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Italy's Costa Concordia will set sail on its final voyage Wednesday as survivors look on, two-and-a-half years after the luxury cruise ship crashed and sank in a nighttime disaster that left 32 people dead. The rusting liner, which has been floated from its watery grave in the biggest salvage operation of a passenger ship ever performed, will be towed away to the port of Genoa in northwest Italy to be dismantled and scrapped. Surviving passengers who have returned to Tuscany's Giglio island will gather with locals and holidaymakers to bid a final farewell to the once-magnificent cruise ship.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as dozens of Palestinian families trapped by the fighting scrambled to flee the area. The U.S. secretary of state meanwhile presses ahead with top-gear efforts to end the conflict that has killed at least 650 Palestinians and 31 Israelis.
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Tuesday invited remote communities across the country that lack high-speed Internet access to make a claim on some of the C$305 million ($284 million) it plans to spend over the next three years to upgrade access. The government's Connecting Canadians plan aims to deliver high-speed Internet - judged to be speeds faster than 5 megabits per second (5 Mbps) - to 280,000 households that it says sit below that line. The plan "will still leave many Canadians struggling to catch up with our global counterparts when it comes to broadband access, reliability, and speed," said Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca. The country's telecom regulator wrote to BCE Inc, Telus Corp, and Manitoba Telecom Services last month, concerned they would miss an end-August deadline to complete remote access projects already underway.
A suicide car bomb explosion ripped through a police checkpoint in Baghdad Tuesday, killing 23 people and wounding more than 40, police and medical sources said. The suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at an entrance to the northwestern neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah, a police colonel and an interior ministry official said. At least five of the those killed were policemen, as were eight of those wounded, said police and medical sources, who both gave figures higher than 40 for the number of wounded. The predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah lies across the Tigris river from the mainly Sunni district of Adhamiyah and is frequently targeted when sectarian tension in the country is high.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The government will call Mark Zuckerberg to testify against an upstate New York man accused of trying to cheat the billionaire founder of Facebook Inc out of half his stake in the social media company, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. Zuckerberg is expected to be a key witness against Paul Ceglia, who is charged with forging a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that purportedly entitled him to half of Facebook. “It's a witness that the government 100 percent knows it will be calling at trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Frey said at a court hearing before U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in New York federal court. The charges stem in part from a 2010 civil lawsuit Ceglia filed against Zuckerberg and Facebook in Buffalo, New York, claiming the two men signed a contract when Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University that gave Ceglia half of a planned social networking website.
Overnight, someone climbed to the top of both the Brooklyn Bridge's two 273-foot towers. According to officials, the American flags are hung by specially trained workers in the Department of Transportation. At the least police are folding up the Brooklyn Bridge white surrender flag in a respectful manner. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced an award for any information about the mysterious flags.
Venezuelan authorities on Tuesday began moving residents out of the Tower of David, a Caracas skyscraper so notorious as a haven for squatters and gangs it was depicted in the US TV series "Homeland." More than 100 families were ushered out of the unfinished 45-story building, the start of an operation by military authorities to clear a longtime symbol of festering poverty and lawlessness in the heart of the Venezuelan capital. Its construction halted in 1993 after a financial crisis and the death of its owner, investor David Brillembourg, the building was taken over in 2007 by gangs and homeless people with the blessings of the government of President Hugo Chavez. Stories about the crime-ridden haven inspired "Homeland" writers to make the Tower of David a place of refuge for anti-hero Nicholas Brody, who -- running from US authorities in the last season of the hit show -- turns up there wounded and in the care of a shadowy network of Venezuelan drug traffickers.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More than 30 financial institutions in six countries have been defrauded by sophisticated criminal software that convinces bank customers to install rogue smartphone programs, a major security company reported on Tuesday. Though many of the elements of the malicious software, including the interception of one-time passwords sent to phones, have been used elsewhere, the latest criminal campaign is unusual in that it combines many different techniques and leaves few traces. Researchers at Trend Micro Inc, which dubbed the campaign Emmental after the Swiss cheese, said they were working with European police and major banks on the continent that were early victims. Banks in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan have all been hit, with damages somewhere in the millions of dollars, said Trend Micro Chief Cyber security Officer Tom Kellermann.
Microblog posts about a New York Times article on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's [IPO-BABA.N] close ties to descendants of China's leaders have been removed by censors, a censorship monitoring group said on Tuesday. Alibaba has been in the spotlight as it prepares its stock market listing - potentially the largest ever tech debut in the United States - particularly over its complicated web of affiliations and corporate governance. One censored post on the Weibo Corp microblog included a Chinese version of the New York Times piece, with the comment, "It's not only Yahoo and SoftBank behind Alibaba," Weiboscope, a University of Hong Kong project that publishes and analyses censored posts, said. Yahoo Inc, with a 22.5 percent stake in Alibaba, and SoftBank Corp with a 34.3 percent ownership are Alibaba's two biggest shareholders.
(Reuters) - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp will provide extra content through apps for dystopian thriller "Divergent" and other films to Comcast Corp customers who purchase digital versions of the film through Xfinity On Demand, the companies announced on Tuesday. The "Divergent" app will be available starting Tuesday on mobile devices and later on TV through Comcast's X1 set-top box. Lions Gate also plans to release bonus app content for future films with digital purchases through Xfinity, the companies said.
By Danilo Masoni MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's data protection regulator has given Google 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation that is part of a European drive to reform the internet giant's privacy practices. Regulators in several European nations including Italy began a joint inquiry last year after Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. In a statement on Monday, the Italian watchdog said Google's disclosure to users on how their data was being treated remained inadequate, despite the company having taken steps to abide by local law. The watchdog gave the group 18 months to comply fully and indicated a series of measures Google must put into practice.
The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device - such as a smartphone or tablet - has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and by 2018 is likely to account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped that year, according to data firm IDC. Chinese e-commerce is dominated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd [IPO-BABA.N], which is preparing for a mammoth initial public offering widely expected to take place in September.
UK lender Nationwide Building Society's customers were unable to access online banking and a mobile banking app on Sunday after a scheduled overnight maintenance overran. Nationwide spokeswoman Michelle Slade said that the online bank and mobile banking app were now back up and running. "Unfortunately our overnight planned maintenance has overrun and is affecting customers accessing our online bank and mobile banking app," the customer-owned lender's spokeswoman said. The customers of Britain's third-biggest provider of mortgage and savings products complained of the online banking glitch on social networking site Twitter.