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French geneticist turned Tibetan monk declared world’s happiest man by scientists

As he grins serenely and his burgundy robes billow in the fresh Himalayan wind, it is not difficult to see why scientists declared Matthieu Ricard the happiest man they had ever tested. The monk, molecular geneticist and confidant of the Dalai Lama, is passionately setting out why meditation can alter…

Former Mich. mayor sets bronze statue of himself outside home

The former mayor of Flint, Mich., Don Williamson, recently set a bronze statue of himself outside his gated home surrounded by six bronze lions, reported Michigan Live. Williamson says the statue itself was made 20 years ago and at one time sat in the building of a company he ran,…

Greek Orthodox patriarch threatens to close Holy Sepulchre over water dispute

A dispute with an Israeli water company over unpaid bills has led to a Greek Orthodox threat to close Christianity’s holiest site, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Maariv newspaper reported on Friday that the Hagihon water company said it is was owed 9 million shekels ($2.1 million)…

Internet pirates get 2 years in U.S. prison over bootleg new releases

Two members of an Internet piracy group were sentenced to prison Friday on charges stemming from unauthorized online distribution of first-run films, officials said. The Justice Department said a Virginia court sentenced Willie Lambert, 57, of Pennsylvania, to 30 months in prison and Sean Lovelady, 28, of California to 23…

Marijuana industry in Israel grows with government support

The medical marijuana industry in Israel is growing rapidly — with no organized government or religious opposition to be found, reported Fox News. Today, there are more than 10,000 Israelis who have the government’s go-ahead to use medical marijuana, a major jump from just a few hundred in 2005. Next…

Early voting in Florida not extended despite long lines

Florida Gov. Rick. Scott denied a request from the League of Women Voters and Florida Democrats on Friday to extend early voting, according to the News-Press. Long lines and record turnout prompted the call, but Scott reiterated that “Early voting will end Saturday night,” although he said he wants “everyone…

British Foreign Ministry under fire for spending $16,000 to re-stuff a display anaconda

Britain’s foreign ministry has come under fire after it emerged that it paid £10,000 to re-stuff a giant anaconda named Albert. The 20-foot (six-metre) snake, which has been in the possession of the Foreign Office for at least 120 years, is believed to have been presented to colonial officials in…

Denzel’s turn as a drug-addicted pilot took a decade to make it to the screen

After a detour into animation, “Forrest Gump” director Robert Zemeckis returns to live-action film with “Flight,” which starts with a plane crash but centers more on personal rather than airborne crises. Denzel Washington stars as a pilot who becomes a national hero for managing to crash-land a malfunctioning jet but…

Voter fraud group recruits poll workers in crucial Ohio county

The Ohio branch of the Voter Integrity Project (VIP), which claims to fight voter fraud despite the lack of evidence that widespread fraud exists, will send poll workers in a crucial swing county in the state, according to Think Progress. The Ohio affiliate of VIP, called True the Vote, is…

Republicans gain on Democrats in social media influence in 2012

No YouTube channel, no account on photo site Flickr and a measly 5,000 followers on Twitter — in 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain had a dismal social media footprint. Four years on, the digital landscape has had a makeover. Millions of Republicans have taken to social networks to wage…

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