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Showing posts from June 17, 2013

New diet craze offers five days of feasting for two days of famine

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Forget abandoning carbohydrates or detoxing. The new dieting craze sweeping Britain and taking off in the United States lets people eat whatever they like - but only five days a week. "The Fast Diet", also known as the 5:2 diet, is the brainchild of TV medical journalist Michael Mosley and journalist Mimi Spencer and allows people to eat what they want for five days but only eat 600 calories a day on the other two.   Their book, "The Fast Diet", has topped bestselling book lists in Britain and the United States this year and been reprinted more than a dozen times. Mosley said the diet is based on work by British and U.S. scientists who found intermittent fasting helped people lose more fat, increase insulin sensitivity and cut cholesterol which should mean reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. He tried this eating regime for a BBC television science programme called "Eat, Fast, Live Longer" last August after finding out his cholesterol level wa

'Desperate father' spray paints British queen's portrait

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A man defaced a portrait of Britain's Queen Elizabeth with paint at London's Westminster Abbey on Thursday, with a campaign group for fathers' rights saying he was one of its members making a "desperate" plea to the monarch for help. The painting of the 87-year-old monarch, "The Coronation Theatre: Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II" by London-based artist Ralph Heimans, had been part of a display marking the 60 years since the queen's coronation in 1953.   "In an incident at lunchtime today, a visitor to the Abbey sprayed paint on the Ralph Heimans portrait of the queen presently on display in the Chapter House," an Abbey spokesman said. "Until work can be done to remedy the damage, it will, very regrettably, not be possible to have the painting on public view." London's Metropolitan Police said security guards had detained a suspect at the scene. Officers arrested the 41-year-old man on suspicion of criminal da

'Happy Birthday to You' belongs to us all, lawsuit says

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"Happy Birthday to You," the ditty sung around the world in tribute to everyone from toddlers to centenarians, belongs to the public, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday. The proposed class action asks a federal court to declare the song to be in the public domain and that Warner/Chappel Music Inc, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, return "millions of dollars of unlawful licensing fees" it has collected for reproductions and public performances of the song.   "More than 120 years after the melody to which the simple lyrics of 'Happy Birthday to You' is set was first published, defendant Warner/Chappell boldly, but wrongfully and unlawfully, insists that it owns the copyright to 'Happy Birthday to You,'" the lawsuit said. A representative of Warner/Chappell was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit. The plaintiff is Good Morning To You Productions Corp, a New York company that says it is making a docume

Long-lost diary of top Hitler aide offers window into Nazi soul

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U.S. officials on Thursday unveiled the 400-page diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a top aide to Adolf Hitler, who oversaw the genocide against Jews and others during World War Two. The diary disappeared after the Nuremberg trials in 1946, sparking a nearly 70-year hunt that ended on April 5 in the upstate New York town of Lewiston, at the home of an academic named Herbert Richardson. The diary pages, hand-written in German and not yet completely translated into English by scholars, offers a broader look at the Third Reich's policies and practices, as well as an unvarnished account of a Nazi leader's thoughts, authorities said at a news conference on Thursday.   "These 400 pages are a window into the dark soul of one of the great wrongs in human history," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, which investigates cases of missing cultural property. "It's significant because, as time marches on, there are fewer living witnesses o

Fake label, wrong glass among clues in alleged bogus wine case

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An artificially aged label was among the clues that a pricey magnum of French wine sold by celebrity chef Charlie Trotter last year was a fake, a wine expert involved in the case said Friday. Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj paid more than $46,200 last June for what they thought was a magnum of 1945 Domaine de la RomanĂ©e-Conti from Trotter's legendary restaurant, according to an amended complaint filed in federal court in Chicago on Friday.   Trotter closed his restaurant in August, and sold thousands of bottles from his restaurant's wine collection. Reuters could not reach Trotter for comment on Friday. But he denied the allegations to the Chicago Tribune, according to a story published on the newspaper's web site. The Tribune reported that Trotter said one of the buyers had called him asking for his money back, and described him as "a disgruntled client who probably paid a lot more money (for the bottle) than he's ever paid before. It's buyer's remorse."

Arizona nonagenarian sets weightlifting world record

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A barrel-chested 91-year-old strongman from Arizona shattered the world record for the bench press in his dwindling age group, with a lift of 187.2 pounds - some 50 pounds more than the previous record. Sy Perlis bested the record of 135 pounds set in 2005 during a national competition last weekend in Phoenix as the lone participant in the 90-year-old and over division, competition officials said. "He's pretty amazing, there's no doubt about it," said Gus Rethwisch, president of the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters, who witnessed Perlis' record lift. "He looks like he could be in his 70s. He's in great shape." Perlis, who won world titles in 2010 and 2011 in the 85-year-old to 89-year-old division, told the Arizona Republic newspaper that he started hitting the weights when he was 60 years old. He did not enter a championship competition until five years ago at the suggestion of his trainer.   "It gave me the opportunity to do

Famed Milwaukee tavern rehangs bras on ceiling

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Standing on a foot ladder, Jeff Scanell bent down, pinched his girlfriend's red lace brassiere between his thumb and index finger and gently lifted it out of the front of her shirt as a cowbell wildly rang and a raucous crowd roared. The 37-year-old Milwaukee tool and die worker then reached above and added the undergarment to the dangling array of colorful bras of various shapes and sizes that hung from the scarlet tin ceiling.   "I was a virgin, never hung a bra before, but it was super cool," said Mary Lynn Nowak, his bra-less girlfriend, as she enjoyed a drink. The couple participated on Friday night in "The Great Bra Rehanging" event at the Holler House, a 105-year-old Milwaukee watering hole where bras have hung from the ceiling for more than four decades. The event was the culmination of a month-long battle with the city of Milwaukee that began in April when an inspector ordered bar owner Marcy Skowronski to remove the 100 or so bras from the ceilin

Zimbabwe may have to field two goalkeepers in qualifier

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Cash-strapped Zimbabwe may have to field two goalkeepers in their 2014 World Cup soccer qualifier against Guinea in Conakry on Sunday. _0"> A late flight booking by the financially-troubled Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) meant only 14 seats could be found on the connecting flight from Dakar in Senegal to Conakry for the original travelling party of 25.   German coach Klaus Dieter Pagels and the team doctor set off, along with a squad of 12 players that included goalkeepers Washington Arubi and Maxwell Nyamupangedengu. Zimbabwe media reported on Saturday that one of the outfield players, who was not named, had mislaid his passport in Nairobi where the team were due to connect to Dakar, and would not be able to continue the journey. ZIFA said they hoped to get at least some of the remaining players to Guinea in time for the game, which kicks off at 1700 GMT on Sunday. (Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Clare Fallon)

How Obama crossed his own line on Syria after months of debate

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President Obama's decision to arm Syrian rebels for the first time follows an intense, nearly two-year debate within the White House in which the president and his closest advisers consistently expressed skepticism about U.S. intervention in a Middle East civil war, current and former officials said. The two deciding factors in the decision to change course, they said, were growing military gains by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, aided by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, and harder intelligence that the Syrian military had used chemical weapons in the form of sarin nerve gas.   Which of the developments played a greater role in tipping the balance was unclear. Publicly, the Obama administration pointed to the evidence of chemical weapons use, which one senior administration official said had "ripened" in the last two weeks. Some of the U.S. officials said on Friday that the real game-changer in Obama's calculus on Syria was not the chemic

Rain helps firefighters tame Colorado blaze

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Crews battling a deadly wildfire that is the most destructive on record in Colorado have contained almost half of the 15,000-acre (6,070-hectare) blaze that has incinerated nearly 500 homes outside Colorado Springs, authorities said on Saturday. Cooler temperatures, calmer winds and a rainstorm that moved over the burn area on Friday allowed fire managers to increase the containment of the fire to 45 percent from 30 percent the day before.   "Last night, there was no growth and no more structures lost," incident commander Rich Harvey of the U.S. Forest Service told a news conference. But the number of homes confirmed destroyed by the so-called Black Forest Fire jumped to 473 overnight as assessment crews combed through areas that have cooled, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said. Maketa said the bulk of the homes were lost in the first 24 hours of the blaze, and voiced optimism the threat from the fire was diminishing. "I think we're getting the upper hand

Web companies begin releasing surveillance information after U.S. deal

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Facebook and Microsoft have struck agreements with the U.S. government to release limited information about the number of surveillance requests they receive, a modest victory for the companies as they struggle with the fallout from disclosures about a secret government data-collection program. Facebook on Friday became the first to release aggregate numbers of requests, saying in a blog post that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 U.S. requests for user data in the second half of 2012, covering 18,000 to 19,000 of its users' accounts. Facebook has more than 1.1 billion users worldwide.   The majority of those requests are routine police inquiries, a person familiar with the company said, but under the terms of the deal with Justice Department, Facebook is precluded from saying how many were secret orders issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Until now, all information about requests under FISA, including their existence, were deemed secret. Microsoft said i

Young Turks seek greater liberty, not revolution

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Ask the younger protesters who have taken to Turkey's streets over the past two weeks what they are fighting for, and the response is simple: "More freedom". It is an aspiration they might just achieve.   Turkey's worst political unrest in decades has galvanized a wide range of opponents of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party, from anti-capitalist Muslims and gay rights activists to doctors and lawyers, all tired of what they see as his oppressively authoritarian rule. At the forefront are a generation who, unlike their parents, have grown up in an increasingly outward-looking and fast-growing economy, a new middle class with its material trappings - satellite TV, smartphones and social media connections with friends around the world. Ironically it is Erdogan who has driven that change, overseeing a near-tripling in nominal wealth over his past decade in power. But for the young protesters in Ankara, Istanbul and other cities around Tu

Hong Kong rally backs Snowden, denounces allegations of U.S. spying

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A few hundred rights advocates and political activists marched through Hong Kong on Saturday to demand protection for Edward Snowden, who leaked revelations of U.S. electronic surveillance and is now believed to be holed up in the former British colony. Marchers gathered outside the U.S. consulate shouting slogans denouncing alleged spying operations aimed at China and Hong Kong, but the numbers were modest compared to rallies over other rights and political issues.   "Arrest Obama, free Snowden," protesters shouted outside the slate grey building as police looked on. Many waved banners that said: "Betray Snowden, betray freedom", "Big brother is watching you" and "Obama is checking your email". Some blew whistles in support of Snowden, 29, the American former CIA contractor who has acknowledged being behind leaks of the surveillance programs by the National Security Agency. The procession moved on to government headquarters in the city, w

Analysis: Iran moderate's poll triumph is mandate for change

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Iranian voters weary of years of economic isolation and tightening political restrictions threw down a blunt demand for change on Saturday by handing a moderate cleric a landslide victory in a presidential election. Having waited throughout Friday night and most of Saturday, millions of Iranians at home and abroad greeted Hassan Rohani's victory with a mix of euphoria and relief that eight years under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were finally over. That Rohani, a former nuclear negotiator, trounced hardline "Principlist" rivals most loyal to the theocratic system and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Friday's contest left many in the Islamic Republic in shock. A second surprise was that the country's first presidential poll since a disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad in 2009 appeared to be free and fair. His victory goes some way to repairing the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, badly damaged four years ago when the disputed poll led to m

Hospital siege, blasts new Pakistan government's first security test

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Militants in a volatile region of western Pakistan bombed a bus carrying women students on Saturday and then seized part of the hospital where survivors were taken, in the first major security test for the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. At least 22 people were killed in a day of violence that started with an apparent separatist attack that destroyed a summer retreat once used by the nation's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the hills of Baluchistan province.   A policeman lost his life in the attack on a popular symbol of Pakistan's history, which was gutted by fire after several small bombs were detonated. "Baluchistan is part of Pakistan and we will not leave our people alone in a time of tragedy," Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told reporters in a news conference. The first attack was quickly followed by a bus bomb on a university campus in Baluchistan's capital Quetta that killed at least 14 women students. The injured were taken to the city's

Google's Project Loon explores balloon-powered Internet access

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Google Inc has launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes could bring reliable Internet access to the world's most remote regions, the company said late Friday. _0"> The pilot program, Project Loon, took off this month from New Zealand's South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles - twice as high as airplanes - above the ground, Google said.   Like the Internet search engine for which Google is best known, Project Loon uses algorithms to determine where the balloons need to go, then moves them into winds blowing in the desired direction, the company said. By moving with the wind, the balloons form a network of airborne hot spots that can deliver Internet access over a broad area at speeds comparable to 3G using open radio frequency bands, Google said. To connect to the balloon network, a special Internet antenna is attached to buildings below. The Mountain View, Cal

U.S. puts jets in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone

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The United States said on Saturday it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman's request, and Russia bristled at the possibility they could be used to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria. Washington, which has long called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, pledged military support to Syrian rebels this week, citing what it said was the Syrian military's use of chemical weapons - an allegation Damascus has denied.   Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a Jordanian request for American F-16s and Patriot missiles to remain in the Western-backed kingdom after a joint military exercise there next week, a Pentagon spokesman said. Western diplomats said on Friday Washington was considering a limited no-fly zone over parts of Syria , but the White House noted later that it would be far harder and costlier to set one up there than it was in Libya, saying the United States had no national interest in pursuing that option. Russia, an ally of Da

Turkish riot police storm Istanbul park in bid to end protests

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Turkish riot police stormed an Istanbul park at the heart of two weeks of protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, firing tear gas and water cannon and sending hundreds scurrying into surrounding streets. Lines of police backed by armored vehicles sealed off Taksim Square in the center of the city as officers stormed the adjoining Gezi Park, where protesters had been living in a ramshackle tent camp.   Erdogan had warned hours earlier that security forces would clear the square, the center of more than two weeks of fierce anti-government protests that spread to cities across Turkey , unless the demonstrators withdrew before a ruling party rally in Istanbul on Sunday. "We have our Istanbul rally tomorrow. I say it clearly: Taksim Square must be evacuated, otherwise this country's security forces know how to evacuate it," he told tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters at a rally in Ankara. A main public-sector union confederation, KESK, which ha

Iran's new president hails 'victory of moderation'

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Moderate cleric Hassan Rohani won Iran's presidential election on Saturday with a resounding defeat of conservative hardliners, calling it a victory of moderation over extremism and pledging a new tone of respect in international affairs. Though thousands of jubilant Iranians poured onto the streets in celebration of the victory, the outcome will not soon transform Iran's tense relations with the West, resolve the row over its nuclear program or lessen its support of Syria's president in the civil war there - matters of national security that remain the domain of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.   But the president runs the economy and wields broad influence in decision-making in other spheres. Rohani's resounding mandate could provide latitude for a diplomatic thaw with the West and more social freedoms at home after eight years of belligerence and repression under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was legally barred from seeking a third consecutive term. &