American Express cut ties with card processor

Visa USA and American Express are cutting ties with the payment-processing company that left 40-million credit and debit card accounts vulnerable to hackers in one of the biggest breaches of consumer data security. CardSystems Solutions ”has not corrected, and cannot at this point correct, the failure to provide proper data security for Visa accounts,” said Rosetta Jones, a vice president at Foster City, California-based Visa.

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/ 7 July 2005

Challenge to US military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy

During her first five years in the navy, Jen Kopfstein avoided conversations about her personal life, taking the military’s ”don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays seriously. ”I felt like I was being forced to lie and having to be dishonest,” Kopfstein said. ”I could never share anything about my family or my home life or even say what I did on the weekend. It is hurtful to do that.”

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/ 1 June 2005

Big tobacco studied ways to hook women smokers

Tobacco companies did elaborate research on women to figure out how to hook them on smoking — even toying with the idea of chocolate-flavoured cigarettes that would curb appetite, according to a new analysis. Carrie Carpenter, the study’s lead author, said the companies’ research went far beyond a marketing or advertising campaign.

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/ 3 November 2004

Kerry: US must heal divisions

Defeated Democrat John Kerry on Wednesday said the United States must heal dangerous divisions cleaving society, after admitting defeat in the US election to President George Bush. Kerry said he and Bush had spoken about the need to unite the country when he called to congratulate the president on winning a second term in office.

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/ 11 October 2004

A nation at war with itself

If you’re interested in who’s going to be the next United States president then forget the precedents. If history is anything to go by, both John Kerry and George W Bush will win. No candidate who lost the popular vote but won the presidency has ever been re-elected. But then no president has failed to be re-elected during a major war. If Americans choose Bush, it will be from fear, a lack of choice — and a preference for power over safety.

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/ 14 April 2004

Company gets approval for brain implant devices

For years, futurists have dreamed of machines that can read minds, then act on instructions as they are thought. Now, human trials are set to begin on a brain-computer interface involving implants. Cyberkinetics of Foxboro, Massachusetts, has received approval to begin a clinical trial in which four-square-millimetre chips will be placed beneath the skulls of paralysed patients.

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/ 11 March 2004

Nanotech: Show us the money

Show us the profits, the skeptics shout. Nanotechnology will amount to nanoprofits, they worry as they tick off a list of technologies from artificial intelligence to virtual reality that looked cool in the lab but have foundered commercially.

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/ 28 November 2003

‘They want to change the social order’

Conservative blacks in the United States are objecting to recent comparisons between gay marriages and the 1960s civil rights movement, which fought segregation against blacks, arguing that sexual orientation is a choice. A Massachusetts court ruled last week that gay couples have the right to marry in that state.