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Hugs are extra

"Apparently in China, affection comes with a price," reports The Huffington Post. "A Chinese kindergarten has begun charging parents about $13 a month for their kids to receive daily hugs from teachers, according to The alleged 'hug fee' of 80 yuan, or about $12.65, covers one hug in the morning and one hug at the end of the day. A Chinese blogger first wrote about the fee after discovering a friend's child had been charged by the Shangmao Kindergarten, located east of Yangzhou city. According to the Digital Journal, parents had no idea they were actually paying for their children to get hugged, as schools were disguising the charge as a 'quality education fee.'"

Why movies are so long

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"In the time it takes to sit through this year's new holiday movies, you could do a lot of other things," writes Ramin Setoodeh of The Daily Beast. "For example, finish all your Christmas shopping, roast a turkey, drive to the airport, and fly to Hong Kong. … Bob Birchard, the editor of the American Film Institute catalogue of feature films, says the proliferation of multiplexes has made it possible for studios to release so many long movies. 'In the old days,' he says, 'exhibitors used to bitch and moan if the pictures were too long because they couldn't get enough shows in a day. Now, if you've got a big picture, you can book it on multiple screens and show it every half hour without worrying how long the picture is.'"

Jogger gets company

"A man in Virginia Beach, Va., picked up an unusual jogging partner when an emu began following him," reports Associated Press. "Animal shelter supervisor Wayne Gilbert says residents contacted the city after the emu showed up Thursday alongside the jogger in the Highgate Green neighbourhood. It turns out that the bird had merely drifted away from its home. Emus are legal to own in the area." Animal control officers located the bird, which was returned to its owner.

Even golf is exercise

"The longevity Olympians enjoy is within the reach of everyone, experts say," reports BBC News. "Research published on the British Medical Journal website suggests athletes live 2.8 years longer on average than the average lifespan. The research indicated those who took part in non-contact sports such as cycling, rowing and tennis enjoyed the longest life of all. But the general population could have a similar 'survival advantage' by doing a little more exercise, experts said." The researchers also found that those who played lower-intensity sports such as golf enjoyed a boost.

What to name the turkey

A Scottish farm is running an adopt-a-turkey plan so people can visit the birds and give them names – before eating them on Christmas Day, reports Orange Co. U.K. Heather Anderson, who co-owns Whitmuir Farm, near Edinburgh, said: "We've had turkeys named Horace, Ethel, even Christmas Dinner. Quite a few women who come in want to name their turkeys after their husbands."

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Good morning, ugly

"Note to guys: If your wife or girlfriend gets snippy with you for a few days every month, it may not be what you think," writes Kevin Lewis in The Boston Globe. "Instead, it may be time for an extreme makeover – for you. Researchers at UCLA studied more than a hundred women who were romantically involved, but not using hormonal contraceptives. On high-fertility days, the women felt less close to, and found more fault with, their partner if he was less attractive. … The good news is that the women didn't report any change in commitment to their relationships."

Thought du jour

"He neither drank, smoked nor rode a bicycle. Living frugally, saving his money, he died early surrounded by greedy relatives. It was a great lesson to me."

John Barrymore

American actor (1882-1942)

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