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Joachim Gauck will not attend the Winter Games in Russia in February, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel's opposition to a boycott; cats know when their owners are speaking to them, but still ignore them; meanwhile, Vermont has approved single-payer health care. These discoveries and more after the jump.

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In a referendum in which 70 percent voted "no," the people of Switzerland have decided against a proposed law that would have assigned lawyers to defend animals in court. In its defense, Switzerland already has comprehensive animal rights laws, though many feel the vote was a cat-astrophe.

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