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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Man sets up home in flood pipe

A Chinese man built himself a one-bed apartment - in a flood pipe.

Mao Li, 30, has lived in the pipe, beside a bridge in Haikou, Hainan province, southern China, for a year.

It even has its own front door - but is to be demolished as officials say it lowers the tone of the area.
However, Li will not be left high and dry - authorities have agreed to rehouse him to make up for destroying his unusual home.

"He will be taken care of and given a proper home. We are a modern city - we can't have people living in pipes," said a spokesman.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Football club signs up toddler

A Dutch football club has signed a one-year-old player after seeing a clip of him kicking balls into his toy box.

VVV Venlo has taken youth scouting to the extreme by placing 18-month-old toddler Baerke van der Meij under contract.

His dad posted the video of him showing off his skills on YouTube where it attracted more than 150,000 hits.

It shows him skillfully and accurately chipping three balls into a toy chest, reports The Sun.

VVV Venlo, his local club, have signed him up to a ten-year "token" contract. His grandad played for the same team.

A club spokesman said: "The toddler's favourite position has not yet been determined.

"But we can speak of a right-footed player with a very good kicking technique, perseverance and, importantly, football genes via his grandfather."

Mosque of Djenne

 It seems that time has stopped here. These were the homes in Djenne, probably, five centuries ago. So they stayed and now - entirely built of clay, in full accordance with the local traditional style. The most famous building in clay, carefully preserved here more than a century - Mosque, the largest such mosque in the Islamic world. 08 more images after the break..

 Islam - the main religion of Mali, ninety percent of which are devout Muslims. In this case, not everywhere Islam is life itself, forming its foundation. Jenna - one of those places where a mosque - not just a house of prayer, and spiritual center of the city. And here is the greatest achievement of the Sudano-Sahelian style in architecture - clay mosque, the largest mosque in such a world.

 The mosque is built entirely out of the bank - a mixture of clay, straw and manure. From the bank then build everything - there's even a special committee, diligence and for ensuring that all new buildings were erected in Djenne exclusively from the bank. Congregational mosque was built in the period between 1906 and 1909 years, and has since been repaired almost every year - the clay - a material is shaky, and if you do not upgrade every year, the walls and roof, the building just "melt" in the rainy season.

William & Kate Lookalike Competition

Royal Wedding brought forward? No, it's a William & Kate lookalike competition

Onlookers would be forgiven for thinking the Royal Wedding was being held two days early.

But the regal bride and groom posing for pictures were in fact taking part in a William & Kate lookalike contest.

Orsola Rossi and Simon Watkinson UK were flown to London for the competition final, organised by EasyJet.

And the winners are: Orsola Rossi from Italy and Simon Watkinson from the UK win the William & Kate look-a-likes competition

Hot competition: Ten couples took part to win one year's worth of flights with EasyJet

The pair - dead ringers for the future King and Queen - were the obvious winners and went home with one year's worth of flights with the budget airline.

Besides being a mirror image of the Royal love birds, they had to impress judges by waving like a Royal, acting out a romantic wedding proposal and throwing the bridal bouquet.

Simon Watkinson said: 'I’ve often been told that I look like Prince William, particularly since the Royal engagement was announced, but I can’t believe that I’ve been crowned the winner.

On bended knee: Couples were judged on romantic proposal...

Flower power:...and bouquet throwing skills

'I’m so excited to have won a year’s worth of free easyJet flights and to be in London for the big day.'

His partner was equally pleased.

Orsola Rossi, 30, from Milan, said: 'To be voted the best double to one of the most famous women in the world is very exciting.

This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there isn’t a better place to be to enjoy the celebrations.'

Standing tall: Hundreds of people from Europe entered the contest but only ten finalists were chosen

Royal wave: The panel judged William look-alikes on their waving abilities

The duo were among ten couples, from all over Europe, to take part.

The contestants were judged on resemblance, curtseying, throwing of bouquets, and proposal speeches.

The contest is just a small part of the Royal Wedding fever gripping the nation ahead of Friday's nuptials.

Swept off her feet: Orsola and Simon, from Italy, will stay in London to watch the real Royal Wedding celebrations

Simon and Orsola will stay in London to watch the real Royal wedding celebrations and take in the sights of the city with a friend courtesy of the low-cost airline.

Paul Moore, Communications Director at easyJet said: 'The competition has been fierce with hundreds applying to be crowned the best Will and Kate look-a-likes Europe has to offer.

'However, Simon and Orsola stood out as they bear such a striking resemblance to our future King & Queen.

'It has been great fun to fly look-a-likes from all over Europe to London to enjoy the wedding celebrations and crown our very own easyJet Royal couple.'

Helping hand: A bride forgoes her competitive streak to help another to pin her veil back

Calling animals 'pets' deemed 'insulting'

Pet owners should stop calling their animals "pets" because it's insulting, leading academics claim.

Domestic dogs, cats, and other creatures should instead be called "companion animals" while owners should be known as "human carers", they say.

The call comes from the Journal of Animal Ethics, a new academic publication, edited by the Rev Professor Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

In its first editorial, the journal also condemns the use of terms such as "critters" and "beasts", and even "wildlife" because it suggests "uncivilised".

It argues that "derogatory" language about animals can affect the way that they are treated.

"Despite its prevalence, 'pets' is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers," the editorial claims.

"Again the word 'owners', whilst technically correct in law, harks back to a previous age when animals were regarded as just that: property, machines or things to use without moral constraint."
It goes on: "We invite authors to use the words 'free-living', 'free-ranging' or 'free-roaming' rather than 'wild animals'.

"For most, 'wildness' is synonymous with uncivilised, unrestrained, barbarous existence. There is an obvious prejudgment here that should be avoided."

Prof Linzey also hopes to see phrases such as "sly as a fox", "eat like a pig" or "drunk as a skunk" stamped out.

Tiny tribute to royal couple's big day

A Birmingham artist has paid microscopic tribute to the royal wedding.

Willard Wigan has created a sculpture of Prince William and Catherine Middleton so small it can fit in the eye of a needle.

In the tiny artwork, the couple can be seen arm-in-arm, with Kate wearing her famous blue Issa engagement dress.

Mr Willard said his aim was to create "the smallest, biggest tribute" to the couple on their wedding day.

He is famous for his micro-sculptures, which can only be seen clearly through a microscope.
For his Wills and Kate tribute he sculpted a tiny piece of synthetic fibre which he then painted using a single eyelash.

Previously he has immortalised the likes of Barack Obama in miniature as well as inscribing the Lord's Prayer on a pin-head.

Woman driver's lucky escape

A woman had a lucky escape after she stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake and nearly shot backwards over a roof edge.

Shan Dan, 57, was reversing her BMW car in a multi-storey car park in Changchun, capital of north-east China's Jilin Province.

"I felt a sudden bump from the rear, and then out of panic, I tried to step hard on the brake, but mistakenly stepped on the gas instead," she said.

Shan, who has been driving for only six months, was left dangling over the edge of the roof after her can knocked down a barrier.
"I calmly killed the engine, opened the door and got out of the car before realising how dangerous it was," she added.

"I was absolutely terrified when I got out and saw the precarious position of my car."

A crane had to be called in to lift the car to safety.

Bananas about the royal wedding

A Japanese man has sculpted Prince William and Kate Middleton - out of bananas.

Keisuke Yamada took half an hour to make each face using a spoon and toothpick.

The 23-year-old electrician specialises in creating fantasy characters by gently carving the banana flesh but this was a new challenge.

Mr Yamada said: "l am used to sculpting weird faces and ghouls, but trying to capture the features of Prince William and Kate was a fun challenge.
"I hope they will be flattered by my tribute to them and I wish them a very happy marriage."

Although he is proud of his work, it wasn't around for long enough to go on public display.

"I always eat the bananas after I have photographed them," Mr Yamada explained.

Lucy wins Beautiful Bulldog title

Lucy Brown's slobber, sloth and bloodshot eyes helped her to the title of this year's Beautiful Bulldog.

The three-year-old, from Johnston, US, edged out 49 dogs to win the title at the Drake Relays sporting event in Des Moines, Iowa.

Lucy's owner, Nancy Brown, said: "She just thinks that the world goes around her. You know, Queen Lucy."

Lucy Brown will make a series of public appearances and serve as the mascot for the Drake Relays.

Officials use the term "beautiful" loosely for the tongue-in-cheek pageant, now in its 32nd year.
"They're looking for that bulldog with bloody eyes and drool coming down from the mouth. Bowed legs - maybe a nice costume," said master of ceremonies Dolph Pulliam.

This year's entrants didn't disappoint, including bulldogs decked out in camouflage, angel wings and tutus.

Woman shares home with big cats

Animal lover Regina Hoffmann is a real life Lion Queen after bringing up 50 big cats at her home.

The 53-year-old is always the one called on to look after the beasts if they're rejected by their mothers at a safari park in Hodenhagen, Germany.

And not just lions have been reared by Regina, 53, but also other big cats including tiger cubs and baby panthers.

She said: "I take them home and hand rear them until they are strong enough to return to their enclosures."
But despite the fact the animals have a reputation as natural born killers, Regina says they barely differ to domesticated cats.

She said: "They are playful and meow when they want something just like normal cats.

"The only difference is that instead of Whiskas they eat up to six kilos of raw meat each every day, which makes shopping quite expensive."

Two-headed calf shocks owner

A Chinese grandmother collapsed with shock when her cow gave birth to a two-headed calf.

Dong Yubao, 65, of Gaoyang village, northern China's Hebei Province, said his wife Li Chunhua, 60,
was helping the cow give birth.

"My wife and a neighbour were in the barn to help the cow through labour," he said.

"The calf came out - heads first - and my wife fell to the floor when she saw the two heads and four eyes."

Dong said the cow had previously been a mother many times and her calves had all been healthy and normal.

"I can't understand why she produced such a weird calf this time," he added.

The calf's two heads point in almost opposite directions. Both heads have their own eyes, nose and mouth but only three ears between them.

Dong said the two-headed calf can't stand unaided so his 16-year-old granddaughter Jinfeg is bottle-feeding it with sheep milk.

Volcano in Iceland - Amazing Photos!

An Icelandic volcano, dormant for 200 years, has erupted, ripping a 1km-long fissure in a field of ice. The volcanic ash has forced the cancellation of many flights and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, stranding thousands of passengers. Collected here are photos of the most recent eruptions.

The volcano has erupted for the second time in less than a month, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air and forcing hundreds of people to flee rising floodwaters.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

World's last typewriter factory 'shuts down' in Mumbai

London, April 26 (ANI): Godrej and Boyce - the last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters - has closed its production plant in Mumbai, India.

The company is now left with its last 200 machines - the majority of which are Arabic language models.

Although typewriters became obsolete years ago in the west, they were still common in India - until recently.

But with consumers switching to computers the demand for the machines started falling drastically in the last ten years.

"We are not getting many orders now," The Daily Mail quoted the company's general manager, Milind Dukle, as telling India's Business Standard newspaper.

"From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us.

"Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year. But this might be the last chance for typewriter lovers. Now, our primary market is among the defence agencies, courts and government offices," he said.

The firm began production in the 1950s. (ANI)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thrill Seeking Youngsters

Girls cling to each other for dear life as huge wave crashes around them on edge of pier

These thrill-seeking girls literally cling on to each other for dear life as a huge wave crashes and breaks around them.

The dramatic scene took place on Easter Monday at Castlerock in Northern Ireland as the pair stood perilously close to the edge of the pier.

Photographer Tam Mullen captured the moment from the beach as the two hugged each other tight around a lamp post to stop themselves being knock into the ocean.

The couple cling on to each other for dear life as a huge wave crashes and breaks around them on a pier at Castlerock in Northern Ireland

Luckily, the girls were not swept into the sea and escaped drenched but otherwise happy.

Mullen, 29, from Belfast, said: 'I was shooting surfing photos at the time and every so often a rogue wave would strike the pier and break with the impact.

'When I saw this wave I snapped a picture of the spray and I was surprised to see these two people running away from the wave.

'I'm not sure if they knew quite how huge the wave was going to be. They weren't harmed at all - but it looked like they got absolutely soaked.'

Luckily, the pair were not swept into the sea and escaped drenched but otherwise happy

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey see, monkey do: The remarkably human faces pulled by our primate cousins

If they handed out prizes for gurning, then this lot would swing to the top of the queue.

These intimate portraits of Bonobos, gorillas and orangutans are part of a project by German photographer Volker Gutgessell who has spent the last four years visiting Frankfurt Zoo.

Standing patiently for several hours a day, 58-year-old Mr Volker has become a master at capturing the behaviours and expressions of his subjects.

Pensive primate: A Bonobo at Frankfurt Zoo is captured on camera looking lost in thought

Mr Volker said: 'I stand for many hours watching both the apes and the families that visit them. I see the way the parent chimps and gorillas treat their children.

'In all the years I've visited them, I've never seen an ape parent hit its child.'

One of the photographer's most remarkable images shows a Bonobo mother gently cradling her child.
Gawker: A chimp is captured looking startled as part of photographer Volker Gutgessell's four-year project

Another hilarious shot shows one of the naughty baby monkeys mocking an elder by baring its top teeth.

Mr Volker said: 'They are so cute with them and have endless patience - even though the little ones can be naughty sometimes.

'The human parents I see visiting the apes can actually learn a lot from them.'

Smacker: A touching show of affection between two of the creatures

Mr Volker used to travel the world as a media manager until he slipped a disc and was left with chronic back pain in 2004. Then in 2007, Volker developed tinnitus as a result of his injury, causing a constant ringing in his ears.

As Volker cannot hear, he feels a special connection to the primates through visual communication - picking up on the body language of his ape 'models' while shooting them.

Volker said: 'The more you watch them, the more similarities you see between us and them. Their movement is so strikingly similar to ours it becomes quite easy to read what's going on.

Chewing it over: A monkey at Frankfurt Zoo looks lost in his own thoughts

'Eye contact is very important - sometimes they see into the camera lens and become transfixed. The bonobos are funny creatures - they're my favourite.

'They live in a society where the males are ruled by the females. So you see the males trying desperately to socialise as much as possible by preening the females - they can't do enough for them!'

Although his photographs are intended to amuse, there is a serious message behind Mr Volker's work.

My urgent message is for us to learn from the gentle conduct of our animal relatives the primates,' he said.

Surprise me! A baby orangutan is caught off guard by the photographer

Don't look so sour: One adult primate appears unhappy about the interruption to snacktime

Let rip: An adult male gorilla makes himself heard at Frankfurt Zoo

Amazing Architecture - Anara Tower Dubai

Anara Tower was a proposed supertall skyscraper located in Dubai. It was designed to look like a massive wind turbine. It would have been 600 m tall with 135 floors.

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