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Smithsonian board calls for changes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Smithsonian Institution's governing board on Monday called for changes in how potentially objectionable exhibits are handled while also standing behind the head of the museum complex amid accusations of censorship.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough came under fire after deciding a couple of months ago to remove a gay artist's video that depicted ants crawling on a crucifix in an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. The scene angered some in Congress and a Catholic group that called it sacrilegious.

The panel's key finding was that unless there is an error, changes should not be made to future exhibits once they are opened without curators, museum directors and leaders from the Smithsonian's governing board consulting.

Earlier Monday, about 30 protesters, many from the New York-based group Art Positive, picketed outside the Smithsonian board's meeting and called for Clough to step down.

They chanted "No more censorship -- Clough must go." On Friday, the liberal group People for the American Way also called for Clough to step down.


Catering to pedophiles nets 25 years in prison

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A Canadian was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday after admitting to running what amounted to a brothel for pedophiles in Thailand that exploited children as young as 4.

John Wrenshall, 64, moved to the Far East in the late 1990s after serving about a year in prison in Canada on child abuse charges, prosecutors said. Once there, he moved in with a Thai family and plied them with money and gifts to facilitate his plan of setting up a house where he could charge other pedophiles to have sex with at least 14 boys.

"Instead of seeking help or doing anything to remove himself from combustible situations, he purposely inserted himself into a new situation even more egregious than the first two," Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vartan said during the sentencing hearing. "He embraced his pedophilia."

The former Calgary resident's arrest in December 2008 was the result of a collaboration between federal authorities and Interpol, the France-based international police agency.


Walking boosts brain, researchers say

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A section of the brain involved in memory grew in size in older people who regularly took brisk walks for a year, researchers reported Monday.

The study reinforces previous findings that aerobic exercise seems to reduce brain atrophy in early-stage Alzheimer's patients, and that walking leads to slight improvement on mental tests among older people with memory problems. The new analysis appears in today's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study involved 120 sedentary people, ages 55 to 80. They were divided into two groups: Half began a program of walking for 40 minutes a day, three days a week to increase their heart rate; the others only did stretching and toning exercises.

The hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory, tends to shrink slightly with age and that's what happened in the group that only did stretching. But among people who took part in the walking program, the hippocampus region of the brain grew in size by roughly 2 percent and their memory improved as well.

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