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(MENAFN - AFP) Dressed in a kimono and kneeling silently on a tatami mat floor, 61-year-old Yasue Tomita looks as if she might be about to perform a Japanese tea ceremony -- instead she's debuting as a porn actress.

Fluttering her eyelashes demurely as the cameras prepare to roll, Tomita is proof that in Japan's greying society you're never too old to chase your dreams, however ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Ganga Kalshetty was just two years old when India declared itself leprosy-free in 2005, giving her family hope that she would be spared the disfiguring disease and its social stigma.

But the last decade has seen a worrying resurgence of leprosy in India, which now accounts for more than half of the 200,000 new cases reported worldwide every year.

Kalshetty ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Don Robertson isn't the type to let a snowstorm on the first day of spring -- or his age -- stop him from doing his appointed rounds.

"Driving means to keep motivated," says "Mr. Don" as he set outs in his SUV to pick up a fellow Jersey Shore senior who no longer holds a driver's license.

"You don't be still and you don't get stiff," adds the sexagenarian ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) As the main blast furnace at one of Europe's most polluted steelworks belches its last toxic cloud, activist Fabio Matacchiera was the only one there celebrating.

In the impoverished city of Taranto, work that has provoked cancer is preferable to starving.

"Seeing this monster shut down was really emotional, the city should have been here with champagne," ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The year-long conflict in east Ukraine has closed businesses across this industrial heartland, ramping up unemployment, crippling finances and leaving it ever more reliant on Moscow.

Fierce fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels has ravaged a region that once provided 25 percent of the nation's exports and has shorn Kiev of a vital source ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Syria's government, presiding over an economy ravaged by war and facing dwindling foreign currency reserves, is taking new measures to slash imports and prop up exports.

Importers require government licences that allow them to request a favourable exchange rate at the Syrian central bank.

But the government has in recent months issued fewer licences, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) China scored a diplomatic coup by enticing almost 50 countries including key US allies to join its new development bank, but analysts say authoritarian Beijing now faces a daunting task managing a multilateral institution for the first time, with members ranging from the Netherlands to Nepal.

By Tuesday's deadline to seek founding membership of the $50 billion ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Google's mapping service rolled out a gamefied version inspired by the classic Pac-Man, turning the real streets of a city into a labyrinth to gobble up pellets and ghosts.

A Google spokeswoman said the game was an early April Fool's joke. It allows users to play the game featuring the popular character created in 1980 in select locations.

If there are ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Flaws in computer modelling led to apocalyptic forecasts of how the deadly Ebola virus would spread in West Africa, specialists said.

Many of the models were off-the-shelf software that failed to take into account complexities and uncertainties in the way the disease spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, they said on Tuesday.

"In the early days ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Kraft Foods and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will end a controversial children's nutrition awareness initiative for a processed cheese product, a Kraft spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The food giant said it will remove the academy's "Kids Eat Right" logo from Kraft Singles, individually wrapped slices of a processed cheese product, after it was criticized ...

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