2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • China punishes HK lawmaker for criticising leader
    China punishes HK lawmaker for criticising leader

    A senior Hong Kong lawmaker was expelled from a prestigious Chinese government body Wednesday, in a sign that Beijing will not tolerate dissent from loyalists over pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city. James Tien had his "qualifications revoked" as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the state-run China News Service said. The prominent businessman and politician had criticised Hong Kong's embattled leader Leung Chun-ying for failing to put an end to more than a month of pro-democracy protests -- an unusual move for a pro-Beijing lawmaker.

  • Hagel blasts US Syria strategy in memo: official
    Hagel blasts US Syria strategy in memo: official

    Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel has castigated the US strategy in Syria in a memo to the White House, saying Washington must explain its intentions toward President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The memo was sent last week to President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, a defense official said Thursday, confirming a New York Times report. Hagel warned that the Syria policy was "in danger of unraveling" due to confusion over the US stance toward Assad, the paper wrote. The Obama administration has focused on defeating the Islamic State group in Iraq first, and described US-led air strikes in Syria as a way of disrupting the jihadists' supply lines.

  • Death penalty sought for trooper ambush suspect
    Death penalty sought for trooper ambush suspect

    LORDS VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — A survivalist accused of ambushing two state troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, was captured on Thursday by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar, ending a seven-week manhunt that had rattled the nerves of area residents.

  • Sweden recognizes Palestinian state; Israel upset
    Sweden recognizes Palestinian state; Israel upset

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm.

  • Military Sets New Record for World's Fastest Microchip
    Military Sets New Record for World's Fastest Microchip

    A new Guinness World Record has been set for the fastest microchip ever made, officials announced Tuesday (Oct. 28). The new chip, or integrated circuit, is a type of "amplifier" for signals, and operates at 1 trillion cycles per second, or 1 terahertz. "Today, we get to celebrate, with our partner and our performer Northrup Grumman, an exciting record from Guinness for some work that [has been] done," DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said at a news conference here at the agency's headquarters yesterday. The applications of terahertz processing include communication networks with much greater capacity, high-resolution imaging systems and spectrometers that could detect toxic chemicals or explosives, DARPA officials said.  

  • Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover
    Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

    Vatican City (AFP) - High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

  • Flames, smoke after small plane crash in Kansas
    Flames, smoke after small plane crash in Kansas

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A small plane lost engine power after takeoff and crashed into a flight-training building at a Kansas airport Thursday, killing four people, injuring five others and igniting a fire that sent up towering plumes of black smoke that could be seen for miles.

  • Russian court orders seizure of oligarch's oil stake
    Russian court orders seizure of oligarch's oil stake

    A Moscow court on Thursday ordered the nationalisation of a stake in an oil firm held by a detained oligarch, raising concern about signs of a state-orchestrated asset grab. A judge at Moscow's Arbitration Court ordered the return to the state of the stake held by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's holding firm Sistema in oil company Bashneft. Yevtushenkov is currently being held under house arrest after being dramatically arrested last month on money laundering charges connected to the Bashneft sale, in a move that drew comparisons with the prosecution of former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Russia's 15th-wealthiest man with a fortune of $9 billion (7 billion euros) according to Forbes, Yevtushenkov has now been reduced to wearing an electronic bracelet.

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