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'Japan's Beethoven' Ashamed but insists he used to be deaf

The fraudulent composer dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" said Wednesday he was "deeply ashamed" about his nearly two decades of deception, but insisted that he did used to be deaf.

Mamoru Samuragochi said his impairment had improved in recent times, but when he first paid part-time music school teacher Takashi Niigaki to pen works in his name, he had been unable to hear.

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Mexico State Bans Odd Names Including 'Facebook'

Parents in the Mexican state of Sonora will no longer be allowed to name their children "Facebook," ''Rambo" or 59 other now banned given names.

The names have been found at least once in state registries. And the list could grow because officials are still checking the state's 132 newborn registries, Sonora state Civil Registry director Cristina Ramirez said Tuesday.

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U.S. 'Soft Power' Diplomacy. Now in Pidgin.

As a career diplomat he would be expected to be able to converse in several foreign languages but it's doubtful that Nigerian Pidgin English would be one of them.

Yet the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria took to the airwaves to speak in the vernacular about the most pressing issues between the two nations, from gay rights and presidential elections to visa rules.

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World's Richest Man Would Still Pick up a $100 Bill

The world's wealthiest man Bill Gates would still pick up a $100 bill on the street, but he has no tips about how to get by on less than $100,000 a year.

Oh, and the 58-year-old Microsoft co-founder says he can still leap over a chair, if it is a small one.

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Napoleon Chair Blunder Gets Museum Worker into Hot Water

A French museum employee is in hot water after being unable to resist the temptation of sitting in a 200-year-old folding chair once filled by the "derriere" of Napoleon.

The red leather that had held up the French emperor through numerous campaigns gave way and the cinema director-style chair's wooden structure was also damaged, officials at the Museum of Fine Arts in Napoleon's birthplace, Ajaccio on the island of Corsica, admitted on Monday.

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Dumb' U.S. Starbucks Closed after Comic Reveals Stunt

U.S. health officials closed down a spoof Starbucks coffee shop Monday shortly after a TV comic revealed himself as the man behind the stunt, which drew media attention and plenty of customers.

The "Dumb Starbucks" cropped up in a Los Angeles neighborhood on Friday adorned with the signature green logo and signage of the global coffee giant, except with the word "Dumb" sitting above it.

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Russian Skater Shows More than Delight after Bronze

Russian speed skater Olga Graf showed off more than she wanted after a bronze medal-winning performance in the Olympic Games 3,000 meters, ripping down the zip of her skin suit in delight.

Graf, who won Russia's first medal of the Sochi Games, raised her arms aloft in triumph after crossing the finishing line and then pulled her zip down to her waist.

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Twitter Account Cataloguing Sochi Problems Goes Viral

A Twitter account highlighting the myriad teething problems that have plagued the Winter Olympics has attracted 324,000 followers -- 120,000 more than the official Sochi account.

Describing itself, the @SochiProblems account says "I'm a mess, and not prepared for you! Our athletes live like Kings!"

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Japan Sensor will Let Diaper Say Baby Needs Changing

A disposable organic sensor that can be embedded in a diaper and wirelessly let a carer know it needs changing was unveiled by Japanese researchers on Monday.

The flexible integrated circuit printed on a single plastic film transmits information and receives its power wirelessly, and could potentially be manufactured for a few yen (U.S. cents), the developers told Agence France Presse.

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'Sex Strike' against Leading Tokyo Governor Candidate

Women in Tokyo are threatening a sex boycott against any man who votes for the front-runner in this weekend's gubernatorial election, in protest at his claim that menstruation makes women unfit for government.

A Twitter campaign group based in the capital which bills itself as "The association of women who will not have sex with men who vote for (Yoichi) Masuzoe," has garnered almost 3,000 followers since it launched last week.

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