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If you are a fan of walking, you might be well aware of the many possible dangers of doing so. No matter where you are walking to, or even if you just like walking for the sake of it, you need to make sure that you are considering the safety aspects of it at all times. If you do not, then you might well find that you are the victim of an unfortunate circumstance. Every day, there are walking injuries and accidents the world over, and much of it is the result of a lack of awareness about the best way to avoid such a thing occurring. In this post, we are going to look at some of the rules of walking in safety – no matter where you might be walking to or from.
Face The Traffic
If you are walking alongside a road, you should always face against the flow of traffic. This is important for a number of reasons. For a start, it obviously means that you can see any oncoming vehicles, so you can be more likely to move out of the way if they are coming towards you quite fast. But it also means of course that they can see you more easily, and this means they are more likely to get out of the way in time. Both of you can take evasive action much more swiftly, and that could even save your life one day.
Walk Single File
If you are walking in busy areas or near roads at all, it is always best to walk in single file. This makes a difference in a number of ways. Most of all, it ensures that you are safer as a group should any vehicle come around a sharp bend or corner at a high speed. Drivers will not expect to see you walking hand in hand with someone, and it is more likely that it will cause a crash, so you should try to ensure that you are single file for as much of the roadside walk as possible. This will ensure that you are all as safe as possible, and then after you have got past the road you can walk side by side again.
Wear Reflective Gear
While this is particularly important at night, it is also fair to say that it is almost always a good idea anyway. If you wear reflective material, everyone will be able to see you much more easily, and this will mean that drivers and other people alike will have much more of a chance of getting out of the way in time. At night this is especially important, but even during the day wearing high-visibility gear is going to make a difference to how likely you are to go unharmed. There is another important reason to ensure you wear the proper gear at all times. If anything happens and you find you need to get in touch with pedestrian accident lawyers at Kelly & Soto Law, you will also want to be able to show that you were upholding your own part of the safety laws.
Use A Flashlight At Night
If you are walking at night, you must make sure that you don’t go out without a flashlight. Even if the area you intend to walk is littered with streetlights, having your own source of light is going to make a huge difference. The more powerful, the better, but you also need to think about where you are showing it, especially if you are walking along a road. While it can help drivers to spot you more easily, you need to make sure that you are not doing anything to shine it in their eyes, as this can actually very easily cause a crash. As long s you are careful with it however, this is one of the most important items you can possibly carry with you as you go walking at night.
Keep Your Senses Open
You need to do everything you can to stay as aware of your present situation as possible at all times. This means not drowning out the sound of the world with earphones, as you cannot then hear approaching traffic around bends and so on. It also means keep your eyes peeled – and unless it is inordinately sunny, leave your sunglasses at home. The more aware you are with all the senses, the more you will be able to remain safe and well while still enjoying your walk as much as possible.
There is no magic medicine solution that can make us healthier on the long run like good old exercising can. Even just a few days at the gym per week can make your body stronger and much healthier, thus reducing the exposure to various diseases.
Regular exercising can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and several types of cancers. Many people have tried to increase the quality of their lifestyle through “active travel” which includes cycling or walking. However, due to the high levels of pollutants in the air, is this alternative commuting really that healthy? Many people are actually more concerned for their health while walking or cycling to work in our urban environments.
Over the past few decades, air pollution has become one of the major environmental risks for our health. According to World Health Organization, there were 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012 all around the world, due to ambient air pollution. Additionally, recently in Australia it has been reported that 1.5% of all deaths are related to long-term exposure to air pollution in urban areas and 0.8% to short-term ones.
According to several studies from earlier this year, air pollutants kill over 5 million people every year. While walking or cycling to work, more air is inhaled than when you are just sitting in your car or train. All the huffing and puffing on your bicycle makes you breathe in much more air, thus inhaling toxic pollutants which later lead to some severe respiratory problems.
Additionally, researchers have calculated the “breaking point” which represents the point when the cycling is no more beneficial for the health, but it does more harm. However, that point occurs only after cycling for more than 60 minutes per day.
Since people try to increase the quality of their lives by cycling and walking to work or school, they have tried several protection measures from the pollution. Mostly, people wear masks to protect their respiratory systems and try to inhale as least polluted air as possible. This helps them reduce the muck on their faces and noses. Another possible solution is opting for faster bicycles. The less time you spend behind a car or the least you huff and puff, the inhaled pollutants will reduce. That is why many people consider it convenient to find electric bikes in Sydney shops. Since these are electric and do not require a lot of pedaling, you automatically inhale less polluted air.
However, even though long-term exposure to the air pollution can be harmful, according to the latest studies, everyday cycling and exercises outweighs the negative effects on health of those pollutants. The study was done by scientists in Spain, Brazil and Switzerland and the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and Imperial College London in the UK. They have showed that even in the most polluted cities of the world, such as Delhi and London, regular cycling and physical activity can outweigh polluted air effects.
Scientists used computer simulation in order to assess the risks and benefits for different intensities and duration of active travelling exposed to different air pollution levels in locations around the world. What the results have shown is that the benefits outweigh the risks. Such results should encourage people to get out of their cars and not to be afraid of cycling and walking to work. What is more, fewer cars on the street can only result in less pollution.
With this study, the policy makers should consider changing the way of planning their infrastructures, and more politicians and public figures should now promote cycling and regular physical activity in order to show people how to live healthier.
A new study has suggested that post-menopausal women who walk for an hour a day can cut their chance of breast cancer significantly.
The report, which followed more than 73,000 women for 17 years, found walking for at least seven hours a week lowered the risk of the disease.
The American Cancer Society team said this was the first time reduced risk was specifically linked to walking.
This study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention followed 73,615 women out of 97,785 aged 50-74 who had been recruited by the American Cancer Society between 1992 and 1993 so it could monitor the incidence of cancer in the group.
They were asked to complete questionnaires on their health and on how much time they were active and participating in activities such as walking, swimming and aerobics and how much time they spent sitting watching television or reading.
Post-menopausal women who walk for an hour a day can cut their chance of breast cancer significantly
They completed the same questionnaires at two-year intervals between 1997 and 2009.
Of the women, 47% said walking was their only recreational activity.
Those who walked for at least seven hours per week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three or fewer hours per week.
Dr. Alpa Patel, a senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta Georgia, who led the study, said: “Given that more than 60% of women report some daily walking, promoting walking as a healthy leisure-time activity could be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity amongst post-menopausal women.
“We were pleased to find that without any other recreational activity, just walking one hour a day was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in these women.
“More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more.”
A simple walking test could show if Alzheimer’s patients have the disease, say researchers after they found a link between the two.
In one test patients with a shorter stride and lower cadence and velocity in their walk also experienced memory problems and issues with cognition.
Another test found a person’s gait became “slower and more variable as cognition decline progressed”.
The findings are the first time that a physical symptom has been linked to the disease.
Previous research looked into cognition by carrying out neurological exams which tended to be costly and take a long time.
A simple walking test could show if Alzheimer’s patients have the disease
In future patients could simply be asked to walk and be observed over a number of months to see if they are at risk.
Crucially, the scientists said that walking changes can occur even before cognition decline surfaces.
Both pieces of research were presented at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
The first from the US-based Mayo Clinic involved monitoring how 1,341 participants walked through a gait sensor in two or more visits spaced 15 months apart.
The researchers found that walking changes occur because the disease interferes with the circuitry between areas of brain.
Lead researcher Rodolfo Savica said: “Walking and movements require a perfect and simultaneous integration of multiple areas of the brain.
“These changes support a possible role of gait changes as an early predictor of cognitive impairment.”
The second piece of research was carried out by Basel Mobility Center in Basel, Switzerland, and was on 1,153 adults with a mean age of 78.
The team found that people with Alzheimer’s walked more slowly than those with mild cognitive impairment.
They said that an annual test might help detect the disease early and that often relatives of Alzheimer’s patients comment on how badly a person is walking.
Bill Thies, chief medical and scientific officer for the US-based Alzheimer’s Association, said: “Monitoring deterioration and other changes in a person’s gait is ideal because it doesn’t require any expensive technology or take a lot of time to assess.”
Recent research into Alzheimer’s found that signs of dementia may appear 25 years before patients or their family sees any outward symptoms.
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis believe the brains and spines of those with the disease change in their 30s and 40s, several decades before memory loss and confusion sets in.
David Roberts, Whitney Houston’s former bodyguard, who shadowed her between 1987 and 1995, when her popularity was at its height, said he saw absolutely no evidence of a romance between the singer and Robyn Crawford, even though he traveled the world with them for eight years.
“If you’re looking for the day Whitney’s demise began, it’s simple,” David Roberts said. “Just check the date on her marriage certificate.”
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown certainly made an unlikely pair, as he really is a product of the ghetto.
At ten year old, Bobby Brown was reportedly selling drugs in Boston’s tough Roxbury neighborhood, and at 16 was slung out of the band New Edition for performing lewd antics on stage.
His success as a solo artist has been marred by drug abuse and convictions for drunken driving and failing to pay child support (Bobby Brown has five children by three women), and when his brother-in-law was shot dead in his car during a gangland feud, Bobby Brown was there beside him.
Bobby Brown first met Whitney Houston at a soul awards event in 1989. The singer was supposedly then dating Eddie Murphy, but when Bobby Brown sent her 400 red roses and asked her to dinner she promptly ditched Murphy. Three years later Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were married.
The date David Roberts pinpointed was July 18, 1992, and though Whitney Houston always denied her husband was a malign influence, although her former bodyguard says he watched her alarming descent begin soon afterwards.
Such is the bodyguard’s contempt for Bobby Brown that he threatened – in all seriousness – to use him as a human shield if anyone shot at Whitney Houston, and he now refers to him simply as “the Brown character”.
David Roberts admired and liked Whitney Houston, and claims Bobby Brown subjected her to years of “emotional abuse”, driven, he surmises, by his resentment of her vastly greater fame.
“He brought her down to his level, and it couldn’t be much lower,” David Roberts says. He recalls how Bobby Brown turned up on the maternity ward stinking drunk shortly before a terrified Whitney Houston was due to give birth to Bobbi Kristina by Caesarean section in 1993.
Two years later, David Roberts says, he took Whitney Houston aside and warned her that her husband was “leading her down a road to destruction”.
David Roberts also raised his concerns with her company executives – who thanked him, then dispensed with his services.
At least twice, in 1999 and 2005, Cissy Houston grew so desperate of Whitney’s drug addiction she staged legal “interventions” forcing her to complete a recovery program
Quite how the couple managed to raise their daughter, as they sank into co-dependent drug addiction, is anyone’s guess, but Whitney Houston’s mental and physical deterioration was most apparent and by the time they divorced, 14 years later, she was pitiful to behold.
Bobby Brown’s sister, Tina, sold photographs revealing how Whitney Houston had turned the bathroom in her mansion into a crack-house.
Whitney Houston teeth had fallen out due to her use of crack, and she constantly lost her $6,000 dentures. She was incontinent and wore a nappy. She was so paranoid she bored a hole in the wall to spy on callers.
As a baby, Bobbi Kristina was nursed by a family friend known as “Aunt Bae”, and though Whitney Houston won custody of her then 14-year-old daughter after the divorce, she was frequently farmed out to her grandmother Cissy.
Though Bobbi Kristina aspires to be the family’s next diva, it’s small wonder she has followed her mother in all the wrong ways.
In 2008, Bobbi Kristina Brown reportedly attempted to stab Whitney Houston and slash her own wrists with a razor blade and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Then, last year, a tabloid published photographs of Bobbi Kristina Brown using cocaine, and she was charged with possessing alcohol as a minor.
Whitney Houston’s response was to march her to a rehab clinic in Malibu and, to set what she thought was the right example, she booked herself into another nearby.
During her final decade, Whitney Houston surely clocked up more hours in rehab than Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor combined. She invariably waltzed out after a few days, however, and at least twice, in 1999 and 2005, her mother grew so desperate she staged legal “interventions” forcing her to complete a recovery program.
Accompanied by a sheriff, Cissy Houston arrived at Whitney’s mansion in Georgia with a court order, requiring her daughter to be treated at Eric Clapton’s world-renowned Crossroads treatment center in Antigua. Whitney Houston complied, but soon returned to same behavior.
Whitney Houston, it seemed, was a dead woman walking.
And yet, sources close to Whitney Houston insist there is something odd about the timing of her death. After many false dawns, she had of late made genuine efforts to get clean. A starring film role even promised an unlikely career revival.
US researchers found that the speed of someone’s walking may predict the likelihood of developing dementia later in life.
The scientists also told a conference that grip strength in middle-age was linked to the chance of a stroke.
They said more studies were needed to understand what was happening.
Experts said the findings raised important questions, but more research was needed.
Suggestions of a link between slow walking speed and poor health have been made before.
A study, published in the British Medical Journal in 2009, said there was a “strong association” between slow walking speed and death from heart attacks and other heart problems. A Journal of the American Medical Association study suggested a link between walking faster over the age of 65 and a longer life.
Dr. Erica Camargo, who conducted the latest study at the Boston Medical Centre, said: “While frailty and lower physical performance in elderly people have been associated with an increased risk of dementia, we weren’t sure until now how it impacted people of middle age.”
US researchers found that the speed of someone’s walking may predict the likelihood of developing dementia later in life
Brain scans, walking speed and grip strength were recorded for 2,410 people who were, on average, 62 years old.
Results presented at the Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting said that 11 years later, 34 people had developed dementia and 79 had had a stroke.
The researchers said slower walking speeds were linked to a higher risk of dementia and stronger grip with a lower risk of stroke.
Dr. Erica Camargo said: “These are basic office tests which can provide insight into risk of dementia and stroke and can be easily performed by a neurologist or general practitioner.
“Further research is needed to understand why this is happening and whether preclinical disease could cause slow walking and decreased strength.”
The findings have not yet, however, been published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.
Florida police is searching for a man caught on camera stealing a $6,500 Rolex watch from a fellow passenger at an airport security checkpoint.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) captured the theft at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on January 18.
According to detectives in Broward County, 43-year-old Gloria de Regalado mistakenly left the luxury timepiece behind after recovering her belongings from the conveyor belt.
The incident occurred at the Terminal 3 checkpoint, where Gloria de Regaldo says she removed her jewellery and left it behind.
According to the Huffington Post, the mother-of-three returned 30 minutes after her clearance, after noticing she left her two-toned wristwatch and a sentimental bracelet at security.
But when the woman went back to retrieve it, the jewellery was gone.
Florida police is searching for a man caught on camera stealing a $6,500 Rolex watch from a fellow passenger at an airport security checkpoint
Surveillance footage released by the TSA shows a man behind Gloria de Regaldo putting on his shoes and gathering his things from a plastic bin as the watch catches his eye.
The video shows the man grabbing the Rolex and walking away to reorganize his backpack, when he appears to stuff the jewellery inside.
Gloria de Regalado, who lives in El Salvador and was travelling from her South Florida vacation home to Lexington, Kentucky, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel the jewellery was a treasured gift from her husband to celebrate several milestones: her 40th birthday, the births of their three children, their 10th wedding anniversary, and the bracelet represented her Catholic faith.
She recalled making eye contact with the suspect before realizing the piece were missing on her walk through the concourse.
“He had an opportunity to do right by himself, he knew who I was and he could have redeemed himself, but he didn’t,” Gloria de Regaldo told the Sun-Sentinel.
TSA acted swiftly, reviewing the footage and notifying the Broward County Sheriff, whose officers searched the terminal and an airplane departing for Dallas for the suspect.
There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Veteran TV anchor Kyle Dyer in Denver, Colorado, was rushed to the hospital after a dog that recently survived a harrowing rescue bit her in the face during a live TV segment.
86-pound Argentine Mastiff named Max sunk his teeth into Kyle Dyer’s face when she bent down to pet him Wednesday during the morning show segment on KUSA-TV.
KUSA-TV’s news chopper captured video footage of a firefighter rescuing Max from a freezing pond Monday after he fell through the ice and couldn’t make it out.
Now, Max has been caged by animal control officers and his owner, Michael Robinson, has been fined.
TV anchor Kyle Dyer was rushed to the hospital after a dog that recently survived a harrowing rescue bit her in the face during a live TV segment
KUSA-TV says Kyle Dyer is in fair condition, recovering from the bite at Denver hospital.
A trauma team is evaluating the injuries to her face.
Michael Robinson says he was walking Max Monday when he saw a coyote and ran off after it.
Authorities say Max spend 20 minutes swimming in the pond before a firefighter in a dry suit dove into the frigid waters and pulled him to safety.
KUSA- TV station aired the harrowing rescue and invited the firefighter, Michael Robinson and Max into their studios Wednesday morning for a reunion.
That’s when Max attacked Kyle Dyer.
The station says the attack was not broadcast, but it later released a short clip of the bite.
Denver Animal Control Director Doug Kelley told CBS4 Denver Kyle Dyer’s injury was “a pretty major bite”.
Max, who did not have proper rabies vaccinations, will be quarantined 10 days to ensure he is healthy.
Michael Robinson was cited for a dog bite violation, having the dog off his leash and not having proper vaccinations.
US researchers revealed that three people who lost their sight in childhood have reported a dramatic improvement in vision after having gene therapy in both eyes.
There was some improvement after the genetic fault in one eye was corrected four years ago.
Now, one woman has described her joy at seeing her children’s faces, after her second eye was treated.
The three have Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a rare inherited disease caused by defects in a gene encoding a protein needed for vision.
It appears at birth or in the first months of life, leading to severely impaired vision, involuntary eye movements and poor night vision.
LCA disorder, which can be caused by “mistakes” in more than 10 different genes, prevents normal function of the retina; the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye.
Several teams around the world are carrying out early trials of gene therapy in blindness, including experts at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital and the University of Philadelphia, US.
Only a handful of patients worldwide have received the treatment to boost a faulty gene underlying an inherited form of blindness.
The US researchers revealed in 2008 that 12 people with LCA had recovered some vision after being injected in one eye with an engineered virus carrying the gene RPE65.
In a follow-up study they treated the other eye of three of them, and found it improved their sight even more.
The subjects could see better in dim light and two were able to find their way around obstacles.
The results were revealed in the latest edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The principal investigator of the study, Dr. Jean Bennett, said the patients could now do things they could never do before, such as walking around at night, going shopping for groceries and recognizing people’s faces.
Dr. Jean Bennett said: “We’ve shown that it is possible to safely treat both eyes of people with this particular form of retinal deficiency using a gene-based treatment and further we’ve demonstrated that the brain understands what the retina is seeing.”
MRI scans showed the brain could “see” the newly-treated eye.
Dr. Manzar Ashtari, from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who carried out the brain scans, said: “We saw the brain gets activated – the brain after treatment responded to the visual stimuli.”
One of the three patients who took part in the clinical trial, Tami Morehouse, told how her vision gradually returned, opening up a whole new world for her.
Even though she can’t see well enough to read or drive a car, she can now make-out her children’s faces, watch them play baseball and see the light change over Lake Erie, where she lives.
Tami Morehouse said: “Life is so much easier at a level that most people take for granted. Any amount of vision that you can get when you have almost nothing is incredibly valuable.”
The researchers now hope to treat the second eye of the remaining nine patients, and extend the clinical trial.
Dr. Jean Bennett said: “I think it will be a stepping stone to treating more common forms of blindness in both eyes.”
Exercise has beneficial influence on over 180 genes, including those that repair DNA and suppress tumor growth, and this might lead to prevention or delay of prostate cancer progression, a recent study shows.
The findings of the new study will be presented on Friday at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Francisco. These data should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“There are many reasons to exercise. Here’s yet another great reason to exercise and it may offer a prostate cancer-specific benefit,” said June Chan, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, and urology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Prostate genes from 70 men with low-risk prostate cancer were compared to normal prostate genes from 70 men by Professor Chan’s team.
Researchers discovered a great difference between the expression of the genes in men who did sustained and moderate to hard activities, such as jogging, tennis or swimming for at least three hours a week, compared with genes in men who did less exercise.
Tumor-suppressor genes associated with breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 and the genes involved in DNA repair were highly expressed in men who did brisk exercise.
An energetic exercise results in benefits for breast cancer and colon cancer patients too.
However, the study was small and the results need to be confirmed by a larger survey on men who are undergoing active surveillance, and men with recurrence of their prostate cancer.
“If confirmed, the results suggest that vigorous physical activity might offer protection against prostate cancer progression,” Professor Chan said.
“This is an interesting, hypothesis-generating study that will require further testing and perhaps opens doors to exercise as part of future prostate cancer treatment, but it’s too soon to tell,” said Dr. Anthony D’Amico, chief of radiation oncology, prostate cancer expert from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Walking in a brisk pace or running several times a week might prevent the death from prostate cancer.
The beneficial effect of exercise in prostate cancer progression was emphasized by another two studies published last year.
Men with prostate cancer who did 3 or more hours a week of brisk exercises had a 60% lower risk of death from prostate cancer, and around 50% lower risk of death from all illnesses, in contrast with the men who did less than one hour per week of energetic physical activity. These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in February 2011.
Also the men who walked at 3 miles (4.82 km) per hour or faster had about half the risk of cancer progression of the men who walked at two miles (3.21 km) per hour or less, showed a study published in Cancer Research in the May 2011.
“These studies suggested that some form of cardiopulmonary exercise might offer specific benefits for prostate cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms by which physical activity exerts this effect on prostate cancer remains unknown, ” Professor Chan said.
LAPD gunned down a man who was preparing to swing a metal pipe at them in the parking lot of a Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurant.
The entire shooting – 10 shots in all – was captured on video by two teens with a cell phone camera, who watched as the man walked out of the Carl’s Jr. about 9:30 a.m. Monday and apparently refused officers’ commands to surrender.
The dead man’s name is unknown and the names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released.
The man appears to be casually walking out of the burger joint after smashing windows at the restaurant.
Officers approach and shoot him in the face with a Taser stun gun.
The man pulls the electric probes and wires out, takes a step then turns toward one of the officers and swings the metal bar.
That’s when one officer, holding a pistol in one hand and the leash of a police dog in the other, opens fire, shooting five times.
The man stumbles backwards and spins. He is still on his feet with his back to the shooter when a second officer fires five more times.
He was taken to the hospital, where he died, police say.
One officer, holding a pistol in one hand and the leash of a police dog in the other, opens fire, shooting five times
The cameramen, who react with shock at what they see, apparently set up in their car to film the man’s encounter with officers after they saw him causing a disturbance in the restaurant.
“Dude they shot him so many times!” one of the onlookers says.
Before the video surfaced, police claimed the man had swung the pipe at officers. However, the footage does not show he actually took a swing.
Rather, it appears the man gripped the pipe like a baseball bat and was preparing to hit out with it.
The target of the man’s fury, the officer with the Taser, appearing to be fumbling in his pocket for a cartridge to reload the stun gun.
He backed up quickly to avoid the man’s swing.
Police were originally called to the restaurant on reports that a man was trying to break in. When they arrived, they spotted several people running from the restaurant.
The video shows police hide beside the door so the man will not see him until he walks outside.
“Get your cameras out, they’re gonna drop him right here,” one of the teens behind the camera says as the man steps out the door.
After the shooting, one of the teens comments: “They could have done something f**** different than f****** shoot him, use a baton or something.”
The video quickly became viral after the teens uploaded it to YouTube. It had more than 2600,000 views since it was uploaded Monday.
An unnamed researcher secretly filmed more than 100 young single women from behind using a camera in his buttonhole when he examined the alluring sway of women’s hips when they walk.
The covert footage was viewed by two other men – who were asked to judge each wiggle on an attractiveness scale of one to five.
Their research revealed that women at the peak of their fertility cycles walk more slowly and seductively than those who are not.
This subtle change in behaviour is subconscious but has clear evolutionary benefits – as it makes a woman appear more attractive just at the time when she is most likely to fall pregnant, the research showed.
The women were unaware of the nature of the study and were asked for a saliva sample to test for the presence of a hormone.
Levels of the hormone indicated whether they were approaching the most fertile time of the month.
The secret of the wiggle, well known for leaving men smitten when demonstrated by attractive women such as the singer Beyonce, was confirmed when the researcher compared the hormone test with the ratings from the judging panel.
Professor Nicolas Gueguen led the study at the behavioural sciences unit of the University of Bretagne-Sud in France.
And it is not the first time Prof. Nicolas Gueguen has studied the female form. His previous research has examined whether a woman’s bust size affects her ability to hitchhike and whether a woman’s hair colour affects her success as a charity worker.
The secret of the wiggle, well known for leaving men smitten when demonstrated by attractive women such as the singer Beyonce, was confirmed when the researcher compared the hormone test with the ratings from the judging panel
He is currently studying whether women wear shoes with higher heels when they are fertile.
For the “wiggle test”, Prof. Nicolas Gueguen recruited 103 young women who were undergraduate business and social science students at his university – telling them he was conducting an experiment to test their word choices.
All were single, heterosexual and aged between 18 and 22.
Prof. Nicolas Gueguen had already ruled out any who were using the contraceptive pill in case the hormones affected the experiment.
Each woman was individually asked to sit in a room and wait. After a short time, an attractive man entered and sat with them. The man was asked to smile at them and engage them in friendly conversation.
Unknown to the women, the man had been pre-selected for his attractiveness by a separate group of 31 women who had awarded him an average of 7.28 on a scale of 1 to 9.
The man then accompanied the women down a corridor to the laboratory, where they were told the study would take place. But without their knowledge, the man deliberately walked behind to film them. Once they reached the room, the women’s saliva was tested.
They were also then told the purpose of the experiment and asked for their permission to use the video footage. All gave their consent.
The results showed women at the peak of their fertility cycles were rated an average of 2.96 on the scale for sexiness, compared with 2.31 for those at the least fertile point.
The most fertile women also took about three seconds longer on average to complete the same short walk. Prof. Nicolas Gueguen and his researchers concluded: “We found that women near ovulation spent more time walking down a long hallway and their gaits were perceived to be sexier by males.
“Such results confirm that subtle behavioural cues are influenced by menstrual cycle.”
In his research Prof. Nicolas Gueguen is keen to point out other studies that have observed female behaviour, including one which involved watching women while they were seated in university cafeterias, bars or nightclubs.
“The women used subtle nonverbal behaviours such as nodding, leaning forward, self-touching, hair-flipping and hair-tossing in courtship and flirting relationships”, it says.
A study at speed-dating events found women who mimicked the behaviour of the men they were talking to were deemed more attractive than the other participants. And another found women with slightly enlarged pupils were considered more feminine.
Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, is reportedly walking away from their ten year marriage with three of their properties.
Vanessa Bryant, 33, will get all of their mansions in the Newport Beach area of California, according to TMZ.
Kobe Bryant’s wife will secure $75million, which is said to be close to half of their total assets.
A source close to the couple told TMZ that the property settlement agreement has already been finalized.
Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, is reportedly walking away from their ten year marriage with three of their properties
Vanessa Bryant, who has two daughters with Kobe, now faces the tough decision of where to actually live as she continues her life as a single woman.
The mother-of-two will be able to choose from the estate that she was living in with Kobe Bryant before she filed for divorce, the estate her mother is currently living in, and also the new estate that has been under construction for two years and has just recently been completed.
Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from the NBA superstar husband last month, citing “irreconcilable differences”.
When the news broke, TMZ also reported that the couple had no pre-nuptial agreement, and that Vanessa Bryant had requested spousal support.
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant met when she was just 18 and she was working as a backing dancer in a studio where he was recording, though that material was never released to the public.
Vanessa Bryant is also said to be asking for joint custody of their two daughters – eight-year-old Natalia and five-year-old Gianna.
She is also asking that Kobe Bryant get visitation rights, which means she wants the kids in her care most of the time.
Vanessa Bryant is being represented by Laura Wasser and attorney Samantha Klein, whose clients include Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, Maria Shriver and Kim Kardashian.
Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis are living “separate lives” after 14 years spent together, it has been claimed.
Vanessa Paradis was nowhere to be seen as Johnny Depp mingled with his A-list friends at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.
Now some insiders are saying that the long-term couple has already split up.
According to a new report by the highly respected publication People magazine, Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’ relationship has been rocky for quite some time.
It follows several tabloid reports that the pair’s relationship is on the rocks.
Although they show displays of unity at family functions for children Lily-Rose, 12, and Jack, 9, they are infrequently spotted together.
Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis are living “separate lives” after 14 years spent together
While both Johnny Depp, 48, and Vanessa Paradis, 39, were in Paris last November, she opted out of attending the French premiere of his film, The Rum Diary.
Instead, People reports, Vanessa Paradis went to a concert, which one source notes were: “Weird and pretty clear: You’re in town and you don’t go to the premiere of your husband’s film? One which he starred in, produced?”
Vanessa Paradis was also noticeably absent at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Johnny Depp’s fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film in May.
Though they have both been staying in LA, it is believed they are living at different locations.
An insider tells People magazine that the two, who never married, may have been broken up for years.
“My sense is that this is a couple which hasn’t existed for two years,” says the source.
Vanessa Paradis has remained at home in Los Angeles with their kids, who attend private school there, while Johnny Depp gallivants around the world shooting movies.
While Johnny Depp was filming Pirates in Hawaii in 2010, he was often spotted drinking wine at local bars in and around Honolulu.
“He would chat with girls and was very friendly and flirty,” a source tells the People magazine.
Now Johnny Depp is flying off to shoot The Lone Ranger in Mexico while, once again, Vanessa Paradis remains at home in LA with the children.
The stony-faced French singer was spotted walking through the city’s outdoor shopping mall, The Grove, on Friday – which meant she could have easily attended the Golden Globes as his date.
Though friends hope they can reconcile, it isn’t looking likely for the once-wonderful couple.
Behind the innocent aspirations and her shy smile, the 19-year-old Gemma Barker from Staines, Middlesex, UK, led a double life that saw her pose as a boy in order to date two younger girlfriends to whom she was sexually attracted.
In an extraordinary deception, Gemma Barker created false alter egos so she could have sexual encounters with her 15 and 16-year-old victims.
Gemma Barker had three fake identities – Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack and Luke Jones.
The teenager tricked her victims by talking like a boy and wore boys’ baggy clothes, hats and hooded tops to disguise her figure.
She set up Facebook profiles for each “boy” and gave each an individual dress sense and personality.
Gemma Barker incredibly completely fooled her friends and their families by posing as three different teenage boys.
The victims were completely taken in and kissed and cuddled with her – despite both having gone to the same school as Barker.
Eventually they became suspicious that their “boyfriends” were the same person.
One took off Connor McCormack’s hat as “he” slept in her bedroom and realized it was her friend’s supposed boyfriend Aaron Lampard.
Gemma Barker created false alter egos so she could have sexual encounters with her 15 and 16-year-old victims
It was only when – in the guise of one of her fake identities Aaron Lampard – she was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and her clothes were removed in the cells that police discovered her true identity.
Gemma Barker’s two victims were completely taken in and had sexual encounters with the person they variously believed was Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack or Luke Jones.
The teenager now faces jail after admitting two counts of sexual assault and one of fraud by tricking the girls into relationships.
Prosecutors at Guildford Crown Court told how Gemma Barker reinforced her deception by setting up Facebook profiles for her different personas and even had individual dress styles for them.
She wore different hats, hoodies and other baggy clothing to mask her identity, walking and talking like a boy.
Judge Peter Moss told Gemma Barker he could not be sure whether she was “bad and dangerous to know or mad and dangerous to know”.
Gemma Barker’s disguise was so convincing that when one of the victims removed a sleeping “Connor’s” hat following a petting session, she was shocked to discover it was her best friend’s boyfriend “Aaron” she had been kissing.
Even at that point she did not realize the boy was actually a female friend.
When the net was closing in, Gemma Barker deliberately fractured her jaw and tried to blame her “Luke Jones” alter-ego for attacking her and forcing her to pose as “Aaron”.
She even tried to claim compensation for her injuries.
Prosecutor Ruby Selva told the court: “The defendant was 19 years old when she befriended her victims, who were 16 and 15 years old.
“Having befriended them she disguised herself as various 16-year-old boys for the sole purpose of having sexual relationships with them.
“Neither had any idea it was Gemma Barker – their friend.
“If either of them had known of the deceit, that the boy they were having a relationship with was Gemma Barker, they would not have consented to the acts.”
Gemma Barker struck up an online relationship with the older victim by inventing the fictitious character “Aaron Lampard”, and the pair became a “couple”.
The girl met “Aaron” in various parks and even took him home to her family, Ruby Selva said.
The prosecutor said the 16-year-old’s parents were taken in by the disguise, even though they had met Gemma Barker.
Ruby Selva added: “They (her parents) described never really seeing <<Aaron Lampard’s>> face because of the hat being pulled down so low or him averting his eyes from them.”
Gemma Barker engaged in “kissing, cuddling and groping” with the girl as Aaron Lampard before creating another boy persona and befriending a second victim.
It was through “Aaron Lampard” that the 16-year-old’s younger friend met “Connor McCormack”.
“Connor” had slightly different clothing but still concealed “himself” with a hoodie and baggy clothes when with the girl.
The younger victim began a relationship with “Connor McCormack”, despite having met both “Aaron Lampard” and the real Gemma Barker.
In May 2010 the bizarre story took a further twist when the second girl removed “Connor McCormack’s” hat and saw who she thought was “Aaron Lampard”.
Ruby Selva added: “As far as the second girl is concerned a third character – <<Luke Jones>> – was introduced, again via <<Aaron Lampard>> and <<Connor McCormack>>.
“She described on one occasion kissing him. She described similar clothing, a hat and a hoodie being up.”
After the alleged infidelity, the girls became suspicious and contacted police.
“Aaron Lampard” was arrested in June 2010 but it was only when he was searched that Barker’s identity was revealed.
Gemma Barker described herself as an “actress” on her Twitter feed.
The cross-dresser said of herself: “I love life and live to make people laugh. I try to be a best i can. Im an actress, loving my job. Never say Never !!!”
One Direction fan Gemma Barker repeatedly bombards the five members of the X-Factor band, which includes Harry Styles and Zane Malik, with tweets.
One message to Niall Horan read: “Please make my night and follow me xxx.”
Another to Zayn Malik said: “Miss you at the airport cos i’m ill 🙁 promise ill see you next time xxx.”
Gemma Barker also regularly tweeted the X Factor contestants during the ITV show and also posts about hanging around at Shepperton Studios.
Judge Peter Moss said her case involved “fairly lengthy and convoluted deception” of everybody around Gemma Barker.
He told her: “What concerns me is, however unusual it is, it has got a very mean, manipulative streak to it.”
Gemma Barker was bailed until sentencing on March 2.
After an accident that left him needing the aid of a walking cane Brad Pitt shows now his fans that he is still good looking on the cover of the latest issue of W magazine.
With his shirt unbuttoned just enough to reveal a flash of his chest, and sporting his trademark designer stubble, Brad Pitt looks every inch the Hollywood heartthrob.
Brad Pitt can be seen on the cover of W magazine lounging on a chair by a swimming pool, smouldering at the camera.
He appears to be winding down after a difficult day, with a drink in his hand and an undone bow tie slung casually around his neck.
And the cover shot was not the only treat brad Pitt had in store for his female admirers.
Inside W magazine Brad Pitt can be seen lying in bed under plush blue sheets, eating biscuits
Inside W magazine Brad Pitt can be seen lying in bed under plush blue sheets, eating biscuits.
Brad Pitt is still wearing a suit for the photograph, but his floppy brown hair is messy and his sleeves are loosely rolled up.
He features on the front of the magazine for W’s Movie Issue, and is also interviewed by the publication about his latest movies The Tree of Life and Moneyball.
Despite the film star’s confidence, when asked by the magazine if he had any characters he would like to do over, Brad Pitt answered: “Um… the first 12 years of my career, I would think.”
Brad Pitt features on one of two covers the magazine has released for its February 2012 issue.
Friday the 13th is a particularly inauspicious day for those of a superstitious inclination. Moreover, they may be unhappy to learn that 2012 will be an especially unlucky year.
January 13, 2012, is the first of an unusual three Friday the 13ths – the fear of which has its roots in Christian tradition – that will fall in 2012.
However, the good news is that they only have to get through this year and the phenomenon will not strike again until 2026.
And while they may spend the day cowering under the duvet in case any ill might befall them if they leave the house – and avoiding walking under ladders or over three drains at a time if they are forced to venture outside – they can take some comfort in knowing they are not alone.
More than 60 million people worldwide are claimed to suffer from fear of the day – known as paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek.
It is believed that superstitions over Friday the 13th stem from two separate fears – the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Fridays, which both have their roots in Christian theology.
Thirteen is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper and Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive.
And Friday was the day on which Jesus was crucified.
Others say it has its roots in anti-paganism.
But whatever the cause, the fear is so deeply ingrained that many people will refuse to leave their homes for fear of an accident or some other misfortune such as losing money.
Dr. Donald Dossey, of the Stress Management Center/Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, estimates this costs as much as $900 million to the US economy alone.
The other Friday the 13ths this year will come in April and July.
While some may find it hard to believe that any day of a year could be more unlucky than other a 1993 study found that on the day “the risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%”.
The article “Is Friday 13th bad for your health?” published in the British Medical Journal concluded the date was actually unlucky for some and that it might be safer to stay at home.
Separate research in 2003 suggested people who thought they were unlucky were more likely to believe in superstitions linked to bad luck which could, in turn, actually lead to bad luck.
Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, said Friday the 13th could make some people anxious and more accident-prone.
Though with many preferring to stay at home on some an inauspicious day, it has been reported that the number of road accidents can fall on Friday the 13th.
Research in the housing industry suggests that superstitious people in UK are more likely to refuse to buy a house with a number 13 on the door – helping to knock more than $10,000 off its asking price.
And Friday the 13th also sees fewer property deals signed off as a result of new buyers and sellers worrying about it being unlucky.
The fear of the number 13 can be a financial burden to those trying to sell, but helps to pick up a bargain for buyers, said website FindaProperty.com.
The company reduces the selling price by an average of 4% – around $10,000 – compared with homes with other numbers on the door.
An analysis of transactions over a decade of sales found 144,789 homes with the number 13 were sold compared to 239,716 number 12s – a 33% gap.
Similarly there have been 222,127 number 14s. And the superstition does not stop there, said FindaProperty. There are fewer homes sold on the 13th of the month than any other day, around 32% fewer than an average day.
Samantha Baden of FindaProperty.com, said: “The fact that buyers avoid the number 13 is a trend that has been evident for the past 10 years.
“Many people believe Friday 13th to be one of the most unlucky days of the year and as a nation of superstitious buyers, we expect it will one of the quietest for property.”
Samantha Baden added: “What this research shows is that it’s not just the bricks and mortar that effect a property’s sale price – there are so many other less tangible things to consider and this is a prime example.
“Whether or not a potential buyer warms to a property can have a huge impact on its saleability and for some people, superstitions can play a big role in this.”
There are a wide range of reasons given for the fear, and in some cases it seems that the theories have been sought to later justify the belief.
Some theologians even claim that Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit on a Friday, and that the Great Flood began on a Friday.
Other historians suggest the Christian distrust of Fridays is actually linked to the early Catholic Church’s overall suppression of pagan religions and women.
In the Roman calendar, Friday was devoted to Venus, the goddess of love. When Norsemen adapted the calendar, they named the day after Freya, the Norse goddess of sexuality.
Both of these strong female figures once posed a threat to male-dominated Christianity, the theory goes, so the Christian church vilified their day.
A separate Christian legend holds that 13 is unholy because it signifies the gathering of 12 witches and the devil.
But some trace the infamy of the number 13 back to ancient Norse culture.
In Norse mythology, the beloved hero Balder was killed at a banquet by the mischievous god Loki, who crashed the party of twelve, bringing the group to 13.
This story, as well as the story of the Last Supper, led to one of the most entrenched 13-related beliefs – that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Sailors were particularly superstitious with regards to Friday, often refusing to ship out on that day of the week, believing that to start a trip on a Friday mean you would meet misfortune.
One urban legend tells of the ship the HMS Friday, commissioned by the British Navy in the 1800s to combat the superstition.
The navy selected the crew on a Friday, so the myth goes, launched the ship on a Friday and even selected a man named James Friday as the ship’s captain.
Then, one Friday morning, the ship set off on its maiden voyage and disappeared forever. Sadly there is no record of such a ship ever having existed.
It is also said that 13 turns make a traditional hangman’s noose – anything less would fail to snap a neck.
Stephen Beatty posted messages about his new relationship on Twitter, revealing he received a home-made pair of socks for his recent birthday from his beau.
It is unclear whether his father Warren Beatty approves, although he reportedly toasted his “brave son” at a special family dinner in Hollywood last month.
Warren Beatty is trying to solidify his relationship with Stephen, who was previously called Kathlyn, according to the National Enquirer.
Stephen Beatty, 20, who is a blogger and transgender activist, made the revelation about his sexuality on December 22.
He said: “Haha, yeah, I’m trans and gay. Double the fun!”
Stephen Beatty posted messages about his new relationship on Twitter, revealing he received a home-made pair of socks for his recent birthday from his beau
Stephen Beatty, who has turned 20 on Sunday, also told his followers he had been given a special gift from his new man.
“I’m terrified of socks. My boyfriend has made me some though!
“They’re my birthday present and are coming in the mail.”
Yesterday Stephen Beatty also said: “I miss my boyfriend.”
No doubt many will be wondering just who has captured the heart of Stephen Beatty, who decided to switch genders in 2009.
But it seems he is still interested in other men too, as he recently tweeted about his attraction to a uniquely featured individual.
Stephen Beatty said: “Oh man I was actually super into the Nazi guy with the weird forehead.”
He frequently tweets his thoughts about sex, gender, philosophy and politics.
But according to the National Enquirer Stephen Beatty’s posts have become racier since 74-year-old Warren “publicly backed” his son at a family dinner at Italian restaurant il Covo.
A source said: “The dinner was an unofficial public display that he’s proud of his family, especially Stephen, for having the courage to be who he truly is.
“It wasn’t easy for Warren. But he learned a lot about the transgender community over the past year.
“Warren even made an emotional toast to Stephen during the dinner and said he was proud to have such a brave son.”
However in a recent blog post Stephen Beatty blasted the story, claiming it was simply a fabrication.
He said: “If you’re me, which not many people are, there are suddenly paparazzi following you around, doing really dehumanizing things.
“For example, recently my family and I went out to dinner and a paparazzo got all up on us as we were walking to our car.
“The next morning an article came out purporting to know what we’d talked about at dinner.
“Some reporter literally made up an account of our dinner conversation. Out of whole cloth.”
Stephen Beatty added he was particularly unhappy as he was photographed looking far from his best.
He said: “There was also a picture of me really needing a haircut and looking shellshocked.
“So yeah. Queer Christmas: stressful, especially if people are trying to take your picture because they are interested in the confluence of your gender identity and your parentage.”
Stephen is one of four children Warren Beatty has with his wife of the last 19-years Annette Bening.
They have another two daughters, Isabel and Ella, and a son Ben.
Apple has decided to halt the sale of all iPhone models from its stores in China, after large crowds disrupted the launch of the iPhone 4S.
An Apple store, in the Sanlitun area of Beijing, did not open on Friday after a large crowd gathered outside in anticipation of the launch.
The crowd became unruly, throwing eggs. Scuffles broke out with police.
Apple has decided to halt the sale of all iPhone models from its stores in China, after large crowds disrupted the launch of the iPhone 4S
China is the world’s largest mobile phone market, and Apple’s second-biggest market.
The iPhone 4S, which has voice-activated functions, was being introduced through official Apple stores in China for the first time.
Apple said in a statement that it decided not to open its store at Sanlitun “due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees”.
The company also said that it was halting the sale of iPhones at all retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai “for the time being”.
However, Apple said Chinese customers can still purchase the phones either through the Apple online store or at China Unicom and other authorized sellers.
The decision came despite the fact that other stores in Beijing and Shanghai opened without incident and reported rapid sales.
Apple said all iPhone 4Ss were now sold out in stores in China.
Crowds began gathering outside of Apple stores overnight and in the early morning. Police were deployed to a number of stores to help control the crowds.
Eggs were thrown at Apple’s Sanlitun store in Beijing after it failed to open on Friday at 07:00 local time as advertised.
When it was announced that the store would not be opening, there were shouts of “open the door” and “liar”.
Customers at the Sanlitun store said they were disappointed not to be walking away with any purchases.
“I’ve been waiting here since yesterday afternoon, then this morning they say they won’t sell,” a man in his 20s told Reuters TV.
“They broke customers’ hearts.”
By about 10:00 local time in Beijing, the crowds had cleared the area in front of Apple store.
A Boston-area event planning company has been flooded with calls since Beyonce gave birth to her baby girl just because its name is Blue Ivy, reported TMZ.
Owner Veronica Alexandra said she been getting phone calls, texts and Facebook posts from friends since Beyonce baby’s name was announced.
Before this weekend, Veronica Alexandra’s website came up first when someone Googled the name.
Veronica Alexandra told the website she’d love to plan all of the little girl’s milestone celebrations and even said the baby should be the new face of her company.
“Clearly great minds think alike, and who better than our Blue Ivy to plan events for B&J’s Blue Ivy?”
Beyonce and Jay-Z’s close friend Gwyneth Paltrow confirmed the baby’s name on Twitter, writing: “Welcome to the world Blue! We love you already.”
Baby's middle name Ivy may be in reference to Beyoncé and Jay-Z's love of the number 4 (IV)
Baby’s middle name Ivy may be in reference to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s love of the number 4 (IV).
They married on April 4, 2008, Beyoncé’s latest album is called 4 and the couple has matching tattoos of the roman numeral for 4(IV) on their wedding fingers.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z were also born on September 4 and December 4 respectively.
Regarding Blue, Jay-Z has a trilogy of albums with the word in the title. The Blueprint was released in 2001 around the time he got together with Beyoncé, The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse came out in 2002 and The Blueprint 3 in 2009.
Incidentally, there had been rumors in the Noughties that Jay-Z had dated singer Blu Cantrell which she later denied, but admitted that she had a “major crush” on him.
Despite initial confusion the baby was named Ivy Blue, E! reporter Ken Baker later clarified friends of the couple confirmed the newborn was actually called Blue Ivy.
Us Weekly reported Beyoncé’s sister Solange and parents Tina and Mathew Knowles arrived at the hospital holding “flowers with pink balloons and silver and black ribbons”.
Jay-Z was also seen walking through the hospital halls looking “happy” an observer said.
While a spokesperson for the power couple – who are said to be worth $750million – was not available for comment, security is said to have been tightened at the hospital.
Hospital workers were asked to turn in their mobile phones and security cameras have been covered with packing tape, according to TMZ.
Within hours of baby Blue’s reported arrival, one fan started up a parody Twitter account called @IvyBlueCarter, with a digitally-created image of what the baby could look like.
Although many find Blue unusual as a name, it’s actually been quite popular in celebrity circles for a while.
U2 guitarist The Edge has a 22-year-old daughter Blue Angel with ex-wife Aislinn.
At least 50 people have been killed and more than 70 have been injured in bomb attacks in southern Iraq and in the capital Baghdad.
Provincial officials said at least Shia pilgrims died in a suicide attack near the city of Nasiriya.
Earlier, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said at least 24 people were killed in blasts in Shia areas of Baghdad.
The attacks come amid a rise in sectarian tensions after the last US combat troops withdrew in December.
The head of the provincial council in Nasiriya, Qusay al-Abadi, said at least 30 pilgrims were killed and more than 70 injured in the attack near Nasiriya. AFP quoted the official Dhi Qar provincial website as saying the pilgrims were walking to the holy city of Karbala.
At least 50 people have been killed and more than 70 have been injured in bomb attacks in southern Iraq and in the capital Baghdad
The Baghdad attacks occurred during the city’s rush hour and the Interior Ministry says they targeted gatherings in of civilians in the Sadr City and Kadhimiya areas and injured at least 66 other people.
Unnamed officials told the AFP news agency that between 14 and 15 people had been killed when two car bombs exploded simultaneously in Kadhimiya at around 09:00. The Associated Press (AP) said 15 people died in the blasts.
Twelve people had earlier been killed when two bombs were detonated in Sadr City, AP reported officials as saying. It said the first was a motorbike bomb, which exploded near where labourers were gathering to look for work.
It quoted anonymous hospital officials as saying that 30 minutes later a roadside bomb exploded near a tea shop, killing one. AFP quoted security officials as saying nine people were killed and 35 wounded in the Sadr City attacks. Reuters put the toll at 10.
“There was a group of day labourers gathered, waiting to be hired for work. Someone brought his small motorcycle and parked it nearby. A few minutes later it blew up, killed some people, wounded others and burned some cars,” a police officer told Reuters at the scene of the first attack.
Iraq’s power-sharing government has been in crisis since an arrest warrant was issued for Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi on terror charges two weeks ago. He has denied the accusations against him.
The al-Iraqiyya group, the main Sunni bloc in parliament, is boycotting the assembly in protest. It accuses Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shia, of monopolizing power.
Tariq al-Hashemi is currently in Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, under the protection of the regional government, but Nouri Maliki has demanded that they give him up.
“Political leaders fight each other for power, and we pay the price,” Labourer Ahmed Khalaf told AFP at the site of one of the Sadr City explosions.
“How is it our fault if al-Hashemi is wanted, or someone else is wanted?” he asked. “Why should we pay instead of them?”
Lalita Tati, a seven-year-old girl from India was murdered and had her liver cut in a ritual sacrifice to ensure a better harvest.
Police said that two men, both poor farmers, have now been arrested in central India for allegedly carrying out the murder of the girl.
Lalita Tati disappeared in October and her dismembered remains were found a week later, said Rajendra Narayan Das, a senior police officer in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh state.
The state is the tenth largest in the country and beliefs in traditional healers run deep.
Police arrested the men last week and they told officers they killed Lalita Tati to appease their gods and get a better harvest.
Lalita Tati was walking home after watching TV at a neighbor’s house when she was kidnapped, Rajendra Narayan Das said.
The two men confessed to cutting the girl open and removing her liver as an offering.
Rajendra Narayan Das said the police had gathered enough evidence, apart from the confessions, to charge the two with murder.
The two men would face life in prison or even the death sentence if convicted.
They were described as “tribals”, a term referring to the region’s indigenous people, most of whom remain mired in poverty and illiteracy.
The abbot of the prestigious Vatopedi monastery in Mount Athos, Greece has been imprisoned pending trial for alleged fraud and embezzlement.
Archimandrite Ephraim, 56, is accused of arranging land swaps between Vatopedi and the state which are thought to have cost the government millions of euros.
The abbot, now being held in Korydallos prison in Athens, denies wrongdoing. His arrest has triggered protests in Greece, Cyprus, Russia and other christian orthodox countries.
What is Archimandrite Ephraim accused of?
Mount Athos monks rallied for Abbot Ephraim
Vatopedi is part of the ancient Mount Athos monastic community that has been visited by Britain’s Prince Charles and Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The controversial deal saw valuable state land traded for less valuable land held by Vatopedi. It is said to have cost the state some EURO 100 million ($129.42m). None of the involved state officials have been accused, prosecuted or detained, some have even been promoted.
“They rushed Efraim to jail … while others who have embezzled Greek people’s money remain at large,” said George Karatzaferis, leader of the far-right LAOS party which is part of Greece’s coalition government.
Despite parliamentary investigations into several public officials, no senior politician has so far been charged.
“Undoubtedly the pre-trial jailing could create the impression, in one part of Greek society, that finally someone is paying for a such a big scandal,” said Costas Panagopoulos, head of ALCO pollsters.
“But it also reminds everyone that all politicians involved in this case are left unpunished,” he said.
The government’s anti-corruption crackdown hit another snag on Wednesday when two newly-appointed special prosecutors targeting economic crime resigned, complaining of political meddling. They did not give details.
Justice Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou replied accusing the critics of “interfering in the work of the justice system”.
Cyprus protesters for freeing Archimandrite Ephraim
Speaking to Skai TV, Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki wondered why Ephraim was the only person among the 32 involved in the Vatopedi land swap to be remanded in custody.
“People are wondering whether Ephraim is being made a scapegoat,” said the bishop, who insisted that the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod would not take a position on the matter.
“There is the problem of meddling in judicial matters,” he said. “The church is totally separate from the state.”
“The detention of Mr. Ephraim is another impropriety of Greek justice. It violates the fundamental principle of rule of law dictates that no one is deprived of liberty only after a decision legally consisting court. Temporary custody is a derogation from this principle because it is ordered without a court has ruled on the guilt of a person and therefore justified only in extreme cases when the accused is suspected of absconding or is likely to commit new offenses.
The law governing the detention (Article 282 CCP) is detailed and fully consistent with the exceptional nature of the measure. It requires not only the accused is suspected escape, but have gone in flight preparations. Not only is likely to commit new offenses, but very likely that they will commit. […] With these data, the pre-trial detention is completely arbitrary and has no basis in law.”
Prof. Tsakyrakis added:
It is Mr. Ephraim the only victim of judicial arbitrariness that sends people to prison without a court to rule on guilt, only because the investigating judge and the prosecutor consider them guilty. Two of them, for Mr. A. Sotiropoulou and daughter accused of scandal Zimens I publicly complained in the past. Our judges, however, do not seem to pay attention. They still consider custody as a means of power that allows them to imprison someone accused by themselves and not according to the law. The anxiety of most defendants in Greece is not the trial (which nobody knows when it will take place) but to avoid detention. […]
Russia supports the release of Archimandrite Ephraim
The Russian Orthodox Church’s head of foreign relations, Metropolitan Ilarion, called the abbot’s detention “an extraordinary event, arousing profound bewilderment”
“We are deeply concerned by the ruling of the Greek judiciary to put him under pre-trial detention, despite the recommendations of the European Court of Human Rights” the Russian foreign ministry said.
Patriarch Kirill asks Greek president to release Abbot Ephraim
Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of Vatopedi Monastery
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill has sent a message to Greek President Karolos Papoulias to express his concern regarding the custody of Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of the Mount Athos Vatopedi Monastery.
“It is my duty to convey our common concern to the chief of the Greek state and to request the release from custody of Archimandrite Ephraim, superior of the Mount Athos Vatopedi Monastery,” says the message posted on the Russian Orthodox Church website.
“I do not question the powers of the Greek law enforcement officials and express hope for a fair and impartial decision regarding the property of the Vatopedi Monastery. However, I am perplexed by the custody of the monk, who is not a danger to society and has repeatedly expressed readiness to cooperate with detectives, prior to the court hearing of the case merits,” he said.
Patriarch Kirill said he was particularly concerned about Archimandrite Ephraim’s ill health, which was ignored in taking him into custody.
“In Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and other countries, whose peoples are the traditional flock of the Russian Orthodox Church, millions of believers are alarmed by the police measures taken as regards the hegemon of the famous Athos monastery well-known to the entire Orthodox world on the days Orthodox Greece celebrates Christmas,” he said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the custody of Archimandrite Ephraim on Wednesday.
There was no intention to flee the country to escape a trial, Abbot Ephraim was in Russia accompanying the Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God for more than one month in fall. Approximately three million believers worshiped the holy object from Athos in that period.
Protests in Russia for freeing Archimandrite Ephraim
Support Crowd in Moscow
Russia’s Orthodox St.Andrew Foundation has held a protest campaign in the vicinity of EU Moscow office to support Archimandrite Ephraim, superior of the Vatopedi Monastery in Athos who had been arrested earlier. The Fund arranged the delivery of the Most Holy Mother of God Belt from Athos earlier this autumn.
The protesters believe it is cruel and inhumane to keep Father Ephraim under arrest given the state of his health and age. A similar rally was organized near the Greek Embassy in Moscow.
The President of the Hellenic Republic,
The Prime Minister,
The Attorney General
24 December 2011
We hereby condemn with abhorrence the judicial ‘’crime’ committed in Athens on the 23rd December 2011, against the Church in the face of Elder Efrem, Abbot of the Great, Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi in the Holy Mountain.
The decision to take Elder Efrem into custody was based on hatred and prejudice. This is manifested in the following:
- The timing of the decision: Christmas Eve
- The surrounding of the Holy Mountain by armed police forces despite the declaration by the attorney representing the Elder that the latter intended to present himself to the police willingly.
- The sentence passed is normally given to people who have the intention to repeat the offences accused of.
- During the preliminary hearing the reason given for the sentence was the Elder’s recent trip to Russia, when he accompanied the Holy Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God. During this visit millions of people, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General of the Russian Republic came out to greet them.
- The investigation lasted more than three years and no incriminating evidence has been found.
- The offense which the Elder is accused of is ‘instigation’ even though the suspects of this offence have been acquitted.
- During the last three years of the investigation, the Elder has taken numerous trips abroad and if he had intended to leave the country he had plenty of opportunity to do so.
- The Elder, as a spiritual figure, is honored and praised worldwide and constitutes an excellent envoy for Greece.
- The people who have been revealed as the masterminds of the conspiracy against him have been honored with ministerial posts and are attempting to cover up their deception at all costs.
- In Greece, enormous scandals have been uncovered and established while those responsible are not only walking free but are also given political posts.
We are convinced that the decision is a deliberate political act intending to defame the Holy Mountain and the Church.
We call upon you to do the utmost to reverse it.
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The letter is also available in romanian
Jack Horner, the technical adviser on Jurassic Park and professor of palaeontology at Montana State University, is hoping to use living birds to hatch a dinosaur
Jack Horner, the technical adviser on Jurassic Park and professor of palaeontology at Montana State University, is hoping to use living birds to hatch a dinosaur.
Jack Horner believes that a modern bird’s DNA contains a genetic memory that could be “switched on” again, resurrecting long-dormant dinosaur traits.
What’s more, Jack Horner is looking for a helper to assist in the retro-engineering of a prehistoric beast.
Jack Horner told LiveScience: “I’m looking for a postdoctoral researcher. An adventurous postdoc who knows a lot about developmental biology and a little bit about birds.”
He explains that to make a dinosaur, he would start with the genome (the whole hereditary information encoded in the DNA) of an emu.
“Emus have all the features we need in order to make a Velociraptor-sized dinosaur,” Jack Horner says.
“If I were to make a dinosaur that is where I’d start.”
Jack Horner’s work is supported by other leading academics.
Sean Carroll, a geneticist at the University of Wisconsin, says: “The inventory of genes in a bird would be very similar to the inventory of genes in a dinosaur.
“It is differences in the decision-making that takes during development that make the difference between a chicken and a tyrannosaurus.”
Hans Larsson, a palaeontologist at McGill University in Canada, conducted an experiment recently into the evolution from dinosaurs’ long tails into birds’ short tails more than 150 million years ago.
Looking at a two-day-old chicken embryo, he made an unexpected discovery.
Expecting to see between four and eight vertebrae present in the developing spine, his microscope instead picked out 16 vertebrae – effectively a reptilian tail.
As the embryo developed, the “tail” became shorter and shorter, until the young bird hatched with only five vertebrae.
Hans Larsson says of the significance of the find: “For about 150 million years, this kind of a tail has never existed in birds.
“But they have always carried it deep inside their embryology.”
So, the blueprint for a dinosaur remained locked inside the modern-day bird.
Hans Larsson now believes that in a hundred years or so, geneticists could retro-engineer animals that appear identical to Mesozoic dinosaurs.
“Why can’t we take all the genetics, just change it around a little bit, and produce a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or something that looks like one?” he asks.
“I think that kind of scenario is quite possible. Maybe sooner than we think.”
John Fallon, a developmental biologist at the University of Wisconsin, agrees, saying: “As we learn more, we’ll be able to do it.
“The genetic knowledge is in the bird.”
Jack Horner, meanwhile, imagines creating the first example.
“I have to admit that I’ve certainly imagined walking up on a stage to give a talk, and having a little dino-chicken walk up behind me,” he says.
“That would be kind of cool.
“There is now nothing to stop us bringing back dinosaurs but ourselves.
“People who don’t believe it don’t know much about evolution.”
Jack Horner adds: “Whether it is a good idea or not is another question…”
A Muslim woman from France has been fined for driving while wearing a burka because the garment “reduced her field of vision”.
Police who stopped the woman compared wearing a veil over the face behind the wheel to driving with ice on the windscreen, eating a sandwich or smoking a cigarette.
The woman was handed a 35 Euros on-the-spot fine under article 412-6 of the highway code, which states: “Field of vision must not be restricted by either passengers, objects being transported or by the position of non-transparent objects on the windows.”
The woman was also told she was in breach of the country’s controversial burka ban imposed last April, which outlawed anyone hiding their face in public, including in streets, shops, restaurants and cars on public roads.
Police said the woman was pulled over while driving in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, on Thursday.
Spokesman Laurent Dufour added: “The officer who stopped her said she was driving hesitantly and clearly could not see properly.
“Looking out through a narrow slit in the fabric is as dangerous as driving while eating a sandwich, smoking or with an iced-up windscreen.”
France was the first country in Europe to outlaw Muslim headgear that hides the face. Similar laws have since being passed in Belgium and the Netherlands.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has described the burka as a “sign of debasement”. France immigration minister Eric Besson called it “a walking coffin”.
Militant Muslim woman Hind Ahmas, 32 – dubbed France’s first “burka martyr” – is currently facing two years in prison for wearing the veil after refusing to pay a 50 Euros fine for the offence.
She is appealing the fine on the grounds that the new law is unconstitutional and preparing to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Senior police chiefs have branded the ban “unenforceable” and said officers were too busy fighting serious crime to go “burka-chasing’.
Leaders of Al Qaeda’s North African network have vowed to seek revenge on France for enforcing the law.
They wrote on an Islamic extremist website: “We will seek dreadful revenge on France by all means at our disposal, for the honour of our daughters and sisters.”
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