Friday, August 17, 2007

Chinese couple tried to name baby "@"

Chinese couple tried to name their baby "@", claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said on Thursday.

The unusual name stands out especially in Chinese, which has no alphabet and instead uses tens of thousands of multi-stroke characters to represent words.
"The whole world uses it to write e-mail, and translated into Chinese it means 'love him'," the father explained, according to the deputy chief of the State Language Commission Li Yuming.

While the "@" simple is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word "at" to sound it out -- which with a drawn out "T" sounds something like "ai ta", or "love him", to Mandarin speakers.
Li told a news conference on the state of the language that the name was an extreme example of people's increasingly adventurous approach to Chinese, as commercialisation and the Internet break down conventions.

Another couple tried to give their child a name that rendered into English sounds like "King Osrina."
Li did not say if officials accepted the "@" name. But earlier this year the government announced a ban on names using Arabic numerals, foreign languages and symbols that do not belong to Chinese minority languages.

Sixty million Chinese faced the problem that their names use ancient characters so obscure that computers cannot recognise them and even fluent speakers were left scratching their heads, said Li, according to a transcript of the briefing on the government Web site.
One of them was the former Premier Zhu Rongji, whose name had a rare "rong" character that gave newspaper editors headaches.

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Duct tape bandit comes unstuck

US robber has been dubbed the Duct Tape Bandit after trying to raid an off licence with his head wrapped in sticky tape.

He came unstuck when the owner showed him some tape of his own, which was wrapped around a wooden bat, reports Sky News.

Bill Steele, owner of the store in Huntington, West Virginia, said: "Duct tape? It's just unbelievable, people don't think this really happened.
"He probably had every opportunity to put a bag over his head and poke holes in it."

Store employee Craig Miller chased the man to the parking lot, tackled him and held him in a choke hold until police arrived.
Kasey G Kazee, 24, was charged with first-degree robbery, according to Ashland Police Sergeant Mark McDowell.

Photos of Kazee, taken by police at the scene, show the suspect with his duct tape askew, his lip bloody and his eye swollen. Miller said Kazee sustained the injuries when his face hit the ground.
However, in a TV interview, he denied being the person who took two rolls of change.

He said: "Look, do I look like the duct tape bandit baby? I'm not no duct tape bandit baby.
"You are hearing me live one-on-one in Ashland, Kentucky. You know this is not me. Now look, do the math, do the homework man."

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Kindergarten's not for squares

An elite kindergarten in China says it will take only 'round-headed' students as they make the cleverest pupils.

Li Junjie Educational Kindergarten, in Zhengzhou city, checks the shape of would-be pupils' heads as part of admission tests.
Owner Li Junjie insisted: "A round head indicates cleverness; a student with a flat head can never be outstanding no matter how hard he works."

The school charges tuition fees of nearly £7,000 a year, possibly the highest in China, and guarantees that pupils will prosper, reports China News Network.
Li Junjie added: "Every student in my school will become talented. They will be able to read at age three, and enter middle school at seven and university at 15.
"We now have 21 students with 13 teachers. We make sure they have the best resources."

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty

Police chiefs in Bangkok have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules - an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband.
The armband is large, bright pink and has a Hello Kitty motif with two hearts embroidered on it.

From today, officers who are late, park in the wrong place or commit other minor transgressions will have to wear it for several days, reports the BBC.

The armband is designed to shame the wearer, police officials said.
"This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed," Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan said.

"Guilty officers will be made to wear the armbands in the office for a few days, with instructions not to disclose their offences. Let people guess what they have done," he said.

Further offences would be dealt with using a more traditional disciplinary panel, he said.
The cartoon character Hello Kitty was first introduced by Japanese company Sanrio in 1974.

The cute round-faced cat has become an Asia-wide marketing phenomenon, with Hello Kitty products such as stationery, hair accessories and kitchen appliances available across the region.

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Home sweet cement pipe

Chinese man has built a house out of two cement pipes.
Xin Yucai, 50, of Shenyang city, even turned down the chance to move into his daughter's apartment he enjoyed living in his unusual home so much.

"My father likes to do things differently," she explained.
"He bought two cement pipes from a construction company and turned them into a real house, with windows, door, and even a chimney."

The daughter says her apartment has enough space for her father but Xin still insisted on making a house of his own.
"We moved once, and he took the pipe house with him."

The house has become a city attraction.
"From time to time, people will come to have a look and take pictures with the pipe house," a neighbour told Huashang Morning News.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

14 Spy Squirrels In Iranian Custody

Iranian authorities have recently arrested more than a dozen squirrels for espionage.

"In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested 14 squirrels within Iran's borders," state-sponsored news agency IRNA reported. "The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services."

Iran claims the rodents were being used by Western powers in an attempt to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Iranian police commander Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqadam confirmed the report, saying that a number of squirrels had been caught bearing foreign spy gear within Iran's borders.

The rodents were taken into custody 2 weeks ago but few details have emerged about the incident. "I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information," said the police commander.
Iran has recently stepped up its anti-espionage efforts against the West. There have been no other documented uses of rodents in the past.

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Hollywood Pigeons Being Put On The Pill

LOS ANGELES -- Pigeons living in tinsel town are going on the pill.

Hollywood residents believe it's a humane way to reduce the pigeon population and the messes the birds make.

Community leaders plan to announce the pilot program Monday at a news conference. Laura Dodson, president of the Argyle Civic Association, said the "poop problem" has become unmanageable and this could be the answer.

Over the next few months a birth control product called OvoControl P, which interferes with egg development, will be placed in bird food in new rooftop feeders.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal rights groups approve of the measure.

About 5,000 pigeons call the Hollywood area home.

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