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Monday, Jan 26th

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In U.S. academia, fields that cherish sheer genius shun women

Women shunned certain areasFor academic fields whose members revere a "spark of genius" above all other qualities, there is a disquieting message at U.S. colleges and universities: women need not apply.

That's the findings of research published on Thursday that sought to get to the bottom of why women are under-represented in a range of academic disciplines including some in science and math but also in other areas such as philosophy.

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Scientists build rice grain-sized laser powered by quantum dots

New grain-sized laserScientists at Princeton have built a tiny microwave laser (a "maser") the size of a rice grain. The laser is made of artificial atoms called quantum dots -- miniature bits of semiconductor material.

"It is basically as small as you can go with these single-electron devices," lead study author Jason Petta, an associate professor of physics at Princeton, said in a recent press release.

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NASA, NOAA proclaim 2014 hottest year on record

Hottest year on record- 2014The official numbers are in, and they confirm what most already suspected: 2014 was the hottest year on record. Temperature records were shattered in places across the globe, including in much of Europe, parts of South America, as well as in China and portions of Russia and the Far East.

As NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday, average global temperatures on land and sea surfaces collected across the planet were 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

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St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese files for bankruptcy

Minneapolis archdiocesThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, saying it's the best way for the church to get as many resources as possible to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

"We're doing the right thing," the Rev. Charles Lachowitzer told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of Friday's filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. "This decision reflects the end of a process of putting victims first."

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Australian aims another blow at Gitmo military justice system

Guantanamo nightmare“David Hicks didn’t commit any crime,” according to his lawyer Wells Dixon, and that’s why the Australian former Guantánamo prisoner is seeking to quash his conviction by a U.S. Military Commission. If he succeeds, Hicks will have dealt a serious blow to the already embattled system created by the Bush Administration to circumvent the U.S. legal system in dealing with Guantánamo detainees.

The Australian who spent almost six years at the island prison after he was sold to U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001, in 2007 became the first detainee tried by a military commission. He had been one of three detainees to file the first habeas corpus petitions challenging the government’s authority to hold them without due process — a case they won before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Two men dead in Belgium counter-terror raids

Two dead in Belgium raidTwo suspected jihadists were shot dead and a third arrested in eastern Belgium during a major operation on Thursday to prevent “imminent terrorist attacks on a grand scale”, a Belgian federal prosecutor has said.

The targets of the operation were a network of jihadists who had recently returned from Syria, the prosecutor said, and were on the point of launching an assault in Belgium.

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Obama will offer paid parental leave to federal workers

Parental leavePresident Barack Obama on Thursday will order federal agencies to provide at least six weeks of paid parental leave to employees and call on cities, states and Congress to provide similar leave to millions of other working Americans.

Obama also will call on the new Republican-led Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would allow millions of Americans to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time.

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$500K Afghan Training Center Melts Down

Afghan training center meelts downThis report discusses the results of SIGAR’s inspection of the Afghan Special Police Training Center’s dry fire range (DFR) located in Wardak province. The DFR replicates a typical Afghan village and is used to conduct simulated police search and clearance exercises.

It was constructed in 2012, under the direction of the Regional Contracting Center at Forward Operating Base Shank, which falls under U.S. Central Command’s
Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.

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Target to shutter all stores in Canada

Targe closing all Canada storesTarget is giving up on Canada.

The U.S. retail icon said Thursday that it plans to abandon operations in Canada following two disastrous years that resulted in more than $2 billion in losses.

The move follows months of internal angst over whether to pull the plug there after much-hyped but poorly managed expansion into the country.

Target (TGT) stock surged nearly 4% in premarket trading on the news, up almost $3 per share.

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