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Dec. 28, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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'Apocalypse' top word of 2012

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The Global Language Monitor in Texas has chosen "apocalypse" the top word of the year, with "Gangnam Style" tabbed the top phrase of 2012.

The organization, which analyzes language trends online and in periodicals, said its 13th annual global survey of the English language resulted in "apocalypse" being dubbed the year's top word, followed by "deficit," "Olympiad," "bak'tun" -- a cycle of 144,000 days in the ancient Mayan calendar -- and "meme," a word meaning a repeated idea, usually applying to online humor.

"Apocalypse (Armageddon, and similar terms) reflects a growing fascination with various 'end-of-the-world' scenarios, or at least the end of life as we know it. This year the Mayan Apocalypse was well noted, but some eight of the top (20) words and phrases were directly related to a sense of impending doom." said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.

The top phrases of the year, the organization's analysis indicated, were "Gangnam Style," a song by South Korean artist PSY that became YouTube's most-watched video; "global warming," which had the No. 1 spot for the first decade of the century; "fiscal cliff," referring to tax increases and spending cuts some fear will throw the Unites States back into economic recession; "the deficit," referring to the difference between the money the government makes and the cash it brings in; and "God particle," the Higgs-Boson scientists have been seeking that could provide compelling evidence for string theory.

The Word of the Year rankings are based on usage, requiring at least 25,000 citations and appearances in various types of media around the world.

10 exotic birds stolen from wildlife park

DOONSIDE, Australia, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Australian police said they were looking into whether the theft of 10 exotic birds from a wildlife park could have been an inside job.

Police said the birds were taken just after midnight Christmas morning from the Featherdale Wildlife Park in the Sydney suburb of Doonside, by a thief who used bolt cutters to get to the avians -- which included two South American macaws with a combined worth of about $12,445 -- The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Inspector Adam Powderly said closed-circuit TV footage from the theft makes it appear the man who took the birds had "inside" information.

"We have reviewed CCTV footage from inside the park at the time and it would appear that the man knew exactly what he was doing and where he was going based on how he was moving around the park," Powderly said.

Police said the birds, which have identifying microchips, were likely stolen as Christmas presents or to be sold on the black market.

Authorities probe game character theft

TAVSANLI, Turkey, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Authorities in Turkey said they are investigating after a college student reported someone hacked his Knight Online game account and stole his character.

Ahmet Kaya, 18, of Kutahya province, said he spent eight years developing his character in the multiplayer role-playing game and he eventually decided to put the character up for sale, Hurriyet Daily News/Dogan News Agency reported Thursday.

"My character costs about 2,500 Turkish Liras ($1,396.96) in the market, but I needed money urgently, so I was selling it for 600 Turkish Liras ($335.27)," Kaya said.

The student said he received an email and a phone call from an interested buyer, but he soon discovered his email account information had been stolen and the perpetrator used the information to access his account in the game and steal his character.

The public prosecutor of the Tavsanli district said the case is being investigated on suspicion of "hindering, spoiling, effacing or modifying of an information system."

Police: Xmas thief left cellphone behind

ROANNE, France, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Police in France said a man accused of stealing a hoard of Christmas presents from an unlocked car allegedly left his cellphone behind and reported it lost.

Investigators in Roanne said the 20-year-old man, whose name was not released, allegedly stole the wrapped presents from a family's unlocked car on Christmas Eve and realized once he got home that he no longer had his phone, France24 reported Thursday.

The man had to report the lost phone to police for his insurance company to replace it, so he visited the local police station, where his victims were reporting the theft and handing the phone over to investigators.

The man was arrested upon making his report and the Christmas gifts were recovered and returned to the family.

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