June 2013
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Singapore gripped by 'Singing Bone' Hello Kitty frenzy

Jun 29, 2013

Singapore gripped by 'Singing Bone' Hello Kitty frenzy

Tempers flared and police had to be called in as anxious Singaporeans rushed to McDonald’s outlets to buy plush Hello Kitty toys being sold in a promotion by the fast food chain Thursday. Hundreds had begun waiting in line from Wednesday night in the ...

Jun 29, 2013

Order to intercept North Korean missiles lifted

The government on Friday lifted an order for the Self-Defense Forces to shoot down North Korean ballistic missiles in the event that any are launched, sources said Friday. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who issued the order April 7, formally lifted it Friday, the sources ...

America and Britain team up on mass surveillance

Jun 29, 2013

America and Britain team up on mass surveillance

by Peter Beaumont

Twelve years ago, in an almost forgotten report, the European Parliament completed its investigations into a long-suspected Western intelligence partnership dedicated to global signals interception on a vast scale. Evidence had been taken from spies and politicians, telecommunications experts and journalists. The report detailed ...

Jun 29, 2013

Major utilities announce rate hikes for August

The nation’s 10 major electricity companies and four major gas suppliers will make hefty price hikes in August to reflect the rising cost of liquefied natural gas caused by the yen’s decline under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” economics policy. The fifth consecutive month ...

Jun 29, 2013

Anti-Korean group's plea to use public facility nixed

Yamagata Prefecture has turned down a request from anti-Korean activists to use a public building for a meeting. The prefectural government said it “made the decision from a comprehensive standpoint based on administrative requirements for the facility and (the group) was not turned down ...

Ichinomiya uses manga to promote textile brand

| Jun 29, 2013

Ichinomiya uses manga to promote textile brand

A project to create costumes from the popular manga series “Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne” is under way in the textile hub of Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, which recently came up with the “Costume Town” concept to promote itself. The Ichinomiya Chamber of Commerce and Industry has ...

Data show Britain's 'double-dip' recession never was

Jun 29, 2013

Data show Britain's 'double-dip' recession never was

Britain’s economy expanded by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and never experienced a double-dip recession as previously thought, official data showed Thursday. Gross domestic product rebounded in the January-March period after falling by 0.3 percent in the final three months of ...

Jun 29, 2013

U.S. suspends trade privileges to Bangladesh

President Barack Obama announced Thursday the suspension of U.S. trade privileges for Bangladesh in response to growing concerns over labor rights and worker safety there. The decision is the culmination of a years-long review of labor conditions in the impoverished nation. Pressure on the ...

Jun 29, 2013

School achievement gap shrinks for U.S. minorities

America’s 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds are posting better scores in math and reading tests than their counterparts did 40 years ago, and the achievement gap between white students and those of color is narrowing, according to federal government data released Thursday. The scores — collected ...

| Jun 29, 2013

Yoshino temple to hold pair of ceremonies

Visitors to Kimpusenji Temple in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, will be able to enjoy two ceremonies next Friday: “Renge-e,” the offering of lotus flowers to the temple’s principal image, and “kaeru tobi” frog-jumping. Admission is free. The temple is a 15-minute walk from Yoshinoyama Station ...

Wearable computer devices, the latest smart fashion trend

Jun 29, 2013

Wearable computer devices, the latest smart fashion trend

The notion of being fashionably smart is getting a makeover as Internet-linked computers get woven into formerly brainless attire such as glasses, bracelets and shoes. A wearable computing trend is at the heart of the “quantified self” movement, in which people track anything from ...

Jun 29, 2013

Fiber-optic find could boost Net bandwidth

A new fiber-optic technology could increase Internet bandwidth capacity by sending data along light beams that twist like a tornado rather than move in a straight line, scientists said Thursday. The discovery comes as Internet data traffic is reaching its limit amid mounting demand ...

Jun 29, 2013

Beijing role feared as Chinese buy Canada farms

With too few farms in China to feed a burgeoning population, Chinese immigrants have started buying up agricultural lands in Canada and shipping produce to Asia. But with new investment comes fears that a generation of young Canadian would-be farmers are being squeezed out ...