|Twin suicide bombs kill 25 in Karachi
Suicide bombers rammed into a bus in Karachi on Friday then
hit a hospital where casualties were rushed for treatment,
killing 25 people in the second assault on Shiites in the
Pakistani city in weeks.
The attacks in a city largely isolated from Islamist
violence highlighted the instability in Pakistan, which is
on the frontline of the US war on Al-Qaeda and where
militants have killed more than 3,000 people since 2007.
Women and children were among the 12 people killed when a
suicide attacker rammed a motorbike bomb into a bus carrying
Shiites on one of Karachi’s busiest roads, gutting the bus
and sending glass flying, officials and witnesses said.
A second bomber killed 13 people, damaging ambulances and
the entrance to the casualty department at Jinnah Hospital,
where the victims of the first attack were being treated and
anxious relatives were gathering.
Sectarian violence periodically flares between Sunni and
Shiite Muslims, who account for about 20 percent of
Pakistan’s 167-million-strong population. Such violence has
killed more than 4,000 people since the late 1980s.
Police said they defused a third bomb rigged inside a
television and left in the hospital car park.
Witnesses and officials said the bus was packed with Shiite
Muslims heading to a religious procession to mark the last
day of the holy month of Muharram in Karachi, a southern
port city of 16 million people on the Arabian sea.
“I heard a deafening explosion. I saw stretchers flying
in the air. Two men fell just in front of me. I think they
died,” said Azam Ali, 26, who went to the hospital to
inquire about a cousin wounded in the bus attack.
“Those killed and injured were mostly Shiites. They were
relatives of those hurt in the first blast.”
Ambulances were heavily damaged outside the hospital, blood
stained the bus and wreckage strewed the ground after both
attacks, witnesses said.
Twelve people died in the first blast and 13 in the
second, with more than 100 people wounded, said Sagheer
Ahmed, health minister for the southern province of Sindh.
“The dead included two women and two children,” he told AFP.
The US embassy in Islamabad condemned the “terrorist
attacks” and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
appealed for calm in the politically volatile city, where
violence has killed up to 85 party activists so far this
Police said they were investigating who was responsible
for an apparently sophisticated and well-organised attack
designed to inflict maximum casualties.
“The perpetrators knew Jinnah Hospital was the nearest to
the site of the first attack and ensured a follow-up attack
when they saw significant numbers of people gathered there,”
said senior police official Mazhar Mishwani.
Doctor Seemi Jamali, head of Jinnah Hospital, urged the
government to provide security assistance and training for a
war-like situation, saying that staff, patients and
relatives were terrified after the attack.
“The hospital is at standstill. Patients are scared,
relatives are scared, all hospital employees are scared.
“We are trained as doctors, paramedics and nurses... If it
goes on like this, working in a war, then we should have
training,” she told reporters.
It was the deadliest bombing in Pakistan since 101 people
were killed at a volleyball match in the northwestern
district of Lakki Marwat on New Year’s Day, and follows a
recent decline in militant activity.
On December 28, a bombing killed 43 people and reduced to a
bloodbath a parade marking the holiest Shiite day of Ashura,
earlier in Muharram.
Pakistan’s feared Taliban network claimed responsibility
for that attack, sparking riots that caused huge financial
US officials believe Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah
Mehsud, who oversaw a major increase in bomb attacks and
plotted with Al-Qaeda to kill five CIA agents in
Afghanistan, was probably killed in a US drone attack last
Security had been stepped up in Karachi as a wave of
political violence killed at least 37 activists from rival
parties in the local government in the last five days,
following 48 similar killings last month. – (AFP)
|Iraq war haunts Tony
In an unprecedented development last week, the
world witnessed for the first time in modern history a
leader of a developed nation having to defend at a public
inquiry his actions to take his country to war. Former
British Prime Minister Tony Blair made the much-anticipated
appearance before an inquiry into the Iraq War on January 29
which was tipped to be the climax of a hearing that has been
tasked to look into the circumstances that saw Britain join
its traditional ally the United States in the invasion of
Iraq in 2003. An estimated crowd of a million people
protested in London against their country being dragged into
Yet their Prime Minister is popularly believed to have
had a pact with President George W. Bush and committed
British troops for the mission. Many believe that Britain
was not kept fully briefed of the invasion plans by the
Americans and had little influence on the decision making in
the pre-invasion stage.
Inquiry gaining more attention
The Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot was set up by
Prime Minister Gordon Brown to look into the Iraq war
covering a period from 2001–2009. The hearings are being
held in public unless there are “compelling reasons” for
witnesses to be heard in private. The inquiry which started
its hearings in July 2009 has been a rather boring affair
until now with hours of testimony being recorded from the
key British players in the Iraq invasion. However, in recent
weeks the Inquiry had been gaining more attention due to the
high profile stakeholders appearing before it. The highlight
of the proceedings was the appearance of Tony Blair, former
leader whom most Brits hold responsible for dragging their
country into an unjust war.
Seven years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam
Hussein, and almost three years after Blair handed over to
Gordon Brown, the decision to wage war in Iraq still
provokes anger. Families of some of the 179 soldiers killed
in Iraq joined the anti-war demonstrations outside the
building while Tony Blair was appearing before the inquiry
and demanded that the former prime minister be charged as a
war criminal and tried for his actions.
Valiantly defending his action
If anyone assumed that Tony Blair would be in the dock
during his appearance they were to be bitterly disappointed.
For six hours he tried valiantly to defend his actions
arguing that after the 9/11 attacks against the US it was
not an option to do nothing about Iraq which was perceived
as a rogue nation that was posing a threat to the rest of
the world. Rather than showing remorse or regret for his
actions the former prime minister remained defiant. He
denied making a covert deal with President George Bush to
invade Iraq. He denied that he ever said that he would have
supported the invasion of Iraq even if Saddam had no weapons
of mass destruction. He also said he believed the invasion
was authorised by the United Nations Resolution 1441 even
though many world powers did not agree with the US /UK
interpretation of the resolution that gave them the right to
use military power against Iraq.
When asked whether he has any regrets the answer was a
definite “no” added with how a tough decision had to be made
with regard to the invasion of Iraq. It was, in fact, a
courageous show by the former PM who demonstrated why he is
regarded as one of the brightest politicians in modern
British history. Yet for all his achievements, Tony Blair
would go down in history as the man who dragged Britain in
to war in Iraq, a decision which remains deeply unpopular to
this day. For Tony Blair in 2003, facing anti-war
demonstrations on the streets, the decision to deploy troops
alongside American forces was a profoundly risky gamble,
based on a hope that the battle would end quickly and
cleanly in a victory resonating as much in the ballot-box as
in the historical record. He was reassured by a similar
course of action in Kosowo in 1997. In that instance the
joint NATO action swiftly ended the war and restored peace
in what was the only bloody conflict in Europe.
Went to war with faulty intelligence
So far the Chilcot inquiry has heard that Britain went to
war along with the US mainly on faulty intelligence. At the
time of launching the invasion the Americans and the British
had claimed that an attack from Iraq was imminent. Weapons
of Mass Destruction (WMD) was the manthra on which the two
allies invaded. The Inquiry heard from senior civil servants
who said intelligence in the days before the March 20, 2003
invasion indicated that Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction
had been dismantled. It was also revealed at the inquiry
that Britain was not ready militarily to launch the Iraq war
in 2003 and its soldiers went in without adequate equipment.
The country’s defence chief Jock Stirrup, who was deputy
chief of staff in charge of equipment at the time of the
2003 invasion of Iraq, told the Inquiry that the government
had been warned of the risk that its troops would not be
fully equipped in time. Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup
said top military planners “simply didn’t have enough time,
as it turned out, to do ¬everything we needed to do before
the operation started”. He added “We made it absolutely
clear to ministers that if we were not allowed to engage
with industry – and that was the critical element – we could
take these no further and that there was a serious risk that
they would not all be delivered by the assumed start of
Retired officers and soldiers’ relatives have complained
that British troops were sent into war with inadequate
equipment, putting their lives at risk. This was a charge
that was vehemently denied by Tony Blair when he was pressed
for details on the matter.
Not a tribunal
To the disappointment of many the Chilcot Inquiry has
taken a fact finding mandate rather than an actual tribunal
and its final report is not due to be presented till next
year. The individuals who appear before it do not face
prosecution or do not stand accused of a crime. For those
who believe that war crimes were committed by the British
government along with its United States ally in invading
Iraq, the Chilcot Inquiry has been a letdown. However, on
the other hand it can be seen as an unprecedented step by a
liberal democracy to hold its leaders accountable for their
actions. Even though the findings of the Inquiry are not
legally binding the very fact that a head of government is
now facing such a public hearing itself is a great leap
forward in a world where such accountability is expected
from others but usually not from the greater powers. Even if
Tony Blair or George W. Bush would never see a day in court
for the crimes they have committed in Iraq, these few weeks
have proven that the blanket immunity that was supposed to
cover them is no longer impenetrable. It would definitely be
a point to ponder for any future leader before they take
such an illegal unilateral decision in the future.
|Bombs and beatings:
Life among the Taliban
In Pakistan an account
of life with the Taliban has emerged from a 13-year-old girl
called Meena, who says her own family tried to turn her into
a suicide bomber.
There is no independent confirmation of her account but
police say they believe she is telling the truth, and her
information could be valuable.
Meena told her story to our Pakistan correspondent Orla
My brother used to tell me that the place for a woman is
either at home or in the grave. I was always restricted to
He said: “If you leave the house I’ll cut off your head
and put it on your chest.”
My brother had been to the local school and beaten the girls
and the teachers. He said anyone who wanted to study was a
friend of America.
I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted it so much that once I
dreamt I was sitting in a hospital, working as a doctor. I
wanted to help the poor, those who cannot afford medical
Taliban commanders used to come to our house. There was an
underground bunker beside the house, with electricity. It
was concrete and very strong. Cars would drive on top but
no-one would realise what was underneath. In that hideout
they used to train suicide bombers.
Most were children of my age or younger than me. They were
used for these activities because they were too young to
know any better.
I used to see these children getting on a vehicle to go for
their missions. They used loud Islamic CDs to motivate them.
And I would think, “My God, more Muslims are going to be
buried”. Then the news would come that more Muslims were
My brother used to prepare bombs and my sister-in-law did
too. He told me that he would teach me this. I told him no.
I would not even look at what they were doing. My father and
brother told me to carry out a suicide attack. They were
pressuring me to do this.
They told me: “If you do it you will go to paradise long
before us.” I replied: “Why don’t you tell me I will go to
hell long before you?”
Everyday they used to tell me this. Everyday. I was very
young when they started telling me this. I said to them:
“What about all the people I will kill? They are all
They started beating me when I refused. They beat me
non-stop. They made my life hell. I never had a single
moment of happiness. They did everything other than kill me.
They said: “The bomb will be connected with a button, or
something like the remote control of a TV. We will give you
this kind of remote, and you will go to the place. “We will
also give you a mobile, and we will ring that phone, and
press the remote, and you will be blown up with this bomb.”
They told me they would use such a large amount of
explosives that no-one would even know if it was a man or a
woman. They told me that I had to do it.
There was a kind of medicine they used to give to the
bombers that made them go around smiling, in a trance. They
said they would give me that medicine, and then I would go
running to die - with a smile. I was so scared I decided to
prepare my own tea, and my own food.
I was afraid they would mix that medicine with my food.
They attached a bomb to my sister Nahida. They tied
rectangular pieces to both her arms, and a black strip was
wrapped around both her legs.
Then they connected the whole thing. She told my brother
the bomb was heavy and she could not walk.
He said she would be comfortable once she was sitting down
in the car. They gave her medicine. But she was crying very
loud for my mother. She kept going to her and hugging her.
When my sister looked down at the bomb, she shivered.
Then my brother and my father started beating my mother, and
they were shouting: “Why you are distracting the girl from
I heard my sister saying: “Where is Meena? I want to see
her.” But I didn’t have the strength. My heart couldn’t take
My mother fainted when they put her in the car. My
brother said my sister’s attack was in Afghanistan.
I always think about my sister. She was healthy and a very
nice girl. She was younger than me, but she was wiser. My
mother used to tell me that I was an idiot, but she was very
My brother was involved in the Khyber Bazaar bombing (in the
frontier city of Peshawar in October 2009, in which more
than 50 people were killed). It was discussed in the house.
When someone was sent somewhere they would talk about the
They would say: “We are sending this group there.”
After the bombings they would celebrate. They would garland
each other with flowers as people do when they come back
from the Haj.
When former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto died, my
brother started calling everybody. They started firing, and
saying “Benazir has died, Benazir has died”. Everybody
started firing - they celebrated until it was very late.
My brother visited a friend’s house after many years and was
given a goat and a motorbike which he brought home.
They used to get animals as gifts because there were so
many Taliban to be fed. He asked me to take care of the goat
but she ran out of the gate. I went after her.
Our house was on a ridge. There was a stream down below. She
went down to the stream and I followed her. A plane came
making a lot of noise, and vibrations. (This was an attack
by a helicopter gunship.)
When I looked back up to my place all I could see was a lot
of smoke rising. My house was turned into rubble.
I didn’t have a clue about how many of my family members
were dead or alive. Since that place was full of arms and
explosives I could hear big bangs.
Then I started walking and by the evening prayers I had
reached a local town.
People say I have a strong heart. I’ve had to be strong.
What can I do? God won’t even let me die.
If my brother gets hold of me, I will poison him and myself.
The Taliban slaughter other people’s children. They turn
women into widows. They should be made to suffer too. I want
these Taliban to be burned alive. - (BBC News)
|Iran ‘close to uranium fuel deal’
Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki said his country
is close to reaching a deal with world powers on sending
Iran’s low-enriched uranium abroad in return for nuclear
It is the second time in a week that a top Iranian official
has spoken positively about the international nuclear fuel
For months the agreement has appeared stalled with
increasing pressure amongst Western powers to step up
sanctions on Iran.
Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Germany,
Mottaki said the conditions existed for an exchange in the
“The most important point is this political will and
personally I feel this political will is there,” he said.
“Both sides’ agreement will be done before the starting of
producing 20 per cent enriched uranium. Here, there must be
guarantee for both sides.”
But he remained vague about the timing, which has been a key
issue, and said the quantity of fuel involved should be up
On Thursday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd confirmed the
government had blocked three shipments of cargo to Iran, but
refused to say what they contained.
Defence Minister, John Faulkner used powers under the
Weapons of Mass Destruction Act to stop the shipments amid
fears their contents could be used in the country’s nuclear
Rudd said Senator Faulkner’s actions were entirely
“We are party to international obligations, we exercise
those obligations, because we believe we must play the role
of a responsible international citizen,” he told ABC Radio’s
AM. – (ABC)
|Turkish girl ‘buried alive’ in family
A Turkish teenager found dead in a hole
next to her house was probably buried alive, a post-mortem
examination has revealed.
Medine Memi, 16, was found in the hole in December. Large
amounts of soil were in her lungs and stomach, according to
a source who has seen the report.
Her father and grandfather have been arrested, but not
So-called “honour killings” take place every year in Turkey
despite government moves to stamp out the practice.
Two months after police found Medine’s body buried in the
garden of her family home, a team of doctors at a university
in Malatya has completed the post-mortem examination.
According to a source who has seen their report, there was
only minor bruising on her body, and no evidence of her
Her hands had been tied behind her back, and they
discovered large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach.
The autopsy has concluded that she was almost certainly
The police went to her home after a neighbour reported that
Medine had not been seen for a month.
They found her body in a hole, newly covered with concrete,
next to the hen-house.
A local organisation that campaigns against honour killings
said the victim, one of 10 children, had gone three times to
the police to complain that she was being beaten, but she
was sent back to her family each time.
A member of the organisation visited Medine’s mother a few
days after her body was found, but she was too distraught to
give them much information.
Medine, who had never been to school, lived in Kahta, a
town in the mainly Kurdish south-east of Turkey, where most
honour killings have taken place.
The town is known for being very conservative and religious;
it is a stronghold of the once powerful Naksibendi Islamic
sect, which was banned by modern Turkey’s founding father
Ataturk in 1925 but has revived in recent years.
But while it is true that most such killings are carried
out in conservative Muslim communities, the practice is
linked more to the customs of this region of Turkey, than to
When girls or women are deemed to have stained the family
honour, by behaviour as innocent as simply talking to boys,
there is strong peer pressure from the community on the male
members of the family to restore their honour, say groups
working on the issue in the south-east.
The only way allowed by their code is to kill the girl or
woman - usually a young man is given the task after a family
council meeting, and the method and location of the killing
are discussed in detail.
Afterwards, the family will try to pretend she never
The government has tried to curb the practice by changing
the guidance given to judges.
In the case of honour killings, they are no longer allowed
to use mitigating factors like the accused’s emotional state
to reduce sentences. But this has so far had a limited
According the statistics from the prime minister’s office,
there were 16 honour killings in Medine’s province of
Adiyaman between 2003 and 2007. NGOs say the official
figures are almost certainly too low.
Last year a Turkish man was sentenced to life imprisonment
in London for the murder of his 15-year-old daughter a
decade earlier. Her body has never been found. - (BBC News)
|Bill Clinton pledges to improve Haiti
Haiti faces a massive task
helping those who lost homes and livelihoods in the recent
earthquake, former US President Bill Clinton has admitted.
Named by the UN as international aid co-ordinator, Clinton
was visiting Haiti’s damaged capital Port-au-Prince.
Protesters gathered as he met the country’s president for
talks on how to improve the sluggish delivery of aid.
Clinton visited as 10 US citizens facing child abduction
charges were denied conditional release. The five men and
five women, all Baptist missionaries, were sent back to jail
with no further hearing scheduled for several days at least.
They deny allegations they tried to smuggle 33 children
across the border to the Dominican Republic.
At least one million people currently need aid in Haiti
after the magitude 7.0 earthquake that officials say killed
Visiting Port-au-Prince, Clinton apologised for the delay in
delivering and coordinating relief efforts. “I’m sorry it’s
taken this long but these people are working hard and what
I’m trying to do now is to identify the things that aren’t
being done and need to be speeded up and fill those blanks.
I’m doing the best I can,” he said.
According to the UN, many people are living near the rubble
of their homes and some half a million are packed into some
315 makeshift camps which have sprung up around the city. -
News in brief
doctor to be charged
Los Angeles prosecutors
will file a criminal case against Michael Jackson’s doctor
on Monday in connection with the singer’s death, officials
Unnamed police officials also said prosecutors plan to
charge the 56-year-old with involuntary manslaughter.
The announcement came shortly before Dr. Conrad Murray had
planned to surrender himself at a Los Angeles courthouse.
Details of charges will be officially released Monday, the
LA district attorney’s office said.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a death is the indirect
result of negligence or recklessness.
If Dr. Murray is charged, a judge would consider the
evidence and decide whether Dr. Murray should go on trial. -
Bombings hit Iraq Shia
Two suicide bombers have killed at least 40 people and
injured more than 140 on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of
Karbala, police reports say.
About a million Shia Muslim pilgrims are in the city to
visit the Imam Hussein shrine. About 60 pilgrims were killed
in two other attacks this week.
Friday is the last and most important day of the Arbaeen, 40
days of mourning for the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.
Meanwhile, 25 people were killed in an attack on Shias in
Karachi in Pakistan. Police said the Karbala attack was a
double suicide bombing - two cars packed with explosives
were detonated on either side of a bridge across which
pilgrims were making their way in and out of the city.
Some reports said the car bomb attack was followed up by
In addition to the 11 dead, about 50 people were injured.
The Shia-Sunni schism originates from a dispute soon after
the death of the Prophet Muhammad over who should lead the
Muslims. - (BBC news)
Eastern US brace for
Government offices, courts and schools have closed early
in Washington DC to allow workers to get home ahead of a
Forecasters have predicted up to 2ft (60cm) of snow which
would make it the snowiest winter in the capital for a
Shops in the US capital and surrounding areas are said to be
running low on staple supplies as residents stock up.
Blizzard warnings are in effect in much of Delaware and New
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of
emergency two days ago to allow extra preparation time for
emergency and road crews.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, 94%
of the state’s snow removal budget has already been spent,
after a major blizzard hit the area in December.
Officials said they would have to use emergency funds to pay
for snow removal after this latest storm. - (BBC news)
|Fish oil beat mental
Taking a daily fish oil capsule can
stave off mental illness in those at highest risk, trial
A three-month course of the supplement appeared to be as
effective as drugs, cutting the rate of psychotic illness
like schizophrenia by a quarter.
The researchers believe it is the omega-3 in fish oil -
already hailed for promoting healthy hearts - that has
beneficial effects in the brain.
A “natural” remedy would be welcomed, Archives of General
“The finding that treatment with a natural substance may
prevent, or at least delay, the onset of psychotic disorder
gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotic
drugs,” the study authors said.
Antipsychotic drugs are potent and can have serious side
effects, which puts some people off taking them.
Fish oil supplements, on the other hand, are generally well
tolerated and easy to take, say the scientists.
The international team from Austria, Australia and
Switzerland tested the treatment in 81 people deemed to be
at particularly high risk of developing psychosis. Their
high risk was down to a strong family history of
schizophrenia, or similar disorders, or them already showing
mild symptoms of these conditions themselves. For the test,
half of the individuals took fish oil supplements (1.2 grams
of omega-3 fatty acids) for 12 weeks, while the other half
took only a dummy pill. Neither group knew which treatment
they were receiving.
Dr Paul Amminger and his team followed the groups for a year
to see how many, if any, went on to develop illness.
- (BBC News)
linked to depression
There is a strong link between heavy internet use and
depression, UK psychologists have said.
The study, reported in the journal Psychopathology, found
1.2% of people surveyed were “internet addicts”, and many of
these were depressed.
The Leeds University team stressed they could not say one
necessarily caused the other, and that most internet users
did not suffer mental health problems.
The conclusions were based on 1,319 responses to an on-line
Recruitment was via links on social networking sites. People
were asked how much they used the internet and for what
They were also asked a series of questions to assess whether
they suffered from depression. The respondents were aged 16
to 51, with an average age of 21.
The authors found that a small number of users had developed
a compulsive internet habit, replacing real life social
interaction with online chat rooms and social networking
They classed 18 respondents - 1.2% of the total - as
This group spent proportionately more time on sex, gambling
and online community websites. Lead author Dr Catriona
Morrison said: “The internet now plays a huge part in modern
life, but its benefits are accompanied by a darker side.
“While many of us use the internet to pay bills, shop and
send e-mails, there is a small subset of the population who
find it hard to control how much time they spend online, to
the point where it interferes with their daily activities.”
The internet addicts were significantly more depressed than
the non-addicted group, with a depression score five times
higher. - (BBC News)
hope for children with diabetes
Scientists in Cambridge have shown that an “artificial
pancreas” can be used to regulate blood sugar in children
with Type1 diabetes.
A trial found that combining a “real time” sensor measuring
glucose levels with a pump that delivers insulin can boost
overnight blood sugar control.
The Lancet study showed the device significantly cut the
risk of blood sugar levels dropping dangerously low.
Experts said the results were an important “step forward”.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life threatening condition, in
which the pancreas does not produce insulin - the hormone
that regulates blood sugar levels.
In total, 17 children and teenagers with Type 1 diabetes
took part in the study over 54 nights in hospital.
Individually, the glucose monitoring system and the insulin
pump used in the study are both already widely used and
But in order to turn them into a “closed loop” system which
monitors the patient’s condition and delivers treatment
accordingly, the researchers developed a sophisticated
algorithm to calculate the appropriate amount of insulin to
deliver based on the real-time glucose readings.
They then measured how well the artificial pancreas system
controlled glucose levels compared with the children’s
regular continuous pump, which delivers insulin at
pre-selected rates. Study leader Dr Roman Hovorka said:
“This is the first randomised study showing the potential
benefit of the artificial pancreas system overnight using
commercially-available sensors and pumps.
“Our study provides a stepping stone for testing the system
at home.” - (BBC News)
Two Chinese men who found a horde of priceless antiques
in an ancient tomb did not realise their value and sold them
One of the artworks was a pottery figure of a woman worth
nearly £100,000 which they sold for the equivalent of 28p.
Feng and Zheng of Guying town, Henan province, say they
found the tomb while hunting hares in a field near their
“We saw a 50cm diameter opening in the field. Curiosity
drove us to dig deep,” Feng told the Zhengzhou Evening Post.
They dug out more than 20 antiques from the tomb, and sold
them to a collector for just over £1,000 altogether.
“We don’t know the value of these things. The collector said
the pottery meant nothing, so we virtually gave it away,”
Website for beautiful people kicks off
BeautifulPeople.com said it acted after users posted
photos of themselves celebrating Christmas and the New Year
- revealing they had “let themselves go”.
“We responded to complaints by moving the newly chubby
members back to the rating stage. This is the same as having
them re-apply,” said Greg Hodge, the managing director.
“Their re-applications were reviewed by existing members and
only a few hundred were voted back in. Over 5,000 were
Most of those expelled came from the US and Canada, but
nearly 900 were from Britain, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The social networking site, which boasts 550,000 members
worldwide, allows its members to decide on who should be
allowed to join.
Hodge said: “Every year we see that some of our members from
western cultures eat and drink to excess over the holidays
and clearly their looks suffer,” he said.
“The USA has been grossly over-indulging since Thanksgiving
- it’s no wonder that so many members have been expelled
from the network. We hope they will be back after shedding
the festive pounds.
“In the UK and Canada, Christmas and the New Year are all
about over-eating, over-drinking and watching TV on the
Trainee hypnotist puts himself into a
A newly trained hypnotist accidentally put himself into a
trance for five hours while practising in front of a mirror.
Helmut Kichmeier, 27, was found by wife, Joanna, staring
into thin air in their north London home, reports the Daily
Kichmeier, whose stage name is Hannibal Helmurto, had
learned to put himself into a trance to help him swallow
swords on stage.
He had been taught the skill by hypnotherapist Dr Ray
Roberts to assist in a new act for the Circus of Horrors
But as he practiced the skill in front of the mirror at
10am he set himself into a deep sleep until 3pm, when he was
found by his wife.
It was only after she phoned Dr Roberts and put the receiver
to Kichmeier’s head that he was able to be talked out of the
Mrs Kichmeier said her husband had looked just like a
zombie when she came into the room to find him.
She said: “I tried to ask him what was wrong but he didn’t
answer and it was then I looked at the sofa behind him and
saw a book named Hypnosis Medicine of the Mind.
“It was opened on page 45 and a chapter named hypnotic
anaesthesia and I realised there was something wrong.