2008年2月29日 星期五

The teenage girl who is allergic to WATER 澳女孩對水過敏

Teenager Ashleigh Morris can't go swimming, soak in a hot bath or enjoy a shower after a stressful day's work - she's allergic to water.

Even sweating brings the 19-year-old out in a painful rash.

Ashleigh, from Melbourne, Australia, is allergic to water of any temperature, a condition she's lived with since she was 14.

She suffers from an extremely rare skin disorder called Aquagenic Urticaria (水源性蕁麻疹) - so unusual that only a handful of cases are documented worldwide.

When Ashleigh gets wet her body explodes in sore, itchy red lumps that take about two hours to ease.

She has to wash. But showering is a painful experience and she can only do it for a minute at a time.

These brief showers are the only contact Ashleigh has with water. The one thing she doesn't miss is the washing up.

"People find it hard to believe, they say things like 'Oh my god, how do you wash.

Ashleigh's dermatologist, Professor Rodney Sinclair, told her the penicillin had altered the histamine levels in her body and caused the Aquagenic Urticaria to occur.

There is no cure and no successful treatment for the condition so the gravity of the situation began to dawn on the 14-year-old Ashleigh.

"I was in disbelief for a while, but I soon realised how serious it was.

"I cried for a few hours, then picked myself up, and kept going. I realised it was something I had to live with," she says.

So Ashleigh found ways to avoid water - she stopped doing sports and anything that made her sweat.

She makes sure she stays in air-conditioned places and always has an umbrella in her car. Her family and boyfriend of three years, Adam, 23, are very supportive but her condition makes intimate moments with her Adam a little difficult.

"We have to sleep with a sheet between us at night, and I can't go near him if he's sweaty," said Ashleigh.

Even the experts seem a little vague about Aquagenic Urticaria. (Daily Mail)

2008年2月28日 星期四

Man builds cage for car 大陸男子建造鐵籠「關」愛車

A Chinese man has built a cage for his car to stop thieves kidnapping parts and demanding ransom money.

Mr Zhang, of Jilin city, says his car's computerised engine management system was stolen twice.

"Each time I found a note clipped under the wiper, with phone and bank-account numbers," he said.

Each time, Zhang had to wire 500 yuan (£35) to get the part back, reports City Evenings.

He has now built a cage to keep his car safe outside his home.

A police spokesman urged car owners not to pay ransom money to thieves and to contact the authorities instead. (City Evenings)

2008年2月26日 星期二

"Seven Day Marriages" are a hit in Beijing 北京流行「七日婚姻」

Life in China’s capital moves at a dizzying pace, one that leaves its inhabitants with little time for romance and marriage plans.

In response to this, one Beijing matchmaking club has introduced the concept of “seven day marriages”. Members can pair up with whomever they like for seven days to find out what it would be like to live with each other. However, they won’t be allowed to spend the night together.

The idea has proven to be very popular; however the civil administrative department and legal experts are opposed to it.

According to a report by the Beijing press, the trend was started by Huan Le Yuan Wen Hua Ju Le Bu (which can be loosely translated as “Happy Garden Cultural Club”. Single men and women spend an hour getting to know each other, and if they have a good feeling about their partner, they can arrange for a “wedding” to be held.

The organiser will ask both parties: “Can you vow to remain faithful to, respect, care for and interact amicably with each other for a period of seven days?”

“Newlyweds” will hug, kiss each other on the forehead, and receive a “seven day marriage certificate” made by the club.

The “newlyweds” must each pay out 300 yuan as “family assets” which will be managed by the “wife”. During the seven days of their marriage, the couple can have meals and go to the movies together. However, they can’t spend the night with each other or enter into a romantic relationship with other people of the opposite sex.

Once the seven days are up, the “marriage certificate” is destroyed and the family assets are divided equally between both parties. At that point, they can choose to continue their relationship or go their separate ways. (Sin Chew Daily)

2008年2月25日 星期一

Mother of seven at 16 十六歲阿根廷少女已有7個小孩

A 16-year-old girl has given birth to triplets in Argentina - for the second time.

The girl, named only as Pamela, had her first set of triplets aged 15, having already had a son at just 14.

Both sets of triplets are all girls and were born prematurely, reports the BBC.

Doctors say the three newborns and their mother are well, but the case has sparked debate across Argentina.

Pamela's family already receives help from the provincial authorities, which donated land and built them a house when the first set of triplets was born.

Pamela's mother, who cleans houses to support her daughter and grandchildren, says they will now seek more assistance from the government.

Some Argentines are arguing that perhaps what Pamela needs is more advice on contraception.

The teenager, who will be 17 on Monday, comes from the remote town of Leones in the central Argentine province of Cordoba. (BBC)

2008年2月23日 星期六

Taxmen demand blood 波蘭讓納稅人捐血抵稅

Polish taxmen are offering Poles the chance to pay their tax bills in blood.

Every donation to the local blood banks will allow Poles to write £30 off their tax bill.

Donors have to get a certificate from the hospital for every litre donated that can then be sent to the taxman and written off against their final tax demand.

Regular donor Dariusz Gryka, from the north-eastern town of Bialystok, said: "I learnt about it from an accountant friend and started to give blood last year.

"I have only done it three times, but already it has been worth it." (roundup)

2008年2月21日 星期四

Silent CD tops charts「寂靜的CD」熱賣

A song that is inaudible to humans has become a top-selling hit in New Zealand is set to be released worldwide.

A Very Silent Night, said to be recorded at a frequency that can be heard only by dogs, was issued as a charity CD by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

To widespread surprise, it rocketed to the top of the charts, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Now distributors in the US and Australia are vying for the rights to international sales, the society has announced.

Although dog owners sit through several minutes of silence while the disc spins on the CD player, the dogs they own are reported to wag their tails, prick up their ears, and even dance in delight.

The accompanying video, which has become a popular feature on YouTube, shows Dei Hamo, a New Zealand singer, and two female companions mouthing the words of the song.

The CD was the brainchild of DraftFCB Creative, an Auckland-based advertising agency, which claims the recording was electronically synthesised to achieve the frequencies audible only to dogs.

Some remain unconvinced, however. Since the video appeared on YouTube, several viewers cast doubt on whether there is actually any sound at all.

One said: "This is a have. I checked it with an oscilloscope and there is nothing there, it's just muted video."

But another countered: "That's amazing! I cranked my speakers up full volume and played this, and the dog across the road went ballistic!" (Daily Telegraph)

2008年2月20日 星期三

'Pigcasso' stuns art world 「豬卡索」震驚藝術界

A pot-bellied pig that paints pictures has become a hit for his canvases of abstract expressionism.

Smithfield's proud owner Fran Martin, 54, sells them for £8 over the internet, reports The Sun.

Ten-year-old Smithfield, who holds the paintbrush in his mouth, has now become a celebrity across America.

He trots out at charity events and has appeared on Oprah Winfreys TV show.

Fran, from Virginia, said: "Smithfield is a very clever pig. He's done hundreds of paintings."

Scientists say pigs are colour blind but Fran reckons Smithfield can tell the difference.

She added: "He likes blue best. He definitely picks up the blue brush more frequently than any other." (The Sun)

2008年2月19日 星期二

World's first wooden supercar 世界第一部木製超級跑車

A US designer is working on the world's first wooden supercar.

Joe Harmon, 27, started the project with other students at North Carolina State University to see whether it was possible to build a performance car out of wood.

Their creation - the Splinter - should be completed later this year and they believe it should be capable of speeds in excess of 240mph.

Mr Harmon said: "Wood is a truly amazing material to work with. It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminum or steel, and it possesses a versatility that makes many different types of construction techniques possible.

"The look, feel, and smell of a natural material like wood are not seen elsewhere and cannot be faked, and the satisfaction involved in making something from a piece of wood is awesome.

"People are so caught up in thinking that the wood will burn or crack or splinter because they fail to see wood as just another material that has its advantages and disadvantages."

But Mr Harmon has doubts whether his pioneering work could ever be commercially viable.

"I don't harbour much doubt that a lot of people will want to have one, but I would be surprised to see any wooden cars on the road any time soon," he said.

"The amount of labour involved in the manufacturing process is very high, and I am not sure if people will ever get over the fear of the safety aspect."(aussieexotics.com/ananova.com)

2008年2月18日 星期一

Internet sex auction sparks paternity row 網路性拍賣引發父親身份之爭

A woman in Germany who became pregnant after an online sex auction has won a court battle to force the Web site that hosted the sale to reveal the names of the winners, so she can find out who's the father.

Six different men won Internet auctions to have sex with the woman in April and May last year. They were only known to her by their online names, a spokesman for a court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart said .

"The woman wanted to discover which one of the men had made her pregnant," the spokesman said. "So she needed their contact details. Of course, if they're not willing to go along with the gene test, she'll have to take them to court."

The woman asked the site's operator to reveal the true identity of the men, but it refused, citing a confidentiality clause in its terms and conditions.

The court ruled in her favor, saying the child's right to know who its father was took precedence.

The court declined to give the woman's age and nationality. (Reuters)

2008年2月17日 星期日

Woman robs bank with chocolates 女子持巧克力搶銀行

A shopping mall in Olathe, Kansas, was evacuated after a woman robbed a bank with a box of chocolates.

The woman walked up to a cashier at the Capitol Federal Bank and said the box contained an explosive and demanded money.

She got away with an undisclosed sum, but after X-raying the package, the bomb squad discovered it contained chocolates and harmless wires. (metro.co.uk)

2008年2月15日 星期五

World's shortest bodybuilder 全球最短小的健美運動者

In these troubled, despairing times, the world needs heroes to offer a message of hope to the huddled masses. Well, we have that hero:

They say that 'a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.' If that's the case, then nobody could be more embiggened than Aditya 'Romeo' Dev - the world's smallest bodybuilder.

Dev, 19, who is excellent, stands just 33 inches tall - but weighs an impressive 9.25kg, and has a chest measurement of 20 inches. (metro.co.uk)

'Romeo' trains at the Leo Health Club in Phagwara, India, where his trainer is club owner Ranjit Pal (also known as 'Mr Punjab'). Pal is reputed to be the fastest skipper in India, which is a fairly brilliant claim in itself.

MP3 player mistaken for gun MP3隨身聽被誤認為槍枝

A Stoke mechanic was arrested at gunpoint by armed police after his MP3 player was mistaken for a gun.

Darren Nixon, 28, was tailed by three police cars as he travelled home from work by bus, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Officers finally confronted him in the street - 150 metres from his home - brandishing guns and telling him to hold his hands in the air.

A member of the public had raised the alarm after watching Mr Nixon change tracks on his MP3 player, thinking it was a gun. Police tracked a completely unaware Mr Nixon on CCTV and followed him home.

Mr Nixon said: "It was only when I saw the traffic slowing down and people watching me that I turned and saw four cops with dogs and semi-automatics.

"I was shocked and had no idea what was going on. That was when I took my earphones out and they were shouting at me not to make any sudden movements.

"I dread to think what might have happened if I'd put my hand in my pocket. My legs turned to jelly as they handcuffed me and read me my rights."

At the police station officers searched and fingerprinted him, before taking a DNA swab, before releasing him.

A police spokeswoman said: "We received a report from a member of the public who had seen a male in the area who had appeared to pull a hand gun from a jacket pocket, grip it with both hands and aim it towards something.

"The description was extremely good and if that's the report we get we have to act quickly." (Daily Telegraph)

2008年2月14日 星期四

Saudi bans Valentine's Day roses 沙烏地查禁情人節紅玫瑰

Religious police in Saudi Arabia are banning the sale of Valentine's Day gifts including red roses.

The Saudi Gazette quoted shop workers as saying officials had warned them to remove all red items including flowers and wrapping paper.

Black market prices for roses were already rising, the paper said.

Saudi authorities consider Valentine's Day, along with a host of other annual celebrations, as un-Islamic.

In addition to the prohibition on celebrating non-Islamic festivals, the authorities consider Valentine's Day as encouraging relations between men and women outside wedlock.

"Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion," one florist was quoted as saying.

Others were planning to travel to the more religiously liberal neighbouring countries, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates, to celebrate.

Saudi Arabian authorities impose a strict Islamic code that prevents men and women from mixing. (Saudi Gazette)

Year of the Hamster 倉鼠年

The price of hamsters has tripled in China after the start of the Year of the Rat.

The animals are considered lucky - and more acceptable pets than rats - since the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese word for rat, laoshu, covers a variety of animals that can include kangaroo rats, hamsters and moles.

Pet shops have been selling out even at comparatively high prices of 30 yuan (more than £2) per hamster.

The Xinhua news agency identified hamsters as having a better image than rats or mice, and more companionable.

Meanwhile, Nanning Zoo in southern China has been importing rat-like creatures from around the world in a tribute to the new year.

According to state media, its collection now includes kangaroo rats, hamsters, moles, marmots, and flying squirrels. (Xinhua)

2008年2月12日 星期二

Foreign workers rape mother goat to death 外籍勞工將母羊姦死

A pregnant mother goat was raped to death in her pen by two foreign workers. Its owner later claimed RM400 (馬來西亞幣) in compensation from the workers.

The incident occurred on a rubber plantation near a village in Gerik.

The goat's owner, Zhang Xunde, 50, said he had gone to check on his goats at 6pm on the day the incident took place. He noticed that the door to the goat pens was open, and he suspected that thieves might have snuck in to steal his goats.

He said that the two foreign workers inside noticed his arrival. One of them fled the area. The other, who was too slow to make his escape, hid himself in a corner of the pen.

Wanted to see the difference between goats

After a while, the worker that had been hiding could not stand the stench of the pen and walked out. He was discovered by the owner, and when questioned by Zhang, said that he had been curious to see if there was any difference between Malaysian goats and the goats of his country.

However, when inspecting his goats, Zhang noticed that a pregnant goat was lying on the ground gasping out its last breaths. It died shortly after, and he immediately apprehended the worker for further interrogation.

Then a worker from the neighbouring plantation came up to tell him that the people there had caught a foreign worker that had been spotted running while trying to pull on his pants. They then proceeded to uncover the truth about what had happened.

The death of the pregnant goat was a huge loss for Zhang. After discussing the matter, the foreign workers involved agreed to pay Zhang RM400 as compensation for his loss.

After the news about how the goat had been raped to death spread, women plantation workers nearby began to worry that they might also become targets for sexual predators.

One of the workers from a nearby plantation said that he was afraid to tell his wife the news. He was worried that once his wife knew what had happened, she would be too afraid to go to work on the plantation.

Zhang works as a senior technician in a sawmill in Gerik. He breeds goats as a side job.

He said that he had been rearing goats on his rubber plantation for many years. He presently has over 40 goats. Everyday, he goes to check up on them after work. He also lights a fire to keep them warm during the night. (Sin Chew Daily)

Fresh baked mouse found in bread 麵包中發現剛烘烤的老鼠

A Czech woman has lodged a complaint after cutting into a loaf of bread and finding a fresh baked mouse.

Hana Korinkova, 35, said the mouse dropped out of the middle of the bread onto the side of the table.

Health and safety inspectors who are investigating say the bakery, in Brest, faces a large fine.

Food inspector Martina Smidtova said: "When we inspected it we found the bakery broke a whole range of health and safety regulations.

"There was nothing to stop rodents from getting freely into stores of flour and dough."

2008年2月6日 星期三

Dutch unveil robot to fill car gas tank 荷蘭推出汽車加油機器人

A car-fuelling robot is seen in the rear view mirror of a car in Emmeloord, central Netherlands, Feb. 4, 2008.

Motorists nostalgic for the time they could sit tight while attendants braved windswept garage forecourts to fill their tanks may yet see those heady days return -- compliments of a Dutch robot.

Dutch inventors unveiled on Monday a 75,000 euro (56,296 pounds) car-fuelling robot they say is the first of its kind, working by registering the car on arrival at the filling station and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types.

A robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, carefully opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it towards the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.

"I was on a farm and I saw a robotic arm milking a cow. If a robot can do that then why can't it fill a car tank, I thought," said developer and petrol station operator Nico van Staveren. "Drivers needn't get dirty hands or smell of petrol again."

He hopes to introduce the "Tankpitstop" robot in a handful of Dutch stations by the end of the year. It works for any car whose tank can be opened without a key, and whose contours and dimensions have been recorded to avoid scratching.

Asked whether he would trust his car to a robotic garage attendant, Jelger De Kroon, filling his black Alfa Romeo at a nearby gas station, said: "Why not? I guess I could keep my hands free and clean, but I'd hope they have good insurance." (Reuters)

2008年2月5日 星期二

Gold running shoes 黃金跑步鞋

Hong Kong's Sha Tin Racecourse will welcome visitors with dozens of valuable gold exhibits during the upcoming lunar New Year.

Gold artworks worth of an estimated eight million Hong Kong dollars (US$1 million) will be put on show this Saturday, the third day of the Chinese New Year, the local-based Ta Kung Pao newspaper reported Monday.

One of the glaring displays is a pair of shoes carved with the name of world record-holding hurdler Liu Xiang. (CRIEnglish.com)

2008年2月4日 星期一

Underwater Olympics 水中奧運

A Chinese aquarium is staging an underwater Olympics to mark Chinese New Year.

The event, at Underwater World in Qingdao city, will feature sports including fencing, shooting, cycling and gymnastics, reports Qingdao Morning Post.

All of the competitors will all be qualified divers and the sports have been adapted to take account of the 'conditions'.

For the fencing contest, participants will fight while balanced on a steel cable with the one falling off first being declared the loser.

And for the shooting, competitors will use specially made harpoon-style guns to pop balloons fastened to a board.

Organisers say some events - such as gymnastics - will be easier underwater because athletes' bodies will feel lighter.

"All the participants are professional divers. We want to promote Qingdao city as the host of the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics," said a spokesman for the aquarium.

Underwater World says the games will last almost two weeks, till the end of the Chinese Spring Festival, around February 12. (Qingdao Morning Post)

92-year-old blind man hits hole-in-one 92歲盲老翁一桿進洞

A 92-year-old blind golfer has hit a hole-in-one in Florida.

Leo Fiyalko was playing a 110-yard, par-3 hole in Clearwater, reports the St Petersburg Times.

"It was my first hole-in-one, and I never saw it," he said. "I was just trying to put the ball on the green."

Mr Fiyalko once played to a seven handicap but he began suffering macular degeneration 10 years ago.

He is now legally blind and needs help lining up his shots and finding his golf balls.

Mr Fiyalko was playing with a group-of-friends when he hit his hole-in-one but they were all looking for a lost ball as he prepared to tee off.

One player Jean Gehring said: "I looked up and Leo was about to hit. I said, 'Hey, somebody has to watch Leo.'

"So I went up there and saw him hit and it was a pretty good shot. I could tell it went on the green, so when we got up there I didn't see it. I looked in the hole and there it was."

When told of his achievement, he reportedly said only: "How about that." His friends in the Twilighters Club golf group presented him with a plaque to commemorate the feat. (Ananova.com)

2008年2月1日 星期五

Russia's glamorous female bodyguard killed in carjacking 俄羅斯美麗女保鏢在劫車中喪生

Anna Loginova, Russia's most famous and glamorous female bodyguard, has been killed in Moscow while trying to defend her Porsche Cayenne from a hijacker, media reported.

Loginova, also a former model and the head of a private security firm, on Sunday tried to fight off the carjacker and clung to the door handle. She was killed after being dragged along the street at high speed as the car screeched away.

"She suffered serious injuries and died at the scene," said a police spokesman.

Loginova was a famous Russian model before venturing into the security business and had shot advertising campaigns for BMW, Chanel and other world-known brands.

She took lessons of Jiu-Jitsu martial art and mastered the sword handling. Afterwards, she opened her own security firm for women.

In a recent magazine interview, she insisted that she and her team of glamorous bodyguards gave better protection than the more traditional beefy male security men.

"I do think that a girl should be a girl, not a Terminator," she said. She posed semi-naked for a Moscow men's magazine to make it clear that she was feminine as well as good with a gun. (China Daily)