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Obama to nominate Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan

For years she’s been the intensely private scion of a family synonymous with American public life. Now, in her appointment as US envoy to Japan, Caroline Kennedy is finally hitting the big stage. The sole surviving child of assassinated president John F. Kennedy takes over the ambassador’s residence in Tokyo…

UN declares World Toilet Day

The United Nations on Wednesday declared November 19 as World Toilet Day following a proposal by Singapore whose envoy said he did not care if jokes are made. “I am sure there will be laughter among the press and the public when it is reported that the UN is declaring…

‘Pray away the gay’ therapies quickly losing ground in the United States

As gay marriage wins wider acceptance across the United States, support for therapy aimed at “converting” homosexuals appears to be losing ground. Although California’s move to ban the practice for minors looks set to be followed by other states, there are still plenty of psychotherapists offering the controversial service. Often…

Astronomers reveal how galaxies go from burst to bust

Images from a nearby galaxy may have explained how star factories can bizarrely slow down, astronomers reported on Wednesday. Astrophysicists have long puzzled why the Universe has very few galaxies with a high mass, even though there are many galaxies that create stars at a phenomenal rate, sometimes a hundred…

Study casts doubt on ‘embryonic-like’ stem cells promoted by Vatican-linked company

A US company that promoted its stem cell discovery in partnership with the Vatican has come under fresh scrutiny by independent scientists who said Wednesday the cells do not exist. Scientists at Stanford University said in the journal Stem Cell Reports they could not replicate NeoStem’s findings of very small…

Swedish lawmaker ‘accidentally’ posts penis picture on Instagram

A Swedish lawmaker was caught with his pants down Wednesday after flashing his private parts in a picture meant to show off his newly-inked Liverpool football club tattoo. A picture of former Left Party leader Lars Ohly’s tattoo — inspired by the Premier League team’s Liver Bird emblem — was…

Snowden’s hopes of leaving Moscow airport dashed

By Lidia Kelly MOSCOW (Reuters) – Fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s hopes of leaving Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in a month on Wednesday were dashed when he failed to secure permission from Russia to leave. An airport source said Snowden, who is wanted by the…

U.S. Senate candidate Rush Holt defends claim that ‘millions will die’ due to climate change

U.S. Senate candidate Rush Holt defends claim that 'millions will die' due to climate change (via NJ.com) aed Hindash/The Star-Ledger NEWARK — U.S. Senate candidate Rush Holt said his claim made Monday that “millions will die” if something isn’t done to address global warming was reality, not hyperbole. “I think…

Bankruptcy judge blocks labor lawsuits against Detroit

DETROIT (Reuters) – A U.S. bankruptcy court judge on Wednesday suspended lawsuits brought in Michigan state courts that had challenged Detroit’s bankruptcy filing on state constitutional grounds while the judge reviews the city’s petition for protection from creditors. All issues regarding the Detroit bankruptcy case will be heard in federal…

Prince William and Duchess Kate name newborn son George Alexander Louis

LONDON (Reuters) – Prince William and Kate have named their new-born baby boy George Alexander Louis, William’s office said on Wednesday. The baby, third in line to the British throne, will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, Kensington Palace said in a statement. George has been…

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