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‘Astronomical Unit’ officially adopted by astronomers

The world’s top astronomical body has endorsed the definition of the “Astronomical Unit” (AU), a measurement used to calculate the distance between stars and planets. The AU — based on the distance between Earth and the Sun — has long been in use by astronomers, and the decision by the…

Nepalese tigers become nocturnal to avoid humans

Tigers in southern Nepal appear to be changing their habits so they can operate under cover of darkness and avoid coming into contact with humans, scientists said on Friday. A study of the big cats in Chitwan National Park found that forest paths used by locals during the day were…

Facebook drops facial recognition tool following privacy investigation

Facebook said Friday it had switched off the facial-recognition tool that prompts users to “tag” photographs uploaded to its website following a privacy investigation. The feature was identified by regulators as one of the main privacy threats posed by the social networking site. Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, who…

Publisher allows protagonist in young adult novel to remain gay

Yuki, the gay protagonist of a young adult novel whose authors were told to make him straight if they wished to find a publisher, has found a happy ending after Viking Penguin acquired the book he stars in – and allowed him to remain gay. Last year the American novelists Sherwood Smith…

‘Knitting Behind Bars’ group works with minimum security men’s prison in Baltimore

Lynn Zwerling's knitting group for male prisoners opens up their world (via The Christian Science Monitor) The first warden Lynn Zwerling approached with her idea recoiled as if she might bite. The second wouldn’t meet with her. The third claimed to love the idea, then fell out of touch. Outrageous,…

Newcomers aim to knock ‘Mad Men’ off Emmy throne

Cult retro series “Mad Men” and comedy hit “Modern Family” are Emmys favorites again this weekend — but a bunch of newcomers could yet produce surprises at US television’s annual awards show. “Mad Men,” which has broken records by winning Best Drama every year since its 2007 premier, is vying…

Russian railways halt ticket sales over time change dispute

Russia’s railways on Friday halted ticket sales for trains leaving after late October amid confusion created by the authorities’ failure to decide in good time whether to put the clocks back this winter. Last year Russia cancelled putting the clocks back at the end of summer time, in a move…

Pussy Riot says they have no regrets over the cathedral protest

The jailed members of Russian all-girl punk band Pussy Riot said in an interview Friday they did not regret their protest against President Vladimir Putin as it revealed the “true face” of his regime. In the interview with French magazine Elle, the trio also said they were convinced their appeal…

Israel sends top officials to the White House

Israel is trying to thaw the frosty relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House, and set up a meeting with President Barack Obama, an Israeli newspaper said on Friday. A report in the Maariv daily said National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror was in Washington and had been…

Google to end music search and download service in China

US Internet giant Google said Friday that it would stop providing music search and download services in China from next month after a disappointing response from users. More than two years ago, Google effectively shut down its Chinese search engine, providing mainland users with a landing page that redirects to…

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