March 2013
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Mar 29, 2013

Beijing pollution affects Japan school

The number of students at the Japanese school in Beijing is expected to drop by 50 in the new academic year starting in April apparently due to serious air pollution in the city and its vicinity, a faculty member said. The move would reduce ...

Mar 29, 2013

Japanese whisky gets warm welcome in Britain

Tucked beneath a yakitori restaurant, a new whisky bar called Mizuwari has opened its doors. In this dimly lit basement the shelves are stacked with more than 40 varieties of Japanese whisky and the walls are adorned with old posters for Suntory High Balls ...

Documenting the Vogels as they give the gift of art

Mar 29, 2013

Documenting the Vogels as they give the gift of art

by Kaori Shoji

As far as art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel were concerned, Megumi Sasaki was more than a filmmaker who turned their lives into an award-winning documentary (“Herb & Dorothy,” 2009): She’s a close friend and a daughter. Having never had (or apparently even desired) ...

Italian PM job 'only for mentally ill'

Mar 29, 2013

Italian PM job 'only for mentally ill'

Italian center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Wednesday that only a mentally ill person would want Italy’s top job as he raced to secure enough support to form a government in the recession-hit country. Bersani, who was asked by the president last week to ...

Chameleons born in Africa, rafted to Madagascar

Mar 29, 2013

Chameleons born in Africa, rafted to Madagascar

Chameleons took to the waves to migrate from Africa to Madagascar about 65 million years ago, says a study that seeks to resolve a roiling biological debate. Chameleons are famous for the extraordinary ability of some species to change color, and for a lightning-fast ...

'Daijobu 3kumi (Nobody's Perfect)'

Mar 29, 2013

'Daijobu 3kumi (Nobody's Perfect)'

by Mark Schilling

Teaching kids is usually not thought of as a physically taxing job, but take it from one who has done it: It is, especially in Japanese schools, where one teacher may have to deal with 40 bundles of not-always-well-behaved energy. I spent much of ...

After extinction threat, Cambodia's finger dance resurgent

Mar 29, 2013

After extinction threat, Cambodia's finger dance resurgent

Wrists bent and fingers curled, the immaculately dressed dancers perform a series of gestures that, according to ancient custom, carry the wishes of the Khmer kings to the heavens. Sporting golden head-dresses, the dancers slowly stretch back their wrists and — standing on one ...

Thailand opens talks with rebels in south

Mar 29, 2013

Thailand opens talks with rebels in south

Thailand held its first formal peace talks with a rebel group from its insurgency-wracked south Thursday, as a bombing killed three people in a stark reminder of the difficulties the negotiators face. The talks with representatives from the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgent group, ...

Mar 29, 2013

Researchers track blue whales by their songs

An Australian-led group of scientists has for the first time tracked down and tagged Antarctic blue whales by using acoustic technology to follow their songs, the government said Wednesday. The blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, is rarely spotted in the Antarctic ...

'Herb & Dorothy 50×50'

Mar 29, 2013

'Herb & Dorothy 50×50'

by Kaori Shoji

This is the followup to “Herb & Dorothy” from 2008, in which New York-based documentary filmmaker Megumi Sasaki wowed the world when she introduced Manhattan art-collector couple Herb and Dorothy Vogel. For some reason, it took a full two years for that film to ...

Pesticides linked to bee colony collapse

Mar 29, 2013

Pesticides linked to bee colony collapse

Pesticides used by farmers to protect crops or beehives can scramble the brain circuits of honeybees, affecting memory and navigation skills needed to find food, scientists said Wednesday. This in turn threatened entire colonies of bees whose pollinating functions are vital for human food ...

Mar 29, 2013

Evidence grows for neutrino mutation

Physicists announced further proof Wednesday that mysterious particles called neutrinos that seem to go “missing” during the journey from the sun to Earth are in fact changing form along the way and arriving undetected. The evidence is a muon-type neutrino that was emitted by ...

Anna Karenina

Mar 29, 2013

Anna Karenina

by Giovanni Fazio

‘Anna Karenina” won the Oscar for best costume design this year, and like many a period literary adaptation, you might assume the frocks and greatcoats are the main attraction, the “value added” to what is necessarily a leaner version of an epic novel. Certainly ...

Mar 29, 2013

Statue loses penis from Berlusconi

An ancient statue of Mars has lost its fake penis and his counterpart Venus her hands, reversing the cosmetic changes ordered by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a newspaper reported Wednesday. In 2010, Berlusconi decided the two marble statues adorning the official residence ...

'ParaNorman'

Mar 29, 2013

'ParaNorman'

by Giovanni Fazio

Oregon’s Laika studio, maker of fine “handcrafted animation,” was responsible for “Coraline,” simply the best stop-motion animated film of the past decade. It follows up with “ParaNorman,” another scary, silly and sweet Goth-lite fable that attempts to wrest the territory back from Tim Burton. ...

Mar 29, 2013

Cypriot woes drive dollar lower

The dollar sagged below ¥94.20 in Tokyo trading Thursday, pulled down by concerns over European sovereign debt problems before Cypriot banks reopened later in the day following a eurozone bailout deal. At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥94.18-20, off from ¥94.70-72 at the ...

'Watashi no Dorei ni Narinasai (Be My Slave)'

Mar 29, 2013

'Watashi no Dorei ni Narinasai (Be My Slave)'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Toru Kamei Language: Japanese Mitsu Dan burst out of nowhere in her 30s last year to permeate the tabloid media, after her performance in this racy film as a seemingly demure but actually predatory heroine with a past full of dark sado-masochistic secrets. ...