Saturday, 29 December 2012
Florida's Shoot-To-Kill Order On Crocodile
A dangerous crocodile is on the loose near Miami - leading wildlife officials to issue a rare order to take down the reptile.Florida wildlife officials have issued a rare shoot-to-kill order in the hunt for a young and potentially dangerous Nile crocodile on the loose near Miami.
The Nile crocodile, which hails from Africa, can jump higher, run faster and grow to nearly 20 feet in length, several feet larger than its American cousin, and has a "nastier" temperament.
And while the American crocodile stays near saltwater like mangroves and estuaries, the Nile crocodile prefers freshwater, making it more likely to come in contact with humans.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials said the Nile crocodile on the loose is thought to be around three feet long.
The commission is investigating where the crocodile came from, although experts said it most likely escaped "from a facility or a local breeder", probably as a hatchling.
Reptile expert and wrangler Joe Wasilewski said: "They get big. They're vicious. The animals are just more aggressive and they learn that humans are easy targets."
He described the American crocodile as a "gentle animal", adding: "They're more fish eaters. They don't consider humans a prey source."
Only FWC agents are authorised to kill the Nile crocodile at large. If it is caught alive, it will be put down.
A team of agents led by Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida professor of wildlife ecology, has spent more than 1,000 hours searching by boats and on foot in the canal where the reptile was last seen.
Mr Mazzotti said the crocodile had been captured by someone in March, but was let loose, making it now "wary" of humans.
With reality TV shows glorifying reptile hunting and wrestling, anyone with a taste for adventure could interpret the ruling as a "licence to kill" and perhaps mistake the animals, according to Mr Wasilewski.
"They're going to shoot any crocodile or alligator. It will be the Wild West," he said.
Experts say most people cannot distinguish between a crocodile and an alligator, let alone differentiate between a Nile and American crocodile. Alligators are black and have broad, rounded snouts. Crocodiles are greyish and have narrow, tapered snouts.
Niles are dark green or black on top with dark row of spots on the sides. Americans have a lighter olive colour with pale yellow sides.
Official records on Nile crocodile sightings in Florida are sketchy, but there have been a handful.
Houdini, a nine-foot long, 10-year-old Nile crocodile, escaped from Billie Swamp Safari on Seminole Tribe reservation lands, but was recaptured a few years ago as part of the US cable TV show Swamp Men and relocated to a facility on Florida's west coast.
Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said no other Nile crocodiles had been spotted on their reservation lands.
Mr Wasilewski said: "It's a couple of animals. I don't think it's a plague."
Friday, 28 December 2012
Number of women drivers soar
Women motorists are set to outnumber their male counterparts on the road, it has emerged.An analysis for the RAC Foundation has revealed a dramatic narrowing of the gender gap on the roads since the mid-1990s.
In the USA the number of women drivers has just outstripped men for the first time and on the latest projections it is only a matter of time before Britain follows suit.
Not only are more women driving, but they are driving further, with their mileage rising by more than a fifth between 1995 and 2010.
"Women are in the overtaking lane when it comes to licence holding. No longer are they sat in the passenger seat, simply along for the ride,” said Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.
“Greater social and financial independence has increasingly put them in the driving seat and it is entirely plausible Britain will replicate the United States where female motorists are now dominant.
“They are increasingly leading independent lives with more and more of them going to work, getting married later, if at all, and delaying having children.
“Women are on the move like never before and it is the car that is getting them about.”
In 1995 there were 15.1 million male drivers and 9.2 million women motorists. By 2010 the gap had fallen dramatically with 16.3 million women holding driving licences, compared with 19 million men.
The proportion of women holding licences over this period has risen from 50 per cent to 64 per cent during this period.
A variety of factors underpin the shrinking of the gender gap. It is believed the sharp rise in the number of women motorists reflects a change in society which has seen them becoming economically more active as well as having their first child later, aged 28 rather than 25, as was the case in 1980.
With more women living longer and higher female life expectancy, it is now seen as inevitable that they will outnumber male motorists.
At the same time the percentage of men in their 20s holding licences has fallen by 14 per cent to 65 per cent.
The drop in young men driving is believed to reflect tougher economic times, with more living at home and finding it harder to earn the money to run a car.
“It means they will have to design, specify and make vehicles for the general market and not just the male one,” he said.
“Cars will have to have a gentler line and not be as heavy on the steering with a greater emphasis on safety.
“Women are not interested in the macho image and statistics show that they are more careful drivers.”
Thursday, 27 December 2012
Congresswomen Called for Improved Domain-Seizure RegulationRep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) has been making attempts to improve the existing legislation over domain seizures, asking Reddit’s users to crowdsource a better law which would diminish the power of American authorities over the web.
The US government managed to seize over 750 domain names since 2010 within “Operation in Our Sites” project, which was started in order to fight Internet piracy. Normally, .com, .org, and .net domain names were targeted, which were allegedly guilty of copyright violation.
Nevertheless, the efficacy of the project is questionable, particularly with such examples as Dajaz1 – a hip-hop blog closed down at the demand of the Recording Industry Association of America. In a year, the website was returned without any explanation or apology from the authorities. This situation was harshly criticized by both Zoe Lofgren and the EFF. The latter also complained that the Operation was an obvious threat to the First Amendment.
Zoe Lofgren claimed that the initial goal was to develop targeted law to require the authorities to provide notice and an opportunity for portal administration to defend themselves before seizing or redirecting their domain names. Of course, her statement didn’t go unnoticed. People agree that they are meant to be innocent until proven guilty. As such, taking a site down or seizing its domain name should be a last resort opposed to a standard knee-jerk reaction. They even compare taking a site down to closing down a whole business franchise. Others claim that there should be severe penalties for false takedowns, like the ones that happened with Dajaz1. This is supposed to also apply to DMCA takedowns over copyright infringement, with the penalties being enforced vigorously in order to protect innocent people.
At the moment, the existing law allows the US to seize any .com, .net and .org domain name, because the companies handling them operate on the territory of the United States. The users can only hope that Lofgren’s suggestion will be heard by the authorities. Those who are especially interested are invited to check out her official site or join Reddit’s discussion group.
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Squirrel caused £5,500 motor insurance claim
A falling squirrel which dropped into an open-topped car triggered a £5,500 insurance claim, it has emerged.The incident was one of the more spectacular encounters involving motorists and animals recorded by AA insurance.
In this case the woman motorist was so startled by the sudden and unannounced arrival of a bushy-tailed furry passenger that she lost control of the car and ploughed into a tree.
The AA alone dealt with 112 “animal strike” cases in October and November. This would be equivalent to 4,000 incidents in which the encounter was sufficient to trigger an insurance claim.
In November alone, there were 30 claims relating to incidents with deer, five involving foxes, three badger encounters and 11 dog-linked crashes.
“Deer are by far the biggest culprit and this time of the year is the rutting season.” said an AA spokesman.
“Also deer tend to move at dusk or very early in the morning and, during the winter, this puts their movements right in the time when people are commuting."
Only last week the Department for Transport disclosed that there had been a sharp rise in fatal accidents involving animals, with eight people being killed last year compared with only one in 2010.
It is also estimated that 450 people are injured in accidents involving deer a year, while more than 40,000 of the animals are killed after being hit by cars.
It has led to North Yorkshire County Council posting signs to warn motorists of the dangers of wandering sheep on the moors.
The danger posed by animals is acknowledged in the Highway Code, which advises shepherds and those herding cattle not to do so after dusk.
Friday, 21 December 2012
UK Pirates Are Also Big SpendersThe recent Ofcom’s report revealed that one out of six British citizens is involved in downloading copyrighted goods. But on the other side, the report in question states that the UK pirates are also spending more than the average consumer.
The country’s communications regulator, Ofcom, launched a survey to find out about the citizens’ download habits. It has published the results on the 20th of November, which reflected the answers of 4.400 Internet users (12 and older).
According to an overall look, 16% of the respondents had at least once downloaded unauthorized content, and 25% of them confirmed that they only download pirated material. However, the same survey also found out that 12% of the respondents turned out to be so-called “hybrid pirates”. In other words, they aren’t just downloading pirated material, but also spend up to 3 times on legitimate content than a regular consumer.
Apparently, hybrid pirates can be seen as the most dedicated spenders, with most of their expenditures going to the box-office, concerts, and DVDs. While a regular consumer spends £35.57 on movies, a hybrid pirate spends £56.11. As for music, the pirates are noticed spending £77.24, while the regular buyers pay only £43.31. TV content accounts for £8.28 from normal users, and hybrid pirates spend £25.69.
In addition, one more interesting fact was discovered by the report – the hybrid pirates are likely to pay more for content than regular customers. For instance, hybrid pirates are ready to pay 76p per song while a regular person is only willing to pay just 72p. Not a very significant difference, but still is a difference. When it comes to movies, the pirates can pay £4.92 against legitimate users’ £3.74.
The conclusion can be made that users who pirate and purchase goods via legal channels are also the most committed. The natural question arises: is piracy helping the industry or not? It might happen that this commitment, which is a substantial source of profits, may be possible only because people have access to pirated material. Indeed, although the music industry complains that the past 10 years were a disaster for the industry, the facts are telling the opposite.
Thursday, 20 December 2012
Reduced to scrap, the classic car that met a lamp post
A classic car restorer has seen the fruits of his labours reduced to scrap after a lamp post fell on his American Lincoln Town Car.Chris Downes, 26, a father of one, spent £7000 on restoring the 1990 Lincoln to its original condition, after buying it without wheels for £500.
But it was reduced to scrap when a driver struck a concrete lamp post, which toppled and crushed the Sedan.
Mr Downes, 26, said: "I just can't believe it. I'm absolutely gutted.
"It is so unfortunate. I have spent over a year working on the car's suspension and put in a whole new gear box and hydraulics.
"I bought it from a friend who is also a lowrider enthusiast for £500. He had bought it off another enthusiast.
"When I got it, it had no wheels and needed a complete overhaul, so I did all that and I would say overall I have spent around £7,000.
"My partner was at home when the car crashed into the lamp post.
"She runs an embroidery business so didn't hear the bang over the whir of the machines, but she is just as shocked as me.
"For people that know about these cars, they are very special and it is a shame. It was my pride and joy."
Nottinghamshire Police are investigating the crash which happened at 11.30am on Monday.
The Lincoln Town Car was produced by Ford between 1981 and 2011.
It was often converted into a stretch limousine and frequently used as a chauffeured car. Some models came with bulletproofed glass and armoured bodies.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Suspects Steal 300 Pairs of Panties: Cops
Two men stole the undergarments from a Victoria's Secret store at Horton Plaza
Detectives are looking for two men who were caught on surveillance tape stealing about 300 pairs of panties from a Victoria’s Secret store in downtown San Diego.
According to the San Diego Police Department, the panty raid took place on Wednesday at around 4:45 p.m. at the Victoria’s Secret in the Horton Plaza shopping mall.
While one suspect walked around the store pretending to browse for merchandise, a second suspect carrying a shopping bag walked over to an underwear display.
The suspect carrying the shopping bag held it open while the first suspect scooped about 300 pairs of panties into the bag, police said.
The suspect with the bag full of underwear then walked out of the store while the other suspect lingered inside for another 15 seconds before walking out.
According to police, store employees were unaware of the theft until they noticed the display had been ransacked, and about half of its merchandise had been removed.
The display was located roughly 10 feet from the door of the lingerie store, police said.
Detectives described both suspects as Hispanic males between 18 and 25 years old. They’re both between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9, with thin to medium builds.
One man was wearing a black sweater and jeans while the other wore a blue shirt and gray shorts.
The burglary was caught on surveillance video, so police are using those images to investigate, identify and locate the suspects
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
School replaces Christmas nativity with jewellery robbery playA primary school has caused controversy by replacing the school nativity with a play about a jewellery robbery.
Canvey Junior School in Essex took the decision to rewrite the traditional Christmas nativity as well as reworking the lyrics to 'Away in a Manger'.
Lyrics in the new version include: "Away with the manger, two robbers stole it, they were called Bob and Bill, and they were both big twits."
According to The Mirror, parents have argued that the new material is inappropriate for youngsters and some have even removed their children from any involvement with the production.
A concerned parent said: "I don't understand why the politically correct brigade has had to get rid of the traditional story anyway. I can't see that this gangster story is going to be better than something from the Bible."
The subject of the play was also criticised as being in poor taste, since the area has experienced a spate of armed raids in the last six weeks.
Headteacher Janet Vaughan defended the alterations, commenting; "It is very, very funny and nothing more than a light-hearted version of events. The outcome is the robbers are caught and banged to rights and the true meaning of Christmas comes across very strongly with a nativity at the end."
Monday, 17 December 2012
Kentucky Mayor Resigns After Pot BustA Kentucky mayor resigned on Thursday after he was allegedly caught selling marijuana to an undercover informant, just a block away from an elementary school, WLEX-TV reported.
Authorities said Olive Hill Ky. Mayor Danny Sparks sold less than eight ounces of marijuana to a man of college age while in his truck Wednesday evening.
The mayor of Olive Hill since 2002, the local city council must accept his resignation before it’s official.
"Due to a very bad mistake that I have made tonight, and have failed the trust of the good people of Olive Hill, my friends and most of all, my family, I have decided with deep regret to resign tonight as mayor," Sparks wrote in a resignation letter printed in the Grayson Journal-Times.
The news caught the local community by surprise.
"Out of all people, Danny? I'm just shocked," said Sparks' neighbor, Robert Davidson told WLEX-TV. "I was just dumb-founded."
Sunday, 16 December 2012
Model jailed for wearing police uniformA Chinese model who posed for sexy photos in a WPC's uniform on a photo-shoot has been jailed for nine months for impersonating a police officer.
The revealing pictures of Wang Xiaomen, 23, showed her getting dressed in an official-looking police woman's uniform.
As she sits on a bed wearing just a tight police shirt and a pair of panties, she is seen rolling on a pair of sheer black stockings.
In another snap she leans forward in her unbuttoned shirt to show off her lacy black bra.
But the pictures - taken to promote a new detective novel - created a furious row when Xiaomen tweeted three of the snaps on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
Playing along with the role, Xiaomen wrote: "As a new cop in my home town, I need to learn the basics.
"As one of the flowers of the force, I am under pressure. I have to eat and drink with government leaders every day. I am using my flower status to dine with the leaders and win contracts for projects and investments!" she added.
But the pictures were re-tweeted more than 500 times and local officials ordered real police officers to arrest her after some Weibo users complained.
Judges in Fengtai, Beijing, found her guilty of falsely impersonating a policewoman and sentenced her to nine months in prison, suspended for a year.
Xiaomen had told the court she'd been paid £300 for the modelling session and added: "The costume was just a prop, I was so ignorant."
Saturday, 15 December 2012
Magician's Head Set On Fire In TV Prank
An American magician suffers severe burns after a television host sets him alight live on air.A US magician has been seriously injured after a TV host set his head on fire live on television.
Wayne Houchin was appearing on a show in the Dominican Republic when, in an apparently unscripted prank, its host dropped flammable liquid on his head, setting him alight.
Houchin's own crew, who were at the show, rushed to save him and put out the flames - but not before he had suffered burns to his head, face, neck and right hand.
The illusionist, who hosts Breaking Magic on the Discovery Channel, was rushed to hospital where he says he is "in pain" but recovering.
Houchin, who was in the country promoting his Curiosidades show, wrote on Facebook after the incident: "I was not aware he was going to do this. This was not a stunt or part of an act - this was a criminal attack.
"The fast actions of the rest of our Curiosidades team saved my life. The fire was put out and I was rushed to the emergency room.
"I have bad burns on my head, face, neck and right hand. I am in pain, but am recovering. I will update you on the situation when I can."
He has continued to report on his progress on Twitter and in one of his more recent posts wrote: "The doctors are cautiously optimistic that I will fully recover with no scars."
He has extended his stay in the Dominican Republic following the incident on Monday so he can remain in hospital to receive treatment for his injuries.
The host used a liquid called Aqua De Florida to set Houchin alight.
It is a flammable cologne popular in Latin countries, which is also used as a sacred cleaning spray by shamans and witch doctors in the Caribbean.
Houchin has received hundreds of comments from well-wishers, including from fellow magician David Copperfield who wrote on Twitter: "My thoughts are with you and your family. Best wishes on a swift and complete recovery."
Once described as "a cross between a con man and a street magician", Houchin first came to prominence in 1999 at the age of 16 when he escaped from a straitjacket hanging 50ft above a busy road.
In 2010 he "stopped time" for the Dominican Republic in a live televised illusion.
Friday, 14 December 2012
Man Gets A Ticket After Being Hit By His Own Truck
No major injuries, but a citation from Massachusetts police
A Massachusetts man just couldn’t catch a break Monday when he got a ticket after being hit by a truck. What’s worse, the truck was his own.
Salem police responding to reports of a motor vehicle accident instead found Brian Reynolds, 40, lying facedown in the road, Boston.com reported. Reynolds told police that the brakes on his 1987 Chevy locked up, so he opened the driver’s door and tried to stop the truck with his left foot. Reynolds next tried turning the vehicle up a hill, but fell out the open door. The truck then ran over his left leg before crashing into a fire hydrant, police said.
Reynolds was taken to Salem Hospital for what police said was road rash and a minor leg injury, Boston.com reported. He was issued a $35 citation for driving with defective equipment.
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Man arrested after rescuing dogA man from Texas has been charged by police over a dog he found and tried to rescue.
Elvis Hernandez from Kerrville was on call as a locksmith when he saw a lost dachshund in the roadway and attempted to rescue it.
The dog had no collar or tags, and Hernandez left his information with the customer so he could be contacted if they managed to find the owner, reports KEN-TV.
Upon receiving no calls claiming the dog, he gave the dachshund away. It wasn't until afterwards that the original owner came forward.
"I just explained to her that I didn't have it," Hernandez said. "I didn't know where it was, and I apologised."
The owner then filed a police report, and Hernandez was arrested and charged with property theft.
The charges he faces also prohibit him from working as a locksmith.
Hernandez said: "Not only did they attack my name - they attacked my livelihood. And being a single dad with children it hurts a lot."
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Pupils bring lion to 'show and tell'
Youngsters in Russia had the mane attraction for their show and tell - when they found a lost lion cub on their way to school.The male cub was spotted wandering the streets of Seyatel village, near Rostov in southern Russia, and taken to school by local children.
Police looked after the cub until owner Irina Kulikovskaya came forward saying it had escaped from the boot of her car.
"He's meant to be the real star of a new zoo I'm creating. I'm very grateful," she told local media.
"Nobody believed us when we said we had a lion when we got to school but you should have seen their faces when we brought it into class," said one of the pupils.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Motorist mistook breathalyser for iPhone
A German man was arrested for drink driving - after he tried to use a breathalyser to make a phone call.Bernhard Becker, 41, made the mistake after police stopped him for a random breath test in Coburg.
"We didn't really need the reading. There aren't many sober people who'd do that," said a police spokesman.
Becker was stopped during an early morning spot check and asked to blow into the device, but after seeing the officers in front of him - insisted on calling his lawyer to get advice.
The spokesman added: "He thought it was an iPhone, and was trying to bring up the icons on the display, and despite explaining to him that it was a breathalyser he was unable to provide a proper sample.
"He could barely stand so the result was not really in doubt, but nevertheless he was taken to a local hospital where a blood test was taken that we suspect will confirm he was well over the limit."
Monday, 10 December 2012
American football players using Viagra?
The world of American football is abuzz after Brandon Marshall, a Chicago Bears player suggested that some players were using Viagra hoping it would give them an advantage during games.Marshall started the speculation, and jokes, on Wednesday when asked about a growing number of suspensions tied to amphetamines, including the ADHD drug Adderall. He said he did not know much about Adderall, but suggested Viagra could be viewed by players as a way to boost their energy.
"I know guys, it's such a competitive league, and guys try anything just to get that edge," he said. "I've heard of guys using Viagra, seriously, because the blood, it's supposed to thin ... I don't know. Some crazy stuff. It's kind of scary with some of these chemicals that are in some of these things, so you have to be careful."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Viagra is not a banned substance and declined further comment.
Players cracked jokes about it on Thursday.
"What would that do? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Minnesota Vikings player Cullen Loeffler said.
Bears defensive back D.J. Moore wondered if Marshall was kidding and said: "I've never heard of that."
"I didn't even know people could do that," New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett said. And his team-mate Justin Tuck added: "I can't imagine why people would take steroids, so I have no comment on Viagra. Besides, my wife would be very upset with me."
Dr Olivier Rabin, science director at the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, said it is unlikely Viagra does anything to improve football performance in NFL players. He also said there is no evidence the drug might somehow mask the use of steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
Dr Rabin noted that research in high altitudes found the drug helped improve oxygen flow in climbers with impaired lung function. Viagra can dilate blood vessels, and vessels in the lung constrict in high altitudes.
Research involving cyclists at high altitudes found similar benefits, but Dr Rabin said studies have shown the drug has no effect on athletic performance at sea level.
University of Miami researcher Kevin Jacobs has studied Viagra in simulated high-altitude environments and "didn't find much benefit in young, healthy, active individuals."
"No one has really tested it in football players doing exercise. Whatever benefit they think they're getting is probably more psychological than anything," said Jacobs, an associate professor in the kinesiology and sport sciences department.
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Owner of Britain's last Temperance Bar admits drink driving
The owner of Britain’s last temperance bar has admitted drink driving.Christopher Law, 52, who owns the 120-year-old Fitzpatrick’s bar in Rawtenstall, Lancs, pleaded guilty to the charge at Burnley magistrates’ court. He was banned from driving for 17 months.
Temperance bars, which originated in Lancashire in the late 19th century, advocated abstinence from alcohol, often asking patrons to sign a pledge and renounce the demon drink. They were also the first outlet for Vimto in the early 20th century.
Mr Law recently appeared on television with “The Hairy Bikers”, Dave Myers and Si King, extolling the virtues of the wide range of non-alcoholic drinks which he serves.
He showed almost twice the legal alcohol limit when stopped by police at 2.30am in Burnley last month. He was fined £110 and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.
Contacted at his bar today, Mr Law said that he did not think he had been breaking the law despite drinking about “three-quarters of a bottle of wine”.
“I didn’t think I was over the limit,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
He also questioned the publicity surrounding the case, insisting: “It is just a drinking-driving offence”. He declined to comment further.
Mr Law, formerly a pipe fitter, bought Fitzpatrick’s bar 12 years ago. It has been selling remedies and non-alcoholic drinks such as sarsaparilla and dandelion and burdock since 1890 and attracts tourists from across the world.
Its shop sells Blackbeer and Raisin, Ginger Beer, Cream Soda, Lemon and Ginger and Blood Tonic. The temperance movement declined after a wave of imported, sugary drinks from the United States.
The Rawtenstall bar was the only one of the Fitzpatrick family’s 30 bars to survive. The family of herbalists were from Dublin, but moved to Lancashire.
In an earlier interview, Mr Law said: “I used to come in here as a kid.
“I was at a point in my life when I just knew that I had to take it on.
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Donkeys get glow-in-the-dark eartags
Hundreds of donkeys are to be fitted with glow-in-the-dark ear tags in Botswana to stop accidents on rural roads at night.About 500 of the animals will be fitted with the reflective tags in the north of the country where one in ten crashes is donkey-related, reports The Mirror.
The UK-based Society For The Protection Of Animals Abroad is paying for the Maun Animal Welfare Society, in Botswana, to carry out the project.
Laura Higham, outreach veterinary advisor for SPANA, said: "The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana's society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment.
"This practice is essential, but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year."
The charities hope the project will be adopted in other parts of the country, and will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming livestock.
Friday, 7 December 2012
Germany to toughen laws on bestiality
Germany is set to tighten its laws against bestiality in a bid to improve animal welfare.Bestiality was removed from Germany's penal code in 1969 and since then has only been against the law if "significant harm" is inflicted on the animal.
But Hans-Michael Goldmann, head of the parliamentary commission looking into the subject, told AFP he wanted to "ban bestiality in a draft law on animal protection".
According to left-leaning daily Tageszeitung (TAZ), the new legislation will make bestiality punishable by a fine of up to 25,000 euros (£20,000).
The act will no longer depend on whether harm is inflicted, but rather on whether the animal is forced to commit "actions alien to the species" according to the draft legislation.
A spokesman for the agriculture ministry told a regular government briefing that the new legislation aims to clarify the legal position.
"With this explicit ban, it will be easier to impose penalties and to improve animal protection," Goldmann told mass circulation Bild.
But the president of a group representing people who engage in the act of bestiality said he would take legal action.
"It is unthinkable that any sexual act with an animal is punished without proof that the animal has come to any harm," Michael Kiok said in an interview with the TAZ.
Thursday, 6 December 2012
Belgian discovers his wife used to be a man after 19 years
A Belgian is seeking to have his marriage annulled after discovering that his Indonesian wife of 19 years had been born a man.The man, only named as Jan, married Monica, his family's former au pair in a previous marriage, in 1993 despite legal difficulties raised by the Belgian immigration authorities.
But it was only in recent weeks that he discovered that his wife had originally been a man and had undergone a sex change.
"I feel I've been assaulted," he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.
"I brought her to Belgium. That was not easy. The Belgian courts had serious doubts about the authenticity of her birth and her identity papers, but eventually they accepted it anyway. I thought she was an attractive woman, all woman. She had no male traits."
Jan, 64, said that he and his wife had decided not to have children because he had two by his previous marriage and she fooled him by pretending to menstruate, using sanitary towels, "to conceal the truth".
"Even during sex, I never noticed anything," he said.
For many years the couple lived a normal family life and Monica, 48, was like a "big sister" to his children until their marriage started to come under strain when she got a new full-time job.
"Monica began to change very much," he said.
"My oldest son saw her sometimes at a nightclub. She began to wear very flashy clothes, those ultra-short skirts or tiny tops, so her abdomen was completely exposed."
Finally rumours began to surface and after Jan found "amorous messages" from other men on her computer, he confronted her in a violent row that led to the police being called.
"A friend told me that he had heard that Monica was actually a sex-changed man. I could not believe it. My son heard similar rumours," he said.
"I pushed her against the wall and said: Now I know the truth. Are you a man? She then announced that she was born as a boy and that she had been operated on. She was now a woman, and so she did not need to tell me about her past as a man. My world collapsed. That evening came to blows. The police came."
Jan, who is undergoing psychiatric treatment following the discovery, has started legal proceedings to have the marriage annulled but the Belgian courts have so far refused to allow him to turn her out of the familiy home.
"That person has deliberately deceived him for years, even scammed. Presumably she has also forged documents used here to get a residence permit. The children, who for years have lived with her, are devastated," said his Liliane Verjauw, his lawyer.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Malware Stealing Passwords from File-Sharing SitesTrendLabs’ threat response engineer is warning about the PASSTEAL malware, which is currently spreading on the Internet as key generators for paid applications, popular e-books, and other files people usually download from file-sharing sites.
The threat in question has been described as malware which employs some password recovery instruments in order to steal passwords that its victims store in their browsers.
The company found out that a number of PASSTEAL malware versions use social engineering lures like variants disguised as key generators for paid apps. TrendMicro team identified “WebBrowserPassView” and “PasswordFox” as two of the password recovery instruments within PASSTEAL. In the meantime, security experts warn about the possibility that people who have developed PASSTEAL could also be using other recovery instruments.
Most people use the same password across various websites, which can certainly help them to remember it, but this still increases the risk of data theft. Of course, for better security, Internet users are recommended to use various login credentials for their accounts and create strong and easy-to-remember passwords. The experts also recommend users to use features offered by the browsers that can help protect private information. For instance, Mozilla Firefox has a master password feature which enables encryption in order to prevent password recovery instruments to easily access account data stored in browsers.
People who are recommended to especially watch out for password stealing malware like PASSTEAL are those who share passwords across many Internet accounts, and those who forget that password sharing is a bad idea.
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Trump did not silence Bohemian Rhapsody videoHirsute billionaire Donald Trump has said that he he did not use his considerable financial muscle to suppress a YouTube video which depicts him as a bully who sings a version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".
According to Herald Scotland, the YouTube clip was created last March to protest Trump's plan to create a £750 million golf resort in Aberdeenshire. The video was given the blessing of Queen guitarist Brian May so it could not be pulled on copyright.
The video has Donald Trump singing of his relentless determination and unparalleled ego in his battle for the 'The Great Dunes of Scotland.' It used a Spitting Image-like version of Trump.
YouTube has pulled the video and the word on the street was that Trump had made the order.
However, it is starting to look like the whole YouTube pulling might have been a publicity stunt by the group which is trying to stop the golf resort.
The group behind it has decided to bring it out as a single and it has been registered with iTunes.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland, said Trump hadn't complained about the video. She said that it had nothing to do with Trump who couldn't care less about the song.
A week ago she dismissed it as a tired, rehashed publicity stunt which further reinforces the lack of credibility of the small group of detractors behind it. She added that the song only serves to hurt the reputation of Scotland and its people.
So, where did the news come from that Trump had pulled the video? Hazel Cameron, an Edinburgh poet who had a hand in the video's creation, told Herald Scotland that a complaint had come from Trump or someone on his behalf.
She said that a complaint must have come from him as Trump must be unhappy about the video, and must have complained about it.
The protesters wanted to get the video back in the mainstream again and to bring more attention to what has happened, she said.
The video was originally removed in March after 29,000 views, but was uploaded again and reportedly had over 3,000 hits but last Thursday evening it was again removed, stating it was "in violation" of YouTube guidelines and "inappropriate".
YouTube told Spinner that the said the video was removed over a copyright infringement complaint but said users can "appeal the copyright takedown".
So, if Brian May gave his permission to use Bohemian Rhapsody then who has copyright over the video? Well, it could be the protesters.
The matter raises important questions. Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? If Trump was caught by the Obama landslide, did he try to escape from reality? Any way the wind blows...
Monday, 3 December 2012
BBC hid the naked truth in pursuit of profit, claim naturists
Naturists have accused the BBC of "falsifying history" by putting clothes on the actors appearing in Andrew Marr's History of The World.British Naturism said that the people of Africa, Ancient Egypt, Australia and other areas of the world would have been naked during many of the periods of history depicted in the reconstructions.
But in what is claimed to be BBC censorship, they are shown wearing costumes of animal skin and cloth often dreamt up by the corporation, says the organisation.
The group is now complaining to parliament after the BBC admitted it had been “obliged” to compromise accuracy to take into account “sensitivities” of audiences.
It described the move as another example of the “once proud bastion of journalistic integrity, sacrificing its reputation for commercial reasons”.
Malcolm Boura, BN's Research and Liaison Officer, said "It is astonishing that the BBC, that once proud bastion of journalistic integrity, should be sacrificing its reputation for commercial reasons.
"The 'world audience' referred to is overseas broadcasters paying the BBC to use programmes.
“We do not pay the BBC licence fee for the systematic falsification of history in the pursuit of profit.
"We do not pay the licence fee to be fed falsehoods intended to appease a misguided minority.
"The BBC is encouraging attitudes known to result in widespread and often serious harm, mainly to children and young people.
"The objective evidence on that is crystal clear. It is inexcusable.”
British Naturism (BN), with 10,500 members, is the UK's officially recognised naturist organisation.
The group said that in the Exodus from Africa, Ancient Egypt, the Minoans, the Caribs, the Australian aborigines, and members of a contemporary South American tribe, the costumes were the product of the BBC censors, not history.
Mr Boura said: "This series is not an isolated case, BBC programmes and the website often self censor to the point of dishonesty.
“Most of the censorship is hidden so without specialist knowledge few people realise what is being done.
"Whatever happened to the BBC's high ideals of education, journalistic integrity, and honesty?
"The BBC considers this conduct acceptable so we have written to the Culture Media and Sport Committee and we are pursuing this lack of honesty through to the BBC Trust as rapidly as possible.”
In a response to the compliant, Paul Kettle from BBC Audience Services, said he was sorry about the “compromises in accuracy” that the corporation felt “obliged” to make in the production of dramatic reconstructions.
"You are of course correct in pointing out that, in reality, natives in various scenes in the early part of the series would have been naked,” he said.
"But in making a series like this we have to take into account the sensitivities of the widest possible world audience."
But a spokesman said it was no excuse.
"The BBC has admitted to the systematic falsification of history for profit and for fear of upsetting anyone,” a spokesman said.
"There are at least six falsifications in the few episodes of Andrew Marr's History of the World that we have reviewed.
"The facts are actually very clear, as the BBC concedes. The costumes in many of the re-enactments are either dubious or quite undeniably false."
Sunday, 2 December 2012
UK Police Arrested Man for Virtually Burning a PoppyFree speech advocates have recently been infuriated by Kent coppers who arrested an individual for a Facebook post showing a photo of a burning poppy on Remembrance Sunday.
The police have issued a statement saying that an individual from Aylesham had been arrested on suspicion of malicious telecommunications. They confirmed that the man was arrested because of a posting on a social network website of a burning poppy. At the moment, the defendant is in police custody awaiting interview.
Apparently, the industry experts are a bit confused, since this is the sort of thing they expected to hear from the US authorities rather than the civilized parts of Kent. Twitter users have even pointed out that there’s no point of winning either World War if nowadays a person can be arrested for burning a poppy. They also admit that burning a poppy might be obnoxious, but still isn’t considered a criminal offence.
However, the UK police claimed that the arrest was made under section 127 of the Communications Act, under which an individual can be guilty of an offence in case he or she “send by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”. Still, it remains unclear what exactly is “grossly offensive”, rather than just offensive. Apparently, this word is purely subjective.
Saturday, 1 December 2012
Baronet's son awarded £5.60 in £2.5m family castle sale row
The son of a baronet embroiled in a bitter legal dispute with his father over the sale of the family's £2 million estate was yesterday awarded just £5.60 a year by the High Court.Philip Howard, 51, had sued his father Sir John Howard-Lawson, 78, four times in eight years over the sale of the 13th century Corby Castle estate in north Cumbria 18 years ago.
The business consultant launched his latest legal fight against his elderly father earlier this year over claims he had been duped out of his rightful “inheritance”.
The estate had been in the family for 400 years before it was sold owing to financial difficulties.
The Grade I listed mansion, set in park and farmland on the bank of the River Eden near Carlisle, was bought in 1611 by William Howard.
He was the third son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was beheaded for treason under Elizabeth I in 1572 after scheming to marry Mary, Queen of Scots.