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Amid Drought, Tom Selleck Accused of Siphoning Truckloads of Hydrant Water for Ranch Property

Amid Drought, Tom Selleck Accused of Siphoning Truckloads of Hydrant Water for Ranch Property

Meanwhile, California residents have been ordered to reduce their water usage by 25 percent

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Cease-and-desist letters have been filed against Selleck since 2013.

Tom Selleck, the seasoned actor known for his work in programs like Magnum P.I., Friends, and Blue Bloods, has been accused of stealing multiple truckloads of water from a public hydrant that is outside Selleck’s water district.

The complaint, filed by the Calleguas Municipal Water District, comes during a brutal drought period for California, during which residents have been ordered to reduce their overall water consumption by 25 percent, with the potential for greater sanctions.

Selleck’s water theft, which has reportedly been ongoing since 2013, was discovered after the Calleguas district hired a private investigator for $22,000.

The Sellecks’ property, a ranch that includes an avocado farm, is located in a different water district, Hidden Valley Municipal Water District.

Previously, the district filed cease-and-desist letters against the couple, but is now taking more serious steps to stop the theft. According to the complaint, Selleck’s water truck has been spotted at the hydrant at least four times since March of this year.

Amid Drought, Tom Selleck Accused of Siphoning Truckloads of Hydrant Water for Ranch Property - Recipes

by ANDREI HARMSWORTH - Thursday, October 23, 2008

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Out of it: Kerry slurs on This Morning

Kerry Katona was sensationally banned from ITV's This Morning show after storming from the studio without saying goodbye to presenters Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton.
Schofield delivered the blow after telling how the misguided star unravelled in the lead up and aftermath to her woeful shock interview yesterday.
Schofield denies he and Britton 'ambushed' the 'agitated' mum-of-four for insatiable viewing but reveals Katona's own MTV crew were eager to shoot a secret tape of her storming off in her 'condition'

'She arrived very late…. Didn't give anyone any time to sit down and talk to her…one of our researchers said we were gonna mention the bankruptcy, and she said or someone round her said 'if you talk about the bankruptcy then she's gonna walk out…'. That came through to the studio floor saying she's a bit 'agitated'' says Schofield.

She sort of ambushed herself by slurring her words, so I don't think there was an ambush

'At no time have we have any idea of what condition she might be in'(sic) claims the presenter.
Then banning the reality star, 28, he warned: 'In the paper today it says she'd never come on again…well, until she's better, of course, we wouldn't let her on anyway…'
Continuing Schofield, insists the presenting duo had no option but to continue the 'car crash', telling Chris Moyles' Radio 1 show: 'Both Fern and I looked at each other and said 'there's a problem here' but by which stage you're on the air, it's too late.'
Continuing he says: 'There's no way our producer would have allowed that interview to have gone ahead had we known the situation she'd found herself in that morning.'
'She had her MTV team with her…as we went to the break, she was obviously very, very angry with us, and she got up and walked out of the studio with her husband and we didn't attempt to stop her because we knew she was a very angry girl.'
Shifting the blame back on the star, Schofield says: 'She sort of ambushed herself by slurring her words, so I don't think there was an ambush.'
'I think it was irresponsible to put her on the telly and to drive in her to our studio yesterday was irresponsible

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Guy looks like he's had a good night out with Jude Law and smiling Robert Downy Jnr

Its only been a week since Madonna and Guy Ritchie announced their plans to divorce.
But Guy seems to have ditched his marriage woes as he stepped out in London for a night with the boys. The film director seemed to be enjoying the single life as he hung out with his A-list mates, Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law at his Punchbowl pub in Mayfair

Smiling Ritchie, 40, who is usually dressed in slick suits when out with Madonna, was sporting a casual diamond-print jumper, jeans and trainers.

Smiling Ritchie is usually dressed in slick suits but was sporting a casual diamond print jumper, jeans and trainers.
The trio had initially met to discuss Ritchie's new Sherlock Holmes movie in which Jude and Robert both star.
Their evening then took them to a screening of artist friend Sam Taylor Wood's new exhibition at the White Cube gallery in London.
Madonna on the other hand is reported to be having intense anger management sessions since the split The 50-year-old is allegedly seeing a counsellor to help her deal with her fury against her ex

Natalie Imbruglia is not known for her fashion faux pas, in fact it's been a long time since she put a foot wrong in the fashion world.

But since her blonde makeover recently, it seems as though her reign of elegance is coming to an end.

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Natalie is ready for Christmas in that dress

The Australian beauty turned up to perform at the Virgin Unite Rock the Kasbah Gala in Los Angles looking positively wrong.
Wearing a hideous red-sequined gown the singer attempted to hover down the red carpet with like her usual glamorous self.
But with the bright red-bobbled attire she looked less Tinseltown and more, well tinsel

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Taxpayers’ money is being used to allow families to live in expensive privately-owned homes

Thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is being used to allow families to live in expensive privately-.owned homes, it emerged
Under a scheme to reduce housing waiting lists, councils are allowed to help those at risk of homelessness rent from a private landlord.
Tenants claim housing benefit to cover the costs, but with rental rates for such properties in certain parts of London standing at more than £1,000 a week, the system has come under fire.
Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell criticised the scheme for enabling people on benefits to live in homes that were out of reach of "hard-working families" and pledged to make it fairer. His comments came as the Evening Standard revealed that one landlord was paid £1,125-a-week by the state for a family to live in a £1.5 million four-bedroom mews house in an exclusive part of London.
Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, which arranged the rental, admitted it had used private accommodation to house more than 400 families under its LetStart scheme since 2006.
Earlier this month, the Government announced a review into how housing benefit works after it came to light that taxpayers were paying £2,875 per week to house a family in a west London mansion under Local Housing Allowance rates for landlords.
Ealing Council revealed it had turned to the private sector for a home for Toorpakai Saindi and her seven children in July after the Government said the family was entitled to a seven-bedroom house which the authority could not supply.
Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council introduced LetStart in February 2006.
Under the scheme, the council helps residents into private accommodation by paying the deposit and the first month's rent. The council said it uses a "rolling" annual budget of £600,000 to meet those costs.
The deposit is recouped when the tenant moves out and the rent is paid back via housing benefit. Tenants are then responsible for paying their rent, which in practice comes from the housing benefit they claim

A controversial scientist who preserves human corpses and displays them to the public has defended his latest exhibition.

Gunther von Hagens, whose Body Worlds And The Mirror Of Time exhibition opens to the public at the O2 Arena in London on Friday, said he was presenting a "health message."
A total of 200 cadavers from babies to the elderly have been arranged in lifelike poses, as part of the scientist's latest Body Worlds exhibition

They have all been preserved using Dr von Hagens' controversial "plastination" technique. This involves peeling the skin back to reveal the inner organs, arteries and muscles and encasing it all in plastic.
"This exhibition is all about the cycle of life, from the spark of conception, to the development of a mature body, and it goes through to elderly people," he said.

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? Why don't people want to play with me

"It shows the whole spectrum of life. It shows how we develop and we age. We realise how our lifestyle entrances our organs, our body, and in this way, our capability in life, our length of life and how we feel.
"People will learn about the importance of their bodies. They will learn how fragile and how strong the body is. They will learn that they have to take care of their bodies, and eat less excessive food and smoke less, and refrain from drugs.
"It gives a strong message, it is a life-changing experience, only the real is able to change our habits," the scientist explained.
Mirror Of Time is Dr von Hagens' first London exhibition since 2003. His previous Body Worlds shows have been dubbed "the goriest on earth" for their no-holds barred look at human anatomy.
But he rubbished claims that his work was frightening, saying it helped visitors to "understand death

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Lily Allen steps out at a party to celebrate Sam Taylor-Wood's new exhibition

.Lily Allen has never been afraid to be outspoken and her latest song attacks Britain's rampant drug use

Called "Everyone's At It", which is streaming on her MySpace, she sings: "So you've got a prescription, and that makes it legal. I find those excuses overwhelmingly feeble.
"The kids are in danger, they're all getting hurt."
"I'm not trying to say that I'm smelling of roses but when will we tire of putting s*** up our noses."
"It's meant to be fun and this just doesn't feel right."
"Why can't we all just be honest and admit to ourselves everyone's on it."
The song will be the first single taken from her new album "It's Not Me, It's You", which is due to be released on February 9, 2009

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Tom Cruise has got revenge on chat show host Matt Lauer

Tom Cruise got his revenge on US talk show host Matt Lauer on Friday morning.
The Mission Impossible star made a surprise appearance at a 'roast' of the Today Show newsman at the Friars Club in New York.
He went on stage and hugged Matt, before telling the audience that he would do anything for his "good friend Matt".
The duo famously sparred on TV in 2005, with the presenter questioning Tom's religion of Scientology, his then-engagement to Katie Holmes and prescription drugs.
But Tom got his back three years later.
"Believe it or not, Matt and I are best friends we do everything together," the actor told the crowd as he flipped through Photoshopped photos of the two swimming and barbequing together.
"My life is made up of jumping from international film set to fancy party, from fancy party to international film set, while you have been content to do the same thing everyday: Sit on the couch until Father Time and GE think you are too old and too boring."
He ended his speech by saying: "In front of all these people, I just want you to know I can't believe I flew all the way out here. Now, lose my number

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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Keanu on the town last night

Keanu Reeves attended the premiere of Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a movie about a Canadian heavy metal band, in London on Tuesday night.
Keanu attended the event to support his friend Sacha Gervasi, who made the film.
The movie sees Anvil band members, now aged in their 50s, still dedicated to following their rock dreams.
The band was formed in Toronto by two school friends, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and Robb Reiner, and gained some fame with their second album Metal On Metal in 1982, but they later drifted into obscurity.
Keanu was greeted by screaming fans as he signed autographs.
He said: "It's a great story, it's a really inspiring film about friendship."
Asked if it inspired him to be back in a band, the actor replied "No".
He said he was in London for a couple of days and had visited the theatre during his trip.
He was also joined by the Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown, who stood on the red carpet chatting with those involved in the film.
Organisers of the event said that Mrs Brown's brother Sean Macaulay was involved in making the film, which was being screened in Leicester Square as part of the BFI 52nd London Film Festival

After giving birth only eight months ago Jennifer Lopez showed of her post baby body in a stunning figure-hugging pink evening gown last night

She arrived at The Fashion Group International's 25th Annual Night of Stars with her husband Marc Anthony.

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---- JLo reveals new body

The Latina beauty, who is the mother to twins, lost the weight through a regime of running and swimming while she trained for a triathlon which she completed last month

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Catherine Zeta-Jones

. Catherine Zeta-Jones is set to star in a 3-D rock'n'roll musical about Cleopatra
The Welsh actress will play the Egyptian queen in director Steven Soderbergh's bonkers new project, reports Varierty.
X-Men star Hugh Jackman will play her lover Marc Anthony in the $30 million film.
Before Cleopatra, Soderbergh is directing The Girlfriend Experience, with ---- star Sasha Grey playing a $10,000-a-night call girl

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Eminem has spent the past few years out of the limelight battling to get over the death of his best friend, the rapper has revealed in a frank new memoir

The Slim Shady star was inconsolable after pal and fellow rapper Deshaun Holton also know as Proof, was gunned down in 2006 outside a club.
"After he passed, it was a year before I could really do anything normally again," Eminem writes in "The Way I Am".
"It was tough for me to even get out of bed, and I had days when I couldn't walk, let alone write a rhyme."
"I have never felt so much pain in my life. It's a pain that is with me to this day. A pain that has become a part of who I am."
He credits Proof with encouraging him to start rapping.
"If Proof hadn't gotten me . into the rap game, I don't know where I'd be," he writes. "I certainly wouldn't be someone you've heard of."
Eminem's new track, "I'm Having a Relapse," has caused a stir on the Web and is fueling talk of a new record and maybe even a tour.
He hasn't released an album since 2004's Encore

by ANDREI HARMSWORTH - Thursday, October 23, 2008

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!? Blonde locks under threat

Watch out! Skinhead Britney is set to make her frightening comeback. But worry not, the singer will only be returning to her bald ways for Halloween.
Friends of Spears claim the singer, 26, will mock herself by wearing a baldy cap for the spooky night to scare trick-or-treaters.
One friend says: 'She's got a lot of friends and family coming over and they'll all be in costume

'She's thinking of going as herself but back in her shaven head days.'
'She's genuinely horrified when she looks back at those times so she figures that look would be a great costume for Halloween

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An image from Maple Story: lots of avatars just waiting to be murdered

A woman has been non-virtually jailed after virtually killing her virtual husband in anonline role-playing game
The 43-year-old became so angry about her sudden divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said.
The woman, who has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his ID and password to log onto Maple Story, a popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), to carry out the virtual murder in May, a police official in the northern city of Sapporo said on Thursday

'I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,' the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.
The woman, a piano teacher, had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.
She has not yet been formally charged. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison or a fine up to US$5,000.
Players in Maple Story create avatars for themselves, while engaging the usual MMORPG pastimes of fighting monsters in dungeons, going on quests, and forming relationships with other players.
The woman killed her ex-husabnd's avatar using login information she had obtained from the 33-year-old office worker during happier times. The man complained to police when he discovered that he was dead.
The woman was arrested Wednesday and taken 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sapporo, where the man lives, the official said.
The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.
Bad online behavior is usually handled within the rules set up by online worlds, which can ban miscreants or take away their virtual possessions.
In recent years, misbehavior in the virtual world has in some cases had consequences in reality.
In August, a woman was charged in the U.S. state of Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through virtual world Second Life.
In Tokyo, a 16-year-old boy was charged with stealing the ID and password from a fellow player of an online game in order to swindle virtual currency worth US$360,000

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Cock-ahoop: George, formerly Georgina

. A cockerel called George is ruling the roost – after transforming from a hen called Georgina
The one-in-10,000 ----swap has taken about two years and started when Georgina shared a home with other hens.
'As she was surrounded by other hens with only one other male in the group she has decided to take on the role of a cockerel,' said Jane Howorth, who keeps George at the Battery Hen Welfare Trust headquarters in Chulmleigh, north Devon

George has even developed a cockscomb on his head.
The change is believed to happen when a damaged ovary causes the hen's testosterone levels to soar, turning the remaining ovary into a testicle

by FRED ATTEWILL - Thursday, October 23, 2008

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Tall story: This daredevil heating engineer clambers on top of the air-conditioning unit on the 16th floor of the block of flats in Russia. Luckily, he came away with his life

. Kids in this country aren't even allowed to play conkers without wearing goggles
.But in Russia, men fit air-conditioning units 16 floors up by hanging out the window with no safety net
This fearless chap first lowered the unit out of the block of flats before enthusiastically launching himself from the window and embracing it in a giant bear hug.
The flimsy metal brackets luckily held and he managed to clamber back inside without plummeting to the street be

The fun is not just confined to the former Soviet Union - in Egyptian capital Cairo another picture shows a man being dangled by his legs as he repairs another air-conditioning unit.
The contrast with Britain could not be greater.
Here, anyone installing such devices would no doubt need to put up scaffolding, close roads and employ hard-hatted safety officers to supervise the process.

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Maverick: Hairy work in Cairo

There has been growing anger in Britain about alleged health and safety killjoys clamping down on innocuous activities.
But the Health and Safety Executive insists it is not seeking to ban everyday activities and says there are myths surrounding its business.
'There have been many reports of the HSE banning all sorts of things - flip-flops at work, knitting in hospitals, sports days, and even cuddly toys on dustbin lorries,' a spokesman said. 'This is simply not true

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A cat: if it was in Stourbridge, it wouldn't be there any more

The RSPCA is investigating the mysterious disappearance of a large number of cats in a town dubbed the Purr-muda Triangle.
More than 40 pet cats are reported to have vanished from homes in Stourbridge, West Midlands, over the last eight years.
The RSPCA has been investigating the disappearances - but said to date, no cat remains had been found.
Julie Wootton, whose 15-year-old cat Norman went missing last year, told the Daily Mail website she had formed a group to try and solve the mystery

She said: 'It's terrible, the area is just deserted of cats now, people have stopped replacing pets because they can't face the heartache.
'We have even found a few collars afterwards, on one it said that the cat was microchipped.
'If the animal is found by the bin-men, or is brought into a vet, they will always scan it for a microchip, so they aren't being found.'
A RSPCA spokesman said: 'We share the concerns of worried cat owners when their pets have gone missing and in liaison with the police have investigated the incidents we have been notified of.
'In this case there have been reports of missing cats with no information about how they have gone missing, with no bodies of cats as evidence therefore it is difficult to investigate further without any evidence.
'We will continue to look into any further incidents which are reported to us and it is our intention to make door to door enquiries in the local area with a leaflet drop to see if any further information will be forthcoming.'
Have you been abducting cats in Stourbridge for the past eight years? What are you doing with them? Let us know in the comments

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Harry Redknapp

. Harry Redknapp has agreed to become manager of Tottenham
The 61-year-old expects be confirmed as Spurs boss later on Sunday morning after Portsmouth gave him permission to talk to the White Hart Lane club following the departure of Juande Ramos. According to Redknapp, Pompey will receive £5million in compensation from the north Londoners.
Redknapp said of his impending appointment: "It's going to be done tonight (Saturday), it will all be sorted out and by the morning I should be in place."
He added on Sky Sports News: "It's a great opportunity for me. It's a big club, Tottenham.
"I love Portsmouth and I loved my time there, we had some fantastic success and I'd never been happier.
"But it's a great deal for Portsmouth, £5million for me, and it's a chance for me to get on and see what I can do."
Redknapp expects to be at White Hart Lane for Sunday afternoon's clash with Bolton and plans to address the players before the match. And despite the despair likely to be felt by Pompey fans at his departure, the former West Ham boss insists it was best for all concerned.
"It's difficult, the funds are tight. We were talking about selling players in January," Redknapp said.
"Tottenham have come in and offered £5million, which is good for the club, and if we're all being honest it was a deal which is good for the club and a chance for me to manage a big club before I retire.
"It worked out okay for everybody

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Happy Jackson gives a wave to the paps

He's usually quick to cover up when he's in public, and on the rare occasions that he's pictured Michal Jackson usually appears gaunt and frail

But yesterday a very healthy looking Jacko courted the cameras as he stepped out in Hollywood for a spot of shopping

Surprisingly the superstar didn't shy away from the cameras and walked around the exclusive shop in Los Angele's Melrose Ave.
He purchased an expensive airplane replica from the 1940s at Off The Wall Antiques before browsing around.
Michael celebrated his 50th birthday this year

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A British fraud victim spoke today of his shock when he discovered a £150 bill at a Brazilian McDonald's restaurant on his bank statement
Joe Pearson, 53, who has never been to Brazil, was horrified to find the £151.99 transaction at the fast food outlet - which could buy a customer 76 Big Mac burgers or 43 medium Big Mac meals.
Retired Mr Pearson, from Gloucester, does not know how his Barclays bank account details were accessed, but a code on his statement allowed anti-fraud staff to track the transaction to an outlet in Brazil.
A call centre worker contacted him to alert him to the possible fraud, so Mr Pearson used internet banking to check his balance

He said: "I looked at my statement online and there were two transactions from McDonald's. The total came to £151.99.
"I called Barclays Bank and they told me it was from a McDonald's restaurant in Brazil.
"Well, I couldn't believe this. I couldn't believe someone could spend that much in McDonald's - they must have been having a party or something.
"I wouldn't eat at McDonald's myself and I couldn't even travel to Brazil if I wanted to - my passport is expired."
Mr Pearson, who retired due to ill health, said he previously used his card to purchase items online, but is careful with his details.
"I have only had the card for a year," he said.
"I'm very careful with my details, I don't give them out. I've made purchases on the internet through Paypal, but aside from that I only use it in the machine."
Mr Pearson had to sign statements to confirm it was not him who made the transaction and Barclays agreed to refund the money to his bank account.
A spokesman for the bank said: "Our fraud detection system must have picked it up and thought it was bizarre that either the gentleman was in Brazil or realised it was such a large amount to spend in a fast food restaurant.
"Although we have a very sophisticated and successful fraud detection system we still want customers to be aware and we would encourage all our customers to be vigilant and to review their bank statements regularly

By JESSICA SATHERLEY - Thursday, October 23, 2008

Metro has carefully chosen the best and worst dressed celebs this week to find out who has hit the fashion jack-pot and who has missed

---- girl band Girls Aloud always look amazing but when the gorgeous five-some performed on the X Factor recently Nadine raised the level of hotness even further in a little pink dress.

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Nadine Coyle looks hot to trot in the little pink designer dress

The singer stepped out with American Football player Jason Levin in the figure hugging number along with cute black stilettos, laced with bowed ankle straps.
Nadine always turns head with her slender pins but this time she also shows off her ample cleavage in the Herve Leger bandage dress, a design also favoured by band mates Cheryl Cole and Kimberly Walsh.
All we can say about the girl is Va Va Voom - great hair, fabulous figure and amazing style….no, we're not jealous at all!

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Kate Bosworth forgets that Christmas is still two months away when she steps out looking like a Xmas cracker

We all know that Christmas is approaching rapidly, but Orlando Bloom's ex girlfriend Kate Bosworth took the theme a bit too far and dressed like a cross between a tree decoration and a Xmas cracker recently.
The rake thin actress showed up at the Mobile Art party for Chanel in a rather unusual silver creation

Kate looks happy enough as she smiles for the cameras but the poor girl obviously forgot to look in the mirror before leaving her Hollywood mansion.
We're sure it must have been just a one off faux pas though, she normally looks stunning

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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Eat bananas to raise your brain's serotonin levels and make you feel happier

If you're feeling blue today you're not the only one, according to research from hair brand GHD who say October 15th is the day that women are most likely to feel unattractive.
With the official end of summer and still being a couple of months away from the festive season, October means that women are feeling the effects of colder and darker days.
The survey of 2,000 British women showed that 25 per cent had put on weight since their summer dieting and were feeling pasty from their tans fading

Almost half of those surveyed were desperate to get a new autumn/winter wardrobe but couldn't afford it due to paying off summer holidays still and 36 per cent had symptoms of SAD from less sunlight and shorter days.
If that's not bad enough, 32 per cent also said their skin and hair was suffering from the change in weather.
But don't let this get you down even more so, there is hope!
To help women transform into their glamorous selves again, GHD is styling hair in London today at the Covent Garden Piazza for small donations that will go towards the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity.
Other tips Metro has come up with to cheer you up on these cold winter days is to hit the gym to boost endorphin levels and eat lots of fruits and vegetables to increase serotonin levels.
Top foods to lift your spirits are: Tofu, spinach, pinapple, bananas, sunflower seeds, asparagus and mung beans

by MILES ERWIN - Monday, October 27, 2008

A plot by Neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate White House hopeful Barack Obama has been exposed by US agents

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Target: Barack Obama

Officers said the two men also planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
In court records unsealed yesterday, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target an unnamed but predominantly African-American high school by two Neo-Nazi skinheads

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Mr Obama as their final target.
'They said that would be their last, final act - that they would attempt to kill senator Obama,' said Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge.
'They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying,' he added.
The development came as Mr Obama and his Republican rival John McCain entered the final week of the campaign by visiting Ohio.
Mr Obama yesterday attacked Mr McCain as a clone of out-going president George W Bush.
Meanwhile, Mr McCain repeated his charge that Mr Obama was a tax-and-spend liberal

by JO STEELE - Monday, October 27, 2008

Two artists have carved success out of making as little as possible - fashioning pinhead-sized grapes and a kitchen knife you could pick your teeth with

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Little beauty: This small but busy farmhouse table scene was painted by hand

Charlotte and Martin Willmott spend their days creating tiny pine-apples, complete with 35 individual leaves, or tackling their latest bugbear - string onions.
'It's getting that texture right, with the very faint stripe they've got in them and the roots,' said 54-year-old Mrs Willmott

The pair, who have no formal sculpture training, craft their work from polymer clay, which is then fired in their domestic oven before being hand painted. Their farmhouse table laden with produce goes for £85 and a mini Atlantic salmon for £45.

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Strange fruit: the tiny banana, next to a matchstick

The couple, from Ipswich, caught the bug 30 years ago after reading about a man who made 1/12 scale chairs.
'They were just perfect. We were fascinated,' added former insurance specialist Mrs Willmott.
Husband Martin, 63, finally plucked up the courage to leave his job as an art teacher in 1991. They now sell their creations to collectors at miniature fairs across the country

by MILES ERWIN - Monday, October 27, 2008

This is the moment when a minibus driver realised that his sat-nav wasn't always the best guide

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The sunken minibus: Reverse! Reverse!

As the bus began to sink in the lake, he made a frantic phone call to police saying he and his two passengers were drowning. When rescuers arrived they found the three balancing on the roof.
'The driver had such faith in his sat-nav that he didn't even notice all the traffic signs saying the road had been closed,' a police spokesman said.
The drama happened in Glubczyce in Poland on a road flooded last year to make a new reservoir. The driver and passengers escaped unhurt

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Mondex, a Chihuahua, wears a pirate costume during a Halloween dog show for the benefit of an animal welfare organization in Manila

Amazingly, Mondex actually won the prize for the most creative costume

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A delighted Manuel Uribe and his carriage, with new wife Claudia Solis

The world's heaviest man has tied the knot. Manuel Uribe, who hasn't left his bed in six years, married his longtime girlfriend Claudia Solis Sunday in northern Mexico

Wearing a white silk shirt with a sheet wrapped around his legs, Uribe smiled as Solis, 38, walked down a flight of stairs wearing a strapless ivory dress, a tiara and hot-pink lipstick.
He later broke into tears as a notary declared the couple husband and wife in a civil ceremony attended by more than 400 guests.
For the traditional first dance as newlyweds, Uribe and Solis held hands and swayed to a romantic ballad

A popular local norteno band played accordion-heavy tunes at the reception, which featured a banquet of meat and buttered vegetables.
Uribe's mother, Orquedia Garza, said the groom steered clear of the five-tier wedding cake.
"He didn't break his diet," she said. "His doctors are here and they are watching him very closely

The wedding, which was closed to most media, will be featured in an upcoming Discovery Channel documentary on Uribe, the 43-year-old former mechanic said.
"I have a wife and will form a new family and live a happy life," Uribe told hordes of reporters earlier as they followed him through the streets of Monterrey.
A flatbed truck was brought in to tow his custom-made bed decorated with a canopy, flowers and gold-trimmed bows to the wedding at a local event hall. Two police patrol cars escorted him ahead of a long line of traffic.
Uribe tipped the scales in 2006 at 1,230lbs (560kg), earning him the Guinness World Record as the world's heaviest man.
He has since shed about 550 pounds (250 kilograms) with the help of Solis, whom he met four years ago.
Uribe said he's gunning for a new title: world's greatest weight loser

by ROSS MCGUINNESS - Monday, October 27, 2008

With its sunshine, sea and 600 bars, few British tourists fly to Benidorm purely to sample its unique cultural heritage

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Benidorm: a 'unique collection of skyscrapers'

But one academic believes the Spanish resort should be put on Unesco's list of protected sites, joining the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and Machu Picchu.
The Costa Blanca town's 'unique collection of skyscrapers' make it the 'Dubai of Europe', according to Prof Philippe Duhamel.
'Benidorm is unique in Europe, is known worldwide and is a remarkable site for what is understood by mass tourism,' he told the 12th International Benidorm Tourism Forum yesterday

It was a village of just 1,500 people until mayor Pedro Zaragoza Orts recognised its potential in the 1950s.
It now attracts 500,000 Britons a year to its 70 British-themed pubs, ten fish-and-chip shops and replicas of Wigan and Blackpool piers.
Current mayor Manuel Fenoll welcomed the proposal from the French academic, saying: 'After many years of misunderstanding, there are now many experts who recognise the Benidorm model

Two drunken burglars stole police equipment after discovering the door of a rural police station had been left unlocked, it was revealed today

Shane Bowkett, 22, and Matthew Goodchild, 21, turned up at the station in Newent, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, at 4am on August 23.
They had been drinking at a nearby pub and had gone to the police station because they thought Goodchild's brother had been arrested and was being held there

They pressed the buzzer, but after getting no answer found the door was open and all the lights on, so went inside.
When they realised the station was unmanned, they stole two stab vests, two high-visibility jackets, two police caps and the key to a patrol car.
Bowkett, of Coleford, and Goodchild, from Newent, both admitted burglary on October 14 and were each given a 12 month conditional discharge by Gloucester magistrates and ordered to pay £30 each.
The stolen equipment was recovered by police.
Police have also apologised to widow Chris Harrison, 59, for mistakenly smashing in her front door when they were searching for the culprits.
Mrs Harrison, who runs an equestrian equipment shop, has made an official complaint and compensation claim.
Gloucestershire police said there was a fault with the door to the police station which meant that it could not be locked properly. Security had been stepped up since the incident.
A spokesman said: "It is important that police stations throughout the county are accessible by members of the public and that during periods when the station is not manned, they can locate the help points which put them in direct contact with the contact centre.
"On this occasion the station had been left insecure due to a fault with the door and the offenders gained access into the building.
"We have now reviewed the security of this station and will be making sure that an incident like this doesn't happen again

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Line up: One bolt of lightning wiped out all of these cows

. A single lightning bolt killed 52 cows at an Uruguayan ranch
Newspaper El Pais reported the cows had pressed against a wire fence during a storm when the lightning bolt struck in the northern state of San Jose.
A photograph released by the San Jose Police Department shows the black and brown cows lying dead in a long row.
The newspaper said that veterinarians at the scene confirmed the cause of the deaths, which happened on Wednesday.
The veterinarians told the newspaper that cows often crowd around fences to seek protection during storms.
Meteorologist Fernando Torena told the newspaper he wasn't surprised that a single lightning bolt killed so many cows. But he called it "very bad luck

by ROSS MCGUINNESS - Monday, October 27, 2008

Whatever the outcome of next week's presidential election, the world can count on one thing - the White House will never be the same after George Bush leaves

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Chest-bump: Mr Bush knocks chests with a recruit at an Air Force academy in May

Rarely has a leader left himself so open to ridicule - or indeed encouraged it himself.
Whether or not you agree with his policies, his gaffes never failed to make us laugh.

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Bush makes a good impression on a baby in Germany

From the time he nearly choked on a pretzel, inset, to his embarrassing encounter with a turkey who took a shine to his nether regions, 62-year-old Mr Bush has always been good entertainment

He once attempted to spy on North Korea using binoculars with the caps on - and even threw the Queen a cheeky wink.
Mr Bush has crashed electric scooters - at his parents' house, no less - and taken a tumble down the stairs of Air Force One.

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The leader of the free world soaks up the culture with some African dancers

And that's not to mention his tortuous way with words that made John Prescott look eloquent. Let's hope, in his own phrase, that history doesn't misunderestimate him

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A dog was hailed as a hero after it risked its life to save a litter of newborn kittens from a house fire, rescuers said

In a case which gives the lie to the saying about 'fighting like cats and dogs', the terrier cross named Leo had to be revived with oxygen and heart massage after his ordeal.
Fire broke out overnight at the house in Australia's southern city of Melbourne, where he was guarding the kittens

Fire fighters who revived Leo said he refused to leave the building and was found by them alongside the litter of kittens, despite thick smoke.
"Leo wouldn't leave the kittens and it nearly cost him his life," fire service Commander Ken Brown told reporters.
The four kittens also survived the fire and on Sunday Leo, who fire fighters nicknamed 'Smoky', was again back at the house

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Enrique Iglesias says girlfriend Anna Kournikova won't want to marry him

The Spanish singer said: 'She's way, way too smart to want to marry someone like me. I'm not putting myself down but also I don't think marriage is that crucial for me.'
The 33-year-old - in Britain promoting his greatest hits album, released next week - joked on The Paul O'Grady Show: 'I'm still young, I'm 45 and taking it easy.'
Iglesias met the former tennis star when she was in a video for his song Escape in 2002

by ROSS MCGUINNESS - Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rice-planting, tyre-rolling and, er, kite-flying - welcome to China's Sixth National Peasants' Games

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Exciting times in the tyre-rolling event

Hot on the heels of the Beijing Olympics comes a showcase of the down-to-earth skills of the country's 900million rural folk.

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A tense finish in the three-person four-legged race

The scale is impressive - 3,500 farmers compete in more than 180 events and the opening ceremony used 16,000 performers

But the games in Quanzhou, Fujian province, smack more of a jolly than a test of supreme physical prowess.

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An athlete prepares for the rice-planting race

Tickets and local attractions are free and the focus is 'more on recreation and less on the results', said state news agency Xinhua

An Arctic blast put Britain's temperatures below those of Moscow last night

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Winter in autumn: A lone cyclist battles against the snow as he cycles home after work in Coventry yesterday afternoon

Parts of Scotland and northern England plunged to -7°C (19°F).
Today is expected to stay cold with temperatures of up to 7°C (41°F) - well below Moscow, which is enjoying an unseasonably mild temperature of 10°C (50°F

'It's twice as cold as normal for this time of year,' said Barry Gromett from the Met Office.
'Usually for the end of October, temperatures are in the low double figures. It's unseasonably frosty because of winds coming in from the Arctic regions.'
Up to 10cm (4in) of snow was forecast for Scotland last night and the Met Office said 'there could be a dusting of it elsewhere' much further south

by FRED ATTEWILL - Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Internet users can now take a 'drive' around the bustling streets of London without leaving their home

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Seety say that every road in central London will be covered

Anyone can log on to a new website and take a leisurely look at every street in central London with just the click of a mouse button.
Thousands of photographs of roads have been uploaded to
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Its makers described it as a 'tribute to a city we love' - but a similar Google service covering major US cities has raised concerns about privacy
'The goal was to map every single street, road, way, square, mews of central London and a bit further than that,' said a spokesman. 'Eventually, we have recorded images for slightly more than 1,000km with a total of 171,103 pictures published on this site.
'Not all the streets matched our expected picture qualities and we will probably refresh our database.'
Privacy was its 'primary concern' and photographs were of low enough resolution to 'make it difficult to identify any passer-by', according to the spokesman.
Vehicle number plates have been pixellated and the company has also promised to remove images featuring people who recognise themselves or others within 48 hours. Technology lawyer Struan Robertson said fears over privacy were misplaced.
'In legal terms, there's no problem at all unless people can be identified from the pictures,' he added. 'From what I've seen, the images are too low resolution for that

A man who drank more than four litres of cider a day has revealed how he decided to quit boozing after he started turning orange

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Orange man Michael Stenning

Michael Stenning, 47, said that after years of downing glass after glass of strong cider he realised that he had to call time on his habit when pals started to warn him he looked like he'd been Tangoed.
The former courier, who started drinking heavily when he lost his job, said he was persuaded to seek hospital treatment after friends warned him something was wrong when his skin started changing colour.
And when he turned up at hospital for a check-up he was told "I'm amazed you're not dead" by doctors

Dr Sumita Verma, who researches alcoholic hepatitis, said: "It was a miracle. I have never seen anyone as sick as him leave the hospital alive."
The dad-of-two, known as Mick to pals, said: "I am a miracle case and just so happy to still be alive. I am touched by the continuous support from my family and friends especially after how I treated them at the time.
"I now want to make up for the years I've lost whilst drunk."
He revealed how he hit the bottle after losing his job as a courier five years ago and only stopped boozing when he was made to realise he was on death's door.
He said that since kicking the booze he has started returning to a normal colour, adding: "Staying off the booze has been easier than I thought and I'm happier drinking non-alcoholic drinks, which compliment my now healthier diet.
"I have even started an exercise regime." Mick, who is divorced, said his two children Matthew 22 and Sophie, 19, helped support him as he battled his booze addiction.
He said: "They really helped me though it all. I can't thank everyone enough.
"When they noticed I was turning orange it was the last straw. I had to do something."
Mick spent three weeks in hospital battling his addiction to cider at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and says he owes his life to the staff who helped him beat his addiction.
Stephen Leggett, one of the friends who warned Mick that he was looking like he had been Tangoed said: "If you had seen the state he was in before and now he doesn't even touch a drop when he is in a bar.
"A lot of people relapse, but Mick has stayed so strong

Sergeant Phil Northcutt has been living with his girlfriend Jennifer and their one-year-old son, Kai, in a single room, raised up on stilts over the back yard of a house in Long Beach, California

. It's little more than a crash pad which belongs to a friend of his
For the moment though, it's the nearest thing that Phil has had to a place of his own in three years.
Phil was lucky - he came back from serving with the Marine Corps in Iraq in one piece. His experiences of serving with the US military changed him so much that he couldn't go back to his old life.
Advocacy groups estimate that Phil is one of at least 1,500 veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who sleep rough in America's cities every night. It's a problem that the authorities seem reluctant to admit to.
Official figures show that 150,000 veterans of various military conflicts are living in shelters or on the streets, although many charities working with the homeless say the true number is double that.
The current conflicts are already swelling this vagrant population - as more soldiers reach their point of discharge from the army.
When the process of eventual withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan begins, it's likely to put further strain on an overburdened system.
Almost half of these 'lost veterans' have drug abuse problems and over a third have serious psychiatric disorders. Many have been to prison.
In 2006, Phil Northcutt was sent to jail for growing marijuana. The only drug which stopped the recurring nightmares of his time in Iraq. He was imprisoned for 11 months.
When the Marine Corps offered him an 'other than honourable' discharge, meaning the loss of benefits, he took it.
Andrew Purcell spoke to many of those, like Phil, trying to get back on track. He finds out more about their struggles reintegrating into civilian society, and why they feel abandoned by the US military.
First broadcast Wednesday 29th October 2008

for Download
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by JOHN STAPLES - Thursday, October 30, 2008

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Jonathan Ross: suspended without pay for three months

Jonathan Ross was suspended from the BBC for 12 weeks without pay last night over the obscene calls he and Russell Brand made to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs

He was also given a 'final warning' by director general Mark Thompson for his 'utterly unacceptable' behaviour in leaving messages saying that Brand had 'f****d' Sachs' granddaughter, Georgina Baillie.
As the corporation's highest paid celebrity, on a three-year deal worth £6million a year, the ban will mean Ross will miss out on more than £1.3million

Just before the 47-year-old's suspension was made public, BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas announced her resignation.
Mrs Douglas, who has worked at the BBC for 23 years, said she felt she had to go as 'the events of the last two weeks happened on my watch'.
Mr Thompson said he and Ross had agreed that 'nothing like this must ever happen again'. He added: 'There are some absolute limits. This programme went over the limits and one of the things I have to say is that we have many different writers, performers and producers on the BBC. No one is above the law.
'I have to say that he [Ross] and everyone else, I think, should regard this as a final warning.'
Earlier, Mr Thompson was hauled in front of the BBC Trust to explain the antics of Brand and Ross on the October 18 edition of the Russell Brand Show. The trust last night said it had ordered Radio 2 to make an on-air apology to licence fee payers for 'serious and deliberate breaches'.
Brand, 33, resigned from the BBC on Wednesday for his part in leaving lewd messages on the 78-year-old actor's answerphone machine.
It also emerged yesterday that the programme should have been forwarded to the BBC's editorial department to be checked before transmission because of its content

by LINDA NARTEY - Wednesday, October 29, 2008

. Kate Moss's new clothing range caused a mini riot in central London when it hit Topshop

Fans of the supermodel were so eager to get a piece of her glamourous style that some clothes were sold out in 15 minutes.

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The panther dress was sold out in 15 minutes

Herds of hungry shoppers braved the cold to queue up outside the Top Shop flagship store in Oxford Street to bag one of Kate's limited edition Christmas Collection items.
The scene could be mistaken for the Boxing Day sales as some keen buyers had arrived to the shop as early as 7am to wait in line.

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Kates ruffled mini dress was a popular buy

Obviously those shoppers were aware of the high demand as everything was sold out in 15 minutes.
Rails had to be restocked as the mob of fashion lovers grabbed hold of the famous panther dress that Kate was seen wearing earlier this year.
The ---- mini was in such high demand that it also sold out online within two hours.

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eveyone wants to buy into Kates ---- slick look

The popular clothing line had clothes ranging from £30 shirts to a £400 sequined ball gown and they all flew off the shelves.
We may be almost on the brink of recession, but it looks like Moss's £3 million deal with the clothing giant his definitely paying off.
The success of the line comes days after Topshop owner Sir Philip Green revealed that the company was defying the credit crunch with soaring sales

by ROSS MCGUINNESS - Thursday, October 30, 2008

Astronaut Richard Garriott said yesterday that Metro was remarkably useful in space - as a substitute for his computer

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Spaced out: Richard Garriot reads his Metro

The 47-year-old, who landed safely on Saturday after ten days on the International Space Station, said the newspaper - the first in space - contained a perfect write-up of tests he had to carry out.
'It was better than the data I had on my laptop, so I actually used it as my notes throughout my execution of those experiments and questions,' he added

Mr Garriott, who was born in Cambridge but raised in Texas, was blasted into orbit alongside Russian cosmonauts after paying £20million for his dream ticket
Up there, he carried out experiments suggested by primary school children via a Metro competition

'I was really impressed with how insightful a lot of these kids' questions were,' he said
Tests included gargling after brushing his teeth and taking a zero-gravity 'magic carpet' ride on a towel.
On a personal note, he added the experience of seeing the Earth from Space had changed him.
'The view is fantastic,' he said

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. Eager shoppers push and shove to be first through the doors

Forget the credit crunch - this was the scene at Europe's largest urban shopping mall which opened in London today

Eager shoppers pushed and shoved to be first through the doors at Westfield Shopping Centre in White City, west London.
A host of celebrities attended the opening including Leona Lewis, Dannii Minogue and model Yasmin Le Bon.

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. Leona Lewis performed five songs at the opening

Lewis, wearing a black dress, performed five songs including Better In Time, Forgive Me and Bleeding Love.
She told the crowd: "I'm so excited to be here because, I don't know about you guys, but I'm a bit of a shopaholic and I'm performing back in London, which I'm really excited about. So this is the perfect venue for me.
"Enjoy all the shops."
The shopping mall was officially opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The giant £1.6 billion Westfield shopping centre in White City occupies a site equivalent to Buckingham palace and its gardens and took a decade to plan and develop.

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. Thousands of shoppers watch the opening of the mall

Simon Holberton, director of corporate affairs at the mall, said he was confident the centre would be successful despite the current economic crisis.
"People are looking for a bit of a change. They want to get out. There's so much gloomy news around.
"We feel very optimistic about the future

With its director and star in place, Spider-Man 4 is about to snare a Pulitzer Prize winner in its web.
David Lindsay-Abaire, the playwright who won the nation's highest literary achievement for his 2006 drama, The Rabbit Hole, is in final talks with Columbia Pictures to pen the latest superhero sequel, per the Hollywood Reporter.

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Both director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire signed on last month to the fourth and fifth web-slinger flicks, which will reportedly be shot together à la The Lord of the Rings to keep the budget down. No word yet on whether Kirsten Dunst will be back as Mary Jane Watson.
The plot of the fourth installment is being closely guarded. Lindsay-Abaire will be the latest acclaimed writer to board the blockbuster franchise, following veteran screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park), who wrote the first Spider-Man back in 2002 fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, who helped craft the story and wrote an early draft of 2004's Spider-Man 2 and two-time Oscar winner Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People, Paper Moon), who wrote the final drafts for Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3.
Rabbit Hole starred Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daly and won four Tonys, including Best Play. Lindsay-Abaire is adapting a movie version, to star Nicole Kidman, and is also working on the book and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Shrek.

Joaquin Phoenix is quitting movies to focus on music

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"He has said that `Two Lovers' is his last. But this is not strange. Joaquin has been directing music videos and been involved in music for the last number of years," Susan Patricola, Phoenix's publicist, said Friday.

Phoenix first talked about his decision to "Extra" this week while attending a fundraiser in San Francisco, abruptly ending the interview after the reporter wondered whether he was joking.

Agent 007 received the royal stamp of approval, with Princes William and Harry attending the world
premiere of the new James Bond thriller, Quantum of Solace

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The princes, dressed in dinner jackets and cheered by fans, joined star Daniel Craig and other celebrities Wednesday on the red carpet in London's Leicester Square. They spent nearly a half-hour greeting cast and crew inside the Odeon cinema.

Proceeds from the gala are going to charities for military veterans, and 200 soldiers and their families were invited to the screening.

William, 26, and 24-year-old Harry are both officers in the British army. Harry spent 10 weeks this year serving on the front line in Afghanistan.

The 22nd official Bond film, "Quantum of Solace" features Mathieu Amalric as the villainous Dominic Greene, Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton as the spy's love interests and Judi Dench as spymaster M.

It took Prince Harry 20 minutes to reach Arterton, and he joked: "What took us so long to get down this end?" Arterton said afterward that she "had a giggle" with the princes.

The film is Craig's second outing as 007, and picks up where its 2006 predecessor "Casino Royale" let off, with the secret agent out for revenge for the death of his girlfriend, Vesper Lynd.

Casion Royale, which glossed over the gadgets and one-liners in favor of a more wrenching love story and intense action sequences, was widely praised for its darker take on the Bond franchise. But Quantum of Solace has gotten mixed reviews.

"I think it's a good follow up, it's not a great follow up," film critic Olly Richards said. "Casino Royale was this complete invention and just surprised everyone. . This goes slightly more traditional with the story — you've got someone trying to take over the world with a very bizarre plot that you can't quite make sense of. But there's still all of the things you love in there: There's fantastic action, very beautiful girls, lots of stunts, some very very good stuff with Judi Dench."

Director Marc Forster said he wouldn't be working on the next Bond film.

"I was happy to make Quantum of Solace," he said at the premiere. "They asked me to do the next one. I was very honest: I passed because I'm working on something else."

Quantum of Solace was filmed around the world, with scenes shot in Panama, Chile, Italy, Austria and Mexico.
The film was getting its first screening for the general public later Wednesday as part of the London Film Festival. It opens around the world starting Friday

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L-R: Daniel Craig, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Billy Piper, Britney Spears, Pete Doherty, Heather Mills, David Beckham, Jade Goody

Halloween is the time of year for wearing scary masks, but with the faces that these celebs are pulling, they won't need a disguise to make people leap out of their skin

From Pete Doherty's frightful face to David Beckham's gruesome grimace, there's certainly a monstrous bunch in this set.
Remember Heather Mill's dramatic breakdown?
And who can forget Britney's horrific head shaving incident.
Don't have nightmares now

Friday, October 31, 2008

A haggard looking Kate Moss was a picture of disaster when she arrived in LA for Halloween today looking tired and spotty

The model, who left London yesterday without any make-up, didn't feel the need to freshen her face with some colour before she left the plane.
And the paparazzi took advantage of her real self to get these grim pictures.

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Kate makes a dash through LA airport clutching her snake skin passport

.After her eleven-hour flight, Moss looked tired, old and very pale as the camera's flashed around her
The years of partying looked to be taking its toll on the supermodel who tried to make a dash for the exit with her boyfriend Jamie Hince.
Kate recently denied rumours that she was pregnant for Jamie, but her all-black clothing disguised any bump that could be emerging

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Inches from the sea: The Air Europa plane in the Canary Islands

Dozens of passengers had to be evacuated today after a jet carrying holidaymakers from Glasgow skidded off a runway stopping inches from a beach

The Air Europa plane, thought to be carrying 74 people, went off the end of the runway after it touched down at Lanzarote airport.
Spanish police said there were no reports of injuries.
The airport on the holiday island was reportedly closed following the accident this morning.
A spokesman for Air Europa said: "There was a problem on landing. All the passengers left the plane and are fine and are being taken to their hotels."

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It stopped at the perimeter fence that separates the airport from the beach

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Rose Gentle hopes SAS commander's resignation will force Government to take action

The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq has said she hoped the resignation of an SAS commander over the continued use of the lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover would force the Government to take action

The Daily Telegraph reported that Major Sebastian Morley is quitting in disgust over the deaths of four of his soldiers in Afghanistan who were killed when their Snatch hit a landmine earlier this year.
Defence sources insisted his departure was for "purely personal reasons". However, it is understood he was unhappy at the continued use of the Snatch despite its obvious vulnerability.
The newspaper reported that he believed Corporal Sarah Bryant - the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan - and three male colleagues, the SAS soldiers Corporal Sean Reeve, Lance Corporal Richard Larkin and Paul Stout, all died needlessly.
Rose Gentle's son Fusilier Gordon Gentle died when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in June 2004 in Basra. A vital piece of kit that could have protected the vehicle was later found to be lying unused in a nearby storeroom.
She said: "I'm glad that Major Morley is making a stand. I only hope that it means that the government will finally do something and withdraw these vehicles. It should have been done a long long time ago. The Government have been talking about replacing Snatch Land Rovers but they need to put their money where their mouth is now.
"I have been asking for this for four years. It is too late for Gordon and the others who have died but there are a lot of boys out there still who deserve better protection. They need the right equipment for the job."
In his resignation letter, Major Morley, the commander of D Squadron, 23 SAS, was said to have blamed "chronic under investment" in equipment by the Ministry of Defence for their deaths. The paper said he believed the MoD was guilty of "gross negligence" and that its failure to supply better equipment was "cavalier at best, criminal at worst".
Defence Equipment Minister Quentin Davies later dismissed Major Morley's reported complaints as a "travesty" which he found hard to take entirely seriously.
"There are a couple of things that are odd about this resignation. He said that he tried to alert the Ministry of Defence to the inadequacies as he saw it of his equipment," Mr Davies told BBC News. "I have asked several questions in the ministry . and no one can trace any such communication from him. Maybe we will come up with it but it does seem rather surprising, the whole of that aspect

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A man has launched a campaign in Japan to legally allow comic book-loving humans to marry their favourite fictitious characters

More than 1,000 people have signed Taichi Takashita's on-line petition to establish a law permitting marriage to comic characters, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Takashita says he feels more at ease in the "two-dimensional world."
He said: "I am no longer interested in three dimensions. I would even like to become a resident of the two-dimensional world.
"However, that seems impossible with present-day technology. Therefore, at the very least, would it be possible to legally authorise marriage with a two-dimensional character

Comic books known as "manga", animated "anime" films and on-line virtual reality games have become increasingly popular in Japan, with fictitious characters frequently elevated to celebrity status.
Among the most high profile of manga fans is the current prime minister Taro Aso.
He recently complained he had not had time to read any comic books since taking office last month.
Takashita's petition was launched only days after a woman was jailed in Japan after "killing" her virtual husband after he suddenly divorced her as part of a popular interactive internet game.
One person who supported the petition, wrote: "For a long time I have only been able to fall in love with two-dimensional people and currently I have someone I really love.
"Even if she is fictional, it is still loving someone. I would like to have legal approval for this system at any cost

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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Pamela Anderson: an example of a blonde lady

Blondes, it seems, are the best girlfriend material but, when it comes to a wife, men look to brunettes

Famous blondes such as Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears and Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon are certainly objects of male desire - 36 per cent voted them the sexiest women in a survey out yesterday.
But 52 per cent of men said dark-haired women were best to marry, because they were more dependable and sensible. Just 18 per cent opted for blondes

Some 49 per cent said brunettes were the most loving women, with 53 per cent feeling they could rely on them more than anyone else. Almost 48 per cent also thought brunettes were the best cooks.
But more than half of the men said they had been on most dates with blondes.
The research revealed 33 per cent of guys had a particular hair shade they always went for.
Hairdresser Andrew Collinge, whose hair-care brand carried out the poll, said: 'I thought men were more modern than this. I'm obviously in the minority as I married a blonde

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A bank customer who criticised a call centre worker later found his bank account frozen and his identity changed to that of a Ugandan divorcee

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George Bates: not a divorcee from Uganda

. It happened after carpenter George Bates, 23, gave an Abbey operator a low rating in a post-call survey
He also found his overdraft withdrawn and direct debits cancelled - landing him with £60 of charges

'This arrogant operator obviously decided to change all my details in revenge,' said Mr Bates, of Bristol. 'I was terrified I'd never have my money back.'
Abbey cancelled the fines and apologised

The new James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," debuted in Britain on Friday to record one-day ticket sales of 4.94 million pounds ($8 million), distributor Columbia Pictures said on Saturday

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The total tops "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the previous record holder with an opening day haul of 4.025 million pounds ($6.5 million) in 2005, and it also beat the 2.9 million pounds ($4.72 million) first-day total for the last Bond flick, "Casino Royale" (2006), Columbia said.

In "Quantum of Solace," British super spy Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission across South America and Europe to stop an eco-terrorist from controlling precious natural resources, and he wants to learn why the woman he loved in "Casino Royale" betrayed him.

"Casino Royale," was a huge box office success with a global haul of $594 million.

Friday's British opening of "Quantum of Solace" in 542 theaters will be followed by a November 14 debut of the film in the United States and Canada.

Columbia Pictures is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the media wing of Japan's Sony Corp.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt almost certainly are strong contenders in the best actor category -- shining, word has it, in their respective upcoming movies, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Revolutionary Road

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But they and others might be up against a subtle force they can do little about in the best actor race: Oscar voters tend to favor actors playing real people.
In the past six best actor races, there were three years in which an actor playing a real person was nominated alongside actors portraying fictional characters, and each time the actor playing a true-life person won. You have to go all the way back to the awards for 2001 to find a counter-example: Denzel Washington's victory for playing Alonzo Harris in "Training Day," which bested Will Smith as Muhammad Ali and Russell Crowe as John Nash. Otherwise, it was actors playing real-life figures -- Ray Charles, Idi Amin, Truman Capote -- who took the statue.
This year that means if even one from among the stellar group that includes Frank Langella (as Richard Nixon), Sean Penn (as Harvey Milk) and Josh Brolin (as George W. Bush) lands a best actor nomination, everyone else will have to weigh that added factor.
Best actress favors real personnages even more the statuette has gone to women playing real people six of the eight years this decade. But with frontrunners such as Meryl Steep, Nicole Kidman and Sally Hawkins taking on fictional roles this go-round, this year may break form.
It's hard to pinpoint what makes Oscar voters tilt this way. But one likely factor is a frame of reference: Philip Seymour Hoffman acting and sounding like Capote probably will move the voter more than Terrence Howard's acting and sounding like Djay from "Hustle & Flow," a person the Academy member has never seen outside the movie (and hasn't seen at all if they've never seen the movie).
Plus, there's the impersonation factor: How could a voter not think Jamie Foxx is good he even looks like Charles.
It wasn't always this way. In the 1990s, fictional characters bested real people in the best actor category seven out of nine times they went up against one another. And an actress playing a real person won only twice in the 1990s.
So what's changed?
For one thing, the rise of celebrity culture. The TMZs of the world have made it harder to separate actors from their roles since we now know them as real people -- unless they're playing other real people, in which case voters can identify with the person they're playing.
Even if DiCaprio and Pitt are unable to buck the recent trend favoring real-life portrayals, they can take solace in the likelihood they'll have other shots at the top prize. But the seeming voter bias toward real-life bios could also impact a few once-in-a-lifetime performances. Those include the comeback for Mickey Rourke, whose Randy the Ram in "The Wrestler" is a tragic figure to rival Willy Loman Richard Jenkins, whose understated Walter Vale in "The Visitor" is exquisitely subtle and Christian Bale, whose Batman in "The Dark Knight" is so darkly evocative.

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Dogs turn upside down for art

.Thousands of websites feature funny pictures of dogs – but this one has turned the idea on its head
.Upside Down Dogs offers a range of topsy-turvy canines, all photographed the wrong way up
.The site was set up by Graham Blache, a 24-year-old web developer from San Franciso
He was inspired after taking some photos of his one-year-old English bulldog, Wallace, who is inclined to recline on his back

'As an English bulldog he is blessed with excessive jowls and we always found his droopiness quite hil- arious when inverted,' explained Mr Blache.
'I had some great upside-down shots of him sitting around and one day the idea popped into my head on a whim.
'The site launched on October 14 about 20 minutes after I came up with the idea.'
Even in an era of animal website saturation, Upside Down Dogs has done remarkably well, attracting 500,000 hits from users all over the world.
The puppy photos just keep coming in.
'I have received hundreds of pictures so far and most of them are hilarious,' said Mr Blache. 'It's great because it's pretty easy to take your own and dog owners love to photograph their pets.'
He also summed up the magic formula for the perfect picture – 'Any drooped-faced upside-down dog with excess face meat.'
He added: 'It seems that droopy and traditionally “ugly” dogs tend to make the best upside-down dogs.
'They say people tend to look like their dogs so maybe I shouldn't be so vocal about this as I think my dog makes a great upside-down dog.'
He described Wallace as 'a smelly, hilarious lummox of an English bulldog'.
See pictures of all the dogs on
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Paris says men have used her in the past for money

Paris Hilton has complained men just use her for s.e.x or money but she is now ready to settle down with someone she trusts

The heiress, 27, said her former lovers had also 'betrayed' and exploited her for fame.
But she now plans to marry her boyfriend, Good Charlotte singer Benji Madden, and start a family next year

Hilton said: 'I've found someone who loves me for me. Benji's my best friend and he'd never hurt me. My love life's in the happiest place it's ever been

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Jordan and Peter dismiss rumours of a split

Katie Price and Peter Andre defied rumours their marriage was in crisis by stepping out for dinner together in LA

The pair were spotted leaving a West Hollywood tapas restaurant on Saturday night holding hands after enjoying some nibbles and drinks.
The couple looked happy and very much in love, an onlooker said. 'They enjoyed a romantic meal, and they seemed very happy together,' the source added

After a 30-minute quick fix, the pair left the restaurant and opened up to waiting reporters and photographers.
When asked what the couple's plans were for the evening, Andre replied: 'Do you know what? I'm going to have fun with her.'
The 35-year-old singer's three-year marriage to the former glamour model was rumoured on the rocks amid reports the couple have had a series of arguments.
The pair had only just returned from a trip to South Africa to renew their wedding vows before rumours of a break-up started.
Andre met 30-year-old Price in 2004 on the TV show I'm A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here! They got married on 10 September 2005, at Highclere Castle, Berkshire, in a lavish ceremony.
The couple have two children, a boy, Junior Savva Andreas, three, and a girl, Princess Tiaamii, one.
Price also has son, Harvey from a previous relationship with former Manchester United footballer Dwight Yorke.
Price, or Jordan, made her name as a topless model before becoming a reality TV star. Andre became a star with his 1996 hit Mysterious Girl

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Show stopping squirrel

A frisky squirrel that was after another squirrel, caused havoc at a polling station when it jumped onto an electric cable and cut off the lights powering over 800 homes

.The one-and-a-half hour black-out that occurred in Florida affected a library that was being used as a voting station
But although it slowed down the voters, they still flowed in to cast their vote for the new US president using flash lights

The squirrel was found dead hours later

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Tread carefully: Head down, the shrimp hits the road

. A super-fit shrimp has become an internet hit after it learned how to run on a treadmill
The crustacean was placed on a mini exercise machine in a tank of water as part of an experiment to see how far shrimps travelled for food.
Results showed it could jog at speeds of 20m (66ft) per minute and go three hours before needing a rest

Film of the experiment was put on the internet. Two years on, more than a million people have logged on to watch.
Some fans have even put music to it – such as the Benny Hill theme tune or music from the film Chariots Of Fire.
Prof David Scholnick, of Pacific University in Oregon, said: 'As far as I know, this is the first time that shrimp have been exercised on a treadmill and it was amazing to see how well they did

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Backing: Sean 'Diddy' Combs waves to Obama supporters at a rally in Miami

Some of the biggest names in rap have been enlisted by Barack Obama to encourage young voters to go to the polls

Jay-Z and Sean 'Diddy' Combs, performed at a concert for the Democratic candidate in the key swing state of Florida at the weekend.
Combs, 38, said: 'It's bigger than us. We have to do it for our children. We have to do it for the people that died for us to have the right to vote

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, music executive Kevin Liles and r'n'b singer Mary J Blige joined them on stage. They told young voters not to be put off by long lines at polling stations.
No celebrities were campaigning for Republican John McCain yesterday but he has been endorsed by actors Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer and Jon Voight, plus Arnold Schwarzenegger

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It’s a jungle out there: A python strikes in a back garden in Cairns, Australia, capturing a cockatoo before swallowing it whole

.If you're a bird in Australia, it pays not to be cocky
This poor Sulphur-crested cockatoo was relaxing in a back garden when he was snatched by a python and swallowed whole.
The feast happened in the Queen­sland city of Cairns, scene of a similar incident we brought you recently in which a spider caught and ate a bird

Artist Cindy Lane came across the scene when she investig­ated a 'couple of loud squawks' in her back garden.
'I considered jumping in to save him but his last breath was being squeezed from him,' she said.
The two-hour meal that ensued was 'difficult to watch but, at the same time, mesmerising', she said

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Under construction: The car’s early progress

Speed-racer Carolynne Campbell has built a 300mph car in her back garden which makes Lewis Hamilton's F1 racer seem pedestrian

Her rocket car is ten times as powerful as Hamilton's championship-winning motor and can reach 100mph in less than half a second.
The 57-year-old spent £40,000 and five years designing the car – called Laffin Gas – and has driven it at 200mph

'Our original model had just one engine but I thought it was a bit slow, so we've fitted four. It's actually quite a smooth ride and not too noisy,' she said.
Ms Campbell, from Rushden, Northamptonshire, hopes to hit 300mph to become the fastest woman in Britain in January.
The rockets are fired by a small firework that ignites nitrous oxygen. 'It sounds lethal to me but the figures do sound reasonable,' said a spokesman from Imperial College London's faculty of engineering

by JOHN HIGGINSON - Wednesday, November 5, 2008

.The Queen yesterday questioned why nobody saw the credit crunch coming

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Prince Phillip shows his interest in the discussion at the London School of Economics

She asked why no one noticed the 'awful' situation sooner, while opening a £71million building at the London School of Economics.
'At every stage, someone was relying on somebody else,' she was told by LSE's management research director, Prof Luis Garicano.
Meanwhile, David Cameron took his opportunity at prime minister's questions to call for an inquiry into a regulatory failure in the markets

'Our system has failed so badly the Treasury minister said he wanted to see a public inquiry,' the Conservative leader told Gordon Brown.
'Can you tell us when we're going to have that inquiry?' Mr Cameron said that, by refusing to hold an inquiry, the prime minister was demonstrating he could not provide 'the change people want'.
Mr Brown said the only change the Conservatives represented was that 'they change their minds every week'.
Mr Cameron retorted: 'You killed change when you bottled that election. You buried change when you appointed Peter Mandelson.'
Meanwhile, former Tory cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell said it would be 'absurd' if Mr Brown chose not to express his views on whether the Bank of England had moved too slowly to cut interest rates, given he had seen fit to criticise Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross

by JOHN STAPLES - Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A shaggy dog on a windswept seafront, the Sun setting over a poppy field and the sea battering the Yorkshire coastline are some of the stunning photographs that capture the beauty of the British landscape at a new exhibition

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Gary Eastwood was named Landscape Photographer of the Year for this picture of his dog

. The images are all winners of the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition
Among them is the overall winner, Gary Eastwood's picture of his dog Barney on Hove seafront, and an image of the Sun setting over poppy fields in Dorset by Gabrielle Barnes, 14, who won the youth section

The competition, now in its second year, has a prize fund of more than £20,000 and covers four categories - including images people have taken with their mobile phones.

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Keith Foster’s big waves at Sandsend, North Yorkshire

. A free exhibition opens at the National Theatre in central London on November 17
Readers can get AA Publishing's book of the exhibition at the discounted price of £22 by calling 01903 828 535 and quoting reference LPOTY2

A desperate dog owner has posted a profile of his terrier on the internet in a bid to find his lovesick pet partner

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John Roberts decided to take action to try to stop Perkins making indecent advances towards female dogs

'He is six years old, charged up and ready to go. It can get quite embarrassing when we go out. As soon as he sees a female, he is up on two legs and jumping all over them,' the 59-year-old said

A lonely hearts advert for the Jack Russell-cross was also placed in the local paper in Shrewsbury but there have been no takers.
'I have set him up his own e-mail address in case anyone wanted to apply. He's very distressed because he's had no messages or phone calls,' said Mr Roberts.
His e-mail is [email protected]

by JOEL TAYLOR - Thursday, November 6, 2008

. Food labels would have to be bigger than the cans they go on under new European rules, critics say

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(The old Coke label (top) and what the new one would look like (bottom

The proposals say the print size on packs must be at least 3mm high and extra nutritional guidelines must also be added.
On a small tin of Nestlé cream, the current 45mm-tall label fits comfortably - but under the new laws the label would have to be 90mm high - twice the size of the tin.
The same applies to a new label on Coca-Cola light bottle - there is bigger wording but it is more squashed together

'What the commission is proposing is disproportionate - in more ways than one,' said Susanne Doring, spokeswoman for the confederation of food and drink industries of the EU.
Ironically the problem threatens the smallest portions of products which do most to discourage obesity.
In the next few weeks, food makers will be urging Euro-MPs to reject a one-size-fits-all labelling policy. The proposals have also been criticised by Conservative Euro-MP Chris Heaton-Harris.
'Better food labelling is important but the current proposals seem to have been dreamt up on the back of a napkin,' he said

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Digital Jeremy goes splat in the online game

Following his controversial comments about lorry drivers, Jeremy Clarkson has been immortalised in an online video game

His remarks about truckers murdering prostitutes have caused anger, with thousands of people complaining to the BBC

As he completed a lorry-driving task on Top Gear, he said: "This is a hard job and I'm not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers.
"It's a hard job: Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day." In the online game, Run Clarkson Run, you get to navigate the TV host past speeding lorries. The object is to try to pick up as much cash as possible before being splatted by a truck.
The game was built and released on internet by Glasgow games development company T-Enterprise.
T-Enterprise's managing director Sadia Chishti said: "Jeremy Clarkson is a loveable rogue, but we think he's overstepped the mark this time.
"So we figured we'd give truckers the chance for revenge. And not just truckers the whole family can spend hours playing the game, running over and killing Jeremy Clarkson just for fun

by MILES ERWIN - Thursday, November 6, 2008

You wouldn't have thought origami was a particularly expensive hobby - or one which involves a detailed knowledge of spacecraft

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But for artist Won Park, it's a bit of both. The paper-art master twists and folds his creations entirely from one- dollar notes and has fashioned models of some of Hollywood's most famous spaceships.
Among his designs are fantastically intricate replicas of the Millennium Falcon, Tie Fighters and X-Wing jets from the Star Wars films and Captain Kirk's USS Enterprise from Star Trek

The talented - and extremely patient - artist has also created wonderfully detailed models of koi carp, scorpions and a spider.

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.The 38-year-old, from Hawaii, took up origami when he was just five and was taught to fold simple models by his mother
'As I got more advanced in my folding skills I started to fold my own creations. Then, in junior high school, I started to fold dollar bills and was hooked on that ever since,' he said

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
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This is basketball player Kobe Bryant. He is not 73 years old

Ken Mink made both of his foul shots Monday night in a U.S. college basketball game

Nothing unusual there - except that Mink is 73 years old
Mink, a full-time student at Roane State Community College, entered the game with about 16 minutes left and missed one shot in about three minutes
Seven minutes later, he went back in the game, was fouled and made two free throws as his team beat King College's junior varsity - or "B" team - 93-42

I found myself on the free-throw line 52 years after my last college game," Mink said. "I said, 'Just relax and shoot it like you know how to all day long.' I just floated the shots in there. I'm in the books now. I can relax a little bit."
Mink last played college basketball 52 years ago at Lees College in Jackson, Kentucky.
Last year, after shooting baskets at a neighbor's house, he wrote to several area colleges, and Roane State coach Randy Nesbit agreed to give him a chance.
Mink has practiced regularly with the team since school began in August

Life as we know it is built on a series of seemingly insignificant elements - things that we often take for granted, if we think about them at all.

In a brand new series, called The World Without. Fred Dove examines the consequences of removing just one of those insignificant elements, and discovers some surprising possibilities.
What would this mean for daily life around the world? What might we be using instead today?
The first programme in the series, The World Without. Cows, considers the value to global society of all things bovine.
What would our world be like if early man had not domesticated the fearsome aurochs - the likely anscendant of all modern domesticated breeds of cattle?
Fred discovers just how important cows have been to religion, to medicine and indeed to civilisation all around the world, and examines the bovine link with global warming.
What is the future of our cattle? Could we face a future without cows?
First broadcast on 07 November 2008

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Some critics have declared Oliver Stone's biopic of George W Bush sympathetic. True, it doesn't particularly accuse him of, say, conspiracy or corruption but it paints a portrait of a man who faced world-changing decisions about war and torture – and arguably took them lightly

W flits back and forth from Bush's days as a hard-drinking young jock to his presidency. Josh Brolin puts in a terrific performance in both roles, particularly entertaining as the clueless, womanising slacker who can't hold down a job, no matter how many daddy (James Cromwell) manages to get him.
It's an absurd image: the future president as a work-shy boozer sneering at his father's political profession. For all his idiocy, we like this W better than the born-again bore he turns into

Following a religious experience, Bush quits the booze and starts getting serious about a career in politics – not for ideological reasons but for personal ones. Every opportunity he grasps is due to ambition, or even just convenience.
The tone of W flits from humorous to sinister as this amiable self-server begins to run the most powerful country in the world. In both the flashbacks and recent past, much is made of Bush's infamous malapropisms: amusing but an easy target worked too hard. A more crucial problem is the supporting cast.
All of Bush's real-life allies are played by recognisable actors, including Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, and frankly it's distracting. Especially odd is the mannered turn from a prosthetically altered Thandie Newton as a largely mute Condoleezza Rice.
W isn't a flawless classic but it certainly provokes thought about the rule of a president few will be sorry to see the back of

Friday, November 7, 2008
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Silver medallist Tareq Al Farsani of Bahrain and gold medallist Ali Trabizi Nouri of Iran pose after receiving their medals in the 90kg category

Don't try this at the gym. Competitors flex their muscles in the men's World Bodybuilding Championships in Bahrain

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Ahmed Hamouda of Egypt poses with his trophy after winning first place in the over 100kg category

by ANNA SMITH - Thursday, November 6, 2008

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A frothy piece of period escapism, this Noël Coward adaptation is as simple and pleasurable as the title implies

A posh British family lives together in a big house in the late 1920s. Kristin Scott Thomas is Mrs Whittaker, the repressed, uptight mother, while her husband (Colin Firth) is an unshaven eye-roller who makes sardonic quips about his two daughters' hysteria – a Mr Bennet of his age

The reason for all the excitement is the return of brother John (Ben Barnes), who has married an American racing car driver called Larita (Jessica Biel
. As Larita squares off against John's disapproving mother, light humour ensues
Biel doesn't quite nail her character's supposed strong will but what she lacks in depth, she makes up for in glamour – much like the film itself

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. The Queen arrives at the Royal Albert Hall for the annual Festival of Remembrance

The Queen has attended a Festival of Remembrance to commemorate those who died while serving their country

Her Majesty was joined at the Royal Albert Hall in London by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah also attended the event, which was organised by the Royal British Legion
The Royal Festival of Remembrance has been held annually since 1927 and this year featured a prominent role for Territorial Army veterans as 2008 is the TA's centenary.
Welsh soprano star Katherine Jenkins and tenor Russell Watson were among the performers as well as various Service bands.
Alongside the traditional military marches, the Band of the Royal Marines provided a more unconventional note, playing a funky tune featuring bongos and an electric guitar solo.
. The event culminated in the release of thousands of red paper poppies from the roof of the Albert Hall
More than 8,000 veterans from over 200 regiments are expected to march in the Cenotaph Parade in Whitehall to mark Remembrance Sunday
For the first time this year, ex-servicemen and women from Northern Ireland will take part in the parade

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A mobility scooter

. Thieves returned a stolen scooter to its owner when they read in a newspaper that she was disabled

Not only did they return the item to Agota Lay, but also the local newspaper that had prodded their conscience.
They also changed the headline from "Thieves without a Heart," to "Thieves with a Heart," and laid it on the bike

Romanian national daily Adevarul reports that the 39-year-old woman has been suffering from a muscle wasting disease for 18 years.
.She lives off monthly benefits of 366 lei ($128) and took out a bank loan to buy the scooter
"I think it is a miracle," Lay said

by ANDREI HARMSWORTH - Monday, November 10, 2008

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Beyonce ready to be Wonder-ful

Beyoncé Knowles is so 'inspired' by US President elect Barack Obama, the singer now says she wants to play the first ever black Wonder Woman

The Dreamgirls and Austin Powers actress is so determined, she claims she's already had meetings with DC Comics and Warner Bros, who own the rights to the story.
'I want to do a superhero movie and what would be better than Wonder Woman?' said the If I Were A Boy singer
'And it would be a very bold choice. A black Wonder Woman would be a powerful thing. It's time for that, right? It would be great.'
The 27-year-old's ambition comes after 007 star Daniel Craig recently said it was time to have the first 'black' James Bond

by SOPHIE FREEMAN - Monday, November 10, 2008

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James Barber carries wife Sally Raynes

. As someone once said, it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world

. Particularly if you're James Bamber and Sally Raynes and bizarre sports are your thing
Through the week they lead 'mundane office lives' - but every weekend they travel around the country seeking wacky challenges

The couple from Devon have enlivened their lives by taking part in more than 90 championships for such fun events as bog-snorkling, gurning, shin-kicking, clog throwing and stinging nettle eating.
Data analyst Mr Bamber, 35, is World Russian Egg Roulette champion - like Russian roulette except with five hard-boiled and one uncooked egg.
Ms Raynes, 36, an event manager, said: 'We became hooked after taking part in a bog-snorkelling contest that we saw advertised in a local paper.
'We had to swim to the end of a 60-yard bog using a mask, snorkel and flippers. It was cold, pitch black. but we had a blast so we started looking around to see what other events were on.'
Stinging nettle eating saw them having to eat as many nettle stalks without being sick.
But that was nothing compared to swamp soccer. 'That was definitely the hardest event,' said Ms Raynes.
'The pitch was a complete quagmire of mud and you had to kick the ball down to the other end.
'Even though James is incredibly fit, within 15 seconds he was exhausted.'
Yesterday the pair, who plan to write a book on their experiences, were out again - taking part in a wife-carrying contest.
Get James and Sally's book 'Wacky Nation', at all good book stores, out now

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Albert the sheep has taken orphaned baby Themba under his wing

Themba the abandoned baby elephant has someone to give him that warm, fuzzy feeling at long last – Albert the sheep

. The six-month-old was introduced to Albert, two, after he was orphaned with little hope of survival
Despite a few teething problems, the two are now best friends, and spend hours playing and cuddling

'When we first put Themba and Albert together, all hell broke loose. Themba chased him around his watering hole,' said Lyndal Davies, who is filming the unlikely couple.
But the next day things changed, she revealed, adding: 'The two were exploring together, with Themba's trunk resting on Albert's back. Since then, they have been inseparable.'
Themba was rejected by other elephants after his mother fell down a cliff and died. 'We faced a very difficult decision,' Ms Davies said.
'Let nature take its course and let him die a slow, cruel death or intervene and give him a second chance.'
She and her team took him to the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. They will release Themba when he is two but, until then, he has plenty of time with Albert.
'Albert copies everything Themba does. The other day, they demolished a termite mound together,' added Australian Ms Davies. 'The really sweet thing was that after they ­exhausted themselves they fell asleep on top of it, side by side

Monday, November 10, 2008
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The biggest footballing boar since George Graham's Arsenal

. A football match was cancelled after angry wild boars invaded the pitch, leaving it covered in potholes

The hog hooligans squeezed though a gap in the fence at Soudley Recreation Ground in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, and dug up giant mounds with their snouts.
The new pitch was so badly damaged by the boars, who live in nearby woodland, that Soudley's match with Charfield on Saturday was cancelled.
The pitch underwent a £1,000 returfing and expansion last April, paid for by fundraising events such as discos

Gloucestershire Football Association operations manager Chris Lucker said today: "This is the first time we've heard of anything like this.
Usually it's motorbikes or cars that tear up pitches, not boars. There is funding available for the upkeep of pitches."
Club secretary Louise Stephens said members and players were "absolutely devastated" by the carnage that afternoon. She told the Western Daily Press: "A resident saw the pitch at 8.30am and phoned my husband to say we had to get down straight away. There is no way of playing on the pitch now."
It will take several months to get the pitch up to scratch. All matches have been postponed. After being hunted to near-extinction 300 years ago, wild boars have bred rapidly in recent decades after they were imported from Europe for meat.
Escapes from wildlife parks and farms increased in the 1990s as the captive numbers grew. In January this year, a wild boar broke into Ruardean Primary School, seven miles away from the Soudley pitch, and was shot dead in the playground after it became aggressive and stomped its feet.
There have been several instances of horse riders chased by charging boars, boars trashing private gardens and farms and of boars tearing dogs apart.
Farmers also fear the animals spread diseases like classical swine fever and foot and mouth.
It is estimated that there are over 1,000 boars in the UK and sightings have also been reported in east Somerset, Kent, East Sussex, west Dorset and Devon.
Forestry experts say the animals have little fear of people because they have not been hunted and have no natural predators.
A selective cull of boars was sanctioned in February this year by Biodiversity Minister Joan Ruddock

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Richard Jones proud of his old brolley

Long before Rihanna trilled about being 'under my umbrella', Richard Jones was sheltering under a brolly bought from the London Transport lost property office

And thanks to occasional applications of Vaseline to it, Mr Jones has used the umbrella to keep dry ever since – for an amazing 41 years.
The 62-year-old vending machine operator bought the second-hand umbrella in 1967 during a day trip to London for 7s 6d – just 37p

'It has just lasted and lasted. It's showing no signs of wear or rust and is still in perfect condition after 41 years,' he said.
'It just happens to have survived over the years. I reckon there's easily another ten years of use left in it, and it should definitely make it past the 50-year mark.'
And his secret for umbrella longevity? Bizarrely, it's keeping it dry. 'When I get it indoors, I will wipe it down with a rag, and sometimes put Vaseline on it to keep the water away,' he said.
Mr Jones, from Womborne, Staffordshire, said it has also served him as a parasol on occasion – most notably in the blistering summer of 1976

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A remorseful thief sent £100 and an apology letter to a shop seven years after stealingcigarettes from the premises

Imran Ahmed, who runs Raja Foods in Easton, Bristol, was stunned to get the penitent note and the money as compensation for the packs taken in 2001.
Mr Ahmed, 27, who remembers the night-time raid which left him with a broken shutter and windows said the anonymous writer's change of heart was 'really good

by SUZY AUSTIN - Monday, November 10, 2008

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Stealing an apple kept the couple out of the US

A couple's dream trip to New York has been shattered by a 37-year-old conviction forstealing an apple

. John Wells won the transatlantic trip plus spending money but can't go because of the offence in 1971
The 55-year-old has to have an interview at the American embassy in London, where the earliest slot is in February - two months after the trip

'I felt sick when they told me the date of the interview,' he said. 'I don't know what I'm going to do. What amazes me is that if I was a rapist or murderer, I would have to go through the same process. But all I did was steal an apple.'
Mr Wells, from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, and a pal stole an apple each from outside a shop during a boozy night.
He was fined £10 and the conviction is now classed as a 'spent offence' in Britain. But American law demands anyone with a criminal conviction, no matter how old or trivial, must declare it in advance and apply for a entry visa.
'I've been all over the world and this has never caused a problem before,' added Mr Wells, who won the trip on a Smooth FM radio contest.
'I might have to raffle the prize for charity now. I'm totally gutted.'
A spokesman for the radio station said: 'There is little we can do now.'
The American embassy declined to comment

Watch the video: California water district OKs Tom Sellecks settlement offer (January 2022).