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North Korea says it conducts successful powerful H-bomb test

N Korea H bomb North Korea said Wednesday it had conducted a powerful hydrogen bomb test, a defiant and surprising move that, if confirmed, would be a huge jump in Pyongyang's quest to improve its still-limited nuclear arsenal.

A television anchor said in a typically propaganda-heavy statement that the North had tested a "miniaturized" hydrogen bomb, elevating the country's "nuclear might to the next level" and providing it with a weapon to defend against the United States and its other enemies.


Microsoft to warn email users of suspected hacking by governments

microsoft to warn of nsa spyingMicrosoft Corp said on Wednesday it will begin warning users of its consumer services including email when the company suspects that a government has been trying to hack into their accounts.

The policy change comes nine days after Reuters asked the company why it had decided not tell victims of a hacking campaign, discovered in 2011, that had targeted international leaders of China's Tibetan and Uighur minorities in particular.


Israel's Virulent Housing Bias Runs Deep — and It's Not Only Aimed at Arabs

Afula, IsraelFrom her backyard deck in Yafia, an Arab village west of Nazareth, Iman Sharary, 53, pointed to a plot of land in the distance where her sons will build their homes.

She would have preferred her children stay in Yafia, but with land at a premium in the village, she and her husband sought and won the tender to build in a less expensive area. Afula Illit is a tree-lined suburb about 10 miles south of Yafia. It’s also predominantly Jewish.


Freight train carrying 200,000L of sulphuric acid derails in Queensland

Queensland freight train derailsA 26-carriage freight train carrying up to 200,000 litres of sulphuric acid derailed in a remote part of the Australian state of Queensland, prompting concerns about contamination of local waterways.

Police set up a 1.25 mile exclusion zone around the crash site but flooding and soft mud was hampering the recovery effort. Three train drivers were lightly injured.

Authorities have not yet been able to assess whether the spill has affected local waterways but said the remoteness of the site meant the water supply was unlikely to be affected.

Some acid and diesel fuel has reportedly spilled but the quantities are unknown.


NY Philharmonic says German conductor Kurt Masur dead at 88

Masur diesConductor Kurt Masur, who was credited with helping prevent violence after the collapse of communism in East Germany and later reinvigorated the New York Philharmonic during an 11-year stint as music director, has died at 88.

Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien announced his death in a statement Saturday, saying "it is with the deepest sadness that I write on behalf of the Masur family and the New York Philharmonic that Kurt Masur — our inspiring Music Director, 1991-2002, and Music Director Emeritus — passed away" earlier in the day.


Senate Passes $1.8 Trillion Spending, Tax Package To Fund Government

Seante passes spending bill In its final act of the year, the Senate sped to pass a $1.8 trillion bill that funds the government until October and extends sweeping tax breaks, many permanently.

After months of tense negotiating, lawmakers on Friday passed the omnibus spending bill and tax extenders package in a 65-33 vote, sending it to the White House for the president's signature. The House passed the omnibus earlier Friday.


Citing Urgent Need for 'Political Revolution,' Major Union Endorses Sanders

Bernie Sanders' union endorsementThe Communications Workers of America (CWA) on Thursday endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president in the 2016 election, citing the need for a candidate who will "break with politics-as-usual and fight for America's working people."

The endorsement comes after a three-month voting period, with tens of thousands of the union's 700,000 members casting ballots. Its former president, Larry Cohen, is an adviser to Sanders' campaign. It also comes hours after his chief rival for the nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, picked up the endorsement of billionaire Warren Buffett.


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