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Fake fingers help ex-yakuza lead lawful life

Going straight after a lifetime spent as a member of Japan’s feared yakuza organised crime mobs poses a number of challenges. Chief among them is what to do about the fingers you chopped off. For one reformed wise guy, the answer lay in thousands of dollars’ worth of prosthetics crafted…

Art Basel takes art world by storm

With private jets filling the air and lines of luxury limousines on the ready, deep-pocketed collectors from around the world have flocked to Switzerland this week for Art Basel, the biggest contemporary art fair on the planet. The 44th edition of the show opens to the public on Thursday, but…

Pennsylvania girl gets lung transplant after political firestorm

A 10-year-old American girl whose dire need for a lung transplant catapulted her into the political spotlight underwent potentially life-saving surgery after a donor was found. “We are thrilled to share that Sarah is out of surgery. Her doctors are very pleased with both her progress during the procedure and…

Australian prime minister and Arnold Schwarzenegger join forces to fight climate change

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined forces with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to urge global action on climate change, saying politics must be put aside. The unlikely pair met in Perth on Thursday and jointly penned an opinion piece that ran in News Limited newspapers. “We know climate change…

Americans more likely than Japanese to focus on the goal rather than the process of actions: study

Research published this month in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has uncovered a cultural variation in the way American and Japanese people describe everyday actions. In their study, Yuri Miyamoto of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her colleagues said their research “provided the first evidence…

Gay men say online dating helped them accept their sexual orientation: study

Online dating websites help some gay men accept their sexual orientation, according to research published June 7 in New Media & Society. Nuno Nodin of the Instituto Superior De Psicologia Aplicada in Portugal and his colleagues investigated how the use of the Internet by gay men changed them in relevant…

Hands-free cell phone devices still pose driving risk: study

Speech-to-text devices in new cars fail to overcome the well-known perils of hands-on texting while driving, a US study published Wednesday suggests. Developing standards for measuring cognitive distraction behind the wheel, University of Utah researchers wired the heads of 32 drivers with sensors, then gave them an array of tests…

U.S. charges eight hackers over alleged cyber theft of at least $15 million

By Jonathan Stempel (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in New Jersey on Wednesday unveiled criminal charges against eight people accused of trying to steal at least $15 million from U.S. customers in an international cybercrime scheme targeting accounts at 15 financial institutions and government agencies. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the…

Scientists decry ‘the worst case of scientific censorship since the church banned Copernicus’

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) – The outlawing of drugs such as cannabis, magic mushrooms and other psychoactive substances amounts to scientific censorship and is hampering research into potentially important medicinal uses, leading scientists argued on Wednesday. Laws and international conventions dating back to the 1960s have set back research…

Southern Baptists vote to condemn Boy Scouts for accepting gay members

By Amanda Orr HOUSTON (Reuters) – The Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday voted to voice opposition to the Boy Scouts of America decision to admit gay members, saying that homosexual conduct is contrary to a scout’s oath to do his duty to God. The Southern Baptists, the nation’s largest Protestant…

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