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Dutch court finds six coffee shop owners guilty of selling cannabis to non-residents

A Dutch court on Wednesday fined six coffee shop owners and workers for selling cannabis to non-residents, in a victory for Dutch authorities’ fight against drug tourism. Prosecutors had sought up to one-month suspended jail terms for the owners and staff of cannabis cafes in Maastricht for selling pot to…

U.S. government will retire most research chimpanzees

The US government said Wednesday it will send most of its 360 research chimpanzees into retirement but will keep a small colony of about 50 for possible future studies on vaccines and behavior. The National Institutes of Health announced after more than two years of examination it was accepting most…

Twitter CEO defends ‘principled’ data gathering policy

Twitter is holding to a “principled” policy on national security data requests and will “push back” in some cases to protect the privacy of its users, its chief executive said Wednesday. Dick Costolo, appearing at a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington, declined to comment on whether Twitter had…

Learning to throw shouldered big evolutionary step for humans

The shoulder may have been one of mankind’s greatest evolutionary successes, allowing us to kill prey by hurling spears or rocks, a study said on Wednesday. Focusing on a relatively underappreciated part of the anatomy, scientists said the shoulder was the key part of a throwing mechanism that evolved about…

Elephant tooth reveals evolution of plant-only diet

Once they developed a taste for grass, the ancestors of today’s elephants swiftly broadened their leaf-only diet and placed their progeny on a new evolutionary track, a study said Wednesday. Early tuskers were moving into open grassland millions of years before their teeth were adapted to grazing, according to a…

French mayor lands in court for refusing to recognize same sex marriage

A gay couple in southwestern France on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against a mayor who refused to wed them in defiance of a landmark law, one of a small band of diehards holding out against same-sex marriages. Jean-Michel Colo, the mayor of Arcangues, stirred up controversy by becoming the…

Ecuador asylum expected to take weeks as Snowden waits in Moscow airport

By Alessandra Prentice and Steve Gutterman MOSCOW (Reuters) – A former U.S. spy agency contractor facing charges of espionage remained in hiding at a Moscow airport on Wednesday while the prospect grew of a protracted Russian-U.S. wrangle over his fate. Ecuador, where Edward Snowden has requested asylum, said a decision…

High-tech tombstones link bar codes to memories of dead loved ones

Rick Miller kneels in front of a grave and uses his cell phone to scan a small barcode on a tombstone. Within seconds, he’s looking at photos and videos of a lost loved one. But that’s not all. Without leaving this vast cemetery in a suburb of Philadelphia, he can…

Patriots NFL player arrested in homicide investigation

BOSTON (Reuters) – New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was arrested on Wednesday, according to local media reports, after he was questioned in connection with a shooting death near his home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. The body of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player for the Boston Bandits,…

Julia Gillard ousted as Prime Minister of Australia after party coup

By James Grubel CANBERRA (Reuters) – Kevin Rudd returned as Australian prime minister on Wednesday, executing a stunning party room coup on Julia Gillard almost three years to the day after being ousted by his former deputy and less than three months out from a general election. The reinstatement of…

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