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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flipping madness! Police offer free flip-flops to binge drinkers who keep falling over in heels

By Luke Salkeld

Itsh not their fault, you shee. Itsh the shoesh.

Drunk women who stagger about in high heels are to be protected - at public expense - from twisting their ankles.

They will be handed flip-flops to wear by police outside nightclubs as they wend their way home.

The scheme is part of a £30,000 drive by police and councillors to prevent 'alcohol-related harm'.

Superintendent Chris Singer with flip flops

Superintendent Chris Singer poses with two pairs of flip-flops. As part of a £30,000 health and safety scheme, flip-flops are to be given free to drunk women to prevent injuries on their walk home

It has been prompted by fears that women wearing stilettos or similar footwear could tumble over.

Officials also claim that female revellers are at risk of cutting the soles of their feet by walking barefoot.

The flip-flops will be given to anyone whose footwear is 'uncomfortable, inappropriate or soiled' and will be paid for with a Home Office grant.

The scheme is to begin next month in the centre of Torquay, Devon, a popular destination for hen and stag parties. It will be run by Safer Communities Torbay, a partnership between police, Torbay Council and the Local Education Authority.

Police officers will carry bags of coloured flip-flops on their rounds and will hand them to those who look unsteady on their feet.

Drunk wome

Off balance: Drunk women will be handed flip-flops outside clubs

The rubber shoes, which carry printed messages about safe drinking, will also be available free from the council's 'Safe Bus' on the harbourside.

The force has already been handing out condoms and sexual health advice to revellers, and ordered drunken men who urinate in the street to clean up their own mess with a mop and bucket.

Inspector Adrian Leisk, from Safer Communities Torbay, said: 'Sometimes people get drunk and you see them carrying footwear which is inappropriate.

'The emphasis is on providing replacement footwear for people to get home in, should they find their footwear uncomfortable, inappropriate or soiled.

'We have consulted with people who work on our night-time economy areas and this is just one of a number of measures designed to keep people safe.'

The initiative has attracted criticism from campaigners, who said it was a waste of money and police time. Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'This is an idiotic waste of money.

'People don't pay their taxes for drunk women to get free flip flops. They want the police to fight crime.

'The police aren't there to be an emergency supply of flat shoes.'

But the potential recipients seemed quite pleased yesterday at the prospect of a free pair of flops.

Danielle Bolton, 19, who was out in Torquay, said: 'My heels hurt me at the end of the night so I tend to take them off.

'It's a hell of a lot easier to walk with flip-flops than high heels.'

Leanne Thomas, 21, added: 'I go out clubbing at the harbourside most weekends and I usually walk home barefooted because my heels hurt. I think it's a great idea.'

The £30,000 will cover the cost of free condoms, rape alarms and personal safety information which will also be available on the Safe Bus.

Superintendent Chris Singer, Torbay Police Commander, said: 'Linking in with our partners, this funding represents a significant opportunity to make a real difference in relation to alcohol related harm and disorder.

'We're hopeful that this new initiative will help protect dozens of women who are vulnerable to injury after a night out with friends.'

Original here

Marriage Calculator figures divorce odds

PHILADELPHIA , Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. divorce rate has been dropping and some couples have much better odds than the often-quoted 50-50 chance of wedded bliss, researchers say.

Betsey Stevenson of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School said the divorce rate has been falling in the United States since 1979. And, she said, the rate can vary widely according to demographics.

"For many of these folks, their divorce rates so far have fallen substantially compared with previous generations," Stevenson said in a statement without providing any new divorce rate figures. "Different types of people face different divorce rates historically."

Your chances of divorce lessen the more education you have and increase the younger you marry, Stevenson explained.

Stevenson -- in partnership with divorce360.com -- developed The Marriage Calculator that lets people see how the incidence of divorce evolves throughout the life of a marriage.

The calculator uses data from the U.S. Census bureau to allow users to compare themselves to others who married about the same time period, have a similar education and have been married as long as you. With the marriage calculator, you can find out how many people with similar backgrounds have divorced. In addition, it estimates how many people like you are likely to get divorced in the next five years.

The calulator is at http://www.divorce360.com/content/divorcecalculator.aspx.

Original here

2,700-year-old marijuana found in Chinese tomb


THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA – Researchers say they have located the world's oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly ``cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odour.

"To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

Remnants of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.

The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

The marijuana was found to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, but the sample was too old to determine a precise percentage.

Researchers also could not determine whether the cannabis was smoked or ingested, as there were no pipes or other clues in the tomb of the shaman, who was about 45 years old.

The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used by the shaman in the afterlife.

"This materially is unequivocally cannabis, and no material has previously had this degree of analysis possible," Russo said in an interview from Missoula, Mont.

"It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife. No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food. Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied."

The tomb also contained bridles, archery equipment and a harp, confirming the man's high social standing.

Russo is a full-time consultant with GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for pain linked to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

The company operates a cannabis-testing laboratory at a secret location in southern England to monitor crop quality for producing Sativex, and allowed Russo use of the facility for tests on 11 grams of the tomb cannabis.

Researchers needed about 10 months to cut red tape barring the transfer of the cannabis to England from China, Russo said.

The inter-disciplinary study was published this week by the British-based botany journal, which uses independent reviewers to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of all submitted papers.

The substance has been found in two of the 500 Gushi tombs excavated so far in northwestern China, indicating that cannabis was either restricted for use by a few individuals or was administered as a medicine to others through shamans, Russo said.

"It certainly does indicate that cannabis has been used by man for a variety of purposes for thousands of years."

Russo, who had a neurology practice for 20 years, has previously published studies examining the history of cannabis.

"I hope we can avoid some of the political liabilities of the issue," he said, referring to his latest paper.

The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.

Original here