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Japanese police arrest mobster over Fukushima clean-up

Japanese police have arrested a high-ranking yakuza over claims he sent workers to the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant for the clean-up without a licence. Officers in northern Yamagata prefecture were quizzing Yoshinori Arai, a 40-year-old senior member of a local yakuza group affiliated to the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, a police…

Russian satellite plunges into Pacific just after launch

A Russian rocket carrying a US telecommunications satellite plunged into the Pacific Ocean on Friday only moments after being launched from a mobile sea platform in Moscow’s latest space failure. The rocket may have veered off course from the moment of take-off because of heavy waves battering the former northern…

JPop star shaves her head and issues tearful YouTube apology because she spent night with a man

A Japanese starlet who shaved her head and issued a tearful YouTube apology after spending the night with a man was scrambling Friday to redeem the girl next door image of all-female group AKB48. Pictures of the roughly-shorn head of Minami Minegishi, 20, were emblazoned on national newspapers and Japan’s…

Tokyo zoo stages ‘zebra escape’

About 60 staff at a Tokyo zoo chased around a keeper dressed as a zebra on Friday in a drill to simulate one of the park’s animal inhabitants making a break for freedom. The drill saw the zookeeper tackled and mock stun-gunned by his colleagues. Visitors to the Tama Zoological…

At least two killed in bomb blast outside U.S. embassy in Turkey

Two security guards were killed and several other people were wounded in a blast outside the US embassy in Ankara on Friday, local television reported. It was not immediately known what caused the explosion but some media speculated it could have been a suicide bombing. The force of the blast…

‘Rent-a-boyfriend’ services popping up on some Chinese websites

Selling a kiss online, accompanying a stranger overnight for a fee — none of the “rent-a-boyfriend” services popping up on some Chinese websites sound at all family-friendly. Yet the budding market aims to help young singles address the most traditional of values: respecting their elders, meeting their demand to find…

Renowned atheist Richard Dawkins cracks penis joke in debate with retired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Britain’s most ardent atheist lost the encounter with former archbishop on paper – but he got laughs for his penis joke Despite serving as Oxford university’s professor for the public understanding of science for 13 distinguished years, his work as an ethologist and evolutionary biologist, not to mention his many…

Explosion at Mexico oil giant kills at least 14 people

An explosion rocked the Mexico City headquarters of Mexican oil giant Pemex on Thursday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 80 more as rescuers sifted through debris for survivors. People were carted away on stretchers and office chairs, as a huge plume of smoke billowed toward the sky. Heavy…

Norway mass shooter files complaint over ‘aggravated torture’

Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who is serving a 21-year jail sentence for killing 77 people, has complained to the Norwegian government over prison conditions akin to “aggravated torture”, his lawyer said Thursday. In his complaint to Justice Minister Grete Faremo and the governor of the Ila high security prison,…

Human Rights Watch: Arab Spring must respect basic rights

The Arab Spring has given way to new governments that are failing to respect basic rights such as freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch warned as it published its annual report Thursday. The US-based group urged the young Islamist regimes of countries such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia to build…

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