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Lawmakers ‘unjustifiably focus’ on illicit drugs rather than alcohol: report

Lawmakers around the world “unjustifiably” treat illicit drugs as if they were a greater public health concern than alcohol, according to a report published online Wednesday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Alcohol is at least as harmful as illicit drugs, according to Jan van Amsterdam of the Laboratory for Health…

Software engineer ‘Bob’ outsources job to China so he could watch cat videos

“Bob” the software engineer was becoming a modern workplace legend on Thursday as word spread that he had secretly outsourced his own job to China and sat at his desk watching cat videos. The tale of Bob blazed across the Internet after being told in a Verizon security team blog…

Study: Flu shots pose no extra risk for pregnant women

Pregnant women in Norway who got vaccinated against the swine flu virus that caused the 2009-2010 pandemic showed no increased risk of pregnancy loss, contrary to popular belief, says a study released Thursday. Pregnant women who came down with the flu did however have increased risk of miscarriage and still…

Report: Work in U.S. and Spain losing its appeal for Latin Americans

For Latin Americans seeking work abroad, traditional magnets like the United States and Spain are losing their appeal because of weak economies, said a report released Thursday. Instead, more and more are looking to countries such as Canada, Japan, South Korea and Australia, according to the study by the Organization…

‘Dear Abbey’ founder Pauline Phillips dies at 94

Pauline Phillips, who consoled millions around the world as the creator of the iconic Dear Abby advice column, has died at the age of 94, her syndication service said Thursday. In a statement, Universal Uclick said Phillips — who wrote Dear Abby from 1956 until her daughter Jeanne Phillips formally…

Obama daughters take White House childhood in stride

The Obama girls have quietly made a mark of their own: shielded from public over-exposure, they are growing up with rules and responsibilities and making it look easy, even though they live in the White House. Malia and Sasha Obama were 10 and seven respectively when they followed their father…

Amazon unveils music store ‘optimized’ for Apple devices

Amazon said Thursday its 22-million song music catalog was now “optimized” for users of Apple devices, making it easier for iPhone owners to circumvent the iTunes store. The move is part of a new initiative by the Internet retail giant challenging Apple’s dominance of the digital music market. “For the…

Russia plans national park for joint U.S.-Russia nature reserve

Russia on Thursday decreed a national park in its remote Far Eastern Chukotka region, paving the way for a joint US-Russian nature reserve spanning the Bering Strait, an idea first proposed by the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree to create the new national…

California lawmaker: Guns are ‘essential to living the way God intended’

A Republican lawmaker in California who disagrees with President Barack Obama’s effort to prevent mass shootings says that guns are an “absolutely essential” part of God’s plan. “Guns are used an average of 3 million times a year according to the Clinton Justice Department,” Assemblyman Tim Donnelly told the Christian…

U.S. attorney defends handling of Aaron Swartz case as ‘appropriate’

A US prosecutor at the center of a controversy over the handling of a case involving an Internet activist who committed suicide has defended the government’s actions as “appropriate.” Assistant US Attorney Carmen Ortiz expressed regret over the death of Aaron Swartz, who was accused of illegally copying and distributing…

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