Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Deadly cucumbers - more cases are likely, says scientist

An E.coli outbreak linked to deadly cucumbers is expected to claim more victims as Europe begins to panic, says a scientist.

Fourteen people are now known to have died in Germany and hundreds more are ill. The contaminated vegetables are thought to have come from Spain - although Spanish officials refuse to accept blame.

Up to 1,200 case have been reported in Germany, with 36 suspected cases in Sweden from tourists returning from Germany. Cases have been reported in Switzerland, Denmark, Holland and the UK.

Several countries in Europe have banned vegetable imports and removed them from sale.

BBC

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Boys, 7, told to stop playing soldiers - too threatening say teachers

What is the world coming to when a seven-year-old boy gets told off for making gun shapes with his hands and playing soldiers? I suppose cowboys and indians using water pistols is definitely out of the question.

Teachers at Nathaniel Newton Infants in Nuneaton, Warwicks, told two boys aged 7 to stop playing soldiers because it was "threatening".

Local Tory MP Marcus Jones told the Sun: "This is political correctness gone mad."

A school spokesman said the boys indulged in "unacceptable behaviour" by making gun gestures to members of staff.

SUN STORY

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Teenager quoted £72,000 to insure £600 car

Teenager Joe Chute, from Slough, Berkshire, was quoted £72,000 to insure his Vauxhall Corsa worth just £600.

Joe, aged 18, had chosen the ancient 1.0 litre car because he thought it would be cheap to insure.

He told the Sun newspaper: "If I had that kind of money, I wouldn't need to drive. I could get taxis everywhere or hire a chauffeur."

SUN STORY


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Woman cuts off man's penis - takes it to police as evidence of 'attempted rape'

A woman chopped off a man's penis, wrapped it up in polythene and took it to police as "evidence" of an alleged attempted rape.

She says he burst into her shack in Bangladesh and attacked her. The man denies attempted rape.

Doctors failed in an attempt to reattach his penis because it was several hours before it was taken to the hospital.

MAIL STORY


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Monday, May 30, 2011

10 most dangerous cities in the US - Flint, Michigan, comes top - full list

Flint, Michigan, 66 miles north west of Detroit, is apparently the most dangerous city in the United States.

With 22 violent crimes per 1000 people, Flint tops the list of the 10 most dangerous cities in America, according to FBI crime statistics.

Detroit is the second most dangerous city, with 18.9 violent crimes per thousand people in 2010, while St. Louis, Missouri, came third.

New York doesn't even figure on the list.

The top ten are: 1, Flint, Michigan; 2, Detroit, Michigan; 3, St Louis, Missouri; 4, New Haven, Connecticut; 5, Memphis, Tennessee; 6, Oakland, California; 7, Little Rock, Arkansas; 8, Baltimore, Maryland; 9, Rockford, Illinois; 10, Stockton, California.

CBS

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Lorry falls into huge pothole - disappears in 6 seconds - China

A lorry was swallowed up by a massive pothole in China and two men were injured. According to reports, it took just six seconds for the lorry to disappear in the city of Changchun.

And we think the potholes in England are bad!

DAILY MAIL PICTURE STORY

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Poisonous snakes on train - passengers run for their lives


Picture: Hari Prasad





TRAIN passengers had to run for their lives when dozens of deadly snakes were found on a train in Vietnam.

Officials were checking tickets on the train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi when they spotted king cobras and cobras under a seat. The extremely poisonous snakes can kill a man in 30 minutes.

A smuggler escaped as terrified passengers fled the carriage.

The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world's longest venomous snake. It is fierce and agile, and delivers a huge amount of venom in a single bite. It is one of the most dangerous and feared snakes in Asia.

SKY NEWS


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Dentures save man shot in face - Brazil shooting

An 81-year-old Brazilian was saved from instant death when his dentures deflected a bullet heading for his brain. Zacarias Pacheco de Moraes was shot in the face while working in a bar he owns in Alta Floresta, Brazil.

TELEGRAPH STORY

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Star the dog who lived - Facebook update

The Facebook page for Star the dog, who lived after being shot 40 times in the head and buried alive in Malta, had scored more than 23,000 'likes' by this morning.

People are amazed at the cruelty the dog has suffered.

STAR FACEBOOK PAGE

ORIGINAL STORY about the dog that survived after being shot 40 times in the head and being buried alive in Malta.

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Pink Floyd rockstar Roger Waters a murderer in his dreams - Careful with that axe, Eugene!


Picture: EDDIE BERMAN


PINK FLOYD rockstar Roger Waters has told the BBC's Kirsty Young on 'Desert Island Discs' that he was haunted by a dream in which he murdered someone.

Wow, that might explain some of the brilliant, haunting music that he has produced over many years - especially that amazing scream in "Careful with that Axe, Eugene" on the "Ummagumma" album.

BBC AUDIO

Careful with That Axe, Eugene - Wikipedia entry


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Boy aged 10 hooks alligator on fishing trip - and takes it home to show grandpa

When 10-year-old Michael Dasher went on a school fishing trip in Rockledge, Florida, he didn't expect to hook a monster - then he reeled in a 4ft alligator.

As Michael's friends made a dash for safety, he taped up its mouth and took it half a mile home to show his grandfather, Benjie Cox, and the rest of the family. Mr Cox said: "He ain't scared of nothin. Nothing."

The alligator was later released (tampering with wildlife is an offence in Florida).

A spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said Michael received a stern warning: "He knows now that we don't mess with alligators. The next time, he'll run."

MAIL STORY


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Ten people die after eating deadly cucumbers

TEN people have died and hundreds are sick in Germany after an outbreak of E.coli caused by infected cucumbers. The cucumbers, thought to have been imported from Spain, were infected with a severe complication of E.coli called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).

BBC
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Twitter reveals secret user data - case may help Ryan Giggs lawyers over injunction row

JUST WHEN Twitter users in the UK thought they were safe from having their details revealed because the company is based in America, confidential details of British users have been handed over after a legal move in California, according to a report in the Telegraph.

Councillors and officials of a local authority in England, South Tyneside, went to court to try to get an anonymous user, Mr Monkey, revealed.

Twitter has been ordered to release “contact details, location information and computer addresses of the individuals behind four accounts on the website”.

The ruling in California, where Twitter is based, could open the door to lawyers acting for Ryan Giggs and other personalities who want details of users who broke injunctions.

TELEGRAPH STORY

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

World's smallest caravan - 6ft long with a bed, drinks cabinet and 19-inch TV


The world's smallest caravan is only 6ft 6in long and can be towed behind a mobility scooter. The QTvan, which costs £5,500, has a full-size bed, a 19in TV and bookshelves.

Brilliant!

COOLEST GADGETS WEBSITE

DAILY MAIL STORY

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Dutch to ban sale of cannabis to tourists in 'coffee shops'

The sale of cannabis to tourists in Holland is to be banned - and it could mean the end of a liberal approach to soft drugs.

So, the experiment has finally gone wrong... I never thought it would end on a high.

Even the Dutch themselves could face restrictions on the sale of marijuana by the end of the year as the government tries to promote health and fight crime.

Amsterdam has about 220 coffee shops. Some have been closed in the red light district. A few border towns have already restricted the sale of cannabis to foreigners in an attempt to stop drug tourism.

"In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end," said officials.

SKY NEWS STORY


DRUG POLICE OF THE NETHERLANDS - WIKIPEDIA


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Girl 'shoots father with bow and arrow for taking away her phone'

A 15-year-old girl is alleged to have shot her father with a hunting bow because he grounded her and took her mobile (cell phone) away. She is also said to have refused to let him use the phone to dial the emergency services on 911.

Tony Iovinelli, from Tahuya, Washington, was airlifted to Seattle in a serious condition with an arrow sticking out of his body.

MAIL STORY

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'Godfather of Rap', Gil Scott-Heron dies, aged 62

The musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron, often called the 'Godfather of Rap', has died in New York.

STORY
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'Mrs Thatcher' actress Janet Brown was so good she fooled Joan Rivers

Janet Brown, whose impersonations of Margaret Thatcher were so good that she fooled comedienne Joan Rivers into believing she was the prime minister, has died, aged 87, in Hove, Sussex.

She met Rivers in the VIP lounge at Kennedy Airport, New York, after arriving to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Rivers apologised to the "Prime Minister" for berating the Royal family. When told about the deception, Rivers said: "If you're not Margaret Thatcher, for God's sake who are you?"


TELEGRAPH OBITUARY



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Shot 40 times, buried alive and Star the dog still survives - huge support on Facebook

Rescuers were amazed to find Star the dog still alive after she had been shot 40 times in the head and dumped in a shallow grave in a disgusting act of cruelty in Malta.

Now thousands of people have 'liked' her page on Facebook and animal lovers will hold a silent protest in the Mediterranean island's capital of Valetta as police try to catch the people who dumped her.

By this morning, more than 17,000 had 'liked' her Facebook page: LINK

SUN STORY

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Friday, May 27, 2011

£1,305 found stuffed down back of sofa given to charity shop

£1,305 dropped out of the back of a sofa that had been donated to a charity shop in Rugby. The money was returned to its owners after they were traced by a Gift Aid form.

A friend of mine once thought it was a good idea to hide the family silver in the kitchen waste bin when they went away on holiday. But she forgot to tell her husband.

You can guess what happened next. Possibly the first and last time he put out the rubbish (without being nagged!) when the binmen were outside.

They never found the silver, despite tracking down the massive infill site where the rubbish was sent and clambering over all sorts of nasty garbage ... all they did find was an empty, screwed-up envelope with their names and address on it.

Now, where on earth did I hide that £1,000?

TELEGRAPH STORY
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Want to see the Champions League Final? That'll be £20,000 for two tickets, please

Touts have been offering two tickets for the Champions League football final between Manchester United and Barcelona at Wembley for £20,000 - 30 times more than the face value of £300 each.

A Spanish firm offered one ticket for more than £8,198, says the Sun newspaper.

Good excuse to watch it on TV down the pub.


SUN STORY


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School bans high-fives, handshakes and hugging

Governors have imposed a no-contact rule to "prevent fighting and bullying" at a school in south London, according to a Sun newspaper exclusive.

And that means no high-fives, handshakes or hugging.

Parents were apparently up in arms after a 15-year-old girl was put in detention for cuddling a female friend at The Quest Academy, in Croydon.

"I've never heard of anything so crazy in my life," said one mother.

Ditto

SUN STORY

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Dog blown away by Alabama tornado crawls home on two broken legs - video

Mason the pup was hiding in a garage when a deadly tornado struck Alabama, USA, and he was blown away.

His family returned home more than two weeks later to find the dog on their doorstep - he had apparently crawled home despite two broken legs.

Mason now has his own Facebook page with hundreds of friends.



DAILY MAIL STORY

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London Mayor Boris Johnson sends US President Barack Obama bill for £10

Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, has apparently sent American President Barack Obama a £10 congestion charge bill because he was driven around the city in his armoured limo, called "The Beast", when the roads had not been closed.

The Pope was not charged when he visited London in September because the roads were closed when the Popemobile rolled through, says the mayor.

America is said to owe London £5.2 million worth of unpaid congestion charges for driving embassy cars in central London. The US Embassy says it is exempt from paying "direct taxes", but the mayor says the charge is not a tax.

Several other embassies refuse to pay the £10-a-day charge. America, Russia and Japan are top of the list of non-payers, with the total bill standing at £51 million.

BBC STORY

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Imogen Thomas receives 'death threats' after Ryan Giggs Twitter injunction row

Imogen Thomas, the Big Brother star at the centre of the Ryan Giggs injunction row, claims to have received death threats via Twitter, according to the Sun newspaper. The paper says "sinister so-called 'fans' of Man United star Giggs threatened to kill her and members of her family".

SUN STORY

Twitter has said that it would release data about users who break injunctions online if "legally required" to do so (STORY). I hope the company releases data about those who have issued these "death threats".


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20 stupid kids' names - crazy parents tried Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116

How about this for your kid's name: Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 ?

Apparently a crazy couple in Sweden tried to call their child this but, thankfully, it was rejected, and they settled for "A".

Other names include: Moon Unit Zappa, Number 16 Bus Shelter and one that has 585 letters.

Last week, I reported on the Israeli couple who called their child Like (STORY), after the Facebook button. Then there was the Canadian couple who wanted their child to be 'genderless' and called it Storm (STORY).

I was alerted to a weblink after a re-Tweet from Paul Steele, the Bald Hiker (nice name!) (@paul_steele): The 20 #Stupidest Things People Have Named Their Kids! http://t.co/XrR7Ls9 RT @Flipbooks @emilybratkovich

The 20 Stupidest Things People Have Named Their Kids

Have to take some of it with a very large pinch of salt (and the link is quite old), but there is no reason to doubt the list - after all, there are many stupid and cruel parents out there.

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Rare double hand transplant in Kentucky - patient's bandages removed

Dr Richard Edwards's hands were so badly burned in an accident five years ago that he found it difficult to perform simple tasks.

Now he has two new ones thanks to a rare double hand transplant by surgeons at The Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The BBC reports on what happened when the bandages were removed and Dr Edwards saw his new hands for the first time.

BBC STORY


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Anyone for a deep-fried beer? 'Delicious taste sensation' invented in Texas

The world's "first" recipe for deep-fried beer has been invented by a chef in Texas.

Mark Zable says it has taken him three years to perfect the "delicious taste sensation".

"Nobody has been able to fry a liquid before. It tastes like you took a bite of hot pretzel dough and then took a drink of beer," he said.

TELEGRAPH STORY

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Marmite ban update - makers urged to apply for licence to sell in Denmark

Denmark has told European officials that the Marmite ban was temporary because the importer has not applied for the necessary marketing licence.

Manufacturer Unilever has now been urged to submit an application. However, it could still be rejected by the Danes if they believe the amounts of added vitamins and minerals in the savoury yeast-extract spread broke their food laws.

The temporary ban has caused a storm among Marmite lovers, with some calling for a boycott of Danish goods.

STORY

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Twitter could hand over data that might identify users who break injunctions

Twitter is apparently prepared to hand over information that might identify thousands of users who broke super-injunctions online, according to a Telegraph report.

A senior executive says the social-networking site would hand over the data if "legally required" to do so.

Experts thought that Twitter users were protected because the site, based in America, was not bound by decisions of the British courts, but there was a warning last week that people who broke gagging orders online were in for a "rude shock".

Whoops! This could really open up a can of worms as it might encourage celebrities to take legal action.

But it would be impossible to identify people who, using internet cafes, had set up anonymous accounts with fake email addresses.

FULL TELEGRAPH STORY

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Photographers' rights: government guide for 'overzealous' security staff

Private security guards must be courteous, open and friendly and not 'blanketly' target photographers, says the Home Office.

Photographers recently protested outside the offices of London Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall, London, because of the "overzealous behaviour" of private security guards who prevent them from taking pictures (PHOTOGRAPHERS, NOT TERRORISTS - STORY).

According to Amateur Photographer magazine, the Government is keen to tackle the issue.


AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER STORY

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Help, I've broken my fingernail - woman rushes to hospital accident and emergency unit

A woman went into the accident and emergency unit of a hospital in Kent because she wanted treatment for a broken fingernail.

An NHS spokeswoman said the A&E staff did not admit her and she was "politely sent on her way". Don't think I would have been polite!

The NHS is urging people to think twice before they go to hard-pressed accident units as those with minor ailments could prevent someone getting life-saving treatment.

Not sure if a broken fingernail can even be classed as a "minor ailment".

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Lost pyramids found in Egypt - 17 revealed by infra-red satellite images

Seventeen lost pyramids have been discovered in Egypt using infra-red satellite images. About 1,000 tombs and 3,000 settlements were also found by a team of archaeologists working in a Nasa-sponsored laboratory in Birmingham, Alabama.

BBC STORY

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Marmite banned in Denmark - vitamins and minerals 'break laws'


Clearly, the Danish health and safety police HATE IT. Front page of the Marmite website.








MARMITE, the savoury yeast extract spread is not everyone's cup of tea. But, love it, or hate it, shouldn't you have the right to decide for yourself?

Not in Denmark. Authorities say its added vitamins and minerals break their food safety laws and it has been banned.

Other products, such as chocolate malt drink Ovaltine and some breakfast cereals, are also banned in Denmark.

Britons living in the country are threatening to ignore the Marmite ban and have even suggested that the Danish ban breaks European law.

A young German, who had never seen Marmite before, once stayed at our house during an exchange trip many years ago. At the breakfast table he grabbed the pot and spread it thickly on his toast.

"You only need a small amount," we said.

"No, no, it is all right," said he.

One bite, and he nearly threw up... but he carried on bravely!

PS: I love it, spread thinly.

BBC

MARMITE WEBSITE

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Trucker blew up like balloon as air hose pierced his backside in NZ accident

A trucker survived being blown up like a balloon when he fell on a compressed air hose and it pierced his buttocks in New Zealand.

Steven McCormack, 48, fell between the cab and the trailer of his truck, breaking the air hose, which pumped air at 100lb/sq in into his body.

The "one-in-a-million" accident happened at Opotiki, North Island, on Saturday.

Doctors said they were surprised that his skin had not burst.

BBC STORY

NEW ZEALAND HERALD STORY

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Iceland volcano - extraordinary must-see video of Grimsvotn eruption

I was alerted to this brilliant video of the Icelandic volcano eruption by a tweet from Victor Bezrukov TWITTER LINK

The video was shot from a helicopter five miles from the Grimsvotn eruption before a no-fly zone was declared. It is an amazing show of lightning and ash cloud.

Volcanic Eruption in Grimsvotn, Iceland May 21 2011 from Jon Gustafsson on Vimeo.


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Couple raise 'genderless' baby so he, she or it can choose - how ridiculous

A Canadian couple are refusing to tell the world if their baby, called Storm, is a boy or a girl.

How unbelievably ridiculous can you get?

Kathy Witterick, 38, and husband David Stocker, 39, of Toronto apparently want he, she or it to make up their own mind.

According to the Toronto Star, they sent an email to friends saying: 'We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place? ...).'

The couple's decision has, predictably, caused a storm among the Toronto Star readers.

Last week there was an Israeli couple who called their baby 'Like' after the Facebook button (STORY), now we have an it called Storm. How cruel can parents get?

TORONTO STAR STORY

TORONTO STAR READERS RAGE AGAINST COUPLE

MAIL STORY

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End of the world is now October 21 - US preacher explains his mistake

The American preacher who said that the end of the world, and day of Rapture, was on May 21, 2011, has now explained why it didn't happen.

And, he says, it has been postponed until October 21, because God didn't want mankind to suffer for five months.

Harold Camping, 89, said he was "astounded" that the world didn't end on May 21.

But he has examined new theories and says a great earthquake was supposed to usher in five months of the day of judgement. God, he says, is being merciful and will now make it happen all at once on the last day - hence October 21.

That's all very comforting - I now have five months to sort out my garden.

DAILY MAIL STORY

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Footballer Ryan Giggs Twitter row injunction story - MORE to follow says the Sun


The words "MORE to follow." appeared on the bottom of the Sun Newspaper's internet report on Ryan Giggs being named in the House of Commons.

I bet there is...

SUN STORY

UPDATE: They did change it later!
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Ryan Giggs named as footballer in the Twitter injunction row

Ryan Giggs has been named in the House of Commons by MP John Hemming as the footballer at the centre of the Twitter row about injunctions.

The MP was rebuked by the Speaker who said it was 'not the occasion' to raise such issues.

TELEGRAPH STORY


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And the 'injunction footballer' is... named in House of Commons

A footballer has been revealed in the House of Commons as the person who has been named on Twitter in the context of injunctions.

What a surprise!

MP NAMES FOOTBALLER

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Judge refuses to lift injunction that prevents papers from revealing soccer star

The Sun newspaper has failed in its attempt to get a judge to lift the injunction that prevents newspapers from naming the footballer who is alleged to have had an affair with Big Brother's Imogen Thomas.

SUN STORY

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Footballer granted injunction feared 'boos and cruel' chants at league games

A Premier League footballer who had an affair was granted an injunction after telling a judge he was afraid of being “booed and subjected to cruel chants” during games.

Oh dear, fans will boo him even more when they find out who he is ... and they will.

By seeking an injunction, the player has probably turned it into a bigger news story than it would have been.

The judge, who today revealed the reasons behind this particular injunction granted last week, dismissed claims that breaches on Twitter had made gagging orders futile.

His remarks came after the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said privacy injunctions were “unsustainable”.

READ THE FULL TELEGRAPH STORY

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Iceland volcano erupted on end of the world day, May 21 - ash cloud heading for UK


The Grimsvotn volcano, in Iceland, began erupting on Saturday - the very day (May 21, 2011) that Harold Camping, President of Family Radio, predicted the end of the world.

It apparently showed clear signs of unrest at 6pm GMT (Camping's predicted time). That's spooky - and the soothsayers are all stirred up, although there's no sign of anyone being whisked off to heaven, unless they were on the volcano summit at the time.

The doom-mongers are going to be really disappointed again. Geophysicist Pall Einarsson, of the University of Iceland, says the eruption was much smaller than the one last year: "It is not likely to be anything on the scale that was produced when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted."

An ash cloud from the volcano is expected to reach the UK early tomorrow, but experts believe it will not cause the same disruption to air traffic as last year.

Grimsvotn is beneath the Vatnajokull glacier in an uninhabited part of south-east Iceland. This eruption is the most powerful in 100 years. Since records began in 1920, it has erupted nine times, the last in 2004. Most lasted at least a week, but the 2004 eruption was only four days.

Iceland is a young land and, on average, volcanic eruptions are experienced somewhere on the island once every five years.

PICTURES OF ICELAND

VOLCANIC ASH CLOUD EXPECTED TO REACH UK - BBC

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Man punches alligator in head to save pet dog from death - Florida, USA



A PENSIONER jumped on to the back of a 6ft alligator and punched it in the head to save his West Highland terrier from the jaws of death.

Gary Murphy, 72, was on a boat near marshland on the Port St Lucie River in Palm City, about 80 miles from Miami, Florida, USA, when the gator attacked Doogie the dog.

'I wasn't trying to be a hero. I just wanted my dog back,' says Gary.

Alligators are only native to the United States and China. Every year, about 20 dogs are killed by the reptiles in Florida and seven humans are attacked.

BEWARE: Experts warn that it is the mating season and the beasts are more active.

DAILY MAIL STORY

(Picture: A Florida alligator PD-USGOV-NASA)

What's the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?

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Let us name super-injunction football star, say English newspapers

English newspapers are expected to return to the High Court later today to try to have a super-injunction taken out by a football star lifted.

His name and a photograph were published in a Scottish newspaper, the Sunday Herald, which claimed that the gagging order did not apply in Scotland.

It is ridiculous that, via the internet, everyone in the world seems to know the identity of the footballer who had an alleged affair with Big Brother's Imogen Thomas, but English papers are still prevented from publishing it.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meet the liger - lion-tiger hybrid cubs born in China - video

While police confuse a soft toy for a real tiger (story), you'd be forgiven for wondering what this little creature is.

Four lion-tiger cubs were born to a manchurian tiger and an African lion in Xixiakou Wildlife and Natural Reserve in Rongcheng, east China's Shangdong Province this month.

Two of the ligers survived but, sadly, two others have died.

ITV VIDEO STORY

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Escaped 'tiger' in field - helicopter scrambled but police find stuffed toy




Spot the tiger: Picture: Hollingsworth, John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.







POLICE scrambled a helicopter with thermal imaging equipment after reports of a tiger in a field at Edge End, Hampshire, yesterday afternoon.

A member of the public spotted the 'big cat' through a telephoto lens and a team of officers was sent to investigate. They, too, concluded that it was a tiger.

Reinforcements were sent and a zoo consulted on how to capture the creature.

Yet, thermal imaging revealed no body heat and the 'tiger' simply rolled over in the downdraft from the helicopter.

A police spokesman said: "Everyone who saw it thought it was a real tiger."

There aren't many tigers in Hampshire, so mistaking a cuddly toy for the real thing is, I suppose, understandable.

METRO STORY

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The whole sooth and nothing but the sooth - anyone know a good prophet?













Flowers around Caesar's statue in Rome (UKpix.com)




THERE WAS a time when you could rely on the odd soothsayer or two to give you a head start, but the prophets of doom ain’t what they used to be.

As poor old Julius Caesar found out to his cost, it doesn’t always pay to ignore an advance warning. Every year on March 15 flowers are still laid at the foot of his statue outside the forum in Rome because he didn’t “Beware the Ides of March.”

Ancient Romans were keen on reading the signs and they had legions of religious officials - augurs - who foretold events by observing and interpreting signs and omens.

Even today, Romans are a bit stressed out because of so-called predictions. If you believe the interpretations, Raffaele Bendani, a seismologist, forecast in 1915 that a big earthquake would hit Rome on May 11, 2011. Not a murmur in Italy on the day, but an unusual quake in Lorca, Spain, kept the idea alive among the Twitterati - even though the quake was closer to Madrid than Rome.

Predicting the future has been a popular pastime since man emerged from the swamps. And, of course, if the soothsayer is vague enough, someone will interpret their visions as uncanny. Bendani forecast other earthquakes in Italy, but, as the country is in a quake zone, even I could do that.

If you actually believe in your own predictions, you might want to be a bit more specific - but throwing them a few hundred years into the future helps. US Christian broadcaster Harold Camping, 89, predicted that May 21, 2011 (ah, yes, today!) was the end of the world and his credibility has been shot to hell (if I make it beyond midnight, that is).

One of the most famous prophets of doom and gloom was Michel de Nostredame, or Nostradamus to you and me. The French apothecary and reputed seer published a book in 1555 called Les Propheties (The Prophecies) and is credited with predicting many major world events. Yet academics say his work is misinterpreted or mistranslated, often deliberately.
Nostradamus (left) was a happy soul who wrote about plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, battles, everything to cheer you up during your last day on Earth.

Enthusiasts say he predicted the Great Fire of London, and the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and many other things. But they only ever cite the events AFTER they have happened.

I, for one, like a bit of advance warning. A correct weather forecast wouldn’t go amiss now and then (especially if you are the Iranian President and say Europe is stealing your ‘rain’ just before it starts raining).

But I don’t really want to know if it is positively, absolutely the end of the world. So, if you spot a seagull flying in the wrong direction to negotiate a huge chunk of rock heading for Earth, keep it to yourself.

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Europe 'stealing' our rain, says Iran President - and then it, er, rains


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that Western countries are causing drought in Iran by using hi-tech equipment to drain the clouds of raindrops.

And just after making his extraordinary comments at the inauguration of a dam in a central province, it started to rain.

First we have the predicted end of Rome by a massive earthquake, and Romans are stirred but not shaken; then it's supposed to be the end of the world today, and we're still here; then there's "proof" that we're stealing rain, and there will probably be a hosepipe ban because of drought in the UK.

All these soothsayers, prophets of doom and supreme leaders with inside information are obviously not what they used to be - bring back Nostradamus.

I'm going to predict that it will be a long, hot summer in Europe - break out the umbrellas.

IRAN RAIN STORY - TELEGRAPH


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Man missing from cruise ship in English Channel - update

The man missing from a luxury cruise ship in the English Channel is said to be a 31-year-old Filipino crew member. He is presumed dead.

CCTV shows the man apparently jumping into freezing water from the Celebrity Eclipse cruiser on its way from Cherbourg to Southampton.

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Area 51 doesn't exist: oh yes it does - world's worst kept secret revealed in pictures


Area 51, the remote military base in the Nevada desert, USA, doesn’t officially exist.

But, as National Geographic magazine reveals, declassification of information, including images of a titanium spy-plane, the A-12 (above), and a mysterious crash and cover-up involving the aircraft, point conclusively to its existence.

The base (seen from space, below) is perhaps the worst-kept secret in the world and has always been the subject of UFO rumours and conspiracy theories simply because of the secretive nature of the work carried out there.

These theories include:

Examination, storage and reverse engineering of a crashed alien ship (including bodies recovered at Roswell)

Meetings with extraterrestrials

Development of secret weapons

Research into time travel, weather control and teleportation

Many of these theories are repeated in popular Sci-Fi television programmes, especially the Stargate series. Area 51 was mentioned countless times in the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis shows.

PICTURES AND STORY (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

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Man falls from cruise ship in English Channel - presumed dead

A man is missing, presumed dead, after falling overboard from a cruise ship in the English Channel.

He fell from the Celebrity Eclipse cruiser at about 10.15pm last night, eight miles north of Cherbourg, France.

The search and rescue operation was called off this morning.

A Coastguard spokesman said: "The water was very cold and there is no hope for him."

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Photography news: May snaps - Panasonic DMC-G3, FinePix X100, photographers and law

Panasonic DMC-G3
Panasonic has announced a new Micro Four Thirds camera - the DMC-G3. It has a new sensor (15.8MP) and a smaller body.
DPREVIEW REPORT

Fujifilm FinePix X100 review
An in-depth review of the Fujifilm x100 has been posted at Dpreview
LINK

Photographers and the law not clear cut, say police
Interesting report in Amateur Photographer magazine about a man accused of harassment for taking photos of his friend's house after a complaint by a neighbour.
AP REPORT

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Leica M9-P rumours - camera news update

New Leica expected in June

Rumours are circulating that Leica will announce a new digital rangefinder, the Leica MP, or M9-P, on June 21.

The new camera is expected to cost 700 USD more than the M9, with only cosmetic changes, a new finish, and new firmware.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Tomorrow is the end of the world - or today if you live in Australia!

It will all start with a giant earthquake... and then the world will end, on May 21, 2011 - that's tomorrow here in England and a bit later in America (but it's already today in Australia, so farewell Oz).

The apocalypse is forecast by US Christian broadcaster Harold Camping, 89. But don't worry too much, he's made similar predictions in the past. He said Jesus would return to Earth in 1994.

I suppose it's safe to say that Harold's a bit wayward. If I'm wrong, and he's right, it won't really matter anyway.

Good night all from England...

READ MORE IN THE SUN

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Man has sex with 1,000 cars - 'I'm not sick, cars are my preference'

Edward Smith lives with his "girlfriend" in Washington state, USA.

She has a nifty bonnet (or hood as you Americans say) and her boot (trunk) is rather shapely. For Edward's partner is a white Volkswagen Beetle called Vanilla.

Edward, 57, claims to have had sex with 1,000 cars, the first time when he was 15. He says he is not attracted to men or women - and last had a relationship with a woman 12 years ago.

It seems he is not always faithful to Vanilla, also spending his time with a 1973 Opal GT, named Cinnamon, and a 1993 Ford Ranger Splash, named Ginger.

"I'm not sick," says Edward, "and I don't want to hurt anyone, cars are just my preference."

I can think of a lot of filthy jokes to go with this story... but let's keep it clean. When he was a teenager, I wonder if he borrowed his dad's car to go out on a date?

Anyway, it must be very exhausting.

TELEGRAPH STORY


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Paralysed US man can stand and move legs again - electrodes implanted in spine

An American man who was paralysed in a hit-and-run accident can stand up, move his toes, hips, knees and ankles and also walk on a treadmill while being supported after doctors implanted 16 electrodes in his spine.

Rob Summers, from Oregon, a baseball player who was part of the team that won the World College Series in 2006, was hit by a car five years ago and his spinal cord was damaged.

Doctors are careful to point out that this it is not a cure, but the procedure must give hope to people with similar injuries. Tests will be carried out soon on four more patients.

BBC STORY

DETAILS IN THE LANCET


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Titanic captain's cigar box sells for £25,000

The cigar box once owned by the captain of the Titanic sold for £25,000 at auction in Liverpool, £5,000 more than the estimate.

BBC STORY

SEE EARLIER POST


Titanic sinking myths - BBC History

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

London to Brighton Mini run pictures - featured on Telegraph website

My pictures of the London to Brighton Mini Run are now featured on the Telegraph website.

TELEGRAPH PICTURE GALLERY


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Titanic captain's cigar box found in England - strange, didn't it sink with him?
















On April 14, 1912, At 11:40PM, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank two hours and forty minutes later, killing an estimated 1,500 people.
The captain, Edward John Smith (left), went down with the ship and his body was never recovered.

Now, a cigar box once owned by the captain has apparently been discovered gathering dust on a bedroom cabinet in a house in Merseyside, England.

The walnut humidor is expected to fetch between £10,000 and £20,000 at auction in Liverpool today.

Just one question: didn't he take it with him? Perhaps he was dying for a smoke and couldn't concentrate...


BBC STORY

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25,000 Big Macs and still eating - USA man's burger record

A retired prison guard in America has just eaten his 25,000th Big Mac.

Thirty-nine years after he ate his first Big Mac, Don Gorske was celebrated by a McDonald's in his hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Mr Gorske, 57, says he eats a Big Mac in 16 bites and would continue to eat Big Macs "until I die".

Um!

BBC STORY

FOOTNOTE: Ronald McDonald and Happy Meals 'should be banned', say health campaigners - Telegraph story

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Lady Gaga is the most powerful celebrity - knocks Oprah Winfrey off top of Forbes list

Lady Gaga has knocked Oprah Winfrey off the top of Forbes magazine's annual Celebrity 100 list.

Stefani Germanotta (her real name) has moved up four positions, while Canadian pop star Justin Bieber makes his first appearance on the list in third place.

Lady Gaga's estimated earnings over the past 12 months are said to be $90m (£55.6m).
She has 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter followers.

BBC STORY

TELEGRAPH STORY

LADY GAGA ON FACEBOOK

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Space shuttle picture: amateur iPhone image takes the world by storm

A picture to prove that the best camera in the world is the one that you have with you.

It can often be about being in the right place at the right time and, of course, pressing the shutter.

Stefanie Gordon, from New Jersey, took a shapshot of the last launch of the space shuttle Endeavour using her iPhone as she flew from New York to West Palm Beach to visit her parents.

And it caused a sensation, becoming a hit on Twitter.


 DAILY MIRROR STORY


















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Google and Facebook together are bigger than the USA - mind-boggling statistics

Look at these amazing statistics. They really do put the internet and the world into perspective.

The stats show how big some internet companies have become, but also reveal how dwarfed their daily visitors are when compared with the extraordinary mass of people in China.

If, for example, the Google and Facebook dotcoms were countries, they would each have bigger populations than Brazil - and their combined population would, amazingly, outstrip the USA (by more than two countries the population size of the UK)!

But, put all the dotcoms mentioned here together and they would not come close to the population of China - falling short by a huge 581 million (more than the combined populations of the USA, Russia and Japan).


dv = daily visitors (some pop figures are 2009!)

China:                  1,331.5 million population

India:                  1,155.3 million


United States:          310 million

Google:                 236 million dv

Facebook.com:           200.5 million dv

Brazil:                 194 million

Russia:                 141.8 million

YouTube.com:            130.6 million dv

Japan:                  127 million

Yahoo.com:              119.6 million dv

France:                 62.6 million

United Kingdom:         62 million

Twitter.com:            50 million dv

Canada:                 33.7 million

Australia:              22 million

BBC.co.uk:              10.7 million dv

Portugal:               10.5 million

Mexico City:             8.8 million

New York City:           8.1 million

London:                  7.5 million

Norway:                  4.9 million

New Zealand:             4.3 million

Brighton and Hove:       0.256


Number of people who watched the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton according to the New York Times: (estimate give or take 500 million) 3,000 million (more than China, India, USA and the UK together!). Hard to believe as there are 7,000 million people on the planet.

And, finally, the estimated number of insects in the world: 10,000,000,000,000 million - that's a lot of bites!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A girl called Like - couple name daughter after Facebook feature - what next, Tweet?

Fancy going through life being called Like.

An Israeli couple have called their daughter just that - after the Facebook button.

According to the Telegraph, Lior Adler and his wife Vardit, who live near Tel Aviv, said they wanted a name that was "modern and innovative".

They got the idea after lots of people hit the "like" button when Lior posted a picture of his baby. Lucky they didn't hit the "comment" or "share" buttons, I suppose.

Why do parents call their children by silly names? A Boy Named Sue, by Johnny Cash, springs to mind. It's only a matter of time before someone names their child "Tweet" - if it hasn't been done already.

Lior and Vardit have a taste for unusual names. One daughter is called Vash (Hebrew for Honey) and yet another is called Pie (after the English food).

Let's hope they don't have a boy any time soon - nice to meet you, Steak and Kidney. Or even, dare I suggest, Tweety Pie.

TELEGRAPH STORY

A BOY NAMED SUE - JOHNNY CASH LYRICS


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Amazing beards and moustaches - world championship pictures from Norway

Have a look at this hairy lot.


















There are some amazing pictures coming out of The Beards and Moustaches World Championship 2011 at Trondheim in Norway.

I particularly like the superb offering from Dieter Besuch of Germany (first picture), who won the Partial Beard Freestyle category.

I have fond memories of Trondheim, having once travelled there for a wedding. Didn't know I was going to be bestman until I had arrived in a T-shirt and jeans (long time ago - and I was a student). I had to borrow a suit.

Although their English was very good indeed (probably better than a lot of Englishmen) nobody laughed at my jokes. They didn't understand the puns. And it was a bit deflating when a guest came up after the reception and said: "I'm told you made a funny speech!"

Beautiful town in a beautiful country - and holding the beard championships there proves they really do have a sense of humour.

Have a look at the Telegraph picture story.

Picture story link

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Man dies after 'planking' on a balcony and falling seven floors

It all started as a harmless prank, but the 'planking' craze has now claimed a life in Australia.

Planking, which is very popular in Australia, involves people lying flat on their stomachs in often strange and, sometimes, dangerous settings and then posting photographs on the internet.

Queensland state police Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett said the dead man, who was in his 20s, fell seven floors from an apartment balcony railing while a friend photographed him before dawn in Brisbane city.

PLANKING: THE DUMBEST NEW CRAZE ON THE INTERNET



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Shortage of Canon cameras - latest

Good article in the Wall Street Journal about Canon's problems after the Japanese earthquake.

The quake is forcing Canon to rethink its entire procurement strategy, says the WSJ

Before the quake, said Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka, "we believed that having a single supplier (for each component) made more sense for us,". But, he told the newspaper, the quake has proved that the company needs to look for multiple sources for some raw materials.

READ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE HERE

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Beheaded woman tried to hide from her attacker and alerted security guard

This horror story seems to get worse the more you read.

Apparently, Jennifer Mills-Westley, the British woman beheaded in a Tenerife supermarket, tried to get away from her attacker by hiding in an office doorway.

According to newspaper reports, the 60-year-old from Norwich was stabbed to death and beheaded on Friday after she had told a security guard about “threatening behaviour” from a vagrant.

She left the doorway at about 10.15am and was attacked in a discount store by a 28-year-old homeless man called Deyan Valentinov Deyanov.

Deyanov has been detained indefinitely after a secret hearing on the Spanish island.

TELEGRAPH REPORT ON KILLING

REPORT ON SECRET HEARING


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Pictures of London to Brighton Mini Run 2011 - classic cars on the seafront

Managed to get some great shots of the annual London to Brighton Mini Run today.


















MORE PICTURES
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mystery helicopter landed at scene of Dr David Kelly's death

Now, here's a story for all you conspiracy theorists out there.

According to the Daily Mail, a helicopter mysteriously landed at the scene of Dr David Kelly’s death shortly after his body was found. The aircraft only remained on the ground for five minutes. "Significantly, the flight log has been heavily redacted, making it impossible to know who was on board or what its exact purpose was," says the newspaper.

Dr Kelly, a British scientist and expert on biological warfare employed by the Ministry of Defence, was a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. He was involved in the British government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

An inquiry determined that he had committed suicide.

MAIL STORY


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Woman beheaded in Tenerife - unbelievable attack

A British woman has been beheaded in an unbelievable attack in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

The woman was in a shop about 10 miles from Los Christianos when she was stabbed and then decapitated.

Read all the gory details

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Magnetic boy can hang a frying pan from his chest - great video

Now this is seriously weird.

The Daily Telegraph reports on a six-year-old Croatian boy, Ivan Stoiljkovic, who can apparently hang up to 25kg of metal from his chest, including cutlery, coins and even a non-stick frying pan.

Has he been swallowing magnets? Properly not.

According to experts I have found on the web, water molecules in the body naturally align themselves, which means the body can become a huge magnet. There are different amounts of water in each part of the body so you can even picture the magnetic field as a 3D-map - which is, I think, how MRI scanning works. Simple!

TELEGRAPH STORY WITH VIDEO

TELEGRAPH PICTURE GALLERY OF THE BOY

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Pictures of MG classic cars featured on Telegraph website

Pictures of the MG Regency Run 2011 are now featured on the Daily Telegraph website.


DAILY TELEGRAPH PICTURE GALLERY

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Earthquake in Rome prediction leaves the Eternal City nervous

LATEST PICTURES OF ROME

Italians are apparently fleeing Rome because of a prediction in 1915 that the city would be hit by a giant earthquake today.

Local newspapers have even published survival guides and panic has been fuelled by the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Raffaele Bendani, a seismologist, forecast that a "big one" would hit Rome - if, that is, you believe the interpretations. Before his death in 1979, he also predicted other earthquakes in Italy.

But that's not difficult, Italy is in an earthquake zone (I predict there will be an earthquake in California every day this week and rumblings in Alaska!).

However, although Rome has felt the ground shake throughout the centuries - the Colosseum was damaged in the years 443, 477, 508, and 1231 - it does not lie on a major fault line.

Says one expert: "You feel earthquakes in Rome sometimes, but they happen elsewhere; there aren't major fault lines underneath the city. So in terms of predicting a massive earthquake there, it's already a kind of unlikely place."

And, earthquakes are notoriously difficult to predict, even days ahead, let along decades.

Bendani was honoured by former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1927 and is highly respected in Rome. Despite TV programmes telling residents not to take the prediction seriously, it is expected that one in five people will not turn up for work today.

LATEST PICTURES OF ROME

ROME PICTURES ALAMY

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Skateboarding dog's owner fined for not keeping mutt on lead - how mean

Bodhi the terrier is a talented mutt, performing kerbside stunts on his skateboard in the North Laine area of Brighton, Sussex.

But now his antics have been halted by a mean council.

Two woman had apparently complained that they tripped over Bodhi's skateboard, and that was enough for Brighton & Hove City Council to fine the dog's owner, Jonathan Fell, 51, for failing to keep him on a lead.

North Laine has always been a great place to see something out of the ordinary and the council must be insane if it wants to turn it into a 'elf and safety', fun-free' area.

Might I suggest the two women look where they are going in future, or better: stay at home. Wonder where they were from... who complains to the council about such things, anyway?

FULL STORY ON THE TELEGRAPH

where there are some funny comments.

YOUTUBE VIDEO



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