Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Old soldier found long lost comrade - next door

Old soldier found long lost comrade - next door

Two soldiers who thought each other had died in a bloody Second World War battle 60 years ago have discovered they are next-door neighbours.

Gilbert Fogg, 80, thought there was something familiar about his neighbour when he moved into a new retirement bungalow in Nettleham, near Lincoln.

But he couldn't believe it when he discovered the man was Tom Parker, 82, reports the Daily Mirror.

Sixty years ago they had fought shoulder-to-shoulder in some of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War.

Last time they saw each other was in a trench at the infamous battle of Anzio in Italy. Both left that battlefield on stretchers, each assuming the other was dead.

Gilbert adds: "I asked my brother, who lives here, and he knew just that he was called Tom. He didn't know the surname. But I did. It was Tom Parker. My God, it was Tom Parker! I felt like someone had punched me.

"I asked him to come in and show me how the electrics in my house worked - but that was just an excuse. I wanted to see him up close, to be sure.

"When he was in my house I looked him in the eye and said: "Tom Parker, do you know who I am?" He looked at me and said: "No." I said: "Have you ever met anyone called Gilly?"

"Well, he staggered. He put his arm up to his face and he leant on the wall. He just said: "Oh Gilly, Gilly. I thought you were bloody dead".

"He stood like that for ever such a long time. Then we started talking, and once we started, we couldn't stop."

Toymaker invents dream machine

A Japanese toymaker claims to have invented a gadget that can help people control their dreams.

Tokyo-based Takara Co says its Dream Workshop can be programmed to help sleepers choose who or what to dream about.

In a study on a group of men and women aged 20 to 40, it had a success rate of 22% in inducing dreams in which one of the prompt words appeared, said the Yomiuri Shimbun.

While preparing for bed, the user mounts a photograph on the device of who should appear in the dream, selects music appropriate to the mood and records word prompts, such as a name.

Placed near the bedside, the Dream Workshop emits a special white light, relaxing music and a fragrance to help the person nod off.

Later, it plays back the recorded word prompts, timed to coincide with the part of the sleep cycle when dreams most often occur.

It even helps coax the sleeper gently out of sleep with more light and music so the dreams are not forgotten.

Takara spokeswoman Mayuko Hasumi says the Dream Workshop will go on sale in Japan in August for about Ā£110.

ASDA (Walmart) offer free eye tests

Urs Meier, the Swiss referee of Thursday night's encounter, was also on the receiving end. One doctored picture showed Sol Campbell and Gary and Phil Neville confronting Mr Meier after he disallowed Campbell's late header. In the referee's hand is the leash of a guide dog.

Among the companies attempting to cash in on England's woes was Asda. It announced that Swiss nationals could claim free eyesight tests at its in-store opticians up until July 2.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

You must be batty!

You must be batty!

North Wales Police Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom has taken on a new role - tackling the UK's growing bat crimes.
He is spearheading a nationwide initiative to protect the nocturnal mammals.

Mr Brunstrom has virtually become a household name through his campaign against speeding drivers and his views on legalising drugs.

Now he says he is ready to assume comic hero Batman's mantle too to save the bat.

"If you can put a bit of humour into it, that's actually helpful because this is a serious issue," he said on Wednesday

"A bit of humour will help us deal with it even better".

Bats are a protected species but even so their numbers are falling. Figures from the Bat Conservation Trust show 144 bat-related offences have been committed in the UK over two years.

This is not major league police work but it is necessary that we do it right because it is in the interests of our country
Richard Brunstrom
Conservation groups now believe that that figure could be only the tip of the iceberg as the animals fall prey to building development and trees where they roost being felled.

So Operation Bat, which got under way on Wednesday, is aimed at prevention and raising awareness.

Mr Brunstrom, a spokesman on wildlife issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), has been jointly responsible for bats becoming a police priority.

"The emphasis of Operation Bat is on prevention rather than enforcement," he said.

"The overall aim of it is to raise awareness of the legislation that protects bats so as to provide a clear message that bat crime is police business and will not be ignored.

"If you're renovating an old house or chopping trees down, we want to make sure that people get proper advice in the first place on how to keep within the law."

But he admitted that patrolling bat crime was "a tiny issue in policing terms".

You don't bring me flowers

Visitors are being asked to check with staff before bringing flowers onto wards in some south Wales hospitals, to help prevent the MRSA infection.
The move by the Gwent NHS Trust has been applied across all of its hospitals to curb the spread of infections to patients.

Hospital managers said they are not prepared to compromise on infection control.

It follows similar policies in some hospitals in England.

Julian Hayman, from the Gwent NHS Trust, said: "We do not allow flowers in high risk infection areas such as intensive care, high dependency, haematology and some surgical wards as they pose an infection risk.

"Control of infection is a priority that we cannot compromise on.

Although we'd like to be able to allow flowers on every ward in most cases it really is not practical
Julian Hayman, Gwent NHS Trust
"In other areas the decision whether or not to allow flowers on a ward is made by the nurse in charge of that ward.

"Besides infection risks there are other reasons that wards may decide not to allow flowers such as insufficient space, health and safety issues such as water in close proximity to electrical equipment and the need to ensure water is changed regularly to prevent it from becoming stagnant."

He said it was well documented that flowers can increase the risk of passing on infections and the decision had been taken to aid patient recovery.

"Although we'd like to be able to allow flowers on every ward in most cases it really is not practical," he said.

"We would ask patients and relatives to help us by checking with the nurse in charge before bringing flowers onto any ward."

A ban on bringing flowers into intensive care and other high dependency wards is a common rule in many hospitals around the country.

As well as MRSA, there are fears that vulnerable patients could be affected by the pseudomonas bacterium which develops when vegetation rots.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Assembly Government said there was no guidance about bringing flowers onto hospital wards.

"The assembly government has not issued central guidance relating to flowers on wards, the recognised issues concerning flowers on wards and control of infection.

"It is the responsibility of trusts to investigate local guidance and practices taking into account the specific circumstances within the trust, hospital or ward," she said.

England captain David Beckham has been defaced

A PORTRAIT of England captain David Beckham has been defaced by vandals - who scrawled "You loosers" across it.

Pranksters used a thick red marker pen on the 5ft photograph which was worth Ā£7,500.

And they even spelt "loosers" with a double "o" in what appeared to be a dig at the 29-year-old's alleged affair with PA Rebecca Loos.

The huge snap is part of the FIFA 100 exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Arts - which features portraits of the game's greatest living stars.

Scandinavian snapper Mark Hom's image - which shows Becks wearing a t-shirt standing in a hotel corridor holding a football - is said to be the most popular on show.

The England captain has been criticised for his performances at Euro 2004 and for missing crucial penalties against France and Portugal.

The vandals also wrote "Beckham and Meier, you loosers" on a wall
opposite a portrait of soccer legend Pele - in a reference to bungling Swiss ref Urs Meier.

Exhibition curator David Grob said staff had made a complaint of
criminal damage to police.

He said: "The picture is a write off. We have reported it to the police and we will have to get another one printed.

"It is enormously irritating. We hoped the Academy would inspire everybody to good behaviour. You do not expect people to act like football hooligans - it is very frustrating."

Elvis couple's 16th baby name dilemma

A Belgian couple whose 15 children's names are linked to Elvis Presley say they cannot think of a name for their 16th child.

Jean-Pierre and Carine Antheunis, from Gent in Belgium, are lifelong Elvis fans and their children's names include Elvis, Priscilla, Dakota and Tennessee.

But the pair have said they don't know what to call their new baby boy.

"If it had been a girl we would have called her Linda. Elvis once had a lover with that name," said Jean-Pierre.

"But we have run out of ideas for a boy."

They are now thinking of calling him Ohio: "There's no connection with Elvis, but it's in America," he added.

Speaking to daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, Jean-Pierre said they would not need to worry about finding more names in the future, as Ohio would be their last.

"My wife is now 40 and we have decided to stop there. Sixteen children are enough for us," he said.

Wife's cooking drove man to blow up kitchen

Wife's cooking drove man to blow up kitchen

A Romanian man faces charges after he tried to blow up his kitchen because his wife was such a lousy cook.

Viorel Leahu, 41, from Todiresti, said he decided to punish his wife for her terrible food.

He told police he had been inspired by watching Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, reports Natuional newspaper.

He opened the gas tap and threw a lighter on the cooker. The explosion damaged the room and left him with an injured hand.

Mr Leahu now faces up to three years in jail for destruction of property and putting his wife's life in danger.

Beauty contest for goats

Croat farmers have staged a beauty contest for goats in a bid to publicise the fact that traditional goat farming is dying out.

Dozens of farmers from across the country entered their prize goats in the event at the village of St. Vincenat in western Croatia.

Ivan Perko, owner of Lucy who won the event and is from the western Croatian village of Most Rasa, said: "I always knew she was the most beautiful goat in the world and now it's been proven."

There was no prize for winning the competition but Perko said the honour was enough for him.

"This is a great honour for me and Lucy," he said.

Organisers said they came up with the idea of the contest to draw attention to falling numbers of goats in the region.

They said that at one time there were 800,000 goats in the Istria region, but that today there are only 1,000, local media reported.

This can't be right!!!

US internet porn law falls at free speech hurdle

A US law meant to punish pornographers who peddle indecent images to children using the internet will not be invoked because it impedes the right to freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Child Online Protect Act (COPA), signed off by former President Bill Clinton in 1998 and backed now by the Bush Administration, may go too far in restricting pornographic material on the web.

The majority said the law, which has never taken effect, is in direct violation with the First Amendment - the right to freedom of speech.

The majority, led by Justice Anthony M Kennedy, said that advances in technology since the law was developed may have meant that it was now possible for adults to see and buy material that is legal for their eyes, while keeping offending material out of the hands of children.

The case landed in the courts after the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the controverisal law went too far.

"We're very pleased with the decision," Ann Beeson, an ACLU lawyer, said.

"The status quo is still with us and the court made it safe for artists, sex educators and web publishers to communicate with adults without risking jail time."

The ACLU challenged the law on behalf of online bookstores, artists and others, including operators of websites that offer explicit how-to sex advice or health information.

The union argued that its clients could face jail time or fines for distributing information that, while racy or graphic, is perfectly legal for adult eyes and ears.

The law has been going betwen the courts and Congress in various forms since 1998.

It would have authorised fines up to $50,000 for the crime of placing material that is "harmful to minors" within the easy reach of children on the internet.

It also would have required adults to use access codes and or other ways of registering before they could see objectionable material online.

Justice Kennedy said COPA in its existing form would sweep with "too broad a brush".

"There is a potential for extraordinary harm and a serious chill upon protected speech; if the law took effect," he said.

The case has now been handed back to a lower court to assess new advancements in technology to block porn from reaching child internet users. The ruling may also give the US Government a chance to prove that the law in fact does not go far enough.

Congress had tried repeatedly to find a way to protect web-surfing children from smut without running foul of the First Amendment. Material that is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment. Adults may see or purchase it, but children may not.

Goddess returns to stately home

The statue had been at Sledmere for over 100 years
A valuable 18th Century statue, which was stolen from a stately home in East Yorkshire and found 4,000 miles away, is to go back on its plinth.
The life size Goddess of Harvest vanished from Sledmere House near Driffield, Yorkshire, in December 2000.

A man on a ship saw details of the statue in a magazine and realised he had seen it at a port in Essex.

He alerted the authorities who subsequently traced the Goddess to an art dealer in Chicago.

Sir Tatton Sykes, whose family has lived at Sledmere for 250 years, said: "I was absolutely overjoyed when I heard the statue had been recovered.

"It is one of the family's favourite pieces of garden statuary and everyone was devastated when it was stolen.

" We are delighted and greatly relieved to have it back home."

Friday, June 25, 2004

Joy-riders 'make off in milk float'

Joy-riders 'make off in milk float'

Two joy-riders reportedly found their escapade coming to an abrupt end when they sped off in a milk float.

The Mirror says the two could only glide off at 12mph after a milkman left the keys in his vehicle during a 2.30am milk round in Bridgend, south Wales.

He alerted police who spotted the float on CCTV two miles away.

The joyriders tried to run off when police caught up with them but were soon arrested.

Clueless cop clocks Clapton

A policeman reportedly didn't recognise Eric Clapton when he pulled him over for speeding.

The People, quoting a police magazine, says PC Jim Jackson pulled Clapton over for a caution when he was driving his Ferrari on the A3 in Surrey.

After taking his name, he said: "What do you do for a living to have such a nice car?"

"I'm in the music business," Clapton replied.

"You must be doing OK then," the police officer replied.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

small town moves into it's own time zone

A small Canadian town moved into its own time zone for a few days last week.

Clocks gained 10 minutes a day in Blind River, Ontario (search), reports The Sault Star of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

"It first happened to us Monday morning," said resident Perry Boyer. "My daughter walked to her bus stop at the usual time of 8:10 a.m. and when she got there she thought she had missed the bus."

It turned out the girl was just early, and when she got home after school, she noticed several clocks in the house were all 10 minutes ahead.

"So we moved the clock back 10 minutes," Boyer told the newspaper. "But on Tuesday morning the same thing happened."

Residents of the town of 4,000 on the northern shore of Lake Huron compared notes, and by Wednesday noticed that many electric clocks, stove clocks and clock radios were affected, but no VCRs, computers or TV clocks.

Ebay prankster 'gets reply from cannibal'

A man who put his body up for auction on eBay as a joke reportedly had a serious reply from someone claiming to be a cannibal.

Daniel O'Dee from Salford posted the joke advert after a drunken dare, says the Sun, and it was quickly removed by eBay staff.

But he was then shocked to get an email from someone calling himself 'Donnie, the Hanover cannibal' offering Ā£2,000 for a 'fresh corpse'.

The emailer even claimed there was a syndicate of eBay users who helped fund the cost of buying corpses.

Even after Mr O'Dee emailed back explaining that it was a joke, 'Donnie' replied saying he was disappointed.

"I'm disappointed that is was your own body you were selling as I want one as soon as possible," the message read.

"If you have any other access to a fresh corpse I would be interested. I guarantee that it will be more than a fair price."

When Mr O'Dee did not reply to that email, he then received a death threat.

He said: "I'm trying to put it out of my mind. It's safe to say I won't be visiting Germany."

Spencer Tunick breaks Montreal's mass nude photo record in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) - They may have shivered but they weren't shy.

More than 2,700 people braved chilly temperatures and a 4 a.m. EDT start time to take part in a nude photo shoot Saturday at a Cleveland park behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum along Lake Erie. Spencer Tunick, a photographer known for taking pictures of dozens, hundreds or thousands of naked people in public places, snapped the photos for the shoot set up by Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art.

He posed 2,754 people to set a North American record for the largest group of naked people in a photograph. Montreal had the previous record with 2,500.

For one photo, Tunick posed the crowd lying on their sides facing the city. After completing the shot from atop a 12-metre scissor lift, Tunick said: "That's the best picture I've ever taken."

Many of those in attendance said they were there to participate in Tunick's artwork.

"This is the only way I'm ever going to get in a museum," said Scott Goodrick, 45, of Cleveland.

"I think his work is beautiful. It's an event I wanted to be a part of."

A photo print will be on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art from Aug. 6-8.

Firefighters return to find station on fire

Firefighters in Dallas returned from a call to the suburbs to find a fire raging in their own station started by potatoes they had left cooking.

IOL says the blaze at the station in the southern suburb of Lancaster caused around $125,000 (Ā£68,469) of damage.

It was only put out with the help of firefighters from other stations.

Firefighters now want to remind the public not to leave the cooking on when they go out.

Ebay prankster 'gets reply from cannibal'

A man who put his body up for auction on eBay as a joke reportedly had a serious reply from someone claiming to be a cannibal.

Daniel O'Dee from Salford posted the joke advert after a drunken dare, says the Sun, and it was quickly removed by eBay staff.

But he was then shocked to get an email from someone calling himself 'Donnie, the Hanover cannibal' offering Ā£2,000 for a 'fresh corpse'.

The emailer even claimed there was a syndicate of eBay users who helped fund the cost of buying corpses.

Even after Mr O'Dee emailed back explaining that it was a joke, 'Donnie' replied saying he was disappointed.

"I'm disappointed that is was your own body you were selling as I want one as soon as possible," the message read.

"If you have any other access to a fresh corpse I would be interested. I guarantee that it will be more than a fair price."

When Mr O'Dee did not reply to that email, he then received a death threat.

He said: "I'm trying to put it out of my mind. It's safe to say I won't be visiting Germany."

School gives transvestites own restroom

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Snubbed by both men and women, transvestite students at the Chiang Mai Technology School just wanted a restroom to call their own -- and were granted their wish.

Dubbed the Pink Lotus Bathroom, the facility is exclusively for the school's 15 transvestite students and features four stalls, but no urinals. On the door hangs a sign with intertwined male and female symbols.

"They would come in the morning and use the women's bathrooms, but the women were annoyed, didn't like it or played pranks on them," said Posaporn Promprakai, registrar of the school in Chiang Mai province, about 360 miles north of Bangkok.

The transvestites -- who must wear male attire at school but are allowed to sport girlie hairdos -- switched to the men's bathrooms, only to run into more trouble.

"The men teased them, chased them, and they came screaming and in tears again," Posaporn told The Associated Press.

So Posaporn designated a lavatory just for them, telling the vocational school's 1,500 students to just use their own restrooms.

The transvestite bathroom opened last fall, but this week attracted the notice of local media. Gays, cross-dressers and transsexuals are generally accepted in easygoing Thai society.

"We don't support their decision to be transvestites. We are just trying to solve the problems of one group that is unhappy at school," said Posaporn. "They don't get teased in the bathroom anymore. They're much happier."

British streaker at Super Bowl convicted

HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) -- A Texas jury on Monday found a British streaker guilty of criminal trespassing for racing onto the field during the Super Bowl in February with only a thong and a smile.

Mark Roberts, 39, could face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine for the misdemeanor crime when the jury of six women considers his sentence on Tuesday.

Roberts danced an Irish jig at midfield at Reliant Stadium before New England Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham knocked him off his feet and police carried him away.

A veteran streaker who has strutted his stuff at hundreds of events around the world, Roberts said he was disappointed by the verdict.

"If making people laugh is a criminal offense, then they should send me to prison for life," he told reporters.

Roberts said he has been arrested many times but never convicted of a crime in connection with streaking.

Defense attorney Sharon Levine told the jury that Roberts did not trespass because there were no signs posted in the stadium telling people to stay off the field.

But prosecutor Kristin Guiney argued that Roberts' antics could not be tolerated in post-September 11 America.

"As light-hearted about this as I'd like to be, we don't live in a society anymore where we can excuse this kind of behavior," she told the jury.

Roberts has admitted to passing through the supposedly tight Super Bowl security wearing a phony referee's uniform, then ripping it off and stepping onto the field just before the start of the second half.

An online casino ad was painted on his skin.

Woman 'gives birth to frog'

A woman in Iran claims to have given birth to a frog.

BBC Online says Iranian daily Etemaad claims the creature grew from larva inside the woman's body.

While the 'frog' has yet to undergo genetic tests, the paper quotes medical experts who say it has human characteristics.

Clinical biology expert Dr Aminifard said: "The similarities are in appearance, the shape of the fingers and the size and shape of the tongue."

The paper claims the mother-of-two, from the south-eastern city of Iranshahr, unwittingly picked up the larva when she swam in a dirty pool.

But it is unclear how this could have happened.

Firefighters return to find station on fire

Firefighters in Dallas returned from a call to the suburbs to find a fire raging in their own station started by potatoes they had left cooking.

IOL says the blaze at the station in the southern suburb of Lancaster caused around $125,000 (Ā£68,469) of damage.

It was only put out with the help of firefighters from other stations.

Firefighters now want to remind the public not to leave the cooking on when they go out.

Man's cross over swearing

AN ANGRY pensioner spent three years going through library books - crossing out swear words.

American Raymond Barber, 79, scribbled out the expletives in hundreds of books at his local library in Glens Falls, US.

The Second World War vet was charged with criminal mischief for the stunt.

It is believed that in place of the curses, he wrote: "God is enough."

2yr hiccup ordeal over

A MAN who hiccupped non-stop for two years has finally stopped ā€“ after undergoing surgery.

Shane Shafer, 50, from Texas, began hiccupping after suffering from a stroke.

Since then, he has had 10 injections a day to bring him some relief and the only way to get a half an hour respite was to make himself sick.

But now boffins in New Orleans believe they have found a cure after neurosurgeons at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Centre implanted a device which controls the Vagus nerve which, if irritated, can cause hiccups.

The surgeons, Dr Bryan Payne and Dr Robert Tiel, believe that Shaneā€™s Vagus nerve may have been affected by the stroke.

The Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) uses electrical impulses delivered by a generator implanted in the chest to two tiny leads wrapping around the nerve in the neck.

The dose of stimulation, programmed by a doctor, is automatically delivered.

Dr Payne said: "Weā€™re excited about our short-term success and are hopeful that we will offer Mr Shafer long-term relief."

Hiccups are a natural action but serve no purpose and usually end naturally.

Prolonged attacks can cause significant illness and even death.

Would be burglar gets stuck in AC vent

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A would-be burglar wound up in a tight spot south of Lawrence, Kan., on Monday.

The discovery was made by a convenience store employee who heard a strange noise after arriving for work in the morning, KMBC-TV in Kansas City reported.

"I started hearing noises in the back," clerk Mary Hamlin told KMBC. "I honestly didn't have any idea what it was. I figured it was somebody around back of the building just messing around."

Hamlin called her boss, then police. Officers who arrived at the scene found a man stuck inside an air-conditioning vent. They called for assistance, and crews freed the man. The building at the intersection of highways 56 and 59 also houses a car dealership, which is where the intruder was apparently headed when he became stuck.

The man had apparently tried to get in through a window and a door before he decided to climb onto the roof, the TV station reported.

"(The shaft) goes up all the way through the attic. I can't see how he got in there at all. I mean, it's just amazing," said C.T. Hansen, who runs the dealership.

The man was treated for dehydration. He has not been charged with any crime.

Rev puts ban on coins

A VICAR stunned wedding guests when he said he would only accept notes in the collection.
The Rev Mark Sowerby put a sign next to the collection plate which read "Paper money only".

Bride Anne-Marie Ansell, 20, who wed squaddie Wayne, 21, said: "It was my big day and the vicar ruined it."

Rev Sowerby, of St Wilfred's, Harrogate, North Yorks, said: "I am sick of counting small change to the value of Ā£5 to Ā£15 a wedding.

"Such gifts are not only insulting to God but I have better things to do with my time."

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

How to beat the Glasto toilet horror

How to beat the Glasto toilet horror

The Whiz, the Go Bag and the She-pee are three options for a gal in need of relief at this year's Glastonbury festival but do they live up to their promises? We have two volunteers who are about to find out.

Even the most seasoned festival-goer is likely to baulk at the sight and stench of a brimming Glastonbury toilet.
It's something most blokes, if they're lucky, will only have to experience a couple of times over the weekend but women have to brave the cubicles of doom every time that nature calls.

Not only that, ladies end up spending a considerable amount of the festival queueing - missing the music into the bargain.

This year, the festival's organisers have sought to redress the balance with the introduction of female urinals - or She-pees - guarded by concierges to keep the boys at bay.

But other minds have been at work on the same burning issue. Two products have just been launched to festival-goers, promising differing solutions to how a girl can get a swift comfortable pee and still keep her dignity.

The Whiz is a funnel which allows a woman to go standing up - in the She-pee for instance. Taking a different tack, the Go Bag is a pouch of crystals which turn liquid into a solid gel for easy disposal.

Both products were originally developed for the medical market and have undergone clinical testing.

But BBC News Online has recruited two intrepid volunteers to give the devices the ultimate field test:- a full four days at Glastonbury with all the drinking, dancing and mayhem which that entails.

How it works: It's a reusable funnel which fits snugly against the body, meaning the woman can pee standing up, anywhere that a man could.

The Whiz is made from flexible anti-bacterial plastic meaning you can "pee, shake and stuff it in your pocket," says Marketing Manager Kate Pierrepont.

"When we launched it at the Isle of Wight festival [2004] there were women rushing up to us who were desperate for the loo. This device makes it easier and more dignified than squatting because you can't bear the queue."

Pierrepont recommends using the Whiz in a urinal or toilet if possible, to prevent pollution of local water courses.

Price Ā£5.00

Tester Robyn Bryant from New Zealand who went to Glastonbury for the first time last year.

"I thought the toilets were gross and they lived up to what I had heard about them.

"I particularly 'enjoyed' the giant trench - although I must say it was quicker to go in than the others.

"I'm keen to try this. It's always a problem going to the loo at festivals, you don't want to miss the music and so you hang on and then by the time you get there you're busting and there's a huge queue." GO BAG

How it works: The double plastic bag contains a pouch of dry crystals which swell to form a solid gel when liquid is added.

The top of the bag then seals over the lip and the bag can simply be thrown away.

"We are aiming it at festival goers because they have to encounter unsanitary situations," says Go Bag's Carl Rees.

"It's small, compact and easily disposed of - and you can use it in a tent which is better than stumbling around the campsite in the dark."

The Go Bag is currently in use by the US Army and in theory each bag can be used up to three times before disposal.

Price Ā£8.95 for three

Tester: Sam Stephenson from Manchester, regular festival goer.

"This is a great idea for Glasto. I lost my expensive Maglite torch in a Glastonbury toilet last year - it fell out of my pocket in the dark and going in to get it just wasn't an option.

"In the middle of a huge, huge crowd, taking off to the loo and then trying to find your mates again afterwards can a bit tricky - this is mainly why I went for the bag device. I can picture having a right giggle in the middle of the Pyramid stage audience whilst I'm weeing into a bag!"

Check back next week to find out how our testers got on at Glastonbury.

UK 'being overrun by parakeets'

The UK faces an invasion of parakeets, with the wild population likely to exceed 100,000 in a decade, experts are warning.

The Sun says an Oxford University study has found 20,000 ring-necked parakeets, normally found in much sunnier climes, roaming free, with numbers going up by 30 per cent a year.

And although it was thought the birds were surviving on suburban bird feeders, the study found many could last on wild fruit, nuts and buds.

There are 10,000 of the birds in London alone, with one roost in Esher holding 6,000.

A vineyard in southern England saw its production fall from 3,000 bottles to just 500 in one year after a parakeet invasion.

Parakeets can live for up to 34 years, and a female can give birth to 60 chicks in her lifetime.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Vietnamese man claims to have world's longest hair

Vietnamese man claims to have world's longest hair

A Vietnamese man is claiming to have the longest hair in the world.

Tran Van Hay, from the Mekong delta province of Kien Giang, says his hair is 20.34ft long (6.2m).

The 67-year-old hasn't had his hair cut for 31 years and is renowned for having the longest hair in Vietnam, says the VNA agency.

It's even listed in Vietnam's own record book, but he has yet to contact Guinness World Records with his claim.

A spokeswoman said the current holder of the record is Hoo Sateow from Thailand, with a hair length of 16ft 11ins.

She said they'd like to hear from Tran Van Hay to verify his claim and possibly name him as the new world record holder.

Indian man claims world's longest moustache

An Indian man is aiming for a place in the record books for the longest moustache in the world.

Badamsingh Gurjar Khatana claims to have a 13.5 foot-long moustache.

The current record is held by Kalyan Sain, whose moustache measures 11.1ft.

The Guinness Book of Records say they haven't heard from Khatana, but says if he can provide documentary evidence then he may be the new record holder.

Khatana, from Kemri in Rajasthan, says he hasn't shaved or trimmed his moustache for the last 26 years.

"The only thing that I have been doing for some years is applying oil regularly every morning. Other than that I do not spare much time for it," he said.

The Asian Age says the 61-year-old began growing the moustache because, "men in our village take pride in moustaches as it is perceived sign of masculinity and therefore it was natural that I grow one too" .

Mr Khatana lives with his two wives and 14 children.

Portugals home match outnumbered by Engerrrrrrlaaaand

Portugals home stadium in Lisbon " the stadium of light" was swamped by England fans in tonights match. approximately 40,000 England fans filled the 65,000 seater stadium , leaving a small corner and a couple of press boxes free for the Portuguese

Landlord renames pub

A Liverpool landlord has renamed the "Half Moon" pub "The Half Roon" after Englands 18 year old star's 4 goals in 2 games.

Paramedics comfort distraught Britney ...then attend run over snapper

AN hysterical BRITNEY SPEARS had to be calmed down by paramedics after her car ran over a photographer.
As for the poor snapper lying in pain with a suspected busted ankle ā€” well, he has to wait his turn.

These are the amazing pictures which show things are going from bad to worse in the mad, mad world of Britney.
Having been forced to cancel her world tour after knee surgery, the singerā€™s life was plunged into further chaos when her 4x4 drove over the cameraman at the weekend.

The panic-stricken singer sat in the car screaming and crying after the accident.

Mascara running down her cheeks, she screamed: ā€?Oh no, oh no. Mom, Mom,ā€¯ after her mother Lynne, who was driving the hulking motor, ploughed into the photographer.

She was so upset she had to be calmed down by a paramedic before he went on to treat the injured man, British-born Calum Reavely.

The ambulance man stood at Britneyā€™s car door, holding her hand and consoling her, fearing she was suffering a panic attack.

Britney ā€” wearing a leg brace to support her damaged knee ā€” and her mum had been buying a puppy when what should have been a pleasant photo opportunity turned nasty.

Photographers surrounded her as she emerged from a pet shop near her beachside apartment in Santa Monica, California.

She was clutching her new dog with her mum and sister Jamie Lynn, 13, in tow.

As their mum drove the vehicle away, there was a sickening crunch and a photographer fell in a heap on the floor.

Indian man claims world's longest moustache

An Indian man is aiming for a place in the record books for the longest moustache in the world.

Badamsingh Gurjar Khatana claims to have a 13.5 foot-long moustache.

The current record is held by Kalyan Sain, whose moustache measures 11.1ft.

The Guinness Book of Records say they haven't heard from Khatana, but says if he can provide documentary evidence then he may be the new record holder.

Khatana, from Kemri in Rajasthan, says he hasn't shaved or trimmed his moustache for the last 26 years.

"The only thing that I have been doing for some years is applying oil regularly every morning. Other than that I do not spare much time for it," he said.

The Asian Age says the 61-year-old began growing the moustache because, "men in our village take pride in moustaches as it is perceived sign of masculinity and therefore it was natural that I grow one too" .

Mr Khatana lives with his two wives and 14 children.

UK's first ever naked shopping event held

The UK's first ever naked shopping event has been held in Central London.
There was a poor turnout for the event with only about 15 naturists turning up at the Plaza shopping centre in Oxford Street.
Oona Graham-Taylor, spokeswoman for the Plaza centre, blamed the disappointing turnout of naturists on the Euro 2004 football championships.
She said the centre would "possibly" consider holding another naked evening, says BBC News Online.

"We were actually hoping for more but it is the first event we have run and the football cut numbers down", she said.
Naturists were invited to register as naked shoppers before being allowed entry on the night. Many of the centre's shops and restaurants also offered discounts to the nude bargain hunters.

Staff remained fully clothed during the event.
Nick Mayhew, co-author of naturists' guidebook Bare Beaches, was on hand to sign copies of his book.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

First Private space flight a success

First Private space flight a success

By Reed Stevenson
MOJAVE, Calif. (Reuters) - The privately funded rocket plane SpaceShipOne flew to outer space and into history books on Monday as the world's first commercial manned space flight.

The distinctive white rocket plane was released from a larger plane called the White Knight and ignited its rocket engine to enter space 62 miles above the earth.

Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, it landed safely back at a runway in the Mojave Desert in California, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

"The colors were pretty staggering from up there," said pilot Michael Melvill, who also earned his wings, officially, as an astronaut. "It was almost a religious experience."

Melvill said he could see the black expanse of outer space, the curvature of the earth and a broad swathe of the Southern California coast during his three and half minutes just beyond earth's atmosphere.

The unprecedented $20 million project was intended to demonstrate the viability of commercial space flight and open the door for space tourism.

The plane with its striking nose -- a pointed cone covered with small portholes -- was designed by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan and built with more than $20 million in funding by billionaire Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp .

After burning its rocket for 80 seconds, SpaceShipOne sped up to more than three times the speed of sound and then coasted to its peak altitude, making Melvill weightless.

Melville said he released a bag of M&Ms chocolates to see if they would float in the cockpit.

"It was amazing, these M&Ms were going around everywhere," he said.

The flight marked the first time that a non-government spacecraft reached the altitude considered to be the boundary between earth's atmosphere and outer space.

Allen and SpaceShipOne's builders were expected to next try for the Ansari X Prize, which is $10 million for the first team that sends three people, or an equivalent weight, on a manned space vehicle 62 miles above the earth and repeats the trip within two weeks.

Sir Paul ensures dry gig

Sir Paul McCartney ensured his 3,000th gig wasn't washed out, as he arranged for dry ice to sprayed on clouds above the venue.

The Sun says organisers spent £20,000 in arranging for three jets to spray the clouds above St. Petersburg.

The operation worked, and sunshine broke through minutes before Mc Cartney went on stage to the cheers of 100,000 fans.

A source close to the 62-year-old said: "He thought it was a fantastic idea. The dry ice helps hold the water within the clouds."

A similar technique was also used by Russian president Vladimir Putin, ahead of the city's 300th anniversary celebrations.

His tour is set to end in front of 120,000 fans at Glastonbury.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Mad monk's member features big in Russian erotica museum

Mad monk's member features big in Russian erotica museum

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) - In a more innocent age, it was said that Gregory Efimovich Rasputin's legendary power over women was due to his piercing eyes.

But a new museum of erotica here suggests that the mad monk's charm may instead have been, ahem, concealed beneath his cassock.

Measuring 28.5 centimeters (about 11 inches) -- allowing for shrinkage caused by pickling -- Rasputin's penis displayed in a tall glass bottle is, to put it delicately, a big attraction at the museum.

Director Igor Knyazkin said he bought the object from a French antiquitarian for 8,000 dollars (6,600 euros), along with several of Rasputin's hand-written letters.

It was not known if he had a certificate of authenticity for such a remarkable piece.

Reputed both for his mysticism and his debauchery, Rasputin was a powerful influence at the court of the Romanov Tsars.

Concerned about his unusual hold over the Empress Alexandra, a group of aristocrats decided to kill him to save Russia.

They lured him to an assignation in 1916, fed him drugged cakes, shot him and finally killed him by wrapping him in a carpet and throwing him into the frozen Neva river.

The aura of sexual power and mysticism lives on. Some Russians think just by staring at the object, they can cure sexual impotence.

One visitor asked Knyazkin if this is true.

"Without a shadow of doubt," he replied with a smile.

Knyazkin, 37, a urologist and sexologist, set up the museum in the clinic he runs, partly with the aim of helping his patients overcome impotence. The atmosphere of the museum makes patients "more optimistic and relaxed," he said.

"The aim of the doctor is to free his patient from anxiety and fears. Men who come here are ill at ease because of their problems, and our light and happy atmosphere reassures them."

Only part of Knyazkin's collection of 12,000 erotic objects is displayed in the clinic, which is staffed by buxom nurses wearing short white blouses and high heels.

"I keep the valuable stuff at home," he said.

Nevertheless, the museum still contains an impressive collection of ceramic phalluses and bawdy drawings.

Many of the exhibits come from his patients, said the doctor, rattling off the names of several members of Russian high society.

Jailbreak duo escape punishment

The pair handed themselves in to staff at Gloucester Prison
Two men who fled an open prison and knocked on the door of another jail asking for a stricter regime will not serve extra time.
Audie Carr, of Hereford, and Benjamin Clarke, from Gloucester, claimed Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire was "rife with drugs".

They asked Gloucester Prison staff if they could serve their sentences there.

Charges of escape from lawful custody against the pair were dropped at Gloucester Crown Court on Wednesday.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC agreed it was not in the public interest to prosecute the duo.

Drugs habits

Carr, 29, and Clarke, 23, fled Leyhill after requests to be transferred were declined.

Giles Nelson, defending, said both had beaten drug habits after rehabilitation programmes at Gloucester Prison.

"They were off drugs and concerned about what was happening to them at Leyhill," he said.

The pair were at large for 17 hours, having missed a roll call at 2030 BST on 9 March.

They walked through the night and turned up at Gloucester Prison around 1250 BST the next day.

Adrian Foster, prosecuting, said he wished to discontinue the matter as there had been no violence or threats made in the escape.

They were off drugs and concerned about what was happening to them at Leyhill

Giles Nelson, defending

When he fled Leyhill, Clarke was serving an 18-month jail term imposed at Gloucester Crown Court on 1 March for two offences of burglary and theft.

Carr began a five-month sentence on 8 April for assault, resisting arrest and possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced at Hereford Magistrates' Court.

They are to stay at the Gloucester jail until their release later this year. Carr is due for release on 5 August and Clarke on 1 October.

In a statement issued after the hearing, a Prison Service spokesperson said there were drug rehabilitation programmes at Leyhill.

"Any prisoners found in possession of or using illegal drugs are immediately stopped from going out on licence and, in some cases, returned to open conditions," the spokesperson added.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Police chief's home burgled as he gave crime talk

Police chief's home burgled as he gave crime talk

A police chief's home was burgled while he was giving a talk on crime prevention.

Superintendent Peter West had to dash from the meeting and drive home to comfort his wife Pauline in Folkestone, Kent.

She discovered raiders had grabbed jewellery and personal items from their house.

Mr West was addressing a public meeting at Tenterden, near Ashford, at the time of the break-in, reports The Sun.

The 50-year-old Commander for the Weald area of Kent was talking about the importance of measures to prevent crime when his wife called him on his mobile.

He said: "My first instinct was concern for my family, followed by my professional instinct of wanting to catch whoever was responsible. I am no different from any other victim of crime in that I want to see justice done.

"I have since taken further security steps to protect my house. Having been a policeman for a number of years, I do understand victims' frustrations and I am very mindful of the security measures that need to be taken."

Man gets stuck in child's tyre swing

An Austrian man got himself trapped in a swing made from a tyre after falling asleep.

The 46-year-old sat on the swing in a playground in the city of Linz. But after falling asleep, he sank into the tyre and became stuck.

A friend who failed to get him out ended up calling the fire service, reports the Krone newspaper.

They tried unsuccessfully for some time before eventually working the man free.

Bono caught smoking in his own hotel

Bono has been ticked off for smoking a cigarette - in his own hotel.

The U2 singer was entertaining the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the Clarence Hotel in Dublin when he lit up.

Staff and friends asked him to stub it out - even though the singer and his U2 bandmates own the hotel.

"It was the wee small hours," Bono said. "I was in the company of people from out of town who didn't know about the ban and for a moment nor did I.

"I was quickly reminded by the staff and a few friends. I apologised then and I apologise now."

Ireland passed strict new anti-smoking laws earlier this year outlawing smoking in public places.

German zoologist says bees not as busy as we think

A German zoologist says bees aren't as busy as people are led to believe.

Professor Randolf Menzel, a neurobiologist and zoologist from the Free University in Berlin, has studied bees for four decades.

He said: "Bees are not particularly hardworking. Instead they sleep a lot and are lazy. They spend up to 80% of the night sleeping and even during the day they often fly to the nest where they rest their wings."

But to compensate for their apparent laziness, Menzel said they were actually very intelligent. He said they were quick learners, were able to recognise various scents and had five memory phases.

The researcher, who last week was awarded a prize for his work by the German Zoological Society, also said bees' learning behaviour, like many animals, was based on a reward system.

"If a bee is rewarded once for something, it remembers it for a week afterwards. But if it is rewarded three times, it will remember it for its entire lifetime," said Professor Menzel.

The memory capacity of the honey-making insects means they can distinguish between more than 50 different scents to find the one they want.

"What is interesting is that what smells good to a bee, is also a pleasant smell for humans," said Menzel.

El Paso Named Sweatiest U.S. City

El Paso, Texas, with average summer temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 36 percent, is the sweatiest city in the United States, a study released on Tuesday found.

Research scientist Tim Long calculated heat indexes and relative humidity levels to come up with his top 100 sweatiest cities in America list. By Long's calculations, in just four hours, El Paso's residents produce enough sweat to fill an Olympic swimming (news - web sites) pool, with individuals shedding more than 36 fluid ounces of perspiration an hour.

"The driving force is heat, but humidity is a key factor," said Long. "It can feel like 118 in El Paso but it's only 94."

For the dubious honor, El Paso Mayor Joe Wardy will receive a year's supply of Red Zone antiperspirant from Old Spice, a brand owned by consumer products company Procter & Gamble Co. and the sponsor of the study.

The next four sweatiest U.S. cities are: Greenville, South Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; Corpus Christi, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

England car flags may cause accidents

LONDON (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of England fans are flying St George's flags from their cars as Euro 2004 nears -- so many that they have been accused of risking accidents.

Motoring organisations are worried the flags could obscure drivers' vision, an offence which could land them with a fine of 2,500 pounds.

Draping the white flag across the dashboard could also be a serious hazard if the sun reflects off it.

"Don't do anything that is going to be dangerous by sticking flags out sidewards where they could strike pedestrians or other vehicles," said a spokesman for the AA organisation.

"If you do have an accident and the police think the flags were a contributory factor, that really could land you in some trouble," he added.

With just under a week to go before England's first match, supermarket chain Sainsbury's has already sold 75,000 car flags which clip to the windscreen.

Junior Playtime, one of the firms supplying them, has sold out completely after shifting some 50,000.

"We've had quite a few phone calls requesting more, and I know my customers have had enquiries they've had to turn down," said sales manager Laurence Watford.

SAD Unpatriotic BarStewards !

Pub will have 'Football Free Zone' for England game

A Nottingham pub is opening what's believed to be the country's first "Football Free Zone" for Thursday's England v Switzerland Euro 2004 game.

Tony Beecroft, landlord of the White Horse Pub in Ruddington has teamed up with winemakers Lindemans to create the 'pub of two halves'.

It'll enable 'football widows' to enjoy treats such as free manicures, re-runs of Sex & The City and free drink and food served by a David Beckham look-a-like.

Commenting on the pilot scheme, Amy Thomson from Lindemans said: "Our pub of two halves offers women, and mums in particular, the perfect opportunity to indulge themselves and still have an afternoon with their husbands.

"Of course we're all hoping for a good result on the day, but for some of us a glass of great tasting wine and some pampering is just too good an opportunity to miss!"

If the trial is successful it could be trialled in other cities during England internationals