Sunday, November 29, 2009
The man, Le Van, told the website that after his wife died in 2003 he slept on top of her grave, but about 20 months later he worried about rain, wind and cold, so he decided to dig a tunnel into the grave "to sleep with her".
His children found out, though, and prevented him from going to the grave. So one night in November 2004 he dug up his wife's remains and took them home, Vietnamnet reported.
The father of seven said neighbours did not dare visit the house for several years.
"I'm a person that does things differently. I'm not like normal people," he was quoted as saying.
The BBC has obtained rare footage of Chinese police who are trying to curb the trade, but many thousands of children are being snatched off the streets to be sold every year and most are never recovered."
View the Video Report (Contains real scenes of child abduction): Child Snatching in China
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Dubbed "liquid gold" by Homer, olive oil has been used for food, medicine, magic, beauty, and divine rituals. Baseball star Joe DiMaggio is even said to have soaked his bat in olive oil. Restore luster to your sore throat and dry lips . . . replace artery-clogging butter in your favorite dishes with olive oil... more>>
Monday, November 23, 2009
Tony Richardson and Samantha Smyth were heading to Poole Hospital in Sam's mum's Kia when they realised they were not going to make it.
Baby Kia was born at 4.30am in the back of the car - and the couple decided to ditch their original name of 'Tilley' to mark the unusual birth.
And Kia has now offered the couple a new Kia Carens - the same model baby Kia was born in - worth £18,000.
Miss Smyth, 23, said: "Wow! I was not expecting this. We're over the moon. We could do with it. Between me and my partner we have six kids. We can't fit them all in the car."
Michael Cole, managing director of Kia Motors, said: "All of us at Kia are delighted for Tony and Samantha and flattered that they have called their new baby Kia after she was born in granny's Carens.
"We would like to welcome Kia to the Kia family and wish her a wonderful life."
Nathalie Blanchard, 29, took long-term sick leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Quebec, more than a year ago for severe depression. She was receiving monthly benefits from her insurance company, Manulife.
When Ms Blanchard called Manulife to inquire why the payments dried up, the insurance company said that 'I'm available to work, because of Facebook,' she told CBC television.
She said that Manulife cited several pictures Blanchard had posted on her social networking website page, including some showing her enjoying herself during a male strip-tease show at a Chippendales bar, celebrating her birthday and bathing in the sun.
Based on these postings, the firm claimed Ms Blanchard was no longer depressed.
Ms Manulife declined to comment on the incident but said in a statement that 'we would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook.' But the company did recognise that it uses such information to learn more about their clients. -- AFP
Source : The Straits Times
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The game, which is set 1000 years after the original Crystal Chronicles for the Gamecube, will be released in Europe on February 5, 2010.
The Wii exclusive sees players control a crystal bearing a mercenary called Layle, who comes into contact with a long-forgotten enemy while accompanying a passenger airship on its maiden voyage.
The title, which was announced in 2005, was made available in Japan on November 12.
Now, hold SHIFT and click your letterbox. This will provide you with these options:
- Make All Happy
- Force Visitor
- Set Career
- Set level
You may also hold SHIFT and click on Sims to get these options:
- Add Sim to House
- Modify Sim Traits
- Force Aging
In Ground View mode, hold SHIFT and click a spot and your Sim will teleport to it.
You can also click and drag your Sims' need bars to full. SHIFT-click the mailbox and select Make Needs Static to keep the max level until you leave the game. (Note: if you SHIFT-click the mailbox and it says Make Needs Dynamic, select that. SHIFT-Click the mailbox again and it will say Make Needs Static) This must be repeated each time you re-enter the game. But you only have to do it once, as it will work for all of the Sims in the household.
Hold SHIFT and click a Sim's workspace to do the following:
- Force Event
- Force Events
- Force Opportunity
During gameplay, press COMMAND+SHIFT+C to bring up the cheats console. Enter the codes below for the desired effect.
- constrainFloorElevation [true/false] - Force terrain adjustments regardless of objects, Sims, and other structures
- enableLlamas - Enables llamas, obviously
- jokePlease - Summon a joke
- hideHeadlineEffects [on/off] - Hide all meters and effects
- quit - Quit the game
- help - Lists all available commands
- slowMotionViz [x] - Slow motion, where [x] is 0-8 (0 is normal)
- resetSim [x] - Resets the named Sim with neutral motives, no moodlets, and teleports Sim back home where [x] is first and last name
- fps [on/off] - Toggles frames per second in upper right of HUD
- fadeObjects [on/off] - Toggles object fade when camera zooms
- testingcheatsenabled - Turns on Testing Cheats (See Below)
- disableSnappingToSlotsOnAlt [on/off] - Hold Alt to avoid object snap when toggled
- kaching - While on the lot, this gives you $1,000
- motherlode - While on the lot, this gives you $50,000
- moveobjects on/off - Move anything (including Sims) in your Buy/Build mode
- familyFunds [x][y] - Give money to a family, where [x] is the family's last name and [y] is the amount
- fullscreen [on/off] - Toggles windowed mode
- unlockOutfits [on/off] - Unlocks outfits in CAS (Create a Sim) mode. Note: Must be enabled before entering CAS
- babyboom - Adds a baby and a toddler to every household.
- ResetLifetimeHappiness - Resets the lifetime happiness of all the sims in an active household.
- forcetwins - click on a pregnant Sim to control it, then enter this code in the console to have twins
Detectives said two suspects forced their way into a home on Friday morning and began ransacking the house. Police said that when a baby started crying, one of them warmed a bottle in a microwave oven and gave it to a child to feed the baby.
The suspect was being held on charges of burglary, robbery, criminal confinement and pointing a firearm.
Lillie Sutcliffe from Castleford, West Yorkshire in England suffers from a rare condition called cystinosis. The condition causes an amino acid, cystine, to accumulate in various organs of the body including the kidney, eyes, liver, muscles, pancreas, brain and white blood cells. It primarily affects children and without specific treatment, kids with the disease will develop end stage kidney failure at approximately age 9, according to the Cystinosis Research Network.
The condition is so rare, it is estimated that only about 2,000 people worldwide suffer from it, although the numbers are unclear because the conditions is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Doctors discovered Lillie had cystinosis after scanning her eyes and finding crystals, the Mail reported.
“I had never heard of the condition, so I was a bit shocked to hear what it did,” Lillie’s mom, Laura, told the newspaper. “It means Lillie's body essentially turns to crystal.They just load up inside her. If it wasn't treated she would turn into stone eventually because it attacks all the cells.”
Although the condition can be partially treated, there is no cure.
“This is an excessively rare condition,” Dr. Kay Tyerman, a pediatric nephrologuist told the newspaper. “It's usually present in children who are not growing properly in the first few years of their life.”
Three suspects have confessed to killing five people for their fat, said Col. Jorge Mejia, chief of Peru's anti-kidnapping police. He said the suspects, two of whom were arrested carrying bottles of liquid fat, told police it was worth $60,000 a gallon.
Mejia said the suspects told police the fat was sold to intermediaries in Lima, the Peruvian capital. While police suspect the fat was sold to cosmetic companies in Europe, he could not confirm any sales.
Medical experts expressed doubt about an international black market for human fat, though it does have cosmetic applications. Yale University dermatology professor Dr. Lisa Donofrio speculated that a small market may exist for "human fat extracts" to keep skin supple, though scientifically such treatments are "pure baloney."
At a news conference, police showed reporters two bottles of fat recovered from the suspects and a photo of the rotting head of a 27-year-old male victim. Suspect Elmer Segundo Castillejos, 29, led police to the head, recovered in a coca-growing valley last month, Mejia said.
Mejia said Castillejos confessed that the gang would cut off its victims' heads, arms and legs, remove the organs, then suspend the torsos from hooks above candles that warmed the flesh as the fat dripped into tubs below.
Six members of the gang remain at large, Mejia said, adding that in addition to the five killings the suspects confessed to, the gang may be involved in dozens more. Castillejos told police that the band's fugitive leader, 56-year-old Hilario Cudena, has been killing to extract fat from victims for more than three decades.
At least 60 people are listed as missing in Huanuco province, where the gang allegedly operated, this year alone, though the province is also home to drug-trafficking leftist rebels.
Mejia said police received a tip four months ago that human fat from the jungle was being sold in Lima. In August, he said, police infiltrated the band and later obtained some of the amber fluid, which a police lab confirmed as human fat.
On Nov. 3, police arrested Serapio Marcos Veramendi and Enedina Estela in a Lima bus station with a quart of human fat in a soda bottle. Their testimony led to the arrest of Castillejos three days later at the same bus station.
The three are charged with homicide, criminal conspiracy, illegal firearms possession and drug trafficking, according to a statement from Lima Superior Court. Police said they were searching for the alleged buyer.
Police named the band the "Pishtacos" after a Peruvian myth dating to pre-Columbian times of men who killed to extract human fat, quartering their victims with machetes.
Mejia said Castillejos claimed his was not the only gang engaged in such killings.
Medical authorities reached by The Associated Press said human fat is used in anti-wrinkle treatments — but is always extracted from the patient being treated, usually from the stomach or buttocks.
"There would be a risk of immunological reaction that could lead to life-threatening consequences" if fat from someone else were used, said Dr. Neil Sadick, a professor of dermatology at Cornell Weill Medical College in New York.
Dr. Adam Katz, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Virginia medical school, was incredulous when told about the Peruvian ring.
"I can't see why there would be a black market for fat," he said. "It doesn't make any sense at all because in most countries we can get fat so readily and in such amounts from people who are willing and ready to donate that I don't see why there would ever be a black market for fat, of all tissues."
Source: Fox News
Brian Thomas, 59, admitted killing Christine, 57, in their camper van, but blamed his rare sleep disorder.
Jurors were told they could reach only not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity verdicts on a murder charge.
The Swansea Crown Court judge told the jury to declare Mr Thomas, of Neath, not guilty over the Ceredigion death.
The High Court judge, Mr Justice Davis, described Brian Thomas as a "decent man and devoted husband".
The judge said that from his understanding of his character from what had come out in court he may go away with a sense of guilt about what happened but he underlined a second time: "In the eyes of the law you bear no responsibility for what happened."
Mr Thomas's brother Raymond called him a loving husband and a family man and said: "Justice has prevailed".
Raymond Thomas, speaking on the court steps, said: "This is absolutely wonderful.
He went on: "Family and friends are truly delighted by the outcome today. They were a loving couple and always like that together.
"This was a tragic, tragic episode and we are all very emotional.
"It is like one psychiatrist has said, this was a perfect storm."
Mr Thomas said he was not surprised that the trial had gone ahead: "The circumstances were that it happened and it had to be sorted out."
But he said his brother was "a gentle man and has always been a gentle man," and he was "very emotional and thankful to be out".
He said the family thought it was wrong that his brother had been in custody for 10 months.
"Because bearing in mind what happened in the beginning and he was out and then to be suddenly remanded then was ridiculous."
The case, which followed Mrs Thomas's death in the coastal town of Aberporth, was described as "highly unusual" by prosecuting barrister Paul Thomas.
Jurors were told at the start of the trial that they could reach only two verdicts for the murder charge - not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
The court heard that tests commissioned by both the prosecution and the defence were carried out on Mr Thomas as he slept following his claims of a sleep disorder.
Both sleep experts agreed his behaviour was consistent with automatism, which meant at the time he killed his wife, his mind had no control over what his body was doing.
But the jury has been told there are two types of automatism: insane automatism and non-insane automatism, which they will have to decide between for their verdict.
In court on Friday morning, however, the prosecution told the jury that it was no longer seeking a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity and that there would be no purpose in sending Mr Thomas to a psychiatric hospital.
The court erupted into shouts of "yes" as family members jubilantly greeted the outcome.
'Not a risk'
The prosecution had previously described how Mr Thomas killed his wife, his childhood sweetheart to whom who he was married to for 40 years, because he had dreamt she was a man who had broken into their motor home.
The jury heard that Mr Thomas, who took medication for depression, had stopped taking his tablets as they made him impotent and he and his wife planned to be "intimate" while on holiday.
Expert evidence during the trial, however, suggested that he would have suffered worsening dreams and nightmares as a result of the withdrawal symptoms he would be experiencing.
The court heard that as part of their holiday, the couple, who had two daughters, stayed the night at a vehicle park in Aberporth in July 2008.
But, while there, a group of younger people turned up at the car park after they had gone to bed, and the screeching of brakes and tyres - described in court as "boy racer activity" - disturbed the couple, who moved from the site's lower to its higher car park.
The prosecution said that at 0349 the next morning, Mr Thomas made a 999 call, which was later played to the court, in which he said he had killed his wife because he had mistaken her for an intruder in a dream.
He said he had dreamt he was fighting one of the boy racers.
The court heard that the daughters said their father had been prone to episodes of sleepwalking, during which he had been known sometimes to act strangely.
During the trial a psychiatrist for the prosecution, Dr Caroline Jacob, said she did not think he posed a risk and should walk free."
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Chongqing Wild Animal Park has five rare adult white tigers which were originally trained to perform tricks for visitors, reports the Chongqing Morning Post.
Keepers have been trying to encourage them to follow their natural instincts by throwing them live chickens - but without success.
Feeder Shi Ruqiang said: They're supposed to be wild and scary, but due to their soft lifestyles and human care they have gradually lost their wild nature.
"I have been trying to interest them with live chickens but it was quite a funny scene. The tigers were so scared that they wouldn't go near them.
"One chicken passed out and the tigers did eventually approach it - but then it woke up again and squawked and they ran for their lives!"
Shi says the keepers are now forcing the tigers to stay outside their cages for at least 12 hours a day to toughen them up.
And they are planning to introduce a wild tiger to show the domesticated big cats the ropes.
"If all else fails, we will simply cut down their rations until they are so hungry that they are forced to hunt for themselves," he added.
Even as new details emerge about the teenager charged with killing 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten, many facts about the crime continued to be kept secret Thursday — and may never be released by authorities unless Bustamante goes to trial for murder.
Bustamante, who had been in juvenile custody since leading police to Elizabeth's body Oct. 23, was certified Wednesday as an adult and indicted on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She is accused of strangling Elizabeth, cutting her throat and stabbing her.
Online court records showed Thursday that a public defender assigned to represent Bustamante filed a motion seeking to have her placed in a state hospital for immediate mental health treatment.
On a YouTube profile viewed by The Associated Press, which has since been taken down, Bustamante listed her hobbies as "killing people" and "cutting." A year ago, Bustamante posted a video to the site in which she appears to intentionally shock herself on an electric fence near her home, then goads her two younger brothers into doing the same.
In court Wednesday, juvenile justice officials testified that Bustamante attempted to commit suicide in 2007 and had been receiving mental health treatment for depression and cutting herself.
A police officer testified that Bustamante confessed to digging two holes to be used as a grave, then killing Elizabeth five days later without provocation because she wanted to know what it felt like.
But repeated objections by Bustamante's juvenile justice attorney prevented the police officer from explaining why two holes were dug. Cole County prosecutor Mark Richardson also has declined to elaborate.
"I know that, but I cannot go into those details right now," Richardson said.
Asked if he could say whether Elizabeth's body was found in only one of those holes, Richardson paused for several seconds and again replied: "No, I can't tell you that right now."
Richardson similarly declined to explain what the sheriff meant when he said last month that the investigation was aided by "some written evidence." The Cole County sheriff's office did not immediately return a call Thursday.
Those kinds of details might normally be included in a probable cause statement from sheriff's deputies or police as a basis for a prosecutor to file charges. But in Bustamante's case, there is no probable cause statement in the court file, because she was instead indicted by a grand jury.
Greater details of the crime also are included in Bustamante's juvenile court records, but those will remain closed under state law, said Cole County Juvenile Court Administrator Michael County.
No further details are expected to emerge at a Dec. 7 status hearing in Bustamante's case. It could be months, maybe even a year, before a trial at which witnesses would be called to explain the details and circumstances of the crime. But no trial — or testimony — would occur if Bustamante were to plead guilty to a charge.
Although he did not rule it out, Richardson said he wasn't inclined to agree to a plea on a charge of anything less than first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison without parole.
"Because of the nature of the case, there is not a lot of room to enter into pleas," he said.
Backstage, Tsujii's fans surrounded him to congratulate another great performance. Dramatically different from his stage persona, the soft-spoken and laid-back musician says, "Everywhere I go on this tour, people's reaction is amazing." After Tsujii won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Van Cliburn International Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, in June, the young performer has been launched into the unfamiliar world of Japanese mega-stardom. The sales of his first album debut, together with his second album and a live DVD, have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and the interview requests flooded in. Tsujii, the first Japanese winner of the competition, says he rarely has time to go to his school now, or to meet friends. "The medal is a bit of a burden," he admits, "But I enjoy playing in front of people, so I try to give a good performance every time."
Japan, it seems, has got itself a case of Nobu Fever, the latest object of affection in a culture that regularly gets obsessed en masse with everything from fad diets to Haruki Murakami's latest book. And while this kind of fame may be new for the artist, life as a concert pianist is not. Tsujii's talent for music was discovered by his mother, when, at eight months, she says he repeatedly urged her to play a CD of Chopin's Polonaise Op.53. Soon after, his parents gave him a toy piano, and he started lessons before he was two. At 10, he debuted on stage with a professional orchestra. Masahiro Kawakami, who taught Tsujii for 12 years, is amazed at his pupil's unstoppable charisma. "He has a strong desire to strike a beautiful note, and this conviction that things will go well. His music has a power to make people happy."
By day, Tsujii is a junior at Ueno Gakuen University, a music school in Tokyo. The round-faced, stout Tokyoite — he says he takes after his dad, except for the fingers — likes karaoke and swimming, and would like to find a nice girlfriend soon. Pretty ordinary stuff for a college student, but once Tsujii sits in front of a piano, he transforms. Classical music critic Yukiko Hagiya calls his sound "pure and crystal-clear. It communicates his joy of performing to an audience." Michel Beroff, one of the jurors for the Cliburn Competition told the monthly piano magazine Chopin, "The special thing about his performance is his sound. It has depth, color and contrast, the genuine music."
Certainly, being blind hasn't made it easy. Tsujii can use Braille music scores to learn new pieces, but this kind of translation is usually done by volunteers. Because demand is so low, the variety of scores available does not meet the needs of a professional performer, so Tsujii has devised his own method. A team of pianists records scores along with specific codes and instructions written by composers, which Tsujii listens to and practices until he learns and perfects each piece. Yukio Yokoyama, Tsujii's current professor says, "Usually people learn by observing how others use their fingers, their bodies and their breaths, but he can only touch and feel."
Tsujii hopes one day to shake the label of being Japan's "blind" pianist. "When I was small, I realized I was blind, but at the same time I said, 'But I can play the piano, so it's okay.' I'd like everyone to think that I am simply a pianist." He'll have his chance: As the winner of the Cliburn Competition, he is booked to perform worldwide for the next three years. "I am only at the starting line," he says. "I'd like to become a fine musician and play the piano as long as l live."
Thursday, November 19, 2009
They met as five-year-old schoolchildren in 1929 and have been together almost constantly ever since.
But in a union that has spanned nine decades and survived the Second World War, Jim Hadwin and his wife Moira have managed to avoid a single row.
Retired firefighter Jim, 85, said: 'We have all been rock-solid since the very first day, we always knew it was going to last.
'We have spent our lives together but I wouldn't change a thing. We still make each other laugh and we are still grateful to have spent our lives together.
'We are very similar but we argue like any couple but we get on tremendously and we know it would be silly to fall out over silly things.
'Moira is a very reasonable, patient person and it doesn't bear thinking about what my life would be like if I hadn't met Moira.
'Every day has been lovely with Moira, I wouldn't change a thing.'
After spending two years in the same class at Kings Street School, Spennymoor, County Durham, Moira was moved to a nearby girl's school separating her from her future husband for one of the only times in her life.
The devoted pair were re-united aged 11, when fate threw them back together in the same class at Oldham and Wraith Grammar School, much to Jim's delight.
Jim said: 'We were in the same class until we were seven and I remember being very disappointed when she moved.
'It was only a small place so I still saw her but I preferred it when she was in my class.
'I could tell then that she was a wonderful person and I always thought she was very pretty.'
Jim took three years to muster up the courage to make Moira his girlfriend, the pair eventually beginning their life-long courtship when they turned 14.
Retired fireman Jim added: 'We were back in the same class and from then on we were inseparable.
'We started courting at 14 when I took her home to meet my parents after the school Christmas party.
'I remember having butterflies in my stomach and feeling on top of the world when we started courting.
'In those days it was very different to how it is now, there was no cavorting and gentleman had to behave a certain way, but even knowing we were together made me very happy.'
Jim left school at 17 to enter the Police Cadet service, while Moira remained at school with her eye on attending university.
When war tore Europe apart, newly-signed-up Marine Jim was sent across Europe and Moira re-located to a munitions factory in Cambridge.
But even with Jim hundreds of miles away in Belgium, Holland and Germany, Moira was always at his side.
Before he departed he was given three pictures of Moira, one for each of the main pockets of his uniform to protect him from a hail of German bullets.
Brave Jim added: 'They were the best good luck charms imaginable because I didn't get shot, so they must have worked.
'It was terrible for us to be apart but we wrote and I saw her once or twice when I was close enough to Britain to get back, but otherwise all I had were the pictures of her.
'The war was a very hard time for everyone but we survived it, we were each other's rocks even though we were miles apart.'
Just over two years after the end of the war in the summer of 1948 the couple were married at St Paul's Church, Spennymoor.
They settled into their new careers as fireman and a secretary respectively.
Jim's work saw the pair relocate from Newcastle to Poole, Dorset, where he worked as station manager before retiring in 1976.
Since then they have both retired to spend their days by the seaside in Weymouth and despite spending their whole lives together, Jim insists they still love each other's company.
With such a strong relationship behind them Jim and Moira, also 85, who decided against having children, are experts in making a marriage work and claim a shift in attitudes is to blame for Britain's divorce culture.
'I think it is all too easy for people these days to give up on marriages and relationships,' said Jim.
'It is too easy to get divorced. You have ups and downs in any relationship but you have to work through them and take the good with the bad.
'People seem to think that marriage is a commitment they can get out of if they want but if you care enough to get married in the first place you should work to make it last.'
Jim also has two golden rules for any newly-married men to ensure a long and happy marriage.
He added: 'We have lasted so long because I was brought up to earn the money and provide for my wife.
'But the important thing for any husband is to remember that once you've earned your money, you have to give it to your wife so she can spend it.'
He snapped away from his camera on a tripod but backed away and continued taking photos with a second camera as the penguins moved towards him.
"I remember one of the birds stayed behind the camera as the others moved to the front," said Mr Schultz, 53.
"With their heads stretched out, constantly bobbing, it seriously seemed as if they were posing. And then the one behind the camera changed position so it appeared as if it was looking right through the view finder"
The fascinated penguins approached Mr Schultz each day as he hiked from a helicopter base camp to the main Emperor rookery.
"It quickly became obvious the penguins were as interested in us as we were in them," he said.
He was surprised however that the penguins allowed him to take the playful shot.
"Capturing that precise moment when everything comes together for what I would consider a ‘great photo’ then having the privilege to share it with so many others is a wonderful feeling and opportunity."
Attorney Steven Ehrlich, who represents supermarket clerk Jonas Cruz, alleges his client was bitten at the Cold Cut House by a cat belonging to the deli's owner and Cruz suffered an adverse reaction to the animal's saliva, the New York Post said Sunday.
"He was immediately hospitalized," Ehrlich alleges of the fallout from the 2008 incident. "His body had a reaction to the bite -- his arm blew up."
Ehrlich alleges in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that his client was unable to work for a month because of an infection caused by the cat bite.
The deli owner, who identified himself only as Frank to the Post, said his cat, Katie, would not have attacked anyone.
"She never bothers anybody," said Frank, who added he received no complaints from customers about his cat the day of the alleged attack. "He's up for a payday."
The record was set in central London to coincide with the fifth annual Guinness World Records Day, which organizers said prompted thousands of people around the world to set some bizarre benchmarks of their own.
For Singh, his latest achievement makes up for the disappointment of 2007, when he failed to break the record for the longest distance to pull a double-decker bus with the ears.
"I will never be discouraged by defeat, because I know that success can be waiting around the next corner," he said. "The only way to get there is to try again and stay positive."
Also in London, 112 commuters put aside their English rush-hour reserve to set a record for the most people hugging for a minute, while Shaun Jones won the title for the fastest hot water bottle burst at 18.81 seconds.
In Italy, a new fastest time was set for eating a bowl of pasta (one minute 30 seconds) and in Norway the largest ever gingerbread man was made weighing 1,435 pounds. In Finland, people from 76 nationalities squeezed into a single sauna.
Not everyone was successful, however. In Australia, 228 people were not enough to break the largest bikini parade record. Guinness World Records is considered the authority on world records, and its book has sold over 100 million copies.
Camelback High School librarian Georgette Bordine says the two Audubon Society books checked out in 1959 and the money order were sent by someone who wanted to remain anonymous.
Bordine says the letter explained that the borrower's family moved to another state and the books were mistakenly packed.
The letter said the money order was to cover fines of 2 cents per day for each book. That would total about $745. The letter says the extra money was added in case the rates had changed.
Bordine says the money will buy more books, and the overdue books will be returned to the shelves.
Twenty-nine-year-old Aaron Siebers was arrested after police say he admitted making up the assault and said he was responsible for the knife wound to his leg and other superficial cuts on his body. He faces charges of false reporting and obstructing a police officer.
Police say Siebers reported the attack Monday to the video store where he works. The reported assault drew five police agencies to the scene, along with K-9 units.
Police spokesman Steve Davis says Siebers admitted the story was a lie after repeated questioning from detectives.
Before the 'facelift'
'Too creepy': Santa Claus in his bandages
A controversial giant Santa Claus decoration has been reinstalled in Auckland's city centre to the horror of some locals who say it is "too creepy".
The 20-metre-high fibreglass Santa has been attached to the side of a book shop in Queen Street over Christmas for almost 50 years.
But it has undergone major cosmetic surgery after Aucklanders complained his smile looked sinister and his beckoning finger was scaring children.
Last year, the Santa had broken apart and been stuck together with what looked like a giant band-aid.
It has been under the knife for the past four months, with Santa's face currently wrapped in white bandages that are due to be removed on Sunday.
But some locals say the bandages are creepier than the old face, with one mother looking up at the decoration saying: "This is every child's worst nightmare".
American tourist Edward said he could not believe his eyes when he saw Santa's face covered by bandages.
"Santa in bondage. It's a very funny thing. They just couldn't wait to bring it out," he said.
"He does look kind of sad up there, doesn't he?"
Aucklander Phil McGrath said he had just finished his banking when he noticed the face.
"He looks like he's had botox. A bit of plastic surgery for Santa this year," he said.
"[The old Santa's] eyes were freaky, very scary. I remember taking my niece and she looked up and started crying."
The bandages come off on Sunday and Mr McGrath says he is going to come down to watch the unveiling.
"What they should do is reveal it strap by strap... on the TV programs, they are bruised and battered, that's what they should do with Santa."
Officers found a 42-year-old local man in some bushes 20 feet away from the tracks. The man indicated he was walking when he saw the train and jumped out of the way.
But Lemke said he tends to believe the employees over an intoxicated man. The man had no serious injuries and received a trespassing citation.
Canadian National spokesman Patrick Waldron said such an incident usually results in serious or fatal injury.
Eight members of an extended family, most of them in their late teens, were left at the mercy of the seas and the elements after their 22-foot boat ran out of fuel on a trip to a neighbouring island. After finally being rescued near Nauru by a US fishing vessel two of them died from severe malnutrition before the captain could reach medical aid. Survivors said a 15-year-old boy had drowned after jumping overboard to rescue clothing that had blown away.
One of the five survivors, Nick Sales, 29, who was being treated in hospital in Majuro in the Marshall Islands, said the men had collected rainwater to supplement their drastic rations during their ordeal.
"When we ran out of food we began to collect driftwood and coconuts that we found floating in the ocean," he said.
"We would dry the wood in the sun and eat it. If we had coconuts, we would break them open, drink the juice and eat the meat inside.
"Then we would dry the coconut husk and eat that too," he said, adding they also occasionally were able to catch crabs.
Throughout the ordeal the devout Catholics prayed constantly to find comfort and maintain their sanity, he said.
"We lost the youngest when he jumped into the water to recover his shirt," said Mr Sales.
"It was windy and the current was strong and it wasn't long before he was too far to swim back to the boat," he said, adding the men on the boat were too weak to help.
Four of the emaciated survivors were carried off the fishing vessel Ocean Encounter on stretchers when it arrived in Majuro.
Operators of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes near Emmitsburg thought they had been blessed with a big donation when a groundskeeper found the two plastic freezer bags filled with gold and silver while raking leaves.
But Shrine Director William Tronolone said the woman approached him after a noon Mass Sunday, six days after the discovery, to ask whether anyone had found some coins she had hidden beneath fallen leaves at the site on the campus of Mount St. Mary's University.
"I said, 'Why did you leave it there?' And she said, 'Well, I had to go away and I was afraid to leave it and I wanted the Blessed Mother to watch over it for me — and evidently she did because you found it,'" Tronolone said.
By then, university officials had had the coins appraised, notified police and placed the money in a safe while awaiting word from investigators.
Tronolone refused to identify the woman. He said she had been out of town about a week.
After the school's security director returned the coins Monday, he accompanied the woman to her bank and persuaded her to put them in her safe deposit box, Tronolone said.
The shrine, about 50 miles northwest of Baltimore, features a replica of the grotto in Lourdes, France, where Catholics believe Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared to a French schoolgirl named Bernadette several times, beginning in 1858. The Emmitsburg replica draws more than 200,000 visitors annually, Tronolone said.
Grotto visitors often leave anonymous donations, including a $3,000 cash gift two weeks ago.
"Up here at the grotto, you get a lot of people that are very, very faithful," Tronolone said, "and they do things you and I would never even attempt to do."
Shaniya Davis has been missing for six days after she was last seen being carried into a hotel room by a man.
FBI agents and U.S. Marshalls have joined the nationwide search for the toddler amid fears she had been sold to a paedophile ring.
Police have charged the girl's mother Antoinette Davis with human trafficking and prostitution offences.
An arrest warrant issued for the 25-year-old said she allowed her daughter to be taken 'with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude.'
Davis, who is pregnant, first reported her daughter missing last Tuesday.
Police were suspicious of her story after reviewing a timeline of the events leading up to her disappearance from a trailer park in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
They later found CCTV footage from a hotel 40 miles from Fayetteville showing the five year old girl being carried into a hotel room by Mario McNeill.
She has not been seen since and her mother has refused to cooperate with police.
Asked if police think the girl is still alive, Fayetteville police Sgt. John Somerindyke said: 'We sure hope so.'
The girl had only been living with her mother for three weeks, according to her father Bradley Lockhart.
He had primary custody of the girl, but had agreed to let her stay with her mother after she found a place to live and held a job for six months.
Lockhart broke down in tears at a press conference when he sobbed: 'I just want her to come back safe.'
Police have not charged anyone with molesting Shaniya, but said the investigation is ongoing.
The man accused of taking her turned himself in on Friday. Police said he admitted to kidnapping the child and has been charged with kidnap.
According to arrest documents, Davis 'knowingly provided Shaniya Davis with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude' and she 'permitted an act of prostitution.'
Beijing resident Cheng Yu, 31, said that he was initially happy to be given the deserts but now feels sick at the mention of the word "cake", Metro reports.
He claimed that he will divorce his 27-year-old wife Tian Mae if she does not stop baking.
Cheng said: "Egg cake, fruit cake, chocolate cake. I felt like a bakery dustbin."
The Daily News and Analysis newspaper said the situation led to daily arguments between the couple from Pune, southeast of Mumbai, and she filed for divorce.
Television soap operas, with their high melodrama, dramatic close-ups and music, have a huge following in India, particularly among housewives or women who work as domestic helps.
Granting her application, a family court judge said the husband had been picking arguments with his wife for more than four years "on the ground that she was seeing Hindi serials on TV channels".
It added: "The respondent (husband) was not allowing the petitioner (wife) to see programmes on TV as per her choice".
The divorce ruling was given in August, but details had only recently emerged when the ex-husband applied to the high court to overturn the decision, which also gave the woman custody of the couple's six-year-old child.
His lawyers argued in court on Monday that the woman's claims of cruel treatment against her were false and were part of the normal "wear and tear" of married life, the newspaper said.
Michelle Simson of the Liberals, unhappy at the behavior of Conservative parliamentarian Dean Del Mastro during a committee meeting, sent a Twitter message saying "Del Mastro should grow up (not out)".
Del Mastro, who is not slim, stood up in the House of Commons in front of hundreds of legislators to demand Simson say she was sorry.
"I apologize that I'm not perfect and perhaps my stature doesn't meet the criteria that some members of the House might set but I have actually battled that problem since birth," he said.
Simson then apologized publicly, saying she had been wrong.
Favazza gave birth to a 7-pound, 4-ounce baby boy, Kamron Taylor.
She had been scheduled for a cesarian section on Dec. 6.
City emergency services supervisor, Greg Mynatt, said the 911 call about Favazza was probably the third this year about a woman in labor, but usually the mother makes it to the hospital before delivery.
Taxi drivers in a Chinese city are complaining that they are having to queue for miles to refuel their cars.
Cabbies in Chongqing can use either petrol or natural gas but they prefer to use natural gas as it is much cheaper.
But a cold weather snap has led to shortages with production falling and more people using gas to heat their homes.
Queues at the local natural gas station at Rongqiao are going back miles - with yellow cabs snaking all of the way around the double loop of a flyover and beyond.
A spokesman for the Chongqing Natural Gas Group told Xinhua Net: "We are doing what we can to solve the problem by increasing production.
"In the meantime, I'm afraid the taxi drivers will just have to wait patiently if they want natural gas."
This patch will update your US version Sims 3 installation from version 1.0.631 to the latest version, 1.6.6, and contains a laundry list of updates, fixes and changes.
The Sims 3 US Retail Patches
1.0.631 to 1.6.6:
1.2.7 to 1.6.6:
1.3.24 to 1.6.6:
1.4.6 to 1.6.6:
The Sims 3 Worldwide Retail Patches
1.0.631 to 1.6.6:
1.2.7 to 1.6.6:
1.3.24 to 1.6.6:
1.4.6 to 1.6.6:
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Founded in 2007, Playfish has gained a reputation as an expert in creating popular games for Facebook and other social networking websites. The firm's ten biggest titles currently attract around 60 million active players every month, driving over one billion game sessions.
Following today's purchase, the studio will become part of the EA Interactive group, which is the publishing giant's web and wireless specialist.
"Social gaming, with its emphasis on friends and community, is seeing tremendous growth and this is the right time to invest to strengthen our participation in this space," said EA Interactive senior vice president and general manager Barry Cottle.
"EAi has been successfully leading the charge for EA, and with the addition of proven expertise from Playfish, their broad consumer base and strong game brands, we're moving ahead aggressively in our plans to lead in the category of cross-platform social entertainment."
Playfish chief executive Kristian Segerstrale added: "The industry is undergoing dramatic transformation and joining EA is the ideal opportunity for us to push forward our goals to lead in the social entertainment evolution on a faster and much larger scale.
"EAi's vision and entrepreneurial culture are consistent with our own, and together, we are in position to be the company that defines new and innovative connected experiences that will change the way people play games."
The long-awaited RPG sequel will be made available in the US and UK for the PS3 and 360 on March 9, 2010.
Square Enix Europe president Phil Rogers said: "This is truly a landmark title, arriving simultaneously for multiple platforms for the first time in the history of the series.
"We are also immensely proud to be able to bring the game to the European and PAL audience much earlier than was publicly anticipated."
It was also announced that Leona Lewis's 'My Hands' will be the title's theme song.
"China has become one of a handful of nations to own one of the top five supercomputers in the world.Its Tianhe-1 computer, housed at the National Super Computer Center in Tianjin was ranked fifth on the biannual Top 500 supercomputer list.
The machine packs more than 70,000 chips and can compute 563 trillion calculations per second (teraflops).
It is used for petroleum exploration and engineering tasks such as simulating aircraft designs.
However, the fastest machine is the US-owned Jaguar supercomputer, which now boasts a speed of 1.759 petaflops.
One petaflop is the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.
The Cray computer has more than 220,000 chips and is owned by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It is used to conduct research in climate science, materials science and nuclear energy amongst other areas.
It has taken the top slot from another US machine, nicknamed Roadrunner.
The IBM computer is owned by the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and was the first machine to push through the petaflop barrier.
It is currently able to run at 1.042 petaflops and uses the powerful "cell" chip designed for the PlayStation 3.
It is used to monitor the US nuclear stockpile, as well as conduct research into astronomy, genomics and climate change.
The Top 500 list is dominated by machines in the US, which is home to 277 of ranked systems. It has eight of the top 10 machines.
Europe has 153 systems on the list, including the world's fourth most powerful machine. The IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer at the Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) in Germany is the fastest machine outside the US and is able to run at more than 800 teraflops.
The UK has the largest number of European machines on the list, with 44 systems."
"Given the mother's age ... and the completely normal state of the child, this case is extraordinary in the scientific world and very pleasing," said Matthias Beckmann from the University Clinic in Erlangen, southern Germany.
Only around 25 cases of brain death or coma during pregnancy have been made public since the 1970s and they tend to end in miscarriages or deformed babies, the clinic said.
However, doctors said they had "almost no hope" for the mother who has suffered huge heart and brain damage after a heart attack that pushed her into a coma.
The child, now 18 months, is in a home after his father decided he was unable to care for him as he had to travel often for his job.
Drinking green tea has been associated with lower risk of dying and heart disease deaths, Dr. Toru Naganuma, at Tohoku University School of Medicine in Sendai, Japan told Reuters Health in an email correspondence.
The current study, Naganuma said, suggests drinking green tea may have a favorable effect "for particular cancers."
After gathering information on the diets and green tea drinking habits of a large group of Japanese adults aged 40 to 79 years old, Naganuma and colleagues followed the group for development of blood and "lymph system" cancers. The lymph system is a major component of the body's immune system.
The 19,749 men and 22,012 women who participated in the study had no previous history of cancer, Naganuma and colleagues note in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
During 9 years of follow up, 157 blood, bone marrow, and lymph system cancers developed in the study group.
Naganuma's team found that the overall risk for blood cancers was 42 percent lower among study participants who drank 5 or more, versus 1 or fewer, cups of green tea daily.
Drinking 5 or more cups of green tea daily was also associated with 48 percent lower risk for lymph system cancers.
These associations held up in analyses that allowed for age, gender, education, smoking status and history, alcohol use, and fish and soybean consumption.
The researchers also observed reduced risk for blood-related cancers among obese study participants, who are "considered to have higher risk of these cancers," Naganuma said.
The investigators say further studies are needed to confirm the health benefits of drinking green tea, and to determine whether daily consumption might prevent certain cancers.
Peng Shuilin, 37, spent nearly two years in hospital in Shenzhen, southern China, undergoing a series of operations to re-route nearly every major organ or system inside his body.
Now Peng - who opened his own cut-price supermarket called the Half Man-Half Price Store - has survived so well he's being used as a role model for other amputees.
At just 2ft 7ins tall, he gets around in a wheelchair and gives lectures on recovering from disability.
"We've just given him a check up and he is fitter than most men his age. He is amazing and the only person in the world to survive having so much of his body amputated," said Bujie Hospital vice president Lin Liu.
"He had good care but his secret is his cheerfulness - nothing ever gets him down," he added.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tony and Aimee West had paid £270 for a three tier sponge decorated with white and dark chocolate icing and flowers.
Aimee, 27, said: "It was a terrible shock - I felt so embarrassed in front of all our family and friends.
"It was a lovely occasion and the ceremony was going to be the icing on the cake - only there was no cake."
Bank worker Aimee and Tony, 26, had tied the knot in Cyprus then flew home for their reception at a hotel in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire.
They had pre-ordered the cake from confectioners Creative Cakes in their hometown of Llanelli.
But just four hours before the evening reception was due to start Aimee discovered the cake company had forgotten to bake the cake.
Aimee said: "They admitted their mistake and said: 'Don't worry, we'll get you a cake'. They turned up that evening and the cake was put on a table for all to see."
The pair took Creative Cakes to the small claims court and were awarded £310 compensation.
Karen Williams, who runs Creative Cakes from her home in Llanelli, said: "I explained I would be delivering an artificial cake - they are quite common at weddings these days."
According to the paper, the boy's parents left the former Soviet state for Russia in early 2000, leaving their young son with his ill grandmother. For reasons which are not yet clear, the boy began living in the sheep shed almost immediately.
In the beginning, he tried to mix with children from a nearby village, but they bullied and teased him. He then became a hermit. His story came to light after his grandmother died and locals found her body, the paper said.
He has almost completely forgotten how to speak, the paper said. There is as yet no information on his parents. The paper said he would be taken into the care of the state.
The child's mother found her baby missing when one day she returned home early from work at a multi-national firm, the Times of India newspaper said.
The nanny confessed to have been renting out the baby for the past three weeks, it said.
Beggars with babies are a common sight at traffic signals and roads in cities and towns of India, where giving alms is traditionally considered a way of gaining spiritual merit.
Rising female employment and a preference for nuclear families in India means more children are being handed over to hired help for care when parents go off to work.
Source : Asia One News
Lau Siu-wah, 51, was charged after he allegedly used his wife's identification card to exercise in the female-only section of the gym at the city's Sheraton hotel, The Standard daily reported.
But the man's looks aroused suspicion and police were called, the report said, adding that Lau was quickly arrested.
The paper said Lau admitted to police that he used the card to impersonate his wife, who died in 2007.
Lau, who appeared in court Monday in women's clothes and wearing red nail polish, was granted bail on a charge that he used an identity card relating to another person, the paper said.
The case was adjourned until later this month.
Two years ago, Jim Touzeau suffered a heart attack and collapsed at his Tinana glass factory.
His cattle dog Teka jumped up and down on his chest with her two front paws and barked in his face, causing Mr Touzeau to wake up.
Teka also ran outside and jumped up and down on the kerb to attract attention.
The RSPCA's Michael Beatty says he is amazed at what the dog did to save Mr Touzeau's life.
"I'm sure, as Jim says, he doesn't know for certain and neither [do] the doctors - whether or not Teka jumping up and down on his chest actually kick-started his chest," he said.
"But if he had not woken up, he would have been dead.
"So that is one young cattle dog that's receiving the best of attention, as I'm sure you can imagine."
Mr Beatty says Teka will enjoy the award.
"A very large, very impressive bone will come with the award," Mr Beatty said.