2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Iran says 95% opt for cash handouts rather than state projects

    Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, vice president for management and development, said 73 million out of the country's 77 million people had opted to receive the $14 monthly payments. The International Monetary Fund is among global institutions encouraging Iran to drop subsidies and increase prices to regulate its economy after years of ongoing sanctions. But Nobakht said only 2,400,000 people -- three percent -- chose to waive the cash payments, which aim to provide help in paying energy and utility bills as well as basic food costs. The original handout scheme was launched in December 2010, aiming to offset the slashing of earlier subsidies, which fuelled inflation against a backdrop of mismanagement and international sanctions targeting Iran's ailing economy.

  • FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes
    FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels.

  • Why Israel may need to rethink its assumptions on Palestinian unity

    Seven years after the two main Palestinian political factions violently divorced, their leaders announced today a reconciliation deal that they say will pave the way for a new unity government and the first election in eight years. Similar deals between Fatah and Hamas in 2011 and 2012 foundered over how the rivals would share power. Israel certainly appears to be taking the deal seriously. Government officials criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, casting his decision as a rejection of peace with Israel as the two sides try to extend talks beyond next week’s deadline.

  • Why This Guy Sold His Digital Soul for $500
    Why This Guy Sold His Digital Soul for $500

    Dutch Student Auctions Off His Most Private Online Information to the Highest Bidder

  • Will Kit Harington Cut His Hair After 'Game Of Thrones'?
    Will Kit Harington Cut His Hair After 'Game Of Thrones'?

    Kit Harington revealed that when "Game of Thrones" is over, he might put down wearing armor and chop off his locks. "I told my agent, 'No more swords, no more horses,'" he told Rolling Stone magazine (which features Kit on its newest cover) of his eventual post-"Thrones" plans. On "Game of Thrones," Kit plays Jon Snow, who is fighting to protect Castle Black from a Wildling invasion. "Snow's a black sheep," Kit said.

  • 8 Things You Forgot About the Cold War
    8 Things You Forgot About the Cold War

    Things Get Weird When the U.S. and Russia Are At Odds

  • Breastfeeding may protect against heart disease: study

    People who had low birth weights and those breastfed for short periods may be more likely to develop chronic inflammation linked to heart disease in adults, a study said Wednesday. Researchers in the United States found a "significant" association in almost 7,000 people between birth weight or duration of breastfeeding and higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation, in blood samples of young adults. The protein is produced by the liver and levels increase when a person suffers from inflammation. "Each pound of additional birth weight predicted a CRP concentration that was five percent lower," said a statement from Northwestern University, whose experts took part in the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

  • Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels, Russia starts drill near border

    By Aleksandar Vasovic and Alexei Anishchuk SLAVIANSK, Ukraine/ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - U krainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade. Under an international accord signed in Geneva last week, illegal armed groups in Ukraine, including the rebels occupying about a dozen public buildings in the largely Russian-speaking east, are supposed to disarm and go home. But they have shown few signs of doing so and on Thursday the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said its forces backed by the army had removed three checkpoints manned by armed groups in the separatist-controlled city of Slaviansk. A rebel spokeswoman in Slaviansk said two fighters had died in a clash in the same area, northeast of the city center.

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