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Zebra fight! Quiet drink at watering hole turns to violence in African park.


The Mane Event: Quiet drink at watering hole turns to violence in African park

These usually placid zebras let off some steam by taking part in a fun group play fight.

Baring their teeth and even jumping on each other’s backs, the fighting animals had earlier been enjoying a quiet drink at a watering hole when battle began.

The extraordinary battle was captured by photographer Sam Dobson on his first-ever safari.

Zebra fight

Fight: The zebras come together, baring their teeth and scrapping in the heat of the African day

The 49-year-old was visiting the Etosha National Park, Namibia, when he noticed the zebras.

He said: ‘I spotted the herd drinking at a pond. At first they were amicable but after they were refreshed they started play-fighting.

‘It was incredible to see. There was even a moment where it seemed they were playing rugby.

‘It lasted for a while. Sometimes they’d stop for a drink, then they’d start playing again.

‘The baring of teeth seems very aggressive. I know apes see that kind of behaviour as a sign of aggression so it could be the same here.

‘But I didn’t feel any anger between them, they seemed more playful and were quite friendly to each other afterwards.’ 

Zebra fight

Relaxed: The family group of zebras interact playfully after drinking at the watering hole, moments before the fight breaks out

Mr Dobson had initially travelled to the safari park in hope of capturing the perfect picture of a wild lion, he had even applied for a special permit to drive off the usual tourist routes.

Unfortunately, he didn’t spot any but had enjoyed the rare sighting of the zebra at play.

Mr Dobson, who lives in Moscow, Russia, said: ‘I was totally amazed – It was fantastic to be able to watch a scene like that.

‘These are the most unique and rare shots I took during my travels in Namibia.’

Herds of the animal are common in Africa, numbering up to 1,000 and containing family groups of up to 20.

Zebra fight

Take that: The zebras converge in a tangle of of hooves and teeth during the friendly battle

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July 31, 2010 Posted by | Animals, Entertainement, Funny, nature, Weird | 1 Comment

The UK’s five most common scams


The UK’s five most common scams



John Fitzsimons

At least £3.5bn is lost to fraud each and every year. We look at the most common scams – and how to protect yourself from them.

Brits lose at least £3.5bn a year to these scams

Whenever I check my email inbox, my heart sinks a little. There will always be loads of emails waiting for me, but the vast majority are junk. They are either spam, trying to flog me something. Or they are the more sinister form of email, a scam, trying to part me from my hard earned cash.

My favourite one recently came from a chap claiming to be the first African in space, offering to split the proceeds from some diamonds with me.

However, plenty of scams are more subtle and sophisticated, and catch people out every single day.

Fighting back

Action Fraud is the UK’s first national fraud reporting centre, and was set up by the National Fraud Authority as a central point of information for anyone to find out about the various forms of fraud that are prevalent today, as well as offering a 24 hour online fraud reporting service.

And since the centre launched at the start of 2010, it has received 15,000 web reports and calls from Brits about various fraudulent schemes. Action Fraud reckons at least £3.5bn each year is lost by individuals due to fraud, and that the figure is likely far higher as many victims don’t actually report it.

The centre has put together the top five most common frauds in the UK today. Let’s take a look at them, how they work, and how to protect yourself.

#5 Share sale fraud

Also known as boiler room fraud, this is where phony stockbrokers (usually based overseas) cold call you and try to pressure you into buying shares which they say will offer high returns. It should come as no surprise that in reality these shares either don’t exist or are completely worthless.

The thing to look out for here is that the fraudsters will try to make the deal sound as credible and above board as they can. They may offer free research reports, share certificates, and all sorts of official seeming documentation.

Alarm bells should be ringing whenever you are called out of the blue offering you a brilliant investment opportunity, particularly as with share sale fraud the crooks will often tell you to keep your investment secret in order to maximise your return – utter codswallop.

#4 Non-investment frauds

Examples of this form of fraud include internet dialler and miracle health scams.

Internet dialler scams are when your computer’s settings are changed so that your internet connection is re-routed via an expensive phone line. There are all sorts of ways that you can fall victim to this type of fraud, from opening a spam email, to downloading software from a pay-per-view site.

Miracle health scams on the other hand, as the name suggests, are the peddling of bogus pharmaceutical products which the scammers claim will fix certain ailments, or simply cause you to lose weight. These products have rarely been properly tested, and the scam will include false testimonials and worthless ‘money back’ guarantees.

#3 Romance and dating frauds

These frauds tend to involve you meeting the person of your dreams online, but it turns out they aren’t who they say they are. Once they’ve earned your trust, they’ll then try to get money out of you, for all sorts of emotive reasons.

This is one of the UK’s fastest growing scams. To find out more on how the scammers reel you in and rob you, have a read of When falling in love can be costly

#2 Advance fee frauds

Follow these top tips to protect yourself against ID fraud

As the name suggests, this is when a fraudster tries to get you to pay upfront for goods or services that never actually materialise.

There are absolutely loads of different scams that work in this fashion, from career opportunity scams, where you are promised help to launch you into your dream career so long as you pay a ‘consultation fee’, to inheritance fraud, where you are notified by a ‘solicitor’ that a rich distant relative has died, with the proposition to split the inheritance to prevent the Government from getting hold of it, again requiring you to pay all sorts of mythical fees.

As soon as you see that you’ll need to pay money up front, you should always be on your guard.

#1 Online shopping and auction fraud

This is the most common form of fraud, and takes advantage of the anonymity that the internet provides.

I know of friends that have bought computer consoles on auction sites, only to discover there is no console, costing them hundreds of pounds. Buyers may also end up with items significantly different, or inferior, to those advertised. But it’s not just buyers who can be caught out by this – sellers may also send the item they have sold to the winning bidder, only for the money to never arrive.

The reason this type of fraud is so dangerous is that not only do you miss out on the item or money that you are expecting, but the details that you have shared with the other person in the transaction may then be used for identity theft.

For tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft be sure to read This scam will ruin your life

How to protect yourself

Action Fraud reckons there are a number of simple steps that you should follow to ensure you do not fall victim to fraudsters.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, then chances are it is. Don’t be tempted into a deal that seems a little too perfect

  • You can’t win a lottery if you haven’t entered it. So unless you remember entering it, chances are it’s dodgy.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If they have nothing to hide then they will not be pushy or elusive.

  • Be very wary about giving your personal details to strangers, or having to hand over money up front.

  • Always check the real company’s details against the details you have been given. If you have any doubts, call them direct.

And finally, if you have been the victim of fraud, it’s really important to come forward and share your experiences with Action Fraud and any other authorities that may be able to help. Not only will this give you the best chance of catching the fraudsters who duped you, but the information you provide may also help other people from falling victim to them.


July 29, 2010 Posted by | fraud, nature, People, Politics, scams, Weird | 2 Comments

Pictures of the day: 27 July 2010.


Pictures of the day: 27 July 2010

Two sparrows fight for food in Urs Schmidli's garden in Scherz, Switzerland. The male sparrow seems to have had enough of the female's squawking and rudely closed her beak with his tiny talons

Two sparrows fight for food in Urs Schmidli’s garden in Scherz, Switzerland. The male sparrow seemed to have had enough of the female’s squawking and rudely closed her beak with his tiny talons


From the:

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Animals, Entertainement, Funny, nature, Weird | Leave a comment

Vicar gives Holy Communion to dog.


Vicar gives Holy Communion to dog

An Anglican church in Canada has become the focus of controversy after a vicar gave Holy Communion to a dog.

Published: 12:18PM BST 26 Jul 2010

Holy Communion, Anglican, Church of England

A priest at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto, gave Holy Communion to an Alsatian cross dog called Trapper Photo: ALAMY

The priest gave the Host – considered by Christians to represent the body of Jesus Christ – to an Alsatian cross called Trapper.

St Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto has since been deluged complaints from Christians all over Canada.

Donald Keith, the dog’s owner, said he had taken his pet to the church because he had been told animals were welcome.

He said that because he was newcomer the vicar invited him up in person to receive communion.

"The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well," said Mr Keith.

"Then he bent his head and said a little prayer," Mr Keith said.

"I thought it was a nice way to welcome me into the church," he said. "I thought it was acceptable." He added: "There was an old lady in the front just beaming when she saw this.

"Ninety nine-point-nine per cent of the people in the church love Trapper and the kids play with him." He said one member of the congregation was unhappy about the vicar giving the dog communion and complained to the archbishop, Colin Johnson.

The dog has since been banned from receiving the sacrament.

"It was just one person who got his nose out of joint and went to the head of the Anglican Church," said Mr Keith.

"Holy smokes. This is small stuff. I thought it was innocent and it made me think of the blessing of the animals.

"This has blown me away. The church is even getting emails from Catholics," he said.

Peggy Needham, the deputy people’s warden at the church, said that no further action would be taken.

"The backlash is from just one person," she said.

"Something happened that won’t happen again. Something our interim priest did spontaneously.

"This person went to the top and emailed our bishop to make a fuss and change things. But he misjudged our congregation."

July 27, 2010 Posted by | People, Politics, religion, Weird | Leave a comment

Letters frozen in time arrive after 60 years.


Letters frozen in time arrive after 60 years

When an airliner crashed near the summit of Mont Blanc 60 years ago, rescuers fought desperately through storms to reach the site.

By Simon Johnson

Published: 11:07AM BST 26 Jul 2010

Letters from 1950's aircrash at Mont Blanc found by Freya Cowan

Letters from 1950’s aircrash at Mont Blanc found by Freya Cowan Photo: DEREK BLAIR/SCOTIMAGE.COM

It took them three days, but their search proved in vain. There were no survivors from the 40 passengers and eight crew of the Malabar Princess, an Air India Lockheed Constellation bound for a stopover in Geneva on its way to London.

However, the story lived on. In the popular French film Amelie, Audrey Tautou’s character creates a fictional letter — from a lover who had died in the crash — for a lonely female concierge after hearing about mountaineers finding similar letters. Now a British student on a field trip to the Alps to examine global warming has added to the legend after stumbling upon a mailbag from the Malabar Princess.

Remarkably, some of the letters it contained have survived sufficiently for Freya Cowan, a third-year geography student, to embark upon a project to reunite about 75 letters and birthday cards with the senders or intended recipients.

While walking away from her University of Dundee colleagues for a lavatory break Miss Cowan, 22, discovered the mailbag, which, due to rock falls and melting snow, had descended about 8,000ft over the years.

She found four bundles inside and the postmark on the letter at the top read: “Bombay, 1950”.

“I thought it was a joke, given that only moments before I had been talking about the crash,” she said.

A few letters from the Malabar Princess have been recovered previously but nothing on this scale. It would seem that none of the mail found by Miss Cowan was written by passengers on the plane, who were seamen bound for a new ship in Sunderland. The bag was destined for the US and the Dundee team has already succeeded in finding the owners of some correspondence.

Tim Reid, a glaciologist who was also on the trip, will be forwarding a letter to the daughter of Captain Hank Smith, a US pilot who died in 1999 but wrote a colourful account of his time working in India. “Hank’s letter tells a fantastic story about how he was working in Bombay and the Middle East,” said Mr Reid.

“He had a charter to Basra but had trouble with the aircraft and came down near a British Army encampment. They didn’t have much fresh water so he drank a lot of beer.

“He was there for three or four weeks while the plane was fixed, but needed the help of the Army to fend off Bedouin tribes looking to steal the plane’s equipment.”

It is not known to whom the letter was sent, but Mr Reid traced Mr Smith’s daughter in Texas. “She was absolutely astonished,” he said.

He aims to send her the letter after work to preserve it.

David Barratt, another student on the trip, traced the intended recipient of a letter sent by D Jones, a Salvation Army officer, to her brother, Harlan Cleveland and his wife, Ethel. He is understood to be in his 90s and living in a Salvation Army retirement home in St Petersburg, Florida.

Dated the night of Oct 30, 1950 — just five days before the crash — the letter describes her missionary work in India and asks her brother for money for a camera.

Miss Cowan is keen to deliver two typewritten letters and two handwritten ones, all in the same envelope from “Myra”, who also appears to be a missionary. They were sent to a Mrs Georgianna Roadaswel in Ohio, possibly the village of Haskins.

One, dated Oct 30, 1950, was intended for a Lady Moore. Ironically, considering the letter never arrived, it starts: “I do not often take the time to answer a letter in less than an hour after it arrives but there are some things in yours that I want to talk about with you.”

Later she discussed the problems of her work in India. “There is a growing anti-missionary feeling among some of the folks,” she wrote.

“I feel it is all from one source entirely and I have prayed so often that she might be led into the Light.”

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July 26, 2010 Posted by | Entertainement, nature, People, Weird | Leave a comment

British government joins celebrities in bid to save Iranian mother from stoning


Now Hague joins the international wave of fury against Iran’s decision to stone ‘adulterous’ mother to death

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Condemned: There is a growin international campaign to stop Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, from being stoned to death

Iran is facing an international outcry after a mother was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

British politicians are lending their support to efforts to save the life of 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

Foreign Minister William Hague has called on the Iranian government prevent the stoning.

The call has already been endorsed by congressmen, diplomats, and rights activists on both sides of the Atlantic.

In May 2006, a court in the northern city of Tabriz convicted Ashtiani of having an ‘illicit relationship’ with two men and sentenced her to 99 lashes.

Later that year, the mother-of-two was accused of murdering her husband. Those charges were dropped, but a panel of judges re-opened the inquiry into adultery charges.

Ashtiani was convicted by a majority of three judges to two, according to a legal loophole called ‘udicial knowledge’, which permits judges to make decisions based on their personal feelings, regardless of actual evidence.

Actors Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Juliette Binoche, fashion designer Katherine Hamnett and playwright Sir David Hare are among a host of celebrities who have signed up to the campaign for her release.

Author Philip Pullman, film producer Lord Puttnam, director Sir Richard Eyre and philosopher A.C. Grayling are also backing calls for clemency.

Alistair Burt, Foreign Office minister, described stoning as ‘a medieval punishment that has no place in the modern world’ and said Iran’s continued use of it ‘demonstrates a blatant disregard for international human rights commitments’.


Barbaric: A woman is pictured being buried before she was stoned to death in Iran.

The punishment has been written into the country’s penal code since the Islamic Revolution in 1979

The son of the condemned woman, 22-year-old Sajad Ghadarzade, has risked his own freedom by sending a letter to human rights groups in which he rejects the adultery charges against his mother and says repeated attempt to secure her release have fallen on deaf ears with Iranian authorities.

In the letter, to the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty, he told Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani: ‘I, as an Iranian citizen who has not yet succeeded in getting an audience with your office, say to you, the head of the judiciary who tells the television networks day in, day out, that justice must prevail and officials guilty of misconduct must be punished, that there is no justice in this country.’

Mr Ghadarzade, who lives in Tabriz, said the family had travelled six times to Tehran to petition Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad and written hundreds of letters, but was yet to receive a reply.

British government joins celebrities in bid to save Iranian mother from stoning :

Please help sign a petition…….

And if you can leave me a comment that you have tried to help Thank You:

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July 8, 2010 Posted by | People, Politics, religion | 1 Comment

DustCart: The ‘bin on wheels’ robot that picks up your rubbish when you call.


It might seem like something out of a 1960s, Jetsons-style vision of the future.

But this handy little robot could end the row over fortnightly bin collections once and for all.

Researchers have developed an intelligent robot that can navigate itself around a city’s streets and collect resident’s rubbish on demand.

An EU-funded project has resulted in a human-sized robot, called DustCart, that balances on a Segway base and can navigate itself to stop outside your door when summoned.

A resident in the Italian town of Peccioli gets to grips with DustCart during the trial

A resident in the Italian town of Peccioli gets to grips with DustCart during the trial

Professor Paolo Dario, the coordinator of Dust Bot said: ‘We’ve taken the very best and most advanced robotics components to build Dust Cart which solves a very real problem for waste authorities across Europe,’ explains Professor Dario.

‘Yes, it is a bin on wheels – there’s the drawer in which you place your bag of rubbish or recycling – but there’s a lot more to the robot than that.’


The robot is able to guide itself around narrow streets

The robot is mounted with cameras and other sensors so it can ‘see’ where it is going. It scans the path ahead and processes the information to avoid stationary objects.

It also picks out moving objects like pedestrians or bikes ad quickly computes their trajectory and alters its course to avoid a collision.

The visual images are also relayed to a control centre where human operators can check everything working properly and are able to intervene if necessary.

Dust Cart uses a clever triangulation system to navigate its way to a resident’s home by interacting with wireless networks.

The network can pinpoint the robot, calculate optimal routes between pick-ups, and communicate this information to the robot.

Professor Dario said: ‘It is the dream of every robotics research to develop a fully automated and intelligent system but we have chosen a different approach.

‘Here, we have a smart robot in a smart environment; the robot ‘talks’ to its surroundings and the surroundings communicate back. This means the robot has access to a lot more information and computing power.’

Dust Cart has three levels of intelligent control. First there are the autonomous, built-in systems including motion sensing, obstacle avoidance and user-interface functions including speech recognition.

It also uses ‘intelligent’ data processing to help it navigate it through the streets.

Finally, a human control centre monitors operations, but only intervenes in an emergency – if someone tries to steal the robot, for example -  or where the technology fails.

Two DustCart r

Two DustCart robots sits either side of their counterparts Dust Clean and who is a street cleaner

Professor Dario said: ‘We have substantial information on the performance of the system and its safety. We have had no major failures yet and no safety breaches. The robot is supervised through CCTV.

‘And we also have insurance, which basically means that the insurer is satisfied that the robot is safe to use on the streets.’

In May, Dust Cart entered a two-month period of service in the small town of Peccioli in Italy – around 100 households being served by two Dust Cart robots.

The Dust Cart has performed demonstrations in six European locations, plus two in Japan and one in South Korea.

The developers say that if upcoming trials prove successful then a working commercial model could be available by the end of this year.

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July 1, 2010 Posted by | Blogroll, Entertainement, Funny, People, Weird | Leave a comment