Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Female Students High on Sex and Drugs says UKM

KUALA LUMPUR: Except for one, all the 887 female students with disciplinary problems interviewed admitted to having had sex, according to a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia study.

The study also showed that apart from sex, most of the respondents took drugs, were involved in pornography, secret societies, vandalism and truancy.

The study, conducted by UKM Children and Youth Psychology specialist Dr Khaidzir Ismail, found all the female students save one confessing to have had experienced the “pleasure of the flesh”.

The three-month High Risk Female Youth Profile Study, which ended last December, took 20 students with disciplinary problems from each school, ranging from Form One to Form Five, as its respondents.

“It is sad and shocking to find all except one of the respondents admitted to having experienced sex.

“This is painful finding but it is a reality that we have to accept,” he said.

It is understood that the study was a Selangor government’s initiative to find a handle to the deteriorating moral values among the female youth in the state.

From the study, the state government aims to formulate a special training module to promote high moral values among girls.

Dr Khaidzir said the study also found that the female students, aged between 15 and 16, were at a high risk of being involved in various discipline problems, including those related to sex.

“The study also found that the problems committed by these students were due to external pressure like coming from broken homes,” he said.

Khaidzir said most of the students were poor in their academic achievements, communication skills and had low self-esteem and self-control as well as problem solving capabilities.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Oldest Woman, Helen Mirren Reigns at Oscars with "The Queen"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britain's Helen Mirren won the best actress Oscar on Sunday for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the royal drama "The Queen".

It was the first Oscar for Mirren, 61, who has already swept up more than 20 major awards for her portrayal of the reserved British monarch in the days after the sudden death in 1997 of Princess Diana.

The Oscar crowned a sensational 12 months for Mirren who demonstrated her range and won critical acclaim for playing an earlier British queen in the television series "Elizabeth 1" and a hard-bitten, alcoholic detective in television's "Prime Suspect".

The silver-haired actress, a 40 year veteran of stage, screen and television, won universal praise for her nuanced portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, whose traditional stiff upper lip is challenged and misunderstood by an emotional public grieving for the popular and glamorous Diana.

Mirren studied hours of tapes for the role as the very private monarch and her appearance on the film confounded her image as a mature but sultry actress who has appeared nude in more than a dozen movies, including at age 58 in "The Calendar Girls."

It is unknown if the real queen has seen the movie since Buckingham Palace has a policy of never revealing her personal preferences in books or movies.

Mirren became one of the oldest women to win an acting Oscar, joining Katharine Hepburn, Jessica Tandy and fellow Briton Judi Dench among the handful of females over 60 to get the honor in Hollywood where youthful beauty is worshiped.

In a category dominated by Britons, Mirren beat Dench and Kate Winslet, Spain's Penelope Cruz and perennial U.S. favorite Meryl Streep to win Sunday's Oscar.

For a Full Coverage of the Oscar Winners - http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/

Best Picture : The Departed
Best Director : Martin Scorsese
Best Actress : Helen Mirren
Best Actor : Forest Whitaker
Best Supporting Actress : Jennifer Hudson
Best Supporting Actor : Alan Arkin

To Live Long, Abstain from Sex

HONG KONG - A 107-year-old Hong Kong villager, who still enjoys an occasional smoke, has attributed his longevity in part to decades of sexual abstinence, a newspaper said on Sunday.

"I don't know why I have lived this long," Chan Chi -- one of Hong Kong's oldest people -- was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post during an annual feast for the city's elders.

"Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have lived a sex-less life for many years -- since I was 30," said Chan, a widower whose youthful bride perished during the Japanese invasion in World War Two.

Chan, from Hong Kong's less built-up New Territories hinterland, was pictured looking sprightly and eating heartily at the banquet.

A former chef, he said a low-fat diet and regular dawn exercises had helped him fight off the ravages of old age.

But the centenarian, who's had no difficulty living a monastic existence for nearly 80 years, admits the pleasures of tobacco have been harder to resist.

"Now I want to quit," he was quoted as saying of his decades-long cigarette addiction. "Maybe the government should ban cigarette sales so I can give it up," he added.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Twelve fingers and Eleven Toes

A boy is born in Germany with six fingers on each hand and eleven toes.

Doctors say it is most unusual for a child to be born with extra fingers and toes, but otherwise be completely healthy.

Eleven-month old Yassir has now had his extra toe removed and will soon be able to learn to walk.

His extra fingers will be removed in a few months, so he'll be like all the other children when he goes to school.

Click here to Watch the Video

Declaration of Independence for $2.48

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A rare, 184-year-old copy of the Declaration of Independence found by a bargain hunter at a Nashville thrift shop is being valued by experts at about 100,000 times the $2.48 purchase price.

Michael Sparks, a music equipment technician, is selling the document in an auction March 22nd at Raynors' Historical Collectible Auctions in Burlington, North Carolina. The opening bid is $125,000 and appraisers have estimated it could sell for nearly twice that.

Sparks found his bargain last March while browsing at Music City Thrift Shop in Nashville. When he asked the price on a yellowed, shellacked, rolled-up document, the clerk marked it at $2.48.

It turned out to be an "official copy" of the Declaration of Independence — one of 200 commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820.

He didn't know he had such a valuable piece until doing some online research and then having appraisers at Raynors' offer an opinion.

Computerized babies cry, burp at Mexican teens

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - High school students in the Mexican state of Chihuahua are being made to care for screaming, hiccuping baby dolls that run on computer chips to try to bring down the state's soaring teenage pregnancy rate.

Pairs of teenage boys and girls aged 13 to 17 have to spend two or three days tending to the computerized babies, programmed to cry for food, burp and wake up screaming at night until they are rocked back to sleep.

"You have to change their diapers, feed them and slap them on the back so they burp. They laugh, they get colic. They simulate the behaviour of a real baby," said state education official Pilar Huidobro, who is in charge of the program.

"The aim is to have a more novel way of getting young people to be really conscious of the risk of becoming fathers or mothers at a young age."

The northern border state of Chihuahua suffers from one of the highest rates of teen-age pregnancy in the country, with 20 percent of babies being born to mothers aged 19 or younger, Huidobro said.

Some of the dolls can show symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol or drugs, as if they were the offspring of addicts.

The uncannily lifelike plastic dolls, called RealCare babies, are also used in programs in the United States and Britain. In Mexico, Toluca-based company Sucisa also sells them to health clinics in other parts of the country.

Students in Chihuahua are mostly horrified at the amount of work involved in looking after a baby, which they take home at night, Huidobro said.

"There's been a good response," she said. "They all agree it's not the right time for that kind of responsibility."

Heroic Bus Driver Leaps off Bus to Save Girl

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A city bus driver is lauded as a hero after he leapt off his bus and snatched a 3-year-old girl from traffic. The bus security cameras show the girl getting off the bus with a cheery "Bye!" and walking straight into traffic on a busy street. Chris Leslie, 38, is pictured streaking out the door after her.

One view from the bus camera shows a car making a rapid stop directly in front of Leslie and the girl last week.

"As I grabbed her, I looked as I pulled her back and luckily the car in the next lane, a pickup, had stopped," he said. "It was probably the first time in my life I was in the right place at the right time."

The girl's mother was busy in the bus with another child in a stroller and the toddler didn't heed a command to wait. Leslie said the mother and daughter were still hugging at the bus stop when he pulled away.

Leslie's wife, Cara, said she knew something had happened when her husband returned home from work that night. She said he immediately grabbed their 2-year-old daughter, Hannah, and gave her a long hug.

"He was really scared by it all," she said. "It's amazing how quick something like this can happen."

Members of the board of City Utilities, which runs the buses, discussed Leslie's heroics at their board meeting Thursday.

"It's pretty special," said general manager John Twitty. "He put his own life on the line."

Leslie, an eight-year CU veteran, earned the utility's Driver of the Year award last year. His boss, transit manager Carol Cruise, said the utility's rules won't allow him to win it two years in a row.

"But there's no reason he couldn't win it the year after that."

Giant Colossal Squid (450kg) Caught in New Zealand

WELLINGTON - New Zealand fishermen may have caught the largest Colossal squid ever found -- weighing around 450kg (992 pounds) and with rings the size of tyres.

The adult Colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) was caught by fishermen long lining for toothfish in deep ocean off Antarctica, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said on Thursday in announcing the catch.

The squid was still alive when caught and was eating a hooked toothfish when hauled aboard, Anderton said in a statement.

"The squid was almost dead when it reached the surface, and the careful work of the crew was paramount in getting this specimen aboard in good condition," Anderton said.

"The crew stopped winching in the longline for two hours, while the squid was manoeuvred into a cargo net and hauled aboard," he said.

The squid was frozen in the ship's hull and brought back to New Zealand for scientific examination.

"The colossal squid has just arrived in New Zealand and it is likely that it is the first intact adult male Colossal squid to ever be successfully landed," Anderton said.

Colossal squid are one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean, growing up to 12 to 14 metres (36 to 42 feet) in length. Anderton said the squid would be photographed, measured, tissue sampled, registered and preserved intact.

"On-going examination of this giant will help to unlock some of the mysteries of the deep ocean. Even basic questions such as such as how large does this species grow to, and how long does it live for are not yet known," he said.

Local media said early estimates put the squid at 10 metres (30 feet) in length and weighing 450 kg (992 pounds) -- 150 kg (330 pounds) heavier than the next biggest specimen found.

"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," squid expert Steve O'Shea at Auckland University of Technology told local media.

O'Shea said if calamari were made from the Colossal squid's rings it would be the size of tractor tyres.

Anderton said Colossal squid were found in Antarctic waters and were not related to Giant squid (Architeuthis) found around the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid also grow up to 12 metres (36 feet), but are not as heavy.

Get a Chance to "KICK" Bush Butt in New York

NEW YORK - New Yorkers got to kick President George W. Bush's butt on Thursday, sort of.

Performance artist Mark McGowan kicked off his bid to crawl for 72 hours across Manhattan dressed as the president, offering the opportunity to kick his backside.

The controversial artist from London began his odyssey from New York's Lincoln Centre wearing a rubber George Bush mask, a business suit, knee pads, work gloves and a sign stuck to his cushioned posterior reading simply: "Kick My Ass".

Though few ordinary New Yorkers, other than fellow artists, cameramen and photographers, were present for the launch on a wet workday afternoon, some people gave him a kick.

"It felt real good to kick Bush," said Casmirr Sharp, 52, of New York's Queens borough. "He really deserves more than a kick."

McGowan told Reuters he hopes his performance proves therapeutic to the city's denizens. But he insisted his work was no publicity stunt but art: "It's definitely an art form. A lot of the things I do are a bit silly but they always have a political edge to them."

McGowan said he does not have any particular political stance on the Republican president, who has seen his approval ratings plunge in the face of an unpopular war in Iraq.

McGowan made his name in Britain with a series of controversial acts including a performance called "Dead Soldier" where he dressed up in army fatigues and lay in the streets for a week. He also crawled 60 miles from London to the town of Canterbury.

McGowan's latest act is part of the Scope International Art Fair at the Lincoln Centre performing arts complex.

Rats Run Wild in KFC in New York

NEW YORK - New Yorkers are used to seeing rats where they catch their trains — not where they buy their burritos. About a dozen rats were having a grand party Friday in a locked KFC/Taco Bell restaurant, scampering around the floor, playing with each other and sniffing for food as they dashed around tables and children's high chairs.

Onlookers could not keep their eyes away from the jaw-dropping sight — a gang of urban vermin invading a restaurant that had been taking people's chicken and taco orders just a day earlier. Video of the rats was seen around the world, disseminated on TV stations and the Internet.

"All you can eat once the store is locked," one onlooker joked.

"They should handcuff them and throw the dirty rats in jail," cabbie Wilson Paul said as he pulled over to gawk.

Word spread after a TV crew discovered the rat infestation Friday morning and filmed it through a window of the Greenwich Village building.

Health inspectors arrived, and the parent company for KFC and Taco Bell, Yum Brands, Inc., was again forced into damage-control mode a few months after enduring an E. coli outbreak.

The restaurant was not open when the rats were spotted. The company said construction in the basement on Thursday appeared to have stirred up the rodents.

"This is completely unacceptable and is an absolute violation of our high standards," Yum Brands said in a statement.

Rats have long been a problem in densely populated New York City. They are frequently seen scampering through subway tunnels, rooting through trash, dashing across parks and burrowing into the walls of apartment buildings.

Greenwich Village tends to be a happy home for them because of its combination of older buildings and a tangle of subway lines converging just below street level.

Still, it is rare to see so many rats congregating in one place in such public view.

The city Department of Health had inspectors at the site on Friday for hours, and by midday had posted a sign that read "CLOSED."

"Today, this establishment had serious unsanitary conditions," said Carol Feracho, a senior health inspector. "There were issues with vermin throughout."

She said the infestation was "coming from the building," with "openings" that allowed the vermin to enter. She provided no other details.

There was no answer at the phone number displayed in neon on the store window below the words, "We Deliver." Health Department records list the franchise owner as ADF Fifth Operating Corp., agency spokeswoman Sara Markt said.

The owner could not be reached for comment, despite numerous efforts.

The franchise owner "is actively addressing this issue," Yum Brands' statement said, adding that the restaurant will remain closed until the problem is resolved.

Joel Cohen, who lives in the building next to the restaurant, had a graphic view of the situation.

"This place is a disaster," said Cohen, who works in real estate. "They throw their rubbish in the doorways. It's loaded up with food in bags that are not tied, and the rats have eaten through the bags."

Taco Bell sales have slumped since last year's E. coli scare, in which more than 70 East Coast customers became ill. Federal officials said lettuce was the most likely source, and the company has changed suppliers.

Yum Brands stock closed Friday at $60.51, down 55 cents.

12 People Caught Crammed into a Proton Satria

KUALA LUMPUR: The 11 Myanmar illegal immigrants could barely breathe as they emerged yesterday from a car meant for five after a 450km drive from Kangar.

The group, including four women, had been totally unprepared for the last part of the journey: A high-speed car chase in the heart of the city.

As eight police patrol cars chased their Proton Satria from Jalan Tun Perak to Sentul, the illegals were knocked about the vehicle.

But the driver’s bid to flee ended when he rammed the car into the gate of an abandoned building in Jalan Ipoh Kecil, Sentul.

Policemen were shocked to see 12 people emerge from the car, which had its rear seats removed to accommodate the group.

The group had not been detected along the journey as the windows were tinted.

The drama began when the car was flagged down by two policemen on patrol at the junction of Jalan Tun Perak-Jalan Raja Laut at 9.40am.

Dang Wangi police chief ACP Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman said the police felt suspicious because of the erratic manner in which the car was driven.

The driver slowed down but sped away when one of the policemen walked towards the car.

"My men pursued the driver in their patrol car with seven other patrol cars joining in the chase," he said.

The chase ended about 10 minutes later when the suspect lost control of the vehicle.

The driver, a grocery shop assistant and part-time security guard from Perlis, tried to flee on foot but was overpowered by a policeman.

All the illegals, aged between 14 and 42, did not have travel documents.

"Checks are under way to find out where the driver was taking them to."

The driver could be jailed for up to five years and caned six times besides being fined between RM10,000 and RM50,000 for harbouring each immigrant.

The Satria was fitted with a false registration number plate. The car also bore a false road tax disc.

The 11 will be handed to the Immigration Department after investigation.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Simon Cowell: "I'm Not Indulgent" -- Oh, Really?

Talent judge Simon Cowell took girlfriend Terri Seymour out for a spin in a brand new Ferrari yesterday afternoon in Beverly Hills.

On last night's "Idol," Simon called hopeful Nicole Tranquillo "self-indulgent," and
Ryan Seacrest shot back, "That's the pot calling the kettle black."

Britney in rehab for 3rd time in a week

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britney Spears' in-again out-again rehab saga found her back in a Malibu facility on Thursday, halting an emergency court hearing in which estranged husband Kevin Federline planned to discuss custody of their two children.

Celebrity Web sites reported that the pop singer returned late on Wednesday to the Promises rehabilitation center, which she had fled earlier in the day after less than 24 hours of treatment.

Spears' spokesman did not return calls for comment on the reports, which followed a turbulent week that has seen one of the world's best-known pop stars in and out of rehab three times and shaving her own head.

The Web site of syndicated TV show Extra said there was video showing her driving through the gates of the luxury Promises center with her mother.

Other reports said Spears returned after seeking a meeting with Federline on Wednesday but being denied entry to the house where he is staying with their children, Jayden James, 5 months old, and Sean Preston, 17 months old.

Spears filed for divorce in November after two years of marriage and both she and Federline are seeking custody.

Several reports said Spears returned for a full 30-45 days of treatment after Federline gave her a last chance to get help or risk losing custody of the children.

Los Angeles County Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said the family court was notified on Wednesday that papers requesting a hearing on the children could be filed. But Parachini said Federline's lawyers had called to say no court action would be held on Thursday.

"Kevin continues to be a very focused father with his children's best interests at heart," said a statement from Mark Vincent Kaplan, read by the lawyer's publicist, Michael Sands.

Related News

"American Idol" plans Children's Summer Camp - Idol Camp

LOS ANGELES - The blockbuster television show "American Idol" announced on Thursday its first children's summer camp for the performing arts.

The creators and producers of the TV reality search for the next pop star -- averaging some 30 million viewers per broadcast in its sixth season -- said the residential camp was aimed at 12- to 15-year-olds with a passion for the arts.

"Idol Camp" will take a total of 700 youngsters over four 10-day sessions at a private school in Massachusetts.

Celebrity artists, including former Idols, are expected to drop into classes on audition techniques, dancing, and music video production as well as traditional camp activities like swimming and sports.

"As in "American Idol," the goal for our kids is to soar beyond their expectations; however, because "Idol Camp" is not a competition; every kid goes home a winner," said Keith Hindle, executive vice president of the show's licensor FremantleMedia.

The cost of a stay is $2,900 but a limited number of scholarships will be available to reach a cross-section of eager performers.

Enrollment will not be based on auditions and the children will not be judged by the TV panel of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Organizers said applicants would have to demonstrate "enthusiasm, dedication, a desire to perform and a passion for the arts."

"This has been in the works for some time. The brand has just exploded," said a spokeswoman, adding the camp might expand to other venues and other nations if the first year is a success.

No need to Diet and Exercise to Lose Weight

NEW YORK - A new study debunks the widely held belief that diet plus exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Researchers report that dieting alone is just as effective as dieting plus exercise.

"For weight loss to occur, an individual needs to maintain a difference between the number of calories they consume everyday and the number of calories they burn through metabolism and physical activity," Dr. Leanne Redman of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, explains in a press release.

"What we found was that it did not matter whether a reduction in calories was achieved through diet or burned everyday through exercise."

Thirty-five overweight but otherwise healthy adults -- 16 men and 19 women -- completed the 6-month study. Twelve were assigned to a diet-only group; they reduced their calorie intake by 25 percent. Twelve were assigned to diet plus exercise; they reduced their calorie intake by 12.5 percent and increased their exercise by 12.5 percent. The remaining 11 subjects made no significant diet or exercise changes.

Redman and colleagues found that the diet-only group and the diet plus exercise group lost roughly the same amount of weight, albeit by different means. They lost about 10 percent of their body weight, 24 percent of their fat mass and 27 percent of their abdominal "visceral" fat -- the deep internal fat linked to heart disease risk.

Therefore, if the goal is purely shedding pounds, diet or exercise will work, according to this study. However, as the researchers point out, regular exercise can improve aerobic fitness and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The study also found that exercise did little to tone specific areas of the body. Fat was reduced consistently across the whole body and not more in any one trouble spot.

"Our study then would indicate that weight loss cannot override the way in which any individual stores fat. Perhaps an apple will always be an apple, and a pear, a pear," Redman concludes.

This suggests that people are "genetically programmed for fat storage in a particular pattern and that this programming cannot be easily overcome by weight loss," the authors note in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

:: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2007.

Iran Plans a Female-Only Island to boost Tourism

TEHRAN - Iran plans a female-only island to boost tourism in a northwest province, the Tehran-e Emrouz newspaper on Wednesday quoted a local official as saying.

It will be on the Urumiyeh lake in Western Azerbaijan province, a municipality official identified only as Aghai said.

Under Iran's strict Islamic law, mixing with men in public is forbidden. Strict sex segregation actually protects women rather than restricting their rights, officials argue.

"There will be no men on the Arezou (Wish) island. Public transport, restaurants and other facilities will be staffed only by women," Aghai said.

Parts of Iranian beaches are reserved for women, where they can remove their headscarves and wear swimming costumes. Women have forced their way into the national sports stadium, defying strict sex segregation. There are several parks for women only.

In public women have to cover their body in long loose coats and their hair with headscarves. The chador, literally meaning 'tent', an all-enveloping, usually black cloth is obligatory in some government offices.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Malaysian Passports can be Renewed Online

Those who had expected an ‘easy day’ at the Immigration office at Pusat Bandar Damansara in Kuala Lumpur were in for a shock on Wednesday. Many people went there thinking that there would be no crowd due to the Chinese New Year break. Instead, they were greeted with an endless queue on the ground floor, where the self-service e-Passport replacement kiosks are located. Inside at the counter area, an estimated 1,000 people were waiting for services.
The Immigration Dept must have been forced to come up with this new Online Passport Renewal System after what happened yesterday (above)

KUALA LUMPUR: There is more good news for those renewing and applying for international passports – they can do so online and pick up their documents later.

By middle of this year, Malaysians can submit their application online with their Mykad details and go the next day to collect their passports.

Immigration Director-General Datuk Wahid Mohd Don said the online application would be possible once the department streamlines passport applications and renewals procedures without forms.

“We will go paperless, hopefully, by the middle of this year.

“Our IT officials are in the process of working closely with the National Registration Department (NRD) department where all the information provided will be checked with their database.”

The move was aimed at encouraging and introducing a “paperless” procedure for international passports said Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho after an official visit to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) on Thursday.

Tan said the Ministry was in the final stages of discussion with the National Registration Department (NRD) on implementing the procedure.

“It is our aim to completely erase the need to produce documents such as one’s birth certificate when applying or renewing passports, in addition to eliminating the need to be present.

"However, they would still have to personally collect their passports once it is ready,” he said in response to a recent report of a large number of applicants crowding the Pusat Bandar Damansara immigration office.

On Wednesday, an estimated 1,000 people were waiting for services at the immigration office here while many others were also held up at another section of the office where the self-service e-Passport replacement kiosks were located. The crowd barely eased up on Thursday. In this matter, Tan said the Ministry has planned to gradually install a replacement kiosk for each state within this year.

Earlier, Tan presented angpows and stationery to more than 80 children at HUKM's paediatric ward in conjunction with Chinese New Year celebrations.

KL Composite Index (KLCI) soars to a 13-year high

KUALA LUMPUR: It's a bullish start to the Year of the Boar on Bursa Malaysia.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) soared to a 13-year high Wednesday as investors returned in force after the festive holiday to lift the benchmark 16.13 points to 1,278.22.

The broad-based rally also pushed the combined value of all stocks on the bourse to above RM1 trillion.

Two months ago, the combined value of all stocks was around RM870bil.

The buoyant stock market has been a key ingredient in the build-up of the “feel good” economic data in recent weeks, such as record manufacturing approvals of RM46bil last year and total trade exceeding RM1 trillion last year.

The bullish market has lifted shares of brokerage firms as investors believe that these companies will benefit the most from the sharp increase in trading activity.

“The buoyant mood in the market is driving up prices,” a dealer at a local brokerage said, adding that retail participation in the market was growing, as reflected by the sharp increase in trading volume in recent weeks.

Total turnover hit 4.7 billion shares Wednesday, a new high.

The previous record volume was 3.54 billion shares last Thursday.

Penny stocks and low-priced warrants saw brisk trading – an indication of retail participation – with the top 10 most active counters clocking a combined volume of more than one billion shares.

The buying frenzy saw rising stocks overwhelming decliners by 975 to 131 with 101 counters unchanged.

Bursa Malaysia Bhd shares gained 50 sen to a new high of RM12.10. The exchange operator derives the bulk of its income from clearing fees on share trading activities.

Analysts expect that the rising corporate earnings and improved outlook on the economy will help support stocks valuations on the local bourse.

They said the KLCI was now within striking distance of its all-time closing high of 1,314 points set on Jan 5, 1994.

The KLCI's best historical level was 1,332 points hit on the same day.

Also Wednesday, Malayan Banking Bhd – the nation's biggest bank – posted a 24% increase in net profit in the second quarter ending Dec 31.

Top companies like Malaysia Airlines System Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd are expected to release their results by the end of this month.

How to Get More in Donation Boxes? Leave Some Cash!

WELLINGTON - People will not give money if they are thanked in advance or presented with an empty donation box, but will dig deep if they see banknotes, according to a study by New Zealand academics released on Wednesday.

The research by Victoria University of Wellington's economics department showed that how much is already in a donation box, the mix of coins and notes, and what sorts of signs are present will influence how generous the public will be.

The behavior of people faced with a clear donation box at the entrance to the city's art gallery was filmed by a hidden camera.

"The most important thing is to never leave the box empty," said senior lecturer John Randal.

"But it is also important to ensure there is a balance of notes and coins so that whether people want to make a large or small donation, that they feel it is appropriate to do so."

The researchers used various combination of banknotes and coins, various amounts of money, and signs thanking people as well as telling them they were being filmed.

More banknotes than coins led to larger individual donations, but a fall in the number of donations, while more coins saw more donations but of a lower value.

"It appears that people will make bigger donations when they perceive that others have made large donations," Randal said

"But when the box was always empty, the total amount donated was significantly less, which suggested that people saw the lack of donations as indicating that the norm was not to donate."

Thank you signs led to fewer donations, especially if the donation box already had a large amount in it, which was apparently reinforcing a natural instinct not to give.

The results of the study are to be published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

Dead Dad Earns Pension from the Freezer

MILAN - An Italian is suspected of hiding his dead father in a freezer for two years so he could keep collecting the old man's pension.

Gaetano Sivieri confessed to police this week he had stashed his father's body in an underground garage near the Alpine town of Aosta, media reports said.

"I needed the money," the 63-year-old was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera newspaper. News agency Ansa said he had drawn nearly 80,000 euros ($105,000) of pension. Sivieri, who faces charges of fraud and concealing a body, said he was driving his 91-year-old father home from a health clinic in January 2005 when he got the idea of hiding the body.

"The problem is that my dad died during the trip, in the car," he was quoted as saying in La Repubblica newspaper.

"There was a moment of panic. I didn't know what to do. Then I got the idea of putting him in the freezer."

Sivieri's son called the police after discovering the body while showing the garage to a prospective buyer.

"I thought there was chicken or rabbit (in it)," son Marco told La Repubblica. "I opened the lid. I saw some nylon wrapping, a pajama and the hand of a man.

"It was upsetting," he said. Marco was unaware of his grandfather's death, believing he was still in the clinic.

A police official confirmed the reports to Reuters on Tuesday and declined to elaborate.

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Fighting Surgeons Leave Patient in Surgery

BELGRADE - A routine appendix operation in Belgrade went badly wrong when two surgeons started fighting and stormed from the operating theater to settle their dispute outside, the daily Politika reported Wednesday.

Surgeon Spasoje Radulovic was operating when his colleague Dragan Vukanic entered and made a remark that started a quarrel, said the anesthesiologist on duty.

"At one moment Vukanic pulled the ear of the operating doctor, slapped him in the face and walked out," she said.

Radulovic followed and an all-out fight ensued, resulting in bruises, a split lip, loose teeth and a fractured finger.

The operation was completed successfully by the attending assistant doctor.

Britney Reported out of Rehab after 24 hours

Britney Spears (undercover in a blonde wig and hat)

LOS ANGELES - Britney Spears was reported to have left a Malibu rehabilitation center on Wednesday just 24 hours after checking herself in following weeks of troubling behavior culminating in shaving her own head.

Celebrity Web sites TMZ.com, theinsideronline.com and People.com said the singer, 25, left what should have been a month long program at the Promises residential center on Wednesday morning.

It was the second time in less than a week that Spears had reportedly sought help at residential rehab center and then left a day later.

"It was against their advice," one unidentified source told People magazine. "If she comes back for treatment, Promises will have to assess the situation. Sometimes people come back but it doesn't look good."
Spears, whose life appears to have spiraled out of control since filing for divorce last November shortly after giving birth to her second child, entered the facility voluntarily on Tuesday.

Her manager, Larry Rudolph, issued a statement asking for privacy. Neither Rudolph nor Spears' record label returned calls asking for comment on Wednesday.

The pop princess who shot to fame at the age of 16 was pictured on Tuesday with her newly shaved head, smoking a cigarette and wearing a pink T-shirt on the balcony of the luxury center, whose celebrity clientele has included Robert Downey Jr., Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry.

Spears made world headlines during the weekend after shaving her own head at a Los Angeles-area salon following weeks of partying at clubs in Hollywood, Las Vegas and New York since her split from her husband of two years, Kevin Federline.

The hair-shaving incident raised concern among family and friends about her mental state and followed reports that Spears had entered rehab on the Caribbean island of Antigua last week, only to drop out 24 hours later.

On Sunday she was pictured at a Hollywood night club wearing a cheap blonde wig over her bare head.

Over the past few months, Spears has raised eyebrows for her heavy partying, sometimes with celebrity heiress Paris Hilton, and a series of pictures that caught the Grammy-winning entertainer wearing no panties under her short skirts.

Multiple theories have been offered as to why she shaved her head. They range form reports that her hair extensions had lice, that she told the hairdresser she no longer wanted to be touched and that Federline wanted to take DNA samples from her hair to test it for drugs or alcohol.

Both Federline and Spears are seeking custody of their two sons, year-old Sean Preston and 5-month-old Jayden James.

Why is Britney Botak?

Multiple theories have been offered as to why she shaved her head.

They range from reports that :

  • Her hair extensions had lice

  • That she told the hairdresser she no longer wanted to be touched

  • That Federline wanted to take DNA samples from her hair to test it for drugs or alcohol.

Spears made world headlines during the weekend after shaving her own head at a Los Angeles-area salon following weeks of partying at clubs in Hollywood, Las Vegas and New York since her split from her husband of two years, Kevin Federline.

The hair-shaving incident raised concern among family and friends about her mental state.

Video on Britney's Bald New Look

Watch the Video on TMZ.com

Click here, to watch the Funny Video

Related Post

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thinking outside the box with crazy coffins

A Skateboard Coffin A Wicket Coffin

An Egg Coffin A Kite Coffin

LONDON - Fancy rolling up the aisle in a Rolls-Royce? Maybe it's time to skip off in a pink ballet shoe?

In the weird and wonderful world of crazy coffins, getting buried has never been so much fun in Britain.

For coffin-makers Vic Fearn & Company Limited are now doing a roaring trade in customized caskets for people who want to go out in style.

The coffins, ranging from a giant electric guitar to a sports bag, have proved so popular that they even go out on tour to "Crazy Coffin" exhibitions around European art galleries.

The coffin-makers first took the zany path to death when a woman fan of the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force's aerial acrobatics team, asked to be buried in a model fighter.

"So we constructed this plane with folding wings like they have on aircraft carriers. The cockpit of a plane is more or less coffin-shaped so that made life easier," said David Crampton, director of the 160-year-old company based in the central England town of Nottingham.

Next came a man who couldn't afford to buy a canal long boat so wanted to be buried in a model one. "That caused friction with his wife so we had to build one for her as well," he told Reuters Life! in an interview.

The business has snowballed from there -- and the coffin-makers are thrilled to ring the changes after grinding out 20,000 conventional coffins a year.

"Making an unusual crazy coffin is great for the staff. It gives them a chance to test their skills and joinery expertise. It can create some fun in the shop," he said.

Currently being crafted is a scaled-down model of a 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. It even has wheels so they pall-bearers can push it along.

A hospice nurse is off to meet her maker in a huge pink ballet shoe that will be lowered by satin ropes into her last resting place.

A town crier famed for yelling "Oyez Oyez" to his fellow citizens is to be buried in a bell-shaped coffin. "He wants to go out with a bong," Crampton said.

Reflecting on how quirky British humor has helped change his business, Crampton said: "We are less lugubrious nowadays. It is a changing profession and I like to believe we are fashion-driven."

He said the most popular song played at funerals nowadays is Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" followed by Frank Sinatra's "My Way."

So how will the 63-year-old Crampton bow out?

"I adore playing bowls so I would love a coffin shaped like a jack (the white ball at the center of the game). Then my friends really could roll me up the aisle."

Vic Fearn & Company Website - http://www.crazycoffins.co.uk/

Rare Orchid (Monomeria barbata ) Found in Malaysia

IPOH: The mysterious orchid picked up by two environmentalists deep in the jungles of Cameron Highlands has turned out to be the rare Monomeria barbata – a first for Malaysia.

Embi Abdullah, 59, who stumbled across the orchid with his friend while trekking in the Ruil mountains last year, said the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and the French Orchid Society had recently confirmed the genus and species.

Exciting find: Embi examining the orchid, which has been confirmed as ‘Monomeria barbata’.
The Monomeria barbata, first discovered 200 years ago in Nepal and the Eastern Himalayas, grew only in cool weather on treetops some 1,600m to 2,000m above sea level, he said.

“This is an exciting breakthrough for Malaysia because this genus of orchid – the Monomeria – has never been found here before.

“The plant has been recorded in Nepal, north-eastern India, Vietnam and Myanmar, but never in Malaysia,” he added.

“This canopy orchid is also rarely found in the wild even in its countries of origin because of ongoing development now,” said Embi, who has studied orchids for over 15 years.

According to a scientist from FRIM, Embi and his friend N. Madi were not the first to discover the orchid as another Malaysian had brought it back for identification about two or three years ago.

However, this has not damped Embi's excitement as he has been asked by the French Orchid Society to submit a paper describing the Malaysian variant of the flower.

Although the flower is now widely available among orchid enthusiasts in Europe, the Monomeria barbata found in the Cameron Highlands might be unique to Malaysia alone.

“There is a difference between our plant and those in Europe. The colour on the surface of the lip is yellow on theirs, while ours is brown.

“In Europe, the plant is also described as small and miniature but ours is medium-sized,” said Embi.

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Islamic Spies to Snoop on Lovers in Terengganu

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian state plans to recruit "spies" from the public to snoop on unmarried lovers and report them to Islamic religious authorities, a newspaper said Tuesday.

The Terengganu state government plans to enlist the part-time spies to look out for un-Islamic behavior, such as unmarried couples kissing or holding hands, the Star daily said.

"Some of these 'spies' could be waitresses or even janitors at hotels acting as auxiliary undercover agents for our religious department," the head of the state government's Islamic and welfare committee, Rosol Wahid, was quoted as saying.

"Accurate details are required for the enforcement officers to act, otherwise they could be pouncing on married couples."

Last October, religious police in another part of this mainly Muslim country caused an outcry when they mistakenly raided the rented holiday apartment of a Christian American couple on suspicion that they were unmarried Muslims in "close proximity."

Britney is now Botak! (Bald!)

NEW YORK - Britney Spears has been ridiculed for everything from her 55-hour first marriage to backup-dancer second husband and her recent pantyless partying escapades. Now that she's entered rehab, though, the joke is over.

This is a new frontier — even for Spears, whose well-documented gaffes and personal traumas have played out in excruciatingly public fashion, including photos published of Spears driving with her son Sean Preston on her lap and another time almost dropping him.

Spears' manager, Larry Rudolph, told People magazine's Web site on Tuesday that Spears had voluntarily checked herself into an undisclosed treatment facility.

"We ask that the media respect her privacy as well as those of her family and friends at this time," Rudolph was quoted as saying. He didn't disclose what substance she was trying to leave behind.

The 25-year-old pop star has been seen wearing skimpy outfits and partying heavily since filing for divorce from Kevin Federline in November, after two years of marriage.

On Friday night, Spears, the mother of two young sons, shaved her head bald. But that didn't send her into hiding as she was later seen wearing an inexpensive blond wig.

"You know, for these celebrities, it's really tough," New York-based psychiatrist Gail Saltz told The Associated Press. "They have no idea if anybody likes them for them. ... Everybody wants a piece. Everybody wants to make something off of her, get somewhere by her."

Spears' very public divorce isn't helping matters, said Saltz, who also suggested that Spears could be suffering from postpartum depression.

Federline's attorney had earlier confirmed that Spears and Federline would continue to share custody of 5-month-old Jayden James and 17-month-old Sean Preston this month, following terms of a January custody agreement.

"I'm a good father," Federline has said. "I love my kids and I'll always be here for (them)."

The Web site TMZ.com said Spears had entered an inpatient facility in Los Angeles after family members pressed her to check in.

Spears representatives didn't return calls from The Associated Press.

Entertainment TV shows and Web sites reported Friday that Spears had gone in and out of rehab that week.

"I think that she's finally listening to the people that are closest to her, and I think that she's probably going to stay in rehab for as long as it takes," Ruben Garay, who runs ThatOtherBlog, told the AP.

"You understand that this whole thing with shaving her head was kind of like the last straw, and that was really what led everyone (who) was already concerned about her (to) become, like, really concerned about her," said Garay, who recently closed his Spears' fan Web site, worldofbritney.com.

"She is a child star unraveling and is the perfect example of when a child star evolves into an adult and doesn't have someone telling them what to do, or giving them the right affirmative advice, and the right support," said Ian Drew, editor at large at Us Weekly magazine. "She basically started out very young in a competitive business."

Spears grabbed an electric shaver at a San Fernando Valley salon and shaved her head bald Friday night. Video on KABC-TV showed a newly shorn Spears with tiny tattoos on the back of her neck as she sat for a new tattoo — a pair of red-and-pink lips on her wrist.

Esther's Haircutting Studio, where Spears shaved her head, set up a Web site to auction off her hair and other items for a minimum price of $1 million, said J.T. Tognozzi, who owns the salon with his wife.

"This is it, the opportunity of a lifetime," according to BuyBritneysHair.com. The winning bidder gets Spears' dark, knotty hair extensions, the clipper she used to cut them off, the Red Bull she drank at the salon and her cigarette lighter.

"This girl is out of control," Joy Behar, a co-host on ABC's "The View," said Monday. "And, she's in a lot of trouble. A lot of people feel this is self-mutilation."

Craig Ferguson, host of CBS' "The Late Late Show," said that after seeing photos of Spears' shaved head, he reconsidered making jokes at the expense of the "vulnerable."

"For me, comedy should have a certain amount of joy in it," he told viewers Monday. "It should be about attacking the powerful — the politicians, the Trumps, the blowhards — going after them. We shouldn't be attacking the vulnerable."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Catch a Thief and win a Motorbike

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's main ruling party has volunteered to help curb street crime, offering new motorbikes to gangs of illegal street racers (mat rempits) if they spend their time catching thieves instead.

Illegal racing and bag-snatch robberies are twin scourges of Malaysian streets. Bag-snatchers are usually men who grab women's handbags as they race past them on motorcycles, often dragging them head-first into the pavement and sometimes killing them.

"Once they catch at least 30 snatch thieves, we will reward them with a motorcycle each as an incentive," Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, head of the party's junior wing, told the Star newspaper.

The United Malays National Organization party has tried to reach out to illegal racers, usually jobless or lowly paid youths, to persuade them to give up racing and join the party.

"Instead of wasting their time, they might as well help police combat crime," Abdul Azeez said.

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Sex in Highway Halts Traffic on Road

JERUSALEM - Israeli police investigating why a car was blocking traffic in the fast lane of a major highway Sunday found a couple inside having sex.

A police spokesman said the female driver and her male passenger gave in to their passions without pulling over to the side of the road, causing congestion and leaving other motorists having to swerve to dodge their stationary vehicle.

A patrolman gave the woman a ticket for holding up traffic.

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Now YOU can pick World's "new" Seven Wonders

ZURICH - What are the greatest architectural achievements in history? Rome's Colosseum? The Great Wall of China? The Pyramids of Giza?

That's what millions of people are asking themselves as they vote in the largest global poll ever conducted, an attempt to recast ancient history by ranking the top architectural marvels as the "new" seven wonders of the world.

Besides the vast scale of the poll -- itself a wonder -- the new list may reveal what the wired voters in today's global village view differently from the ancient Greeks, who laid out the original seven wonders more than two thousand years ago.

About 200,000 people are voting online or firing off mobile phone text messages every day, organizers estimate -- and the final total of ballots cast before the result is announced on July 7 could top 100 million.

"This is the first ever global vote. It's never been done before. Culture is one of the few things that would be relevant to a global vote," said Tia Viering, spokeswoman for the Zurich-based New 7 Wonders campaign.

"It is going up quickly and we expect it to go up even more quickly. The faster it goes, the more people find out about it," Viering said.

She said Europe was lagging in the voting, but there was lots of interest in the United States, China, India and Latin America.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chinese Man Senteced to Death on Breeding Ants Scam

BEIJING - A Chinese man has been sentenced to death for conning people out of 3 billion yuan ($387 million) in a giant scam to breed ants, local media said Thursday.

Wang Zhendong, from the northeastern province of Liaoning, fabricated a business purported to be making wine, tea and medical elixirs using mature ants, the Beijing News said.

In parts of China, black ants are sold by the bagful to be steeped in tea or soaked in liquor as a natural remedy for ailments such as arthritis.

Wang sold packages of ants to the investors for up to as much as 10,000 yuan ($1,290) when they were only worth 200 yuan, China Central Television reported.

More than 10,000 people, lured by the promise of returns of up to 60 percent, signed 100,000 contracts with Wang's bogus company before the case came under investigation in June 2005.

Investigators could only recover 10 million yuan of the money raised by Wang, the Beijing News said. One investor was so distraught at losing his money he killed himself, the newspaper said.

Fifteen managers of the company were jailed for between five and 10 years and fined between 100,000 and 500,000 yuan, Xinhua news agency said.

In his defense, Wang said he did not know the first thing about raising ants and was "quite unclear" about the costs, the Beijing News said.

Wang spent 798 million yuan on himself, paying off personal debts and lending money to other people, it added.

Belgian Valentines to squeak of love

BRUSSELS, Feb 14 (Reuters Life!) - Belgians tired of giving chocolate treats and flowers for Valentine's Day will be able to spend the evening squeaking out declarations of love in a bar selling helium.

The bar, which normally offers oxygen, is encouraging customers to inhale helium, which distorts the voice, giving a high-pitched cartoon-character sound for a funny effect.

"Valentine's Day is a special day for couples but its possible to have a party with just two. I wanted to make a different kind of party. Also people who are alone can come here and have some fun," said Gerard Bazzone, co-owner of the Pure Bar.

But patrons should be wary of pledging undying love repeatedly as too much helium can cause asphyxiation.

Newborn baby Fell into Woman's Pant

CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. - A woman gave birth to a boy outside a western Pennsylvania hospital, a delivery that happened so quickly that the infant wound up in the woman's pants.

"It happened so fast," Rebecca Johnson, 24, told the Daily Courier in Connellsville. "I didn't know what happened until he was in my pant leg."

Johnson had just gotten out of the car at Highlands Hospital in Connellsville and was still in the parking lot when her 5-pound, 15-ounce son, Mason Matthew Parkinson, arrived Wednesday.

An emergency room physician cut the umbilical cord in the parking lot, and doctors attended to Johnson until she could be taken to Uniontown Hospital, which has a maternity unit.

Mason, Johnson's fourth child, was doing well.

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Talking Urinals to Curb Drunk Driving

SANTA FE, New Mexico - In a novel move to curb drunk driving, New Mexico is using talking urinals to remind drinkers to not get behind the wheel when drunk.

The state transportation department said on Thursday it has put some 500 talking deodorizers in bar and restaurant restrooms in the state in recent days to remind drivers not to drink and drive.

"Hey big guy, having a few drinks? Then listen up!" a voice chirps in. "Think you had one too many? Then it's time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home."

Transportation department spokesman SU Mahesh said the motion-activated devices were part of an attempt to "think outside the box" to tackle drunk driving in the state.

"We have a big problem here in New Mexico. ... Hopefully this will be a humorous and also serious way to catch men before they go to their cars and say to them 'it's not worth it to drink and drive,'" Mahesh told Reuters.

Mahesh said the devices, which are manufactured by New York-based Healthquest Technologies Inc., have been used elsewhere in the United States, but never as part of a statewide campaign.

If the project is successful he hopes bars and restaurants will continue to purchase the battery-operated gadgets, which cost $21 (11 pounds) each and last three months.

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Paris Fashion : Corsets for Men !!??

PARIS (AFP) - After skirts, make-up and pantyhose for men, the corset, onetime symbol of women's oppression, might be the next big thing for fashion-conscious males.

Young Parisian corset maker Sylvain Nuffer began cutting, stitching and boning corsets for men four years ago and now sells 30-odd standard models a year at 500 to 600 euros (650 to 775 dollars) a shot, 40 percent more when made to measure.

"I felt frustrated by the lack of choice of clothing for men," he told AFP. "I made one for myself and they kind of multiplied."

Wearing jeans with a gray silk corset of his own making over a shirt and tie, Nuffer, who learnt the complex trade with his corsetiere mother, stands tall, waist nipped in, shoulders wide, back straight.

Corsets for men have a history, he said, worn by medieval horsemen to protect the spine, adopted by bikers today for the same reason.

But the real inspiration behind Nuffer's corset -- laced up the back with a clip-open busk at the front -- dates back to the heady days of the 1789 French Revolution.

Male followers of utopian philosopher and economist, Count Claude Henri de Saint-Simon, at the time adopted the corset precisely because it was impossible to lace up alone. Having to help each other with the ties symbolised the humanitarian helping-other ideals of the Saint-Simonien movement.

Critics derided Nuffer's early creations, however, saying a garment stiffened with a multitude of bones and stays would be uncomfortable.

Not so, said one adept, Laurent Renaud, who teaches at a fashion school and wears his everyday. "I wear it over a shirt or under a sweater," he said. "I use it as daywear or to go out at night."

"The problem," he added, "is you get so used to it keeping you straight that it gets difficult to go without."

Hubert Barrere, the designer who created the corset for Madonna's wedding dress in 2000, said in interview that "corsets for men are a bit like upgraded waistcoats."

Military dress uniforms continued to be ribbed in the 20th century, said Barrere, a master corset maker who works with likes of Dolce and Gabbana and Stella McCartney while turning out made-to-measure personal numbers for Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Isabelle Adjani.

"I'm not over-enthused about corsets for men," he added. "I prefer a woman's body, I feel better highlighting a woman's curves."

Pulling from a box a gold python corset made for Alexander McQueen and worn by Naomi Campbell, Barrere waxes lyrical on what a corset can do for a woman.

"A woman who wears a corset offers herself to men differently, she is attractive," he said. "Corsets constrain the body, either to protect or to display, and the richer and more powerful you are, the readier you are to wear clothing that constrains."

Barrere, whose bespoke corsets cost over 2,000 euros a piece, uses spring or spiral steel rather than plastic to "change a silhouette, highlight feminine shapes, modify volumes."

"I want corsets to be comfortable, delirious but comfortable."

Whether as underwear or outerwear, the corset has seen difficult times.

Worn to gird and shape the torso, 16th-century models were so stiff women could not sit down. At mealtimes, wearers had to remove the wooden busk, or shaft, inserted at the front and lay it at the table by the cutlery. It was a breach of etiquette for a man to handle the busk.

In the 19th century, when waists were supposed to be no bigger than twice the circumference of the neck, there was an outcry over the harm of tight lacing to health and corsets fell out of favour as an instrument of women's oppression.

They were gradually replaced, as underwear, by girdles and elastic bras while the corset, worn outside the clothing, was marginalised as an accounterment in the dusky subcultures of bondage, domination, sadism and masochism.

In the 1970s the garment came out of the closet, staging a comeback on the catwalks in a collection by Britain's Vivienne Westwood inspired by historical garments.

She was followed a decade later by Thierry Mugler and Jean-Paul Gaultier, the designer who created Madonna's famed pointy corset bra for her 1990 World Tour and then turned the shape into an iconic perfume bottle.

For Barrere, the corset story has come full circle.

"Corsets were long a wound for women," he said. "But today if a woman decides to wear a corset it is a sign of empowerment, not of submission."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Positive trend in Women’s Sexuality in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Nine out of 10 women in Malaysia say it’s essential to talk about sex with their partners. Two in five still wish for improvements in their sex lives.

These are the findings of the "Sex and The Modern Woman" survey commissioned by Bayer Schering Pharma.

The survey was part of an extensive global research programme to bring attention to the widespread prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED).

The survey questioned 1,010 women above 18 years on the importance of sexuality, occurrence and their views on ED.

It found that sexual satisfaction and communication remained the key factors to a successful and healthy relationship.

The survey also found that nearly half of Malaysian women aged between 40 and 65 were "vitalsexuals". These women placed importance on their sexual satisfaction, had higher expectations of their sex lives and expressed a more positive attitude towards a partner with ED.

They also considered public information as an important source to enable discussions on ED.

Bayer Schering Pharma country division head Ashraf Al-Ouf said the rise in "vital-sexuals" was timely as they would actively engage their partners, who suffered from ED, to seek treatment.

"It is no secret that the battle against ED must be won by the couple and not the man alone."

Many men with ED put their partner’s psychological and sexual well-being at risk by suffering in silence, he said.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Man Spears a 6-foot Sturgeon

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - The fish's long shadow slid under the ice, causing Darren Horness to blink. "I was skimming some ice off the hole, and all the sudden I thought I caught a little bit of movement, and I had to kind of take a step back," said Horness, 36, of Howards Grove. "The fish was actually coming up into the hole, I just could see part of it and could tell it was a kind of a nice fish, but I had no idea how big it really was."

The 102-pound, 72-inch sturgeon was nearly as long as he was tall.

About 8,000 fishermen spearhunt sturgeon each year on Lake Winnebago and its upriver lakes. In his seven years, Horness hadn't come close to a fish that big.

He had cut a hole through the 16 inches of ice on Lake Winnebago, and the sturgeon arched through it, coming within six inches of the surface. Horness heard the fish's back scrape the ice on the bottom edge of the hole.

"I had to get down on my knees and I had to spear almost horizontal because it was so high up into the hole," he said. "I didn't know how good of a hit that I had on it because it was such a weird throw."

The spear lodged in the fish's tail, about two feet from the end. Within minutes, the female was tiring and had moved close enough to the surface for Horness to see what he'd caught.

"My knees just almost buckled because it looked so humongous in the water," he said.

About a dozen of the 700 fish speared so far this year have topped 100 pounds, said Ron Bruch, a sturgeon biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources. The season continues through Feb. 25 or when the harvest limit is reached.

Gary Hilbert of Fond du Lac caught the heaviest sturgeon of the year so far Saturday on Lake Poygan. The female weighed 139 1/2 pounds and was 71 1/2 inches long. Mike Freund of White Lake speared a 111-pound, 72.5-inch female on Lake Winnebago Sunday.

Beer + Milk = Bilk

TOKYO - Great news for beer and milk lovers: A liquor shop owner in Japan's largest dairy farming region has stopped crying about local spilled milk and started making beer from it instead.

"We came up with the idea after hearing about surplus milk," said Chitoshi Nakahara, head of the Nakahara liquor shop on the northernmost island of Hokkaido.

Milk consumption has been declining steadily in Japan, and Hokkaido disposed of nearly 900 tonnes of milk last March due to over-production, according to the Japan Dairy Association.

Nakahara's new brew, "Bilk" -- a combination of "milk" and "beer" -- is about 30 percent milk. It also contains hops, and the production process does not differ much from that of regular beer, he said.

His shop started selling Bilk, which apart from a slight milky scent looks and tastes like ordinary beer, on February 1 after spending about six months developing the product with a local brewer.

Bilk is only available at six local shops or by mail order, but Nakahara is currently out of stock due to heavy media attention.

Don't worry if you can't get hold of any, though: Nakahara also sells beer brewed from another major Hokkaido product -- potatoes.

Mother of Seven fight against Hobbit Obesity

KUALA LUMPUR: Mazliwati Md Shah needs to lose weight in order to breathe and improve her health. For that, she has to endure hours of excruciating pain.

The jovial 31-year-old mother of seven suffers from abdominal cellulitis and Hobbit Obesity, or habitual weight gain, and weighs in at more than 200kg.

She finds it difficult to breathe and move, making her unable to work.

Mazliwati, however, refuses to let her illness get the better of her and is now seeking help from a homeopathy clinic to improve her blood circulation and control her diet.

Part of the treatment requires her to undergo foot reflexology and as her doctor began the treatment, Mazliwati screamed in pain.

But, this was only the beginning.

Mazliwati, a widow, began her treatment at the Al Jawad Homeopathy and Complementary Medicine Clinic in Cheras yesterday.

The clinic’s Dr Ibrahim Burhanuddin said the treatment designed for Mazliwati was to remove toxins from her liver and kidneys.

He said reflexology was the first step in the treatment, followed by performing bekam, a traditional method of removing toxins from the body, on Mazliwati’s abdomen.

"Bekam is a preferable method to treat the liver and kidneys."

He said after five or six hours of reflexology, Mazliwati would discharge "dirty" coloured and foul-smelling urine as the body gets rid of the toxins which have built up in the system.

"She will also need to watch her diet by lowering the intake of fatty foods and fruits such as ciku, grapes and sugar-cane, which contain a high glucose level."

Accompanied by her mother Norchik Talib, 56, and her sister-in-law Rozima Mohd Hod, 28, Mazliwati was also given a homeopathic medication to lower her blood sugar level.

But the former cook will not be able to continue her treatment if she does not receive financial aid soon.

"I’m incapable of working and the travelling cost for my treatment is unbearable," said Mazliwati.

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