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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Kate Moss Questioned By Police

Supermodel Kate Moss was being questioned by police in Britain on Tuesday over allegations she took cocaine in a London recording studio last year.

The 32-year-old left the country shortly after the Daily Mirror published photographs in September of her apparently snorting large quantities of cocaine.

She has been in the United States, where she attended a drug rehabilitation clinic, and in France since then.

'A 32-year-old woman has voluntarily attended a London police office today in relation to a (police) investigation into allegations of possible drug abuse, as reported in newspaper reports,' the police said in a statement.

It added that she had not been arrested.

Countdown for nasty Windows virus

PC users have been urged to scan their computers before 3 February to avoid falling victim to a destructive virus.

On that date the Nyxem virus is set to delete Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Acrobat files on infected machines.

Nyxem is thought to have caught out many people by promising porn to those who open the attachments on e-mail messages carrying the virus.

Anti-virus companies have stopped lots of copies, suggesting it had infected a large number of computers.

The Nyxem-E Windows virus first emerged on 16 January and has been steadily racking up victims ever since. Nyxem-E is also known as the Blackmal, MyWife, Kama Sutra, Grew and CME-24 virus.

Helpfully, the virus reports every fresh infection back to an associated website which displays the total via a counter. Late last week the counter was reporting millions of infections, but detective work by security firm Lurhq found that many of these reports were bogus.

Free online virus scan available from Trend Micro


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bill Gates gives $600m more to stop TB

The Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis has received a $600m (£337m) boost from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

The campaign, backed by more than 400 organisations worldwide, aims to treat 50 million people in the next 10 years.

Launching the plan with UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Gates said it was a 'chance to save 14 million lives'.

Mr Gates has already committed $300m to the programme, but the total cost of the plan will be $56bn over 10 years.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chantelle wins Celebrity Big Brother

Previously-unknown Essex girl Chantelle pulled off an amazing coup when she defeated a host of famous faces to win Celebrity Big Brother.

The 22-year-old, originally a novelty addition to the house instructed to pretend she was a pop star, seemed hardly able to believe it as her name was called out.

Before coming into the house she worked as a temp and as a lookalike for US heiress Paris Hilton.

But she won the affection of millions of viewers with the way she handled her first task in the house, which was to pretend she was a member of fictitious girl band Kandy Floss.

She was also a breath of fresh air in a poisonous environment riddled with mean, unspirited 'celebrities'.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sea level rise 'is accelerating'

Global sea levels could rise by about 30cm during this century if current trends continue, a study warns.

Australian researchers found that sea levels rose by 19.5cm between 1870 and 2004, with accelerated rates in the final 50 years of that period.

The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used data from tide gauges around the world.

The findings fit within predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

A good time to invest in swimwear?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Reservoir Dogs' Chris Penn found dead

Actor Chris Penn, the younger brother of Sean Penn, has been found dead at his home in Santa Monica, California.

Penn, 40, starred in Reservoir Dogs as Nice Guy Eddie Cabot, as well as Mulholland Falls and Rush Hour.

Police said there were no obvious signs of foul play. A post-mortem examination will determine the cause of death.

Penn's body was found inside the four-storey condominium complex where he lived after police were called by someone within the building.


George Galloway may face serious fraud office investigation

George Galloway faces the prospect of a criminal investigation into his activities by the serious fraud office, which has collected evidence relating to the oil-for-food corruption scandal in Iraq.

A four-strong SFO team returned from Washington with what a source close to US investigators calls 'thousands of documents' about the scandal. The team is expected to produce, within the next four weeks, a report for the SFO director, Robert Wardle, as to whether a full criminal investigation should be mounted into UK individuals and companies involved, including Mr Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.

The SFO is following up two official reports published before Christmas in Washington, which detailed banking evidence that Mr Galloway's wife and his political campaign organisation both received large sums from Saddam Hussein, laundered through under-the-counter oil allocations.

Another housemate faces possible prosecution! The Big Brother house is becoming more like a honeytrap sting with every passing day. I wonder who's next?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stress sparks 'male foetus death'

A woman's body may actively kill off weaker male foetuses during times of stress, research suggests.

It is known that fewer boys tend to be born during times of hardship, such as a natural disaster.

Male foetuses and embryos are weaker than females and are less likely to survive to birth. It is not known why this should be the case.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers concluded aborting boys may be a way to maximise the odds of survival of the bloodline.

Two explanations have been suggested as to why the proportion of newborn boys often dips sharply during times of stress.

One is that a mothers' stress responses damage their unborn babies, affecting already weaker males disproportionately and spontaneously aborting more males than usual.

But a competing explanation is that mothers' bodies under stress have less tolerance for unhealthy embryos and foetuses, and thus spontaneously abort offspring that would have been otherwise carried to birth.

The scientists said their analysis supported the latter explanation.

more ...

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
British Fertility Society

Makes sense to me ...

Monday, January 23, 2006

UK Spys on Russia Using Fake Rock

Russia's state security service, the FSB, has accused British diplomats of spying in Moscow.

It backed claims made in a Russian TV report which showed footage of what it said was British agents retrieving data from a fake rock planted on a street.

The programme said four officials from the UK embassy and one Russian citizen, allegedly recruited by the British secret service, downloaded classified data from a transmitter in the rock onto palm-top computers.

According to the programme, the Russian citizen was later arrested.

Hidden camera footage appears to show individuals walking up to the rock.

One man is caught on camera carrying it away.

British Spy Rock FAQ's

What muppet thought this one up? I wonder how the conversation went?
"We need a way to communicate"
"Um, the phone?"
"No, no! We need a way to hide it"
"Um, use a mobile but encrypt the phone channels?"
"No! Wait! I've got it! We'll use a fake rock! Hidden in the street! No-one will find it suspicious if people keep approaching a rock trying to look as if they aren't doing anything."


Saturday, January 21, 2006


"My son James was always a popular teenager. He had masses of friends, was good at sport, and was also intelligent and handsome. Like many boys in their teens, he was constantly going out to meet friends, arrange football or cricket games or see his long-term girlfriend.

He'd done well at school with 10 GCSEs and three A-levels, and he went off to Southampton University to study history and politics. He was following the fine example of his sister Joanne, who had been to Nottingham University and was doing well in public relations.

I remember thinking one sunny day seven years ago that life was good, and couldn't get much better. I had a good job as a journalist, a great wife, and two lovely children. I was proud of both of my kids and thought they had a great future ahead of them.

But I hadn't reckoned on cannabis."

One father's cautionary tale ...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pete Burns Gorilla Coat Seized By Police

Police have seized a 'gorilla coat' belonging to Celebrity Big Brother contestant Pete Burns.

Officers from the Hertfordshire Constabulary took the coat from the Big Brother house on Thursday after a number of complaints from viewers.

A spokeswoman for the force said: 'The coat will now be tested.'

Last week a government minister warned Burns could face jail for wearing a gorilla fur. Owning a gorilla skin without a permit is illegal in the UK.

I wonder how many other contestants could face possible prosecution before the end of the show? Heh.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yahoo's latest results disappoint

Shares in Yahoo fell 12% in after-hours trading on Tuesday, after its results failed to meet market expectations.

The web giant made a post-exceptionals net profit of $247m (£140m) or 16 cents a share for its fourth quarter, below Wall Street's predicted 17 cents.

Overall net income for the last three months of 2005 shot up 83% to $683m compared to a year earlier.

Selling panic closes Tokyo market

Tokyo's stock exchange closed early for the first time in its history on Wednesday, in a bid to head off a meltdown after a frantic day's trading.

The move was sparked by heavy selling in shares following allegations of fraud at internet firm Livedoor.

The exchange suspended share dealing at 1440 local time (0540 GMT) - 20 minutes early - as the number of transactions threatened to breach trading capacity.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 464.77 points, or 2.94%, at 15,341.18.

Earlier in the trading session, the benchmark index sank as low as 15,059.52. Shares in Japanese technology stocks including Advantest, Canon and Toshiba were particularly hit.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Barrymore facing pool death case

A judge has granted a former solicitor permission to bring a private prosecution against Michael Barrymore in connection with a man's death.

Stuart Lubbock, 31, died after being found unconscious in Mr Barrymore's swimming pool in Essex in March 2001.

Anthony Bennett will bring six charges which relate to the supply and possession of drugs, and assault.

Mr Barrymore is a Celebrity Big Brother contestant and its producers have been handed details of the prosecution.

Nobody has ever been charged in connection with the death of Stuart Lubbock, 31, who died three years ago.

The father of two and factory worker from Harlow was found floating in the pool at Mr Barrymore's luxury home in Roydon, Essex, after a party in March 2001.

An open verdict was recorded at the inquest, which heard that Mr Lubbock had suffered severe internal injuries.

A post-mortem examination revealed high levels of alcohol and drugs in Mr Lubbock's system and injuries which may have been caused by a serious sexual assault.

I always found it strange that a man can die in a swimming pool (actually, 2 hours later in hospital), show signs of having been seriously sexually assualted and no charges were ever brought against anyone.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Separated at birth - Pete Burns and the Wraith?

Seperated at birth -- Pete Burns and the Wraith from Stargate Atlantis??!

What do you think? Is Pete Burns, really a Wraith masquarading as an over-the-hill pop-star or has he carried plastic surgery a step too far?

In case you have no idea, Mr Burns is currently on a reality tv show in the UK called Celebrity Big Brother and Stargate Atlantis is a sci-fi series.


Iran to hang teenage girl attacked by rapists

An Iranian court has sentenced a teenage rape victim to death by hanging after she weepingly confessed that she had unintentionally killed a man who had tried to rape both her and her niece.

The state-run daily Etemaad reported on Saturday that 18-year-old Nazanin confessed to stabbing one of three men who had attacked the pair along with their boyfriends while they were spending some time in a park west of the Iranian capital in March 2005.

Nazanin, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, said that after the three men started to throw stones at them, the two girls’ boyfriends quickly escaped on their motorbikes leaving the pair helpless.

She described how the three men pushed her and her 16-year-old niece Somayeh onto the ground and tried to rape them, and said that she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand.

As the girls tried to escape, the men once again attacked them, and at this point, Nazanin said, she stabbed one of the men in the chest. The teenage girl, however, broke down in tears in court as she explained that she had no intention of killing the man but was merely defending herself and her younger niece from rape, the report said.

The court, however, issued on Tuesday a sentence for Nazanin to be hanged to death.

Last week, a court in the city of Rasht, northern Iran, sentenced Delara Darabi to death by hanging charged with murder when she was 17 years old. Darabi has denied the charges.

In August 2004, Iran’s Islamic penal system sentenced a 16-year-old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, to death after a sham trial, in which she was accused of committing “acts incompatible with chastity”.

The teenage victim had no access to a lawyer at any stage and efforts by her family to retain one were to no avail. Atefeh personally defended herself and told the religious judge that he should punish those who force women into adultery, not the victims. She was eventually hanged in public in the northern town of Neka.

Tsk, tsk. Women are always complaining about being executed in Iran. They should em, hang 'em to shut them up.

WTF!?!?! Hung for self defence? Hung for "acts incompatible with chastity"? That would be the Western world annhiliated then. And what about the men in these situations, I wonder?


Monday, January 09, 2006

10 million daughters lost

At least 10 million female foetuses have been aborted in India over the past two decades by middle-class families determined to ensure they have male heirs.

The figure is revealed by a survey of more than a million homes published today which found that sex determination in pregnancy and selective abortion accounted for 500,000 missing girls each year.

"Daughters are regarded as a liability. Because she will eventually belong to the family of her future husband, expenditure on her will benefit others. In some communities where the custom of dowry prevails, the cost of her dowry could be phenomenal."

The research team found that when the first birth was a girl, at the second birth there were 759 girls born to every 1,000 boys. At the third birth, the sex ratio declined further to 719 girls to every 1,000 boys when the first two births were girls. By contrast, when the first or second child was a boy, the number of girls born at second or subsequent births exceeded the number of boys.

The practice of female foeticide has taken the place of infanticide and is extensive in China as well as India, aided by the development of ultrasound. Dr Sheth says: "Female infanticide of the past is refined and honed to a fine skill in this modern guise. It is ushered in earlier, more in urban areas and by the more educated ... A careful demographic analysis of actual and expected sex ratios shows that about 100 million girls are missing from the world - they are dead."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Scams 'dupe millions in Britain'

As many as five million people may have been lured into responding to con artists, according to new research.

The consumers' magazine Which? says the most common successful fraud involves people dialling premium rate phone lines to claim non-existent prizes.

Other cons involve prizes offered by letter or e-mail, adverts for home money-making schemes, bogus lottery winnings and clairvoyants.

Research by Which? suggests that 28 million people have now been targeted.

Most Common Types of Fraud

  • Premium rate phone calls - 34% of adults

  • Direct mail - 33%

  • Home working - 28%

  • International lotteries - 16%

  • Bogus clairvoyants - 10%

  • Pyramid and matrix schemes - 6%

Kassie Smith warned that once you respond, it exposes you to more such frauds.

"You end up on a 'suckers' list' and keep getting targeted by new scams," she said.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Jack Abramoff - corruption at the heart of Government

US lobbyist Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud, paving the way for him to co-operate in an inquiry into corruption in Congress. But what are the ramifications of the affair?

Washington is like a giant beehive in which the buzz comes from lobbyists seeking access to the queen bee - the US Congress and government.

The business of Washington is government. You either work in it or around it.

And Washington's business is the world's business.

Everybody - businesses, industries, professions, trade associations, environmentalists, human rights activists, political parties, citizens groups, the media, the lot - has an interest in Washington, which is where the lobbyists come in.

more ...

Methinks he'd have a better chance if he'd turned against the mafia. Time will tell ...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Energy and the new world power play

The row between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas is the result of a powerful combination of world energy concerns and Russia's desire to exert its influence in its own back yard.

It is ironic that as Russia takes over the six months chairmanship of the G8 industrial countries, at the top of whose agenda is security of energy supplies, it chooses to reduce the security of its neighbour's natural gas imports.

The Russians say this is all a question of economics and that if Ukraine chooses to turn to Western ways, then it will get them - the market will rule and it will lose the old favouritism still shown to Russian friends like Belarus.

The Russians also point out that they have never stopped the supply of gas to Western Europe, which started in the days of the Soviet Union and has continued right through the upheavals that followed.

rest of the story

This is a great article laying out the energy playing field as it currently stands and the games that will be set in motion to secure supplies