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Man with knife takes hostages at bank, demands Japan PM resign

A man armed with a knife took five people hostage at a Japanese bank Thursday, police said, with local media reporting he was demanding Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s cabinet resign. About seven hours after the drama began the man released one hostage, public broadcaster NHK reported. Television footage showed a…

Uganda postpones trial of British gay play producer David Cecil

A Ugandan court on Thursday postponed the trial of a British theatre producer for staging a play about a gay man without proper authorisation until early next year, his lawyer said. David Cecil — who faces up to two years in jail if found guilty — was arrested in September…

Small bats squeak at higher pitch to focus better

Small bats have to emit higher-pitched squeaks than their bigger cousins for their sonar navigation systems to work equally well, scientists said Wednesday. Bats use sonar signals to navigate in dark spaces, known as echolocation, but scientists have been at a loss to explain why the smaller species’ pitch was…

ADHD medication could cut crime rates: study

Medication can reduce the number of crimes committed by people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by one third, according to a Swedish study. When comparing the behaviour of adults suffering from the disorder during periods when they were medicated, with periods when they weren’t, researchers found that medical…

Facebook proposes ditching user votes regarding policy changes

Comments to replace user voting attracted ‘quantity over quality’ of feedback Facebook has become so large that a system allowing users to vote on policy changes has become ineffective, the company’s head of communications announced on Wednesday. The site’s three-year old experiment allowing users to vote on corporate policy changes…

Aussie scientists un-discover Pacific island shown on Google Earth

A South Pacific island identified on Google Earth and world maps does not exist, according to Australian scientists who went searching for the mystery landmass during a geological expedition. The sizeable phantom island in the Coral Sea is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth and Google maps and is…

Worldwide rallies planned to protest Japan’s whale and dolphin hunts

Anti-whaling activists said Thursday there would be demonstrations in Tokyo and eight other cities around the world this weekend against Japan’s hunt. Protesters are expected to gather in the Japanese capital to call for an end to the annual state-sponsored whaling mission to the Southern Ocean, due to start in…

Russian ‘dog hunters’ wage death campaign on strays

A shadowy group of “dog hunters” that communicates via the Internet is waging war on packs of feral dogs in Russia’s cities, killing the dogs with poison and airgun bullets. But dog owners and animal rights activists are up in arms, saying the campaign is cruel and ineffective and that…

Life on Mars? Maybe not. NASA downplays findings

NASA downplayed Wednesday talk of a major discovery by its Martian rover after remarks by the mission chief raised hopes it may have unearthed evidence life once existed on the Red Planet. Excitement is building over soon-to-be-released results from NASA’s Curiosity rover, which is three months into a two-year mission…

Lesbian holds strong lead in New York mayor poll

New York’s city council speaker retains a strong lead ahead of next year’s election to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and to become the Big Apple’s first lesbian mayor, a poll Wednesday found. Christine Quinn, 46, has consistently emerged as the frontrunner to replace Bloomberg at the end of his…

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