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Obama signs bill reforming surveillance program

Wyden speaks with reporters as he arrives for the weekly Democratic Caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonBy Patricia Zengerle and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed into law on Tuesday legislation passed by Congress earlier in the day reforming a government surveillance program that swept up millions of Americans' telephone records. Reversing security policy in place since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the bill ends a system exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Passage of the USA Freedom Act, the result of an alliance between Senate Democrats and some of the chamber's most conservative Republicans, was a victory for Obama, a Democrat, and a setback for Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Godzilla gets residency in Tokyo

A life-size Godzilla head on a balcony of the eighth floor of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku is displayed during the official unveiling ceremony in Tokyo on April 9, 2015Fictional city-wrecking monster Godzilla has been granted special residency in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward, as a newly-installed model of the lizard's huge head proves a pull to visitors. Marking "the emergence of the 12-metre (40-feet) high Godzilla head on a terrace on the eighth floor of Shinjuku Toho Building... we issued a special certificate of residence to Godzilla," a Shinjuku official told AFP Wednesday. "Shinjuku ward also appointed Godzilla as a special envoy for tourism," the official said.


South Korea says everything must be done to halt MERS

Passengers wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) ride on a travelator upon arrival at Incheon International Airport in IncheonBy Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Wednesday everything must be done to stop Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as fear of the disease shut hundreds of schools and led to corporate giant Samsung calling off a staff conference. Five more cases were confirmed on Wednesday taking to 30 the number infected in South Korea since the outbreak began there two weeks ago. MERS was first identified in humans in 2012 and is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered SARS.


For green activists, Arctic drilling could be the next big thing

Activists protest the Shell Oil Company's drilling rig Polar Pioneer which is parked at Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle, WashingtonBy Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Michael Brune is pleased that activists in kayaks are training for another "Paddle in Seattle" to confront an expected Royal Dutch Shell rig on its way to the Arctic to explore for oil. What makes the head of the Sierra Club just as happy is the effect Shell's Arctic ambitions are having on his own environmental organization. Sierra's funding drive against the resumption in Arctic drilling has taken in three times more money than usual campaigns by the nation's oldest green group, said Brune, though he wouldn't reveal specific amounts.


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