Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tournament of blood: The sheer horror of horse-fighting

The crowd roars its approval as the chestnut stallion sinks his teeth into the throat of his opponent.

The terrified victim rears up on his hind legs and veers away in a desperate bid to escape, but it is no use.

Blood is pouring into his eyes and he can no longer see. His right ear is torn and bloody.

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horse fighting

Fight club: Goaded into a frenzy by a mare who is 'in season' and chained nearby for up to six hours, stallions battle for 'sport' in the Philippines

The bigger horse moves in for the coup de grace, repeatedly kicking the weaker animal in the head with his front hooves.

His opponent soon collapses and lies panting on the ground, an all too typical end to one of the most horrific spectator 'sports' ever devised - horse-fighting tournaments.

But that hasn't stopped them becoming hugely popular in the Philippines, where these appalling pictures were taken.

The images are deeply disturbing, but the Mail believes they must be seen.

"These tournaments are truly barbaric," says Andrew Plumbly of the welfare group Network for Animals, which has been campaigning to bring an end to the savage contests.

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horse fighting

These scenes in the town of Don Carlos involved 54 horses, many of which had gruesome injuries

"Our vets have seen horses being kicked in the head so hard that their eyes have popped out of their sockets. Other horses have had their ears ripped off. It's straight out of the Middle Ages."

Horse-fighting occurs almost exclusively in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, and in parts of China.

The horrific tournament captured in our photographs happened in the town of Don Carlos and involved 54 horses, many of which had gruesome injuries.

Thousands of people turned out to watch the bloodbath, including hundreds of children. Many of the adults were drunk and spent their time gambling and jeering at the battling animals.

Though horses do not normally fight one another, these stallions had been whipped into a fighting frenzy by the presence of a young mare who was "in season" and had been staked to the ground in the middle of the muddy arena.

Overwhelmed by desire, the stallions attacked each other in a bid to defeat their sexual rivals.

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horse fight

Wounded horses are often killed for their meat and the choicest cuts barbecued and sold to the crowd

Many were soon covered in gashes and bites. Others limped around the arena with a glazed look in their eyes as they pathetically tried to escape.

The tournament was equally traumatic for the mare used as "bait" for the stallions.

Not only was she repeatedly hit by stray blows from the duelling horses, but the poor creature was also obliged to mate with the victorious stallions from each "bout", meaning that she was mounted as many as 30 times during one tournament which can last up to six hours.

"Horses often die in the ring from exhaustion or their injuries," says Mr Plumbly, who has witnessed one such tournament.

Veterinary care is too expensive for most owners to bother with, so wounded horses are often killed for their meat and the choicest cuts barbecued and sold to the crowd.

A similar fate awaits those horses deemed too old or too weak to fight. These are "sacrificed" by pitting them against much stronger stallions.

Some break their legs as they desperately try to escape. But the bloodier the injuries, the louder the crowd cheers.

Although horse-fighting is illegal in the Philippines, corruption and lack of enforcement ensure that the tournaments continue - and with apparent official sanction.

Matches are featured on TV, and local businesses sponsor horses and tournaments. Local authorities offer prize money.

The tournaments are promoted as a "cultural tradition", but in fact they are largely organised and controlled by crime syndicates, who rake in huge profits from gambling.

Thousands of pounds are bet on each fight - a small fortune in a desperately poor country such as the Philippines.

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horse fight

The tournaments are promoted as a 'cultural tradition', but in fact they are largely organised and controlled by crime syndicates

Network for Animals wants to build clinics to treat injured horses and to educate local people about caring for animals. It is also encouraging tourists to avoid the southern Philippines.

"If people want to help stop these tournaments they should write to the embassy in London and tell them that they will not visit these islands," says Mr Plumbly.

"The threat of a loss of tourism money will help bring this despicable blood sport to an end."

For more information on NFA campaigns and how you can help, visit

Original here

Frog from hell' that ate baby dinosaurs

A squat beachball sized toad dubbed 'the frog from Hell' has been found in Madagascar, where it it once may have snacked on baby dinosaurs and other small animals.

  • Self destructing palm tree found in Madagascar
  • Weirdest and most endangered creatures
  • Monster toad found in Australia
  • The 70 million year-old fossil frog is likened by researchers to a "slightly squashed beach-ball" and has been nicknamed Beelzebufo.

    An artist's impression of what the frog might have looked like
    An artist's impression of what the frog might have looked like

    The discovery of the creature, of a kind once thought unique to South America, lends weight to a new theory that Madagascar, India and South America were once linked together into a supercontinent until late in the Age of Dinosaurs, around 65 million years ago.

    The new frog esembles living Horned frogs (ceratophryines or 'pac-man frogs') in having a squat body, huge head and wide mouth, containing dozens of little teeth.

    With a body length (not counting the legs) of up to 16 inches - longer than a rugby ball - and a weight of around four kilos (10 pounds), it is more than twice the size of its largest living relatives.

    The fossil has been identified by scientists from University College London and Stony Brook University, New York.

    Their research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests it lived alongside meat-eating dinosaurs, plant-eating crocodiles and giant snakes, which are all very different from the present day animals of Madagascar.

    Prof Susan Evans, who studied Beezebufo with Dr Marc Jones at UCL says: "This frog, a relative of today's Horned frogs, would have been the size of a slightly squashed beach-ball, with short legs and a big mouth. If it shared the aggressive temperament and 'sit-and-wait' ambush tactics of living Horned toads, it would have been a formidable predator on small animals.

    Its diet would most likely haveconsisted of insects and small vertebrates like lizards, but it's not impossible that Beelzebufo might even have munched on hatchling orjuvenile dinosaurs."

    The history of Madagascar's unusual frogs has generated intense debate, fuelled by the near absence of a fossil record.

    "Our discovery of a frog strikingly different from today's Madagascan frogs, and akin to the Horned frogs previously considered endemic to South America, lends weight to the controversial idea that Madagascar, the Indian subcontinent and South America were linked well into the Late Cretaceous.

    "It also suggests that the initial spread of such beasts began earlier than that proposed by recent estimates," says Prof Evans.

    Earlier work has found similarities between the dinosaurs of these three regions, along with mammals, birds and crocodiles.

    Original here

    Scourge of Scientology dies in apparent suicide

    He seemed to abandon the fight in the last year.

    Shawn Lonsdale documents people in downtown Clearwater while filming as part of his "cult watch." From hours and hours of footage of Scientology buildings, staff, security guards and verbal confrontations, he made a film that aired on local cable television.

    CLEARWATER - Shawn Lonsdale, whose one-man crusade against Scientology made him a public enemy of the church, was found dead at his home over the weekend in an apparent suicide. He was 39.

    Police discovered Lonsdale's body at 12:20 p.m. Saturday after neighbors reported a foul odor. They found a garden hose stretched from the exhaust pipe of Lonsdale's car into a window of his home at 510 N Lincoln Ave., according to Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Daly-Watts.

    Daly-Watts said there were no signs of foul play, and police found what appeared to be a suicide note. It was not immediately available.

    The medical examiner's office said the official cause of death is pending toxicology reports.

    It was a lonely end for a man who emerged out of nowhere in 2006 as a thorn in the side of the Church of Scientology.

    For a few months in mid to late 2006, Lonsdale stood alone in downtown Clearwater beside a sandwich board that read "Cult Watch" in the heart of Scientology's religious headquarters.

    Videocamera in hand, he taped hours and hours of footage: Scientology buildings, church staffers walking the streets, security guards watching his movements and verbal confrontations with Scientologists. He then edited them into a "pseudo-documentary" about Scientology that eventually aired on local cable television.

    Lonsdale, who was never a Scientologist, was an odd nemesis. He had no connection to the church before arguing with a Scientologist over redevelopment issues at a Clearwater City Council meeting.

    But the self-described loner stepped into his new role with enthusiasm. At night, he dropped fliers on the doorsteps of downtown businesses. On his lunch break, he parked his car across the street from the church's cafeteria with posters in his window that claimed people could find free versions of secret church texts on the Internet. He even picked church-related documents from piles of trash in front of a Scientology-owned business and posted some of the documents online.

    The Church of Scientology and some its members fought back. They hired a private investigator to look into Lonsdale's background and found two misdemeanor convictions for lewd and lascivious conduct, both related to public sex with men, in 1999 and 2000.

    They called Lonsdale's employer at a title company and his landlord and said that Lonsdale was a religious bigot, possibly dangerous.

    In the fall of 2006, the church subpoenaed Lonsdale for a deposition, contending he was an agent of an anti-Scientology group that was legally barred from protesting in certain places downtown. Attorney Luke Lirot, who has battled Scientology in the past, came to Lonsdale's aid.

    "I found him to be quite affable and truly a very intelligent man," Lirot said in an interview Monday. "I certainly hope that a very thorough investigation is conducted."

    In the last year, though, the confrontation between Lonsdale and the Church of Scientology seemed to have run its course.

    Lonsdale let his anti-Scientology Web site lapse. He posted less and less on anti-Scientology blogs. Church spokeswoman Pat Harney said it had been months since the church heard from Lonsdale.

    Randy Payne, a former Scientologist, said Lonsdale found it impossible to be a full-time church critic and make a living.

    Payne said that he last spoke to Lonsdale two months ago, and that Lonsdale had found steady work on the night shift at a local company, stocking shelves. He talked about going back to school and getting a private investigator's license.

    "He was getting on with his life," Payne said. "He had every reason to live."

    Landlord Joe Critchley said Lonsdale was an ideal tenant: He paid the $650 rent on time every month and he kept the place clean. The last time they talked, Feb. 1 or Feb. 2, Lonsdale seemed fine. "He would be one of the last people I would expect to commit suicide," Critchley said. "But you never know."

    Researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

    Original here

    15 Things Men Say But Don’t Really Mean

    Men are widely known for their straight talking and tell-it-like-it-is attitude. But sometimes, us gentlemen say things that we really do not mean. Things that more often than not, get us into trouble. It’s written into our DNA. We have to protect our manliness at all costs. If it means bragging about scoring with a porn star you met at a strip club - then so be it. We never reveal the truth that we were actually escorted from the premises for trying to ‘fondle’ said porn star! So what common things do we say and not mean? Let’s investigate.

    15. I want to learn a new language. Do we really want to learn a new language? The majority of people struggle to perfect the Queen’s English and the advent of social media sites such as Facecrap has only made it worse. You’re not going to become the voice of your generation simply because you’re talking Italian!

    14. “Let’s put the tip in, just for a second to see what it feels like.” As if! This is standard practice for deflowering women the world over. There was never going to come a point when we said, “Right okay, that’s not working for me. I’ll just pull it out and put my clothes back on.”

    13. “I’m only having one drink tonight, lads.” Men are genetically incapable of having just one drink at the pub! One pint quickly progresses into karaoke madness, arm-wrestling competitions, a quick fumble in the toilet with the porky barmaid we swore we’d never touch and ends with us declaring our undying love to our best mate!

    12. “It’s not you, it’s me.” This is the biggest lie ever uttered by man. Even women have got in on the act and are now using it as a way to dump us! The truth is - it is you but I don’t want to hurt your feelings. You’re too fat, crap in bed, you moan all the time, your friends are hotter and you smell really bad.

    11. “Yeah, Dog Day Afternoon is a masterpiece of directing.” This doesn’t particularly apply to Dog Day Afternoon, but any movie that comes up in discussion down the pub that you haven’t seen! We try to blag our way through the conversation despite knowing nothing about the film, the cast, the plot or even what constitutes a masterpiece of directing!

    10. “We need to catch up soon over a pint.” Don’t you just hate bumping into that annoying twat from school who was the sports star, ladies man and all around nice guy! The only way to get rid of him short of a shotgun is to agree to meet up soon. Preferably, when hell freezes over.

    9. “Your new girlfriend is lovely mate. Really nice.” Well, what else can you say? “I know you’re lonely since the love of your life dumped you for her yoga instructor, but you need to set your standards a little higher than a woman with more facial hair than ZZ Top!”

    8. “Give me the hottest curry on the menu. NOW!” In a desperate bid to show our manliness, we try to convince ourselves that shoving a vindaloo down our throats is the best way to establish our male dominance. In reality, we’re crying on the inside!

    7. “I’m rethinking my career choices.” Every now and again we get a little jaded with our worklife and decide to research the possibility of joining an Alaskan crab-fishing crew. Obviously, we get bored quickly and check to see if anyone posted a comment on our zany “Get Me Out Of This Office” blog.

    6. “Keep that up and I’ll phone the police.” We know we won’t call the police. We’d have to repeat the post code ten times to the operator, have to let the fuzz into our home to ask us questions and then watch as they drive away - never to hear from them again. Besides, chavs measure their success through ASBO’s so really, what’s the point?

    5. “I’ll pay you back mate, I promise.” To be fair, this is half true. We will, eventually, pay you back. Once we’ve paid off our 50″ LCD-HD telly, our yearly subscription to The Adult Channel, our gym membership and our brand-new Audi S3.

    4. “Of course I’m listening to you, dear.” This is usually followed by a few caveman grunts and a nod or two. We’re not really listening but we are paying just enough attention to not get caught watching the football while you describe, in excruciating detail, everything that happened to you today.

    3. “I’m not like other guys. I don’t kiss and tell.” This is a loop-hole in the dating system that men have exploited for years. Technically, we don’t kiss and tell. When we’re bragging to our mates about shagging you in the back of the car, the last thing we’d ever want to tell them about is the kissing!

    2. “She’s just a friend.” Yeah, she’s just a really hot, big bosomed, nymphomaniac friend. Who are you trying to kid, chief?

    1. “Oi! You and me, outside, right now!” In a desperate attempt to solidify our dominance in the presence of another alpha-male we try to bluff our way out of it by calling them out! For the love of God, why?? Chances are he’s going to answer your bluff with one of his own. The best you can hope for is that you’re both regretting your decision and when you get face to face, you have a bit of a shout, a few shoves and maybe beat your chest in that ever-so manly way before your mates mercifully pull you away!

    What’s missing then gents (and ladies)? Drop a message in the comments and we’ll add them in.

    If you enjoyed this article, please vote for it on Digg, share it on StumbleUpon, Mixx it or bookmark it on Thanks for your support!

    Original here

    Some People Are Gay.................

    Original here

    Top ten things to do with your now-defunct HD DVD player

    Finally, HD DVD users now have the empirical evidence they've been looking for to prove that the universe really is conspiring against them. We figured we'd make ourselves useful over here and give you a list of things you can do with your poor, obsolete HD DVD player -- starting with taking it out to dinner, excusing yourself to the bathroom before the check comes... then getting the hell out of there.

    • eBay
    • Doorstop
    • Entertainment center cup-holder
    • Destroy it. Office Space style.
    Oh, the humanity
    1. Mail it to the office of Howard Stringer in protest of Blu-ray's victory.
    2. Plug it into your clothes dryer's 240-volt outlet. Woops, honey! My bad, guess we have to buy a Blu-ray player now.
    3. Finally, replace your Betamax player.
    4. Buy the Blu-ray player of your choice, put it in the box, attempt to return it as "defective."
    5. Channel it through Whoopi Goldberg and make some pottery with it.
    6. Put a Blu-ray disc in the tray and then call up Toshiba when it doesn't work. Repeatedly.
    7. Put it in a time capsule, just to confuse future generations.
    8. Buy a few dozen of 'em and build a little hut for your Blu-ray player.
    9. Lock it alone in a room with a few lethal weapons... let it die honorably.
    10. Use it to upscale DVDs, which is all you ever used it for anyways.
    Original here

    Mysterious Ads for “Obay”

    Weird ads for a product called “Obay” have been popping up all over Accordion City for the past week:
    Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.
    It’s obvious that the product doesn’t actually exist and that it’s some sort of viral marketing campaign. As for what the campaign is meant to promote, most people with whom I’ve spoken to about the ads think that it’s some kind of jab at parents who are following the disturbing trend of medicating their teenage kids out of normal teenage behaviour and into Stepford adolescence.

    One person on the TorCamp mailing list wrote that a colleague doing consulting work for a nearby college says that it’s an ad campaign for Ontario colleges.

    I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

    Have you seen these ads?

    Best Drunken Conversation

    This entry was posted on Monday, February 18th, 2008 at 10:52 am and is filed under Lawlz.

    Original here

    Extras - Daniel Radcliffe

    Patrick Stewart Fantasies

    Fighter teaches dog to kick-box

    Meet Ringo Tsar - a dog who can pack a knock-out punch with his paws.

    Owner Russ Williams has trained the 15-month-old black Russian terrier in the art of kick-boxing.

    Mr Williams, from Caerwys in north Wales, is a former world champion in the martial art.

    "If there was a British Thai boxing championship for dogs then Ringo would win paws-down every time," he said. "There are a few humans he could beat as well."

    Mr Williams, who runs a gym and a security firm, said he came up with the idea after seeing Ringo play-fighting with another dog.

    "All his strength seems to be in his legs," he explained. "I just thought about how I could develop that.

    Russ and Ringo
    Russian terriers can weigh up to 85lb

    "I have only been training him for three weeks but he has picked it up really quickly and is incredibly strong.

    "He can jump and kick to command with his two front feet at a punch bag or kick pad.

    "It seems much better to teach a guard dog to do this than to bite."

    Russian black terriers, also known as Russkiy Tchiorny terriers, were specially bred in the former USSR and originally used by the authorities for riot control.

    Original here

    Israeli woman claims to be world's oldest person

    A woman has declared herself the oldest living person after her birth certificate was uncovered, showing she is 120.

    Mariam Amash rises every morning at 5am, walks unaided, and attributes her longevity to a diet rich in vegetables.

    "Yes, I am the oldest person in the world," she told the BBC, with her family crowding around her.

    "I eat, I drink, and I take showers. I hope to keep going for another 10 years," she said.

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    Mariam Amash claims to be the world's oldest woman

    According to her birth certificate, issued by the Ottoman Empire authorities, she was born near her current home in the village of Jisr az-Zarka in 1888.

    A devout Muslim, she has made the haj pilgrimage to Mecca five times - most recently in 1990, when she was only 102.

    Amash has 10 children, 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great-grandchildren. Her newest great-granddaughter is just one week old.

    She attended the celebrations for the new baby, blessing her according to traditional Muslim custom.

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    Ms Amash attributes her longevity to a diet rich in vegetables

    According to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest living person in the world is Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana in the the United States. Parker is 114 years old.

    Amash's age only came to light last week when she applied to the local branch of the Israeli Interior Ministry to renew her identity card.

    Moshe Hazut, a local minstry official, said her Ottoman birth certificate appeared genuine but might not be correct.

    "The woman was born during the Ottoman period, a time when the population registry was very inaccurate. It is quite possible that she is younger than reported, or even older," Hazut said.

    He said that Amash arrived at the office with her great-great granddaughter, who served as her translator, "but she was perfectly capable of walking by herself." "Her hearing is slightly impaired, but other than that she seemed fine, God bless her!" he said.

    Amash lives in the Arab village of Jisr az-Zarka near Hadera in northern Israel, surrounded by many of her family.

    "She rises every morning around five for prayers," said one of her grandsons, Majid Amash, 46, an engineer.

    "She then goes for a walk and then spends most of her day with the family. She recognises all of us." But he said his grandmother's long-term memory is fuzzy.

    The world's oldest resident has one piece of cautionary advice for younger generations.

    "They drink too much Arak," she said, referring to a popular Arabic alcoholic drink that is forbidden to devout Muslims.

    Original here

    'Lost' JFK assassination documents - including killer's transcript - found in Dallas courthouse

    A batch of old documents linked to the assassination of President John F Kennedy has been found in an old safe at a Dallas courthouse.

    They include what appears to be a transcript of a conversation between killer Lee Harvey Oswald and Oswald's killer Jack Ruby.

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    The moment Jacky Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, 1963: A new transcript claims to show an exchange between them in which they discuss killing President Kennedy

    Also in the stash were letters reportedly from former District Attorney Henry Wade, the prosecutor in the Ruby trial - as well as official records from the trial, a gun holster and clothing that probably belonged to Ruby and Oswald, the current DA Craig Watkins said.


    JFK: 'Killer's transcript' found in courthouse

    But the most controversial item is a transcript of an exchange between Oswald and Ruby in which they discuss killing Kennedy to halt the Mafia-busting agenda of his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

    The Dallas Morning News said one theory about the transcript was that it was part of a movie script Wade was working on with producers, for a film that was never made.

    The transcript resembles one published by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy's assassination and concluded that Oswald acted alone.

    The FBI claims the conversation between Oswald and Ruby - this time about killing Texas Governor John Connally - was definitely a fake.

    Connally was riding in the car with Kennedy and was wounded in the attack.

    The documents may be a Presidents' Day gift to conspiracy theorists who have long questioned the official U.S. government version that Oswald acted alone when he shot Kennedy on November 22, 1963, as the president's motorcade swept past the Texas School Book Depository in downtown Dallas.

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    Death of a president: The fateful shooting of JFK in Dallas, November 1963

    Nightclub owner Ruby subsequently shot Oswald dead at point-blank range two days later as police were escorting their prime suspect.

    Ruby died a few years later from cancer.

    Original gere

    Two cousins from 'suicide town' hang themselves within hours as death toll rises

    The death toll in a small town hit by a spate of suicides rose to 16 yesterday when two young cousins were found hanged. They died hours apart, leaving the South Wales community of Bridgend reeling from the continuing string of tragedies.

    Nathaniel Pritchard, 15, was still alive when he was discovered in an attic room at the family home on Wednesday but died yesterday morning when his life-support machine was turned off.

    His cousin Kelly Stephenson, 20, had been told of Nathaniel's suicide bid while she was on holiday in Folkestone, Kent, and warned there was little hope he would survive.

    Kelly - who knew two of the young men who died last year - was found dead shortly after midnight yesterday by a relative.

    Nathaniel Pritchard, 15 and his cousin Kelly Stephenson, 20, are the latest suicide victims from Bridgend. The town has now had 16 apparent suicides since January last year

    South Wales police and Bridgend coroner Philip Walters said they did not believe the apparent suicides were linked and played down any connection with internet sites.

    A task force involving police, social services, health and education officials has been set up to investigate the series of tragedies and discussions have taken place at government level over the spate of young deaths - all by hanging - which started in January 2007.

    Earlier this week it emerged that another nine similar hangings, not all involving young people, had occurred in the last two months in neighbouring valleys.

    A relative of the cousins said: "We just don't know what is going on in Bridgend. Kelly and Nathaniel were both brilliant kids with good futures ahead of them. We would never have thought in a million years that they were capable of anything like this.

    "None of this makes sense and both families are devastated at what has happened."

    Kelly Stephenson, from

    Bridgend was found hanged while on holiday in Folkestone, Kent

    Kelly and Nathaniel lived 14 houses apart in Bridgend and friends described the cousins, both members of the Bebo and Facebook social networking sites, as "very close".

    Nathaniel was found at the family home in Cefn Glas, Bridgend, on Wednesday night and was taken to hospital, where he later died.

    South Wales Police said: "There is no evidence to suggest this incident is linked to any other incidents or sudden deaths in the area."

    Keen sportswoman Kelly - who knew Gareth Morgan, 27, and Liam Clarke, 20, who died last year - told a relative she was going to the bathroom but when she failed to return they went to investigate, and found her dead.

    Kent Police said: "Officers are making inquiries but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances."

    Kelly, who called herself Baby-Girl-Kelly on Bebo, wrote on the site: "I just love to live life to the full ... Always up 4 a laugh and don't like takin things to serious!!

    "Alcohol is one of my favourite things. I loves to go out and get drunk and have a laugh with mates."

    Kelly had pictures of her cousin Nathaniel on her website and on one of her Bebo pages there are photographs and tributes to three other victims, Liam Clarke, Natasha Randall and Zachary Barnes.

    One of Kelly's internet friends said: "It's going crazy down in Bridgend and it's not going to stop. No one can understand what is going on.

    "I know seven of the people who have killed themselves. People are saying it's got something to do with the internet but I don't believe that. But then I can't explain it either.

    "I saw Kelly a month ago and she was fine - smiling and laughing."

    Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon secured a debate in the House of Commons last week on suicide prevention. Talking about the Bridgend tragedies, she told MPs: "The media have asked whether the cause is the internet, Bebo, Facebook or other networking sites. The answer is yes and no.

    "I believe there is a risk from spending too much time in the alternative reality of computer games and chat rooms. I also believe that for a vulnerable person who is contemplating suicide, the isolation of communication through words on a screen does not provide the warmth, humanity, compassion and empathy of talking to another person."

    Suicide cult? Clockwise from top left: Zachery Barnes, 17, Liam Clarke, 20, Natasha Randall, 17, Dale Crole, 18, David Dilling, 19, Gareth Morgan, 27, and Thomas Davies, 20

    Philip Walter, Coroner for Bridgend and the Glamorgan valleys, said earlier this month that he had profound doubts about any "copycat" theory connecting the series of suicides.

    "I'm of the mind that there is no commonality between these deaths, and preliminary investigations say the same," he said.

    The two latest deaths have sent shockwaves through the small town where a special task force has been set up to look into the string of tragedies.

    Manager Tony Morgan, who recently signed Kelly for local team Porthcawl Lighnin Strikers, said: "She had only played one game for us - I couldn't pick her for this weekend because she was going away on holiday.

    "It is a shock and another tragedy involving a young person. Everyone at the club will be shocked."

    Tributes were yesterday being posted to Nathaniel's Bebo site where he used the nickname Pritch.

    Bridgend has been rocked by a spate of suicides since the beginning of last year

    One said: "What happened m8? Going to miss you. Cannot believed what has happened. There is no better place for you than down here. But I will no now that u r safer up there m8. Sleep tight."

    Another said: "I've known u all my life. 4 u to do this is unreal M8. Hope you are happier where you are."

    All 16 victims, who were under the age of 26 and from Bridgend, hanged themselves in the suicide spate which started in January 2007.

    The full death register is now Dale Crole, 18, David Dilling, 19, Thomas Davies, 20, Zachary Barnes, 17, Gareth Morgan, 27, James Knight, 26, Jason Williams, 21, Andrew O'Neill, 19, Leigh Jenkins, 22, Liam Clarke, 20, Alan Price, 21, Luke Goodridge, 20, Natasha Randall, 17, Angie Fuller, 18, Kelly Stephenson, 20, and Nathaniel Pritchard, 15.

    Parents had already been horrified at the rate of hangings and one secondary school was placed on "suicide watch" after pupils appealed for help.

    Original here

    America's Drunkest Presidents

    Martin Van Buren (1837–1841)
    "Party Hardy Marty" grew up with the language of the Dutch, but the eighth president would have been just as at home with a 40 of Olde English.
    Party fouls? Historical records of the man with a lampshade on his head are nonexistent, but doctors confirmed that the Democratic-Republican developed gout on account of his liquid diet of bourbon with a side of bourbon.
    Booze of choice: His cohorts nicknamed him Blue Whiskey Van. Take a guess.

    Franklin Pierce

    Congressmen considered him a pushover. His son was decapitated in a train accident. He supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, precipitating the Civil War. Indeed, the depressive Franklin Pierce had plenty of reasons to drink his ass off—not to mention he looked like George McFly.
    Party fouls? Pierce was charged for running over a woman in his carriage in D.C.
    Booze of choice: Pierce wasn't picky. After leaving office, the 14th prez said, "There's nothing left but to get drunk."

    James Buchanan

    Another geezer diagnosed with the gout. This booze-infused politico was known to down multiple bottles of rye and brandy in a single sitting.
    Party fouls? One night the dandy was allegedly poisoned with arsenic by warmongering Southerners. But for all we know, Mr. President drank himself into date-rape blackness.
    Booze of choice: On Sundays, Buchanan would make a trip to the local distillery to pick up a case of Old J.B. whiskey.

    Chester A. Arthur

    "The Gentleman Boss" brought the Manhattan party scene to a bunch of otherwise farm boy wonks on Capitol Hill.
    Party fouls? He didn't move into The White House until months after inauguration because he wanted to redecorate the sonovabitch into something that looked less like a workplace. While living in hotels and boozing it up, Arthur auctioned off a shitload of The House's furniture, later discovered to be priceless antiques. (D'oh!)
    Booze of choice: The mutton-chopped playboy always had his pad stocked with wine and brandy for early happy hour.

    drunkestPresidents_Cleveland.jpgGrover Cleveland (1885–1889; 1893–1897)
    The 260-pound beer-bellied New Yorker was diagnosed with oral cancer, requiring he fill a hole in the roof of his mouth with a rubber plug. It also prevented any suds from leaking out of his cakehole.
    Party fouls? Cleveland, while still governor of the Empire State, was driving in a stupor, when his carriage lost control and his law partner was thrown from it and killed. (Double d'oh!)
    Booze of choice? No doubt the brew. During his 1870 campaign for district attorney in Erie County, New York, he and his opponent agreed to drink only four mugs of beer a day. By the end of the week, the backsliders were both dragging tankards of barley pop to the saloon.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    FDR boozed so hard, surely that wheelchair of his wasn't just for the polio.
    Party fouls? Booze enthusiast that the Prohibition repealist was, Roosevelt was infamous for his dog shit bartending skills. His grandson on FDR's cocktails: "Many people—and this is record—say, 'The president made the worst martinis I've ever tasted.'"
    Booze of choice? His Haitian libation consisted of dark rum, brown sugar, orange juice, and an egg white shaken in a frosted tumbler. "For women companions," according to his son, "when he wanted them to feel frivolous."

    Richard Nixon

    For a California native he wasn't too popular with the hippie kids, but c'mon: The man has a drink named after him. He couldn't have been all bad.
    Party fouls? In the fall of 1973, just as the Arab-Israeli War kicked off, the British prime minister tried to ring Nixon about the bloodshed. But, according to Henry Kissinger, Tricky Dick was too wasted to pick up the phone.
    Booze of choice? Nixon was all about the In-and-Out Martini, a downright silly concoction that required an ice glass be chilled with vermouth, then emptied before being filled with gin. A supreme waste—and an arguably bigger party foul than ignoring state calls.

    George W. Bush
    (2001–soon enough)

    The frat boy at heart swears that the hooch hasn't touched his born-again lips since he entered office. But the way the country's been run lately, Dubya must be three sheets on a daily basis.
    Party fouls? In the 1970s, curious George was arrested on a now-infamous DUI charge. Another time out behind the wheel, the motorist-in-chief crashed over his neighbor's garbage cans.
    Booze of choice? In previous interviews, Bush has alluded to drinking the nonalcoholic O'Doul's. Pfft—guess we'll have to wait for history to prove otherwise.

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    8 Most Bizarre Religions and Cults !!!

    Nation of Yahweh:
    "Black people are the true Jews"

    Nation of Yahweh is a predominately African American religious group that is an offshoot of the Black Hebrew Israelites line of thought. They were formed in the late 1970s in Miami-Dade county. While the Nation of Yahweh falls under the umbrella of Black Hebrew Israelites, their beliefs are unique and distinct from that of other known Black Hebrew Israelite groups. The founder and creator of the religion is Yahweh ben Yahweh. The group has engendered controversy due to legal issues of its founder. It also faced accusations of being a black supremacist cult by the Southern Poverty Law Center and The The SPLC criticized the beliefs of the Nation of Yahweh as racist for the following reason. They state the group believed blacks are "the true Jews" and that whites were "white devils." In addition to this they claim the group believed Yahweh ben Yahweh had a Messianic mission to vanquish whites and that they held views similar to the Christian Identity movement. They quote Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance as saying groups like theirs are "the black counterpart of us."

    Despite the recent death of their leader (see Yahweh ben Yahweh), the Nation of Yahweh is still active. Its members also claim to have abandoned their past racism; the leader's daughter has apparently stated that all people are children of God. An attorney and member of the group, Wendelyn Rush, insists their current war with the U.S. government is a non-violent verbal battle. The group is currently spread throughout the US and is no longer concentrated in one location (formerly Miami-Dade county). Their present literature downplays and has nearly erased all past racism.

    Despite some of these present changes, much of the same rhetoric and codes of behavior have remained essentially the same as when the group began. Most still insist that Yahweh ben Yahweh is "Grand Master of All, the God of the Universe, the Grand Potentate, the Everlasting Father and the persecuted Messiah." A few elderly members consider 9-11 to have been a punishment from God for his imprisonment. Pledges of devotion to him and war against infidels allegedly still exist.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    "Save the Planet, Kill Yourself"

    The Church of Euthanasia (CoE) is a dadaist organization started by Rev. Chris Korda in the Boston, Massachusetts area of the United States. According to the church's website, it is "a non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth." The CoE uses sermons, music, culture jamming, publicity stunts and direct action combined with an underlying sense of satire and black humor to highlight Earth's unsustainable population. The CoE is notorious for its conflicts with anti-abortion Christian activists.

    According to the church's website, the one commandment is "Thou shalt not procreate". The CoE further asserts four principle pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism ("strictly limited to consumption of the already dead"), and sodomy ("any sexual act not intended for procreation"). The church stresses population reduction by voluntary means only. Therefore murder, rape and involuntary sterilization are strictly forbidden by church doctrine.

    Slogans employed by the group include "Save the Planet, Kill Yourself", "Six Billion Humans Can't Be Wrong", and "Eat a Queer Fetus for Jesus", all of which are intended to mix inflammatory issues to unnerve those who oppose abortion and homosexuality.

    The Church gained early attention in 1995 because of its affiliation with which hosted many sites that were controversial or skirted illegality. Members later appeared on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show titled "I Want to Join a Suicide Cult".

    Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the CoE posted to its website a four-minute music video titled I Like to Watch, combining hardcore pornographic video with footage of the World Trade Center collapse. The montage featured an electronic soundtrack recorded by Korda and the lyrics, "People dive into the street/ While I play with my meat." Korda described the project as reflecting his "contempt for and frustration with the profound ugliness of the modern industrial world."

    The church's website previously had instructions on "how to kill yourself" by asphyxiation using helium. These pages were removed in 2003 after a 52-year-old woman used them to commit suicide in St. Louis County, Missouri, resulting in legal threats against the churc

    The Church of Maradona

    Iglesia Maradoniana (Spanish "Maradonian Church") was created by fans of the retired Argentine football player Diego Maradona, who they believe to be the best player of all time. It was founded on October 30, 1998 (Maradona's 38th birthday) in the city of Rosario. But it wasn't until the year of 2001 that they had their first gathering. They now reportedly count 80,000 members from more than 60 countries around the world.

    It could be seen as a type of syncretism. It's clear that the passion between the different members is what glues them together. Supporters of the Maradonian Church, supposedly from all parts of the world, count the years since Maradona's birth in 1960. It is popular, among the followers of this religion (and also among other football fans), the use of the neo-Tetragrammaton D10S as one of the names of Maradona: D10S is a portmanteau word which fuses 10 (diez in Spanish), Maradona's shirt number, and dios, the Spanish word for god.

    Creativity Movement
    "Inferior colored races are our deadly enemies"

    he Creativity Movement is a racialist, and White-supremacist organization that advocates a "White Religion" called Creativity. Though "Anti-Christian" in a contemporary sense, the Creativity Movement is a surrogate of Positive Christianity, and is guided by elements of a pseudo-Christian racial Manichaeanism. The group also denies the Holocaust, embraces racial neo-eugenics with a religious mission that is dedicated to the "survival, expansion and advancement of the White Race exclusively."

    The organization was initially founded as the Church of the Creator by Ben Klassen in early 1973. In the summer of 1993, Klassen committed suicide. It was later led by Matthew F. Hale until his incarceration on January 8, 2003 for plotting with FBI informant Anthony Evola to murder a federal judge. On July 22, 2002, two members of the organization were found guilty in federal court of plotting to blow up Jewish and Black landmarks around Boston, in what prosecutors said was a scheme to spark a "racial holy war."
  • Some of the "16 Commandments of Creativity": It is our sacred goal to populate the lands of this earth with White people exclusively.
  • Inferior colored races are our deadly enemies, and that the most dangerous of all is the Jewish race.
  • Destroy and banish all Jewish thought and influence from society

  • The Body of Christ
    Founder's son was not fed and died; they were "waiting for a sign from God to feed him"

    The Body of Christ is a small authoritarian group that relies on "direct revelation" and not the Bible for its direction. This small cult has been in the news because it is believed that two children have died unnecessarily. Samuel Robidoux, the ten month old son of the cult founder's son, Jacques, died of malnutrition. He was not fed because they were waiting for a sign from God to feed him. Rebecca Corneau's child, Jeremiah, died shortly after childbirth reportedly due to the lack of basic medical care. Corneau is now eight and one half months pregnant (as of September, 15th, 2000) and the courts have intervened to try to protect it. The American Civil Liberties Union and other Pro-Choice Advocates worry that this case might set a dangerous legal precedent by showing more concern for an unborn child than the wishes of the mother.

    Former member Dennis Mingo left the group after ten years, and gave a diary that described the deaths of the two children to police. Despite months of effort, police have not been able to locate the children's bodies. The group denounces the ''seven systems'' of mainstream society, including education, government, banking, religion, medicine, science and entertainment. Consequently, members of the group have refused to cooperate with all authorities and have refused legal counsel. They have even refused to assert their basic constitutional right against self-incrimination. This Millennial group expects the world will erupt in violence and turmoil at any moment, and that they alone will be saved.

    Aum Shinrikyo

    Aum Shinrikyo was a Japanese religious group created by Shoko Asahara. In 1995 the group was reported as having 9,000 members in Japan, and as many as 40,000 worldwide. The core of Aum doctrine are Buddhist scriptures included in the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.

    The cult started attracting controversy in the late 1980's with accusations of deception of recruits, and of holding cult members against their will and forcing members to donate money. A murder of a cult member who tried to leave is now known to have taken place in February 1989. The cult is known to have considered assassinations of several individuals critical of the cult.

    On the morning of 20th March 1995, Aum members released sarin in a co-ordinated attack on five trains in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 commuters, seriously harming 54 and affecting 980 more. Prosecutors allege that Asahara was tipped off about planned police raids on cult facilities by an insider, and ordered an attack in central Tokyo to divert attention away from the group. At the cult's headquarters in Kamikuishiki on the foot of Mount Fuji, police found explosives, chemical weapons and biological warfare agents, such as anthrax and Ebola cultures, and a Russian MIL Mi-17 military helicopter. There were stockpiles of chemicals which could be used for producing enough sarin to kill four million people. After Asahara's arrest and trial, the cult re-grouped under the new name of Aleph in February 2000.

    Heaven's Gate:
    Committed suicide to take their souls to a spaceship behind Comet Hale-Bopp

    Funders of Heaven's Gate, M. Applewhite and B. Truesdale, claimed to have arrived via UFO from another dimension (a "level above human") and would return via a secretive "Process", which was taught to cult members. One of the group's publications, "How To Build A U.F.O.", purported to describe an interplanetary spacecraft built out of materials such as old tires.

    The cult's end coincided with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. In 2007, Applewhite convinced thirty-eight followers to commit suicide so that their souls could take a ride on a spaceship that they believed was hiding behind the comet carrying Jesus. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike tennis shoes, and armband patches reading "Heaven's gate away team".

    "Scientifically advanced humanoid extraterrestrials created humans"

    Raëlism is the religious, naturalist belief system promoted by the Raëlian Movement, an atheist UFO religion founded in 1970s which focuses on the social ideas of sexual self-determination, individualism, and humanitarianism in the spirit of sharing and responsibility, which, they claim, will bring a new age of wealth and peace guided by those with greater intelligence, as predicted by main religions. They also believe in scientifically advanced humanoid extraterrestrials known by our primitive ancestors as Elohim (or "those who came from the sky"). Raëlism espouses belief that Elohim synthesized life on Earth through mastery of genetic engineering, and that human cloning and "mind transfer" are mechanisms by which eternal life may be achieved.

    According to Raël, a message explaining our origins and future was dictated to him in December 1973, during personal meetings with a 25,000-year-old extraterrestrial named Yahweh who came in a UFO. The story goes that after terraforming the Earth, human beings from another planet — the "Elohim" (Hebrew for the word "God" as found in the Hebrew Old Testament, which the extraterrestrial himself translated as meaning those who came from the sky in ancient Hebrew) — created humans and all life on earth using DNA manipulation and genetic engineering. The message dictated to Raël during his encounter with the Elohim states that the Elohim contacted about forty people to act as their prophets on Earth, among which are those who founded the world's major religions (Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, etc.)

    The Raëlians believe, furthermore, that the Elohim will visit the earth officially when enough of its population is peaceful and come to know about them. They believe this is foretold in all religious texts - the predicted "Age of Apocalypse" or "Revelation" (unveiling of the truth).

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