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US-LIFE Summary

"Lost" penguin perks up in New Zealand after surgery

WELLINGTON (Reuters Life!) - A young Emperor penguin that washed up on a New Zealand beach last week after straying thousands of kilometers from home was perking up on Tuesday, a day after hundreds of people watched it undergo endoscopic surgery to remove sand from its stomach. The bird, nicknamed "Happy Feet" by locals, became the focus of national attention after it turned up on a beach some 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from its Antarctic home -- only the second Emperor penguin ever to appear in New Zealand.

Kate Middleton related to author Jane Austen

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prince William's bride Kate Middleton is a distant relation of British novelist Jane Austen, genealogy website Ancestry.com said on Tuesday. Ancestry.com said that the new Duchess of Cambridge and the author of "Pride and Prejudice" are 11th cousins, six times removed due to their 15th century common ancestor Henry Percy, who was the 2nd Earl of Northumberland.

Russian scientists expect to meet aliens by 2031

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilizations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer predicted Monday. "The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms... Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years," Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Chatting, texts, now apps distract young drivers

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - First it was chatting, then texts. Now apps are distracting young drivers, with more than a third of college students at a U.S. university saying they use them while behind the wheel. New research from the University of Alabama (UAB) shows that even drivers who have reported previous accidents involving mobile phone applications can't resist using them while driving.

The veil behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH (Reuters Life!) - As Umm Ibrahim takes the wheel of her husband's white Hyundai, beads of sweat form beneath the black veil that covers her face and body. Nervously turning the ignition, shifting into drive and easing her foot off the brake, she knows she's risking arrest. The simple act of driving for a woman is banned in Saudi Arabia.

TV junk-food ads do boost kids' appetites: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Television ads for junk food really do make children hungry for those treats, especially if they watch a lot of television, according to a study. The findings, published in Pediatrics, come amid growing calls to ban junk food advertisements aimed at children in order to combat obesity -- most recently from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which issued a policy statement on junk food ads on Monday.

Chinese sculptor moulds memory of Mao

YAN'AN, China (Reuters Life!) - Sculptor Wang Wenhai has dedicated his life to one man - China's controversial former paramount leader Mao Zedong. Since Mao's death in 1976, Wang has made well over 2,000 sculptures of the "Great Helmsman," most of them from the soft, red clay dug from the nearby hills. A terracotta army of miniature Maos fills his tiny flat and studio in Yan'an.

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