2007年8月31日 星期五

Nanu Ram Jogi, 90, world's oldest new father 世界年紀最大的新爸已90歲高齡

The world's oldest new dad has fathered his 21st child at the age of 90 and he says that he plans to continue breeding for at least another decade.

Nanu Ram Jogi, a farmer in the Indian state of Rajasthan, cannot remember exactly how many children he has produced with his four wives, but estimates that he has twelve sons, nine daughters and at least twenty grandchildren.

"Women love me, he boasted as dozens of relatives came to see his 14-day-old daughter, Girija Rajkumari. "I want to have more children. I can survive another few decades and want to have children till I am 100. Then maybe it will be time to stop."

Mr Jogi married his first wife, Lalki, in 1942 when he was 25, the world was at war and India was still five years away from gaining independence from Britain. He fathered his eldest daughter, Sita Devi, a year later.

He married his second wife, Punni, when he was 50 and his third marriage, to Rukman, came 20 years later in 1987. He married his current wife, Saburi, in 1997 when he was 80 and India’s economic boom was beginning to get under way.

Saburi, who is 50 and has given him seven children, was previously married to his eldest son, Shiv Lal, who died ten years ago.

"At first I didn’t want to stay here after my husband died," she said. "It was a bad time and I was going to go back to my family, but Nanu insisted. He promised to look after me and said he would take care of my family, so I stayed and now we have seven children."

So what is Mr Jogi’s secret? "I eat all kinds of meat: rabbits, lamb, chicken and wild animals," he said. “There is a dense forest around the village. I go hunting most days and eat whatever I catch. Lots of food is my secret to staying healthy. I will survive another few decades to take care of these kids!"

The world's oldest known father was an Australian called Les Colley, who was 92 when his ninth child was born. He died in 1998, just before his 100th birthday. (Times Online)

Possible world's largest diamond unearthed in South Africa 南非發現可能是世界最大的鑽石

A small South African mining company has claimed to have discovered the world's biggest-ever diamond.

A shareholder in the unnamed mine told the BBC the stone had been unearthed at their operation in the north-west province on Monday afternoon.

He said the giant gem was about 7,000 carats - which would be twice the size of the Cullinan Diamond, centre-piece of the British crown jewels.

But industry experts are sceptical about the unconfirmed claim.

Brett Jolly, a shareholder at the mine, said the stone had been taken to a bank vault in Johannesburg.

Mr Jolly said he hoped tests on Tuesday would prove its worth.

In a photograph emailed to the BBC, the 'stone' appears to be about the size of a coconut, and has a greenish tinge.

But a spokesman for De Beers, the world's biggest diamond mining company, said the north-west province was not known for producing gems and greenish stones were even rarer.

The firm also said that if the find were genuine it would be the stone of the century. (BBC)

2007年8月28日 星期二

Lonely Japan prankster calls out firemen 388 times 寂寞的日本男子打了388次惡作劇電話給消防隊

A Japanese man arrested for making 388 prank phone calls to the local fire station between May 2006 and July this year said he did it because he was lonely.

"I live by myself and I was sad. I like the fire services and the police so I called them. I wanted them to come and look after me," the 58-year-old man was quoted as saying by the daily Yomiuri newspaper.

A police spokesman in Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo, said the man had been arrested on suspicion of obstructing the emergency services.

The Yomiuri said the man would phone the fire station shouting: "Fire! Fire! I've set gasoline and kerosene alight!"

After one such call in early July, local emergency services dispatched 10 fire engines, one ambulance and 35 firemen to the man's house, the Yomiuri reported. (Reuters)

Norway unveils "first ecological prison" 挪威揭露「全球第一座生態監獄」

Norway put on show on Monday what it calls "the world's first ecological prison," where inmates play important roles in daily operations and learn to do their bit to protect the environment.

The Bastoey Island low security prison uses solar panels for energy, produces most of its own food, recycles everything it can and tries to reduce its carbon footprint.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the most important idea behind the "ecologically driven prison" is to develop a sense of responsibility in inmates and prepare them for life outside its non-existent walls.

Norway's relaxed prison policy is intended to reduce re-offending by released offenders, and Bastoey prison aims to bring new values to the handling of criminals.

"On a long-term basis, from a social and economic perspective, this is cheapest for society," Storberget told Reuters during a visit to Bastoey island, 75 km (46 miles) south of Oslo, whose prison has a total of 115 inmates.

"Bastoey is the island of hope," he told visitors, inmates and employees in a packed church on the prison's property, which sprawls over much of the island in the beautiful Oslo fjord.

The prison gained international media attention a few years ago for its living conditions, resembling a summer camp with activities like tennis, horse riding, and even swimming in the summer, when the North Sea waters warm up.

Assistant prison manager Per Eirik Lund said running costs were lower at Bastoey than at more traditional prisons.

"On a normal day, we have five prison officers at work. In a closed facility, you have two or three officers per 20 inmates, so this is among the cheapest prison facilities in Norway."

Lund said Bastoey tapped grants from environmental bodies to help it produce high-quality food. "Most of the food is used in the kitchen here, but we also sell to other prisons or elsewhere," he said.

Surrounded by beaches and green fields, the prison grounds extend into a nature reserve and are popular with the inmates.

"We are given full freedom within a limited area," Erik, an inmate and hobby carpenter who helped install solar panels, told Reuters. The solar panels cut the prison's electricity needs by up to 70 percent, he said.

Inmates said very few of them abused the authorities' trust. Anyone who breaks the prison rules is sent straight back to a closed prison.

"This is like a holiday camp compared to a closed facility," said another inmate, who asked not to be named.

Bastoey prison says on its website that its philosophy comes from an old Indian saying: "We don't own nature. We borrow and manage it in our lives, thinking about our descendants." (Reuters)

Bulgaria's biggest and smallest watermelons 保加利亞最大和最小的西瓜

A woman displays the biggest watermelon (L, 30kg) and the smallest one (R, 0.5kg) during the 18th watermelon festival in Sarmanovo of Sumen region, Bulgaria, Aug. 26, 2007. (Xinhua)

2007年8月26日 星期日

World's oldest diamonds discovered 澳洲發現世界最古老的鑽石

The 4.25 billion years old diamonds were discovered encased in a crystal in Western Australia by scientists lead by Simon Wilde, a geologist at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia.

The tiny diamonds were found trapped in zircon, a rare and exceptionally stable mineral that forms under temperatures between 1,112 and 1,652 Fahrenheit (600 and 900 degrees Celsius). (National Geographic)

2007年8月25日 星期六

World's strongest housewife Aneta Florczyk 世界最強的家庭主婦

The world's strongest woman Aneta Florczyk twists a frying pan just like folding a paper!

Iranian man Saeed Ghanbari lashed 80 times for alcohol abuse and extramarital sex 伊朗男子因酗酒和通姦遭鞭打80下

25-year old Iranian man Saeed Ghanbari was flogged in public for his convicted alcohol abuse and extramarital sex by a religious court at Qazvin, 90 miles west of the capital Tehran.

The public lashings have been endorsed by the judiciary as a way of deterring alcohol abuse at a time when it is on the increase among young men but some religious leaders are said to be questioning their validity, fearing they have an adverse impact on the country's image abroad. (Daily Mail)

World's most expensive bikini is made of D flawless diamonds 世界最貴的鑽石比基尼

With a price tag over US$ 30,000,000, there are few people on the Earth who can offer to buy this extreme luxurious bikini.

Designed by Susan Rosen, the bikini can best be worn only at beaches. True confession, its fall into the lingerie category is not justifiable as the fabric used for this bikini is a layer of pure diamonds and not a bit of clothe.

Model Molly Sims flaunted this designer bikini and is residing at the centerfold of the 2006 Illustrated Sports Swimsuit issue. The bikini is packed with over 150 carats of D Flawless diamonds.

Other ornamental diamonds include:

1)51 carat D Flawless Pear Shape
2)30 carat D Flawless Emerald Cut
3)15 carat D Flawless Rounds (pair)
4)Platinum-set 8 carat D Flawless Pear Shape (pair)
(Random Citations & Elite Choice)

2007年8月23日 星期四

Angry ex-wife in flaming penis vengeance 前妻放火燒前夫那話兒洩恨

A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said on Wednesday.

Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was 'difficult to predict.'

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation.

The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high.

'It was monstrously painful,' the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper.

'I was burning like a torch. I don't know what I did to deserve this.'(Metro.co.uk)

The most complex marriage proposal ever? 有史以來最複雜的求婚?

Any men thinking of popping the question to their beloved – start worrying. Because bar's just been raised for the amount of effort you have to put into your marriage proposal.

Going down on one knee wasn't quite enough for George Aye, a designer from Chicago. So he decided to propose in a more elaborate way, with the help of an art gallery, some computer modelling, a laser cutter and an awful lot of foam core.

And the video he posted to YouTube of his endeavours has become a huge hit, with 50,000 people viewing it in just a two days.

Aye – originally from Surrey – proposed to his girlfriend, Sara Cantor, a planner at another design firm, at a fake opening party on Friday, in Chicago art gallery 40000. The gallery was exhibiting the work of non-existent artist 'Serge Gandaora' – actually an anagram of 'George and Sara'.

The artwork – actually made by Aye himself – was a complex, abstract piece featuring a large number of unusual white shapes on poles, called My Early Muir Owl.

Constructed over the course of several weeks out of laser-cut foam, after planning the piece by creating a 3-D model on a computer, the artwork just looked like a collection of random shapes… except when viewed from one angle, where it spelled out 'Will you marry me?'

'Will you marry me', of course, is an anagram of 'My Early Muir Owl'.

For tradition's sake, Aye went down on one knee as well – and he was rewarded when Sara said yes. And now that his video's become a hit, the happy couple have been on the receiving end of well-wishers from around the world.

'I'm completely floored,' said Aye on his blog.

'Thank you to everyone that have sent their congratulations. And sorry to all the single guys that now hate me. If your woman starts hinting, get sketching.' (Metro.co.uk)

2007年8月22日 星期三

British student unearthed world's oldest chewing gum in Finland 英國學生在芬蘭發現世界最古老的口香糖

Researchers think in the Neolithic people used the material as an antiseptic to treat gum infections.

Sarah Pickin, 23, is a British student from Derby University and she discovered this amazing archaeologist site in Finland’s coast: A Neolithic "Chewing Gum", which is 5.000 years old and it is thought to be what Neolithic people used as an antiseptic. Apart from that, the chewing gum also has tooth imprints on it.

According to the British University, Sarah also found an amber earring and a hair needle. These objects will be shown with the chewing gum in Finland’s Kierikki centre once archaeologists study them properly.

The finding, with which she is "delighted", will give the young student 15 extra credits for his university degree. The Finnish centre organises every year excavations in a Neolithic area called "Kierikkikangas" (4.000 and 5.000 years before Christ)

Ms Pickin's tutor, Professor Trevor Brown, said: "Birch bark tar contains phenols, which are antiseptic compounds." (www.eitb24.com)

2007年8月21日 星期二

World's smallest single-chip CMOS camera 世界最小的單晶片CMOS攝影機

The British company TDC has recently introduced the smallest-ever single-chip CMOS camera, whose new OV6920 CameraChip is the world's first 1/18-inch (1.4mm) sensor. Supplied in a tiny 2.1 x 2.3mm chip-scale package, the device enables microscopic camera modules to be developed just 3.2mm in diameter.

With a total array size of 328 x 250, the OV6920 features SCCB-configurable automatic control of colour saturation, exposure, gain and gamma curve, together with aperture correction function. It only requires a clock and power to obtain an NTSC (320 x 240) composite signal output with a direct interface to VCRs and monitors.

But because of its negligible size, we will inevitably be careful to prevent peeping as if it is used by the bad hands. (Tracing Gadget)

Malaysia awards medals to pirate-DVD nabbing dogs 馬來西亞頒發獎章給兩隻緝盜版DVD犬

Sniffer dogs Lucky (R) and Flo are held by their trainers after putting their paw prints on clay after receiving medals in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur, August 20, 2007.

Two dogs trained to sniff out DVDs received medals from the Malaysian government on Monday for a five-month campaign that crippled movie pirates.

Lucky and Flo, black Labradors trained to detect the chemicals used in making DVDs, were the first animals to receive the outstanding service awards for finding discs stockpiled by pirates, the Motion Picture Association said in a statement.

The canine campaign led to 26 arrests and seizures of illegal discs worth over $6 million (3 million pounds).

"The dogs have proven to be a major asset in our fight against the pirates and we intend to continue what Lucky and Flo have set in motion," S Veerasingam, Malaysia's deputy minister for domestic trade and consumer affairs, said in the statement.

Malaysia, which figures on a U.S. watchlist on piracy, has dramatically stepped up efforts to rein in copyright pirates as it negotiates a free-trade pact with Washington.

The success of Lucky and Flo has prompted the ministry to set up its own canine unit to fight the pirates, and the MPA, which arranged for their trial by Malaysian officials, plans to donate two new dogs to the unit by the end of the year.

Movie pirates even put a bounty of 100,000 ringgit (14,370 pounds) on Lucky and Flo after they busted a fake DVD ring in southern Johor state in March, the MPA said. Since then, the dogs have been closely guarded.

Lucky and Flo's next stop on their crime-fighting tour is a visit to New York, followed by a trip to Toronto for an appearance at a film festival, said the MPA, which groups six major Hollywood film companies.

The MPA groups Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista; Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc; Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp; Twentieth Century Fox, a unit of News Corp; Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal Inc; and Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc.

The group estimates that copyright theft cost its members about $1.2 billion in lost revenue in the Asia-Pacific region last year, with annual worldwide losses of $6 billion. (Reuters)

($1=3.501 Malaysian Ringgit)

2007年8月20日 星期一

World's oldest natural mother at 59 世界年紀最大的生母 -- 59歲產子

British housewife Dawn Brooke, now 69, has claimed to be the world's oldest natural mother after giving birth at the age of 59, a secret the family kept for ten years.

Dawn Brooke had a healthy boy without any fertility treatment only 12 months before she became eligible for her old age pension.

Her husband, former company director Raymond Brooke, 74, said the couple had kept the 1997 birth private for a decade in order to let their son grow up in peace.

The youngster has been brought up at the couple's £1million home on Guernsey and attends school on the Channel Island.

Relatives of the boy - who is ten today - said he is extremely bright and particularly enjoys maths. But like most children his age he is also a big fan of Harry Potter, a passion he shares with his father.

Mr Brooke married his Londonborn wife a few weeks before their son was born by caesarean section at a Guernsey hospital on August 20, 1997.

The picture above shows Mrs. Dawn is with her first son Nick, now 33, in 1989. (Daily Mail)

2007年8月19日 星期日

Double-nosed dog 雙鼻犬

Explorer's tale

Explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell has had close encounters with vampire bats and angry bees, but his latest brush has been with a rather odd dog.

He spotted a rare breed of Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound, which has two noses, on a recent trip to Bolivia.

The chairman of the Scientific Exploration Society said the dog, named Xingu, was "not terribly handsome".

He said: "This breed could be used for sniffing out mines or narcotics because they have an enhanced sense of smell."

Colonel Blashford-Snell first encountered a Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound called Bella in 2005 when he was carrying out reconnaissance for this year's expedition in the area near Ojaki.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "While we were there, sitting by the fire one night, I saw an extraordinary-looking dog that appeared to have two noses.

"I was sober at the time, and then I remembered the story that the legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle.

"Nobody believed him, they laughed him out of court."

"He's very intelligent and with a wonderful sense of smell, as you might think," John Blashford-Snell.

The dog seen two years ago was Bella, and on a second trip to the area, which began in May and has just ended, the explorer discovered her son Xingu in the village of Ojaki.

He had just produced a litter of puppies with a bitch that had a single nose.

Two of their offspring had double noses, and two had the normal quantity, but the double-nosed pups died after three days.

A veterinary expert with the group examined Xingu to see if he had a cleft palate, but this was not the case.

"There is a chance that these dogs came from a breed with double noses that's known in Spain as Pachon Navarro, which were hunting dogs at the time of the Conquistadors," said Colonel Blashford-Snell.

"I think it's highly likely some of these were taken to South America and they continued to breed. They're good hunting dogs."

He added that Xingu was "quite an aggressive little chap" who stood about 16 inches in height and loved salt biscuits but "wasn't a terribly handsome dog".

Xingu's best friend is apparently a wild pig called Gregory, and the two animals "rule the roost" in their village.

"Other dogs snarl at Xingu, because they can sense he's different. He's the smallest dog there but he sees the other dogs off," Colonel Blashford-Snell said.

"He's very intelligent and with a wonderful sense of smell, as you might think.

"The Bolivian Army came and took DNA samples because they're interested in the breed. He's not the only dog like this, there are others in the area."

The Scientific Exploration Society was in Bolivia to investigate a shallow crater about five miles in width.

According to Colonel Blashford-Snell, he has now found evidence that this was caused by a giant meteorite, which struck the Bolivian Amazon Basin up to 30,000 years ago.

He says he has found evidence of human habitation within 50 miles of the blast zone, and believes these people were wiped out as a result of the meteor's impact.

The explorers also carried with them a church organ from Dorset as a gift to local Bolivians in order to secure their help with finding the meteorite. (BBC)

Man gets hooked on diving 荷蘭潛水客「上鉤了」

Artist's impression of what the incident may have looked like

A Dutch scuba diver became the surprise catch of the day for a 13-year-old boy fishing in the Netherlands when his hook got caught in the man's lip.

'I heard a sound on my head and immediately I felt a jerk on my lip,' Wim van Huffelen, who had been swimming in the North Sea, was quoted as saying by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
The daily ran a picture of the diver with the hook embedded in his lower lip.

The diver had been swimming close to the shore near the southern Dutch town of Zierikzee. A doctor managed to free him from the hook. (Reuters)

Hundreds pose naked on Swiss glacier 數百人在瑞士冰河上裸體

Hundreds of people posed naked on Switzerland's shrinking Aletsch glacier on Saturday for U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick as part of a Greenpeace campaign to raise awareness of global warming.

Tunick, perched on a ladder and using a megaphone, directed nearly 600 volunteers from all over Europe and photographed them on a rocky outcrop overlooking the glacier, which is the largest in the Alps.

Later he took pictures of them standing in groups on the mass of ice and lying down. Camera crews were staged at five different points on the glacier to take photographs.

Glaciers are sensitive to climate change and have been receding since the start of the industrial age but the pace of shrinkage has accelerated in recent years.

The environmental group Greenpeace, which organised the shoot, said the aim was to "establish a symbolic relationship between the vulnerability of the melting glacier and the human body."

The Aletsch descends around the south side of the Jungfrau mountain in the Upper Rhone Valley.

The volunteers walked for several hours in the mountains to reach the glacier before taking their clothes off briefly for the shoot in temperatures of around 10 degrees Celsius (50.00F).

Alpine glaciers have lost about one-third of their length and half their volume over the past 150 years. The Aletsch ice mass has retreated by 115 metres (377 ft) in the last two years alone, said Greenpeace.

Tunick has staged mass nude photo shoots in cities across the world, from Newcastle, Britain, to Mexico City, where a record 18,000 people took off their clothes in the Mexican capital's Zocalo square in May.

Speaking to Geneva's Le Temps newspaper in an interview published before the shoot on Saturday, Tunick said his photographs were both works of art and political statements.

"I will try to treat the body on two levels. On an abstract level, as if they were flowers or stones. And on a more social level, to represent their vulnerability and humanity with regard to nature and the city and to remind people where we come from."

Switzerland has about 1,800 glaciers and almost of them are losing ground.
Greenpeace said if global warming continues unabated, most glaciers will disappear from the Earth by 2080. (Reuters)

2007年8月18日 星期六

Arctic sea ice expected to hit record low 北極海冰層料將達到歷史新低

The extent of Arctic sea ice will likely have melted to a record low this September partially due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, researchers at the University of Colorado said on Thursday.

There is a 92 percent chance that Arctic sea ice extent in September will melt to its lowest level at least since the 1970s, when satellite measuring efforts began, the researchers said. They had predicted a 33 percent chance of a record low in April, but changed the forecast after a rapid disintegration of sea ice during July.

Such high levels of ice melting could have wide implications in coming years such as changes in temperature and rain patterns across much of the United States.

"Similar to the way the El Nino pattern affects weather in the United States, more ice melt could change rain patterns and temperature patterns in the middle of the United States, which could have economic impacts on farmers," Sheldon Drobot, who leads Arctic ice forecasting at CU-Boulder's aerospace engineering department, said in an interview.

It could also open the Northwest Passage along the northern coast of North America and connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to shipping by as early as 2020 or 2025, he said. That could be a cheaper option for many shippers than the Panama Canal.

Whatever the effects, a rise in heat-trapping emissions such as carbon dioxide is partially responsible, the university said.

"There is an element of human activity in the cause of this melt," said Drobot. "Natural variations can't explain everything."

High levels of greenhouse emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes have combined with natural fluctuations, such as an increase in cloud-free days over the Arctic this summer, to spur the melt, he said. (Reuters)

Japan shirt maker sews in fan to beat summer heat 日本製衣公司將風扇縫入衣服來消暑

Self-cooling clothes may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but for one Japanese company they are not only good business but a way to help the environment.

Shirts and jackets made by Kuchou-fuku -- literally "air-conditioned clothes" -- keep the wearer comfortable even in sweltering heat while using one-50th of the energy of a small air conditioner, said Hiroshi Ichigaya, the company's CEO.

"Until now, air-conditioning implied cooling the entire room. Now, we can cool just the body," Ichigaya said.

Two small fans sewn into the back of each garment and powered by a pocket-sized rechargeable battery pack circulate air across the wearer's skin, evaporating perspiration and keeping temperatures down -- a welcome respite from Japan's mid-summer humidity and record-breaking heat in recent days.

The self-cooling clothes come in 10 styles and a variety of colours, all priced at 11,000 yen (49 pounds) and sold on the internet and at limited retailers.

The company has sold about 5,500 of the garments since they went on sale three years ago, mostly to factory workers.

But however cool the clothes, they seem unlikely to catch on any time soon. Because the fans puff out the garments with air, they give wearers a deceptively portly look.

"My daughter won't wear them because the shape is no good," Ichigaya admitted. (Reuters)

Italian town offers cash for weight loss 義大利小鎮提供現金獎勵減肥

What better incentive than money to drop a few pounds? Gianluca Buonanno, the mayor of Varallo, a town of 7,500 in northern Italy, thinks it might work. The town is offering cash rewards to overweight residents who slim down and more money if they keep the weight off.

"We wanted to encourage people to lose weight, and we thought that both the money and the idea of joining a group could be stimulating," Buonanno said in a telephone interview Thursday.

The town's offer is the latest effort by public officials and employers to encourage people to exercise and trim their weight. Earlier this summer, a Baltimore company sponsored a weight-loss contest to motivate its employees.

Participants in the week-old Varallo initiative will be given $67 when they reach their ideal weight. If they don't gain any weight back after five months, they will receive $268.

If they maintain their ideal weight for a year, they will get $670 more.

So far, 30 of the townsfolk have signed up, Buonanno said.

To enroll, participants must present a medical certificate proving they are overweight. They can choose to be assisted by a dietitian, who helps determine their ideal weight, and a personal trainer.

Buonanno's inspiration? His own need for a diet.

"If you have a health problem, you can get sick, stop going to work and are less exuberant," he said. "We just want a better society."

The mayor said the town has set aside about $13,000 for the project. It is looking for sponsors to expand the program.

The prevalence of obesity in Europe has tripled in the past two decades. Half of all adults and 20 percent of all children are estimated to be overweight, the World Health Organization says. Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.

Dave Rankhorn, a tourist visiting Rome from Chicago, knows he's overweight. As he took pictures of the Spanish Steps on Thursday, he considered Buonanno's proposal.

"Money is always great as an incentive. I have always wanted to lose weight, but never had the motivation," he said.
If someone told him he'd get paid to lose weight, "I would be there, I would do that," he said. (AP)

10 kilo conjoined watermelon 10公斤重的連體西瓜

A watermelon breeder, Che Yonggao, known as the Watermelon King in his native village near Fuzhou in east China's Jiangxi Province, holds a 10 kilo conjoined watermelon, which he has inadvertently bred, on Monday, August 13, 2007.

A watermelon breeder, Che Yonggao, known as the Watermelon King in his native village, near Fuzhou in east China's Jiangxi Province, accidentally picked-up a conjoined watermelon, which weighs more than 10 kilos, in his field on Monday.

This is a first for the prolific watermelon breeder, who has grown melons for more than 10 years. Usually, one pistil could only bear one melon, reports jxnews.com.cn.

Che has decided to send the watermelon to his local agricultural departments for research, though some melon sellers have offered him several hundred yuan to buy it. (CRIEnglish)

2007年8月16日 星期四

Kindergarten's not for squares 頭部圓形的小孩才能就讀的幼稚園

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

Li Junjie Educational Kindergarten, in Zhengzhou city, checks the shape of would-be pupils' heads as part of admission tests.

Owner Li Junjie insisted: "A round head indicates cleverness; a student with a flat head can never be outstanding no matter how hard he works."

The school charges tuition fees of nearly £7,000 a year, possibly the highest in China, and guarantees that pupils will prosper, reports China News Network.

Li Junjie added: "Every student in my school will become talented. They will be able to read at age three, and enter middle school at seven and university at 15.

"We now have 21 students with 13 teachers. We make sure they have the best resources." (Ananova)

Chinese couple tried to name baby "@" 大陸夫婦試圖將小孩取名為"@"

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

The unusual name stands out especially in Chinese, which has no alphabet and instead uses tens of thousands of multi-stroke characters to represent words.

"The whole world uses it to write e-mail, and translated into Chinese it means 'love him'," the father explained, according to the deputy chief of the State Language Commission Li Yuming.

While the "@" simple is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word "at" to sound it out -- which with a drawn out "T" sounds something like "ai ta", or "love him", to Mandarin speakers.

Li told a news conference on the state of the language that the name was an extreme example of people's increasingly adventurous approach to Chinese, as commercialisation and the Internet break down conventions.

Another couple tried to give their child a name that rendered into English sounds like "King Osrina."

Li did not say if officials accepted the "@" name. But earlier this year the government announced a ban on names using Arabic numerals, foreign languages and symbols that do not belong to Chinese minority languages.

Sixty million Chinese faced the problem that their names use ancient characters so obscure that computers cannot recognise them and even fluent speakers were left scratching their heads, said Li, according to a transcript of the briefing on the government Web site (http://www.gov.cn/).

One of them was the former Premier Zhu Rongji, whose name had a rare "rong" character that gave newspaper editors headaches. (Reuters)

Chinese man buys air conditioner with 8,000 coins 大陸男子以8千個硬幣購買冷氣機

If I were the salesperson of the shop, I must have turned down the man's purchase.

It took six staff members in a home appliance store in the city of Wuhan four hours to count the 8,000 coins brought by a customer, who came to buy an air conditioner with these coins.

According the Chutian Metropolis Daily report, the coins, all of them 10 cents each (RMB), were placed in a huge bag. The man left the bag in the store on Thursday (Aug. 9) morning, telling the salesperson to call him back after they confirm the amount of the money.

According to the report, the anonymous customer explained that he was able to collect lots of coins because of his job and decided to use his collection to buy an air-conditioner. (CRI English)

World's oldest person dies in Japan at 114 世界最高齡人瑞辭世,享壽114

Yone Minagawa (皆川瑤子)

The world's oldest person, a Japanese woman who counted eating well and getting plenty of sleep as the secret of her longevity, died Monday at age 114, a news report said.

Yone Minagawa, who lived in a nursing home but was still sprightly late in life, died "of old age" Monday evening, Kyodo News reported.

There was no immediate answer to a telephone call placed late Monday to city hall in her mountainous hometown of Fukuchi in southern Fukuoka prefecture.

Born on January 4, 1893, Minagawa blew out the candles on her own birthday cake earlier this year.

She was already in her 50s when Japan surrendered in World War II, starting a new era for her country.

Widowed at an early age, she reportedly raised her five children by selling flowers and vegetables in a coal mining town.

Despite her advanced age, Minagawa was said to enjoy eating sweets and counted eating well and getting a good night's sleep as the secrets of her longevity.

Her reign as the world's oldest person lasted just over six months. The Guinness Book of World Records certified her as the world's oldest person after Emma Faust Tillman, the daughter of freed American slaves, died in January.

The next person to become the world's oldest person is set to be another American woman, according to the International Committee on Supercentenarians, a US-based group which documents longevity records.

Edna Parker, who lives in the midwestern state of Indiana, is also 114, having been born on April 20, 1893, according to the group.

Minagawa's nursing home said she had celebrated becoming the world's oldest person earlier this year with a Western-style lunch of bread, stew, salad and a dessert -- a sign of Japan's changing dietary habits.

Izumi Mori, who took care of Minagawa at her nursing home, said that the 114-year-old spoke coherently and ate three meals a day even late in her life.

Her favourite sweet was manju, a Japanese confection made of red bean paste.

"Mrs. Minagawa loves sweets, especially manju. When I asked what the secret of her long life is, she said that it's eating well and sleeping well. In fact, she said her hobby is sleeping," Mori told AFP earlier this year.

Minagawa also loved music. She used to play the shamisen, a three-stringed Japanese instrument similar to a guitar, and even while in a wheelchair she would move her body when her friends played music.

Japanese women are the world's oldest living people, in what experts attribute to a traditionally healthy diet and high standard of medical care.

Their life expectancy was a record 85.81 years in 2006, according to the government.
Japanese men are the world's second oldest with a life expectancy of 78.8 second only to men in Iceland who on average live to be 79.4. (AFP)