Wednesday, October 22, 2008

After 7 years of blogging on and off, I've succumbed to micro-blogging.

I'm going to be honest with you, I prefer immediate responses and more interactivity. Micro-blogging gives me that. Which is what I want. And, best of all, no spammers.

If you want to jump ship or also micro-blog in addition to blogging, I recommend Plurk.

You can follow me here. Occasional political talk, rants, but mostly - me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vote now!!!

Help starwish win a share of $5,000.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Usain Bolt: 37.15 Km/h, A Cheetah: 90km/h

Picture: Usain Bolt

That is how amazing this man is! Michael Phelps might be the water God, but Bolt is the God of the track.

"I am Lightning Bolt. I am not Flash Gordon or anybody. My name is Lightning Bolt"

Bolt's comment on Phelps : "I will not compare myself to Michael Phelps. He swims. He is a great athlete to win eight gold medals. That is just great. I am on the track. He is in the water. So you really can not compare it pretty much. But he is a great athlete. And I congratulate him on being the best at what he does."

Watching him and the other athletes in the 200m, it seemed like the rest were jogging! He was miles ahead of them - in athletics term. He is indeed in his own class.

I am Blot, Lightning Bolt. Watch me win.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Today's Olympic Silver will go down in Singapore's record books


The elusive Olympic medal is now ours. After 48 years, Singapore finally earns a spot in the "medal tally". For the first time, I watched the Singapore flag being raised, albeit not Gold medal, but Silver is still very good. My hats off to them! For Olympians, sports is their life. Tremendous effort and training is put in to obtain any Olympic medal. Most have dreamed of the moment when they take their place on the podium since young. To realise it, is a dream come true.

The odds were stacked against them but they put up a brave fight against the world number one, China. Even the Singapore coach said that we had no chance against China. The Singapore team hasn't even done a thorough study of the China team, as they were not expecting to get this far earlier.

Singapore's team lost, but they were good losers, they fought for every point and we didn't make it easy peasy for China to trash us. Singapore's table tennis team should lift their heads up high for what they have achieved.

I have to admit its getting quite frustrating watching China dominating some events. After the Gold-medal playoffs between Singapore and China, I switched to another channel to watch badminton - also playing for the Gold medal, badminton singles title - Malaysia and China. The China player, Lin Dan, seeded world number one, beat the Malaysian, Lee Chong Wei, seeded world number two. Both fought really hard, but in the end, China was just miles ahead, just as in table tennis - and took the gold.

As for Michael Phelps's 8th gold medal today, I just don't know how he does it! He could well be his own country!

-- Starwish

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pizza, Eggs and Mayo: A Look at Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps' 12,000-Calorie Diet

Picture: Wow, look at that body!

Michael Phelps, 23 year-old Olympic gold medalist that has broken records with 11 medals, tells the media of his secret to staying fit and trim. His 12,000 calorie, high carb diet and his five hours a day, six days a week training schedule.

In the day and age where there are a ton of fad diets, many of which include a low-carb intake, it would be considered amazing by some to see what Michael Phelps, the swimmer that has won a record breaking, 11 gold medals for swimming at the Summer Olympics, eats on a daily basis.

The 23 year-old Phelps starts his morning off, at 5am, with a little snack before breakfast which includes three fried-egg sandwiches with cheese, fried onions, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.

His body then primed, he drinks a couple cups of coffee and starts on breakfast which consists of a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, some coarsely ground corn, three slices of French toast with powdered sugar on top and three chocolate chip pancakes.

By lunch his appetite is in high gear so he treats himself to a pound of pasta, two ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread with mayonnaise and 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Time to prepare the body for the next day's training session by loading up on some more carbs, so Phelps treats himself to another whole pound of pasta followed by an entire pizza (no size of pizza given) and he helps wash that down with another 1,000 calories of high energy drinks.

Phelps says, "Eat, sleep and swim, that's all I can do."

Using a calorie counter, which calculates daily calorie needs for his size and weight, which is 6'4 and 195 pounds and works out 5 times a week, it shows that for a average 23 year-old male of his size, the daily calorie needs are said to be 2900 Calories/day

-- Digital Journal

Singapore Guaranteed of an Olympic Silver or Gold medal!!

Singapore's table tennis team has done us proud!

Singapore’s women table tennis team have made it to the FINALS in the Beijing Olympics. Where they would probably have to meet China.

This means Singapore is on track in its quest for an Olympic medal after 48 years.

I started watching from the beginning of the match and it was nail biting as both sides (Singapore and South Korea) were equally good. Yes, I cried when Singapore scored the winning point. I was just overwhelmed with emotions. It meant THAT much for us, Singaporeans. Way to go, Singapore's women table tennis team and coach!

One thing for certain is, their faces will be splashed on the front pages of all Singapore newspapers tomorrow. The heroine of the match was definitely Tian Wei Feng. Her resilience paid off big time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

German Olympic stars bare all for Playboy

Picture: Hockey player Katharina Scholz

The Germany women's hockey team's Olympic campaign is in danger of being overshadowed after one of their players starred on the front of today's Playboy magazine.

Katharina Scholz joined three of her Olympic colleagues to bare all for the German edition of the adults' magazine.

And, after her team's 4-2 victory over the US today, she admitted: 'I think now I have to play hockey and later talk about things like that. I think it a good opportunity but now it's not important for me for now.

The most important thing for me is playing hockey. And because I am playing hockey, I got the opportunity to go on Playboy. Otherwise I wouldn't. I have no plans on a career in modelling.'

American Olympic swimming champion Amanda Beard posed naked in Playboy last year, and in Beijing stripped for a campaign to end the fur trade, while British athletes have been photographed naked to advertise a sports drink.

'For me it was a good opportunity, and maybe when I look back after a few years I will be proud of it. Not everybody can go on the cover of Playboy,' the 25-year-old striker said.

'I did it because I am confident of my body and myself.'

Germany's September Playboy will have four different covers for the first time when it is published on Thursday, each dedicated to one of the athletes.

Sailor Petra Niemann, canoeist Nicole Reinhardt and judoka Romy Tarangul are the other German Olympians who will feature.

'It wasn't a group decision, we haven't seen each other. The shooting was separate. Everyone decided it for themselves,' she said without giving details about the picture that will appear.

--The Metro

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China and its quest to achieve the picture perfect image


Beyond the beautiful young lady dressed in a blue-coloured-cheongsam-type costume, it’s a wholly different picture.

You would have probably heard by now the “faked” fireworks and the young girl who sang their National Anthem who was replaced by another because she was not pretty enough.

The reasons given for the faked fireworks? According to an official, "It would have been prohibitive to have tried to film it live,”,“ We could not put the helicopter pilot at risk by making him try to follow the firework route."

This begs the question, why then couldn’t they present to us as it is? Was there really a need to go overboard? Of course there was, people around the world need to see a perfect image of China. The China that has moved on to achieve great things since the disastrous Cultural Revolution period.

I’m not questioning China’s economic power, but their human rights issues is appalling. Blatant discrimination against a child who was deemed not pretty enough to be on television. What kind of moral ethics are the children being exposed to since young? They are potentially destroying a child’s pride in order to project the “perfect” China.

In addition to that, China also erected walls and screens to cover up the slums, homes to some Beijing natives. Why was that action taken? According to the authorities those areas were, yes you guessed it - “not beautiful”.

Do you know that the Chinese government even restricts its citizens up to what questions they can ask foreign visitors? They are as follows:

• don't ask about income or expenses
• don't ask about age
• don't ask about love life or marriage
• don't ask about health
• don't ask about someone's home or address
• don't ask about personal experience
• don't ask about religious beliefs or political views
• don't ask what someone does

This is ridiculous. Now even the people you meet in Beijing are “fake” as in, not their usual selves. Its one thing for the Chinese government getting its way by faking, but to the extent of even restricting its citizens like this?

Now, this issue just takes the cake. According to Digital Journal, Chinese police pressured some of their nation’s minorities to pack their bags and leave the city quickly before the Olympics officially begin. The minorities refer to Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians. They join ethnic minorities, migrant workers, petitioners and social activists in a city wide crack down that has spread in recent months. Some are being expelled by force by Chinese police.

Aren’t they part of what makes Beijing, Beijing? This somehow reminds me of Hitler expelling all “non-Aryans” during his Nazi rule.

I would hate to visit or even be in Beijing during this period of time. Why settle for anything less than the real thing (Beijing)? - as Coca-Cola would say it.

--Starwish

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bush mixes sports and politics at Olympics

President Bush pressed his Olympic hosts Sunday to permit greater political and religious freedom, warning Chinese leaders they can expect to hear similar blunt talk from his successor.

In an Olympic medley of sports and politics, Bush also cheered from the stands as U.S. athletes launched their hunt for gold, while behind the scenes he and aides appealed to Russia to halt what the White House called ''dangerous and disproportionate'' attacks on Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally.

The president worshipped at a Beijing church and declared China has nothing to fear from expressions of faith. Later, he met with Chinese leaders and again voiced concern about the jailing of dissidents and religious activists, aides reported.

''As you know, I feel very strongly about religion,'' he told President Hu Jintao in a meeting at the Zhongnanhai government compound while reporters were present.

After they were ushered out, Bush told Hu that human rights concerns are a key part of the U.S.-China dialog, and ''the Chinese can expect that any future American president will also make it an important aspect,'' said adviser Douglas Wilder, who accompanied Bush. But Bush did not raise specific cases of dissidents.

At the same time, Bush praised his hosts for their swift response to a stabbing attack that killed the father of a 2004 U.S. Olympian. ''Your government has been very attentive, very sympathetic, and I appreciate that a lot,'' Bush said.

Todd Bachman, the father of Olympic volleyball player Elisabeth ''Wiz'' Bachman, was killed Saturday and his wife Barbara was gravely injured as they toured Beijing's 13th-century Drum Tower. The Bachmans of Lakeville, Minn., are in-laws of U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon.

The assailant, identified as Tang Yongming, 47, jumped to his death. The motive for the attack, which also left a tour guide wounded, remained unclear, though officials doubt Tang knew the Bachmans.

Bush also discussed with Hu efforts to verify North Korea's scrapping of its nuclear program. Bush has pledged to remove North Korea from the U.S. terrorism blacklist if a verification accord can be reached; Monday was the earliest that could take place. But talks have dragged on. ''Tomorrow probably will come and go without that happening,'' Wilder reported.

Outside his meetings with Chinese leaders, Bush joined the effort to halt clashes between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The conflict erupted Friday when Georgian troops moved to retake control of South Ossetia, a region bordering Russia that gained de facto independence in 1992.

The Bush administration has expressed concern that the attacks were occurring in regions of Georgia that were far from the zone of conflict in South Ossetia.

Jim Jeffrey, President Bush's deputy national security adviser, said the U.S. has made it clear: ''If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, that this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations.''

Bush discussed the widening crisis by phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current president of the European Union. The two agree ''across the board'' on the need for a cease-fire, disengagement and ''respect for for Georgian territorial integrity,'' White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Despite his official duties, Bush has made clear his main role at the Olympics was as America's First Fan.

Sunday was a U.S. sports fan's dream.

Bush and first lady Laura Bush, daughter Barbara and former President George H.W. Bush, cheered from the stands of the Water Cube Olympic swimming venue as American Michael Phelps claimed the first of an expected string of gold medals by smashing his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley.

''God, what a thrill to cheer for you!'' Bush told Phelps afterward.

Phelps told reporters he looked up at Bush just moments after winning, and the president nodded.

''That was a pretty cool feeling,'' he said.

Bush's Sunday began with a worship service at Beijing's Kuanjie church, an officially registered Protestant congregation. A children's choir sang ''Amazing Grace'' in English and Chinese, but the service was mostly in Chinese. Aides said Bush was helped by a translator.

He exited to the strains of ''Onward Christian Soldiers.'' Speaking to reporters in a driving rain, he alluded to the millions of Chinese who brave harassment and arrest to worship at unregistered ''house'' churches.

''It just goes to show that God is universal,'' Bush said. ''No state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion.''

Speaking in Bangkok on the eve of the Olympics and again at Friday's dedication of a U.S. embassy here, Bush insisted China can only reach its full potential by allowing free speech and other freedoms.

Those words and his church visit, which followed a 2005 visit to another official Beijing church, were carefully calibrated to prod the Chinese while deflecting attacks from human rights groups who say Bush's Olympic sojourn lends legitimacy to a repressive communist government.

-- Associated Press

Watching the Olympics Games is addictive. My life for the next two weeks will practically revolve around Olympic scheduling.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Did you know that Singapore was the 188th contingent?


Yes, probably the second best number after 88. And what is it about Li Jiawei dragging our flag! Its either that the flag was too heavy for her or she's just has no respect for our flag. Should they have let a true blue Singaporean (from birth) to carry our flag instead? Especially when its so near our National Day?

The neighbours cheered loudly for Singapore even though it was so near midnight. Reminds me of an international football match between Singapore and another country. You couldn't have missed the Singapore contingent with people suddenly screaming at midnight. Watching all the countries/territories entering kind of teaches you how many countries/territories there are in the world. Its like a mini geography lesson.

Putting that aside, the opening ceremony made me tear a bit, no, not when the Singapore contingent entered, it was when the 9 year old boy who saved two of his friends from the Sichuan earthquake walked beside Yao Ming. Wasn't it such an "Awwww" moment? He must have been the happiest 9 year old boy yesterday.

Besides that, I loved how they showcased a few of China's greatest inventions and history. And the use of technology! Fantabulous! Will Singapore have a grand opening for the first Summer Youth Olympics Games when we host them in 2010? Obviously not to this scale, but I'm hoping that we do well.

The part where it leaded up to lighting the gigantic torch was one of the best moments of the ceremony for me. The number one moment for me will be the many fireworks displays. They were just WOW! I admit, I am such a sucker when it comes to fireworks.

--Starwish

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will China be able to pull off the Olympics?

Picture: Birds Nest Stadium

08-08-08, 8pm. Tomorrow is the day.

However, grey skies are still hanging over China. From human rights issues, pollution problems and now the recent attacks.With the world’s attention over China now, will more problems be uncovered? Its settling to know that China is not leaving any stones left unturned where security is concerned. But, haven’t you wondered how come China couldn’t get their pollution levels at Beijing under control despite having a 7-year preparation period?

Had they put in place appropriate measures to cut down the pollution levels earlier, they wouldn’t be frantically trying to lower it at the eleventh hour. Inducing rain, shutting down factories and limiting the number of vehicles on the road are several measures China has adopted. But, are they enough?

Pollution levels in Beijing have resulted in several Olympic teams setting up bases in countries such as Japan and Singapore; choosing to train there instead, before the Olympic Games officially begins.

Where human rights issues are concerned, journalists will not be able to access information on political and human rights stories because of China’s government censorship laws. Even the IOC admitted that it allowed China censor the Web for journalists covering the event.

We have yet to see if this year's Olympics will be memorable for good or bad reasons.

Putting all their misgivings aside, there’s one thing for sure - everyone will be watching in excitement as their respective countries compete in the Games.

And of course, the question on every Singaporean’s mind: Will this year be a lucky year for us? After a 48 year medal draught? Winning an Olympic medal is so coveted in Singapore that SGD 1 million is up for grabs for a gold medal winner.

-- Starwish

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mac Users Are Arrogant Snobs!


The latest findings according to Reader's Digest show that Mac users are snobs. This is such a shocker. How did Xiaxue get this right? (she mentioned it during her iPhone review)

If you've seen those Apple advertisments on TV with a young, hip Mac user versus an old, slow PC user, you should get the idea that there's a bit of rivalry between the opposing computer camps. But why? Because they have wholly different personality traits, say branding experts.

Mindset Media, a US branding company that analyses the relationship between consumer behaviour and personality, surveyed 7500 Mac and PC owners. Its finding? Mac users are "snobs". In comparision to PC owners, they're likely to visit Starbucks for coffee more often, buy organic products and drive a hybrid car.

Mindset Media says that people who purchase Macs fall into what it calls the "Openness 5" personality category - which means they are more liberal, less modest and more assured of their own superiority than the population at large.

Ah, the rivalry continues...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dancing prisoners are back!

Remember the Youtube hit? Prisoners dancing to "Thriller" by Michael Jackson? It was all the rage last year! They're back! - this time, dancing to the tune of "Macarena".

Apparently Los Del Rio, (the duo behind Macarena) even endorsed it themselves!

Monday, August 4, 2008

You might be forgiven if you forgot your luggage, but your children?!


I wonder if they did that on purpose? That or they have a bad case of amnesia.


"Staff at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel have found a four-year-old girl alone in a duty-free shop after her parents accidentally took a plane without her.

The parents boarded the flight to Paris with four of their five children.

The mother and father were sitting in different parts of the aircraft and did not realise their mistake until the captain informed them after take-off.

The girl was put on the next flight to Paris. The parents will be questioned when they return to Israel.

"It is usual that travellers in a rush forget their luggage but not a child. This never happens," AFP news agency quoted a police official as saying."

-- BBC

Why Obama won't look like all those other US Presidents on dollar bills (besides the obvious)

Picture's Source
Brilliant!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

High-heeled Crocs!

Picture: High heeled Crocs

It’s true! the first crocs™ high heel. fashion fused with comfort for the ultimate in style
- Crocs.com

Great news for female Crocs fans! High-heeled Crocs are now here. Bad news for Crocs bashers. It seems that Croc's popularity won't die down anytime soon.

Newsweeek recently ran an article on Crocs here. Crocs even has hate sites dedicated to it. One of them is I Hate Crocs Dot Com.

Fashionistas have denounced the Crocs for years. They're ugly and against every fashionistas' rules. Are you a fan of the Crocs or a hater?

Personally, I'd say as long as you dress right for the occasion and place, it doesn't matter. Obviously, wearing Crocs to a fine dining restaurant is a big NO.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On Miss Singapore World finalist who had 50 ex-boyfriends

We all know that "The New Paper" is Singapore's version of a tabloid newspaper just like how "The Sun" is in the UK. Hence, its expected that "quality" news will take a backseat. But, seriously, showing off how "rich" or how many boyfriends you've had, is stooping really low. Thats extremely pathetic. The things people do to gain attention, eh? I couldn't be more disgusted when I read that article.

Yes, she's only 25 years old who has had 50 ex- toy boys to play with.

"That's just five in a year - about one every two months - not too much,' she added. "

Whoa, thats not too much? Which planet is she from? Moronville?

"It's kind of a shallow reason,' said Valentane Huang when asked why she joined beauty pageants."

D'oh!

What a trash article. Seriously, what is the point of the story? Showing off? Displaying how much of a loser the girl is? This has to be the stupidest article I've read since the Xiaxue saga. I am ashamed to have read such junk.

-- Starwish

World's Ugliest Dolphin on Video!

The video of the world's ugliest dolphin

A dolphin described as the ugliest in the world has been shown off on television after a breakthrough discovery.

The snub fin dolphin with an eye-catching bulbous head is the first new species of the creature to be found for 50 years.

After being identified three years ago off Western Australia's Kimberley coast, key details about the dolphin have only now been captured.

Wildlife experts had struggled to track down the dolphin, since snub fins are easily scared by rare human contact.

Researchers used the dart gun to get a DNA sample from the dolphins - allowing new insights into the animal.

Tammie Matson, from the World Wildlife Fund, said: "It may be the world's ugliest dolphin - some people have said that.

-- The Metro

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chinese Earthquake Victims Suing Sharon Stone for $1 Billion!

Actress Sharon Stone suggested that the earthquake in Sichuan Province that killed 70,000 people was due to “karma” for China’s mistreatment of Tibet. Now, 1,000 Chinese from the region have filed a lawsuit against Stone for “emotional distress”

She said the following in an interview with a reporter during the Cannes Film Festival:

"At first, I'm not happy with the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans ...And then all this earthquake and stuff happened and I thought, 'Is that Karma, when you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?''

Immediately after the comments, the Chinese bloggers and newspapers were very upset with her and demanded an apology. Last month, Stone issued a public apology and said that she misspoke and regretted that she made those statements.

But the Chinese are not satisfied with the apology: about 1,000 Chinese earthquake victims have banded together with a New York lawyer Ming Hai, demanding a $1 billion in damages.

Ming said in a statement:

"For the families who have lost their loved ones or lost limbs or suffered severe injuries, your statement and act has caused extreme emotional distress."

In April, two Chinese women also sued CNN for $1 billion -- a dollar for every Chinese person after CNN anchor Jack Cafferty said on live television that China is led by a bunch of goons and thugs.

I doubt either of the lawsuits will get the Chinese any money, but their future businesses and appearances with China will be affected in a large scale.

-- Digital Journal

Thursday, July 31, 2008

To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

I'm having a down time today. I didn't feel like blogging (even, micro-blogging) today, but I did, as you can see. Don't you have such days? You just don't feel like saying anything or nothing good comes out. You're sitting here, thinking of the many topics that you want to talk about, but as soon as you begin writing, you lose your path midway or you then realise that this post isn't good enough.

Very often, we are our own biggest critics, we criticise ourselves more than anyone else. Doesn't it drive you mad sometimes? Have you written articles that are still in the "Draft" mode, because you thought that they weren't good enough?

Spicy sambal stingrays, anyone?


Dinner was really good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Move away Batman, here's God to the rescue!

A little faith goes a long way when it comes to petrol prices....

Prayer services are being held at petrol stations in America a bid to get fuel prices to drop. Two prayer services will be held at St. Louis gas stations to thank God for lower fuel prices and to ask that they continue to drop.

Darrell Alexander, Midwest co-chair of the Pray at the Pump movement, says prayer gatherings will be held Monday afternoon and evening at a Mobil station west of downtown St. Louis.

Participants say they plan to buy gas, pray and then sing "We Shall Overcome" with a new verse, "We'll have lower gas prices."

An activist from the Washington D.C. area, Rocky Twyman, started the effort, saying if politicians couldn't lower gas prices, it was time to ask God to intervene.

The group thinks the prayer is helping, saying prices are starting to fall below $4 a gallon.

-- The Metro

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plurk your life away!


I confess, I am addicted to Plurk. I've never been addicted to anything online! Second Life, Maple Story, any online games/applications, you name it, I've never been attracted to them. However, I can't seem to escape Plurk's powerful grasp over me.

I believe you've all have heard of Plurk. If you haven't, where have you been?! You cannot afford to be left behind in this tech savvy era!

Need.To.Constantly.Update.Self

In any case, I'm going to give you a run-down on Plurk. Plurk is a micro-blogging platform that allows you to network with people around the world. Or rather "a social journal of your life" as the people at Plurk like to call it.

Its something like Twitter, just better and more addictive. Again, if you've never heard of Twitter, there is NO hope for you.

I want and I need to increase my Karma (some point system that Plurk has). Although, I know that its the real Karma that counts. But still, argh, I NEED more Karma points!

I love keeping up with my Plurk friends and love talking crap with them. In fact, I am meeting a couple of them this weekend. I am sure we will have a ball of a time!

Plurk has to develop a 12-step-programme for addicted Plurkers like me. I'm getting sucked in deeper and deeper into Plurkville's black hole. This is a point of no return for me.

Frodo: I wish Plurk had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

-- Starwish

Monday, July 28, 2008

First ever eel energy drink on sale!

A 'energy boosting' eel drink has gone on sale.The canned drink called "Unagi Nobori," or "Surging Eel," made by Japan Tobacco Inc., hit the nation's stores this month just ahead of Japan's annual eel-eating season, company spokesman Kazunori Hayashi said Monday.

"It's mainly for men who are exhausted by the summer's heat," Hayashi said of the beverage, believed to be the first mass-produced eel drink in Japan.

Many Japanese believe eating eel boosts stamina in hot weather.

The fizzy, yellow-colored drink contains extracts from the head and bones of eel and five vitamins - A, B1, B2, D and E - contained in the fish.

The Japanese particularly like to eat eel on traditional eel days, which fall on July 24 and Aug. 5 this year.

Demand for eel is so high that Japan has been hit by scores of eel fraud cases, including a recent high-profile incident in which a government ministry publicly scolded two companies for mislabeling eel imported from China as being domestically grown.

The eel involved in recent scandals was prepared in a popular "kaba-yaki" style, in which it is broiled and covered with a sweet sauce.

The 140 yen (80p) drink costs about one-tenth as much as broiled eel, but has a similar flavour.

Eel extract is also used in cookies and pies made in Japan's biggest eel producing town, Hamamatsu.

-- The Metro

Personally, I love unagi but, drinking an unagi drink? Lets just say, I'm not so sure about it.

Is China playing cheat? Records suggest Chinese gymnasts might be underage!

Recently, there was an uproar with some parents in Singapore over a seemingly "over-aged" primary school athletics contestant. Whether he is in fact "over-aged"or having a growth spurt, who knows? But the tables are turned in this case.

It is hard to find out a person's age, especially if the documents themselves are fake too. *sigh* we live in a fake, fake world.

China named its Olympic women's gymnastics team Friday, and the inclusion of at least two athletes has further raised questions, widespread in the sport, about whether the host nation for the Beijing Games is using underage athletes.

Chinese officials responded immediately, providing copies of passports indicating that both gymnasts in question - He Kexin, a gold-medal favorite in the uneven parallel bars, and Jiang Yuyuan - are 16, the minimum age for Olympic eligibility.

Officials with the International Gymnastics Federation said that questions about He's age had been raised by Chinese news media, USA Gymnastics and fans of the sport, but that the Chinese authorities presented passport information to show that He is 16.

But online records listing Chinese gymnasts and their ages that were posted on official Web sites in China, along with ages given in the official Chinese news media, seem to contradict the passport information, indicating that He and Jiang may be as young as 14.

In Chinese newspaper profiles this year, He was listed as 14, too young for the Beijing Games.

NYTimes found two online records of official registration lists of Chinese gymnasts that list He's birthday as Jan. 1, 1994, which would make her 14. A 2007 national registry of Chinese gymnasts - now blocked in China but viewable through Google cache - shows He's birthday as "1994.1.1."

Another registration list that is unblocked, dated Jan. 27, 2006, regarding an intercity competition in Chengdu, China, also lists He's birthday as Jan. 1, 1994. That date differs by two years from the birth date of Jan. 1, 1992, listed on He's passport, which was issued Feb. 14, 2008.

The other gymnast, Jiang, is listed on her passport - issued March 2, 2006 - as having been born on Nov. 1, 1991, which would make her 16.

--NYTimes

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Carina Lau's Vera Wang Wedding Dress: Thousands, This woman's custom made dress : ONLY £2.50

Picture : Carina Lau and Tony Leung in wedded bliss

Get this, this woman paid only £2.50 which is $6.70 SGD for her custom made wedding dress. Compared to Carina Lau's wedding dress, the amount she paid is peanuts. She bought her dream wedding dress from a Chinese man on eBay.

"Emma Dunn, 23, had been searching for her wedding dress on the internet and eventually found one she liked with a £1,500 price tag. But she decided to research all her options and it paid off when she found an exact copy of the dress while searching on eBay.

With ten minutes remaining to bid, and no reserve price, Emma quickly put in a bid of £2.50. After a nervous wait, she received an e-mail from China confirming she'd won the auction.

She said: "There were no other bids so I thought I had nothing to lose by typing in £2.50. I got an e-mail back from a man in Shanghai, who said he would make my dress for me, and asked for all my measurements."

Emma, from Melton Mowbray, was delighted when her dress arrived in a Parcel Force van six weeks later.

She said: "It was folded up nicely and neatly and it was an absolutely perfect fit. The postage and packing had cost £16.50 but I didn't mind paying that. People just couldn't believe it when I told them I'd bought it for £2.50."

Emma said: "We had a brilliant day. It shows you don't have to spend loads of money to have a great wedding."

--Ananova


For those who have no idea who Carina Lau and Tony Leung are:

Leung's credits include "Infernal Affairs," which Martin Scorsese remade as "The Departed," and John Woo's recently released Chinese historical epic "Red Cliff." He was named best actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for his performance in "In the Mood for Love."

Lau, an actress, appeared in "Infernal Affairs II," "Center Stage" and director Wong's "Ashes of Time" and "2046."

I am a big fan of Tony Leung's works and wish them all the best.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Randy Pausch, 47, Dies; His ‘Last Lecture’ Inspired Many to Live With Wonder

Randy Pausch, the professor whose “last lecture” made him a Lou-Gehrig-like symbol of the beauty and briefness of life, died Friday at his home in Chesapeake, Va. He was 47, and had lived five months longer than the six months a doctor gave him as an upside limit last August.

The cause was metastasized pancreatic cancer, Carnegie Mellon University announced.

Professors are sometimes asked to give lectures on what wisdom they would impart if they knew it was their last chance. Soon after Dr. Pausch (pronounced powsh), a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, accepted that challenge, he learned he had months to live.

He hesitated, then went ahead with the lecture, on Sept. 18, 2007. He said he intended to have fun and advised others to do the same. He spoke of the importance of childlike wonder.

But Dr. Pausch did not omit things that would break just about anybody’s heart. He spoke of his love for his wife, Jai, and had a birthday cake for her wheeled on stage. He spoke of their three young children, saying he had made his decision to speak mostly to leave them a video memory — to put himself in a metaphorical bottle that they might someday discover on a beach.

As the video of his lecture spread across the Web and was translated into many languages, Dr. Pausch also became the co-author of a best-selling book and a deeply personal friend, wise, understanding and humorous, to many he never met.

“His fate is ours, sped up,” wrote Jeffrey Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist who covered the lecture on the chance it would be a good story, and helped bring it wider awareness. The book he wrote with Dr. Pausch, “The Last Lecture,” was published this year and became a No. 1 best seller; last week it was still No. 1 on The New York Times list of advice books.

Some of the millions who saw Dr. Pausch on YouTube and elsewhere wrote letters and e-mail to The Journal and many blogs. Some said he inspired them to quit feeling sorry for themselves, or to move on from divorces, or to pay more attention to their families. A woman said the video gave her the strength to escape an abusive relationship; others said they decided not to commit suicide because of it.

-- NYTimes


"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." Randy Pausch

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Zealand students offer reward for Rice arrest

New Zealand students protesting the Iraq war offered a reward to anyone who carries out a citizen's arrest of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her visit to the country Friday.

The Auckland University Students' Association is seeking Rice's arrest for her role in ''overseeing the illegal invasion and continued occupation'' of Iraq, Association President David Do said. The group is offering a $3,700 reward.

Rice is making her first trip to New Zealand after attending a Southeast Asian security forum in Singapore. She is scheduled to arrive from Australia late Friday and fly out early Sunday.

U.S. officials traveling with her said that they were aware of the threat but that it won't affect Rice's plans.

But police in Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, warned that ''anyone who attempts to penetrate the police lines of security around the secretary will not be allowed to follow through with their plan.''

District Commander Superintendent Brett England said ''the consequences of such a security threat could be very serious indeed.''

On Saturday, Rice will hold talks with Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Winston Peters, meet with business leaders and attend an official dinner.

Rice is due to fly to Samoa early Sunday for meetings with South Pacific foreign ministers, seen by observers as an important event for the South Pacific region -- an area where the U.S. has pledged to strengthen its level of engagement.

-- Associated Press

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nude York City!

A naked dining fad is proving popular in New York. About 50 diners - whose motto is "no hot soup" - meet regularly for meals where the dress code is literally non-existent.

Organiser John Ordover, who rents city restaurants for the monthly dinner parties, told the New York Post: "We're not out to shock or put on a public spectacle.

"We want only to do things that other people do in the way that we are most comfortable doing them. That, for us, is without clothes."

Diners are served by regular restaurant staff - forced by city laws to keep their clothes on.

"We've never had a restaurant say no to us, and the waiters think nothing of it," said Ordover, 46, who works as a web marketer when he has his clothes on.

"If you work in a restaurant in New York City, the chances are you've seen a lot more shocking things than a room full of naked diners," he added.

The au naturel look is also catching on at a New York stand-up comedy club and in some of the city's yoga classes.

"I had such a transformative experience on my own when I did yoga naked rather than clothed," said Naked Yoga NYC teacher Isis Phoenix. "I wanted to share that."

The classes have about 10 devotees who have to obey two rules - leave your clothes behind, and bring your own mat.

-- NYPost

Aliens do exist, according to Apollo veteran Edgar Mitchell

Former NASA astronaut and moonwalker Dr Edgar Mitchell - a veteran of the Apollo 14 mission - has stunningly claimed aliens do exist.

And he says extra-terrestrials have visited Earth on several occasions - but the alien contact has been repeatedly covered up by governments for six decades.

Dr Mitchell, 77, said during a radio interview that sources at the space agency who had had contact with aliens described the beings as 'little people who look strange to us.'

He said supposedly real-life ET's were similar to the traditional image of a small frame, large eyes and head.

Chillingly, he claimed our technology is "not nearly as sophisticated" as theirs and "had they been hostile", he warned "we would be been gone by now".

Dr Mitchell, along with with Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard, holds the record for the longest ever moon walk, at nine hours and 17 minutes following their 1971 mission.

"I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomena is real," Dr Mitchell said.

"It's been well covered up by all our governments for the last 60 years or so, but slowly it's leaked out and some of us have been privileged to have been briefed on some of it.

"I've been in military and intelligence circles, who know that beneath the surface of what has been public knowledge, yes - we have been visited. Reading the papers recently, it's been happening quite a bit."

-- Digital Journal

Do you believe that extra-terrestrials exist? Or is it just some crap that people made up?

Is Straits Times turning into New Paper?

Picture : From The Straits Times, 24th July

The Straits Times ran an article on Xiaxue and Dawn again today! Its under the "Home" section. Is Straits Times turning into New Paper? Whats happening? Are they so desperate to fill up space that they have to resort to this? I've been reading Straits Times since I was 10 years old. Its sad to see them going in this direction. Last week or so, they ran an article on a "celebrity" graduating from University. What is so surprising about it, that it has to be included in the "Home'" section? I'm sure there are more important news that concerns us, the readers, than miniscule stuff like that!

--Starwish (a very dissapointed reader)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beijing to set up Olympic protest zones in parks

Beijing will set up specially designated zones for protesters during next month's Olympics, a security official said Wednesday, in a sign China's authoritarian government may allow some demonstrations during the games.

Areas are being set aside in three public parks near some of the sporting venues, said Liu Shaowu, director for security for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee.

''We will invite demonstrators to hold their demonstrations in designated places,'' Liu told a news conference.

In a sign that Beijing is eager to minimize disruptions by demonstrations, the three protest areas are in outlying parks, not near the Olympic green where the largest number of sports venues are.

Liu reiterated that Chinese law requires all demonstrations be approved by police in advance, but when asked by reporters he declined to say whether that applied to the protest zones.

Special protest zones have been part of past Olympics, including the 2004 games in Athens.

But Beijing's decision marks the end of months of internal debate over whether allowing public protests might backfire, disrupting China's attempts to use the games to boost its image overseas and the government's popularity at home.

Protests abroad against China's restrictions on human rights and media freedoms and an uprising by Tibetans and alleged terrorist plots by Muslims in western China have prompted the government to ramp up security nationwide.

Visa sweeps against foreigners, efforts to encourage migrant workers to leave Beijing and police checkpoints in and around the city have touched off criticism that heavy-handed security may drain the fun from the Olympics.

Liu, the security official, said police were trying to strike a balance between the need for safety and the desire for festiveness. ''We are confident we can give the Beijing Olympics a good and joyous atmosphere,'' he said.

When it comes to security, Liu said the large numbers of people expected in Beijing during the games made it a ripe target for terrorist infiltration.

Though he declined to specify terrorist threats, police officials have said in recent months that they have foiled plans by Muslim separatists connected to the games.

-- Associated Press

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

S'pore's population est: 4.5 million.1 in 4 people in S'pore are foreigners, and about 1000 S'poreans give up citizenship every year.

From what I know, there are a quite a number of Singaporeans living in Melbourne and Perth. One of the reasons might be because there are very little university places for local polytechnic graduates. And then, they pursue their degree overseas, and in turn fall in love with the country. Is the government to be blamed? Shouldn't the government have thought about building a 4th university a long time ago? Why only now? Is it a case of too little, too late?

"In the last three years, an average of 1,000 Singaporeans gave up their citizenship each year.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng said their reasons for doing so vary, and these range from marriage to foreigners, to yearning for a different environment.

Most of them took up new citizenship in countries in Southeast Asia, the United States and Australia.

Mr Wong gave this update in reply to a written question from Non—Constituency MP Sylvia Lim.

She had asked how many Singapore citizens emigrated from Singapore in the last three years, the countries they emigrated to and their reasons for doing so.

Mr Wong said those who emigrate generally do not declare this to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority when they leave.

So the only available data which gives an indication of the number of emigrants from Singapore is the number of Singaporeans who have given up their citizenship and left Singapore."

--ChannelNewsAsia

Monday, July 21, 2008

China women use donkeys to spice up sex life!

Feral Australian donkeys are usually given a wide berth but now their skins are to be used as an aphrodisiac for Chinese women.

A Hong Kong company that specialises in traditional medicines is trying to locate up to a million donkey skins every year. Usually it gets them from South America but now it's seeking the fertile skins of some of the 300,000 wild donkeys ranging the Northern Territory.

Sydney-based exporter John Fleming is applying to hunt feral donkeys in the Northern Territory to sell overseas.

"They want the skins, but not for leather. Apparently there is a certain extract in the skin they can use for traditional medicine," he said.

Chinese traditional healers use donkey skins to extract Ejiao, which is used to make Nu Bao, a traditional Chinese medicine that supposedly improves vitality, increases a woman's libido and help with period pain.

"They're after a lot of donkey skins. As much as they can get their hands on," Mr Fleming said.

"It seems there are a lot of feral donkeys out there and people are basically shooting them for sport."

-- The Metro

Singapore will study kidney trading

Singapore is considering legalizing kidney trading to help meet demand for kidney transplants, the city-state's health minister said Monday.

The Health Ministry will examine the feasibility of providing payments to unrelated donors to augment the supply of kidneys, Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament, acknowledging that the suggestion has stirred controversy.

''We should not reject any idea just because it is radical or controversial,'' Khaw said. ''We may be able to find an acceptable way to allow a meaningful compensation for some living, unrelated kidney donors, without breaching ethical principles or hurting the sensitivities of others.''

Khaw said the ministry would review possible changes to current legislation to allow payments for donations from third parties such as those from the charity and religious sectors. Under the proposal, which would need to be approved by Parliament to become law, patients would also get help in finding donors.

''There are desperate patients out there wishing to live and desperately poor people willing to exchange a kidney for a hopefully improved life,'' he said.

Khaw also said the Health Ministry would push to amend existing laws on organ transplants to remove an age limit on deceased donors, currently set at 60 years, because ''the suitability of the organ depends on its condition rather than the age of the donor.''

The two initiatives should enable Singapore to carry out 70 percent of the kidney transplants needed every year -- up from 50 percent currently, the minister said.

The two initiatives should raise Singapore's sufficiency in kidney transplants from 50 percent to 70 percent, the minister said. He said about 1,000 new cases of kidney failure are diagnosed every year, with nearly 40 percent unable to survive the first year.

Khaw's comments follow the cases of two Indonesian men who were jailed and fined by a Singapore court earlier this month after being convicted of agreeing to sell their kidneys to two patients in the city-state.

Selling or buying organs or blood is illegal in Singapore and carries a penalty of up to 12 months' jail, or a fine of up to $7,405 or both.

--Associated Press

Batman Breaks Spiderman Record At Box Office!

KAPOW! The new Batman movie "The Dark Knight" smashed the weekend record set by "Spider-Man 3" last year, selling an estimated $155.3 million worth of tickets during its first three days of release across the United States and Canada, distributor Warner Bros. Pictures said on Sunday.

The hotly anticipated film, co-starring late actor Heath Ledger as the anarchic Joker, surpassed the $151.1 million haul for "Spider-Man 3" during its first weekend in May 2007.

Going into the weekend, pundits had forecast an opening in the $100 million range, evidently underestimating the Batmania infecting movie fans across the world.

The Caped Crusader also generated $40 million from 20 foreign markets, highlighted by No. 1 bows in Ledger's native Australia ($13.1 million) and Mexico ($6.6 million), the Time Warner Inc-owned studio said.

With a little help from another new release "Mamma Mia!" which opened at No. 2 with $27.6 million, "The Dark Knight" propelled overall North American ticket sales to a record $253 million, according to tracking firm Media By Numbers. The old mark of $218 million was set two years ago, the company said.

"The Dark Knight" stars Welsh actor Christian Bale as Batman, and was directed by English filmmaker Christopher Nolan. They previously collaborated on "Batman Begins," which earned $48.7 million during its first weekend in 2005, and finished up with $205 million.

"Dark Knight" should hit that level by midweek, Warner Bros. said.

The new film reportedly cost about $180 million to make, thanks in part to the pioneering use of heavy Imax cameras to shoot 30 minutes of the 152-minute film for giant-screen theaters. The filmmakers also blew up bits of Chicago, which doubles for the fictional Gotham City.

-- Reuters

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Prediction Came True!

Picture from today's Sunday Times


Remember my previous posting on "Do you think there'll come a day when local papers report about bloggers entangled in cat fights?"

Well, it was a slow news day and The Straits Times published an article on Xiaxue's and Dawn cat fight! And they made it to the front page. (quite sad, really)

The Straits Times is quite slow. The incident took place quite a long time ago ; seeing as how news spread like wild fire in the blogosphere.

(now, we shall see about my predictions for the Beijing Olympics)

CSI helped police solve murder

US police solved a mysterious death after discovering uncanny similarities to an episode of TV's CSI.

When Thomas Hickman was found dead in a remote part of New Mexico, with a gunshot wound to the back of his head and duct tape covering his mouth, it looked like an execution-style murder.

But then police found a bunch of balloons tangled in a nearby cactus with a gun tied to the ribbons, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Fans of CSI recalled a similar scenario from a 2003 episode of the series in which balloons were used to make a gun float away after a suicide and urged the police to take a look.

"We weren't aware of the CSI episode," said Lt. Rick Anglada, of New Mexico state police.

"But the lead investigator continually heard stories that there was an episode similar to that and about a month later he actually rented the episode and viewed it."

It led officers to suspect that Mr Hickman had committed suicide but tried to make it look like murder by letting the gun float away.

"However, it was very windy that night so we believe the wind kept the balloons down, dragging across the ground and they began popping and eventually the ribbons became tangled up in a cactus," added Lt Anglada.

There were other signals the 55-year-old has taken his own life. Police spotted no signs of struggle in the field where he was found and his car remained untouched.

At his home in Texas they found metal shavings in his garage where he had used a hack saw to remove the gun's trigger guard, presumably to make it lighter.

Police were able to verify he had bought the balloons and the gun and they found notes left for his family telling them what to do in case anything happened to him.

They also found a life insurance policy that would pay his wife around $400,000 dollars or double that if his death was accidental. Investigators this week officially ruled the death a suicide and closed the case.

-- Ananova.com

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whats the one piece of advice Internet Marketing blogs won't give you?

Why are Internet Marketing blogs so popular? Its simple. The same reasons why "get rich" books are so popular. "Rich dad, poor dad" etc, you name it, they're usually always on the bestsellers list. Everyone wants to make money and get rich. There will always be a demand for it. The only difference is that its just in a different platform, but the jist of it, remains the same.

Internet Marketing bloggers are excellent marketers, no doubt on that. By giving people advice, they are in turn getting tons of visitors which equates to generating lots of moolah from advertisments.

So, moving on, the one piece of advice that they most probably wouldn't give you would be : Create a "How to make money via the Internet/blogging" blog aka do the exact same thing like me!

Just like how Paris Hilton wouldn't say, "Ya know, if ya wanna be famous, ya gotta have a sex tape!"

-- Starwish

Sheep Sex is not an urban legend

Believe it or not, there are people who have actually done the deed. According to The Metro, a man was arrested by police after investigating a series of violent sex attacks on sheep and has been banned from visiting farmland. Now if you're from Australia, you're probably no stranger when it comes to hearing sheep jokes as sheep outnumber people to the ratio of 4 :1.

But, this incident took place in south-east London. Their neighbour Scotland, must be laughing at them. (Scotland is well known for its sheep population)

"The arrest followed several complaints made to police about a man molesting sheep on grassland off Botany Bay Lane, Chislehurst, in May and June.

Witnesses reported a tall black man sexually assaulting sheep before running off, often leaving clothing at the scene.

Two joggers became suspicious when the man was spotted pulling up his trousers as he stood near a sheep that was lying on the ground.

A young stable girl who came face to face with the man during a similar incident also contacted detectives.

It is understood that the man was traced after forensic scientists identified DNA recovered from a pair of jogging bottoms found at the scene.

Two sheep were found dead in the field during the period of the attacks but it is not known if their deaths were linked.

Police are also investigating reports that the suspect also took photographs of the animals."


Good Lord, this man is sick!

Friday, July 18, 2008

If you're sexy, you may sound better than your not-so-sexy counterparts!

People with voices deemed sexy and attractive tend to have greater body symmetry upon close inspection, suggesting that what we hear in a person can greatly affect what we see in them.

"The sound of a person's voice reveals a considerable amount of biological information," said Susan Hughes, an evolutionary psychologist from Albright College in Reading, Pa. "It can reflect the mate value of a person."

Hughes, whose new study is detailed in the June 2008 edition of the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, cautions that an attractive voice does not necessarily indicate that this person has an attractive face.

A symmetric body is genetically sound, scientists say, and in evolutionary terms, in the wild, it can be an important factor when selecting a mate. But sometimes changes during prenatal development can slightly skew this balance. For instance, the length ratio between index and ring fingers, known as the digit ratio, is fixed by the first trimester, a time that corresponds with vocal cord and larynx development. If the hormone surge that affects vocal development also affects finger growth, there should be a connection between an individual's voice and digit ratio.

Hughes could not demonstrate a connection between voice attractiveness and digit ratio in her previous work, possibly due to vocal changes that occur during puberty. So in the new study, about 100 individuals listened to previously recorded voices and independently rated them on nine traits important during mate selection: approachability, dominance, healthiness, honesty, intelligence, likelihood to get dates, maturity, sexiness and warmth.

Study participants generally agreed on what made a voice attractive. But when Hughes used a spectrogram to analyze these voice ratings according to different acoustic properties such as pitch, intensity, jitter and shimmer, she could not find a common feature that made these voices seem attractive.

This indicates our perceptual system may be more advanced than expected.

"We can agree on what's an attractive voice yet I can't capture it with a computer," Hughes told LiveScience.

Investigating if a combination of these properties can define an attractive voice may shed light on a connection, she said.

-- livescience.com

Ever thought of using your baby as a mop?

Trust the Japanese to come up with something as creative as this!

Baby: no longer useless

With global financial markets in turmoil parents looking in to firing their cleaners and using their babies as human mops.

Parents fed up of the take, take, take attitude of babies are turning them into human mops so they can learn a 'healthy work ethic' early by cleaning the floor as they crawl around.

The device is essentially a baby-grow with fluffy mop ends attached to clean up grime as a baby crawls around wooden or tiled floors.

In its sales pitch the advert reads: 'After the birth of a child there's always the temptation to say 'Yes, it's cute, but what can it do?'

'Until recently the answer was simply 'lie there and cry' but now babies can be put on the payroll, so to speak, almost as soon as they're born.

'Just dress your young one in Baby Mops and set him or her down on any hard wood or tile floor that needs cleaning.'

'You may at first need to get things started by calling to the infant from across the room, but pretty soon they'll be doing it by themselves.'

Hitting back at any possible criticism the advert adds: 'There's no child exploitation involved. The kid is doing what he does best anyway: crawling. But with Baby Mops he's also learning responsibility and a healthy work ethic.'

Japan is also the home of a roller cleaning device that can be strapped to a dog to clean the floor as it walks around.

-- The Metro

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the Anwar saga

Anwar's out on bail now but he could still be charged for sodomy later. I can't help but to speculate that the incident 10 years back will repeat itself as the story unfolds. This is quite eerie. For someome aiming at a political comeback, committing such a crime is unthinkable. Now, it is either that people are framing him (evidence can also be faked) or that he did indeed commit sodomy.

Whats your take?


--Starwish

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

KFC employee spat and urinated in policeman's food!

As they say...never offend a waiter, waitress or chef - you never know what they might do to your food.

A police officer and his family have been awarded $40,000 (£20,000) after suing a restaurant that had served them food tainted by an employee's spit and urine.

"Employees maintained 'special servings' of food reserved for ... officers," the lawsuit said. "The 'special servings' had been urinated in or spit in by KFC/Taco Bell employees."

The court heard that his two sons, then aged four and seven, became sick from the food they ate at a franchise of the Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell chain in October 2005.

The younger boy became violently ill with gastroenteritis and dehydration, vomited for hours and was forced to spend time in a hospital, the family's lawsuit said.

The suit also alleged that Mr Andrew, his wife and their children were victims of an employee scheme that targeted police officers.

-- The Telegraph

(The incident took place in America)

Latest : Anwar Arrested!

Police arrested Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday about an hour before a deadline for him to appear at police headquarters to answer allegations that he sodomized a male aide.

The arrest was likely to exacerbate the political divisions and tensions that have been running high since the opposition made unprecedented gains in the March general elections, eroding the ruling coalition's strength in Parliament.

Anwar has denied the sodomy accusation -- made in a police complaint by the young male aide last month -- as a political conspiracy by the government to snuff out his publicly announced campaign to seize power by September.

About a dozen policemen, some of them wearing balaclavas, cordoned off the road leading to Anwar's house and stopped his car, said his lawyer Sankara Nair. He said the policemen informed Anwar that they had orders to arrest him but gave no reason.

Anwar was bundled into a police car with dark tinted windows and driven to the police headquarters where a crowd of opposition lawmakers including his wife Azizah Ismail gathered outside. They were not allowed inside, and there was no trouble or violence.

Azizah said Anwar called on her cell phone after being arrested.

''I feel apprehensive because my husband ... is not that well. He has a bad back, he's had surgery. And (during our) the brief conversation he said they (police) were not gentle,'' she said.

It was not clear why Anwar was arrested a little before 1 p.m. since he had said he would present himself for interrogation before the Wednesday 2 p.m. deadline set by the police.

Azmin Ali, the vice president of Anwar's People's Justice Party, called the arrest ''outrageous and very uncivilized.''

''This is not a criminal case but a political case,'' he said.

The arrest was made as Anwar was returning home from the administrative capital of Putrajaya. He had told reporters there that he would go to the police headquarters at 2 p.m. and ''give my fullest cooperation'' to the police.

The sodomy accusation recreated a drama surrounding a similar scandal he faced in 1998 when he was deputy prime minister and finance minister. Another sodomy accusation at the time led to his dismissal from the government and subsequent conviction and imprisonment. His downfall led to massive street protests by his supporters for weeks.

Malaysia's Supreme Court later overturned the conviction, but by then Anwar had served six years in jail on a related abuse of power charge. He was freed in 2004, when he revived his political career as an opposition leader.

''There is no basis for this whole fabrication and malicious attacks. It is just a repeat of the 1998 script. You can see the pattern,'' Anwar said in Putrajaya.

Anwar can be held in custody for up to 14 days, after which he must be charged. Sodomy is a non-bailable offense, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

The sodomy accusation has hampered his campaign to topple the government, which suffered badly at the hands of his three-party People's Alliance in the March 8 general elections.

The ruling National Front coalition, which has traditionally enjoyed a two-thirds majority, now has only a 30-seat advantage over the opposition. Anwar's charisma and strategic skills were credited with boosting the opposition's strength in the 222-member Parliament from 19 to 82 seats.

-- Associated Press

No wonder people call us a nanny state - we need the government to butt in everything!

From our hygiene habits to our love life. The ultimate solution to all our problems? The Government lah! And the root of our problems? Stupid Government policies! Ten years back we were using Switzerland as a role model, now its Sweden. Since we seem to have a fixation on European countries beginning with the letter S, will Scotland or Spain be next?

School bus mess : Enough, let Govt run it

As if the ding-dong over school bus seat belts was not enough, now comes another issue on higher school bus fares - whether it is anti-competition or not, whether Case should be involved and so on ('School bus fares going up on Aug 1', last Thursday).

Can the authorities comment on the transport mode of school children in Sweden? Does the government fund and manage school transport or are parents left to the vagaries of market forces when deciding which mode of transport?

On the one hand, the Government says children are our most precious asset and we need to move towards the Swedish model of better family welfare. On the other, those who implement policies are counting dollars and cents to see which policy makes economic sense - even over non-negotiable issues like children's safety and well being.

If we have to pay half a percentage point more income tax so children have better school transport with proper seat belts, so be it. But let us turn the school bus transport system inside out. It should be run by the Ministry of Education or schools themselves.

-- Nilesh Kantilal Sahita, Straits Times Forum

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things that make you go Awww : Widower's labour of love

A Cambridgeshire widower has spent 15 years piecing back together thousands of fragments of romantic notes that he sent to his late wife.

Ted Howard, 82, wrote 98 letters to Mollie during seven years courting as he travelled Europe as a farm worker.

But Mrs Howard tore them into pieces and stuffed them in a cushion after she caught someone reading them in 1953, reports the BBC.

Mr Howard, of Ramsey, wrote the amorous letters on hotel writing paper as he travelled the UK, Ireland, France and Holland in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

But Mrs Howard, who died three years ago, tore each one into more than 20 pieces creating more than 2,000 fragments, some smaller than a thumbnail.

Mr Howard said: "I still miss Mollie terribly but having the memories helps me through. The letters brought back so many good times."

Mr Howard has now written a book based on the letters, which will be dedicated to his wife and called A Week At Stanton.

The retired farm worker and machinery demonstrator, said: "It was love at first sight. No two ways about it. I was at a village feast (fair) and this girl jumped off the carousel and came careering into me.

"It turned out to be Mollie. That was 19 July 1948."

Mollie was 18 at the time and Ted was 23. They married in 1955 and went on to have three children and six grandchildren.

--Ananova

To still be so in love after so many years is hard, hence I always find it so romantic when old couples walk down the street hand in hand.

Snoozing at the terminal - Singapore's Changi ranked 1st for 10 years in a row

Airports range widely in what they offer overnight guests. The top-ranked airport at the Guide to Sleeping in Airports Web site for the last 10 years is Singapore's Changi Airport. It has dimly lighted napping areas, where comfortable leather chairs have leg rests and headrests. Some are even fitted with alarm clocks. There are also cheap sleeping cubicles available for travelers.

Sleeping at an airport overnight, once almost a sport for the young and short of cash, has become a lot more common lately, affecting even older and professional travelers. And a big reason is that airlines are no longer as free with complimentary hotel vouchers as they once were.

"Belt tightening by airlines over the last 18 months, and more so this year," is how Randy Petersen, editor of the online magazine InsideFlyer and the frequent-flier Web site FlyerTalk.com, explains it.

"They have to look at everything they spend a penny on," Petersen said. And because flights are fuller, he added, "they're not just dealing with a few passengers."

Bob Harrell, founder of Harrell Associates, an airline consultant, agreed. "If they're charging for extra bags, food and water, then the flip side is the airlines are going to go out of their way to minimize expenses on one side, while maximizing on the other," he said.

An unscheduled overnight stay at a German airport inspired one business traveler, Frank Giotto, the president of Fiber Instrument Sales in Oriskany, New York, to create the Mini Motel, a one-person tent complete with air mattress, pillow, reading light, alarm clock and pillow (which he now sells for $39.95).


Asked what airports would think of a tent city of his Mini Motels, Giotto expressed confidence.

"People sleeping in chairs don't seem to bother them," he said. "We could be forcing the airports to come up with a solution to respond to the tremendous need."

And there is even a Web site, the Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports (www.sleepinginairports.com), which lists the best and worst airports to spend the night in.

--International Herald Tribune, 15 July

So, thats another addition to our Number Ones list!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Couple 'suing' zoo for 10 million dollars

A couple from New York is trying to sue the Bronx Zoo for $10 million after being stranded in a gondola for five hours, hanging above dangerous baboons.

The man and his pregnant fiancé's lawyer said they did not know whether they would survive the ordeal, the New York Post reported.

Dozens of people were stuck in the cable cars as it shut down on Wednesday and firefighters and police officers used a crane to rescue a family of three from gondola which swung about 100 feet (30 meters) in the air.

No injuries were reported but Damien Foster and Nandi Taylor who have filed a law suit said they suffered “psychological trauma” and the incident put her pregnancy at risk.

The Skyfari ride, which passes over the butterfly garden, the baboon habitat and part of the African plains exhibit where lions and gazelles roam, offers visitors a bird's-eye view of the celebrated zoo and its surroundings.

Each of its gondolas can hold up to four people.

-- The Metro

At least this doesn't sound as ludicrous as suing McDonalds because your son is overweight!

Malaysian police close down Parliament!

Malaysian police locked down Parliament on Monday with roadblocks and massive security to prevent an anticipated rally by supporters of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is awaiting interrogation on a sodomy accusation.

Anwar's party, however, said it was not planning a protest.

Anwar's questioning later Monday was to coincide with an opposition demand for an emergency debate in Parliament on what it says is the public's lack of confidence in the government.

The police action against the opposition is likely to increase political tensions, already high amid Anwar's threat to bring down the government by mid-September even as he fights the sodomy allegation.

The debate is not the same as a no-confidence vote, but the speaker was still not expected to allow it. In the past, almost every opposition motion has been rejected on grounds of being non-urgent or not in the public interest.

Anwar, who is not a member of Parliament, was supposed to witness the session from the visitors' gallery before going to a police station for questioning.

But police obtained a court order barring Anwar as well as the public from coming within three miles of Parliament. Copies of the court order were pasted in public places. Members of Parliament were also told not to bring guests to witness the session.

The roadblocks, which also prevented journalists from entering with their vehicles, caused massive traffic jams in many parts of the city.

District police Chief Ahmad Sofian Mohamad Yassin said the measures were necessary because Anwar's supporters had not sought a police permit for a rally, as required by law.

''We have such laws that any public gathering must first have a police permit ... so we are going to disallow any gathering,'' he said, adding only ''those who have business'' in Parliament would be allowed to enter.

Anwar criticized the court order barring him and his supporters from Parliament as an ''abuse of the legal process.''

Tian Chua, information chief of Anwar's People's Justice Party, said the party had merely wanted supporters to come to Parliament for the debate.

''There is no protest planned. We want people to go into Parliament to listen to the debate,'' he said. ''I think it (the police lock down) is deliberately to create a situation to cause confusion.''

Anwar, who has become a thorn in the side of the government, suffered a setback when he was accused last month by a volunteer worker in his office of sodomizing him. Anwar has dismissed the allegation as a political conspiracy to thwart his political ascendancy.

The People's Justice Party and two other opposition parties together won an unprecedented 82 seats in the 222-member Parliament in March 8 elections. Anwar claims he can get more than 30 ruling party lawmakers to defect to form a new government.

Anwar did not contest the elections because a previous corruption conviction barred him from politics for five years. The ban expired in April.

-- Associated Press, 14 July