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Simulated fellatio, group sex and copulating crocodiles draw boos at 200th anniversary production of Wagner’s Ring cycle

By Michael Roddy BAYREUTH, Germany (Reuters) – Richard Wagner made hand grenades for the 1849 Dresden uprising, so maybe he would have cheered the tumultuous end of his 200th birthday “Ring” cycle in Bayreuth, a production that has raised questions over his heirs running the festival. A thunderous chorus of…

Archived papers reveal Queen Elizabeth’s ‘World War Three’ speech

By Li-mei Hoang LONDON (Reuters) – Relations between the Soviet Union and the West had become so tense 30 years ago that British officials drew up a speech for Queen Elizabeth to deliver to the nation in the event of a nuclear war, newly released archives showed on Thursday. In…

Snowden leaves Moscow airport, gets refugee status in Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after Russia granted him refugee status, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area. A lawyer who has been assisting Snowden said the young American, who is wanted in the…

Marshall Islands claims ‘climate catastrophe’ in the Pacific will soon ‘wipe it off the map’

The Marshall Islands has warned of a Pacific “climate catastrophe” that will wipe it off the map without decisive action on global warming, saying the next 12 months are critical. Tony de Brum, minister in assistance to the Marshall Islands’ president, is in Australia making the case for a major…

Robot turning Japanese children into calligraphers

Nijiya Kurota’s little hand grips a calligraphy brush dangling above a clean sheet of rice paper. The brush itself is being held dead straight, just as an expert who has spent years learning the art of “shodo” — Japanese calligraphy — would do. That’s because a robot arm is also…

New bomb threats tweeted to female journalists in the UK after Jane Austen banknote controversy

London’s Metropolitan Police have launched an investigation after several female journalists received bomb threats via social networking site Twitter. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman, Independent columnist Grace Dent and Time magazine’s Catherine Mayer were all targeted by anonymous account holders, who tweeted that bombs outside their homes would explode at 10.47…

Dead southern right whale excites scientists

A rare southern right whale covered in what appear to be shark bites has washed up on an Australian beach, exciting scientists who Thursday said it will help boost knowledge of the species. The carcass, estimated at 12 metres (39 feet) long and weighing up to 50 tonnes, came ashore…

Uruguay approves state-grown marijuana bill

Uruguay moved closer to becoming the world’s first nation to produce and distribute marijuana, after its lower house approved a bill putting control of the drug in government hands. The controversial measure approved Wednesday was unveiled in June last year as part of a series of efforts to combat rising…

Ice-free Arctic was responsible for super-warm Pliocene Epoch, research finds

A year-round, ice-free Arctic Ocean could help to explain why the Earth is known to have been significantly warmer during the Pliocene Epoch than the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the time would have otherwise suggested, according……

Chris Christie dismisses Rand Paul’s invitation to bury hatchet over beers

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wants to call a truce over beers with Gov. Chris Christie, but the governor said tonight he isn’t having it. The senator from Kentucky today invited Christie to “patch things up,” after the Republicans — both possible…  …

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