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Father of Philosophy Comes under Forensic Scrutiny

After digging up the past of Joan of Arc, Richard the Lionheart and Napoleon Bonaparte, a top forensic sleuth on Friday unveiled a medical secret of Rene Descartes, a founder of modern philosophy.

A hi-tech scan of Descartes' skull revealed he had a massive bony growth in his right sinus, lodged near the bridge of his nose, French medical anthropologist Philippe Charlier reported in The Lancet.

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Putin's Rare Russian Tiger Emigrates to China

An endangered Siberian tiger released into the wild by Vladimir Putin has become Russia's latest export to China, after the beast wandered over the border in search of a meal, Chinese state-run media said Thursday.

The animal, named Kuzya, was among three Siberian tigers set free by the Russian president in May and crossed a river forming the border between the two countries, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

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Official Says Beer Bars are Too hot in Vietnam

A ministry official is proposing that the temperature in restaurants selling beer in Vietnam should not exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), a rule that will be hard to enforce considering outdoor beer parlors are hugely popular in the country's big cities.

Wednesday's Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Nguyen Phu Cuong, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Trade which was drafting the regulation, as saying the rule aims to "protect consumers."

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California Solar Tower that Can Kill Birds Dropped

A solar-energy company has dropped a proposal to build a 75-story tower in California that uses a new kind of technology that can cause some birds to ignite in midair.

The California Energy Commission was slated to vote on BrightSource Energy's project this month before the company withdrew its application.

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A New Vision for Hong Kong? Protest Site Becomes Traffic-Free Oasis

Pedestrianised streets, al fresco art, urban picnic zones and recycling points have become part of the landscape in central Hong Kong as a result of mass protests -- and some residents would like to keep it that way, regardless of their politics.

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Chinese Premier's Email Trail Goes Stale

A slick new English-language Chinese government website offering contact with Premier Li Keqiang appeared to have hit a snag on Thursday, with emails to the address failing to deliver.

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U.S. Appeals Court to Decide if Chimps 'Legal Persons'

A New York State appeals court on Wednesday heard arguments on whether chimpanzees held in captivity should be recognized as "legal persons" entitled to live in freedom.

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Old Toilets, New London - Prices Push Cafes Underground

With spiraling land prices turning even the darkest corners of London into potential goldmines, the city's forgotten spaces, including 19th-century public toilets, are blossoming into restaurants, cafes and boutiques.

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Thai Buffalo Farmers Swap Paddy Fields for Race Track

Scores of Thai farmers ditched their paddy fields for the race course Tuesday to sprint across a dusty track on the backs of prized water buffalo, vying for glory in a decades-old racing contest.

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Jackfruit Sap Used to Rob Philippine Banks

Philippine thieves have been using low-tech sticky tree sap to rob high-tech cash dispenser machines in banks, police said Tuesday.

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