2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Casual pot use causes brain abnormalities in the young: study

    (This story from April 15 corrects name of researcher to Breiter, instead of Beiter, throughout story) By Alex Dobuzinskis (Reuters) - Young, casual marijuana smokers experience potentially harmful changes to their brains, with the drug altering regions of the mind related to motivation and emotion, researchers found. The study to be published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience differs from many other pot-related research projects that are focused on chronic, heavy users of cannabis. The collaborative effort between Northwestern University's medical school, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed a direct correlation between the number of times users smoked and abnormalities in the brain. "What we're seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions that you never, ever want to fool around with," said co-senior study author Dr. Hans Breiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University.

  • Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West
    Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West

    The Kremlin is preparing a new culture policy for Russia focusing on its distinctive civilisation and traditional values, which observers say has political ends amid Moscow's standoff with the West. At the end of four hours of questions Thursday in his annual call-in, President Vladimir Putin waxed philosophical on what it means to be Russian. The authors preparing the document, who are kept secret, believe that such a policy must be based on the thesis that "Russia is not Europe" and generously quote from Putin's speeches. The policy states Russia is at a historical crossroads and must make a choice between cultural extinction or the preservation of its unique "moral and spiritual foundations," which can only be done with a "state culture policy."

  • Saudi activist sentenced to 15 years in jail for protests: lawyer

    A judge on Thursday sentenced a Saudi blogger and activist to 15 years in jail for taking part in protests and defaming the kingdom by communicating with foreigners and through publishing articles on the Internet, his lawyer said. Fadhel al-Manasef, 26, is the latest activist to be convicted this week on charges which international human rights groups and activists in the kingdom say are part of a new drive to curb political, religious and social dissent. The Special Criminal Court in the capital Riyadh also fined Manasef 100,000 riyals ($26,700) and barred him from traveling abroad for 15 years after he completes his sentence, the lawyer, Waleed Sulais, told Reuters by email. Sulais said the court found Manasef guilty of charges that included incitement and participation in demonstrations, writing articles against state security and posting them online, signing an anti-government petition and contacting foreign judicial and media outlets without authorization and taking reporters to protests and giving them harmful information on the kingdom.

  • A Mother's Day to Remember: Winner Gets Portrait By Anne Geddes

      By Teri Whitcraft and Carrie Halperin For Allison Dearstyne of Dunkirk, Md., her first Mother’s Day as a mom may be the best ever. Last November,  when she was nine months pregnant, she and her husband Richard entered a photo in the Million Moms...

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down
    NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more.

  • Cutest act of revenge ever: Over 1,000 ducklings released into boss’s apartment [PHOTOS]
    Cutest act of revenge ever: Over 1,000 ducklings released into boss’s apartment [PHOTOS]

    Get ready to say, “Awww!” Shanghaist brings us this bit of adorableness and reports that a man named Xiang unleashed 1,130 ducklings on his boss’s apartment in an act of revenge.

  • Man skips out on family Seder to go to casino, wins $1 million
    Man skips out on family Seder to go to casino, wins $1 million

    He wasn't happy to miss time with his family, but Eric Afriat definitely made the right call.

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