Spanish woman became the world's oldest mum at 67

Itziar Reinlein

A 67-year-old Spanish woman became the world's oldest new mother on Saturday when she gave birth to twins, a Barcelona hospital said.

The woman, who became pregnant after receiving IVF treatment in Latin America, gave birth by caesarean section, a spokeswoman at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i San Pau told Reuters.

Both the woman, from the southern Spanish region of Andalucia, and babies were in good health, the hospital said, although the new-borns had been placed in an incubator.

The unidentified woman, who was giving birth for the first time, is one year older than Romanian Adriana Iliescu who had a baby girl in January 2005 at the age of 66. She had been pregnant with twins, but one died in the womb.

The hospital declined to give the woman's name or specify the sex of the babies.

The new mother will spend at least another four or five days in the hospital, which has a unit specializing in high-risk births, the spokeswoman said.

No Date for New Year's? Not After You Read This

Dr. Laura Berman

Singles, are you ready to make 2007 the year you find love? The holidays are over and it's time to get out there and let Cupid sling one of his arrows your way. Remember, with each new relationship, you learn something valuable for the one you're meant to be with.

Here are some singularly sensational resolutions for finding Mr. or Ms. Right.

This time we'll quote Mr. Bob Marley. Singles...Could you be loved?

For the Singles

  1. Make a connection. Practice being approachable and open by saying hi and smiling at someone every day. It can be the girl who makes your morning latte, a stranger you pass on the street, or the cute guy standing next to you on the bus. Bring happy, friendly karma your way by living your day-to-day life with a smile and sense of possibility. It will spill over into your love life.

  2. Be proactive. Everyone likes to be asked out, even if they're not interested. It's flattering. Take a flirtation or secret crush to the next level by taking action. Ask that man or woman out. Get creative about it if you're too shy to do it in person. Create a unique email. Make it something low-key, like coffee. Throw caution to the wind and think of when you'll be old and gray one day, regretting all of the things you didn't do -- not the ones you did. If the person declines, chalk it up to character!

  3. Celebrate and pamper yourself. Someday soon, that special someone will recognize the treasure that you are. Take care of yourself in the meantime. Give your body some loving attention, with regular massages, exercise, a bath or snuggling in with your favorite movie and take-out. Loving yourself goes a long way towards attracting the love you seek. Others will pick up on it. Be satisfied with your life as it is at this moment.

  4. Hit the bookstore. It's the singles bar of the new millennium. What better way to beat the blues or spend an afternoon alone than browsing books. These days, bookstores have something for everyone from music to magazines. There are endless sources of content in a bookstore, so read up and start a conversation. Or take a walk to the dog park (just get a dog first).

  5. Babysit your friend's kids for the night. You'll boost your love karma by doing something nice for your friends and spending a night with the kids just might restore your appreciation for the single life!

Mass marriages in Chhattisgarh relief camp

Away from the Maoist-fuelled shadow of terror, 101 couples tied the nuptial knot at a relief camp in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, 545 kilometres south from here.

The mass marriages were solemnised Wednesday at the Dornapal camp, the most populated relief camp that houses nearly 18,000 tribals.

"It was a rare, pleasant moment of my life being a guest to bless 101 couples who vowed to set aside the terror shadow and begin a new life," state Women and Child Development Minister Lata Usendi told IANS Friday.

"I blessed the girls who chose their life partners, also living in the camp. The marriages were solemnised under Vedic hymns," the minister said.

The first ever marriage function in the relief camp was part of the Chhattisgarh government's Poor Girls Mass Marriage Scheme.

The state government not only arranged the marriages at the relief camp but also provided the newly-weds some cash, garments, kitchen sets and household items.

Besides Usendi, Chhattisgarh State Women Commission Chairperson Sudha Verma, Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister Kedar Kashyap and local MLA of the opposition Congress party Kawasi Lakahma blessed the couples.

Usendi gifted Rs.511 to each of the 101 couples while the PHE minister Kashyap gifted them a blanket and a suitcase.


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Jumpstart Your Relationship in the New Year

Dr. Laura Berman

Looking for a better relationship? There's no time like the present to create the relationship you want. The New Year brings new possibilities for love, whether improving the relationship you have or finding the relationship you seek. Ultimately, love matters more than any other resolution on our list, and I've got 10 of them to let more love into your life this year. Up first, couples.

Lennon and McCartney had it right: All you need is love! Shall we make it our motto for 2007?

For the Couples

  1. Remember why you fell in love. Instead of keeping a running list of annoyances, grievances, letdowns and resentments, think about the person you initially fell in love with. He or she is still there -- it's just your perception that's changed and become more complex. Go back to the glory days when you totally idealized each other, and remember that your partner still has these qualities now.

  2. Think marathon, not sprint. Relationships are full of peaks and valleys. The bad times can sometimes feel unbearable or like a loss of what once was, but you never know when a new positive cycle is around the corner. Managing your day-to-day expectations increases your odds of long-term happiness. Take away the pressure of needing constant excitement and passion, and you'll ironically find more of both -- unexpectedly.

  3. Take five when you are upset. Every couple knows when they are headed into the danger zone of a bad fight. Words cannot be taken back once they've been spoken. Take a five-minute timeout to prevent the situation from escalating and allow both of you to respond more constructively.

  4. Kiss your honey! A daily kiss is a must for every couple. Too many of us forget this simple pleasure in the daily grind of life. Take a moment to give your partner one good kiss a day. A real, loving kiss.

  5. Get away from it all. You may already have this on your New Year's list, but a vacation is more than just self-indulgent. Vacations are good for your relationship, too. A nationwide survey I did found that couples who get away from it all at least once a year are more satisfied with their relationships. The rules are no kids and at least several days away.

Brown's partner: locked out of home


Associated Press Writer

James Brown's lawyer says the late singer and his partner weren't legally married and that she was locked out of his South Carolina home for estate legal reasons. The partner, one of Brown's backup singers, says the couple was married and she can prove it.

The back and forth continued for most of Tuesday, as Tomi Rae Hynie, Brown's partner and the mother of his 5-year-old son, camped out at an Augusta hotel with no change of clothes and no money.

"It's not a reflection on her as an individual," lawyer Buddy Dallas told The Associated Press on Tuesday of the decision to bar Hynie from Brown's home in Beech Island, S.C. "I have not even been in the house, nor will I until appropriate protocol is followed."

Hynie was already married to a Texas man in 2001 when she married Brown, thus making her marriage to the "Godfather of Soul" null, Dallas said. He said Hynie later annulled the previous marriage, but she and Brown never remarried.

"I suppose it would mean she was, from time to time, a guest in Mr. Brown's home," Dallas said.

Brown, 73, died at an Atlanta hospital Monday. After his death, Hynie, 36, found the gates to the singer's home padlocked and said she was denied access.

Hynie argued that she has a legal right to live in the home with the couple's 5-year-old son. "This is my home," she told a reporter outside the house. "I don't have any money. I don't have anywhere to go."

In a phone interview with The Associated Press from an Augusta hotel Tuesday, Hynie said she had documentation to prove she was legally married to Brown.

Hynie said the couple had planned to renew their vows but not remarry. She indicated that while annulment papers relating to her previous marriage initially may not have been filed properly, a judge had told her she was legally married to Brown.

"I just want this resolved," Hynie said.

Dallas said legal formalities needed to be followed, adding that Brown's estate was left in trust for his children. He declined to elaborate on Brown's final instructions.

"Ms. Hynie has a home a few blocks away from Mr. Brown's home where she resides periodically when she is not with Mr. Brown," Dallas said. "She is not without housing or home."

Dallas said Brown and Hynie hadn't seen each other for several weeks before his death.

Hynie said Brown had sent her to California for a few weeks to relax on the beach after a recent concert tour.

"I was taking antidepressants," she said. "My job, marriage was difficult. So he sent me to the beach. He paid $24,000 for me to go."

"He was a difficult man to live with, but he was a great man," she said. "I was the only one who could handle James."

Hynie said she believes Brown's representatives were trying to discredit her so that his estate wouldn't have to be shared with her. She acknowledged that the bulk of the estate was left to Brown's children, but said Brown had told her she could live in his home with their child as long as she wanted.

"That was James Brown's wishes," Hynie said as she broke down in tears.

Hynie and Brown had a sometimes tumultuous relationship. Brown pleaded guilty in 2004 to a domestic violence charge stemming from an argument with Hynie and paid a $1,087 fine. He was accused of pushing Hynie to the floor at the home and threatening to kill her.

Brown is survived by at least four children, said his agent, Frank Copsidas.

Man Who Videotaped Rape Of Toddler Gets Life

A Central Florida man who videotaped himself raping a toddler was sentenced to life in prison despite the fact that the judge and jurors could not watch all of the disturbing evidence in the case.
Richard Sylvia was arrested in June 2005 after being accused of raping a 2-year-old girl and videotaping the incident.
Thursday, Sylvia was found guilty of capital sexual battery in the attack.
A 15-minute video of a motionless, apparently drugged, 2-year-old being raped was so disturbing that jurors wept and could barely watch it, Local 6 News reported.
Judge William A. Parsons, who has been on the bench for a decade, said he was not able to watch all of the evidence."
I've watched pictures of slaughtered people, gruesome pictures of people who have been killed and I have watched people (in) situations where they burned each other," Judge William A. Parsons said. "I've never been in anything where I couldn't watch the evidence before today."
"I've seen the video evidence and the computer images and the still photos in this case many, many times over the course of the last year and a half," prosecutor Kelly Wark said. "The images are just burned into my mind. There will never be a day where it will be erased.
"Sylvia is also accused of videotaping himself have sex with two other young children who now live in New York.

72 Things a Man Should Know: About Fatherhood

1. Don't worry, your dad didn't know what he was doing, either.

2. No, no--not that Spock!

3. Second thought, maybe you should worry.

4. Never tell anybody that you and your wife are "trying."

We really don't need the visual, that's why.

5. Never tell anybody where your child was conceived, how long it took, or what song was playing.

6. Do not name your baby after cities, geographical points of interest, features of the solar system, seasons, plants, animals, or current television stars.

7. Your child, at birth, already has a deeply complicated relationship with his mother, and, for the first year, you are only a curiosity.

For a couple of years after that, an amusement-park ride.

Then, a referee.

And finally, a bank.

8. If you want to subject your son to the unkindest cut, insist on a local anesthetic, since many pediatricians don't bother to use one.

The anesthetic is for the kid.

9. Baby gas is lessened with a good nipple connection during feeding, which decreases air intake.

Assuring that his lower lip is flipped out, not pursed, helps.

10. There is nothing wrong with thumb-sucking, which helps ease the pain of teething.

Nonetheless, it probably ought to stop by kindergarten.

11. Diaper-rash remedy: Expose baby's hydraulics to the air until dry. Soak baby's bottom in tepid water with a half cup baking soda. Then, Balmex. Or Lotrimin. Rediaper.

12. You know how they say you'll get used to diapers? You won't.

Unless you wear them a lot.

13. Forcing children to use toilets will make them dislike toilets.

Children begin using toilets when they tire of that not-so-fresh feeling.

Of course, this is long, way long, after you tire of it.

14. The start of crawling: usually begins between six months and twelve months.

Standing: usually between nine and twelve months.

Walking: between twelve and fifteen months.

The onset of the above, as with all developmental skills, is hugely variable among individual children.

15. Avoid walkers, not only because they can be dangerous around stairs but because they don't require a child to balance and thus retard his walking progress.

16. Reason boys are better: They cannot get pregnant.

17. Reason girls are better: They're less likely to get arrested.

18. The threat of an unknown punishment is always more effective than a stated one.

19. Annals of great punishments: Hang dolly from a noose!

That was a joke, Dad, a joke.

Annals of great punishments, for real: making him wash the car, clean the bathroom, and watch The McLaughlin Group.

You see, all great punishments should reduce the number of disagreeable tasks you would otherwise have to perform.

20. Teach by example.

21. Your kids can develop an independent sense of good taste only if they're allowed to make their own mistakes in judgment.

22. Relax: Lots of little boys want a Barbie and a dollhouse.

23. The first time you change your son's diaper and he pees all over you is not an accident. It's foreshadowing.

24. Children of too-strict parents are more likely to develop tics.

25. Let them take reasonable risks: A few scrapes in the long run are nothing compared with the scars left by hovering parents. Or tics.

In preparation for risks: a Red Cross first-aid course.

26. The most common cause of fatal injury among kids between five and nine involves cars, which is to say, hold their hands. And buckle them in.

27. Try to tuck them in every night, too.

28. When changing diapers, avoid baby powder, as it can irritate her lungs.

When changing diapers, definitely don't avoid the Desitin--spread it thick, like Spackle.

29. It never hurts to videotape the baby-sitter.

Especially if she's hot.

30. Never disclose to other parents that you have found a good baby-sitter.

31. Reason boys are better: They cost less, especially their clothes.

32. Reason girls are better: They're less likely to burn, slash, or chew the clothes they have.

33. Overalls are not only cute, they provide a convenient handle.

34. At a certain point, your child will appear to survive exclusively on peanut butter, french fries, Cheerios, and hot dogs.

35. Dropping food on the floor is a new and delightful skill to a one-year-old, not a deliberate attempt to annoy you.

However, as small he or she might be, never underestimate an infant's ability to project chewed food over great distances.

36. The single most important thing a father can possess: Wet-Naps.

37. NOW, more than ever, don't move into a place without laundry facilities.

38. Children's hobbies to nip quickly in the bud: drums, archery, matchbook collecting.

39. Beware your child's uncles, who will teach your kid dirty words, introduce him to liquor, and give him gifts of drums, archery sets, and possibly matches.

40. It is, of course, your natural right to exert the above negative influences on your siblings' offspring.

41. You are under no obligation to tell children the truth.

Lying to children is, in fact, half the fun: "Oh, that tree? That's a yellow-spotted spickle-gruber, of course."

On the other hand, they do remember everything.

42. Sesame Street.

43. Your bedroom door gets a lock. Your teenage son's does not.

44. Lock or no, please knock before entering, as the disruption of a youth who is spanking his monkey will be twice as traumatic for you as it is for him.

45. Other doors to lock: those on the liquor cabinet.

46. There is only one reason for a teenager to burn incense, and we think you remember what it is.

47. Unfortunately, those books that say motherhood makes women desire more sex are referring to women who are not your wife.

48. No matter how wealthy you are, don't buy your kid a car -- offer to match him.

Ditto for other adolescent big-ticket items; teach the little bastard some responsibility!

49. The previous statement proving you are your parents.

Only -- hopefully -- with better fashion sense.

50. Price of a college education for a baby born in 1999: $200,000.

51. If the real response to his question is no, try this instead: "Go ask your mom."

52. DNA tests are 99.9 percent accurate, but check the ears to be absolutely sure.

53. Reason boys are better: Boys start talking later than girls.

54. Reason girls are better: Boys toilet-train later than girls.

55. The twos aren't always terrible.

Even if they are, take heart, as kids aged three to six generally believe their parents are the most amazing beings alive and wish to be exactly like them.

How scary is that?

56. Establishing savings accounts for your kids and requiring them to make regular monthly deposits teaches them how to eventually become J. R Morgan.

The above could prove useful in your dotage.

57. Corny as it sounds, that Harry Chapin guy was right.

Then again, you could argue that W. C. Fields was right, too.

58. It's never too early to begin reading to children.

59. Let them read what they enjoy.

60. Except your porn, which your son will eventually steal unless you hide it really well.

No, you cannot ask for it back.

Furthermore, you cannot steal his.

61. Acceptable reading material: Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Curious George, and any of the following by Roald Dahl -- James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Danny the Champion of the World.

Neither of the following by Roald Dahl: Kiss, kiss or Switch Bitch.

62. Know that by the time your kids are teens, those enormous baggy pants will be long gone, as will tattoos, piercing, and Marilyn Manson.

Of course, by 2015, kids might very well sever arms and legs as fashion statements.

63. Some parents walk around naked in front of their children.

These parents should stop it.

64. Nearly all psychological problems result from feelings of worthlessness, which is to say, every now and then make sure that you tell your kid he's pretty great.

65. And never raise a hand to him. But being a good guy, you probably knew that.

66. The harder they play, the earlier they sleep.

67. Never turn down an invitation to play.

68. No toys that require batteries.

69. They never really outgrow the claw.

"No, Dad, no! Not the claw!" means "Apply the claw, please."

70. All in all, fatherhood is pretty terrific -- filled with joy and triumph, promise and miracles -- particularly other people's fatherhood.

71. You might think you know a lot about fatherhood, but not as much as you will when you're a grandfather.

72. If you're thinking that fatherhood means the end of life as you've known it, you, sir, are, of course, absolutely correct.

Origin of the notion of Chimney Sweep

In the good old times, Chimney Sweeps used to go from door to door on New Years day to wish people Good Luck. Ever since, they are considered as 'The ultimate bringer of Good Luck'.

A Chimney Sweep is a sign of good luck, wealth and happiness. There are several legends why a Chimney Sweep is said to be "The" harbinger of good luck. One version of the legend has it's origins in old England, where King George was riding horseback in a royal procession. A dog ran from the crowd, barking and nipping at the King's horse. The horse reared, and to the horror of the crowd, almost threw the King! A lone figure, shabbily dressed and filthy, stepped into the road. He caught the horse's halter and calmed the animal.

As quickly as he appeared, the man faded back into crowd. The King, wanting to reward the man, asked his name. No-one knew the man's name, but many told the King that he is just a Chimney Sweep.The King declared that from that day that Chimney Sweeps should be regarded as Lucky!

The chimney has been a part of family life since the early Romans first realized that it was better to live in a nice, fire-warmed home than in a chilly one. They needed a way to funnel off the smoke the fires caused. Centuries later, in medieval times, fireplaces were invented to heat individual rooms and provide a safe place for indoor cooking. They soon learned that fireplaces and their chimneys needed a cleaning as a house full of soot and fumes is unhealthy. And so, chimney sweeping developed into a necessary profession. People liked having the chimney sweep pay a visit as he brought clean, fresh air back to the home. Sweeps are associated with hearth and home, and thus domestic bliss. Chimney Sweeps became a sign of good health and prosperity.

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Godfather of Soul' Singer James Brown Dead at 73

James Brown, the legendary singer known as the "Godfather of Soul," has died, his agent said early Monday. He was 73.

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia on Sunday at Emory Crawford Long Hospital and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.

Copsidas said Brown's family was being notified of his death and that the cause was still uncertain. "We really don't know at this point what he died of," he said.

Along with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and a handful of others, Brown was one of the major musical influences of the past 50 years. At least one generation idolized him, and sometimes openly copied him. His rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson among others. Songs such as David Bowie's "Fame," Prince's "Kiss," George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" and Sly and the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" were clearly based on Brown's rhythms and vocal style.


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Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees Gets a second Chance

Former Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees asked for a second chance today, after being stripped of her title due to raunchy photos of her that surfaced on the Internet.
"This photographs were from an isolated incident during my teenage years," Rees said during a press conference Saturday. "This incident does not reflect who I am, or who I plan to be. I have no intention of further disgracing the state of Nevada, the Miss Universe organization, or Mr. Donald Trump."

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Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees Gets a second Chance

Former Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees asked for a second chance today, after being stripped of her title due to raunchy photos of her that surfaced on the Internet.

"This photographs were from an isolated incident during my teenage years," Rees said during a press conference Saturday. "This incident does not reflect who I am, or who I plan to be. I have no intention of further disgracing the state of Nevada, the Miss Universe organization, or Mr. Donald Trump."

Rees said she had contacted Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe organization, and is awaiting a response.

The former beauty queen also offered some advice to other young girls.

"Please don't let your guard down when it comes to being photographed. As you can see, just one mistake can have a great consequence," she said.

Rees was stripped of her crown by the Miss Universe Organization after the racy pictures sparked a controversy. The pictures showed Rees in various graphic poses, including exposing one of her breasts, passionately kissing and touching other women, and pulling down her pants to show her thong underwear at a party in Tampa, Fla.
Her attorney, Mario Torres of Tampa, Florida, asked that Trump grant Rees the same opportunity he gave Miss USA Tara Conner, who was allowed to keep her tiara despite tearfully admitting drinking as a minor at New York nightclubs. The Miss Universe Organization owns the Miss USA pageant and others.

"He always believes in second chances," Torres said of Trump. "We are asking for that and plead that he answer our call, allow us to meet with him and allow us to defend ourselves."

Trump has not yet commented publicly on Rees' appeal.

A Miss Universe spokeswoman has said Paula M. Shugart, president of the organization, made the decision to strip Rees of her title and Trump supported it.

Torres said he had reached out to Trump and others in Miss Universe but had not heard back.

First runner-up Helen Salas will assume the title and compete at the 2007 Miss USA pageant on March 23 in Los Angeles.

The Web site, which posted the pics, reported that pageant officials were investigating Rees' behavior. The 22-year-old was crowned Miss Nevada in Las Vegas last October, and was to represent the state in the Miss USA pageant next spring.

Company develops virtual meal technology

[q url=""]Harvey Bumpus doesn't like to eat alone. But his wife died more than a year ago and his family is scattered across the country. Most nights, he heats up a simple meal of oatmeal or hot dogs and eats alone.

"I don't have much choice," said the 82-year-old retired correctional officer who looks forward to Christmas as one of the few days each year when he gathers with his family.

Now, the technology consulting company Accenture is developing a system called "The Virtual Family Dinner" that would allow families to get together — virtually — as often as they'd like.

The concept is simple. An elderly woman in, say, California, makes herself dinner. When she gets ready to sit down and eat, the system detects it and alerts her son in Chicago. The son then goes to his kitchen, where a small camera and microphone capture what he is doing. Speakers and a screen — as big as a television or as small as a picture frame — allow him to hear and see his mother, who has a similar setup.


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Low-Cost Ways to Protect Your Bones

[q url=""]If you have osteoporosis -- or are at high risk -- odds are you're not getting the care you need.

A 2004 Stanford study determined that more than half of all people with osteoporosis remain undiagnosed. What's more, even high-risk patients -- such as those who have already had a hip fracture - often don't receive calcium and vitamin D supplements or antiosteoporosis drugs. The 2004 Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health adds that most physicians don't even discuss osteoporosis with their patients after a fracture.

Why is this the case? "I have no idea," says a baffled Michael Holick, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center. "But the numbers are out there. Only one in four women between the ages.............


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Dating cruise for millionnaires sets sail in China

Educated, overworked and looking for love, members of China's new rich gathered for what was touted as the country's first dating cruise -- open only to men worth at least 2 million yuan (US$250,000; euro195,000). The cruise, organized Saturday by a matchmaking Web site, illustrates a growing phenomena: Well-educated and increasingly affluent young Chinese are having a hard time finding partners.

Xu Tianli, CEO of Web site, said he staged the event -- tickets for which cost 28,800 yuan (US$3,600; euro2,750) -- as a public service for his site's members.

"We're the country with the world's biggest population, so marriage is a serious concern, especially for wealthy men who don't have time to meet anyone," Xu said.

Female participants had to be college educated and undergo a rigorous screening process. Xu said participants had been narrowed down from a list of 408 applicants, 119 of them men.

The participants planned to pass the evening cruising the Huangpu River aboard the Captain One, a faux square rigger bedecked with pink balloons and fairy lights hanging from its mast. With heavy rain falling, it wasn't clear how many of the expected 50 attendees would show up.

Organizers refused to permit photographs or even interviews with participants, although one man who signed up said he considered the idea behind the cruise "extremely natural."

"This really is the most natural way to meet someone because everyone is here for the same reason. Out in the world, you can't just walk up to someone and ask if they're single," said the man, a manager in his late 30s who declined to give his name.

Participants of the 'love boat' matchmaking event are seen inside a boat before it sets sail for a river cruise in Shanghai
With young Chinese -- rich or not -- spending more time on work and education and less on romance, demand is soaring for dating services and other nontraditional matchmaking techniques.

Xu said his site's revenues rose 35 percent this year, although he gave no figures. He said his members are 35 percent men, 65 percent women. The site allows members to post photographs and brief introductions and also counsels singles on how to find a match.

Lin Jingjing, a manager of another matchmaking site,, based in the southern business hub of Guangzhou, said business is also booming, but declined to give specifics.

"We've found that white-collar professionals aged 25 to 40 have the toughest time of all finding a partner," said Lin.

"Most of them are highly educated, with a good jobs and salaries. But they're too busy with work and their circle of friends and contacts is too small. That's a big problem," Lin said.

Along with the Internet, less high-tech means are also being employed to help couples pair up. In Beijing, Shanghai and other cities, parents gather in parks armed with their children's photographs and resumes in hopes of meeting another parent with a suitable match.

North Korean trafficking victims speak

Ms. L (age 35) was on her way home from work in North Korea in July 2001, when a man approached her. He whispered to her, "Are you satisfied with your life here? If you go to China, you can make much more money." This caught Ms. L's attention.

Ms. L's life in North Korea was not very easy. Ever since her parents passed away of starvation and side-effects from a vaccine in 1997, she struggled to make ends meet with her little sister. Her company overworked her and withheld her pay. Her sister was not very healthy and prone to long bouts of illness. It was common for Ms. L to forgo meals.

Porn Site Reviews and Previews

Ms. L crossed the Chinese border with two other North Korean women at night a week later. They remained together before being diverted to different regions.

Dong-A Ilbo met up with Ms. L in China. An illegal resident, she glances around nervously as she tells us that she gave up all hope after being sold to an old bachelor in the hinterland of China by the broker, unable to contact her sister.

Women who are sold into slavery

Ms. G (age: 26), a former nurse from the North who made it across the border to China in February was appalled after she was sold to a family. She was the only woman in the house with 62-year-old father, 32 year-old oldest son and other three men. Her worst fears turned into reality when the father and four sons each demanded her to share their bed every night. She was forced to go through this ordeal, even when she was sick or had her period. She did not have anyone to turn to, because there was not even a village nearby. She put up with this life for about eight months.

Ms. G fled this situation by begging the second son, who showed sympathy for her, to take her to town. She ran off when she got the chance. When she reached a shelter, she asked to be returned back to North Korea. A worker at the shelter, who told us about Ms. G, says she gave her money to return to North Korea, but she did not know whether the woman returned to North Korea.

Ms. K and Ms. C, whom we met in China, said that during the day they were put to work and taken advantage of at night. Ms. K, who fled North Korea in June 2000 and was soon sold, says she was beaten after being caught talking to other North Korean women from her hometown about the atrocities she went through. Not only are North Korean women watched closely, they have no one to reach out to because of the language barrier, and they cannot flee lest the authorities arrest them. If they bear a child, they have no choice but to settle down.

A North Korean woman in China said women were sold to more than ten households in a city in China en masse. According to her, the women are isolated and kept under close watch.

Women are priced based on their age and location in China

Ms. P, who was sold to China, received only two thousand yuan (approximately USD $250). The broker pocketed eight thousand yuan (about USD $1,000). Another North Korean woman, Ms. K, only received one thousand yuan (USD $125), because she was sold before the trade became common. A broker says that different parts of China offer different prices for North Korean women as the market is known across the country.

The broker says that recently, women in their twenties are priced the highest at 20 thousand yuan (about USD $2,500) in Hebei province and lowest in the countryside at two to three thousand yuan (about USD $250 to $375). North Korean women are popular in Hebei province as it is teeming with money invested in their mines and unmarried men flock here for work. He adds that women are also priced based on their age. The market for these women is getting broader as the trade spreads from the Northeast provinces to the inland provinces.

The North Korean women face challenges trying to be good mothers to their children, because they do not have citizen status. Ms. H, who has a five-year-old son with her patron in China, says, "I want a normal family relationship with this man, but I cannot apply for citizenship, nor marry this man, because I fled from North Korea. I probably will not be able to attend parent-teacher meetings at school."

Children lured into Thai sex industry in Pattaya

Nopporn Wong-Anan

Under the neon-lights of Pattaya, the Thai town renowned for its sex industry, boys and girls as young as seven try to sell flowers to western tourists.

Some will end up selling their bodies.

"These kids start by selling sweets to tourists who aren't interested, so they use sexual tactics like holding arms or legs," said Sudjai Nakphain of World Vision, who works on a project for children in Pattaya.

"While some kind adults just give them money, others exploit those selling tactics and many kids, who have already been sexually abused by their families, end up selling sex," she said.

Once a small fishing village until American servicemen started "relaxing" there early in the Vietnam War, Pattaya is now a "pedophile paradise", where anything goes.

Even the government's Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is not embarrassed to boast about the town's sex industry.

TAT says on its Web site ( the beach town, 180 km (110 miles) east of Bangkok, proclaims "exotic erotic shows" and "sauna & massage parlors" alongside elephant rides, water and aerial sports as star attractions.

Pattaya, it says, offers "an incomparable array of possibilities to unwind during an exotic holiday beach vacation".

There has been a steep jump in the number of sex tourists and child prostitutes in Pattaya in recent years, social workers say.

Two decades ago, the town had 500 bars. Now there are more than 20,000, mostly sidewalk bars with a few stools and scantily-clad, overly made-up girls -- many as young as 14.

There are no official figures for the numbers of street children or child prostitutes in the town of 500,000 people, but one child welfare agency estimates 2,000 children wander the streets of Pattaya selling everything from sweets to sex.

"Pattaya has attracted children from all over the country both voluntarily and lured by traffickers," said Supagon Noja of the Pattaya-based Child Protection and Development Center.

"Word of mouth from children in the industry always lures new faces to Pattaya," said Supagon.

Some boys aged between 10 and 15 can earn 10,000 baht ($280) a night having sex with a foreigner, more than a college-educated civil servant makes in a month in Thailand.

Some pimps set up arcade games in shops to lure boys into prostitution. Young boys become addicted to the computer games but soon run out of money, said Supagon.

So they pay upstairs by having sex with western tourists, said Supagon, who has led police on raids of brothels to arrest pedophiles.

At any time, there may be as 200 Western men hanging out at bars on one strip, waiting for boys to be delivered by brokers. Police turn a blind eye, he said.

"They (my customers) took me out to McDonalds," said Yo, 17, a former male prostitute, now being rehabilitated in a government boys home in the nearby town of Rayong.

"After I got money, I spent it on computer games," he said.

Combatting Child Prostitution

A 62-year-old woman hotelier, who has built a business empire in Pattaya, is now trying to clean up the town.

Sopin Thappajug, who owns hotels, restaurants and bars, apartment buildings, and a golf driving range, says she wants to make Pattaya a "family-friendly" destination.

"Many women just never want their husbands to come to Pattaya, even if they come here for business," said Sopin, who told Reuters she divorced her husband some time after they moved to Pattaya from northern Thailand.

"I feel bad when I see those women trying to seduce tourists walking along the beach with their wives. Pattaya has more to offer," said Sopin, whose bars lure customers with bands and large TV screens showing sport instead of go-go dancers.

The sleaze in Pattaya and nearby towns drove Sopin to become active in social work and raising funds for charities through golf tournaments and other events.

Sopin hires former child prostitutes to work in her businesses and has helped set up a network of social workers.

The social workers fan out through villages around Pattaya warning parents and children against human traffickers looking for new recruits for the sex industry.

Sopin instructs her hotel reception staff to warn guests who bring child prostitutes back to their rooms that underage sex is illegal in Thailand.

"I know we can't stop them from doing what they want to do here, but at least we try. It won't succeed, but if we don't do it, who else will," said Sonpin.

Women and Bad Boys: What Is The Attraction?

"Bad Boys".

If you're a woman, you may be saying "hmmm" as you hear these words. You know you shouldn't, but you just can't help yourself.

There is just SOMETHING about these guys that draws you in, even as your head tells you to "beware"!

So, what exactly is the attraction? It's not necessarily that they are more physically attractive or smarter or more successful than the "nice guys". In fact, they can have fewer of these qualities, yet be harder to resist.

So what is it? Let's begin by defining these guys. This term is generally applied to males who treat women poorly. Do these behaviors ring a bell?

*calling at 8:30 on a Saturday night to ask if you want to get together

*not showing up for a date- followed by no phone call or apology

*never having any money when you are out

* forgetting or ignoring your birthday and other important dates

*flirting openly with other women when you are together

*hitting on your good friend(s)

*making booty calls at 1am, after they've had a night out with others

*is doing time for a serious felony

Instead of asking "what is it about these guys"; let's instead examine what it is about the women who can't resist them. The following are actual statements from women who have a history of attraction to these guys. See if any of these sound familiar.

* "It's never BORING with him. He's unpredictable and exciting."

* "He's strong, aggressive and self-assured; I feel safe with him."

* "It's not his fault; he's trying to get his life together."

* "I haven't met anyone else that makes me feel the way he does."

* "He's so charming and passionate."

* "He tells me how much he likes me, so he must really feel something for me."

* "He needs me."

* "He doesn't come across as needy and desperate."

* "I can't believe I've attracted someone like him."

Now, on the face of these, they seem pretty benign. We all seek at least some of these traits in the men we choose. So, where's the problem?

Essentially it's in his inability to meet the woman's fundamental needs. She is the one doing all (or most) of the giving. The question then lies in; "what's in it for her?"

The answer can be found by exploring three basic issues:

*level of self-esteem

*capacity for intimacy

*roles that she has been in throughout her life

If a woman feels good about herself, she chooses a mate who communicates both verbally and non-verbally to her that she is valued and respected. She won't allow this other person to undermine her positive self-worth. She believes in her ability to participate in a healthy, reciprocal relationship.

If she doesn't feel good about herself, she chooses someone who reinforces her negative self-beliefs.

If a woman is capable of true intimacy, she is open to the true availability of the other person. She wants him to be a full and active participant in the relationship. She can allow herself to be open, vulnerable and able to take as well as to receive all that true intimacy offers.

If intimacy is difficult, she choose someone who is distant, hard to connect with and not emotionally and/or physically available.

If a woman has had a healthy role in her relationships since childhood, she will choose someone with whom she can continue this healthy interaction.

If a woman has been too long in the role of rescuer, caregiver or the one who sacrifices for the good of others, this will probably be the role she will seek out in her relationships.

Fortunately, most women fall somewhere in between on these issues. So the task is to evaluate yourself in each area and decide on a course of action that will help you to choose a "nice guy", who stirs your senses and meets your needs while being truly available for a real relationship.

Begin with an assessment of what you value most in life and cannot live without.

White House defends decision not to reveal Laura Bush tumour removal

The White House today defended Laura Bush’s decision not to disclose she had a skin cancer tumour removed from her right shin last month.

Unlike her husband, Mrs Bush is not an elected official, presidential spokesman Tony Snow said. “Perhaps if there’s something more major, this would be discussed,” he said.

The cancer was a squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, said Susan Whitson, her press secretary. She said the troublesome patch was about the size of a small coin.

Mrs Bush decided the cancer was a private matter and did not disclose it publicly.

Last night, the White House acknowledged the first lady had the tumour removed after Mrs Bush was noticed with a bandage below her right knee.

Whitson said the first lady was still wearing a bandage more than five weeks after the incision because the skin on that part of the leg is thin and “it takes a little while to heal”.

Asked if plastic surgery might be required, Whitson said: “No further procedures are needed at this point.”

A squamous cell carcinoma is a tumour that affects the middle layer of the skin.

It is more aggressive than basal cell cancer, the most common form of skin cancer. Squamous cell cancer is more likely than basal cell cancer to spread to other locations, so patients need to have lymph nodes in the region near the tumour routinely examined, according to the National Cancer Institute’s website.

“I think you guys are trying to whip this up into something much larger than it is,” Snow told reporters who questioned why the procedure had not been disclosed earlier.

He said that while President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney make medical disclosures public: “Other members of the family, not being elected, do not do so, and have not done so in prior administrations, and are not likely to do so.”

But there is a history of some public disclosure of health problems involving the first lady. Nancy Reagan in 1987 revealed that she had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy.

Betty Ford checked herself into a treatment facility for drug and alcohol addiction after leaving the White House and later wrote about her dependence.

More than 1 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed annually, according to the American Cancer Society, which says that most but not all of these forms of skin cancer are highly curable.

Explaining why the procedure was not disclosed until now, Whitson said, “This medical procedure was a private matter for Mrs. Bush, but when asked by the media today, we answered the question.”

The first lady was noted wearing a bandage on her right leg before the election. At the time Whitson said Mrs Bush had a sore on her shin.

In late October, Mrs Bush had a biopsy because the sore was not healing, Whitson said, and it was determined to be a squamous cell carcinoma.

Yesterday’s disclosure was the second case this year of a belated White House announcement.

In February, the White House waited almost a day before disclosing that Cheney had shot a fellow hunter during a quail-hunting trip.

Did Someone Ask for a Threesome?

Thinking about a threesome? You're not alone!

Threesomes tap into some of our most primal sexual longings, though more for men than women. Men are evolutionarily wired to want to spread their seed as far and wide as possible. The more women they mate with, ostensibly, the more variations of their genetic material that gets passed on to future generations.

Modern-day numbers bear this out, too. A survey of several thousand Americans in the late 1980s by Glenn Wilson found that threesomes top the list of male fantasies, at 31% of men. Women acknowledged them as more of a blip on the erotic radar, at 15%.

Of course, no man is thinking about procreating when he entertains the idea of a threesome. Rather, the raw, primal urgings of evolutionary past show up in men's modern fantasies of multiple, simultaneous sex partners.

To be honest, many women may consider a threesome, but ultimately abandon the idea for fidelity with a single partner. Bringing a third person into your sex life is never simple. There is the risk of jealousy, feelings of inferiority by virtue of comparison, and losing the intimacy that, up to that point, only you and your partner have shared. You can never go back to a pre-threesomes relationship. It's an important fact to consider.

A threesome can be a whole new sexual experience -- but only if all participants really want to be there. It's never something you should be half-hearted about or pressured into. The imagined benefits of a threesome like more hands, lips and bodies to have fun with, plus a new repertoire of possibilities, may be more titillating in fantasy than reality.

As columnist William Saletan puts it: "Fidelity isn't natural, but jealousy is. Hence the one-spouse rule. One isn't the number of people you want to sleep with. It's the number of people you want your spouse to sleep with."

Many people want a ménage; it's just a bad idea. Let's keep threesomes in the natural world of fantasy.

Tape it to the fridge!


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The 'Dry Orgasm' Pill

[q url=";_ylt=AqlwLNykC7_quEe7jZeBmelkWtAF"]The first ever male birth control pill is speeding ahead towards approval. British researchers have developed a male "Pill" that provides contraception, all without the use of hormones. Men like this, since other formulas tinker with testosterone and can affect libido, fertility and manliness in general.

The male Pill doesn't do anything to sperm (men also like this). Sperm are still produced; it's just that now they never make it out of the body. The Pill works by altering muscle contractions involved in ejaculation; however, orgasm quality and performance are not affected. Men take it a few hours before sex and sperm are back on their usual way about a half-day later.

Whether men will find the idea of dry orgasms ok or weird remains to be seen. However, I suspect many women will like the idea. Could this be the end of the wet spot? The last days of the gag reflex? Women just may sway the vote on this one.


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Magnets to Blame in Death, Injuries

[q url=""]At least one U.S. child has died and 19 others have needed surgery since 2003 after swallowing magnets used in toys, the government reported Thursday.

Most of those cases were believed to involve tiny but strong "rare earth" magnets that can link together in children's digestive tracts, squeezing and even perforating the intestines, the researchers said.

The magnets, made from neodymium iron boron or other compounds, have become common in the U.S. toy market in the past five years because they have become cheaper to produce, said Jonathan Midgett, the study's lead author and an engineering psychologist with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

They are used in building sets, action figures and dolls.

"Most people who have never had them in their hands are shocked at how strong these tiny things are," Midgett said.

Kenny Sweet, a 20-month-old boy from Redmond, Wash., died two days after he began complaining of stomach aches and vomiting. An autopsy found nine small magnets stacked together. They had caused a twisting of the bowel and a blood infection.

The magnets had come off a building set belonging to Kenny's 10-year-old brother, according to his family's lawyers. Mega Brands Inc. recalled 3.8 million Magnetix building sets, added warning labels and agreed to pay $13.5 million to settle lawsuits.

Last month, Mattel Inc. recalled more than 4 million Polly Pocket play sets, dolls with small magnets in their hands, feet, clothing and other accessories.

Last month, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group for the first time included the magnets on its annual holiday warning about dangerous toys.

Midgett said federal and industry officials hope to have a warning label ready within six months for toys containing magnets.


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Today in history - Dec. 16

Today is Saturday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2006. There are 15 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard to protest tea taxes.

On this date:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1770, composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.

In 1905, the entertainment trade publication Variety came out with its first weekly issue............


Tags: protest | overboard | FORCES | dumped | colonists | chests | boarded | Politics | New York | Ireland | Germany | Dec | British | Boston | Bonn | Belgium | Baltimore | American

Today in history - Dec. 16

Today is Saturday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2006. There are 15 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard to protest tea taxes.

On this date:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1770, composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.

In 1905, the entertainment trade publication Variety came out with its first weekly issue............


Tags: protest | overboard | FORCES | dumped | colonists | chests | boarded | Politics | New York | Ireland | Germany | Dec | British | Boston | Bonn | Belgium | Baltimore | American

Foreign brides will change China forever

We all know about the problem of China's missing girls: the tens of millions of female babies who were selectively aborted after their sex was determined by ultrasound, or were born and then just allowed to die, as families seeking sons took drastic measures to cope with the one-child-per-family rule. By 2020, China will have about forty million more men of marriageable age than it has women for them to marry. But I have just realized where the solution will come from.

Other Asian countries have a deficit of daughters, too, especially where the families of brides are still expected to provide a dowry on marriage. But nowhere else has decreed that there can be only one child per family, as China did in 1980, so the dearth of girls is far more acute in China than it is anywhere else.


Tags: one-child-per-family | dowry | aborted | ultrasound | SONS | missing | MARRY | marriage | girls | forever | drastic | dearth | DAUGHTERS | brides | babies | anywhere | acute | Culture | China | asian