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

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Text appeal is all down to sending the right message

Chat-up lines are getting shorter because women are now rating prospective dates on the strength of their texting, a new study claims.And the men most likely to get the thumbs-up are those who can combine wit and wisdom rather than sending childish codes such as CUL8R for "see you later".

The way a man uses his mobile phone keypad says a lot about his personality, said the poll of 2000 adults.

More than three in four women (76 per cent) judge a potential date's character by his texting style in the early days of their courtship.

And nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) modern women prefer to use texts than real conversations after they initially swap numbers.

This is partly because 37 per cent believe men who call to talk after getting a girl's number can appear desperate, while texting does not give the same impression.

Despite the slang abbreviations associated with text messaging, a surprising four in ten (41 per cent) women are turned off by bad spelling and poor grammar.

They do not want brief, scrambled messages with two thirds (67 per cent) claiming they are more likely to go for men who send longer texts which include humour and some flirting.

Men are advised against sarcasm or appearing "lewd" but should use a witty style. Practical missives – such an instructions to meet at a certain time and place – are less popular and more than half of female receivers (56 per cent) are left cold by them.

-- The Scotsman

Men, hear hear!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Woman hit by lightning while filming with camera, survives, posts video!

This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events. A woman is taking video of a rainstorm from her balcony when she is struck by lightning. She survives, and posts the video on Flickr.
Andy Warhol said we'd all be famous for fifteen minutes. The Internet and Youtube have redefined that to fifteen seconds. This is some of the most amazing fifteen seconds of footage I've ever seen.

Apparently, she was standing on the balcony of her house, filming the rain storm, and resting her right hand on a conductive railing. A lightning stroke hit her camera-hand. Thankfully, the charge didn't go through her chest cavity and stop her heart, but rather went across her back and grounded out through her other hand.

-- Digital Journal

This is just one of those things that makes me go speechless. Even "awesome" seems far off.

Why the Swedish way won't work

I refer to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's suggestion in Thursday's report that Singapore emulate Sweden's strategy in improving birth rates ('Taking a leaf from Sweden's book to boost birth rate').

It may not work as Singapore has a very competitive educational environment relative to Sweden. Spending money on creches, giving fathers time off for each childbirth and other Swedish initiatives are not enough in Singapore. The reason our educational environment is so competitive is because parents know that without tertiary education, our kids will not have a good life.

The presence of cheap foreign labour has made low-skilled jobs unrewarding. This is not the case in Sweden. Garbage collectors, bricklayers and carpenters are relatively well paid in Sweden. Thus, even the less skilled in Sweden have a good life. Hence, the urgency on the part of Singapore parents to give their children a tertiary education.

Of course, importing foreign labour has boosted our growth rate. But the price we pay is that it depresses the wages of the lower-skilled workers. That is why Singapore has a high Gini Index compared with Sweden. The index measures the gap between the rich and the poor.

To boost our birth rate, child-rearing should be recognised as a career in itself. Ideally, we want the better-educated women to have more kids. Mothers who stay home tend to have more children than working mums.

I suggest that the Government pay mothers their last-drawn pay for a period of say 10 years after the second child is born, if she chooses to stay at home. If she has more children, the 10-year period restarts after the subsequent children are born. The higher her last drawn pay, the more she is paid.

Second, a portion of her children's future Central Provident Fund payments should be transferred to her after they start working for the rest of her life.

One reason people in the past had more children is that they saw their kids as a source of pension funds for their old age. It's time to restore the old relationship.

Tan Keng Soon - Straits Times Interactive


I think the main reason here is that life in Singapore is very stressful, who wants to bring up a child in a very stressful environment? Its either you make it or you don't. If you don't have a good tertiary education, you're doomed for life.

Xiaxue and Dawn on Yahoo Polls!

This is the current poll results.

Go and vote now!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Woman Posts Cat!

A cat was posted 450 miles by mistake after it crawled into a parcel box for a cat nap.

The cat's owner Gitti Rauch said her pet climbed into a box filled with presents for relatives. She did not notice the cat as she sealed up the package and sent it off.

After the two-day journey from Rottach-Egern in southern Germany to Dorsten in the north of the country the cat leapt out unharmed - and no worse for wear - when the parcel was opened.

Mrs Rauch, 44, said: "Janosch usually goes off on his own for a few days and I wasn't worried when I hadn't seen him for a while - then I got a call telling me what had happened.

"I can understand though how he survived the journey without a scratch. He is a very special little cat. He likes to ride in cars, he likes boxes - and he never complains."

The Local - Germany

Woah! Poor kitty!

We are enough!


How often it is that we go the extra mile to please people and end up being disappointed? Why do we have to keep comparing ourselves with people who are more prettier, skinnier, taller etc than us? It only makes us feel worse off.

As you know, beauty/slimming centres, magazines etc, blatantly feed on our insecurities. I'm not saying that I've never felt insecure, I'm sure everyone has.

The thing is, we don't give ourselves enough credit. Being who we are can be tough. All of us play many different roles to different people. We are mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, friends, teachers etc. We always feel that we can be a better person. Yes we can, sure we can. But, lets save that for another day.

We need to realise just for this moment that we - we, are enough. Our purpose in life is not pleasing people to gain acceptance, we just have to be enough for ourselves.

We are enough!

Now, go tell your mom, dad, husband, wife that they're enough. Even writing them a "you are enough" post it note will mean a lot to them.

I am enough! And you are too ;)


-- Starwish

The ‘Fake’ Steve Jobs Is Giving Up Parody Blog!

The once-mysterious blogger known as “Fake Steve Jobs” is turning off his iPhone for good.

Daniel Lyons, the former Forbes magazine journalist who wrote the blog The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs for the last two years, is moving on with his professional life and creative pursuits. In a final entry Wednesday entitled, “I’m sailing away,” the author, who is moving to Newsweek as a technology columnist this fall, said he was shutting down the popular parody of the life of the Apple chief executive and starting a new blog under his own name.

Mr. Lyons said that he had grown tired of his fictional creation, but mainly he was worried about making fun of a real person whose health has been a recent topic of speculation. (After a reporter for The New York Times asked about his lean appearance at a conference last month, Mr. Jobs said he was healthy.)

“I tried transitioning to other voices, like Jerry Yang’s, but it just didn’t work,” Mr. Lyons said, referring to the embattled Yahoo chief. “It seems clear that people reading the blog wanted to read Fake Steve or nothing.”

For Mr. Jobs’s online doppelgänger, the lights are dimming on a creation that once captivated the technology world. Publishing pseudonymously until an article in The Times revealed his identity last summer, Mr. Lyons wrote with insight and hyperbole about Mr. Jobs’s tyrannical moodiness at Apple and the fictional antics of other high-profile technology figures, including Microsoft’s Steven A. Ballmer and Oracle’s Larry Ellison.

An industrywide guessing game as to the identity of “Fake Steve” ensued, with the real Mr. Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates weighing in.

Mr. Lyons translated the appeal of his blog into a novel, “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody,” published in October by Da Capo Press, and he is writing a screenplay based on the book for Hollywood production house, Media Rights Capital. Unlike the book, Mr. Lyons said, the screenplay will feature a generic chief executive.

-- NYTimes

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bangkok voted world's best city


Bangkok was voted the world's best city for 2008 and the Galapagos were picked as the best islands in an online poll by Travel + Leisure magazine, trumping last year's winners Florence, Italy and Bali, Indonesia.

Magazine readers also voted Singita Sabi Sand, at the Kruger National Park, South Africa, as the world's top hotel while Singapore Airlines grabbed the best airline award again.

It was the first time that Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador topped their respective categories, said Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure.

Last year, Bangkok was ranked number 3 and the Galapagos number 8. The 2007 winners of best city and best island -- Florence an Bali -- fell to number 5 and number 2 respectively.

"We're delighted to welcome so many new winners this year," she said in a statement. "Nature, and adventure, were clearly a draw in the selections."

Last year's number one hotel, the Oberoi Udaivilas in India, fell to number 4 this year. Singita Sabi Sands was voted the number two hotel in 2007.

The results were complied from votes by magazine subscribers in an Internet poll which went live between January and March. Travel + Leisure will honour winners on July 24 in New York City.

The complete "World's Best Awards" is available on www.travelandleisure.com. Following are some highlights:

Best hotel - Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa

Best island - Galapagos, Ecuador

Best cruise line (large ships) - Crystal Cruises

Best cruise line (small ships) - Silversea Cruises

Best international airline - Singapore Airlines

Best domestic airline - Virgin America

Best tour operator - Micato Safaris

Best car-rental agency - Hertz

Best hotel for $250 or less - Domaine des Hauts de Loire, France

-- Reuters

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Beijing Olympics Results Already Predicted Before Actual Games Begin

Study: China will win more medals than U.S in Beijing

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has come out with a study that estimates China to win one more medal than U.S in the Beijing Olympics.
Accountants got their turn in the Olympics with the publication of a report that predicts China to top the medal tally in the Beijing Olympics in terms of overall medals as well as number of gold medals won. The report predicts China to win a total of 88 medals, one higher than United States overall tally of 87.

John Hawksworth, the report's author, says a number of factors such as population, average income level and being the host nation are taken into consideration while preparing the report.

Hawksworth predicts Russia will drop to third place at Beijing with an overall tally of 79 medals , down 13, followed by Germany (43), Australia (41), Japan (34), France (30), Italy (29), Britain (28) and South Korea (27). He also said former Eastern bloc nations are likely to do better because of their planned approach.


-- Digital Journal

hmmm? I also predict that China will be first.

Will Anwar Swear on the Holy Quran to Prove His Innocence?

Anwar and his wife

It is on everyone's mind right now. Will he or will he not? Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the alleged person whom he commited sodomy with, challenged him to swear in front of the Ulamas (religious leaders). According to The Star Online, Anwar responded by replying, “Just inform me of the time and date. I am not afraid to keep my promise”.

Swearing on the Holy Quran is a very big deal. It is the most sacred book to Muslims just as the Bible is to the Christians. Should Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also swear on the Quran to prove that he did not have an affair with Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu who was murdered in 2006?

With allegations, suspicions and tempers flying, will this measure bring a temporary reprise to the Malaysian political scene?

If they did no wrong, they should have nothing to fear - or do they?


-- Starwish

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bat found in teen's bra !

A teenager was stunned to find that a baby bat had been curled up inside her bra for five hours - as she was wearing it.

Hotel receptionist Abbie Hawkins thought her mobile phone was ringing when she felt vibrations, reports the Daily Telegraph.

But she later discovered the tiny creature tucked away in the padded pocket of her underwear.

As staff and colleagues crowded around, Miss Hawkins, 19, produced the frightened bat, which her manager later released outside.

She said: "Once I realised it was a bat I was shocked, but then I felt quite sorry for it really. It looked very snug in there and I thought how mean I was for disturbing it."

Miss Hawkins, who works at the Holiday Inn Norwich North, added: "When I was driving to work I felt a slight vibration but I thought it was just my mobile phone in my jacket pocket."

It was not until her lunch break when she felt a strange movement inside her bra, which had been hanging on her washing line the previous night.

"I plucked up the courage to investigate and I pulled out a little baby bat. I just lost my breath when I saw it and I did not know what it was at first," she said.

Jaime Eastham, of the Bat Conservation Trust, said they had never heard of a bat being found in a bra before. But she said the animals roost anywhere that appears dark and safe.

-- The Daily Telegraph


If I was in her situation, I would have been so freaked out that I'd strip right there and then. Yucks! A bat in your bra! Can you picture that?!

More "national monuments" being erected


Wah lau, like that I can say bye bye to ever owning a car in Singapore. If the government is really hardcore about deterring us from owning a car, why don't they increase the COE instead? Why must we have ERP everywhere? Here tax, there tax, everywhere tax, tax, tax! Now that the oil prices are crazy high already, still need to have more ERP gantries meh? If they really want all of us to take public transport then please increase the frequency of busses and MRT.

"It was Day One of higher ERP charges for vehicles going into the Central Business District (CBD) and Orchard Road.

The Land Transport Authority has said the higher charges, mostly double the old rates, are meant to manage traffic flow.

Our reporter Imelda Saad travelled with 30—year—old sales executive Tan Chee Kheong on the first day of the higher ERP charges.

In just half an hour, they passed not one, not two, but five gantries.

And that’s not counting the S$7.50 Tan already paid to get into the CBD for work in the morning and to meet our reporter in the afternoon.

Tan is resigned to the fact that he now has to fork out about S$300 to S$400 a month in ERP charges. He has no choice, as his work requires him to travel in and out of the CBD.

Tan said the ERP charges are literally eating into his salary despite his company increasing his transport allowance by S$150 a month.

Motorists Channel NewsAsia spoke with also questioned the rationale for imposing higher ERP charges within the CBD during the day.

"I just don’t understand why they have to increase the charges during the noon time when the traffic is not really that high," said a motorist.

True enough, as our reporter found out, it was a relatively smooth journey going from the CBD to Orchard Road and back.

A cabbie, who did not want to be seen on camera, said the higher rates will further deter taxies from going into the CBD area.

Some motorists said a better way to manage traffic flow is to improve road infrastructure and limit vehicle population growth.

Meanwhile, along the Singapore River area, five new gantries were also activated on Monday, charging evening ERP rates. The LTA said this is to reduce cross—traffic flow from one side of the city to the other.

For motorists, the latest rate revisions and the addition of new gantries will not be the end of ERP woes.

In November, more ERP gantries will be operational along expressways and arterial roads.

And when the Kallang—Paya Lebar Expressway is fully operational, new gantries will also be put up there, adding to the 60 or so already operational islandwide

However for many motorists, the new rates — which started on July 7 — could not have come at a worse time, given that fuel prices have also risen in tandem."

-- ChannelNewsAsia

Study: The French Are The Most Obnoxious Tourists!


According to a new and recent study, the award for the most obnoxious tourists goes to the French. The French are now considered the most obnoxious tourists.
Not long ago, I had written about how Australia now ranks first as the most obese nation. Now, the French rank 1st for most obnoxious tourists in the world. The award for world’s most obnoxious tourists goes to France. Yes, the world’s most obnoxious tourists amongst Europeans are the French.

That puts France in second place. The poll shows that India possibly ranks behind France in having the most obnoxious tourists. In last place, that award goes to China. Out of 21 nations being the most polite when traveling abroad in the poll, France has ranked 19th. That’s pretty close to being in last place. The 1st place award for most polite tourists belongs to Japan.

Americans and Thais are tied in 11th place. 2nd place goes to the Germans, 3rd place goes to the British, and 4th place goes to the Canadians. But, 11th place is definitely a lot better than 19th place.

French commercial travelers or the “voyageur francais” were revealed as either unwilling or not able to speak in foreign dialects. However, the study has shown that the French fared pretty well for being the best-dressed tourists. That could be deemed as a plus for French tourists.

But, the 1st place award for being best dressed goes to the Italians.

For American tourists, the poll results did not seem to show any negativity. Instead, it shows that American tourists are in 1st place of willingness and effort to speak in local dialects. That is a major plus for American tourists.

France along with a few other countries came in last in that regard.

However, the poll shows that both French and American tourists are equally rude when traveling abroad. But, the reasons are different. Despite that negative aspect directed at American tourists, the award for most obnoxious tourists goes to the French. So no, the award for most obnoxious tourists does not go to the Americans.

Also, France ranks near last place in those that vacation in their home countries.

In a nutshell, France is ranked as the most obnoxious tourists amongst Europeans.

Coincidentally, French President Nicholas Sarkozy is one president who is not afraid to speak his mind out to anybody. Sarkozy gave verbal lashings to many people recently. Sarkozy is not really gaining any brownie points with the international community.

In regards to French tourists, they’re definitely got gaining any brownie points when traveling abroad.

-- digitaljournal.com


I'm surprised that Singapore isn't there! I guess we're too small to make such an impact.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bride sues after bum wedding! LOL

A bride is suing a designer after her £2,000 wedding dress came apart on her big day, leaving her bum on display at the altar.

The 30-year-old woman, who cannot be named due to Italian privacy laws, claims her big day was ruined by the poor stitching, reports the Daily Telegraph.

According to the writ the bride was left in tears and the priest was left not knowing where to look. The Carry On style incident happened at Chiavari on the Italian Riviera.

Details of the writ emerged after an initial hearing at the civil court, in nearby Genoa, chaired by judge Pasqual Grasso.

The woman is claiming damages of £20,000 from the designer, who was not named but is based at Rapallo, twenty miles from Chiavari.

Her lawyer Alberto Figone said: "This was supposed to be the biggest day of my client's life but it turned out to be the worst, her wedding was ruined.

"She was left extremely embarrassed because the stitching of her dress came apart at the altar, slid down and revealed her bottom to the whole congregation.

"The priest concluded the ceremony and the couple were married but of course she was not able to take any proper photographs of the ceremony because she was semi naked.

"As a result, she has decided to sue the shop in Rapallo that made the dress for moral damages as well as financial damages, and the request is 23,000 Euro."

The incident happened in 2006 but has only just come to court. The couple have since separated.

--ananova.com


Doesn't it sound like something out of the "Wild Weddings" show? hahaha

Proof WHY Miss Singapore Universe should be scraped!


This poll was on Yahoo last year. Quite obvious, huh?

Scraping Miss Singapore Universe was quite a hot topic in The Straits Times a couple of months back. Derrol Stepenny Promotions (DSP) in charge of putting the show together held it at Mariott Hotel this year. Mediacorp commented that ratings have consistently been decreasing and sponsors are pulling out.

So, no slot on TV, because few people are interested in viewing it. And this year's merlion national costume, man, it just takes the cake. Its so frigging cheesy! Why can't we have for once a normal ballroom/evening gown designed by a well-known local designer like Ashley Isham?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Do you think there'll come a day when local papers report about bloggers entangled in cat fights/ lawsuits?


I think there definitely will. Since the Internet can command a reasonable lot of influence and increasingly, more are trusting information that they get from bloggers than commercial advertisments (as its marketing afterall).

Internet scandals are already making waves in papers. Why not bloggers sueing one another? What more if they're "celebrity" bloggers? Like the recent one between Xiaxue and Dawn?
Or maybe even the recent hoo-haa with the Ping.sg community?

Especially if its a slow news day, the reporters might just turn to the Internet for "news".
Will Internet celebs be more well-known than real life celebs in time to come? Perez Hilton and Smosh from YouTube may indeed be more popular than some B and C listed Hollywood celebs.

What Makes An Ideal Husband?

So how do you avoid a relationship where you end up saying, “The man who I was living with, I just didn’t know who he was” — as Brinkley did in court when talking about her husband’s $3,000-a-month Internet porn and swinger site habit? (Not to mention the 18-year-old mistress/assistant.)

Father Pat Connor, a 79-year-old Catholic priest born in Australia and based in Bordentown, N.J., has spent his celibate life — including nine years as a missionary in India — mulling connubial bliss. His decades of marriage counseling led him to distill some “mostly common sense” advice about how to dodge mates who would maul your happiness.

“Hollywood says you can be deeply in love with someone and then your marriage will work,” the twinkly eyed, white-haired priest says. “But you can be deeply in love with someone to whom you cannot be successfully married.”

For 40 years, he has been giving a lecture — “Whom Not to Marry” — to high school seniors, mostly girls because they’re more interested.

“It’s important to do it before they fall seriously in love, because then it will be too late,” he explains. “Infatuation trumps judgment.”

I asked him to summarize his talk:

“Never marry a man who has no friends,” he starts. “This usually means that he will be incapable of the intimacy that marriage demands. I am always amazed at the number of men I have counseled who have no friends. Since, as the Hebrew Scriptures say, ‘Iron shapes iron and friend shapes friend,’ what are his friends like? What do your friends and family members think of him? Sometimes, your friends can’t render an impartial judgment because they are envious that you are beating them in the race to the altar. Envy beclouds judgment.

“Does he use money responsibly? Is he stingy? Most marriages that founder do so because of money — she’s thrifty, he’s on his 10th credit card.

“Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to yours. It’s good to have a doormat in the home, but not if it’s your husband.

“Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings? When he wants to make a decision, say, about where you should go on your honeymoon, he doesn’t consult you, he consults his mother. (I’ve known cases where the mother accompanies the couple on their honeymoon!)

“Does he have a sense of humor? That covers a multitude of sins. My mother was once asked how she managed to live harmoniously with three men — my father, brother and me. Her answer, delivered with awesome arrogance, was: ‘You simply operate on the assumption that no man matures after the age of 11.’ My father fell about laughing.

“A therapist friend insists that ‘more marriages are killed by silence than by violence.’ The strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive. That world-class misogynist, Paul of Tarsus, got it right when he said, ‘In all your dealings with one another, speak the truth to one another in love that you may grow up.’

“Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him. He’s a heavy drinker, or some other kind of addict, but if he marries a good woman, he’ll settle down. People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.

“Take a good, unsentimental look at his family — you’ll learn a lot about him and his attitude towards women. Kay made a monstrous mistake marrying Michael Corleone! Is there a history of divorce in the family? An atmosphere of racism, sexism or prejudice in his home? Are his goals and deepest beliefs worthy and similar to yours? I remember counseling a pious Catholic woman that it might not be prudent to marry a pious Muslim, whose attitude about women was very different. Love trumped prudence; the annulment process was instigated by her six months later.

“Imagine a religious fundamentalist married to an agnostic. One would have to pray that the fundamentalist doesn’t open the Bible and hit the page in which Abraham is willing to obey God and slit his son’s throat.

“Finally: Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being — the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous? Or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious of you, to be secretive?

“After I regale a group with this talk, the despairing cry goes up: ‘But you’ve eliminated everyone!’ Life is unfair.”


-- NYTimes, 6th July


Yes, life is unfair! *weepeth*

Minister George Yeo asks Singaporeans to not be kepo about Malaysian politics.

Why can't we be kepo (busybody) about our immediate neighbour's affairs? Afterall, whatever affects them affects us also what. Them increasing petrol prices affected us, so as limiting how many sacks of rice or other stuff that we can buy from Malaysia. We also depend on Malaysia for water and other supplies like chicken, ducks and occasionally holiday there. Since our political scene is very boring, of course we find Malaysia's and America's politics very interesting.

We're not really getting directly involved but rather commenting on the sidelines on what we feel/think on the situation. Afterall, Malaysia's news also makes headlines in our newspapers (because there are no sensational happenings in Singapore).

So, did Anwar really commit sodomy?


"Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo has said Singapore must not get involved in Malaysian politics.

He gave this response when asked by the media if bilateral relations would be hit by the ongoing political turmoil in Malaysia.

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have been dominating the headlines in the past week over various allegations made by different parties.

Mr Yeo said: "We are not a participant. It's important we don't take sides in their domestic politics, indeed in the domestic politics of any neighbouring country. It is not wise and it will only complicate our bilateral relations. We deal with whoever is in power."

- - ChannelNewsAsia