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Dutch crack down on marijuana tourism

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands — In the back street cannabis den, a French-speaking Arab youth with a pierced lower lip and a rhinestone encrusted baseball cap leans across the bar to order his fix of choice. "Hot chocolate, please," he intones in heavily accentuated English. "With whipped cream?" asks the fresh-faced young barrista in the 420 Cafe. "Yes, please.”

Goa's tourism boss links sexual assaults to bikinis

NEW DELHI, India — Once upon a time, the beaches of Goa were known for free love. But as a string of high-profile sexual assaults on tourists culminated in the alleged rape of a 9-year-old Russian girl last week, the idyllic strip of sand along the Arabian Sea is fast gaining a fearful reputation. The answer? According to the state's ministry of tourism, those cute pre-teens in two-pieces are asking for it.

Love Motel 2.0

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Gone are the days of scuzzy "rest" hotels, rented by the hour to furtive lovers. The latest generation of Taiwan love hotels are over-the-top pleasure dens, kitted out with full karaoke sound systems, massive jacuzzis and high-tech privacy protection. The basic principle remains the same. As in Japan, many young Taiwanese can't afford their own apartments. Well into their 20s, they may still live with mom and dad — making sex logistically difficult.

Top 10 sex scandals of 2009

BOSTON — No surprise: The topic of sex continued to attract attention in 2009, and as usual it was for all the wrong reasons. Here are 10 public figures from around the globe caught in the glare of media and public scrutiny for their alleged — and in some cases admitted — antics.

Lebanon's sex industry: hidden in plain sight

Opinion: Behind the myth of the "happy hooker"

CHISINAU, Moldova and CHICO, California — “They brought us to a hotel and led us up a staircase — seven floors. "I remember … wondering when they would let me go to my sister. The big Russian woman led us into a room with couches against the walls. There were men sitting, talking, drinking tea, laughing on the couches. One girl started to cry silently. I suddenly understood what was happening.

Gay sex on film? No problem. Baring political rifts, problem.

BANGKOK, Thailand — The gay sex scene alone would be enough to ban “This Area Is Under Quarantine” in many countries. Filmed in a Bangkok hotel room, the scene offers lots of out-of-focus flesh, lots of fast breathing, lots of hands pawing at tighty whiteys. But that’s not why Thailand’s Ministry of Culture banned the film, said 37-year-old director Thunska Pansittivorakul. His film was censored, he said, for baring the kingdom’s political rifts and showing raw footage of Thai soldiers detaining Muslims.

In China, it's a small world after all

China's Kingdom of Dwarves theme park features singing, dancing and costumed "little people."

Tokyo's cat cafes

TOKYO — I followed the instructions of the watchful cashier and took off my shoes, sanitized my hands, placed my bag in a locker and dangled an ID card (“customer #18”) from a lanyard around my neck. The cashier then gave me a once over and a shallow bow, and I padded quietly into the sitting room of the cafe. “She’s the prettiest girl we have at our cafe. Everybody wants to touch her, but we ask that customers only do so if she doesn't resist you,” a waitress told me.
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