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Monday, January 31, 2011

Bald Contestant Qualifies for Miss America Beauty Pageant Contestant

Kayla Martell, a 21-year-old beauty pageant contestant, proved you don’t need natural hair to win a beauty contest, when she brought home the title of Miss Delaware and qualified for Miss America.

Young Kayla suffers from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that attacks her hair follicles and practically causes baldness. Despite her condition, Miss Martell competed in the beauty contest several times, but was finally thinking of giving up her dream of winning the Miss Delaware title. A meeting with five-year-old Lilliana Hakim, who suffered from the same condition she did, changed her mind and inspired her to keep on trying. And this time around, her dream came true as she was named Miss Delaware and got to represent her home state in the Miss America beauty pageant.

Some say Kayla Martell won the title because, unlike the previous times she competed, she wore a wig to conceal her condition. Asked how she feels on the matter, the bubbly beauty queen responded “not at all. I hope the judges picked me because I knew I could fulfill the jobs of Miss Delaware.” She added that she only wears the wig on occasions, because it makes her feel more approachable, but she usually prefers the natural look.

Kayla started losing her hair when she was just 10 years old. She noticed her part was widening, and when that turned into a bald spot, doctors diagnosed her with alopecia areata. Though it wasn’t easy going through her teen years with a disease like this, she handled it with grace, and is now using her position as Miss Delaware to find and help other people who have alopecia.

Volcano Erupts In Japan

Lightning and fire: Japan on alert after volcano's biggest eruption in 50 years

A one-mile cordon has been established around a volcano on Mount Kirishima after it erupted scattering rocks and ash across southern Japan and sending smoke billowing 5,000ft into the air.

The Meteorological Agency raised the volcanic alert to level 3 as ash today continued to spew from Shinmoedake on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, and residents have been banned from going within a mile of the volcano following its worst eruption in 50 years.

Force of nature: Lightning strikes as Shinmoedake erupts, scattering ash and rocks across a wide swathe of southern Japan

Ash and smoke continued to billow 5,000ft above Shinmoedake today as residents were banned from going within a mile of the volcano

Agency volcanologist Sei Iijima said the eruption did not pose a threat to nearby cities, and a major eruption was not imminent. But he added: 'You can never say never with a volcano, although the lack of magma movement beneath the surface leads us to believe that this activity won't lead to a large-scale eruption,' he told ABC News.

The volcano, one of 20 inside Mount Kirishima, began erupting around 7.30am yesterday morning and by 3pm heavy smoke had risen to nearly 5,000ft, prompting the meteorological agency to raise the alert level.

Volcanic activity is often reported at Kirishima, but this is the largest eruption recorded there since 1959.

Volcanic activity is often reported in the Kirishima range, but Shinmoedake's is the largest eruption since 1959

Under a cloud: A man takes a picture of erupting Shinmoedake from Takaharu, where an evacuation centre has been established

Air space above the mountain remained open today but airlines cancelled a number of domestic flights because of the haze and the buildup of ash on train tracks forced Japan Rail to close several lines. Roads were also shut because of poor visibility.

A small evacuation center was set up overnight in the town of Takaharu, seven miles east of Kirishima, and the town's general affairs manager Yuji Nakashima said: 'People told us their windows were rattling and they heard roaring sounds coming from the mountain.'

Twins For Blind Orangutan Mom

Picture of motherly love: Gober the blind orangutan gives birth to healthy twins

Cradling her babies, this picture of motherly love is especially rare - because these healthy orangutan twins have been born to blind parents who are both lucky to be alive.

The babies were born last Friday at the Batu Mbelin Orangutan Quarantine Centre in North Sumatra where both their parents are in long-term care.

Mother Gober lost her sight to cataracts and had to be rescued in 2008 by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, which receives funding from the UK's Orangutan Foundation.

 Tender: Gober lies down with her twins

Her blindness was forcing her to raid crops, putting her at a high risk of being killed by villagers. The twins' father Leuser was confiscated as an illegal pet and released fit and well into the wild in a national park, but strayed outside park boundaries and was shot by villagers.

He was found with 62 air rifle wounds, including three pellets lodged in his eyes. While staff at the centre try to prevent orangutans breeding until after they are released into the wild, they decided that having a baby would improve life for Gober, who is over 40.

Mother and babies - a boy named Ganteng, which translates as handsome, and a girl called Ginting - are doing well and it is hoped they will eventually be released into the wild.

Ian Singleton, director of conservation for the Swiss-based Pan Eco Foundation, said: 'Rather than being bored, Gober now has the full-time responsibility of her infants, not just one but two of them.

'Normally we try to prevent orangutans breeding at the center, but we decided to make an exception.

'Twins are not unheard of but they are certainly not common and relatively few zoos will have experience of it.

Rare: Ian Singleton, director of conservation, says: 'Twins are not unheard of but they are certainly not common and relatively few zoos will have experience of it'

Mr Singleton, who works with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, said today that Gober so far appeared able to care for the babies herself, 'but vets and staff are ready to step in if necessary'.

He added: 'It's hoped that both infants will eventually be released to a life in the wild, something that has been denied both their parents due to their blindness.'

Journey of pilgrims on a train in Bangladesh..

Journey of pilgrims on a train in Bangladesh..

Aussie animals in need of help...

Some amazing animal pics from the flooded areas in Qld.

Most are so exhausted and scared that they allow humans to be in physical contact - most unusual! I only hope someone rescued the monitor lizard from the fence post. And the snake. The wallaby on the hay bale might have been harder to coax into a boat!

 Frog hitches ride with snake to flee floods
The frog on the back of the snake. (Armin Gerlach)

Of all the startling images to have come out from the Queensland floods, this has to be the most unusual — a green frog hitching a ride on the back of a brown snake.

Computer technician Armin Gerlach was visiting friends in the flood-hit town of Dalby, located in the state's south-east, last week when he spotted the unlikely pair.

"I felt amazement, I just couldn’t believe it," Mr Gerlach told ninemsn.

Mr Gelach said a friend who had been affected by many floods told him animals often helped each other out during disasters.

"It's quite common when you have animals in floods or fires or disasters, they actually get together and don't do anything," he said.

"My friend has seen foxes and rabbits forget their hunting instincts during natural disasters," he said.

Mr Gelach said he and his friends were inspecting flood damage on the property, where waters had risen to about 47cm.

The World's Biggest Animals

Here is a collection of the worlds biggest animals, from dogs to horses to cows, enjoy!

 World's Biggest Dog

Say hello to this gargantuan specimen named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for World's Biggest Dog. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds.

With "paws the size of softballs", the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200lb. limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is natural and not induced by a bizarre diet: "I fed him normal food and he just grew, and grew, and grew”.

World's Biggest Horse

 Radar, a Belgian draught horse, is the World’s Tallest Living Horse. This huge horse, at 6ft 71/2in from hoof to shoulder, is from Mount Pleasant, Texas. At 2,400lb, he has a giant appetite to match, putting away 20 gallons of water a day and 18lb of grain.

World’s Biggest Cow

 As big as a small elephant, Big Cow Chilli and he's described as a gentle giant. Chilli the giant bullock stands at 6ft 6ins and weighs well over a ton. Despite his grand stature, Chilli only grazes on grass during the day and enjoys the occasional swede as a treat.

World's Biggest Pig

 The Liaoning Provincial Agricultural Museum is appealing to the Guinness Book of Records to recognise a 900 kg (1984 pounds) pig which died on February 5 as the biggest pig ever. When the pig died it was 2.5 metres long, had a waistline of 2.23 metres and a tusk of 14.4 centimetres long. According to XU Changjin, a farmer of Wafangdian city, the pig was only 5 years old. He kept his pig in a good built sty and gave it quality food all its life.

World's Biggest Catfish

 At 646LB this Mekong Giant Catfish is the largest freshwater fish in the world. With nearly nine feet long (2.7 meters) and as big as a grizzly bear, this huge catfish caught in northern Thailand may be the largest freshwater fish ever recorded. Although there are many claims and rumours about the world’s largest freshwater specimens, especially from misguided anglers. However, in the eyes of scientist's the Mekong Giant Catfish has taken pole position with the recorded capture of this huge 646LB specimen by local fishermen in 2005. Many anglers over look the fact that some larger fish that can be caught in the worlds rivers, such as Sturgeon, migrate between river and sea, and therefore not considered to be freshwater species in the true sense of the word.

World's Tallest Dog

 Hercules might be the biggest dog in the world, but the tallest according to the Guinness World Records is Gibson, a Harlequin Great Dane, who is 42.2 inches. The 170-pound Dane is more than 7 feet tall, taller than most NBA basketball players.

World's Biggest Cat

 Jungle Island in Miami is home to a liger (a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger) named Hercules, the largest non-obese liger. The liger is recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest cat on Earth, weighing in at 900 lbs.

World's Biggest Stingray ever caught

 It took 90 minutes to land, 13 men to heave it out of the water... and weighed 55 stone when they finally got it to the scales. So it's little wonder that when Ian Welch first hooked the record stingray, it almost pulled him into the river. The angler, from Aldershot, Hampshire, was fishing in Thailand when he landed the ray, which is the biggest freshwater fish to be caught with a rod, with over 7ft long and wide, with a tail of 10ft.

World's Biggest Shark ever caught

More likely to eat than be eaten, this giant whale shark was caught off the coast of China by hardcore fishermen who managed to harness the ten-metre, eight-tonne whopper. Whale sharks are the world's largest living fish, it is estimated that they can reach an 18 metre length. They live in warm water along the coast and open seas and spend most of their time near the surface. 

People are Sleeping on the Rocks

People are Sleeping on the Rocks

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