Nod for non-Latin web addresses
The approval of website addresses using non-Latin characters has been described as the “biggest technical change to the internet” since its creation 40 years ago.
Internet addresses using scripts such as Hebrew, Hindi and Korean will be available by mid-2010 after their use was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board at a meeting in Seoul, South Korea.
Nations and territories will be able to apply for internet address endings reflecting their name and using their national language from November 16, when ICANN’s Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) fast track process begins.
If the applications meet certain criteria, including government and community support and a stability evaluation, the applicants will be approved to start accepting registrations for domain names.
More than half the world’s internet users do not use English or a Latin-based language as their first language and this move will see around 100,000 new characters available for use in IDNs.
Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN, a not-for-profit corporation which oversees internet addresses, said: “The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the internet since it was created four decades ago.
“Right now, internet address endings are limited to Latin characters – A to Z. But the fast track process is the first step in bringing the 100,000 characters of the languages of the world online for domain names.”
Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s president and chief executive, added: “This is only the first step but it is an incredibly big one and a historic move toward the internationalisation of the internet.
“The first countries that participate will not only be providing valuable information of the operation of IDNs in the domain name system, they are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online – people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives.”
Mr Beckstrom said engineers around the world had been working on the technical issues surrounding the introduction of IDNs for more than nine years and the systems had been tested over the past 18 months.
Unflappable Newsreader Ignores Giant Seagull
Australian newsreader Peter Hitchiner has been upstaged by a special guest during a bulletin – a giant seagull.
The bird stole the show as it walked past the studio’s camera filming the Melbourne skyline.
The Channel 9 newsreader was reading a story about a 27-year-old being murdered at the time.
Peter Hitchiner told a Melbourne radio station: "I was reading away…and I suddenly thought ‘Oh gosh that seagull’s back again’, because we had a bit of a problem last night.
"About 50 seconds to six o’clock this seagull arrived and started pecking at the camera and it had the beadiest huge eyes you’ve ever seen in your life."
Luckily Hitchiner is an experienced campaigner and the bird failed to ruffle his feathers.
Mouse grounds plane at New York’s JFK
An aeroplane bound for Heathrow had to be grounded at JFK airport, New York, on Sunday after a mouse was spotted in the cabin before take-off.
By Nick Collins www.telegraph.co.uk
The possibility that the rodent could have gnawed through wires was enough for the pilot to call in a replacement aircraft Photo: GETTY
More than 300 passengers were delayed after the pilot refused to fly in a situation reminiscent of the film Snakes on a Plane.
In the film, a cargo of poisonous snakes breaks loose mid-flight and causes havoc by attacking passengers and crew as well as ripping out electrical cables, causing short circuits on the aircraft.
Mice may not pose the same threat as mambas, but the possibility the rodent could have gnawed through wires was enough for the pilot to call in a replacement aircraft.
Andy Picken, 47, who had been to the US with his wife Jenny to celebrate her 40th birthday, told the Sun he had to wait three hours for a substitute plane to arrive at midnight.
"We thought it was a joke, but the captain said we all had to get off.
"It is amazing that something as small as a mouse disrupted a transatlantic jet."
Delta Airways reportedly described the stoppage as "standard procedure".
Paintings by dog sell for more than £1,000
Paintings done by a dog called Sam are selling for up to £1,045 in Maryland, USA.
Selling for up to $1700 (£1,045) for an individual work, Sam has put his brush to 22 different canvases Photo: BARCROFT MEDIA
Using the lush surroundings of his home town of Eastern Shore, Maryland as his muse, Sam’s paintings are attracting a loyal art world following.
Some of his 22 paintings – done using a tailor-made paintbrush held in his mouth – have sold for up to $1700 (£1,045).
"Sam is a regular renaissance dog and his abstract paintings are all the rage with the hip New York galleries," says Mary Stadelbacher, Sam’s owner.
"He loves his painting and would happily carry on for hours if I left him to it.
"He loves to work in a variety of colours and layers his paintings with darker shades first and then moves on to lighter ones later."
Mary, who runs Shore Service Dogs, in the United States took in six-year-old Sam four years ago as a rescue dog.
"He had been bounced around a couple of dog pounds, so I couldn’t have that," says Mary about Sam, who is a bloodhound, sheep-dog cross.
"I took him in and intended to train him up as a fully fledged service dog."
However, soon after Mary took Sam in she was struck down by a botched operation that robbed her of the use of her right hand for a time.
"I never completed Sam’s training because of my rehab," says Mary.
"So in the end I decided to keep him on to help me around the house."
Painting al-fresco in the summer and by the heat of a bright fire in the winter, Sam the painting dog is a pooch for all seasons.
"Using his specialised training as a house-help dog, combined with my amateur art background, Sam is a fully trained artist," explains Mary.
"He takes the paint-brush mouth piece and will approach the canvas and begin painting on the simple command of ‘paint’.
Inspired to teach Sam to paint after seeing a spate of painting animals, Mary and Sam help to keep Shore Service Dogs centre open with the money made from the art sales.
"I saw dolphins painting and elephants painting, so I thought why not a dog?" explains Mary.
"He has been exhibited in swanky New York galleries such as Denise Dibro’s studio and art collectors have bought his work from as far a field as Chicago.
"We even had one woman buy her dog one of Sam’s paintings as a birthday present.
"He is quite a unique abstract artist."
Britain’s loudest snorer
Jenny Chapman has been diagnosed with one of Britain’s loudest snores after being found to make more noise than a jet aircraft during her sleep.
Published: 8:00AM BST 16 Oct 2009 www.telegraph.co.uk
Grandmother Jenny Chapman has a snore measured at 111.6db, louder than a low flying jet Photo: MASONS
Mrs Chapman, 60, snores every night at 111.6 decibels – eight decibels louder than the roar of a low-flying jet – much to the dismay of long suffering husband Colin, 62.
The retired bank worker could drown out the sounds of a spinning washing machine, diesel truck, farm tractor or speeding express train.
She regularly wakes herself up and her husband Colin has had to retreat to the spare room at least five nights a week for the 18 years they have been married.
She has snored throughout her entire life and one of her earliest memories is waking up to her sister pinching the bridge of her nose when she was five.
Over the years Mrs Chapman has tried nose bands, pills, visited the doctor ”countless” times and even considered invasive surgery in a bid to cure her snoring.
Last weekend she took part in a two-day snoring ‘boot camp’ at the Hilton Warwick Hotel – where the extent of her problem emerged.
She was the loudest of the six chronic snorers, four men and two women, who took part in the clinic designed to promote natural remedies to their problem.
She said advice from experts at the camp had already helped but her snoring would probably never go away.
Mrs Chapman, from Deeping St James, near Peterborough, Cambs., said: ”I was shocked to hear how loud my snoring was at its peak. I knew I was noisy but not that noisy.
”It was a bit embarrassing to be told in front of everyone but it was all good fun by then.
”The experts said it was the loudest they had ever experienced. I can sympathise with my husband now who is always complaining.
”They recommended tips for healthy living but I won’t be giving up alcohol totally just yet – that’s too much to ask.”
Around 75 per cent of the UK population are believed to be snorers with the condition most prevalent in middle-aged men.
The exact cause is known but too much food or alcohol, and problems with the nasal passage and soft palate at the back of the throat are thought to have an effect.
Lizard disguised as autumn leaf
A Satanic leaf-tailed gecko, a type of lizard that can camouflage itself to resemble a shrivelled autumn leaf, has been captured on camera in a stunning image.
By Alastair Jamieson www.telegraph.co.uk
The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko Photo: ARDEA
The gecko, perched on a branch, has blended itself into its surroundings so well that its coil-shaped body is hard to spot amid the foliage.
Its body is twisted into a corkscrew shape, disguising its remarkable leaf-shaped tail against the decaying brown leaves.
The picture was taken at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar, off the eastern coast of Africa.
Satanic leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus phantasticus) can be between 8cm and 30cm long and are found on the central eastern side of the island.
They are named because of their apparent ‘horns’ and some specimens have red eyes. The skin can appear a variety of colours including brown, yellow, green or orange.
Inactive during the day, they hunt for insects during the night and are almost impossible to see when at rest on a mossy or lichen covered branch. They can flatten themselves to the branch, creating a perfect match to their surroundings and avoiding any shadow being cast.
Modified scales form an irregular edge to the body that blends in nearly seamlessly with the bark.
When disturbed, larger members of the species stand up open mouthed and let out a large hiss.
The geckos are adapted to life in a rainforest and their disguises are so good that species and sub-species are still being discovered.
Albino magpie: photograph
A rare albino magpie has been spotted flying around the grounds of Dover Castle in Kent.
By Nick Collins www.telegraph.co.uk
The albino magpie spotted by Brian Hopper in woods near Dover Castle in Kent Photo: BNPS
Solitary magpies are supposed to bring bad luck, but birdspotters have not been put off flocking to see the rare albino specemin.
The odd-looking bird had been spotted in the grounds of Dover Castle in Kent and being fed by its parents, which both have the more common black and white colouring of magpies.
But although its bright white plumage might make it an easy target for predators, magpies are well known for holding their own and experts say this bird’s albino colouring will not be a disadvantage.
The photographs were taken by amateur photographer Brian Hopper who waited two weeks before getting a clean shot of the bird.
Mr Hopper, 46, from Dover, said: "I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, it stood out like a sore thumb but was very shy because it returned to the tree canopy and I didn’t see it again.
"Over the next two weeks I kept going back time and again and I got the odd glimpse of it but not enough to take pictures. Then it broke cover with its parents.
"He looked perfectly healthy and chipper and was full of noise. I’m not sure if he couldn’t see properly because he was a bit clumsy at landing."
Graham Madge, spokesman for the RSPB, said there is no reason why the magpie couldn’t live a normal life although he was not sure if it would be shunned by others.
He said: "It is a very unusual condition. It’s hard to tell if this bird is an albino or if it is suffering from an acute case of leucism, which reduces an animal’s skin pigmentation.
"This bird is just as likely to do as well as any other magpie, although it would be interesting to see if it shunned by other magpies because of its colour.
"Magpies are very social and conspicous birds so it shouldn’t matter if this one sticks out a bit more than the rest.
Stockholm’s rabbits burned to keep Sweden heated
The bodies of thousands of wild rabbits culled each year from Stockholm’s parks are being used to fuel a heating plant in central Sweden.
Six thousand bunnies were killed last year Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Animal rights activists have claimed that domestic pets are also being rounded up and incinerated.
"Those who support the culling of rabbits think it’s good to use the bodies for a good cause. But it feels like the power company is trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem," said Anna Johannesson of the Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits.
The rabbits going up in smoke are the inhabitants of Stockholm’s parks who are culled to protect the shrubs and trees on which they gorge. But many of them are tame domestic pets turned loose by owners who no longer want them.
Six thousand bunnies were killed last year. The corpses were frozen and then sent to a special heating plant at Karlskoga, in central Sweden, where the cadavers were burnt in order to help heat the homes of residents of Värmland.
But animal rights activists have called for better treatment for the wild rabbits.
Mrs. Johannesson told local newspaper Vart Kungsholmen; "We want to see them start looking at other solutions for the rabbits. Helsinki in Finland sprays the plants to make them unappetizing and they have also set up a system of shelters for animals to be donated to. They have come much further along than us."
By Allan Hall the www.telegraph.co.uk.
World’s smallest man reveals 18th birthday wish: to find a wife
The world’s smallest man, Khagendra Thapa Magar, has revealed his wish for his 18th birthday: to be officially recognised by the Guiness World Records and to find a wife.
Khagendra Thapa Magar Photo: BARCROFT MEDIA
He has been enjoying a week of celebrations with friends and family at his rural Nepalese home in the foothills of the Himalayas ahead of his birthday, on Wednesday.
The 2ft tall teenager is a full head and shoulders shorter than He Pingping of China, who at 2ft 5in is the current holder of the world’s smallest man title. He is now waiting for official recognition from Guinness World Records.
Khagendra is looking for a woman of similar stature to marry.
"Now I have turned 18 I want two things: to be recognised by Guinness and to find a wife who is small like me," said Khagendra.
"When I am officially recognised as the smallest man in the world I expect to get lots of proposals."
He added: "It is my dream to have four children."
Despite several bids for a world record in the past, the tiny dancer and karate fan had his dreams dashed because he was not an adult.
There is no official title for the smallest teen, or smallest child, so Guinness told Khagendra he would have to wait for his title until he was old enough.
"I am happy now that I am an adult," he said. "I have been waiting for this day for many years. Being small like me is no fun as a boy, but as a man I will be special."
The tiny teen, who weighs just 10lbs, first contacted the Guinness Book of World Records three years ago, hoping to be recognised as the world’s smallest boy.
Khagendra has become something of a celebrity in his native Nepal, where politicians have backed his Guinness campaign.
Born weighing only 1lb 5oz in the remote Baglung District, 125 miles from the capital Kathmandu, Khagendra’s family members believe he was destined for greatness.
"It was like watching a newly hatched chick fresh from a shell," his mother Dhana Maya Thapa Magar said of his birth.
"I admit that at first I was ashamed of him and would not leave the house, but now I only feel pride and am desperate for him to be named as the tiniest man in the world."
Although the cause of his size has never been medically confirmed, doctors believe Khagendra is suffering from a malfunctioning pituitary gland.
From the www.telegraph.co.uk
Britain’s oldest newly-weds have combined age of 181
Britain’s oldest bridegroom has tied the knot aged 94 to his 87-year-old partner – a record-breaking marriage giving them a combined age of 181.
Published: 7:00AM BST 09 Oct 2009 by www.telegraph.co.uk
Britain’s oldest newlyweds Les Atwell, 94, and Sheila Walsh, 87 on their wedding day at Oldway Mansion, Paignton, Devon Photo: SWNS
Les Atwell and his girlfriend of four years Sheila Walsh married in front of friends and family to become Britain’s oldest newly-weds.
The couple, from Paignton, Devon, met after Mr Atwell’s cleaner turned matchmaker and suggested he meet her friend Miss Walsh.
They then arranged a first date at a café in a branch of Tesco and four years later Mr Atwell took her back to the same supermarket – to propose.
They are now Britain’s oldest couple to marry – beating the previous record of a combined age of 179 years.
Mrs Atwell said: "A friend told me about Les and I thought he sounded nice, but then she told me, ‘he’s 90’, and I thought ‘oh no I’m not sure’.
”But when we met, that was it, it was love at first sight.”
Mr Atwell said: ”It doesn’t sound romantic to propose at a Tesco but it was where we first met so it was only right that I should ask her to marry me there as well.
”’Once I popped the question it didn’t take us long to organise the wedding. When you get to my age you can’t hang around.”
The couple married at Oldway Mansion in Paignton in front of family members including Mr Atwell’s son Stewart, granddaughter Catherine and sister Mary.
They will enjoy a two week cruise for their honeymoon in the Mediterranean, including Barcelona, Rome and Athens.
The previous record for Britain’s oldest newly-weds was set by John Dawkins, 89, and Penny Cooper, 90, of Honiton, Devon.
They took the crown from James Mason, 93, and Peggy Clark, 84, also of Paignton, who had a combined age of 177 years.
The world record is held by French couple Francois Frenandez, then 96, and Madeleine Francineau, then 94, who married in 2002.