NEWS OF THE WEIRD

NEW FRONTIERS IN REHAB

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(1) Japan's largest, most influential organized-crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi, recently launched an extensive anti-drug, humanitarian campaign with a website and folk-song-like ballad extolling the group's civic-mindedness backing up photographs of earnest, joyful men at work in their communities. (2) Italy's former premier, Silvio Berlusconi, booted out by voters last year after he finally embarrassed them (and who is awaiting sentencing for tax evasion and trial for bribery), began a comeback in March — by becoming the face of a dog-and-cat rescue program. "Dogs and cats," he assured supporters, "will help [the Forza Italia party] win the European elections."

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