Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dogs save life of owner who slipped and broke his neck

A man who slipped and broke his neck while walking his dogs was kept alive overnight after his two pets cuddled up to him to keep him warm.

Father-of-two Michael Dyer, 66, fell down a 30ft slope at a remote beauty spot as he exercised Jack Russells, Mickey, three and Boz, five.

He fractured an elbow and broke his neck in the fall and lay unconscious in temperatures as low as 7C (44F).

But amazingly, Mr Dyer survived after his two dedicated dogs snuggled up to him for 16 hours and helped stave off hypothermia.

They stayed with him all through the night as he slipped in and out of consciousness and thereby kept his core temperature high to ensure his survival.

The retired lorry driver says at one point he let them off their leads to get help but they refused to leave him.

The brave dogs were given to Mr Dyer by his family after his wife Catherine died of cancer.

Friend Barry Robinson, 48, who is now looking after the dogs said: 'Since Michael lost his wife the dogs are his whole life. They are like family to him - his only companion.

'He loves those dogs and the fact they wouldn't leave him is amazing.'

Mr Dyer was spotted at 9.30am on Friday at Fishcombe Cove in Brixham, Devon, by another walker who thought he had stumbled across a body and called emergency services.

Emergency services airlifted Mr Dyer to hospital where he underwent surgery but is expected to make a full recovering.

Mr Robinson said: 'Michael slipped and fell down a steep bank and broke his wrist and his neck.

'He tried to let the dogs off the lead so they would go and get help but they wouldn't leave him. Instead they stayed with him and cuddled him, keeping him warm.

'He was virtually conscious the whole time, about 16 hours. It must have been horrendous.

'He broke his neck in two places and he is being operated on but he'll be okay. His dogs have saved his life.'

Mr Dyer left his home at 3pm on Thursday and fell down the wooded embankment shortly afterwards.

He was found halfway down the slope and was taken by Devon Air Ambulance to Torbay Hospital in Torquay.

Sgt Jacqui Rees, who attended the scene, said his dogs had saved his life.

She said: 'The man was not as cold as we expected after lying there all night.

'The dogs, who were still with him when we arrived, had cuddled up to him and kept him warm.

'He was very lucky. Once we arrived the shock of what happened started to affect him and he did get quite cold quite quickly.

'It was fortunate that the tree stopped him falling further, although he may have fractured his elbow when it happened.'

Daily Mail

Woman marries in paper dress

A Chinese woman has got married in a wedding dress made entirely out of paper.

Sha Sha's dress was made for her by her best friend Zhu Zhu, a wedding dress designer, reports New Life Daily.

They have worked together at an advertising agency in Kunming, Yunnan province, for 12 years.

Zhu Zhu said: "When Sha Sha found her Mr Right I decided I would make her something very special.

"As a wedding dress designer I was a bit bored of making gowns out of fabric so I thought: 'Why not make a dress out of paper?' It took me two and a half months."

The dress is made entirely of cotton paper and decorated with silver lines, making it shine in the sunlight.

Sha Sha walked into the wedding venue, a local hotel, with six bridesmaids holding the long, paper lily flower-decorated tail for her.

"I felt very grand, and beautiful. It's super comfortable to wear," she said.

Her groom, Mr Li, agreed she looked beautiful: "We are very happy with the dress - but I daren't touch her in case I tear it," he added.


Teen chops off dad's hands

TAIPEI - A TAIWANESE teenager has been arrested after chopping off his father's hands, allegedly to avenge years of physical abuse, a report said on Tuesday.

The victim, identified only by his surname Fan, was in critical condition at a hospital in central Taiwan's Miaoli county after his son hacked at his wrists more than ten times while he slept early on Monday, the Apple Daily said.

The 17-year-old showed no remorse, saying he could not care less if his father survived the attack, according to the report.

'I don't feel a thing if he's going to die. It's like killing a chicken or a duck. I wanted to take him out two years ago,' he was quoted by the paper as saying.

According to the report, 37-year-old Fan, who was divorced, regularly yelled at his son and beat him. -- AFP

Source : The Straits Times

Locked in closet for 4 years

OKLAHOMA CITY - A WOMAN was arrested after her 14-year-son told authorities he escaped from a home where he'd been kept for 4 1/2 years, spending most of his time locked in a bedroom closet, police said on Monday.

A security guard at a National Guard facility in Oklahoma City called police on Friday after the teen showed up malnourished and with numerous scars and other signs of abuse, police Sgt Gary Knight said.

'He was hungry. He was dirty. He had numerous scars on his body,' Mr Knight said. 'It was very sad.'

The boy was taken to a hospital to be examined and then turned over to the custody of the Department of Human Services, Mr Knight said.

After police interviews, officers on Saturday arrested the boy's mother, 37-year-old LaRhonda Marie McCall, and a friend, 38-year-old Steve Vern Hamilton, on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect.

Formal charges have not been filed, and both were being held on US$400,000 (S$567,500) bond, according to jail records.

Jail officials were not sure if either had retained an attorney, and no one answered the phone at McCall's home.

The teen, wearing only a pair of oversized shorts held up by a belt, walked up to a security guard at the Guard facility Friday afternoon and asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused, according to a police report.

He told police that scars on his stomach and torso were from where alcohol had been poured on him and set on fire. Other scars were from being tied up, hit with an extension cord and choked, the boy told police.

'He had scars covering most of his body,' Mr Knight said. 'They were basically from head to foot.' -- AP

Source : The Straits Times

Student dies after snatch theft

JOHOR BARU - ONE minute, 17-year-old Tan Shu Fang was talking to her mother about how she expected to do well in her examinations. The next, motorcycle louts snatched her handbag - and her life.

The snatch theft victim has died after being in a coma for a week.

Shu Fang, a straight As student of SMK Mutiara Rini 2, was walking with her mother Leong Akooi to a bank near their house in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah on Sept 17 when two men on a motorcycle snatched her handbag and caused both of them to fall.

Shu Fang suffered a severe head injury while her mother suffered minor bruises. She was in a coma and was warded at Sultanah Aminah Hospital before succumbing to her injuries at about 5pm on Friday.

Recalling the incident, Madam Leong, 52, said her daughter was describing how she expected to do well in her recent Form 5 examination just before the incident occurred.

'We were walking and she was talking about her exams when one of the men on the motorcycle snatched her handbag and both of us fell. When I got up, I saw that my daughter was unconscious,' she said at the Nirvana cemetery here yesterday.

Madam Leong said some passers-by who saw the incident took them to the hospital.

'I visited her every day and never gave up hope that she would recover,' she said, adding that she prayed for her daughter's recovery but it was not meant to be.

Madam Leong said her daughter was a good student and had many friends, although she was the quiet type.

"I only have another son and the house will definitely be quieter without my daughter," she added. Madam Leong hoped that the culprits responsible for her daughter's death would be brought to justice.

'They took my daughter away and I hope they will be caught,' she said. -- THE STAR/ ANN

Source : The Straits Times

Sunday, September 27, 2009

[SG FAIL] Miss Singapore World 2009 - Ris Low

Schoolboy, 12, becomes girl

LONDON - A BRITISH schoolboy has returned from his holidays with a new name and a new look; he's now a girl.

According to UK media outlets the 12-year-old is in the process of undergoing surgery that could make him the world's youngest sex-change patient.

Turning up at school on the first day back from holidays, the child wore a long dress and hair in pigtails, reported The Sun newspaper.

Parents and children at the school were shocked by the transformation, telling the media that there had been no warning in advance of the child's new identity.

Teachers exacerbated the problem by holding an emergency assembly and informing the students to treat the former boy as a girl.

They also outed the child publicly saying: 'You may notice one pupil is not present in this assembly - that is because the pupil is now a girl.'

The Sun reported that angry parents said their children were confused and in tears and said the school should have told them in advance.

The child's parents have reportedly changed his name by deed poll and are supporting him with his hormone treatment.

They apparently thought that his disguise of clothing and long hair would stop him from being bullied but he was immediately recognised.

The Sun reported that the child had been telling his friends 'for years' that he yearned to be a girl.

Source : The Straits Times

Police seize mafia boss' pet crocodile

ROME – Here's another of the Mafia's trademark offers-you-can't-refuse: pay or be eaten by a crocodile.

Italy's anti-Mafia police unit said Wednesday it has seized a crocodile used by an alleged Naples mob boss to intimidate local businessmen from whom he demanded protection money.

Officers searching for weapons in the man's home outside the southern Italian city last week found the crocodile living on his terrace, said police official Sergio Di Mauro.

The crocodile, weighing 40 kilograms (88 pounds) and 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) long, was fed a diet of live rabbits and mice, Di Mauro said.

He said the suspect, an alleged boss in the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate, used to invite extortion victims to his home and threaten to set the animal on them if they didn't pay or grant him favors.

The man was not arrested but placed under investigation for illegal possession of an animal, Di Mauro said. Investigators are also working on extortion charges against him.

Di Mauro said the animal is believed to be a caiman, a species that lives in Central and South America, and it is not yet clear how it got to Italy. The crocodile was placed in the care of Italy's forestry service.


Pregnant twice in two weeks

ARKANSAS - A MOTHER to be got the shock of her life during a routine ultrasound when she discovered she'd fallen pregnant, again.

According to Fox News, the woman conceived baby girl Jillian first, and two-and-a-half weeks later conceived baby boy Hudson.

The two babies have different due dates. This is a rare development called superfetation - when a mother conceives another child while pregnant.

'It does really sound like this is a true case of different conception times for these children,' said Dr Karen Boyle of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center told ABC News in an interview.

'When the woman had her ultrasound initially, they saw one sack, one baby developing, and that baby had a certain gestational age; then they noticed a second heartbeat in a child that was much, much younger developmentally.'

Dr Boyle also said that she has only heard of 10 reported cases of superfetation.

Source : The Straits Times

Cross-eyed owl finds happiness

She may only have limited vision but Lucy the owl's disability hasn't stopped her from finding the perfect perch in life.

The five-year-old Western Screech Owl can only see a short distance following an attack when she was just a fledgling.

The tiny bird, who stands just six inches high and weighs just over eight ounces, was discovered under her nest site in Santa Barbara, California.

Both her eyes had been punctured by a predator, possibly a small hawk or a corvid.

Unable to survive in the wild, Lucy is now an invaluable 'staff' member at the Ojai Raptor Center in California where she helps to raise other orphaned youngsters.

The small owl, who has a 12-inch wingspan, has only limited vision.

Kim Stroud, director of the Ojai Raptor Center, comments: "She can see maybe 10 or 15 feet but we don't think she can identify objects. She wouldn't survive in the wild."

However, despite her size and disability Lucy could live for a further 15 years.

Kim, 46, both founded and runs the Ojai Raptor Center, a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured birds in Ventura County, an area of Southern California that boasts millions of acres of national parks.

And little Lucy has proven to be a valuable resource at the centre.

"She's a wonderful mother," says Kim, 46. "She lays eggs every year, infertile of course, but whenever screech owl eggs are brought in from the wild we have switched them. The same with foundling baby screeches. Lucy has raised 15 of them so far".

Despite, or maybe because of, her excellent maternal instincts the tiny predator can be fierce and protective too.

Kim comments: "She tolerates handling, but she's very vocal when she's mad. She flies at me when she has eggs or babies, or sometimes even when I go into feed her."


Cops caught playing Wii on the job

LAKELAND, Fla. – It's game over for some police officers who played video games while they raided a convicted drug dealer's home in central Florida.

Surveillance video obtained by WFLA in Tampa caught the officers playing a Nintendo Wii bowling game, with one furiously jumping up and down in celebration. Officials say some of the officers could be disciplined.

Officers with the anti-drug task force had just stormed into the home of the convicted drug dealer, who was already in custody. One Polk County sheriff's detective can be seen taking several breaks from cataloging evidence so she can bowl frames.

The officers did not know a video camera had been set up in the house before the March raid.


Four weddings in the dark

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - About 1,000 people from four wedding parties were forced to eat in the dark when the restaurant where the receptions were held had a power failure.

Half way through, the guests had to serve the food themselves after they were told that there was a shortage of restaurant workers last night.

The guests, many of whom using their handphones for light, were also forced to sit and eat in the non-air conditioned area.

Tension rose when the wedding parties could not contact the restaurant owner.

The restaurant manager, who later promised compensation, told the families that the outlet had a shortage of workers and were trying to rectify the power failure.

The guests then began serving the food from the kitchen on their own.

One of the bridegroom's cousins, who was only identified as Alan, said the wedding guests started to arrive at the restaurant along Jalan Persiaran Utama in Seremban II at 7.30pm.

'There were power interruptions earlier and after waiting for over two hours for the first course to be served, the power supply went off completely.

'We were forced to wait for two hours in the dark and then told to serve ourselves,' he said.

A restaurant worker, who declined to be named, said the management would compensate all four families soon and apologised for the incident.

He explained that the power failure was caused by faulty internal wiring, adding that it was not because the outlet did not pay their electricity bill.

'We will hold another wedding reception for all of them,' he added.

Halfway through, two of the wedding parties decided to leave.

Each family had paid a deposit of about RM2,000 for the reception at the restaurant, which is said to have experienced similar incidents before.

Source : Asia One News

Man weds 4 to save money

JOHANNESBURG - A SOUTH African man walked four brides to the altar, marrying them at the same time to save money and prevent cheating, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Although polygamy is legally recognised in South Africa, father of 10 Milton Mbhele was still unusual in organising the weddings at the same time.

The 44-year-old local government employee from KwaZulu Natal pledged his undying and equal love at a lavish white wedding held in a giant marquee in a sports field.

'This is the day I've been waiting for all my life,' said Mr Mbhele before taking his multiple vows,' reported the newspaper.

Mr Mbhele, in a white linen suit, and his four brides, wearing white princess gowns and tiaras, arrived together in a limo.

Mr Mbhele, who has seven children with his four brides and three from previous relationships, cited his Zulu 'culture' and economic reasons for the unusual wedding.

'It doesn't help to have one wife and have 30 girlfriends that drain you so much you end up with no money,' he said.

He said he loved his brides equally and there was good competition among them.

Eight cows will be slaughtered on Sunday at the groom's home for the traditional part of the ceremony. -- AFP

Source : The Straits Times

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Toddler survives being run over by train

TOKYO (AFP) – A Japanese toddler who strayed onto rail tracks got away with scratches Monday after a train ground to a halt on top of her, police and rescuers said.

The driver spotted the girl standing on the tracks in Suzaka City, northwest of Tokyo, and applied its emergency brakes, local police said.

The train stopped with the girl beneath, they said.

She was alive and trapped in the 50-centimetre (20-inch) gap between the train and the tracks, rescuers said.

"It could have been a tragedy. It's a miracle that she survived this way," a rescue worker told the TV Asahi network.


News anchor's slip sparks web craze

A US news anchor who made an obscene verbal slip live on air has unwittingly spawned a viral web craze.

Ernie Arnastos, who works for Fox 5 WNYW in New York, told the station's weatherman to "keep f***ing that chicken".

In a scene reminiscent of the 2004 film Anchorman, Mr Anastos appeared oblivious to the slip, while co-presenter Dari Alexander's eyes bulged with shock.

It is believed that Mr Anastos meant to say "keep plucking that chicken", possibly meaning "persevere" or "don't give up".

However, the obscene version has taken on a life of its own. It is a regularly searched term on Twitter and Google, while T-shirts are available with the catchphrase across the chest.

The phrase has even made it into slang bible urbandictionary.com, with the definition "keep up the good work".

The Rev Al Sharpton has speculated on the meaning of the slogan.

He told the New York Times: "It could be a kind of phrase: 'Well, keep doing what you are doing. Keep going after it'. Even if you are tired or distracted, keep on doing that chicken, that kind of thing."

Mr Arnastos has since apologised for the slip while Fox 5 WNYW vice president Lew Leone said the company was "disappointed with Ernie's comment".

In the 2004 film Anchorman, a rival uses the autocue to trick news anchor Ron Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell, into replacing his usual catchphrase "stay classy, San Diego" with "go f*** yourself, San Diego".


Firm sells 'world's largest gummy bear'

A US firm has launched what it claims to be the world's largest gummy bear.

The sweet from Vat19 is available in red cherry, blue raspberry and green apple flavours for $29.95 (£18.50), which is equivalent to 1,400 regular-sized bears and provides 12,600 calories of energy.

A YouTube commercial for the product states: "The world's largest gummy bear happens to be 5lbs (2.3kg) of your favourite gummy bear flavour.

"This mammoth beast is 5.5" wide, 3.5" deep and 9" tall. According to our math, that's about as high as a full-grown man - from 30ft away."

It continues: "Like all of the biggest and most awesome things, the world's largest gummy bear is made in the USA.

"You can either hog every mouthwatering morsel for yourself, or give someone the greatest flipping gift ever."

The company also sells a smaller giant gummy bear on a stick for $9.95, which at 4" tall is 88 times larger than a standard bear.

Digital Spy

Man gambles daughter away

A father in eastern India gave away his teenage daughter to a fellow gambler after he lost a card game, with police launching a hunt to retrieve the girl.

Ismail Sheikh, from a village in West Bengal, used his 18-year-old daughter as a stake after he lost all his money, The Times of India said on Sunday (local time).

"Ismail lost the game again and Mustafa walked away with the girl," said Satyajit Bandhopadhyay, a senior police officer investigating the case.

The girl protested but the victorious Mustafa dragged her out of the village, the report said.

Family members were quoted as saying the father was a compulsive gambler with a drink problem and they had thrown him out the house after losing the teenager.

Gambling is illegal in India but thousands of underground dens operate, attracting poor villagers who hope to make a quick buck.

ABC News

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Malaysia crabby over right to 'hijacked' recipes

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia is starting a food fight with other countries to win bragging rights for producing some of Southeast Asia's most beloved recipes, including chili crabs and coconut cream rice, a news report said Thursday.

"We cannot continue to let other countries hijack our food," The Star newspaper quoted Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen as saying while launching a campaign to promote the country's cuisine.

The ministry is identifying signature recipes that it will declare as Malaysian, Ng said. She did not reveal how the government might counter others who claim ownership of those dishes, but added that details of its strategy will be announced later.

"Chili crab is Malaysian. Hainanese chicken rice is Malaysian. We have to lay claim to our food," Ng said. She mentioned other favorites such as "nasi lemak," which is rice soaked with coconut cream, "laksa," a spicy noodle soup, and "bak kut teh," an ethnic Chinese pork rib stew.

Tourism ministry officials familiar with the campaign could not immediately be contacted.

Variations of the dishes Ng listed are available in several other Asian nations, particularly Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and China.

Some creations, such as chicken rice, were introduced to Malaysia and Singapore by ethnic Chinese workers who settled here after leaving China a century ago.

Chili crab _ a recipe of crabs stir-fried in tomato and chili-based sauces _ could become a bone of contention. It is often associated with Singapore and is considered the city-state's unofficial national dish.

Malaysia was recently embroiled in another cultural spat with a neighbor.

Indonesians held protests earlier this month accusing Malaysia of stealing a Balinese dance for a TV promotional campaign about Malaysia. It later turned out that Malaysia had nothing to do with the video, which had mistakenly described the dance as Malaysian. The video was broadcast on the Discovery Channel cable network, which apologized for the mistake.

Yahoo News

Giant baby breaks records

SAMARA, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - A baby weighing 6.75 kg (15 lbs) was born on Wednesday in Russia's southwestern city of Samara, breaking all regional records, a spokeswoman for the local government said.

The baby, who was born in Samara's Semashko hospital, is 0.62 m (2.03 ft) long.

"It is a unique case. The last record among newborns was registered in the region about 10 years ago, when a baby weighing 5.8 kg (12.8 lbs) was born," the spokeswoman said.

"The mother and baby are feeling well," she said, adding that the birth was the woman's third.

The record-breaking mother has been under close observation since the 34th week of her pregnancy, the spokeswoman said.

"Our doctors have a lot of experience in treating newborns," she said.

Last year, nine children weighing less than 1 kg (2.2 lbs) were born at the Samara hospital, the spokeswoman added. They all survived, she said.

Another giant baby weighing 7.75 kg (17.1 lbs) was born in Russia in 2007. The girl, called Nadia, was delivered by Caesarean section at a hospital in Siberia's Altai region, joining eight sisters and three brothers.

In January 2005, a 38-year-old woman in Brazil gave birth to a baby weighing 7.73 kg (17.04 pounds).

Among the heaviest babies recorded are a 10.2 kg (22.5 lbs) boy born in Italy in 1955, and a 10.8 kg (23.8 lbs) boy born in the U.S. in 1879, who died 11 hours later, the BBC said.

Ria Novosti

Raining money stops traffic

BANGKOK, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - Traffic came to a halt in a small town in central Thailand when bank notes suddenly appeared to fall from the sky, The Nation newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Drivers in Pathum Thani stopped their cars on Monday morning and rushed to grab 1,000 ($35) baht notes flying from the sky, a local police officer told the newspaper.

Lt. Col. Waroom Thairatthewin said that some tens of thousands baht are believed to have fallen on the road.

He said the happy drivers were asked to hand the notes over to the police in case the mysterious owner submitted a report later. Some drivers agreed to part with their unexpected windfall, which is currently kept at a local police station.

It still remains a mystery where the money came from given that there are no high buildings in Pathum Thani.

Ria Novosti

Doctor removes plastic fragment lodged in lung

RALEIGH, N.C. – Doctors say a North Carolina man who was plagued with coughing fits should be OK now that they have removed a 1-inch piece of plastic from his lung, where it had rested since he apparently inhaled it nearly two years ago while sucking down a soft drink at a Wendy's restaurant.

Doctors at Duke University Medical Center say the plastic fragment of an eating utensil — with the Wendy's logo still legible on the side — was likely to blame for the coughing, fatigue and pneumonia spells that plagued John Manley for almost two years.

They pulled the fast-food foreign object from Manley's left lung during a Sept. 10 surgery. The 50-year-old Wilmington resident said he probably inhaled it while gulping a drink from Wendy's.

"I like to take big gulps of drink," the former home remodeler said. "I don't know of any other ways of it getting in there."

Manley said he and his wife were puzzled by his bouts of illness after moving to the North Carolina coastal city from Queens, N.Y., about two years ago. He met with multiple doctors, who eventually determined there was a foreign object in his left lung. But they couldn't figure out what it was or the best way to remove it.

"One doctor said they could remove my lung," Manley said. "I said no way. That was the easiest way for them, and I said I didn't think so."

Manley's case eventually came to the attention of Dr. Momen Wahidi, director of interventional pulmonology at Duke. Wahidi, who mostly works with cancer patients to remove tumors from their lung airways, told Manley he would try extracting the object using a rigid bronchoscope. The procedure would allow Wahidi to insert a camera and other instruments to examine and remove the mystery object.

Wahidi said he still remembers his staff's amazement in the operating room when they pulled it out.

"We're looking at it and realizing that there are letters on it ... We started reading out loud, 'A-M-B-U-R-G-E-R,' and realized it spelled, 'hamburgers.'

"Everybody was shocked. We had no clue why something that said, 'hamburgers' would be in someone's lung," he said.

They had read a side of the plastic that spelled Wendy's motto of "Old Fashioned Hamburgers."

Wahidi said foreign objects in the lungs are much more common in children, but he's extracted false teeth, nails, and even a peanut from adults who have held the items in their mouth and accidentally sucked them in. Patients often don't realize there's a problem until their bodies begin to react.

But Wahidi said the piece of plastic was a first.

"It's definitely one of the weirdest things I've removed in my career," he said.

Manley said he's unsure if he will contact officials from Wendy's, based in Dublin, Ohio. Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch said he has never heard of a situation like this in his 29 years with the company. He said company officials would contact Manley at the appropriate time.

"We're as quizzed by the whole situation as everyone else is," he said. "This is quite a surprise that this could even happen."

Manley said there's a huge difference in his quality of life days after the surgery.

"I can breathe now," the father of three adult daughters said of his recovery. "I can get up and walk my dog. I couldn't do that before. I was pretty much house-ridden."

Wahidi said he will meet with Manley in a month for a checkup, but he expects a full recovery.

"The body has an amazing ability to heal," Wahidi said. "Now that the object is out, his body should be able to recover and his airways should be back to normal."


Beijing chocolate theme park to open next year

BEIJING (AFP) – China plans to cater to the country's rising number of chocoholics with the opening next year of a Willy Wonka-style theme park in Beijing, complete with a replica Great Wall, state media said Thursday.

The 'world chocolate dream park', reminiscent of Roald Dahl's beloved book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", will feature a life-size edible Terracotta Army, Great Wall and versions of famous paintings, the China Daily said.

"Our 'chocolate wonderland' will be beyond the imagination," Tina Cheng, general manager of the company that will operate the park, was quoted as saying.

The park, due to open in January 2010, will be located in the Olympic Green, which also includes the iconic Bird's Nest stadium and the Water Cube aquatics centre used during the Beijing Summer Games last year.

The site will include five pavilions and two outdoor sites where chocolate-made objects, such as the replica Great Wall, will be on display, the report said.

Chocolate is not as popular in China as it is in Western countries, but the sweet treat is increasingly popular with the nation's younger generation.

Cheng was quoted as saying that a number of prestigious chocolate makers from Europe, including Belgium and Switzerland, wanted to participate in the project, but she would not reveal their names.

"There is the potential for a huge market in China with regards to chocolate consumption," she said, according to the report.

"That's why many overseas chocolate producers are vying to join our project."


Plagiarism: Lecturers warned

PETALING JAYA - A STERN warning will be given to two Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) lecturers for plagiarising materials from the Internet to produce a guide book.

UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah said this warning would also be included in their service records, which would affect their promotion.

'The management decided to take this action following advice from the legal department that the two be given very stern warnings,' he said when contacted.

Prof Nik Mustapha said the university viewed the case seriously and did not condone it. 'No one will be suspended but they have to return any royalty received,' he said.

He said the guide books would be removed from the (university's) shelves immediately. He was commenting on a news report that two UPM lecturers had plagiarised materials to produce a guide book on writing effective resumes for management students.

Prof Nik Mustapha said the legal department had made suggestions to the management on the disciplinary action to be taken after personally meeting the authors.

'The junior author, who recently completed her PhD, said that since the source was from the Internet, she thought the information was in the public domain and as such did not cite the article,' he said.

Prof Nik Mustapha said the senior author admitted to the legal team that the manuscript looked all right to him, not realising that it was taken from another work.

'Since this is a guide book, we decided that the punishment was reasonable,' he said.

Prof Nik Mustapha said that the two authors have apologised for their ignorance, adding that the plagiarism did not affect UPM undergraduates as the work was not a textbook.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin when contacted said the ministry viewed the matter seriously. 'We will leave it to the university to conduct an investigation and take action,' he said. -- THE STAR/ANN

Source : The Straits Times

Toddler tosses back dad's prized catch

PHILADELPHIA – Dad simply wanted a souvenir. He got a ballpark full of cheers and a national television appearance instead.

Steve Monforto made a grand catch of a foul ball at a Philadelphia Phillies game and gave his prize to his 3-year-old daughter. She quickly tossed it back toward the field, and all her stunned Dad could do was hug her.

"At the time I was just excited to give it to her," Monforto told NBC's "Today" show Thursday.

A season-ticket holder who shares Phillies' tickets with friends, Monforto said he didn't consider the possibility that little Emily might toss his treasure from the upper deck.

"I've been waiting so long to catch a foul ball, and over the edge it goes," he said with a laugh.

The family from Laurel Springs, N.J., still went home with a baseball Tuesday night after the Phillies' 5-0 win over the Nationals. Phillies executive Mike Stiles brought it to them in the stands.

On the "Today" show, they got another ball — this one encased and signed by outfielder Jayson Werth, who hit the foul ball in the fifth inning and made the Monforto family famous.

The family of four also received personalized Phillies jerseys.

Monforto, 32, reached over the railing to make the grab, catching his first foul ball after years of going to Phillies games. He fist-bumped his buddies, high-fived his daughter and handed her the prize.

Then came the toss and the hug.

"I didn't want her to think she did anything wrong," Monforto said on WIP-AM radio Wednesday.

Philly crowds are known for being a tough bunch, but everyone at Citizens Bank Park cheered — first his catch, then his cuddle.

"This was the true reflection of what Philly fans are like," said Bonnie Clark, the team's vice president of communications.

Cameras captured the scene of Monforto snagging Werth's foul, plus the toss and hug. The video was displayed at the top of the Yahoo! Web page and made the NBC national news.


Homemade sun-suit scares bathers

A Chinese mum-of-two terrified seaside bathers when she showed off her homemade full body sun protection suit.

Mai Lee, of Qingdao, eastern China, devised the bizarre outfit herself for summer jogging after reading about the risk of skin cancer.

But other holidaymakers ran for cover when she emerged in the weird get-up.

"She looks like a ghost, or one of those Egyptian mummies with a scarlet face - but her eyes and mouth look like holes in a plate.

"It's very creepy and she can't be enjoying herself," said sunbather Lin Feng.

But Lee explained: "I love jogging and running and I love the beach but I don't want to burn my skin so I cover it all up."


Woman pushed off cliff by monkey sues

The woman, 60-year-old Zhou Juchang, made the claim after winding up at the bottom of a seven-metre rockface, fracturing her hip and breaking three ribs.

Now she’s suing her travel agent, who organised her trip into China’s Chengdu Wildlife Park.

The monkey allegedly flew into a rage when the woman refused to hand over the bag of monkey food which her tour guide recommended she buy.

A spokesman for the park said the woman’s mistake was showing fear.

“If you show fear a monkey will bully you,” he told London’s Metro.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Boy survives 12-storey drop when he falls on...

IT COULD have been certain death for a 3-year-old Taiwanese boy when he fell 12 storeys from his home. But luckily for him, a motorcyclist became his unwitting saviour.

The boy, Chen Pinxun, hit Mr Lin Zijun on his left arm and fell to the ground in SanShia Township, Taipei.

Both miraculously survived from the impact.

Pinxun had lacerations at the back of his head and a suspected fracture in his right thigh. And as a result of the fall, Mr Lin, 19, suffered an inflamed tendon on his left arm.

The teen told Apple Daily Taiwan that he had stopped at a convenience store nearby to make some purchases. He had just stepped out of the store, put on his helmet and got on his motorcycle when he felt a sudden pain in his left arm.

Mr Lin immediately blacked out from the pain.

He said that he found that he was in a hospital when he regained consciousness.

'I felt as if a bomb had blown up at my arm,' he said. He added that before he was told of Pinxun's fall, he had no idea what had happened to him.

A 10-year-old boy who saw the incident told Apple Daily Taiwan that it happened so fast, he couldn't even tell that it was a person who had landed on Mr Lin at first.

Passers-by said they heard a 'boom', and called for an ambulance when they saw the two on the ground. Police officers who arrived at the scene also thought that Pinxun was the victim of a traffic accident - until they reviewed CCTV footage from the housing estate.

Ambulance crew told Apple Daily Taiwan that Pinxun's head was covered in blood and that he was crying inconsolably when they arrived.

A fireman was quoted as saying that he had previously encountered a case where someone had survived a four-storey fall. He said: 'But this was just unbelievable. Both of them are very, very lucky indeed.'

Security camera footage showed Pinxun's mother leaving her house earlier with her son and daughter. She returned home with her daughter to retrieve something, and had told the boy to wait at the lift lobby.

When she returned, he was no longer there. Pinxun had apparently re-entered the house while the door was open and climbed over a balcony railing.

She blamed herself for Pinxun's fall, and was just glad that he had survived the fall.

Mr Lin, meanwhile, was also relieved. He said: 'I'm very happy to walk away from this incident alive, and to have saved a young life in the process.'

The New Paper

Radio show catches out cheating hubby

A cheating husband was caught out - when his wife arranged a live call from his favourite radio programme as a birthday treat.

Davor Ivanovic was supposed to be alone on a business trip to Zagreb, Croatia.

But when DJ Barbara Kolar called his room a woman answered and said he was taking a shower.

When he came to the phone he claimed the woman had been his wife - while his furious real-life wife Jasna was listening in on another line.

Ignoring pleas from radio staff to keep quiet she screamed at her hapless husband: "Who are you with?"

And stunned Davor shouted at the show hosts before hanging up: "Why have you done this to me? We have kids."


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Wii Fit' returns to top the Wii chart

Wii Fit has reclaimed the Wii top spot from fellow Nintendo title Wii Sports Resort.

The Wii Sports sequel drops down one place to second, above Mario Kart Wii, which remains rooted to third.

Guitar Hero 5 wins the battle of the rhythm action titles after charting one place higher than The Beatles: Rock Band in fourth and fifth respectively.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 just makes the cut in this week's Wii chart after debuting at ten, below a falling Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 at nine.

The top ten in full:

1. (2) Wii Fit (Nintendo)
2. (1) Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo)
3. (3) Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo)
4. (-) Guitar Hero 5 (Activision)
5. (-) The Beatles: Rock Band (Electronic Arts)
6. (4) Ashes Cricket 2009 (Codemasters)
7. (5) EA Sports Active (Electronic Arts)
8. (9) Cursed Mountain (Deep Silver)
9. (6) Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Electronic Arts)
10. (-) Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (Codemasters)

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, © 2008 ELSPA Ltd.

Digital Spy

EA confirms 'Skate 3' for next year

Electronic Arts has confirmed plans to release a third instalment in the Skate series next year.

Developed by EA Black Box for Xbox 360 and PS3, Skate 3 will be based in an all new "skater's paradise" of Port Carverton.

The game will feature online and offline co-operative play, with players able to team up and create a skateboard crew to compete in challenges against rival teams. The developer also intends to beef up the Hall of Meat system and include new options for user-generated content.

"The social and community aspects of the Skate franchise are something we've always embraced, but we've never done anything to the scale you're going to see in Skate 3," said the game's senior producer Jason DeLong.

"We're giving gamers a very unique experience by providing them with the tools they need to build their ultimate team or to create a team comprised entirely of their online friends. From there, it's all about proving yourself - teaming up, and throwing down."

Anyone pre-ordering Skate 3 ahead of its scheduled May 2010 release date will get exclusive access to the Black Box Distribution Skate Park.

Digital Spy

Woman finds snake on dash of rental car

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A Florida college student said she was shocked to climb into her rental car outside of her apartment to find a 3 1/2-foot snake on the dashboard.

Brianna Young of Jacksonville said she got into the car Sept. 8, shortly after it was dropped off at her apartment by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and immediately exited the vehicle upon spotting the reptile stretched out along the dashboard, WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, reported Tuesday.

"I was scared," she said. "I just hopped out and was like, 'Oh my God,' and just stood behind the car."

Young called Enterprise, which sent Jeff Altman of American Trappers to catch the snake. Altman identified the reptile as a non-venomous red rat snake and said he plans to release the animal into the wild, the report said.

"It's a native snake to Florida," Altman said. "They're all around. If people see these in their yards, don't kill 'em. They are very beneficial snakes. They eat rodents and insects."


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kissing quest makes woman a web sensation

TAIPEI (AFP) – A Taiwanese woman's ambition to kiss 100 men in Paris has become an overnight web sensation after she provided details of the quest on her much-visited blog.

Yang Ya-ching, a 27-year-old music major living in the French capital, has so far notched up 54 smooches, she said on her blog, which features photos of some of the encounters.

Collaborators in her project included a factory worker, a model, an Italian tourist and even a soldier visiting the capital of romance for Bastille Day.

"I came up with the idea three years ago," she said on her blog.

"Three of my four friends who were aware of the plan warned me that I might wind up getting slapped rather than kissed."

Yang, who plans to write a book about her kissing experiences, has attracted 1.97 million visitors to her blog (www.wretch.cc/blog/angelduck777/24982946), including more than 224,000 on Monday alone.

"Aren't you afraid of catching a disease?" one of her followers asked.

"No," she replied. "The more you're afraid of, the less you accomplish.


Man honored for 50 years of service at McDonald's

CRESTWOOD, Mo. – A 68-year-old man who still works at the first McDonald's restaurant in Missouri has been honored for 50 years of service. Leonard Rhomberg began his job at a McDonald's restaurant in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood in 1959, the year after it opened. And he still works there five days a week.

KSDK-TV reports that the restaurant's owners, Patrick and Tom Hillmeyer, thanked Rhomberg on Wednesday with a cake, gifts and a St. Louis Cardinals jersey.


Mobster underlings go back to school

They're members of the biggest, meanest organised crime group in Japan, but these tattooed gangsters are being sent back to school by their godfathers.

Under new laws, mob bosses can be sued for the misdeeds of their underlings. So the leaders of the feared Yamaguchi-gumi have begun testing their mobsters' knowledge of the laws.

They've drawn up a 12-page test paper which questions them on a range of banned activities, from bootlegging fuel to dumping industrial waste.

For decades, the Yakuza has been the violent underbelly of Japanese society. Tattooed toughs and punks without pinkies, celebrated and denigrated alike in movies, books and comics.

But these mobsters are feeling the pinch. For a start, the global economic downturn been bad for business and now tough new anti-mob laws are also squeezing these enterprising gangsters.

For example, Yakuza dons can now be sued for crimes committed by their subordinates, meaning they can be cleaned out if their underlings mess up.

Masahiro Tamura is a former chief of the Fukuoka Prefectural Police, a veteran yakuza hunter who commanded a force of 12,000 officers.

"I think this is a good move, because it puts the responsibility on the crime bosses to control their gangsters. It means innocent people are less likely to be targeted," he said.

The crime bosses are looking for ways to beat the news laws so they can save their own skins. And to do that, they've sent their mobsters back to the classroom.

During a raid in central Japan this week, police found a 12-page test paper for yakuza members.

One question asks, "What kind of activities are banned?" And the correct answer: Dumping industrial waste, phone fraud scams, bootlegging fuel and theft of construction equipment.

Former police chief Masahiro Tamura says the Yakuza are merely evolving to suit the new environment.

"I am not surprised at all that the Yakuza are studying the law. The last thing they want is to be fined large amounts or have costs awarded against them in court," he said.

And the godfathers of Japanese crime believe they've already found a few legal loopholes in the new laws.

This was one briefing note recently distributed to Yakuza members of one group:

"It is now illegal to give financial rewards or promote someone who was involved in a hit against a member of a rival gang. But it is not illegal to give them a salary through a front company and promote them within that organisation."

So there you have it: Some free legal advice from Japan's mafia bosses: Don't pay the hit man directly, instead give him a job in a front company and a salary.

So from busting heads on the street to cramming heads for exams, life has never been so cerebral for Japan's Yakuza hard men.

ABC News

One-legged granny saves grandson in wheelchair from fire

A grandmother with only one leg in Kuala Lumpur proved that last week.

With a raging fire burning down her building, she managed to push her wheelchair-bound grandson out safely - with some help from her false leg.

Madam A Saroja Devi, 64, had lost her left leg to diabetes three years ago, reported The Star.

Last Thursday, she was awakened by a loud sound from her neighbour's house and decided to investigate.

Her son K Kalaivanan, 29, said: 'When she saw the flames, she put on her prosthetic leg and pushed (grandson) Partiban out of the house on his wheelchair.

'She wanted to go back to the house, but it was too late for her to save anything else.'

Lost their homes

Mr Kalaivanan has been staying in their four-room house for about 20 years with his mother and five others, including his wife, and have lost all their documents and clothing.

Other extended family members who were living in the same area also lost their homes.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, visited the fire victims, now temporarily staying in the multi-purpose hall in the Sri Selangor business complex.

The fire killed a 28-year-old woman and her 3-month-old baby.

Each of the 15 families who lost their belongings received RM1,000 ($400).

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who was also present, said those with families would be offered units from a public housing project in Puchong, Selangor.

The New Paper

Woman quits smoking after 95 years

A woman who has smoked for 95 years has finally decided to kick the habit.

Winnie Langley says she has decided to quit because she "didn't fancy it any more".

Mrs Langley claims she has prevented getting cancer because she does not inhale.

Winnie, who lives in Croydon, South London, told the Daily Mail: "Everyone used to smoke in those days, you did it to cope. We didn't know about the health problems. I just don't fancy it any more.

"My eyesight is failing so in a few years' time I might not be able to see the pack."

Since her first puff in 1914, Winnie has smoked on average five cigarettes a day, giving a total of more than 170,000.

Mrs Langley's step-grandson Clive said: "Her doctors have told her there's not much point stopping now. If she's got to 102 without getting cancer I don't think she ever will."


107-year-old woman seeks 23rd hubby

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A 107-year-old Malaysian woman says she is ready to marry for the 23rd time because she fears her current drug addict husband might leave her for a younger woman, a report said Monday.

Wook Kundor made headlines four years ago when she married Muhammad Noor Che Musa, a man 70 years her junior in northern Terengganu state, with pictures of the couple's wedding splashed across regional newspapers.

But Wook is now looking for new love as she fears that Muhammad, 37, who is undergoing voluntary drug rehabilitation treatment in the capital Kuala Lumpur, will leave her once the programme ends, she told the Star newspaper.

"Lately, there is this kind of insecurity in me," the paper quoted her as saying, showing a photograph of the smiling, wrinkled-faced centenarian wearing a Muslim headscarf.

"I realise that I am an aged woman. I don't have the body nor am I a young woman who can attract anyone."

"My intention to remarry is to fill my forlornness and nothing more than that," she said, adding that she felt lonely without her husband by her side to celebrate the coming Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr next week.

Wook said she planned to visit Muhammad on the second day of Eid if her neighbours were willing to drive her to the capital.

Muhammad, who was a lodger in Wook's house, had previously said it was "God's will" that the couple fell in love.


Monday, September 14, 2009

iPod touch 3.1 Update Now $4.95

Still on the fence about grabbing the 3.0 update for your iPod Touch? Well, eagle-eyed snoops discovered last night that Apple has just slashed the price of the update in half, from the already low $9.95 to now $4.95. The download will enhance your Touch to version 3.1 and also deliver all the goodies that came with the original 3.0 software.

Why are they charging for the upgrade in the first place? The company says that accounting/regulatory procedures have made it mandatory, which has led to very dismal download numbers. According to a report from mobile advertising firm AdMob, only 1% of iPod touch owners that have accessed AdMob's ad network have made the move to the 3.0 software, when compared to 44% of iPhone users. Factor in that 20 million iPod Touch units have been sold, and that's quite a small number of users willing to pay for the improvements.


Zune HD to offer gaming features

Microsoft's iPod Touch competitor the Zune HD will offer handheld gaming features, it has been revealed.

Rumours that the device would be compatible with games began to circulate in January. The reports were recently confirmed when an advertisement for the system displayed a clip of it running a racing title.

The latest iteration of the media device will support touch-screen compatibility, coming in 16GB and 32GB capacities. In addition to playing music, video and games, the high definition system can pick up digital radio and WI-FI connectivity.

It was previously announced that the Zune marketplace will be integrated into the Xbox Live service, giving users access to movie, television and music downloads. A scaled-down version of the storefront will be available through the device itself.

The Zune HD is released on September 15.

Digital Spy

Child-bride, 12, dies after struggling to give birth for THREE days

A 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labour to give birth, a local human rights organisation said.

Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died of severe bleeding on Friday while giving birth to a stillborn in the al-Zahra district hospital of Hodeida province, 140 miles west of the capital San'a.

Child marriages are widespread in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, where tribal customs dominate society.

More than a quarter of the country's females marry before age 15, according to a recent report by the Social Affairs Ministry.

Youssef was only 11 when her father married her to a 24-year-old man who works as a farmer in Saudi Arabia, Ahmed al-Quraishi, chairman of Siyaj human rights organization, said Saturday.

Al-Quraishi, whose group promotes child rights in Yemen, said that he stumbled upon Youssef in the hospital while investigating cases of children who had fled from the fighting in the north.

'This is one of many cases that exist in Yemen,' said al-Quraishi.

'The reason behind it is the lack of education and awareness, forcing many girls into marriage in this very early age.'

Impoverished parents in Yemen sometimes give away their young daughters in return for hefty dowries.

There is also a long-standing tribal custom in which infant daughters and sons are promised to cousins in hopes it will protect them from illicit relationships, he said.

Al-Quraishi said there are no statistics to show how many marriages involving children are performed every year.

The issue of child brides vaulted into the headlines here two years ago when an eight-year-old Yemeni girl went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s.

She eventually won a divorce, and legislators began looking at ways to curb the practice.

In February, parliament passed a law setting the minimum marriage age at 17. But some lawmakers are trying to kill the measure, calling it un-Islamic.

Before it could be ratified by Yemen's president, they forced it to be sent back to parliament's constitutional committee for review.

Such marriages also occur in neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia, where several cases of child brides have been reported in the past year, though the phenomenon is not believed to be nearly as widespread as in Yemen.

Daily Mail

Dancing teacher is an online hit

HOW would you like to attend an English class where your teacher is like a pop idol and a typical lesson is like a mini concert?

Apple Daily reported that MrZhou Shicheng, an English teacher at Changsha New Oriental English School in Hunan province, China, has become an online hit after students snapped videos of his wacky dancing and singing in class onto YouTube.

For Mr Zhou, 25, it's all about making his lessons interesting.

And he's fast becoming a selling point in Changsha New Oriental's recruitment efforts.

When his students ask to see his impromptu performances, sometimes even bringing their own music CDs for him to dance to, he obliges without hesitation, jumping onto desks, gyrating wildly and breaking into song.

The entire class claps along, while his female students whip out their handphones and start shooting.

Mr Zhou is known to his students as a humorous but strictteacher.

His dancing does not seem to have hurt his students' grades.

Instead, they are grateful to him for helping them pass their English tests and exams.

It helps that MrZhou looks more like a pop idol than singer. He has a snazzy dress sense, and his other talents include playing the violin.

While his students lap up his every move, his detractors, including some colleagues, call him an attention seeker.

Sina.com reported that some netizens find Mr Zhou's antics ridiculous. One wrote in an online post: 'Dancing is for discos, not classrooms! He must be a lousy teacher to have to resort to such acts.'

But Mr Zhou feels there is nothing wrong with his dancing in class, and said he will continue to do so as long as his students enjoy his moves and do well inschool.

'Celebrities go through the same thing,' he said. 'Not everyone loves you, but you just have to keep doing your best.'

The New Paper

Cat goes on wild 3800km ride

A CAT named Clyde has survived a miraculous, mysterious trek over 3800km in three years.

The moggy wandered into Cloncurry Hospital, in outback Queensland, four months ago.

Nobody knew where he was from or how he got there. At the hospital, a nurse took him to local vet, who scanned him to find a microchip. That led them all the way back to his owners in Tasmania.

Katrina Phillips told The Mercury was moved to tears when she got the call last week that Clyde was alive and well.

How the pure-bred Himalayan ended up so far from his home at the other end of the country, remains a mystery.

"We just can't believe he's alive, it's just unbelievable and it's so emotional," Ms Phillips said.

"I bought him as a birthday present for my daughter Ashleigh and one day, about three years ago, he just disappeared.

"We did everything to try to find him. We door-knocked, did letterbox drops and advertised in the paper, but there was no trace of him."

There is just one final hurdle left before Clyde is reunited with his owners.

They need help raising the $1000 to ship him back from Cloncurry to Tasmania.


Toddler 'sworn at on receipt'

A 2-year-old girl was branded a "littell (sic) f**ker" on an itemised receipt given to her parents at a Mexican restaurant.

Kimberley and Craig Cartin, who were sat in the kid's zone of Cactus Joe's in Halifax, said that their daughter Molly's response to the allegedly slow service and poor food may have triggered the incident, the Halifax Evening Courier reports.

As well as the prices of their meals and their food preferences, the receipt listed the item "1 x Thankyyoulittelf**ker".

Craig explained: "I'm a fairly easy-going guy, but I couldn't believe my eyes. The meal was indifferent anyway but to be abused on the bill is unbelievably offensive. It's awful behaviour.

"Molly was a bit grumbly but her behaviour was not terrible, so this was just uncalled for. Presumably they had meant to delete the insult before printing the bill, but it's still no excuse."

Restaurant owner Steve Ryan added: "This was absolutely inexcusable and it won't be tolerated. The person involved has been sacked and I am planning on consulting my lawyers to see if I can take further action against her.

"I have visited the customer involved and invited him to be our guest this weekend. We offer unreserved apologies."

Digital Spy

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Baby born 9-9-09 has sibling born on 8-8-08

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – At least it will be easy to remember their birthdays. An Arkansas couple welcomed a new baby girl into their lives Wednesday — giving her the birthdate of 9-9-09. Andy and Alison Miller's newest daughter Molly Reid will come home to sister Campbell, who was born on August 8, 2008, or 8-8-08.

The coincidences don't stop there. Molly Reid has nine letters to her name, while Campbell has eight.

The Millers don't appear poised to go for a third child on 10-10-10.

Alison Miller tells Rogers, Ark. television station KHOG that she and her husband are going to take a rest.


'The Sims 3' continues PC chart dominance

Atari's Champions Online has missed out on the PC top spot thanks to The Sims 3's continued dominance.

World Of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King remains rooted to third, above last week's number two Wolfenstein, which drops to fourth.

At the bottom of the chart, Grand Theft Auto IV drops two places to tenth, below Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which steps up to ninth.

The top ten in full:

1. (1) The Sims 3 (Electronic Arts)
2. (-) Champions Online (Atari)
3. (3) World Of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King (Activision)
4. (2) Wolfenstein (Activision)
5. (4) Football Manager 2009 (SEGA)
6. (5) Empire: Total War (Sega)
7. (7) Warhammer 40,000 Dawn Of War II (THQ)
8. (6) Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks)
9. (10) Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision)
10. (8) Grand Theft Auto IV (Take Two)

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, © 2008 ELSPA Ltd.

Digital Spy

'Cooking Mama 3' arriving in November

Cooking Mama 3 is to be released for Nintendo DS this November.

The 505 Games mini-game sequel will arrive on November 13 across Europe with three new game modes.

'Let's Match' will ask players to match a dish by choosing the correct ingredients, 'Let's Shop' will be a supermarket dash for supplies, while 'Cooking Contest' will feature a series of quick-fire challenges to play against three others over Wi-Fi.

Over 80 recipes and 200 mini-games will also be included.

Digital Spy

iPod Touch receives price drop

Apple's iPod Touch lineup has had an overall price reduction.

The 8GB model will now retail for £149.99, while the 32GB model will be available for £229.99.

A new high-end model sized at 64GB will retail for £299.99.

While the 8GB will include no upgrades from the previous generation, the other units will experience a 50% increase in processor speed to match that of the iPhone 3GS.

The changes were confirmed at Apple's annual iPod conference, which also saw the announcement of Madden NFL 10 and Assassin's Creed II: Discovery for the platform, as well as the release of iTunes 9.

The new price points are available now.

Digital Spy

Jobs: 'iPod Touch is a games console'

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has said that consumers now view the iPod Touch as a gaming device.

Speaking to The New York Times, Jobs revealed that the technology company did not at first know how to promote the multi-functional product to users.

"Originally, we weren't exactly sure how to market the Touch. Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer?" he said.

"What happened was, what customers told us was they started to see it as a game machine. We started to market it that way, and it just took off."

Last night at its Annual iPod Conference, Apple announced a reduction in price point of the 8GB Touch to $199 (£120), with the 32GB product dropping to $299 (£180) and the 64GB model falling to $399 (£241).

Jobs explained that the price reduction is important as it opens up the appeal of the iPod Touch to a wider range of consumers and therefore draws them into the App Store.

"Now what we really see is it's the lowest-cost way to the App Store, and that's the big draw," he said. "So what we were focused on is just reducing the price to $199. We don't need to add new stuff. We need to get the price down where everyone can afford it."

Digital Spy

Groom fixes teeth to marry dentist's daughter

An Isle of Wight man was told to get his teeth fixed before a dentist would let him marry his daughter.

Gordon Taylor, 32, was told he must have a series of fillings and cosmetic surgery before he could walk down the aisle with Sarah Lewis, 26.

Her father, Dr Philip Lewis, even made him wear a 'snap-on smile' cosmetic denture for the wedding in Cowes.

"I didn't mean to neglect my teeth, I guess it was just the lifestyle I was leading," said Mr Taylor.

"When I met Sarah, I guess her family noticed them more than most because her father is a dentist."

Dr Lewis, 56, admitted he was horrified by the sight of his future son-in-law's teeth.

"The thought of my daughter walking down the aisle to Gordon with his teeth the way they were was not a good one," he said.

Sarah's mother Joy, who works as a receptionist at Dr Lewis's surgery, added: "Gordon is a lovely chap but he had awful teeth, really awful teeth."

And his bride said she was thrilled Mr Taylor had agreed to undergo the dental work to win her hand.

"I will always love him regardless but I know the finished look will certainly please him as well as our family and friends," she said.


Deaf puppy learns sign language

A tiny eight week old puppy is learning sign language in Australia after it was discovered that she is profoundly deaf.

Pixie the border collie is currently being taught to recognise hand commands by trainer Liz Grewal in Coffs Harbour.

Liz has been an owner of deaf dogs for six years and so far she has taught the clever youngster to sit, drop and come forth.

"Dogs understand your body language, your hand gestures, they read all of that. They know," Liz comments.

"Consistency is the key to training any dog but you have to emphasise it more with a deaf dog. You've to train them in a different way, they train quicker than a hearing dog as there are no noise distractions."

In order to get the attention of her four deaf dogs, one of the techniques that Liz uses is to squirt them with a little water bottle.

She adds: "I want these dogs to have a fantastic life, and I know they can do it."


Bride who can't stop laughing as her groom 'waffles' his vows becomes YouTube star

It was the moment Andrew Engstrom had been waiting for all his life - exchanging marital vows with his blushing wife Melissa.

But he probably did not envision a scenario where his bride was laughing so hard while at the altar that she could not speak.

When he fluffed his vows - stumbling over the word 'lawfully' to sputter 'waffle-y' - his bride (who clearly has a sense of humour) could not contain herself.

Her hysterical reaction has since become a YouTube hit.

Video shows church guests sitting silently on pews, as the pastor instructs Andrew to 'place the ring on Melissa's hand and repeat after me'.

'I, Andrew Paul Daniel Engstrom," bellows the pastor, as expectant friends and family are hushed to a respectful silence.

However, there is an impending feeling that things are about to go horribly wrong.

'I put it on the wrong way,' says Andrew, shaking his head and referring to his wife's ring.

He composes himself and clasps his wife's hands in his. The couple stare lovingly in each other's eyes - but they both start to laugh.

Andrew repeats: 'I Andrew Paul Daniel Engstrom... Do take Melissa Rene Warren."

But the serious ceremony turns into a farce when the pastor asks Andrew to repeat 'to be my lawfully wedded wife'.

Andrew, who clearly has the jitters, falters and he utters the word 'waffle-y' instead of 'lawfully'.

The hilarious gaffe sends his wife-to-be Melissa into a sporadic fit of laughter as the stern-faced pastor presiding over the ceremony looks on bemused.

Luckily, Andrew sees the funny side of his blunder and adds: 'pancake-y', which turns Melissa's knees to jelly.

The bungling bride bursts into a second laughing stupor, which is matched by gales of laughter from the audience.

By this point, Melissa is struggling to stay on her feet and Andrew has to clutch her two hands to keep her upright as she arches her head back and roars with laughter.

The cackling bride turns to the audience and takes her right hand to her mouth, gesturing as if to eat a pancake.

Goatee-bearded Andrew, still holding on to Melissa, looks at the pastor and admits: 'I've been scared of this all my life.'

Melissa roars with laughter again as the pastor, as ever the professional, turns to his colleague, gives a wry smile, and says: 'What can they do?'

But Melissa still cannot compose herself and she cackles: 'My waffle-y wedded wife,' as Andrew steadies her.

The pastor addresses the audience, joking: 'It's OK folks, I've seen this before.'

The camera cuts to the guests, showing a middle-aged blonde woman, who is crumpled over also laughing hysterically.

Melissa, feeling a bit hot under the collar, starts wafting her face and the couple try to repeat their vows again.

But by this time they both have the giggles.

'I, Andrew Paul Daniel...' says the pastor, who is interrupted by the couple having a laughing fit.

The pastor then jokes: 'The court will take a recess.'

The venue for the couple, who appear to be married, is not known, but believed to be somewhere in the U.S.

Daily Mail

Cat ate 500 euro note

Judges have refused to overturn a decision by German bank bosses who would not replace a 500 euro note after a customer claimed it had been eaten by his cat.

The court in Frankfurt ruled that to prove the claim Peter Neumann would have to rescue undigested scraps of the banknote from his pet's litter tray and present them as evidence for an appeal.

Judges said that they wanted to be completely sure that it was from a single note which had been eaten by a cat.

But Neumann said: "I have already searched through lots of cat litter and I probably threw out the evidence without realising.

"I clear out my cat's litter tray every day and the evidence is going to be long gone by now.

"It's not that I don't want to go looking through pet excrement to get what's rightfully mine, it's just that the evidence really isn't around any more. I don't know what else I can do."


Hong Kong woman cut open her pregnant friend's belly

HONG KONG, CHINA - A Hong Kong woman who was desperate for a child strangled a pregnant acquaintance and cut open her belly to remove the baby, a newspaper reported Friday.

Leung Sin-ting, 27, befriended a pregnant woman identified as "Ms Lee" through an online childcare forum, and invited her home to pick up a baby bed and feeding bottles, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a High Court hearing on Thursday.

Leung strangled Lee with the cord of a massager after the victim visited Leung's flat in September last year and told her that she was expecting a baby boy.

After Lee passed out, her attacker cut a gash in her belly, the Post said.

The unborn infant, which was 37-weeks old at the time of the attack, suffered from a brain injury and impaired bodily functions, the report said. It died a short time later after an emergency caesarian operation at a local hospital.

Judge Darryl Saw adjourned sentencing to October after Leung pleaded guilty to a count of manslaughter, pending psychiatrists' reports.

The court heard that the defendant claimed to have suffered miscarriages in 2003 and, since last year, pretended to be pregnant by wearing towels tied under her clothes.

Even her husband did not know that Leung's pregnancy was fake until the day of the attack, the report said.

Leung successfully persuaded a doctor to give her a certificate for claiming maternity leave. She also put her own name on other women's ultrasound images to show family and friends, the report said.

Source : Asia One News

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fat cat could be a record breaker


A Chinese man believes his two-and-a-half stone cat could be the heaviest in the world.

Xu Jirong, of Qingdao, in northern China's Shandong province, says the cat, appropriately named Chubby, has a 27ins waist - bigger than a human girl's.

"She puts on more than two pounds every year - I suspect the problem is that she much prefers pork to fish," he told Wuzhou Daily.

"She can swallow down four or five pieces of raw pork within minutes."

However, Xu says Chubby is quite a good 'watchcat'.

"She attacks any stranger who comes in the apartment by scratching them - she's really quite terrifying," he added.

However, a vet said Chubby was clearly obese and said that all pets need a healthy diet and exercise.

Dog survives being shot 4 times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A 2-year-old yellow Labrador mix is recovering at a Kansas City shelter after being shot four times. And workers at Wayside Waifs have dubbed him Bullet. Waifs spokeswoman Ashlee Parker said Bullet was found several weeks ago in Caldwell County, shot once in the head, once in each front shoulder and once in the neck.

The Kansas City Star reported that the Cameron-based rescue group Safe Haven took in the dog, paid for his treatments and nursed him mostly back to health. Parker said Bullet still has some pain in one of his shoulders and one leg.

Bullet arrived at Wayside Waifs Tuesday. He got X-rays and was neutered and currently is not up for adoption.

Officials don't know who shot the dog or why.


what is the world coming to?!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Teen Baffles Doctors Crying Tears of Blood

A Tennessee teen has baffled doctors by regularly shedding tears of blood.

Calvino Inman suffers bloody tears seeping from his eyes for up to an hour a day.

The 15-year-old is being teased at school for being "possessed" and doctors have been unable to diagnose his specific condition.

One theory is that Inman has a condition called haemolacria — literally meaning "bloody tears." The condition can be triggered by a tumor or even a bad case of conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Inman, of Rockwood, Tenn., said: "I feel it coming up, like a tear, sometimes it will burn."

His mother Tammy said: "I just truly want somebody to say they can help us."

Fox News

Girl, 15, Admits Trying to Poison Father With Tainted Jell-O

LIVINGSTON, Mont. — A 15-year-old Montana girl has admitted trying to poison her father using Jell-O laced with lamp oil.

The teen appeared before District Judge Nels Swandal Monday via video conferencing. She pleaded guilty to a charge of simple assault, a lesser count than the felony attempted aggravated assault charge she first faced.

Court records say in early June, the girl made Jell-O tainted with lamp oil. Twice over a period of three days she tried to get her father to eat it. The girl and her father had recently quarreled because he revoked her privileges for missing curfew.

"What did you think was going to happen," Swandal asked the girl.

"That he'd have diarrhea and stuff," she replied.

A spokeswoman with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center for Montana said if lamp oil were ingested and stayed in the stomach, it would cause little trouble, but breathing fumes could cause inflammation in the lining of the lungs.

Swandal placed the girl on probation until she turns 18. Her attorney said she will enter treatment for chemical dependency.

The girl had been held at a juvenile detention center in Glendive since her arrest on June 7. Swandal did not order any more detention time.


Dog given parking ticket

An Australian traffic warden fixed a parking ticket to a dog's lead after it was 'parked' illegally outside a shopping centre.

The dog was tied to a fence outside Darwin's Rapid Creek market when it was approached by two city council traffic wardens, the Northern Territory News reports.

One of the inspectors wrote out a ticket - and taped it to the dog's lead.

Witness Ray McEvoy said he couldn't believe his eyes.

"I watched an elderly lady and her very faithful blue heeler roll up at the market. The lady tied the dog to the fence and gave him a bowl full of water. And off she went into the markets," he said.

"Then two traffic inspectors came along. They had a bit of a talk and, to my amazement, wrote out a warning infringement notice for the dog and taped it to his lead rope."

Council spokesman Grant Fenton said a dog was considered to be "at large" if the owner was not there.

"You can't tie up a dog and leave it," he said.


China schoolgirl aspires to be 'corrupt official'

BEIJING (AFP) – A six-year-old girl has become a media darling in China on her first day of school by expressing her aspiration to become a "corrupt official" when she grows up, state media said Friday.

The young student stated her aspirations in a televised interview that was posted on a southern China website, leading bloggers to describe her comments as "a reflection of social reality," the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

"When I grow up I want to be an official," said the girl, whose face was blurred to protect her identity.

"What kind of official?" the interviewer asked.

"A corrupt official because corrupt officials have a lot of things," she replied.

Numerous other children appearing in the video were asked the same question, with many saying they wanted to become teachers, while others said they were not sure what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Many chatroom users praised the child for her "realistic" outlook on life, while others expressed cynicism over rampant corruption in China.

"Socialism has issued a new version of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'," said one posting.

"The ugliness of life has already tainted the children -- how are we ever going to educate the next generation?" another posting said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has repeatedly warned that corruption is one of the greatest threats to the legitimacy of Communist Party rule.