Friday, September 29, 2006

Chocoholics paradise

Slices of chocolate pizza. Syringes that squirt liquid chocolate into your mouth. Warm double chocolate fondue.

Israeli restauranteur Max Brenner's new chocolate bar off New York's Union Square, Chocolate By The Bald Man, caters for chocoholics of all ages -- and is pretty much a disaster for anyone trying to watch their weight.

Brenner has opened 19 restaurants worldwide in the past six years -- in Australia,
Israel, Singapore and the Philippines -- but this is his first in the United States with plans to open a second in New York's East Village later this month.

Sitting in his restaurant that has the feel of a European cafe but with zany wallpaper and pipes across the ceiling giving it the look of a chocolate factory, Brenner explains that he set out to create a chocolate culture.

"I believe chocolate for people is not just about taste. It's about memories, about fantasies, about fun," the bald-headed Brenner told Reuters as he melted, mixed and poured a variety of chocolate concoctions.

"People want the whole chocolate experience. A ritual. So I created a ceremony around chocolate with special cups and utensils."

Hot chocolate is served at his restaurants in oval-shaped cups tapered at one end called "hug mugs" that are cradled in hands. Coffee comes in "kangaroo cups" with a pouch or shelf for chocolate. Ice cream popsicles come with bowls of melted chocolate, chocolate waffle balls and caramelized pecan bits.

"Everyone loves chocolate in the way that we do it. It crosses all ages and cultures," said Brenner, a European-trained pastry chef and chocolatier, whose bald head is used as the logo for the stores.

The name Max Brenner is actually a composite of two Israelis, Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner, who launched the business 10 years ago in Israel as a chocolate shop.

But when Fichtman left after a few years, Brenner came up with the idea of a chocolate bar -- a restaurant serving chocolate with a gift shop -- and opened his first store in Sydney in 2000, adopting the Willy Wonka-like persona of "Max Brenner."

In 2001 Israel's second largest food and beverage company Strauss-Elite bought into the company, partnering with Brenner and opening a string of more restaurants to spread the chocolate gospel.

But in these days of health conscious eating are people still lured by chocolate?

"People love chocolate. It makes them smile. I believe the happiness it causes does magic things for your health," said Brenner, 36, a slim man, who eats chocolate daily but admits he goes to the gym every day too.

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Ray Charles and Basie orchestra jam posthumously

Ray Charles and Count Basie never recorded together, but a new CD pairs the two music luminaries posthumously.

The CD, "Ray Sings, Basie Swings," featuring Charles' vocals from recently unearthed archival reels and newly recorded tracks by the big band that still carries Count Basie's name.

Soul titan Charles died in June 2004 and Basie passed away in 1984, but the bandleader's Count Basie Orchestra continues to tour and record, directed by Bill Hughes.

The inspiration for the CD, to be released October 3 by Concord Records and Starbucks Corp.'s Hear Music, came after producer John Burk last year discovered tapes marked "Ray/Basie," in Concord Records' vaults in Berkeley, California.

While the artists shared the same bill during their careers, they had never recorded together, leading Burk to think he had struck gold. But he said he was disappointed to find the tape contained recordings of the two artists performing separately.

Little is known about the tape, which is believed to contain recordings from 1970s concerts in Europe produced by impresario Norman Granz, according to Concord Records.

"To the best of our knowledge, Ray and Basie were on the same bill in a concert in Europe, but they never played together. They played two separate sets," said Gregg Field, the producer of "Ray Sings, Basie Swings."

Field, who was as a drummer for both the Charles' and Basie bands nearly 30 years ago, said he was approached by Concord to produce a new recording using Charles' vocal tracks from the old tape backed by new arrangements played by the Basie Orchestra.

"This was kind of like a perfect storm. Charles' vocals were incredible but the instrumentals (on the tape) were unreleaseable. We thought, wouldn't it be great to bring in the Count Basie orchestra?" said Field, who called the process a labour of love.

The finished product features Charles vocals on standards like "Let the Good Times Roll," "Georgia on My Mind" and "I Can't Stop Loving You." Many of the arrangements were written by guest instrumentalists including jazz veterans Shelly Berg, Quincy Jones and Tom Scott.

The CD also contains "Every Saturday Night" a long-time concert favourite never before released on a record.

The often-painstaking work was worth the effort, Field said. "I would love to do this with more artists. It is one of Ray's greatest performances, thanks to 21st century technology," he said.

Posthumous collaborations are not new. Singer Natalie Cole teamed up with her late father Nat King Cole on the 1991 album, "Unforgettable," which sold over 5 million copies, while former Beatles Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr collaborated in the 1990s to embellish a couple of John Lennon demos from the 1970s with overdubs to create "Free as a Bird."

"It's a brave new world, but it's a technology that could be abused," said Field, adding, "You could even make the case that if Ray were alive, he would have wanted to record with this band. This was a correct pairing. It made musical sense."

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White House gates shut to "Kazakh reporter" comic

Borat, the fictional TV reporter from Kazakhstan, may have gotten under the skin of Kazakh officials but on Thursday he couldn't get past the gates of the White House.

Secret Service agents turned away British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as the boorish, anti-Semitic journalist, when he tried to invite "Premier George Walter Bush" to a screening of his upcoming movie, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

Also invited to the screening: O.J. Simpson, "Mel Gibsons" and other "American dignitaries."

Cohen's stunt was timed to coincide with an official visit by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is scheduled to meet with Bush on Friday.

Nazarbayev and other Kazakh officials have sought to raise the profile of the oil-rich former Soviet republic and assure the West that, contrary to Borat's claims, theirs is not a nation of drunken anti-Semites who treat their women worse than their donkeys.

Kazakhstan is expected to become one of the top 10 oil producers within a decade. A U.S. ally with troops in
Iraq, the country has drawn criticism for its deteriorating civil liberties and flawed elections.

Shortly after Nazarbayev dedicated a statue in front of the Kazakh embassy, Borat denounced an official Kazakh publicity campaign running in U.S. magazines as "disgusting fabrications" orchestrated by neighboring Uzbekistan.

"If there is one more item of Uzbek propaganda claiming that we do not drink fermented horse urine, give death penalty for baking bagels, or export over 300 tons of human pubis per year, then we will be left with no alternative but to commence bombardment of their cities with our catapults," Borat said.

Kazakh press secretary Roman Vasilenko said he was worried that some may take the Borat routine seriously.

"He is not a Kazakh. What he represents is a country of Boratastan, a country of one,"

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Dancer kicks kid

He was so concentrated in his dance. Result was, knock out for kid.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wrong parking place

This wasn't a great idea. Who knows how long they would work in that street.

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Russian talk show

Eat your heart out Jerry Springer. This is like fight club.

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House on a building

Have you ever seen house built on a building?

These houses existed until three years ago. Than they were demolished. But really, you have to admire them. They built a house on a building. Luckily, the roof hold on.

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Peace breaks out with York as treaty ends arrow threat

Couple who walked 240 miles to Edinburgh have presented Lord Provost Lesley Hinds with a "peace treaty" from the people of York.

There is an ancient by-law in York, which has never been repealed, which "legally" allows people to shoot Scotsmen with a bow and arrow within the city walls.

In a bid to improve Anglo-Scottish relations, and raise hundreds of pounds for Survive - a charity which helps child victims of sexual abuse - Ewan and Gill Main asked dozens of York residents to sign their treaty.

The two-week trek finally came to an end last week, when the Evening News arranged for them to meet Cllr Hinds.

"I think I speak for all the people of Edinburgh and beyond when I say how relieved we are that we can now travel to York without fearing for our lives," said the Lord Provost.

"I strongly support Mr and Mrs Main's efforts to raise funds and awareness for Survive, which plays such an important role in helping young victims of child abuse."

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Martha Stewart Wants Eminem On Show

Rapper's Music Featured During Commercial Breaks

Martha Stewart thinks Eminem would fit in perfectly on her show, "Martha," not because he can knit or bake brownies, but because her viewers love his music.

Stewart said they play Eminem raps during the commercial breaks and her audience really gets into it.

She said Eminem has no idea that her viewers are "so involved" in his music.

Stewart is giving away a new house on her show this season. She said more than 6 million entries have been received in the first week and a-half.

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Plucky boy gets Miss Universe dream date

Plucky Australian schoolboy who asked a former Miss Universe to his school dance, only to be rebuffed, has finally had his dream date over lunch.

Daniel Dibley, 17, needed a partner for the school dance in the Australian country town of Bathurst, west of Sydney, and he decided to aim high.

He wrote to Australia's best-known beauty queen, Jennifer Hawkins, to ask her to the dance, and was stunned when the 2004 Miss Universe accepted.

But in a decision that would break a schoolboy's heart, Hawkins later pulled out of the date because the overwhelming publicity had overshadowed plans for the end-of-year dance, which is for students in their final year of high school.

Instead, the Seven television network said Hawkins visited Dibley's Bathurst High School on Tuesday for a private lunch date with Daniel, and to speak to the school assembly, where she apologised for all the fuss.

"I didn't want you guys to think I didn't want to come to Bathurst, or I didn't want come to the formal (dance)," Hawkins, now a television presenter, told the school assembly.

"I did. It just became too big. I just wanted a low-key thing."

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Here comes the bride ... on a camel ride

To get her to the church on time, the bride chose a beast of burden.

Riding atop a camel named Matilda, bride Sherel Crockett bounced along a horse trail to a church to recite wedding vows with George Stone.

The animal lovers met four years ago and including Matilda in the ceremony was "my dream come true," the bride said after Sunday's wedding.

The couple met while working as part of a pet-assisted therapy program and both are currently therapists who work with severely emotionally disturbed children.

Using a dromedary as wedding transportation — especially Matilda who is considered by many to be the unofficial city mascot — caught the eye of passersby.

"Everybody was smiling and waving. Matilda's a real celebrity here in town," said Stone, who often takes Matilda for appearances at area elementary schools.

The new Mrs. Stone is moving her cadre of animals onto Stone's property when they combine homes, said Stone, noting they have a lot in common.

"We both have Icelandic ponies," Stone said. "So we even have the same breed of horse in common."

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Teddy bear is a killer

Teddy bear has been implicated in 2,500 deaths -- trout deaths, that is.

State officials say a teddy bear that fell into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain. The clog blocked the flow of oxygen to the pool and suffocated the fish.

Hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the bear, dressed in yellow raincoat and hat, is believed to be the first stuffed toy to cause fatalities at the facility.

"We've had pipes get clogged, but it's usually with more naturally occurring things like a frog or even a dead muskrat," he said. "This one turned out to be a teddy bear and we don't know how it got there."

The deaths prompted Fawcett to release a written warning: "RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into the fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED."

He said it's not known who dropped the bear, but urged anyone whose bear ends up in a hatchery pool to find a worker to remove it. "They might save your teddy bear, and keep it from becoming a killer"

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Swan falls for paddle boat

Rare black swan has fallen in love with a plastic swan paddle boat for hire on a German lake.

According to biologists, the Black Australian Swan is showing all the typical signs of love - circling its plastic lover, staring endlessly at it and making crooning noises.

Both boat and swan live on the Aasee lake in Muenster, north-western Germany.

The boat, a large white plastic peddalo designed to look like a swan, is hired out to families who want to picnic on the lake.

When the striking looking swan arrived at the lake a few months ago it instantly became a local attraction and now that it has fallen in love with the boat it has become a major star - with souvenir shops selling t-shirts, snow globes and key rings depicting the star-crossed lovers.

But locals say tourists are now nervous about hiring that particular boat thanks to its ever vigilant admirer.

And yacht school owner Peter Overschmidt complained: "When I sail too close to the peddalo, the black bird puffs up its feathers and hoots at me."

Biologist Dirk Wewers from the local Allwetter Zoo said: "This behaviour proves that the swan has built an attachment with the peddle boat."

And biologists are worried that because swans are monogamous, this one will waste its life pining away for its plastic lover.

Expert Andrea Klein says they are worried what will happen when the boat is locked away for the winter but they are relatively confident the swan will recover.

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Surfers' tribute to Crocodile Hunter

Australian surfers staged an unusual tribute to Steve Irwin - by hitting the waves with a life-sized inflatable crocodile.

Surf photographer Stuart Gibson had the idea for the tribute which he captured on film and posted on his website,

He says that, as well as being an ambassador for Australia and conservation, Irwin was a "self-confessed mad surfer".

Gibson says Irwin loved Tasmanian waves and set up the tribute on a day when a seven metre swell delivered huge waves off the Tasman peninsula.

He and fellow surfers Martin 'Para' Paradisis, Dan Ross, Richie Vaculik and Mark Matthews were tow-surfed into the waves - along with the blow-up croc.

According to Gibson, the conditions appeared to improve as soon as they brought the inflatable crocodile into the line-up.

"All the boys agreed that the wind dropped out and the sets got bigger with the croc out there," he said. "The croc got all the best waves."

Amazingly the inflatable crocodile survived repeated beatings at the hands of some of the world's biggest waves.

However, one of the surfers was less lucky. Matthews, 24, needed hospital treatment after hitting his head on his board or the rocky bottom. He was later allowed home.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

PETA upset at Six Flags roach contest

Story continues. Part one of story
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants Six Flags Great America to scrap its Halloween-themed cockroach-eating promotion.

Spokeswoman for the animal rights organization says the contest at the amusement park's FrightFest is "gratuitously cruel."

The park in Gurnee, Ill., is joining other Six Flags parks in offering unlimited line-jumping privileges to anyone who eats a live Madagascar hissing cockroach. The bugs are up to three inches long.

The contest begins next month.

Amusement park officials are defending their menu choice. Great America spokesman Jim Taylor says the bugs are nutritious, high in protein and fat free.

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Graffiti artist recreates Sistine Chapel ceiling

Graffiti artist is recreating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in a rundown building in Iowa.

Paco Rosic and his family have spent their life savings, and his parents have taken out a second mortgage, to pay for the project.

First, they spent £35,000 on buying a dilapidated former antiques store in Waterloo, Iowa.

Then they hired workers to tear down the old ceiling and create a new one that is gently arched, like the Sistine Chapel.

To prepare, Mr Rosic travelled to Rome and spent four days in the Sistine Chapel, and then practiced painting sections of it upside down in his garage at home.

He has since spent four months - and nearly £5,000 on spray paint cans - on his back on scaffolding to paint a nearly half-scale replica of Michelangelo's fresco.

"My friends thought I was crazy," said Mr Rosic, 27, a Bosnian immigrant. "So did my family. But this has been something I've wanted to do since I was a child."

The family are converting the building into a cafe and jazz club and hope the fresco will pay for itself by helping to attract customers.

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Parsnip wins ugly veg contest

Parsnip resembling a creature from the abyss has come top in a contest to find the ugliest vegetable in England.

All entries to the National Trust competition had to be grown from seed this year, and they ranged from multi-layered tomatoes to twisted carrots.

Liz Woodward, food choices officer for the trust, said: "This competition was designed to show that we shouldn't judge a vegetable on its looks and we should challenge the image of the cosmetically perfect and well-formed vegetables found in many of our supermarkets.

"From the hundreds of entrants received there was a wealth of shapes and sizes and a real belief in the benefits of growing your own veg."

Hilary Nellist from Bedford, the grower of the winning parsnip, won an organic veg box for a year and advice from a National Trust gardener.

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Penguin moron

This is why penguins are morons. He should return the "favor".

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'Dead' woman shocks family

Brazilian woman shocked her family by turning up alive and well a week after her own funeral.

Relatives of 18-year-old Maria Fabiana Franco thought she was a ghost and wouldn't let her in the house.

Miss Franco, from Vitoria, had been missing for two weeks when her sister wrongly identified the body of a young woman as being her.

Adriana Lacerda, the sister, said: "The dead woman was identical to my sister. They even had the same scar on the same eyebrow!"

The body was buried in the family grave and the family were still mourning a week later when Miss Franco turned up.

A police spokesperson told Terra Noticias Populares: "The family was so happy but really scared at the same time.

"They didn't let her in until we arrived, they thought they were seeing a ghost."

Miss Franco told police she had run away with her boyfriend but had to return home after he was arrested.

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Weird popstars

People always want to be on TV. Some people shouldn't do that.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Chickens have two legs. No, they have four.

Henrietta the chicken was living inconspicuously among 36,000 other birds at Brendle Farms for 18 months -- until a foreman noticed she had four legs.

"It's as healthy as the rest," the farm's owner, Mark Brendle, told The Daily American.

Brendle's 13-year-old daughter, Ashley, named the chicken Henrietta after the discovery Thursday. The bird has two normal front legs and, behind those, two more feet. They are of a similar size to her front legs but don't function. The chicken drags her extra feet behind her at the farm in in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

In 30 years of farming, Brendle said, he's never before seen a chicken with four legs.

There's no definitive reason why such deformities happen, said Cliff Thompson, a retired professor of genetics at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He said it could be an accident of development, akin to a sixth toe on a cat.

Brendle said he jokingly suggested to his family that it sell Henrietta in an Internet auction, but Ashley objected.

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Kid and granny

She gave him lightsaber as a present. That was a fatal mistake.

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Grandma wassup!!!

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Couples queue for passion in car on stilts

Couples in Amsterdam are writing out their dreams of passion for the chance to spend a night in a small car fitted with a bed and hoisted up on poles.

For a free overnight stay, couples must write to the Italian artist who converted the hatchback, and explain their romantic intentions -- ranging from marriage proposals to re-enactments of teenaged backseat fumblings.

Federico D'Orazio said he removed the seats of the Opel Kadett, squeezed a double bed into it and placed it on four-metre (13 ft) high poles to provide a place for "real love" in a city famed for its sex trade.

"I tried to make a space for real love in a city where sex is dominant," said Federico D'Orazio. "You can have sex because it is a safe structure. It is shaking up very safely."

The car is not anywhere near Amsterdam's famous red light district -- where scantily clad prostitutes display their charms in the windows of brothels -- but it has received enough offers to be filled for six months. It is available until mid-October.

Dutch couple Hanne Hagenaars and Hans Bolscher said they recently spent a night in the car, although at one point a passer-by tried to climb in with them.

"In cars a lot of aggressiveness takes place so to invite people to make love in the car, I think it is really nice," said 45-year-old Hagenaars.

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World's most expensive marmalade

Jam maker has marked its 125th anniversary by producing the world's most expensive marmalade.

Duerr & Son's Fine Cut Seville Orange Marmalade with Whisky, Champagne and Gold costs £5,000 a jar.

That means it would cost an estimated £76 to spread on just one slice of toast, reports the Telegraph.

It contains finest Seville fruit with vintage Dalmore 62 whisky from Whyte & Mackay, valued at £32,000 per bottle, Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1996 vintage champagne and flakes of 24-carat gold leaf.

The Manchester-based firm's special marmalade is encased in a custom-made crystal jar valued at £1,100.

Managing director Mark Duerr said: "It's unbelievably good - we tasted it at a board meeting last week for the first time, and were amazed. The whisky comes through immediately. The champagne's more subtle."

The initial plan was to make the exclusive preserve a one-off production, with the one-kilo jar being auctioned on eBay to raise money for the Manchester Kids charity.

However, Duerr's has been so impressed by the taste that it is considering making a more affordable version as a normal product.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Polygraph test to decide winner of fishing tournament

Fishermen are known to tell tales, but this time the truth isn’t getting away.

The Destin Deep Water Shark Tournament wrapped up Sunday evening with an awards dinner, but one division’s prizes weren’t handed out and now need to be settled through a lie detector test.
Cherie Mills’ first-place catch in the Lady Angler division has been challenged, and the Navarre resident will take a polygraph test today to prove whether she caught the shark herself.

The challenge comes from Rodger Kunkle, captain of the Moon Dance, and angler Virginia Lipscomb, who caught the second-place shark on his boat.

The contention is Mills had too much help from others on the Teaser Too, including her fiancé, Daniel Adams, and Capt. Ken Jorgensen when reeling in the 480-pound tiger shark.
“I was hoping we could resolve this without going to a polygraph, but that’s what it’s come to,” said Jim Roberson, chair of the tournament’s rules committee.

Questions are in the process of being written for the test, and results should be immediate, he said.

“The tournament is doing everything we can to level the playing field and make sure she was the one who reeled the shark in,” Roberson said.
On the line is the first-place prize of $1,500.

An independent polygrapher from out of state will conduct the test today at the Destin History and Fishing Museum.

Mills said the shark fought for six hours before giving up in the late hours of Saturday and early Sunday. She’s confident the test will exonerate her.

“I have no doubt,” Mills said. “I caught that fish. They didn’t believe a girl like me could catch a fish like that.”
It was a first for her, and she wanted to call it quits but kept with it, Adams said.
“She was sweating, she was miserable, she was almost in tears,” Adams said.

While some forms of assistance would violate rules set by the International Game Fish Association, the tournament doesn’t adhere to those restrictions, and latitude is left to the rules committee, Roberson said.
The rules state, “The rules committee shall be the sole judge of any violation of the rules. Their decision is final.”

But the rules also state, “A polygraph examination may be required and must be passed in a conclusive manner,” and failure to submit could result in disqualification.
So it’s up to Mills to pass and keep her prize money and, maybe more importantly, the bragging rights of bagging the shark.

Telephone listings couldn’t be found for Kunkle or Lipscomb.

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Wanna cut in line? Eat a live cockroach

Why wait in line when you can just eat a cockroach?

That's the question Six Flags Great America is asking thrill seekers during a Halloween-themed FrightFest. The amusement park is daring customers to eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach in exchange for unlimited line-jumping privileges.

The promotion, which has Lake County Health Department officials shaking their heads, starts October 7.

Anyone who chows down the entire 2- to 3-inch horned cockroach gets a pass for four people to cut to the front of ride lines through October 29.

Park officials insist it's safe to eat the crunchy critters, but health officials are cautioning participants.

Consuming live roaches might increase risks of gastrointestinal illness and allergies, according to Bill Mays, Lake County Health Department's community health director.

Cockroach eaters will have to sign waivers and still pay admission fees, said Six Flags spokesman James Taylor.

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Smoking and hamsters

Smoking is bad - for you, for hamsters. Hamsters!?!?

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Wassup shalom

You want fish. Oy.

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Man on a photocopy machine

He wanted to make a joke, but the joke was on him.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hungarians flock to grab "we screwed up" website

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's blunt admission he lied to win an election has sparked outrage, riots and a race to claim a website over his comments.

The Hungarian web portal Index reported Tuesday that three license requests for the ("we screwed up" in Hungarian) website had been submitted to the domain registration body ISZT.

Gyurcsany admitted in a taped speech that was leaked to the media that his Socialist-led government had lied to win general elections in April and that "we screwed up" a lot.

It was unclear whether the domain name would be approved as Hungarian domain licensing regulations stipulate that requests for manipulative or potentially outrageous domain names can be rejected.

The comments by Gyurcsany, who has refused to step down over the controversy, have triggered mass anti-government riots, the first such violence since communism ended in Hungary at the end of the 1980s.

Over 150 people were injured in Budapest, the Hungarian capital of two million.

More than 10,000 protesters took to the streets again on Tuesday, but police reported no violence.

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Panda bites man, man bites panda back at Beijing zoo

Drunken Chinese migrant worker jumped into a panda enclosure at the Beijing Zoo, was bitten by the bear and retaliated by chomping down on the animal's back.

Zhang Xinyan, from the central province of Henan, drank four jugs of beer at a restaurant near the zoo before visiting Gu Gu the panda on Tuesday.

"He felt a sudden urge to touch the panda with his hand," and jumped into the enclosure.

The panda, who was asleep, was startled and bit Zhang, 35, on the right leg, it said. Zhang got angry and kicked the panda, who then bit his other leg. A tussle ensued.

"I bit the fellow in the back," Zhang was quoted as saying in the newspaper. "Its skin was quite thick."

Other tourists yelled for a zookeeper, who got the panda under control by spraying it with water, reports said. Zhang was hospitalized.

Newspaper photographs showed Zhang lying on a hospital bed with blood-soaked bandages and a seam of stitches running down his leg.

The Beijing Youth Daily quoted Zhang as saying that he had seen pandas on television and "they seemed to get along well with people."

"No one ever said they would bite people," Zhang said. "I just wanted to touch it. I was so dizzy from the beer. I don't remember much."

Ye Mingxia, a spokeswoman for the Beijing Zoo, confirmed the incident happened but would not give any details. She said Gu Gu was "healthy."

"We're not considering punishing him now," Ye said in a telephone interview. "He's suffered quite a bit of shock."

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Doctor accused of stealing cadaver hand

Doctor has pleaded not guilty to stealing a hand from a New Jersey medical school cadaver and giving it to an exotic dancer.

Ahmed Rashed, a 2005 graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, was charged Monday after voluntarily returning from Los Angeles, where he is in a residency program, said his lawyer, Hassen Abdellah.

Rashed, 26, is free on $1,000 bail.

The dancer, Linda Kay, kept the hand in a jar of formaldehyde in her bedroom. Friends have said she called the hand "Freddy."

Police discovered the hand, along with six human skulls, at Kay's home in July, after being called there on a report that a roommate was suicidal. The roommate was not home, but Kay was.

Kay, 31, has pleaded not guilty to unlawful disposal of human remains. Her mother has said she believed the skulls were bought from a mail order catalog.

The left hand was taken in May or June 2002, according to an investigation by the school and South Plainfield police, said Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Judson Hamlin.

Medical school spokeswoman Anna Farneski said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing.

The charge against Rashed carries up to 10 years in prison.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Couples take part in kidney exchange

TWO American couples have taken part in a double kidney swap, with the husbands donating organs to each other's wives.

Jody Pardoe, 43, received a kidney from a stranger while in the next operating theatre her husband Peter donated one of his kidneys to that man's wife.

The couples, who underwent the procedures yesterday at the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, New Hampshire, do not know each other's identities.

For Mrs Pardoe it was her second transplant since 1991. She is hoping it means she will be able to live without regular dialysis.

Her husband had been willing to donate a kidney to her, but her rare type B blood - possessed by only 3 per cent of the population - meant his blood did not match.

The hospital then found a couple in the same situation, and brought them together for the procedure when it was discovered their blood and tissue types were compatible.

Before the operation Mrs Pardoe said: "I feel guilty about Peter giving up his kidney. I can't say enough about what Peter is doing.

"It's not as if he's giving it to me. He's giving it to a stranger so that I can have a better life."

Mr Pardoe, 43, said: "I had no second thoughts or qualms about it. I was just doing it for Jody. Anything I could do to make her life a little more normal."

The whole procedure was scheduled to take surgeons up to six hours. There have been about 100 paired kidney exchanges in the Unied States.

"It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of faith," Dr David Axelrod, who performed one of the transplants, told a local newspaper. "People have to have faith that the quality of the kidney one is getting is as good as the one they are giving."

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Thief accidentally turns himself in

Italian thief accidentally turned himself in after losing his cellular phone while robbing an elderly lady, calling his own number to meet the finder -- and unwittingly arranging a date with police.

The 77-year-old victim handed over the phone that the bag snatcher had dropped to police, who lured the thief to a meeting where he was arrested, news agency Agi reported Monday.

Agi said the man had been freed from prison recently under an Italian mass pardon meant to ease congestion in jails.

By the time police were waiting for him at the meeting point, the 35-year-old had already robbed another old lady and was riding a stolen scooter, Agi said.

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£200,000 mobile phone

Luxury mobile phone that has diamonds as control buttons is to go on sale for £200,000.

The Black Diamond smartphone was designed by Jaren Goh and is built by Swiss firm VIPN.

The menu navigator button is a 0.25 carat diamond while more diamonds decorate the titanium body.

The Black Diamond phone also changes colour from silver to black when not in use.

Only five are being made and the phone is expected to be available from early next year.

Three Americans, a Russian and the Sultan of Oman are all said to have expressed an interest.

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Village elders order trial by boiling oil

The leaders of a village in the Indian state of Rajasthan ordered 150 men to dip their hands into boiling oil to prove their innocence after food was stolen from a local school, a newspaper reported Sunday.

In late August the school's principal informed police that rice and wheat had disappeared but no action was taken, the Sunday Express said.

The council, or panchayat, of Ranpur village, 340 km (210 miles) south of state capital Jaipur, then decided to take the law into its own hands.

After 10 days spent trying to identify those responsible, it issued what the paper called the "medieval diktat."

The 150 men from Ranpur and two neighboring hamlets were told to pick a copper ring from a cauldron of boiling oil. The council elders then announced that the 50 who refused the order must be behind the crime. Many are now nursing their burns.

"We would have been ostracized had we refused. Out of fear all of us agreed. This is not the first time this has been done," said one 45-year-old man. He has now testified against the elders, who have been arrested.

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Britain's unluckiest football team?

North Yorkshire football team reckon they are the unluckiest side in Britain.

Some of the Wills Bar FC team say they will quit the side after the latest run of bad luck, reports York Press.

It started when they turned up for a home game against Dunnington to find their pitch had been double-booked.

No other local pitch was available, so they had to drive 20 miles to Dunnington to play the 'home' York Sunday Afternoon League clash away.

Team manager Steve Baxter, 20, saidd: "We went out and played the game and got totally stuffed 8-0 by Dunnington, so the mood wasn't all that great when we got back to the changing rooms.

"But when we did get back we found that our wallets and mobile phones had all been stolen.

"I don't know what you would call it. I suppose you could say it's extreme bad luck, because I don't think anyone was particularly targeting our things."

The previous week, four players had their cars broken into while they had been playing football on pitches behind York's Knavesmire.

Mr Baxter added: "It's a sad state of affairs, but we have a few players who have told me they are not going to play any more because of this, because at some point it stops being enjoyable when this kind of thing happens."

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Mad for U.S. beef, herd heads for Tokyo eatery

Hundreds of people lined up at a central Tokyo restaurant on Monday to savour a dish not tasted for more than two years -- "beef bowl" made with U.S. meat.

Some Japanese had even camped out overnight outside a popular branch of fast-food chain Yoshinoya, which resumed sales of its famed specialty following the July lifting of a government ban on imports of U.S. beef.

The ban was imposed in December 2003 after the discovery of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, forcing Yoshinoya to drop its flagship dish of braised beef and onions marinated in soy sauce and laid on top of rice.

Hardcore fans had shunned the "beef bowl" when it was made with Australian beef because the meat was too lean.

"I thought a bit about the risks, but I just could not help myself from coming here, I had to taste it," a man in his 20s told NHK television after having his 380 yen ($3.20) meal.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer joined the herd tucking into the dish at branches across the Japanese capital.

"It was well worth the wait," he said. "It's a day of celebration, beef has returned to Japan."

Japan was once the top importer of U.S. beef, buying 240,000 tons valued at $1.4 billion in 2003.

The import ban was first lifted last December, only to be reinstated a month later when prohibited material was found in a shipment of U.S. veal. Media polls have shown that many Japanese consumers remain concerned about the safety of U.S. beef.

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Surfers try to break record

Surfers around the world may complain about crowded conditions, but for dozens of South Africa wave riders it was the more the merrier as they lined up to break a world record by riding a single wave.

Organizers of an event on Sunday that saw 73 surfers -- ages 7 to 67 -- ride the same wave for five seconds say they broke a Guinness Book of Records best of 44 people in Ireland.

More than 1,000 onlookers watched from the beach near Cape Town and videographers documented the stunt, but the results have yet to be officially verified.

The event was a fundraiser for the Shark Spotters, a safety program under which people with binoculars, flags and sirens at two popular beaches near Cape Town warn swimmers of lurking sharks, which are common in the area.

A South African lifeguard last month had his foot bitten off and later amputated in hospital when a shark attacked him during a training exercise off a beach near Cape Town.

Great white sharks are a protected species in South Africa, but they are blamed for many of the country's fatal attacks. The balance of how to keep swimmers safe and protect sharks is a subject of debate.

"More needs to be done. At the moment, one step off the planet into the ocean and you're at your own risk," said Paul Botha, an organizer of the event.

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Man's screams scared off armed robbers

Brazilian man who witnessed an armed robbery was so frightened that his screams scared the robbers away.

The man, from Sao Luiz, who doesn't want to be named, was in a post office in the town when robbers burst in.

He had come to collect his stall which he uses to sell books outside the post office and which he keeps inside the building overnight.

Another witness said: "The post office was being robbed but he didn't realise until he was almost leaving.

"He got so scared, he screamed loud and let the stall and all the books fall, making a huge noise.

"The robbers go so scared they even forgot they had guns - they panicked and ran away."

A police spokesperson said: "Even though it was unintentional, he stopped the robbery. We will give him a medal for that. We are calling him The Clumsy and Scared Hero!"

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Strongman lifts helicopter

Austrian strongman has set a new world record after a 1.8 tonne helicopter landed on his back.

Franz Muellner supported the machine for almost a minute after it landed on his shoulders to secure his place in the Guiness Book of World Records.

The record attempt was part of the Vienna Worlds Records Day held in the Austrian capital's Prater park.

Other world records broken included the maximum number of straws that can be held at any one time in the mouth.

Marco Hort managed to fit 264 straws in his mouth to beat his old record of 259.

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World's first penis transplant

Doctors in China say they have successfully carried out the world's first penis transplant.

44-year-old accident victim was given the organ of a brain-dead patient half his age.

Surgeons who performed the procedure claim it was a success. The man was able to urinate through his new organ within 10 days.

But the team said the donated penis was removed after two weeks due to "a severe psychological problem with the recipient and his wife".

Although male sex organs have been re-attached before, it is the first time another man's penis has been grafted on.

During a complex 15-hour operation, docs stitched nerve fibres and blood vessels to the donated four-inch organ.

Tests showed it had a rich blood supply and after just 10 days, he was able to urinate without the use of a catheter, a report in the European Journal of Urology said.

Professor Andrew George, of Imperial College London, said: "It takes time for nerve sensations to kick in and it's not clear whether the patient would ever be able to have sex with it."

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'Green' arms giant's lead-free bullets

British arms giant is planning a new range of 'environmentally friendly' weapons - including lead-free bullets.

BAE Systems says it wants to design bullets without lead because it 'can harm the environment and pose a risk to people'.

The company also aims to make 'quieter' warheads to cut noise pollution and 'eco-friendly' rockets, reports The Sun.

Scientists are also working on bio-degradable explosives and grenades that produce less harmful smoke.

BAE director Dr Debbie Allen said: "Weapons are going to be used, and when they are we try to make them as safe to the user as possible to limit the collateral damage.

"We also try to impact as little as possible on the environment."

But Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Symon Hill said: "This is laughable. They make weapons to kill people. It's utterly ridiculous."

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Banksy strikes again

Guerilla artist Banksy has struck again - by sneaking a statue of a Guantanamo Bay detainee into Disneyland.

The manacled figure in an orange jumpsuit appeared inside the Rocky Mountain Railroad ride, reports the Mirror.

It was there almost two hours before being removed by guards at the California theme park.

Bristol-born Banksy says he wanted to highlight the plight of terror suspects held in Cuba.

Banksy is notorious for his subversive stunts - such as sneaking doctored versions of classic paintings into major art galleries.

In 2005, he embarrassed the British Museum by planting a hoax cave painting of a man pushing a supermarket trolley, which he said went unnoticed for three days.

Last week, he smuggled 500 "alternative" versions of Paris Hilton's album into record shops around the UK.

The artist replaced Hilton's songs with his own remixes, which were given titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?

He also changed the artwork to show the US socialite topless and with a dog's head.

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Gaddafi says Coke is African

Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi claims Coca Cola is African and wants a share of the money.

He says Coca-Cola should pay a percentage of every can or bottle sold to governments across the continent.

Speaking at a celebration marking the seventh anniversary of the African Union, Gaddafi said: "The essential ingredients for Coca Cola come from African plants and so compensation must be paid to us."

The Libyan leader is known for his bizarre claims and in the past claimed William Shakespeare was actually an Arab immigrant to England called Sheikh Zubeir.

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Man forced to marry goat

Sudanese man has been forced to marry a goat after he was caught having sex with it.

The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars, about £35, to Mr Alifi, reports the BBC.

"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.

Mr Alifi, of Hai Malakal, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.

"When I asked him: "What are you doing there?", he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up."

Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.

"They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper.

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'Ghost tree' has human face

Thousands of people are flocking to a Malaysian village to see a 'ghost tree' which has reportedly sprouted a human face

Markings on a five-metre tall betal nut tree in Kampung Paya clearly resemble human eyes, teeth and a nose, according to the New Strait Times.

Zainol Nayan, 54, spotted the curves emerging a month ago but said the resemblence to a human face only became obvious last week.

He told the paper: "Since then, villagers have gathered around the tree to see for themselves and the news spread like wildfire, attracting outsiders."

Housewife Noraziah Zakaria added: "I was curious and shocked to find that the curves indeed look like a human face."

Villagers, who call it the 'ghost tree, claim the face changes each day and they are selling photographs to visitors.

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Jesus joins MySpace

Jesus Christ has joined MySpace with an online page advertising his love of beards, extreme water-skiing and the Life of Brian.

It's part of a campaign by the Churches' Advertising Network to provoke debate about God among young people this Christmas.

Posters showing the face of Jesus in beer foam in a pint glass will be accompanied by the question: "Where will you find him?"

The adverts will direct readers to - a page on the social networking site MySpace.

"It may be very arrogant to set up Jesus's MySpace," said Simon Jenkins, of Churches' Advertising Network. "But it is a voyage of exploration. Let's hope God is guiding it in the right direction.

"MySpace is hugely culturally significant. It is the place where young people are most likely to meet up and we need to go to our audience."

The charity, which has teetotal Salvation Army representatives and Methodists as well as members of the Church of England, denied that the pint-glass posters would encourage drinking.

Tony Miles, a Methodist minister, said: "Binge-drinking is a huge problem but this is an image that young people are familiar with and is meant to illustrate that you find God in unexpected places."

The group, which has no formal links with the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England, has ruffled feathers in previous years by depicting Jesus as Che Guevara.

It has also portrayed the Last Supper as a boardroom meeting of multinational companies, with Judas as Microsoft.

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Man copies sword swallowing routine

Drunk man had to be rushed to hospital after trying to perform a sword swallowing routine.

Serb Ratko Dankovic, 23, had been drinking Rakia with mates while watching a magician perform a sword swallowing trick on the television.

They then started arguing over how the trick was done, and when Dankovic told mates that sword swallowing was easy and anyone could do it - they challenged him to prove it.

But he had to be rushed to the local hospital after swallowing a knife with an eight inch blade, eight nails, two spoons and a couple of clothes pegs to win the ten pound bet.

His friend Aleksander Tadic, 25, said: "He stood in the corner of the room and was holding this stuff above his head and swallowing it with his head tilted back, and we all thought it was just part of the act. We had no idea he was really swallowing it. He must have been really drunk to have managed to get it down his throat without gagging. I can't believe he really swallowed all that junk - I thought he was just pretending and then hiding it in his pockets or something.

"We only realised there was something wrong when he collapsed and we checked to see where the knife and nails were hidden and could not find them. Then we realised he really had swallowed them."

Doctors at the city hospital in Uzice in southwest Serbia carried out an X-ray to locate the metal objects.

Dr Maja Gulan said: "He was lucky. His stomach or intestines were not significantly injured. It could have been very different. Doctors successfully removed all the items in a five-hour operation."

Dankovic who is still being kept in hospital, said: "I don't remember a thing until I woke up here in hospital with a sore throat and 30 stitches on a cut on my abdomen. My girlfriend has told me she hopes they got everything out, we are planning to fly on holiday next month and she doesn't want me getting stopped by the airport metal detector."

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Wife chopped off late hubby's willy

German woman chopped off her dead husband's penis - to pickle it as a souvenir of their marriage.

Uta Schneider, 65, used a butcher's knife to hack off Heinrich's manhood in a Stuttgart hospital, reports The Sun.

She wrapped it in foil and put it in a lunchbox to take home but was spotted by a nurse and arrested.

Uta, who was wed to Heinrich, 68, for 35 years, is accused of mutilation.

She reportedly told police: "It was his best asset and gave me so much pleasure.

"I wanted to pickle it for eternity - he would have wanted it. We called it his joystick. I wanted it to remember him by."

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Mouth-shaped urinal sparks complaints

Dutch McDonald's has been forced to remove a pair of mouth-shaped urinals after a tourist complained.

The branch in the south east of the Netherlands said it was removing the bright red, mouth-shaped urinals after a disgusted US customer complained to McDonald's head office in America.

Manager of the fast-food outlet Giel Pijper said the urinals, named Kisses, were works of art which he was now going to have to sell off.

The mouth-shaped urinals, designed by Utrecht-based firm Bathroom Mania!, have already caused controversy.

Virgin Airways was forced to scrap plans in 2004 to install two of the Kisses at New York's John F Kennedy airport after complaints they looked like women's mouths.

But designer Meike van Schijndel has denied they were ever conceived as anything rude and said they were designed as a fun cartoon mouth and not as a woman's mouth.

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Queen gives Nazi salute in new play

Controversial new play about Princess Diana which shows the Queen giving a Nazi salute has opened in Germany.

Christoph Schlingensief now plans to bring his play, Kaprow City, to the London Frieze Art Fair in October.

The German artist is also making a film version in secret in the UK to be released at the end of the year.

The opening performance of the play at the Volksbuehne theatre in Berlin, was a sell out success and very few tickets for the remaining performances are still available.

In the play, a comical looking Queen, played by German actress Karin Witt, is seen giving a Hitler salute, something which is illegal in the country but is allowed on stage under artistic licence.

According to reports in online media Princes William and Harry are "distraught" at the thought of a new play about the tragic death of their mother.

But an unrepentant Schlingensief rejected the reports and said he had even sent the Princes invitations to last night's premiere, adding: "After all, Harry has already been seen in Nazi uniform."

He is currently filming a movie version of the play with director Lars von Trier in both Paris and London. But he refuses to give out any details about the shoot.

Schlingensief added that filming in London will have to take place secretly because he thinks British people "over react" to anything involving the late Princess of Wales.

He said: "Diana is considered a saint in England and everyone turns into a nervous wreck as soon as you mention her name.

"I am very interested in what happened in the hour of her death, it fills me with artistic inspiration."

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Opera fans 'prefer magic mushrooms'

More than a quarter of classical music fans have tried cannabis while opera lovers prefer magic mushrooms.

They are among the findings of a new study of music tastes and lifestyles by researchers at the University of Leicester.

They discovered that fans of every style of music had taken drugs, with those who preferred DJ-based club music topping the list.

A quarter of classical music buffs have tried cannabis and 12.3 per cent of opera lovers had tried magic mushrooms.

The study also revealed that blues buffs are the most likely to have received a driving penalty.

More than 2,500 people were interviewed for the study, which is published in the scientific journal Psychology of Music.

Fans of musicals come out as the most mild-mannered group, with the lowest level of drug-taking and criminal acts.

But followers of hip hop and dance music are more likely to have had multiple sex partners over the last five years and were among the biggest drug-takers surveyed.

"It comes out in the study that, in these types of music, fans score worse in various behaviours, such as criminality, sexual promiscuity and drug use," said Dr Adrian North, who led the research.

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Woman pleads guilty in fake penis case

MCKEESPORT, Pa. - A woman pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with a bizarre incident in February that resulted in a fake penis being microwaved at a convenience store.

Leslye Creighton, 41, of Wilkinsburg, entered the plea Wednesday, and authorities dropped the same charge against Vincent Bostic, 31, of Pittsburgh, who has agreed to help pay $425 to replace the store's microwave, police and the couple's defense attorney said.

Police in McKeesport, about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh, said the Feb. 23 incident began when Bostic filled a fake penis with his urine that they said Creighton planned to use to pass a drug test to get a job.

The two stopped at a GetGo! convenience store and, after wrapping the device in a paper towel, asked a store clerk to heat it up in a microwave, police said. Authorities said they believe Creighton wanted the device heated so the urine inside would be at body temperature during the drug test.

The clerk, however, believing the lifelike device to be a severed penis, called police.

Defense attorney William Difenderfer said Creighton faces a maximum punishment of $300 and 90 days in jail when she is sentenced Nov. 15 by McKeesport District Judge Doug Reed. Difenderfer called it "a humorous, but weird, case."

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Austrians urged to count dog droppings

VIENNA, Austria - Organizers of a campaign trying to clear Vienna's streets of dog droppings are urging residents to record how many droppings they see in the space of five minutes and report the figure as part of an impromptu census.

A group that wants the droppings cleaned up said it would compile the figures and present them to city officials on Monday as part of its stepped-up effort to pressure the Austrian capital to deal with the problem.

In May, activists collected 157,000 signatures on a petition demanding that the city launch some kind of cleanup program and toughen penalties for dog owners who don't clean up after their pets.

But organizers said they were losing patience.

"At first, they said it would begin in the summer. Then it was the autumn," Petra Jens, a spokeswoman for the cleanup campaign, told Austrian television.

Jens said the information provided by residents would help determine what parts of Vienna are most soiled by dogs and provide an overview of just how many droppings are out there on any given day.

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Murder suspect: Goat turned into corpse

LAGOS, Nigeria - A Nigerian murder suspect accused of killing his brother with an axe told police investigators he actually attacked a goat, which was only later magically transformed into his sibling's corpse, officials said Thursday.

The man, whose name wasn't released, offered police his explanation after his arrest on Tuesday in the death of his brother the previous day at Isseluku village in southern Nigeria.

"He said that the goats were on his farm and he tried to chase them away. When one wouldn't move, he attacked it with an axe. He said it then turned into his brother," Police Commissioner Udom Ekpoudom told the Associated Press.

Murder suspects in Nigeria, where many people believe in black magic, sometimes claim spirits tricked them into killing. In 2001, eight people were burned to death after one person in their group was accused of making a bystander's penis magically disappear.

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Madagascan leader's jet grounded by soldier's shots

ANTANANARIVO - A soldier pumped 13 shots into the plane of Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana, forcing him to leave Thursday for a summit in Cuba on a commercial flight, the government said.

Presidential spokesman Moxe Ramandimbilahatra said the hapless guard imagined seeing someone approach "Force One" when he fired a volley of shots into it a few days ago.

"So the Madagascan delegation traveling to the Cuban summit of Non-Aligned countries had to resort to a plane from the national company Air Madagascar," he told Reuters.

"The soldier was hallucinating...Very upset by what he did, he tried to kill himself by taking poison but he failed," said another security official Lucien Victor Razakanirina.

The soldier told the local media: "I noticed somebody approaching the presidential plane and I fired on him after shouting out a warning because he was about to cross into the sensitive zone."

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Stinking waitress

This is really funny, but what would you do if that happens to you.

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Wassup girlfriend

Why don't you say what are you watching.

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Kangaroo has artifical limb

A kangaroo in China is thought to be the first to have an artificial limb.

The kangaroo had to have it's leg amputated after being involved in an accident with a car.

However, Hangzhou Safari Park, in Hangzhou city, contacted an artificial limb factory, which designed and made the kangaroo a special limb, reports Xinhua News.

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Mountain resembles breasts

A mountain in China looks like a pair of breasts.

The mountain, located 12km north of Zhenfeng town in the Guizhou province, is known locally as dual breast mountain.

The mountain is used as a place of worship by the community.

Locals come to the foot of the mountain during weddings believing it will bring them goodness and fortune.

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Mattel to sue over lesbian Barbie show

Toy manufacturer Mattel is reportedly threatening to sue a Brazilian artist for portraying Barbie as a lesbian.

Karin Schwarz's exhibition features pictures of Barbie in compromising situations, reports the Jornal de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Mattel has given the artist 24 hours to close down the exhibiton or they say they will take legal action.

But Ms Schwarz says she will not back down: "Barbie is exploited by Mattel. She wears a bikini, she shows off her belly, has big breasts, and even has a boyfriend," she said.

The exhibition, entitled Amazing Girls, is on show at a bar in the city of Curitiba.

A Mattel spokesperson said: "Barbie is a very proper lady and she is not happy about being portraited as something that she isn't.

"We are going to sue and we hope that this teaches people a lesson. Also, Barbie is 46 years old, she should be respected!"

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Cult enters bunkers though doomsday uneventful

MAUCHE, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan followers of a U.S.-based religious sect which predicted the world would end after a September 12 outbreak of nuclear war moved into bunkers on Wednesday despite the failure of their prediction.

Dozens of members of the House of Yahweh -- dressed in gas masks, gloves and long overcoats -- have built a network of underground hideouts in the small highland village of Mauche.

They have stocked the bunkers with dried fermented flour meant to feed them for a year, by which time sinners would have been wiped off the Earth, according to their beliefs.

"Those who have been doubting us will in hours be ashamed and if the effect of the war is not felt here, then let the police arrest us," Mosheh Sang, leader of the sect in Kenya, told journalists while packing sacks of flour into a bunker.

"We shall stay in the bunkers for a period of one year."

According to Sang, a nuclear war between the United States and North Korea only failed to kick off Tuesday as expected due to difference in international time zones.

"Members of our sect who are in the U.S. will not be affected as they are protected by Yahweh," Sang added.

According to its web site, the group was founded in Abilene, Texas.

"September 12...You need to put this date on your bathroom mirror. You also need to make preparations for the dark days ahead, which will affect every person on earth," the site says.

"There is a place of safety but like their unbelief in the Sabbath, the world will not believe this message, neither will they repent of their sins of murder, fornication, or theft. You need to start training now in the ways of Yahweh."

Kenyan authorities have been closely watching sect members to avoid a repeat of the aftermath of an unfulfilled prophecy in Uganda when more than 900 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments were burned alive in 2000. Police said they were worried that the bunkers could cave in despite followers of the cult erecting supporting wooden pillars in the six-by-ten foot bunkers. Underground water was seeping into the hideouts which police said would weaken the structures.

"Though there is freedom of worship in the country, our fears are that the members could die not from the so-called nuclear war but by the bunkers caving in," Dominic Karanja, a senior police officer in the area, told reporters.

But the cult's followers said it was Yahweh's (Hebrew for God) way of providing water for them.

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Harrods stages dog wedding

Pampered pooches Timmy the Bichon Frise and Muffin the Shih Tzu have got married at Harrods.

Timmy walked Muffin down the aisle for the ceremony in front of invited guests at the famous Knightsbridge store.

The couple shared a kiss and their own wedding cake before being whisked off by horsedrawn carriage.

The unique dog wedding was part of Harrods' Anything is Possible season.

The initiative is designed to show off the potential of Harrods' 1.2 million square feet of retail space and 330 different departments.

Last week, staff gift-wrapped a helicopter for a romantic businessman who wanted to surprise his wife.

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Eye-popping record bid

A Brazilian man is hoping for a place in the record books for his ability to pop his eyes out of their sockets.

Claudio Pinto, 48 is making a living out of shows where he pops his eyes out, Terra Noticias Populares reports.

He reckons he can pop both eyes 95% out of their sockets.

Mr Pinto has undergone various tests and doctors say they have never seen or heard of a person who can pop the eyes as much as him.

Mr Pinto, from Belo Horizonte, said: "It is a pretty easy way to make money.

"I can pop my eyes out four centimetres each, it is a gift from God, I feel blessed."

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Ugly fish gets cosmetic surgery

A goldfish at a top museum has undergone cosmetic surgery - after visitors complained it was too ugly.

The fish, at the Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, had an "unsightly" growth on its face, reports the Scotsman.

Although the fish showed no signs of stress, scientists decided it should undergo surgery to remove the lump.

A spokeswoman for the museum said the fish's eye had to be removed along with the lump.

She said the operation had been paid for from the coins people throw into the pond, but she wouldn't confirm how many complaints the museum received about the fish.

However, a source told the paper: "People were saying: "'One of your fish has an unsightly growth coming out from its head." They went to the reception desk saying: "You've got an ill fish there"."

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Not exactly like the ninjas in the movies...

ATHENS (Reuters) - A Greek bank robber armed with ninja throwing stars finally ran out of moves Tuesday when police arrested him after an Athens bank robbery.
Petros Onen, 49, had held up 11 small suburban bank branches making away with 50,000 euros ($63,590) in recent months, threatening to throw his razor-sharp, palm-size stars -- made famous by the Japanese ninja warriors -- at cashiers, police said.
His luck ran out when undercover policemen at the last bank he robbed followed him home and arrested him with his loot, his throwing stars, a fake gun and a list of other bank branches.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Spagetti love

When you want to eat spagetti seductivly, pay atention.

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Flat chinese guy

This is what happens when you try to catch a tree with your hands.

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Bear & Fisherman

One brave fisherman and one big bear. Who'll win?

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Karate junkie

This is what happens after you get high.

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Ice fishing with orca

Ice fishing gone bad. Brrrr, scarry.

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