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Japan captive's mother pleads for his release as Islamic State deadline nears

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan said on Friday it was still trying to secure the release of two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State militants after a deadline to pay ransom for their release passed and there was no immediate word on their fate.<p>Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government considered whether …

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah dies at 90, Crown Prince Salman has ascended to the throne

Abdullah’s half-brother Salman pledges to continue predecessors’ policies after ascending the throne<p>King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died aged 90 after a short illness.<p>The news, announced early on Friday morning local time on state television, came after the king was admitted to hospital on 31 …

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

• <b>Author:</b> Claire North<p><b>'ONE OF THE FICTION HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DECADE'</b> <i>Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy Book Club</i><p><b>Featured in the Richard and Judy Book Club, the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and the</b> <b>Waterstones Book Club</b> <b><br>Winner of the John W. Campbell Award</b><b><br>Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award</b><p>SOME STORIES …

Ed Sheeran Guitar Chord Songbook

• <b>Author:</b> Ed Sheeran<p>This Edition of the <b>Guitar Chord Songbook</b> features the complete collection of songs from both of Ed Sheeran's chart-topping albums.<p>Each piece is arranged with in the original keys from the original recordings with Guitar chord diagrams and full lyrics – Perfect for busker or …

Professional Cuddlers Embrace More Clients

The Snuggling Industry Takes Off, but Clothes Stay On; Spooning or Tickling Sessions for a Fee<p>Kimberly Kilbride is a professional cuddler.<p>For $80 an hour, or up to $400 for an overnight gig, the 33-year-old mother of three dons flannel pajama bottoms, puts away her family pictures and two pit bull …

Tag: Landscaping 101

Landscape Ideas: Garden Design for a Swimming Pool Area<p>by Kier Holmes<p>Swimming Pools: 11 Best Landscape Plants for Water’s Edge<p>by Kier Holmes<p>Lost …

The 11 Best Voices In Hollywood

Back when Disney Channel original movies were still a thing (R.I.P.), there were only a few truly great triple-threats in Hollywood. And while there are now more young actors and actresses who can boast professional vocal training, when it boils down to it, there are really only a few <i>real</i> artists …

Anne Hathaway

Pen or Computer: Which is Better for Writers?

For writers of the imagination, what we fear the most is a disruption, a blockage, a sudden dam that changes the course of the river of creativity. …

At 74, Al Pacino is still chasing that next great role

He knows that when he enters a room, his reputation precedes him. At age 74, with a long and legendary career behind him, he's well aware that he can easily intimidate people. They look at him and see Michael Corleone from "The Godfather," Sonny Wortzik from "Dog Day Afternoon," Tony Montana from …

Philip Roth

At last, NASA's spacecraft bound for Pluto starts collecting data

Let the data collection begin!<p>NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has finally started the first science phase of its mission to get up close and personal with the dwarf planet Pluto.<p>The journey has been epic -- 9.5 years across more than 3 billion miles of space -- the longest distance to a primary …

Solar System

Jeremy Renner: Don't take my Jennifer Lopez cleavage joke 'so serious'

Jeremy Renner is reminding people that his cheeky one-liner about Jennifer Lopez's "globes" on Sunday was only a joke.<p>"The Avengers" and "The Bourne Legacy" star had been co-presenting the Golden Globe Award for actor in a TV miniseries or movie with the singer when he ogled and commented Lopez's …

Kathy Griffin to step into Joan Rivers' high heels on 'Fashion Police'

Kathy Griffin knows about life on "the D list." Starting Monday, A- and B-list celebrities walking the red carpets of awards season will discover what it's like to be on the acid-tongued comedian's personal hit list.<p>Griffin is preparing to go into rapid-fire attack mode as the new host of "Fashion …

Halfsider: a bizarre half-male half-female bird | @GrrlScientist

A rare half male and half female – “halfsider” – bird won the intertööbz over the holidays. This unusual bird is comprised of two genetically distinct individuals – twins – fused into one being. But what is it like to be such an individual? A recently published paper shares observations of the …

Zoology

Does chilly weather really cause a cold?

Maybe Mom was right all along.<p>Although generations of parents have warned their children that venturing into the cold without a hat will make them sick, scientists have long understood that viruses cause the common cold, and that they can strike in all seasons.<p>Now, however, new research suggests …

11.22.63

• <b>Author:</b> Stephen King<p>WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . .<p>King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon …

The Flash: Season Zero (2014-) #1

• <b>Author:</b> Andrew Kreisberg and Others<p>A digital-first series from the world of the TV show! Follow the adventures of Barry Allen as he struggles to balance his job as a police crime scene investigator, his unrequited crush on Iris West (who also happens to be his boss’ daughter,) and his new life as …

The Best DIY Projects Of 2014

From hacked beer cans to drivable fish tanks, these are the coolest, craziest projects of the year<p>Makers enjoyed a particularly fruitful year in 2014. They created projects ranging from the simple to the complex, the small to the large, and the useful to the bat$&*t crazy. In celebration of that …

7 Surprising Biometric Identification Methods

Everything from your smell to your ears can be used to prove you're you<p>Biometrics has long been put forth as the next big thing in authentication, replacing or supplementing the concept of "things that you know"—passwords, PINs, and so on—with "things that you are." But despite lots of advances in …

Information Systems

FIFA 15, Call of Duty are top-selling games in U.K. for 2014

It’s the last day of 2014, so let’s look back at what people spent all their cash on.<p>The United Kingdom’s Entertainment Retailer’s Association just sent out its list of the top 20 best-selling physical albums, movies, and games. As far as gaming is concerned, publisher Electronic Arts’ soccer sim …

This Re-Engineered Moss Can Grow Perfume–And Even Medicine

Nørgaard, 24, leads a Danish startup called TychoBio, which is developing greener ways to produce several chemicals found in perfumes, shampoos, and …

Gesture-control armband shipping to 50,000 who pre-ordered

The hype, it turned out, was worth heeding. Myo, a wireless, gesture-control armband that earned tens of thousands of preorders in just a few months, is now shipping to customers.<p>The motion-sensing armband, designed by Kitchener, Ont. company Thalmic Labs Inc., can operate computer and mobile …

Customers

Report: UK police arrest Lizard Squad member

A self-professed member of the Lizard Squad was arrested this week by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit in England, according to documents obtained by two publications and a Thames Valley Police press release.<p>The Lizard Squad is a group of self-described hackers who since August have …

Alienware Alpha: Hands On With Dell's Console Killer

Last year, in the lead-up to the Consumer Electronics Show, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Valve and its Steam Box initiative. The various Steam Boxes that were initially unveiled were typically small form factor systems, designed to run Valve’s custom Steam OS Linux distro, which could …

Baddies in books: Dolores Umbridge, the trilling torturer

The only person apart from Voldemort to permanently scar Harry Potter, she is the kitsch face of sadism who, once encountered, can never be forgotten<p>The most frightening villains are the ones who know us. They prey on our particular vulnerabilities and threaten the things we love. They have the …

Here's A Diet For People Who Really Love Food

Bon Appétit magazine's fifth annual Food Lover's Cleanse is here and it looks amazing — albeit a little intimidating — but SO DELICIOUS.<p>For the fifth year in a row, <i>Bon Appétit</i> has just published their post-holiday, get-healthy eating plan called The Food Lover's Cleanse. It's two weeks' worth of …

Healthy Eating