Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tatty- oo

Martin Nolan spent seven hours having a prayer tattooed on his back — then showed it off to a pal who spotted TWO spelling mistakes.

Martin, 43 — who paid £200 for the tribute to his mum Breda — was furious to be told strength had been etched as “strenght” and wisdom as “nisdom”.

Caterer Martin, who cannot afford laser treatment to have the blunders corrected, moaned yesterday: “My heart sank. I’m stuck with this for life.”

Tattoo parlour Hippy Heaven — near Martin’s home in Ealing, West London — blamed HIM for approving the outlines of the letters before they were filled in.

Manager Andrew Daynes, 38, said: “We always ask this because some of the international artists might not be able to spell very well. It is the same with dyslexic artists.”

North Atlantic row record

A british rower has become the fastest to cross the North Atlantic solo and unassisted.

Rob Munslow arrived at 10.29pm last night setting a new record of 64 days, 10 hours and 48 minutes for the gruelling row, which has taken him from St Johns in Canada to the Isles of Scilly.

After being greeted by his family and girlfriend Jenny, he declared: "It's been a fantastic journey."

Rob set off in June in his boat Carnegie X-Stream and said he was overwhelmed to have finished the challenge.

The 27-year-old, from Monmouthshire in Wales, has endured severe storms and was capsized twice along the route.

He also lost his water maker and had to survive on collecting rain water for more than half the journey.

He has already set a world record as part of the 2005 Vivaldi Atlantic Four when they completed the fastest unsupported row of the North Atlantic in just 39 days.

The Scream recovered

Munch's masterpieces The Scream and Madonna have been recovered two years after masked gunmen stole the paintings from a Norwegian museum.

The Edvard Munch artworks were retrieved in an operation by Norway police. The paintings were stolen in a bold, daylight raid from the Munch Museum in Oslo on August 2004.

“The pictures came into our hands this afternoon after a successful police action,” said Iver Stensrud, head of the police investigation.
He said the police had been working intensely for two years to find the paintings and no reward was paid.

“All that remains is an expert examination to confirm with 100 percent certainty, that these are the original paintings. We believe these are the originals,” Stensrud said.

The paintings had remained missing despite the conviction of three suspects in the case in May, an international police hunt and the offer of a reward by the City of Oslo, which owns the paintings.

"Driving like I always do" .... Erratically

A 34-year-old saleswoman was caught driving down a Swiss motorway while she was using her laptop computer and chatting on a handheld mobile phone, police in north-eastern Switzerland say.

The driver said she was unaware of any wrongdoing and responded that she was "driving like I always do", police in the canton of St Gallen said in a statement.

A police patrol pulled her over on Wednesday afternoon after they saw her car zig-zagging along the A3 motorway near the town of Murg.

The woman was remanded to magistrate's court because of her "unreasonable behaviour", police said.

Fake cop nabbed

NEW YORK -- Police arrested a college student Wednesday near New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and charged him with impersonating a federal agent.

Stephan Kishore's minivan was pulled over after an officer noticed a large police decal on a rear door of the van, as well as red and blue strobe lights on the dashboard, prosecutors said.

Authorities said Kishore showed the officer a Homeland Security badge and said he was on duty. But the real cop said he noticed the back of the badge was imprinted with the words " Collectible Badge. Not For Official Use."
Kishore, who is being held on $50,000 bail, could get seven years in prison if convicted.

Nice tip :)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- Two weeks ago, one of bartender Cindy Kienow's regular customers left her a $100 tip on a tab that wasn't even half that.

This week, he added a couple of zeros.

Kienow, a bartender at Applebee's, got a $10,000 tip from the man -- for a $26 meal -- on Sunday.
"I didn't know what to say," Kienow told The Hutchinson News. "He said, 'This will buy you something kind of nice, huh,' and I said, 'Yeah, it will.'"

Kienow has worked at Applebee's for eight years.

She told the newspaper that the man is a regular customer who comes in a couple of times each month.

"He usually signs his ticket and flips it upside down," Kienow told the paper. "But this time, he had it right side up and said, 'I want you to know this is not a joke.'"

Kienow said the customer has always tipped well, but she doesn't know what prompted the huge tip.

She told the newspaper that she hasn't decided how to spend the money, but she said she has her eye on a Jeep.

Sacked by e-mail

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Hundreds of RadioShack workers learned they had mail -- but no jobs.

The electronics giant is getting some flack for sending pink slips by e-mail.

Workers at the company's headquarters in Fort Worth found they were unemployed on Tuesday with the click of a mouse.
The layoffs took effect immediately, with RadioShack cutting some 400 jobs.

A spokeswoman defended the e-mails, saying workers had been told during meetings that that's how it would be done.

But a management professor at the University of North Texas said the electronic notification could be seen as dehumanizing to employees

Pool table on a mountain

A pool table has been taken to the top of the Brecon Beacons' highest peak as part of a bizarre fund-raising event.

It was carried to Pen-y-Fan's summit, some 2,907ft (886m) high, by 20 men to help raise funds for the Merthyr Tydfil branch of the Cancer Aid charity.

Organiser Dean Thomas said he was inspired to stage the event by a story of a piano found on Ben Nevis in May.

The table has remained on the mountain top since walkers donated money to play a frame of pool on Saturday.

The National Trust, which owns the mountain, said it had given Cancer Aid permission to run the event.

Meanwhile, Mr Thomas said he and his 20 friends planned to carry the 285kg table back down on Saturday.
"The idea came from the story about the piano found on Ben Nevis," said Mr Thomas, from Merthyr.

"I run the pool league in Merthyr and I got together with a few friends and decided to play on Pen-y-fan. We hope to raise between £2,000 and £3,000 for Cancer Aid."

A tent was also erected on the summit so players could enjoy some refreshments out of the rain and wind.

Mr Thomas added: "There were quite a few walkers about and we had people from New York, New Jersey and Christchurch (New Zealand) donating money. We had a bucket and raised about £340 on the day itself."

Firefighters suspended for not handing leaflets to gays

Nine firefighters who refused to offer safety advice to people attending a gay pride march have been disciplined. A watch manager in Glasgow has been demoted to crew manager with a £5,000 salary cut. The remaining firefighters were given a written warning.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said all nine would undergo diversity training.

A spokesman said: "The nine now accept that they should have performed their duties. Their refusal was a fundamental breach of their core responsibilities."

The nine firefighters are based at Cowcaddens and were asked to distribute community safety advice to people attending the Pride Scotia festival in George Square on 24 June. The fire service spokesman said: "Firefighters cannot, and will not, pick and choose to whom they offer fire safety advice. Strathclyde Fire and Rescue has a responsibility to protect every one of the 2.3m people it serves, irrespective of race, religion or sexuality."

The Fire Brigades Union in Scotland said it would be waiting until the individual members had been contacted before commenting.

Chairman Roddy Robertson said one option for the men would be to appeal against the verdict.

Get away now .... for a beer

Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl has said he will go drinking with two miners who listened to his band while they were trapped underground for two weeks.

The men were stuck in a Tasmanian mine when it collapsed in May, and passed the time listening to the Foo Fighters on MP3 players handed to them.

Grohl said he would meet the two when the band tour Australia in November.

"I'm not just having one beer with those dudes - we're going for it," he told the country's ABC radio.

"This is going to be a big night."

The miners, Brant Webb, 37, and Todd Russell, 34, were working in at the Beaconsfield Gold Mine when an earthquake triggered a rock fall, trapping them almost a kilometre below the surface.

As rescuers dug an escape tunnel for them, the pair were handed the MP3 players to keep their spirits up.

Mr Webb requested that Foo Fighters music be put on the player - and when Grohl heard about this, he sent the miners a message of support, along with a promise fly them over to the US for drinks.

Although this has not happened, the chance of them meeting increased when the group announced their tour would include Australia.

Both Mr Webb and Mr Russell became celebrities in Australia after their escape.

Their manager Sean Anderson said he was certain they would be happy to take Grohl up on his offer.

"I'm sure they will be very keen to meet him," Anderson said.

"Brant's the big fan [of Grohl], whereas Todd's more into his country and western stuff."

eBay gum !

Stolen fossilised dinosaur footprints, 200 million years old and from a protected site, have been found after being advertised on eBay. The three-toed prints, from coastline near Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, had been offered for sale online and in a shop at Lyme Regis in Dorset.

The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) realised they could have come only from the Bendrick Rock site.

A man described as a local amateur geologist has been cautioned by police.

The police had worked alongside the CCW and the fossils were recovered after a raid on the shop in Lyme Regis. Dr Bill Wimbledon, a senior geologist for the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) said they began to investigate after they were tipped off that fossils were being advertised for sale.

"They were described as being the right age and with a bit of detective work we looked and worked out they could only have come from here," he said.

"Bendrick Rock is one of Britain's most important areas for fossil footprints. The damage to the site is obvious - a large area of rock has been quarried away, continuous track ways broken up and individual prints cut up and taken away for sale. It's very sad. They took away the positives and left us with the negatives. We are very pleased to have tracked them down and reclaimed them, and they will now go to a safe home in a museum. Most people understand the great importance of SSSIs (sites of special scientific interest) and respect this, but there is a minority - a few rogue and commercial collectors and dealers - who want only to exploit sites. We will continue to be vigilant to protect what is international geological heritage, so that we can ensure Wales remains one of the best open-air museums in the world, accessible to all," he added.

Sgt Ian Guildford of South Wales Police said a man from the Cardiff area, whom he described as a local amateur geologist, had been cautioned for criminal damage and theft from a protected site.

Fossils can be legally collected and sold - but not if they are from protected or restricted sites.

Sgt Guildford said the dealers involved in this case had claimed they had received the fossils from legal sources.

Tomatina festival

Some 40,000 people have gathered in the town of Bunol, in eastern Spain, to pelt each other with 100,000 kilograms of tomatoes in the annual Tomatina festival.

Participants, including thousands of tourists, turned themselves into a human gazpacho at one of the world's messiest festivals.

Most donned waterproof capes to stave off the onslaught of juice and pulp in a manic free-for-all.

The festival is believed to have begun life as an argument between two carnival participants in 1945.

In keeping with local tradition, the tomato throwing started on the stroke of midday, when five lorries piled high with the fruit moved into the central plaza of the town just outside Valencia.

That was the signal for everyone to hurl tomatoes - which had been squashed up a little in advance - at all and sundry for an hour, turning the streets into a red pulp.

Revellers then made use of showers placed nearby for the occasion or jumped into a nearby river to clean themselves up, while the fire brigade moved in to hose down the streets and sweep up the debris.

Let me in , let me in !

The pilot of a Canadian airliner who went to the washroom during a flight found himself locked out of the cockpit, forcing the crew to remove the door from its hinges to let him back in, the airline said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred aboard a flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg on Saturday. The regional jet, capable of carrying 50 people, was operated by Air Canada's Jazz subsidiary.

Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stewart said that with 30 minutes of the flight to go, the pilot went to the washroom, leaving the first officer in charge. But when he tried to get back into the cockpit, the door would not open.

"The door malfunctioned ... this is a very rare occurrence," Stewart said, adding that the crew's decision to remove the door had been in line with company policy.

A report in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper said that for about 10 minutes "passengers described seeing the pilot bang on the door and communicating with the cockpit through an internal telephone, but being unable to open the door."

Stewart said the paper's report was "a bit dramatic" and stressed that at no time had the plane or passengers been in danger. She did not say how many people had been on board.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Very
Silly Blog

Please go visit this guy leave a comment in a BLANK comment spot, fuck knows there are many of them , but I like persistence :)

The VerySilly Blog

Dave's Pics

It's not often I plug other blog's ( 'cept YellowdogNutcase & Debbie) but I happened on this picture blog .....

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Dave's Pics

Space tourist woman

A US-based Iranian businesswoman, Anoushe Ansari, will travel into space as the world's fourth space tourist, instead of Japan's Daisuke Enomoto who has been ruled unfit to make the trip into space.

Russian Federal Space Agency announced on Monday it had decided, on the result of a medical test, not to take Enomoto aboard the Soyuz spacecraft set to be launched on September 14.

Enomoto, a 35-year-old former Livedoor Co. executive, had been undergoing training for the trip into space in Moscow, where he currently resides.

In an entry on his Web site dated on Monday, Enomoto wrote, "Twenty-four more days until space. Two days of training left. I went to the hospital for a CT scan, which they said was the last test." Under Enomoto's 20-million-dollar contract, he had been scheduled to spend about one week on the International Space Station.

Ansari, a 39-year-old businesswoman, who will be the first female civilian space adventurer, has indicated she's ready and eager to make the trip.

Whether she will also be ready to operate the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) gear to make contacts with Earth is not known.

Ansari is the co-founder -- with her husband and brother-in-law -- of Telecom Technologies -- acquired in 2000 by Sonus Networks Inc -- and the investment firm Prodea Inc.

The Soyuz TMA-9 flight will carry ISS Expedition 14's NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, KE5GTK, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, RZ3FT, to the space station.


Passengers travelling with low-fare airline Ryanair will be able to use mobile phones on board from next year, it was announced today. It's estimated calls will cost $2.30/minute per made call and around $2.60/min for recieved calls.

The Irish no-frills carrier has completed a deal with communications company OnAir to enable mobile communications on all Ryanair's Boeing 737 jets.
It means passengers travelling from Edinburgh to Dublin and Shannon airports will be able to use a mobile and a BlackBerry on board.

All of Ryanair's fleet of more than 200 aircraft should be equipped to offer the mobile service during 2008. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said today: "This is another revolutionary passenger service initiative from Ryanair.

"In addition to offering our customers the lowest air fares and youngest fleet of aircraft, Ryanair will soon enable passengers to use their mobile phones and electronic communications devices in the air, just as they do on the ground."

He added that the new initiative would allow the airline to reduce costs and to celebrate Ryanair is offering one million seats for £9.99 before taxes and charges.

Ballacks !

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has been fined 70,000 euros (£47,000) for not paying tax on a gift for his wife.

The incident occurred in January when Ballack returned from a training camp in Dubai with former club Bayern Munich carrying a 2,000-euro (£1,350) handbag.

At Munich airport, the 29-year-old filed through the channel labelled 'nothing to declare', but on a random check by German customs officials the item was found and he was accused of trying to avoid paying 350 euros (£235) in taxes.

Ballack refused to pay the 50,000-euro (£33,700) fine imposed by the Landshut State Prosecutioners and was then sent a new bill for 60,000 euros (£40,400).

The Germany captain has finally agreed to pay the fine, which has since risen to 70,000 euros (£47,000), 65,000 euros (£43,800) of which will be donated to good causes and 5,000 euros (£3,370) will cover the administrative costs for the Landshut court.

By paying the fine, Ballack has avoided a court case, which was due to take place on August 31.

World's Shortset boy

Nepal's shortest boy is waiting for word from the Guinness World Records, where he has applied to be named the shortest in the world, his supporters said Wednesday.

Khagendra Thapa Magar, 14, is only 20 inches tall and weights just 10 pounds.

According to Min Bahadur Thapa, president of the Khagendra Thapa Magar Foundation, they are expecting to receive a reply from London-based Guinness in the next few days. The foundation was set up to collect funds for the boy.

There was no listing on the Guinness World Records' website for a shortest boy category, but Thapa claimed the closest competitor was 25 inches tall.

The boy and family members are currently touring south Nepal, seeking support for the foundation.

Pigeon fight

SYDNEY - Four people ended up in the hospital and another four were injured after feathers flew in a dispute over a racing pigeon Wednesday, Australian police said.

Police were called after a fight broke out between two families of pigeon fanciers in a suburb of the southern city of Melbourne over ownership of the prized bird. Four people were taken to hospital after suffering cuts to their heads and hands in the avian affray. Another four people received minor injuries that were treated at the scene.

Victoria state police said they were questioning nine people.

A spokeswoman said the pigeon punch-up was one of the most unusual incidents that officers had been called to resolve.

"It's a dispute over property but it just so happens that the property this time is a pigeon," the police spokeswoman said.

The Herald Sun newspaper reported that the bird at the center of the dispute flew away during the fight.

China re-creates Dead sea

In this photo released by China’s Xinhua news agency, tourists float on the water in a salt lake named Man-made Dead Sea in Daishan County of east China’s Zhejiang province on Wednesday. Xinhua said salt content in the water is almost 25 per cent and the water density is more than that of the human body, enabling swimmers to float. The salt lake which opened to the public on Monday attracted numbers of tourists, according to the Chinese news agency

Grumpy cat

Wiltshire, UK ; - With his vicious fangs on display and weight firmly on his back legs, this tabby looks set to pounce on its unsuspecting prey. But it is not mice, birds or any other small animals he is after. It is not even the other pet cats he has already savaged in his neighbourhood. They were deemed too 'small' a target to terrify, so he decided to turn his attention to a much larger prey — humans.

The pet cat, who has been named Grumpy because of his exploits, started entering all the cat flaps on one street in the search for food. He would make each house his own and would scare off the cats who lived in each of the houses. His antics in a small leafy street in Swindon, Wiltshire, have been described as a ‘four-month reign of terror’ by neighbours, who finally caught the cat and put it in a cage this week.

Shave a spill

Thousands of prisoners have been shaving their heads and chests to donate hair to help mop up the Philippines’ worst oil spill, officials said on Wednesday.

The collection was in response to a nationwide drive by the government to amass tonnes of hair and feathers to absorb more than 200,000 litres of industrial fuel that leaked from a tanker when it sank off the central island of Guimaras on August 11.

A Japanese salvage ship was expected to arrive later on Wednesday to help determine the exact location and condition of the 998-tonne Solar 1 under about 2,100 feet of water, Coast Guard chief Arthur Gosingan said.

The 15,000 inmates at a maximum security prison in southern Manila, including 1,000 on death row, began donating hair on Tuesday as health officials ordered the evacuation of residents of a fishing village on Guimaras due to health risks.

“We’re collecting plenty of hair to send to Guimaras to solve the oil spill problem," Vergilio Santos, 42, who is serving a murder sentence at New Bilibid Prison, told Reuters television after his head was shaved by a barber.

“This is a contribution even though it’s a small part,” said Nigel Richard Gatward, a 37-year-old British national convicted of drug smuggling.

The Coast Guard plans to put chicken feathers and human hair in sacks tied to bamboo poles as barriers along the coastlines of affected villages on Guimaras and in nearby Iloilo province.

Residents have been using rice straw in sacks to contain the oil slick, which has affected 46 villages on Guimaras and in Iloilo, as well as a marine reserve.

More than 40,000 people and 200 km of coastline have been affected by the spill.

Health officials recommended the evacuation of residents living near the shore in Lapaz village on Guimaras after monitoring showed an increase in air pollution in the area.

Let's beat terrorism

AD watchdogs have received a series of complaints about Ryanair's "offensive" new promotion.

The budget airline faces investigation for using a picture of Winston Churchill to sell its low-cost tickets. The wartime leader is shown in the classic V for victory pose under the tagline: "Let's beat terrorism."

A speech bubble says: "Keep Britain flying."

Underneath, it suggests the best way to see off the terror threat is to buy one of its million £25 seats.

Boss Michael O'Leary spent thousands on full-page ads in every national newspaper this week.

The Advertising Standards Authority is deciding if it should take action.

A spokesman said: "We have received complaints saying the strapline is offensive considering a potential terrorist plot has just happened."

But Ryanair insisted customers backed its campaign, "with people saying 'your message to the extremists is very clear'."

We're cross now

A restaurant called Hitler's Cross Cafe that en-raged India's Jewish community has been renamed the Cross Cafe.

Owner Puneet Sablok said swastikas used on its menus and advertising signs will also be removed.

Sablok, who used the name for his new business along with a picture of Adolf Hitler in an attempt to attract attention, agreed to the changes after meeting Jewish leaders in Mumbai.

He said: "They told me how the name hurt them so I'm changing it. I never wanted to hurt anyone."

Secret of being a twat Eternal youth

A UK Plastic surgeon last night claimed to have found a drug to beat the effects of ageing.

Jeya Prakash, 55, has been injecting himself and wife Nanthini with the formula for 18 months.

Now he plans to bring the treatment, which involves regular doses of Human Growth Hormone, to the UK although it has not yet been licensed.

Yesterday Mr Prakash claimed the injections have left his skin "shinier" and improved his sex drive.

He said they had also been "brilliant" for his wife, adding: "People think I've given her plastic surgery."

But potential side-effects may include high blood pressure, fluid retention, diabetes and speed the growth of cancers.

The treatment is widely used in the US.

Crash Gang Bang !

Criminal gangs are reportedly smashing their vehicles into lorries in an insurance scam.

The gangs use two vehicles to career in front of trucks and then brake heavily so they are shunted from the back.

They then claim vehicle and personal injury payouts for fake injuries.

It is alleged that the fraud scheme is costing millions of pounds and forcing up insurance premiums for all motorists.

The gangs target lorries because they are reportedly slower at emergency braking, cause more damage and claims through company owned vehicles are rarely contested.

Earlier this year the gang made £14, 500 from personal injury claims alone.

The story was all revealed in the Mirror.... click to read all !

Yabby racing

Hundreds of people are expected tonight in the tiny town of Windorah in Queensland's Channel Country for a unique outback event.

The Windorah International Yabby Races will see 40 yabbies race in the main street.Yabbies, are a type of inland freshwater crayfish found in Australia. They are a crustacean

The event is designed to cater for tourists travelling through to this weekend's Birdsville Races.

Yabbies will be auctioned prior to every race with some fetching up to AUD700.00 in previous years. Fifty percent of the money raised from the auction supports many local organisations and helps in purchasing equipment for the local health clinic, contributing to new toilet/shower facilities at the rodeo grounds, and many other worthwhile projects. The other fifty percent of the auction money goes into the prize pool.

The Yabby Races have become a popular stop for many on their way to the Birdsville Races and provides a unique evening of racing and revelry.

Once the last yabby has crawled its way past the finishing line, visitors can enjoy live entertainment and local hospitality at the Western Star Hotel.

Yabby trainer Geoff Seawright says this year's crop has shown plenty of potential during barrier trials.

"I give some of them a barrier trial to see how they went and they go real good so I've got them kept for the cup, the Cooper Cup, you just put them in the starter and let them rip and see how they go," he said.

"If they are a bit doughy you put them back, but these fellows are pretty quick, I've got them eating carrots down there at the moment, that seems to liven them up a bit."

Buy flights with your groceries

Shoppers at discount supermarket chain Lidl will be able to buy flights to Europe along with their groceries. In what is thought to be a UK first, it is selling flight vouchers at its checkouts to be used on routes operated by Air Berlin.

Customers can exchange their £19 voucher for one-way flights (including taxes,fuel fees and charges) worth £69 from Stansted, Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast and Bournemouth. Destinations include Berlin, Copenhagen, Majorca, Milan and Vienna.

The promotion begins on 5 September and lasts for a week, with flights to be booked online within a month and used within six months.

Lidl, a German firm which has 390 UK stores, is famed for its pile-it-high and sell-it-cheap tactics, stocking few brand names.

"There's a natural match between a low-cost retailer and a low-cost airline," said Dr Jonathan Reynolds, director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management and a Fellow in Retail Marketing at Templeton College, Oxford University.
"It's a really positive development and makes low cost airline travel more accessible to budget-conscious consumers. "This is a great demonstration of grocery retailers' ability to move into new sectors and yet still be able to pass on value to consumers." Lidl director Tony Parker said the firm was pleased to be branching out into new sectors. "Not only are we making air travel more accessible, we are making it even cheaper," he said.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Roo's on the pill

Kangaroos around Australia's national capital will soon be fed a contraceptive pill by authorities trying to control their booming population.

The move has been welcomed by Canberra animal rights advocates, who said feeding contraceptives to kangaroos was better than culling the animals.

"It's definitely a lot better than shooting kangaroos," Animal Liberation spokeswoman Simone Gray told Reuters on Wednesday. "In our nation's capital, it certainly isn't appropriate to kill our national symbol."

Australia has an estimated 57 million wild kangaroos, or nearly three times the human population, which damage crops and property and compete with livestock for food and water.

Despite being featured on the nation's coat of arms, Australia culls millions of kangaroos each year. But the number of sturdy marsupials keeps increasing.

The problem is prominent around Canberra, where five years of drought have seen more kangaroos move into the suburban fringes looking for feed and becoming traffic hazards for commuters.

Thou shalt not shoot Scotsmen

A couple from York are walking 240 miles to Edinburgh to present Lord Provost Lesley Hinds with a "peace treaty".

There is an ancient by-law in York, which has never been repealed, "legally" allowing people to shoot Scotsmen with a bow and arrow within the city walls.

In a bid to improve Anglo-Scottish relations, and raise hundreds of pounds for Survive, a charity which helps child victims of sexual abuse, Ewan and Gill Main have asked York residents to sign their treaty.

Each signatory must promise to never shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow, and to make Scots feel welcome in York.

Mr and Mrs Main will set off on September 8, and hope to arrive in the Capital two weeks later.

Mine's a pint of camel milk

Is camel milk the Viagra of the desert?

It appears so in the arid Indian state of Rajasthan, where thousands of men have been clamouring to get their hands on the milk after an 88-year-old man who fathered a child several weeks ago attributed his virility to the drink, the Times of India newspaper reported Tuesday.

Since the man, Virmaram Jat, a local farmer, revealed what he believes to be the secret of his sexual prowess, sales of camel milk have shot up and dealers have doubled their prices in the western state, the paper reported.

One vendor, Samran Singh, told the paper he now charges 40 rupees (eight cents US) a litre, up from 20 rupees (four cents) a few weeks ago.

However, doctors and scientists in Rajasthan said it was unlikely the milk was responsible for his achievement.

The director of the National Research Centre on Camels, M.S. Sahani, said there was no scientific basis for the claim.

A grave situation

Tirana residents are trying to put off dying until the government and city officials end their row over space shortages in the Albanian capital's graveyards.

Tirana municipality has shut down one of the city's two cemeteries and said the other has space for only one more week. It blames the government for holding up the expropriation of nearby land that would add space for two years' worth of graves.

"Death rites for a cemetery" and "Now starts the trading of the graves" ran the headlines in Albanian dailies alongside pictures of new graves dug in the lanes between old ones.

The Democratic Party government has had many run-ins with Tirana municipality, controlled by the opposition Socialists, including both the graveyard problem and the municipality's refusal to issue birth and death certificates because it has not received the proper forms.

"Albanians nowadays are facing a wondrous dilemma: they can't prove they're alive, and they don't dare die," Korrieri daily's editor, Elton Metaj, wrote in a commentary.

Most Albanians see black humor in the situation.

"Could you spare some space for me?" an old lady asks the gravediggers in one popular joke. "Of course, just don't be too late," they answer.

Women only traffic cops

Russia is to create its first women-only traffic police unit because commanders believe they are less corrupt than men, a newspaper reported Monday.

The male-dominated traffic police routinely forgive traffic violations in exchange for bribes. Many believe this culture helps make Russia's roads among the world's most dangerous: about 35,000 people are killed in accidents each year.

"The first female platoon of 26 traffic officers will patrol the center of Volgograd (in southern Russia)," Izvestia daily quoted regional police chief Mikhail Tsukruk as saying.

"There is research which proves that women are not inclined to bribe-taking," the paper quoted him as saying. A few women already serve in the traffic police.

Is my car ready yet ?

Buenos Aires: An Argentine pensioner is suing a garage that claims to have been fixing his car for the past six years.

Jose Orono, claims he took his Fiat 600 (1970 model) to the repair shop in 2000. But a week after the car was in the shop, the owner told Orono that he would need another two weeks to fix the car.

“It needed painting and some minor mechanical work. He kept making up excuses. One time, he said his aunt had died and the other that his shop had been broken into. I wanted to be patient, but enough is enough!” said Orono.

Cake thieves

Two men broke into a supermarket depot in Germany and left with just a cake, authorities said on Tuesday.

"Sometimes people just come up with crazy ideas," said Hermann Schwichtenberg, a spokesman for police in the northern town of Itzehoe. "Now we've seen everything."

Police arrested the two men, aged 29 and 41, shortly after the late night break-in and recovered the stolen cake. A search of the men's flat uncovered no more loot.

Free legal downloads

SpiralFrog, a new online music service, on Tuesday said it reached an agreement with Universal Music Group to offer free downloads of its songs and is trying to reach similar deals with other record labels.

The service, to be launched in December, experiments with a new business model that is funded entirely by advertising, as opposed to the pay-per-song model of Apple Computer's market-leading iTunes music store.

While the idea of free, legal downloads will likely appeal to consumers, record industry executives say it remains to be seen whether SpiralFrog can attract enough advertising revenue to pay record companies for their catalogues.

The site also needs to sign on other major labels, such as EMI Group and Warner Music Group, to offer enough songs to attract strong user traffic. Both record labels said they were in talks with SpiralFrog.

New York-based SpiralFrog said it intends to share advertising income with its partners.

"The (record companies) are keen on discussions about the model, but those discussions are complicated," Lance Ford, chief marketing officer for SprialFrog, said by telephone.

Universal Music, the world's largest record company and a unit of Vivendi, has agreed to make its catalogue available for free downloading from SpiralFrog in the United States and Canada.

This means consumers can log on to and download songs from Universal's roster, which includes U2, Gwen Stefani and The Roots, in the Windows Media format for their computers and compatible music players.

Unwanted Mail - man

A postman who advised people how to stop junk mail being delivered to their home could lose his job after bosses suspended him for misconduct. Roger Annies composed and circulated a leaflet about the Royal Mail's opt-out clause for unsolicited mail during his rounds in Barry, south Wales.

Residents are said to be annoyed at their postman's suspension.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman confirmed that a postman employed in Barry was being investigated for "alleged misconduct".

Mr Annies' leaflet read: "As you will have certainly already noticed, your postman is not only delivering your mail; he/she also has to deliver some (anonymous) advertising material called door-to-door items. For the near future, Royal Mail plans to increase your advertising mail. This will mean a lot more unwanted post in your letterbox. If you complete the slip below and send it to the Royal Mail delivery office, you should not get any of the above-mentioned unwanted advertising."

People who were receiving Mr Annies' leaflets say they are in favour of his actions.

Anthony Vaughan, 64, of Churchfields, Barry, said: "I'm fed up with junk mail. For every letter you receive, you have to put another 14 in the dustbin.

"God knows what businesses think about the amount of junk mail delivered to them. I thought it was a good idea and I was going to complete the form that he had delivered. Roger was just letting us know what Royal Mail should have told us in the first place. I don't agree with the suspension at all. It's ridiculous."

Commuter's revenge

A commuter in the US has taken his revenge for three decades' worth of traffic jams - by blowing up the bridge that made his daily journey misery.

From 312 wonderfully terrible entries, the commuting stories of 20 finalists were
vetted by a panel of five traffic reporters, who named Dan Ruefly as the individual who had the toughest time crossing the original Wilson Bridge.

It was a well-known traffic blackspot on the huge 10-lane beltway that circles the capital. But at midnight Mr Ruefly flicked the switch that brought it crashing down.

Tonnes of explosives blew the bridge into pieces, making way for a new, higher bridge, double the width, which should end the massive tailbacks.

Mr Ruefly was picked for the job as he was judged to have had the worst commuting experience there.

Not only did he spend three hours a day sitting in traffic, largely thanks to the bridge, but it nearly cost him his life. The ambulance taking him to hospital after a serious car accident got stuck there and he almost died.

He said he did not bear a grudge against the bridge but it was truly an honour to be responsible for it going up in smoke

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rock your baby

LOS ANGELES -- If you know nothing about Metallica, "Enter Sandman" does sound like it could be the title of a lullaby.

A company called Baby Rock Records has created lullaby versions of songs by Metallica, Coldplay and Radiohead.

Executive producer Valerie Aiello said her company did the lullaby tributes because they love the music of all those artists. She said they tested the CDs on babies they knew and she can vouch that one crying baby fell asleep while listening to the Coldplay disc.

The Metallica, Coldplay and Radiohead versions come out Tuesday.

Future editions will feature lullaby versions of Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Bjork, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, No Doubt, The Pixies and Pink Floyd. Aiello said while a lot of the music works well in this format, some songs just don't work. She said even though "Rape Me" by Nirvana was a hit, it just wasn't the best choice for babies.

The CDs will be available in stores or through the web site

121 T-shirts

Some dudes have nothing better to do except put on 121 T-shirts .... click here to see the funny pictures.

Are you a psychopath?

At least one Australian police force is using a well-known US psychology test in an attempt to filter-out psychopaths wanting to join up, it’s been revealed today. The problem is the 567 questionnaire is so well known that it’s available on the Internet, along with recommended answers for the true and false quiz. Questions range from the predictable (“I am a very sociable person”) to the downright strange (“Evil spirits possess me at times”). Take the test yourself by following the link below.

The Herald Sun newspaper, which revealed the test today, opted not to publish details on where to find it on the Internet to protect police security. But given that the newspaper published examples of questions, which with the help of Google means you can find it in a matter of seconds, Gotcha thought we’d save you the trouble.

The questions on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index (or Inventory, as it is also known) and some recommended answers can be found here.

The test is described as “the most widely used and misused personality test in the world”. You can read more about its history on Wikipedia.

Oddly, the Victoria Police, which uses the readily available questionnaire, refused to release it to the Herald Sun under a Freeedom of Information request.
Best guitar solo of all time ?

Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb has the best guitar solo of all time, according to a new poll. It was chosen ahead of the opening riff from Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses. Third was Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, while Eruption by Van Halen was fourth and Guns N' Roses' November Rain fifth. Led Zeppelin classic Stairway to Heaven was in sixth place.

The radio station Planet Rock asked listeners to come up with a top 40. The rest of the top 10 featured Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, Aqualung by Jethro Tull, Hotel California by the Eagles and Child In Time by Deep Purple.

Doe a deer ....

Sam the labrador snuggles up with fawn Bluebell — after adopting the orphan.

Six-week-old fallow deer Bluebell was found alone three weeks ago and given to the wildlife sanctuary at Mountfitchet Castle, near Stansted, Essex.

Owner Jeremy Goldsmith, who believes Bluebell’s mum was killed on the roads, said 11-year-old Sam took to the fawn right away.

He said: “I began bottle feeding her and she and Sam struck up an instant friendship.

“She snuggled up to him in his bed and they’ve been inseparable ever since.

“Sam even picks up the bottle for Bluebell to feed. It’s beautiful to see.

Now that was clever

Chinese state media says a Chinese woman's attempt to teach her dog how to drive proved a costly error, as her car crashed into an oncoming vehicle.

Xinhua news agency reports no one - including the dog - was injured, but both vehicles were slightly damaged.

Xinhua says the accident happened recently in the city of Hohhot, capital of north China's Inner Mongolia region.

The woman, surnamed Li, had noticed how fond the dog was of crouching on the wheel, and thought it should have a go at steering the car.

She herself operated the accelerator and the brake.

Robin robbed

The new BBC production of Robin Hood, the classic tale of the hero who stole from the rich, has been hit by theft.

A number of tapes were taken from the offices of the independent producers Tiger Aspect in Hungary, where filming of the new series has taken place.

A BBC spokeswoman would not confirm reports of a £1m ransom being demanded for their safe return or that the tapes were the only copies of the series.

She added: "All reasonable steps are being taken to recover the tapes."

The BBC has said that the series will still be shown as planned, despite the theft.

WTG Jane !

Cancer sufferer Jane Tomlinson has been praised by Tony Blair as she enters the final week of her 4,200-mile cycle ride across America on Monday. The hand-written letter was delivered to her in Washington during the latest stage of her journey.

It read: "Well done on all your fundraising efforts. It's a fantastic achievement. Good luck, Tony Blair."

Mrs Tomlinson, 42, from Leeds, hopes to finish the ride from San Francisco to New York on Friday.

The mother-of-three and her co-riders Ryan Bowd, 27, and Martyn Hollingworth, 40, were joined by about a dozen members of staff from the British Embassy in Washington for Monday's leg of the ride.

"It's been good that they could join me and give me a bit of company," she said.

"The overwhelming feeling is one of relief. It's relief that the end is in sight - I'll be home with the rest of my family next week."

HP furore

Heinz faces legal action to stop it using the Houses of Parliament label on HP Sauce bottles after it said it would stop making the sauce in the UK. Workers at the HP Sauce plant in Aston, Birmingham, were told last Wednesday of the final decision to move production to the Netherlands.

Premier Foods believes Heinz should not be allowed to continue using such an iconic British building. Heinz has dismissed the threat of legal action as a "publicity stunt".

Sue Knight, general manager for Branston at Premier Foods, said: "The advice we're getting from lawyers is that if HP continues to use the Houses of Parliament image... there may well be grounds for action under the Trades Description Act. A lot of people are urging us to put the Houses of Parliament design on our bottles. It's something we would consider now that HP seems to stand for 'Holland Produced' rather than 'Houses of Parliament'. As for HP, we think it would be much more appropriate if they replaced the Houses of Parliament with a lovely picture of a windmill, or maybe a vase of sunflowers," said Ms Knight.

Heinz has faced a furious reaction in Birmingham from workers, union leaders and MPs over its decision, which will cost 120 jobs when the plant closes next March. There have been calls for a boycott of Heinz products and demands that the Parliament image is removed from HP Sauce labels.

Heinz said its announcement marked "a sad day for Birmingham" but that the company had to save £25m.

Reacting to the threat of legal action, Nigel Dickie of Heinz UK and Ireland, said: "This is a rather desperate attempt to gain publicity for a brand that since its launch in October last year has mustered less than 1% share. This picture (Parliament) represents the historic usage of HP Sauce in the restaurant at the Houses of Parliament."

He added: "It will be made clear on the label that the sauce is manufactured in the Netherlands.

"Branston's comments about images are nonsensical. Some Royal Mail stamps, which of course carry the Queen's image, are printed in Holland."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Captain Jack Sparrow's dad smoked on stage

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards may have flouted Scotland's smoking ban when he played to thousands fans at Glasgow's Hampden Park.

The city council confirmed it was investigating reports that he smoked on stage throughout the gig on Friday.

The veteran rocker could face a £50 fine and Hampden Park could also face a £250 penalty if officials prove the venue failed to enforce the ban.

The rock 'n' roll legends are on the UK leg of their A Bigger Bang world tour.

Now ain't that clever

Shocking pictures of a young man "lucky to be alive" after he dangled from overhead rail cables have been issued by transport police.

A passenger took pictures of the man as he hung from the 25,000 volt cables in Tamworth, Staffordshire, earlier this month, and handed them into police.

Pc Rob Newman of British Transport Police said the overheads had been switched off to deal with an incident.

But a residual electric current would still have been running, he said.Pc Newman described the young man's actions as "unbelievable".

He said: "Both him, and another young person watching from the bridge, could have been seriously injured or even killed. He is clearly endangering himself and others."There is no way he could have known the overhead wires had been switched off, as the train was standing at a red signal.


CONVERSE, La. - A father-son team from this Sabine County town broke the state watermelon record three times in one summer, with melons adding up to a total weight of 677 pounds.

The really big buster, at 252.4 pounds, was cut from its vine Friday in front of two witnesses from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

"We babied this thing for 147 days," Donnie Sistrunk Jr. said.

He and 15-year-old Rusty Sistrunk brought their first pair of record-breakers to the Louisiana Watermelon Festival in Farmerville July 27-28.

At 218.8 and 205.8 pounds, their melons took first and second places and beat the record of 202.6 pounds held since 2003 by Trey Patton of Downsville.

Rusty's grandmother Katherine Brumley took a 196-pound watermelon to Midway Baptist Church Sunday night. "We ate and ate and ate, and still had some to go home," she said.

Monster melons became the Sistrunks' hobby two years ago, when they bought a 120-pounder in a hotel lobby during the watermelon festival in Hope, Ark.

Their first goal was to grow a 100-pound melon. "We got 196 pounds," Rusty said.

This year, they grew 25 watermelons in two patches. The smallest weighed 190 pounds.

There are no secrets, just a lot of pampering, Rusty said. The Carolina Cross variety is bred to be big. The Sistrunks grow just one per vine, rotating each daily to keep it round and rot-free.

"We started them in cups in March and then put them in the ground on Good Friday. They were about 3 inches," Rusty said.

Since word of the Sistrunk's melons has gotten out, Patton and another former state record holder have made visits to the Converse watermelon patch, said Carla Sistrunk, Rusty's mother.

Rusty's grandparents, Katherine and Hubert Brumley of the Mitchell community and Oneta and Johnny Craig of Converse, and other family members brought cameras and camcorders to document the official Friday weigh-in.

Dedra Wise, of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's weights and measures division, did her own documentation and filled out a form certifying the melon's weight, 38-inch length and 61-inch circumference.

Sistrunk said he and his son are keeping seeds from the record melon. "And if the good Lord is willing we'll do this again next year."

The world record is 268.8 pounds, set in September 2005 by Lloyd Bright of Hope, Ark.

"You're just 16 pounds away," said Hubert Brumley.

Good Principal

HAMMOND, Ind. -- Fed up with inappropriate outfits, the principal at a high school suspended 128 students on the first day of school as part of a crackdown on dress code violators.

Wednesday's one-day suspensions came minutes after doors opened at northwestern Indiana's Morton High School and affected more than 10 percent of the 1,200 students.
The offending attire -- including baggy pants, low-cut shirts, tank tops and graphic T-shirts -- are banned from classrooms. Students were also cited for cell phone use.
"This was the worst year I've seen in a long time," said Principal Theresa Mayerik. "It's gotten out of control, and we needed to send a message that we're not messing around."
The Hammond school usually has 20 dress code violations a day.
Mayerik said the infraction would be removed from students' records in 12 weeks if they had no other in-school violations.
That didn't stop parents from complaining about the punishments.
"This takes their first day and makes it traumatic," said Bridget Lane, whose daughter was suspended for wearing a tank top and layered clothing. "I agree with putting some fear into the kids, but I think this was way too hard-nosed."
School officials withdrew a proposal this summer that would have required students to wear uniforms.
Instead, administrators sent notes to parents in July outlining the dress code and warning students to come to school with appropriate clothing.
School board members said they support Mayerik and the mass suspensions.
"I'd be supportive if half the school was sent home, because 99 percent will get the message our schools are for education," board president Rebecca Ward said. "They don't need to come in thinking they're posing for a fashion magazine."

World's tallest lift

ZURICH: Train passengers will be able to ride the world's tallest elevator in the heart of the Alps after Swiss authorities gave it the green light on Friday.

The 800-metre elevator will link a high mountain valley to a station on the longest rail tunnel in the world, housing a new high-speed train link between Zurich and Milan.

The Porta Alpina station and elevator project will cost an estimated 50 million Swiss francs (£22 million), the canton of Graubuenden said in a statement.

"This region has great expectations for economic and tourism development," Arno Lanfranchi, project leader for the Graubuenden authorities, told Reuters by telephone.

The elevator shaft is far higher than the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan, the world's tallest building.

It is already in place after being used to ferry material up and down to the Gotthard base tunnel, which will be 57km long when completed in 2016.

The canton hopes to boost the economic fortunes of the remote Surselva valley by slashing journey times from major cities via the Gotthard tunnel. The valley is the source of the River Rhine and surrounded by 3000-metre peaks.

"We hope it will bring tourists who want to experience the Porta Alpina and the mountain scenery," Lanfranchi said.

"It may bring people from Milan, who want to escape from the winter fog and up to the sunny mountains."

The Gotthard rail tunnel, part of a wider project to upgrade north-south links under the Alps, will be far deeper than the existing tunnel and will cut journey times from Zurich to Milan by an hour.

Regional authorities are funding half the Porta Alpina project, with the rest of the money coming from Switzerland's federal government.

"The project cannot be operational until the Gotthard base tunnel is finished," Lanfranchi said.

"It should be ready almost immediately after that."

Tram driver done for speeding

A tram driver in Melbourne has been given an on-the-spot fine after he was caught speeding.

A traffic policeman with a laser radar gun clocked the tram at 57km/h in a 40km/h zone, reports the Australian.

"It's the first time that a member has detected a speeding tram. He said it was quite unusual," a traffic police spokeswoman said. The officer said the tram driver was "co-operative", the spokeswoman added. "There was no animosity," she said.

The driver was fined the equivalent of £85 and will lose three points from his normal driver's licence.

Yarra Trams spokesman Colin Tyrus said the driver also would be counselled by the company and would be subject to an internal disciplinary process.

"There's no exception for tram drivers to the speed limit," Mr Tyrus said.

Mary appears on turtle's tum

An 81-year-old woman in Chicago said the image of the Virgin Mary appeared to her on the stomach of a pet turtle, according to a Local 6 News report. Shirley McVane said the image mysteriously appeared on a sand turtle given to her by a family member. McVane, said she had had the turtles for about a year and the image is plain to see. "I told some of our friends, you know I've got a turtle and I said it has the image of the Virgin Mary on it, and I said it's getting plainer and plainer," McVane said. "And they said, 'Yeah sure. Yeah, I know, you're 81 years old, you think we believe that?' I said, 'Well, it's the truth.' So, now they all believe it."


  • One million guitars were sold in the UK last year, double the 2001 sales.
  • The new population statistics show that there are now 300,000 people aged 90 or over in the United Kingdom.
  • Although 447,000 Eastern Europeans from the EU's newest member states have registered for work in the UK since May 2004, only 420 have come from Slovenia.
  • For every ten successful attempts on Mount Everest there is one death.
  • Trap-jaw ants have been recorded closing their jaws at 66mph, the fastest known speed for an animal moving it's body parts.
  • Cheddar may be the the most popular cheese in the English speaking world, but there is only one maker of it left in the village of Cheddar, the Gorge cheese company.
  • and finally ......
  • Zara Phillips followed in her mothers footsteps, Princess Anne, by keeping her nerve to claim individual gold on Toytown in the three-day eventing competition at the World Equestrian Games today.

World Mobile Phone Throwing Championships

Lassi Etelaetalo of Finland beat out a slew of competitors to win the World Mobile Phone Throwing Championships title in Savonlinna, Finland, tossing his handset 89 metres.

Etelaetalo, who competed in the original "over-the-shoulder-throw" event being held for the seventh straight year, fell short of the world record of 94.97 metres set in 2005.

"It was a really fast throw with lots of power," one of the organisers, Juha Lukkonen, said.

Second place went to last year's champion, fellow Finn Mikko Lampi, who tossed a distance of 87.17 metres.

The games include events for individuals or teams.

Phone throwers can compete in the "original" category, a straight over-arm pitch where length is the main factor, and in "freestyle", where points are also given for style, costume and character, as well as general sobriety.

Organisers say the event is "the only sport where you can pay back all the frustration and disappointments caused by this modern equipment".

Numerous countries now organise national events but at this year's world championship the large majority of competitors were Finns, apart from a few from Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's a bomb ! ( not a penis pump)

A man travelling to Turkey with his mother desperately did not want her to know he had packed a sexual aid for their trip - so when airport security found it in his luggage, he told them it was a bomb.

Madin Azad Amin, 29, was stopped by officials after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors in Chicago said.

When airport officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb. But he later told officials he lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he did not want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump.

He has been charged with disorderly conduct and could face up to three years in jail if convicted, the Cook County state's attorney's office said.

Titanic garden fiasco

As I reported earlier (can't find the frigin link) this year the future of a 100ft model of the Titanic built in a back garden is uncertain after officials demanded its owner obtain planning permission.

Maritime enthusiast Stan Fraser, 41, has spent six years building the scale replica of the vessel behind his Inverness home. But Highland Council has now warned Mr Fraser that the structure requires retrospective planning permission.

He said: "I'm worried that if I don't get planning permission all the hard work will be down the drain."

His version of the ill-fated liner, which sank in 1912 with the loss of 1,503 lives, has been a hit with walkers and cyclists of the canal towpath behind his home.

It features four smoke-belching funnels.

The father of five had also been planning to install a working foghorn and lights to twinkle from the portholes.


CHINA'S sports ministry has ordered an investigation into the systematic doping of teenage pupils at an athletics school in Liaoning province, the state media reported yesterday.

Officials from the Chinese Olympic Committee's anti-doping commission raided a training camp used by Liaoning Anshan Athletics School on 8 August and caught staff injecting students with banned substances, Xinhua news agency reported.

The athletes were preparing for provincial games.

Further investigation discovered illegal substances, including erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone, as well as hypodermic needles in the headmaster's room.

Staff at the Anshan school face criminal charges under China's anti-doping code.

So where was the cash from ?

PADDOCK LAKE, WIS. — A sales representative on the way to a business call made an unscheduled stop — in the middle of the highway — after noticing the cash swirling around his car.

"I was a little west of Paddock Lake and all of a sudden there was money flying in my windshield and grill," Ted Neitzke said.

Neitzke, 58, of Random Lake, said he stopped, got out of his car and began collecting the bills while dodging the traffic.

"So here's this guy — me — in the middle of Highway 50 with a tie picking up money," he said. "It was just kind of sliding along the road. When a car or truck would drive by, it would go one way, and when another one would drive by, it would go the other way."

He managed to pick up a dozen $20 bills and two $1 bills, a total of $242.

Then he called the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.

"I was just hoping it wasn't anybody's rent money or somebody who needed it," he said. "I figured it was the right thing to do."

The sheriff's report said the money Neitzke collected about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday was placed in an evidence locker, and if no one claims it, Neitzke will get it.

Sheriff's spokesman Horace Staples said not everyone would have turned in the cash.

"When people do that, it's very unique," Staples said. "Normally people would look around and pocket the money."

Tree record

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took part Friday in a massive tree-planting campaign aimed at improving air quality in the Philippines while breaking a world record.

The "Green Philippine Highways" project initially aimed to simultaneously plant 500,000 trees on 2,137 miles of roads across the sprawling archipelago, but Environment Undersecretary Francisco Bravo said the figure may have been higher.

Some 620,000 seedlings were distributed to government and civic groups and nearly a million participants signed up, including members of 4,414 organizations, he said.

"This morning, we planted trees all over the archipelago, the biggest number of trees planted at one time in the history of the world," Arroyo said in a speech after launching the project. "We will probably make it to the Guinness Book of Records for that."

The current record for most number of trees planted simultaneously is listed as 300,587 in 2005 by 16,317 people at 18 sites across India's Andhra Pradesh state.

There was no immediate word from Guinness on Friday's record attempt.

Supersized to China

A German maker of outsize shoes says he will fly to China next week with three pairs of extra large ladies shoes as a special and much-needed gift for Yao Defen, believed to be the world's tallest woman.

Georg Wessels says he has spent years trying to track down Ms Yao, who is from a poor farming family in eastern China's Anhui province and 2.36 metres tall, ( At 7 feet 7 inches, 396 pounds, and a shoe size (EUR) of 78) according to Chinese doctors.

"I wrote to China to ask her what kind of shoes she would like and in what colour. She answered she didn't care at all what colour they were she would just be so happy to have some proper footwear," Mr Wessels said.

Ms Yao takes European size 57 shoes. The largest shoes Wessels has made so far were a size 69 for Matthew McGrory, who has the world's biggest feet, according to the Guinness World Records.

Ms Yao began treatment in June for a brain tumour which is largely responsible for her extraordinary height by stimulating her body to release excessive amounts of growth hormone.

Welcome to Carmody Middle School not !

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A geography teacher has found himself embroiled in controversy after his principal found out he had flags from other countries in his classroom.

The Jefferson County School District said Thursday that it has reinstated the teacher who was suspended because he refused to take down foreign flags hung in his classroom. At the time, he was displaying U.N., Mexican and Chinese flags in class.

The school district said Eric Hamlin will be back in class at Carmody Middle School in the Denver suburb of Lakewood and so will his flags. The flags can go back up, but only when they're relevant to the lesson.
Hamlin said he needs to think about whether he wants to return to the school or not.

"I did ask the area superintendent if I could take one more day, tomorrow, (to) think through this," said Hamlin. "It's the first time I've been torn in quite a while."

He said he believes officials felt the flags, especially the Mexican one, would "send these seventh graders into a spin and they would start protesting."

The school said that he can have the flags up for only six weeks at a time and then he will have to rotate them out, since state law makes it illegal to display foreign flags permanently in schools.

"Hamlin met with school district officials this morning. After reviewing the situation and the state law, Hamlin and the district agreed that Mr. Hamlin would return to the classroom tomorrow morning, Friday, Aug. 25, and the flags would be used in a manner consistent with an exception in the law that permits temporary displays of foreign flags as instructional materials," Jeffco Public Schools said Thursday in a released statement.

"Our district believes in win-win situations. This will address the district's concerns regarding compliance with the law and get Mr. Hamlin back into the classroom," said Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson.

Hamlin was escorted out of class on the second day of school after he refused to take down the flags of China and Mexico. Principal John Schalk asked Hamlin to remove the flags because of his concern that the display violated a Colorado law (C.R.S. 18-11-205), the Jeffco School District said. Jeffco placed Hamlin on paid administrative leave for insubordination.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the principal "overreacted."

"Under state law, foreign flags can only be in the classroom because it's tied to the curriculum. And the principal looked at the curriculum, talked to the teacher, and found that there was really no curriculum coming up in the next few weeks that supported those flags being in the classroom," Jeffco Public Schools spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said Wednesday.

Hamlin argued that although his curriculum may not speak specifically about those flags, they are used as reference tools for world geography.

"It's much along the lines of a science teacher who puts up a map of the solar system. They may not spend every day and every lesson talking about Mars, but they want the students to see that and to see the patterns of the planets and the order, and the students will observe that and absorb that learning visually," Hamlin said.

Hamlin said that the school district not only deprived him of a teaching tool but also took away from his students' education.

"The major problem I see here is with the law that limits educators," Hamlin said.

"We have to uphold state law. We really have no discretion when it comes to upholding the law," Setzer said.

Hamlin said he was considering getting his master's degree from the University of Denver before he was offered the teaching position at Carmody. He now said that if he chooses not to return to the school, he will pursue a masters degree at Denver University.

"What happens next? Is going back to Carmody Middle School going to tear open wounds that have started to heal?" said Hamlin. "Will my presence be more of a problem for the staff and the students at that school than my being away? And that's what I have to think about."

Hamlin said he understands that the school district was only following state law, so he met with the American Civil Liberties Union. He said that, if necessary, he planned on fighting the constitutionality of the law.

This is the fourth year Hamlin has worked within the Jeffco School District, and he said he's hung the flags before without a problem. The teacher said he's had foreign banners in class for three years, including the Iraqi and Palestinian flags, and didn't have any complaints before.

This is his first year at Carmody Middle School.

WTG ! Grandpa

CLEVELAND -- Police say a bank robber in Cleveland tangled with the wrong senior citizen.

The robber, who police said stole more than $5,000 from bank tellers on Tuesday, called 70-year-old James Matteson an "old man" and told him to get out of the way.

Matteson, a Navy veteran and long-time bar owner, decided not to let the thief get away with it.

He threw the robber against a wall then to the floor, where a security guard and off duty police officer helped subdue the man.

Matteson's arm got sliced with a utility knife but he is otherwise fine. When he got home, Matteson says his wife scolded him for being too old to be doing things like that.

KKK cop is ok

OMAHA, Nebraska -- Robert Henderson was not fired as a state trooper because he belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and another white supremacist group, authorities said.

Instead, he was ousted because he could not uphold public trust while participating in such groups, they said.

An arbitrator disagreed, ordering the State Patrol to reinstate Henderson within 60 days and pay him back wages. The state went to court Friday to keep him off the force.

"The integrity of Nebraska's law enforcement is at risk," Attorney General Jon Bruning said at news conference in Lincoln. "The Constitution does not require law enforcement to employ anyone tied to the KKK."

In a summary of the causes for firing Henderson in March, the State Patrol said membership in the KKK "seriously compromised" Henderson's ability to do his job.

Henderson and the state troopers union appealed and, under its contract, went to binding arbitration, to get his job back.

Marley coin

The Bank Of Jamaica has issued 1,000 gold and silver coins to celebrate late reggae star Bob Marley. The commemorative coins bearing the star's dreadlocked likeness are being sold for $100 (£55) each.

Made by the British Royal Mint, they were intended to mark the 60th anniversary of Marley's birth in 2005 - but have only been issued now.

"We've received quite a bit of interest already," said bank spokeswoman Jacqueline Morgan.

There was no explanation given for the delay in issuing the coins. It is the second time the Bank of Jamaica has issued coins bearing Marley's likeness in his homeland.

"The coins to commemorate his 50th birthday have totally sold out," Morgan said.

Marley, who died of cancer in 1981, was one of the most iconic figures in music, and arguably one of the most famous Jamaican in history. He shot to fame in the 1970s with hits such as No Woman No Cry and I Shot The Sheriff.

In February it was announced that his home in Jamaica was to be declared a national monument, 25 years after his death

On your bikes!

South Africa's police minister has told police that they can ride donkeys or bicycles to get to crime scenes if they do not have cars. Speaking at a police awards ceremony, Charles Nqakula said police who failed to do their job could quit the service.

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.

Earlier this year, the minister sparked controversy when he told opposition MPs that if they wanted to "Whinge" about crime, they could leave the country. But speaking at the ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday, he urged the police and the South African public alike to be less tolerant of crime.

"If you don't have a car, ride a bicycle or a donkey," Mr Nqakula said in response to police who offered the excuse of not having transport when investigating crimes, reports the Pretoria News newspaper. We are living in a society where tolerance is allowing people to get away with murder. I will not condone policemen and women who say they cannot help the people they have sworn to help. If you cannot or are not willing to do your job then get out of the organisation," he said.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Little Britain ( in China)

Look at those white stucco Regency terraces. This must be Pimlico. Look again. Well, perhaps we are in Bristol; that's the spire of St Mary Redcliffe over there, isn't it? On the other hand, all those black-and-white Tudor shops seem to spell Chester. Right?

Wrong. This is not England, nor even a chim-chiminee Hollywood film set. Welcome to Thames Town, a grotesque, and extremely funny parody of an olde English town seen through Chinese eyes, and built by canny British developers. Twenty-five miles from Shanghai, scores of Chinese workers are putting the finishing touches on a little bit of Britain.

They're pounding cobble stones into the dirt road. They're installing the pews in a neo-Gothic church. They're wiring up the red telephone boxes. And a lone labourer dusts off a sign that reads: "Real Ales Served Here."

Part Disneyland, part period fantasy -- welcome to "Thames Town," a Chinese settlement with a very British vibe.

But this Middle England rip-off is more than a real estate gimmick. It's part of a government plan to move thousands of Chinese out of an overcrowded Shanghai and into China's newly launched suburbs.

A new rail line currently under construction will link downtown Shanghai to the commuter city of Song Jiang, home of Thames Town as well as a number of recently transplanted universities.

The one-square kilometer settlement will be completed by the end of the year, ready to house 10,000 people.
Thames Town is one of seven satellite towns nearing completion on the fringe of Shanghai built by the municipal government to re-house 500,000 people. Its six siblings have been designed in equally potty national dresses. Take your pick from architectural styles adopted from Italy, Spain, Canada, Sweden, Holland and Germany.

I hope Thamestown's website works better for you, I couldn't get any pictures to load !

Robber disguised as cop .... for 20 years

HANOI - A convicted Vietnamese robber who escaped from prison 20 years ago chose a sly way to hide from the law -- inside the police force and as a member of the ruling Communist Party.

A police newspaper reported Friday that Ngo Thanh Tam, 51, was re-arrested Tuesday, two decades after joining the police under a false identity in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong.

The An Ninh Thu Do (Capital Security) newspaper described Tam as a "dangerous criminal" on the national wanted list. After his arrest he was purged from the party, which he joined in June.

It was unclear how Tam's real identity was discovered.

Tam was sentenced to four years in jail in 1984 for a series of robberies, but he escaped from prison in 1986, the newspaper said. In 2003 Tam was promoted to police chief of Dak Ru commune.

He had also been elected to the Dakru People's Council for the 2004-2009 tenure.

A Woman scorned

Some wives cut up their husband's suits in revenge for infidelity. Others give away their wine collections. But the wife of the new Czech prime minister has found a different way of hitting her husband where it hurts - running for a rival political party.

Mirek Topolanek, who became prime minister of the Czech Republic on Wednesday, described his wife Pavla's move as a "sweet revenge" after admitting on Friday that, as his wife had long claimed, he was having an affair with the deputy leader of parliament.

Mr Topolanek, 50, head of the conservative Civic Democrats (ODS), said his wife told him last week that she had joined the Right-wing party Politika 21.

"I was surprised but not cross," he said. She plans to run for the Senate in Ostrava, Mr Topolanek's home city.

ODS apparatchiks are furious. "A situation where the wife of a political party's chairman runs for another political party is extremely unusual," said Lukas Zenaty, the ODS leader in Ostrava. According to leading ODS members, Mrs Topolanek had told party leaders that her husband was having an affair with a senior party member.

She claims their failure to respond to her request for a political post led her to join Politika 21, which campaigns under the slogan: "No to political arrogance, corruption and wasting money".

Ramses stautue moves

Engineers on Friday moved the giant statue of Pharaoh Ramses II from a congested square in Cairo to its new home near the more peaceful Great Pyramids.

Contractors moved the more than 3,200-year-old statue from Ramses Square in an effort to save it from exhaust fumes and other environmental hazards that were causing the 83-tonne structure to deteriorate.

Onlookers crowded along the street around the statue, which was surrounded by a convoy including 1,500 soldiers, during the final leg of its journey.

The trip took about 10 hours from Ramses Square - its home since the early 1950s when it was taken from a temple at the site of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis - to its new location about 1.5 kilometres from the pyramids near the site of the future Grand Museum of Egypt.

"I think that today if Ramses could talk, he would say 'Thank you for moving me,' " antiquities chief Zahi Hawass told state-run television.

Twins re-united

CHICAGO, Illinois -- A pair of 3-year-old twins from China who were adopted separately by American families have found their way into each others' arms.

The girls' mothers -- Holly Funk, of suburban Chicago, and Diana Ramirez, of suburban Miami -- met on a Web site for parents who had gone through international adoptions.

After a flurry of e-mails comparing photographs and biographical details, DNA testing proved the families' suspicions: The girls are probably fraternal twins. Both families had named their daughters Mia.

At a reunion Friday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Mia Diamond Funk and Mia Hanying Ramirez shyly surveyed each other, then reached for each others' hand.

"I'm just awed," said Funk. "Grateful to God. To me, it's a divine thing. It's a miracle. In the sea of humanity, these kids found each other."

DNA tests established an 85 percent probability that the girls are at least half sisters. The girls had been abandoned on a sidewalk near a Yangzhou textile factory a week apart and adopted two years ago.

Holly Funk and her husband, Douglas, hope to bring their Mia to Miami in October. Both sets of parents say they are committed to staying in touch and often let the twins talk to each other on the phone.

Journey of love

DEVOTED husband Gary Mulcahy made a mammoth 40-hour journey from Spain - so he could be with his wife on their wedding anniversary. And it cost him hundreds of pounds.

Gary, 35, from Skelmanthorpe,West Yorkshire, was due to fly home from Zaragoza in northern Spain on Thursday. But he and four colleagues were left stranded when terror alerts at British airports meant flights to the UK were cancelled.

Gary was determined to get home to wife Victoria in time for their third wedding anniversary on Sunday.After a 40-hour journey by train, taxi, coach and car he finally made it back at midnight on August 12.

He said: "We could have stayed on in Spain, but it was important to me to get back."

Gary had flown out to Zaragoza on August 1 with four colleagues from Leeds-based company Environmental Project Management. They were fitting an environmental system at a printing factory. They were due to fly home last Thursday, but their flight was cancelled.

So, they booked flights from Bilboa, hired a car and set off at 9am to make the three-hour drive to the city. After suffering a puncture on the way they arrived - only to find that flights to the UK had been cancelled there, too. The next available flight home would have been on August 13.

No accommodation was available in Bilboa, as there was a festival being held in the city. So, the five men got a taxi to the coach station and got a coach to Biarritz before boarding a train to Paris. They arrived in Paris at 6am on August 12, hoping to get a seat on the Eurostar back to London.

But they had to wait until 4pm that day. They got corridor seats on the train through the Channel Tunnel. They arrived at Waterloo Station in London at 6pm.

After getting a taxi to Liverpool Street Station they caught a train to Stansted Airport in Essex - where they had flown from originally. After taking a 30-minute airport coach ride to the car park they faced the long drive back to Yorkshire.

Gary said: "We were all really tired. It took us about 40 hours and cost about £2,000 in total to get home. We'll get our £25 plane ticket refunded, but that's it. There wasn't much help when they told us the flight was cancelled. I basically arranged everything over the phone."

Victoria said: "It's the sort of thing he would do. We had planned the weekend for ages. I had arranged a babysitter for our little boy, Alfie, and we had a meal booked. Gary certainly put in a lot of effort to make our anniversary. We had a lovely night out."

NY Subway non-record

Two self-professed "infrastructure nerds" have set a new record after riding the entire New York subway system non-stop in just over 24 hours, reports say.

College buddies Don Badaczewski and Matt Green started out in the north-eastern district of Queens at dawn on Wednesday, reemerging 24 hours and two minutes later in the Bronx after riding every route on the city's 26 lines.

"It's just a challenge that would set ourselves apart from other people," Mr Green, 26, a transportation engineer, told the New York Daily News.

Armed only with beef jerky and water, and unable to use a toilet during the attempt, Badaczewski, 24, told New York One television: "We toughed it out. It was difficult. It's a big subway, a big subway".

The pair appeared unruffled by reports that Guinness World Records did not consider the feat as record-breaking because the pair did not stop at each of the more than 460 stations that dot the system's 1,100 kilometres or so of track, as in previous attempts.

"We didn't really care about it being officially certified by Guinness or anything like that. We were just in it for the experience," Mr Green said.

The 24 hours and two minutes they took to ride the system was believed to be a new record despite the fastest official time for the feat, including stops at every station, standing at 25 hours 11 minutes - a record set in 1998.

The subway challenge began in 1966, when bored student Peter Samson spent a vacation finding and timing the best route.

"We were like, 'Hey, we can do that. All we have to do is sit down'," Mr Badaczewski told the Daily News.

Caught on cam

An American helped foil a burglary in northern England whilst watching a Beatles-related webcam over the Internet, police say.

The man from Dallas was using a live camera link to look at Mathew Street, an area of Liverpool synonymous with the Beatles and home to the Cavern Club where the band regularly played.

He saw intruders apparently breaking into a sports store and alerted local police.

"We did get a call from someone in Dallas who was watching on a webcam that looks into the tourist areas, of which Mathew Street is one because of all the Beatles stuff," a Merseyside Police spokeswoman said.

"He called directly through to police here."

Officers were sent to the scene and three suspects were arrested.

Ohio woman gets NY ticket

NEW YORK -- A mixup over license plate numbers caused a big headache for an Ohio woman.

Lisa Sims was socked with a $50 traffic ticket for running a red light on a street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village on June 24. A police camera took a picture of a sedan with license plates beginning with the letters "D-O-N."

The problem? Sims was 630 miles away in Middletown, Ohio, when the violation occurred, and she drives a pickup bearing plates that begin with "D-Q-N."

The ticket was thrown out this week, but not before Sims had to spend a long time dealing with the city's Finance Department and mail in proof that the car caught on camera wasn't hers.

A Finance Department spokesman said there's a process for dealing with mixups, and in this case, it worked successfully.

Sims isn't so sure. She said while she didn't want to go to New York City to begin with, she really doesn't want to now.