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Agence France-Presse

Intruder at supermodel’s California mansion charged

An Australian man who jumped the fence at supermodel Miranda Kerr's Malibu home and allegedly stabbed her security guard was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, prosecutors said. Shaun Haywood, 29, faces further felony counts of aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Haywood allegedly broke into the Australian model's ranch on October 14 in an effort to deliver a letter. When confronted by a security guard, the defendant is said to have grabbed the guard's knife and slashed his face, prosecutors said. The guard then shot Haywood. Both the intruder and the security guard were flown to hospital and were left with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Haywood denied all three charges at an arraignment hearing on Tuesday, where bail was set at $1.1 million pending …

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Antarctic glacier thinning more rapidly than thought: study

A large glacier in West Antarctica lost up to half a kilometer in thickness in seven years, thinning more quickly than scientists thought possible, according to a study released Tuesday. The Smith Glacier, spilling into the Amundsen Sea, shed up to 70 meters (230 feet) per year between 2002 and 2009, according to the study, based on NASA data collected during aerial flyovers. "If I had been using data from only one instrument, I wouldn't have believed what I was looking at because the thinning was so large," said lead author Ala Khazendar, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ice-penetrating radar and laser altimetry both yielded the same results, he reported in Nature Communications. After 2009, Smith continued to shed mass, though at a slightly slower pace, Khazendar told AFP. Earlier studies using less …

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Autism study shows lasting benefits of early interaction

  A year-long training program to help parents communicate with their very young autistic children reduced symptoms of the disorder up to six years later, according to a follow-up analysis released Wednesday. Children were less impaired in their ability to communicate, and less likely to show repetitive behavior, one of the telltale signs of the disorder. They did not, however, show improvements in language skills or reduced anxiety, researchers reported in The Lancet, a leading medical journal. Autism is a complex disorder of brain development characterized, to varying degrees, by troubled social interactions, difficulty in communicating and repetitive actions or speech. It affects about one in 100 people. The findings -- praised by outside experts as a "remarkably positive" and a "major contribution" to autism research -- came as something of a surprise because the …

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Apple spins services with iPhone sales slumping

Apple's quarterly profit slumped on a widely expected drop in iPhone sales, but gains in services offered some optimism on the company's efforts to curb dependence on its smartphone. The company said Tuesday that profit fell 19 percent to $9 billion in the fiscal quarter ending September 24. Revenue fell nine percent to $46.9 billion from $51.5 billion a year earlier. The results were largely in line with market forecasts and showed sales of the iPhone -- Apple's biggest revenue and profit driver -- down five percent from a year ago to 45.5 million units. The quarterly update only provided limited information on the reception of the newest iPhone models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were released in early September, and was likely to benefit from the woes of rival Samsung, …

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Vatican tells Catholics not to scatter ashes of the dead

The Vatican on Tuesday urged Catholics not to scatter the ashes of the dead after cremation and instead to store them in places approved by the Church. The new guidelines published by the Church also say that the ashes of the dead should not be kept at home but should instead be kept at a cemetery or other sacred place. Doing so reduces "the risk of shielding the dead from prayers for them and the memory of their family and the Christian community", German cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the prefect of the doctrinal watchdog, told journalists. "We also avoid eventually forgetting (them) and the lack of respect which can happen, especially after the passing of the first generation," he said. "Conserving ashes in a home is not authorised," Mueller said. The Vatican first gave permission …

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PH will recover if you leave – Duterte

Tokyo, Japan – President Duterte on Tuesday urged foreign businesses in the Philippines worried about his deadly drug war to “pack up and leave,”, as he launched another anti-American tirade before flying to Japan to attract investments. Duterte voiced outrage at comments the previous day by the top US envoy to Asia that his fiery rhetoric and crime war, which has claimed about 3,700 lives in four months, were bad for business. “These Americans are really crazy. Their style is to walk here. They think they are somebodies,”’ Duterte said holding up a newspaper with headlines reporting the criticism from US assistant secretary of state Daniel Russel. “Russel says ‘Duterte comments causing worries in business communities.’ Then you pack up and leave. We will recover, I assure you.” Duterte then flew to Japan, one …

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Tata stocks fall after chairman Mistry ousted

Shares in Tata Sons companies fell in early trade on Tuesday after India's biggest conglomerate shocked the Indian business world and abruptly sacked its chairman Cyrus Mistry. In a statement Tata Sons, the holding company of the massive $100 billion Tata Group, said Monday its board had voted to replace Mistry, four years after he became its first chief from outside the immediate Tata family. It added that 78-year-old Ratan Tata, one of India's most famous industrialists, would return to the helm of the company until a successor is found, which would likely to take four months. Shortly after the Bombay Stock Exchange opened Tata Steel sank 2.89 percent, car manufacturing giant Tata Motors fell 1.17 percent and IT giant Tata Consultancy Services was down 0.75 percent. The announcement came as Tata Steel struggles to offload …

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US wants to stay in south Philippines: envoy

The United States wants to remain involved in the campaign to quell Islamic militancy in the southern Philippines, its outgoing ambassador to Manila said Tuesday after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kick out American forces. Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the security threat in the conflict-plagued region was “very serious,” warning the Islamic State group was among a number of foreign militant organisations trying to increase its involvement there. “We’ve helped the Philippines as it has reduced the threat over time,” Goldberg told ABS-CBN television. “But we are concerned obviously about any new intrusion of ISIS (Islamic State group) or any other group that wants to take advantage of open space in the south of the Philippines. So we want to continue doing that.” The United States had deployed from 2002 to 2014 a rotating …

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England’s ‘most haunted village’ gears up for Halloween

With Halloween in the air, ghouls are set to emerge from the shadows in the quiet streets of Pluckley, reputedly the most haunted village in England. But it is not so much the ghosts that are spooking the inhabitants but the hordes of booze-fuelled thrill-seekers prowling around the settlement. "There's always some people who mess around. The village generally would rather Halloween did not happen," Chris Housman, chairman of Pluckley Parish Council, told AFP. Nestled by the chalk hills of Kent in southeast England, Pluckley is a tranquil village of some 800 souls that was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, Britain's earliest public record. It has an old church, a graveyard, the Black Horse pub and a butcher's, and ivy creeps up the walls of its red-brick buildings. On the face of it, Pluckley …

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Islamist militants kill 58 in Pakistan police attack

Heavily-armed Islamist militants wearing suicide vests stormed a Pakistani police academy, killing at least 58 people and wounding dozens more, officials said Tuesday, in one of the deadliest extremist attacks this year. Three gunmen from a Pakistani Taliban-linked group burst into the sprawling academy, targeting sleeping quarters that are home to some 700 recruits, sending terrified young men fleeing. "I saw three men in camouflage whose faces were hidden carrying Kalashnikovs," one cadet told reporters. "They started firing and entered the dormitory but I managed to escape over a wall." The attack on the Balochistan Police College, around 20 kilometres east of provincial capital Quetta, began at around 11:10 pm (1810 GMT) Monday, with gunfire continuing to ring out at the site for several hours. Sarfaraz Bugti, home minister of Balochistan province, told reporters …

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