Prince Harry in snap encounter with Australian crocodile


 

Britain's Prince Harry had a close encounter with a ferocious crocodile during his recent trip in Australia, with officials revealing Saturday he helped capture a 3.1 metre predator.

Harry spent a month Down Under with the Australian Army, an experience which involved learning bush survival skills, flying helicopters and working with elite SAS commandos.

The 30-year-old British prince also helped to snare a crocodile from a trap, pulling in the animal from Darwin Harbour and straddling it after its jaws had been taped closed.

"Prince Harry went out on the croc boat and helped our rangers remove a 3.1 metre (10 feet) saltwater crocodile from a trap in Darwin Harbour," Northern Territory Minister for Parks and Wildlife Bess Price said.

"This top secret mission is sure to leave a unique, lasting impression of the Territory with Prince Harry," she added in a statement.

Prince Harry was welcomed to Australia by hundreds of well-wishers in Canberra on April 6 -- including one who asked to marry him -- but his day-to-day activities with the Army were kept under wraps.

Ranger Erin Britton said Harry, who toured Afghanistan twice during a decade in the British Army, was not scared to get close to the crocodile, which was later taken to a local farm.

"He'd make a great croc catcher," she said. "He responded to directions when catching the croc, helped pull it into the boat and did a great job."

Britton said she hadn't been sure what to expect of the prince "because you don't meet royalty every day," but had found him to be a "sweetie".

 

"I was a little nervous at first when I was getting the snout rope on the croc because Harry was observing so closely, but he was so easy-going that I relaxed pretty quickly," she said.

"I found him very approachable and easy to chat with."

Rangers in the Northern Territory often have to remove crocodiles from waterways used for boating and fishing to limit the risk of fatalities and injuries.

Crocodiles are common in Australia's tropical north where their numbers have increased since the introduction of protection laws in 1971 to around 75,000 to 100,000.

Britton said there was "no doubt" the visiting prince enjoyed snaring the crocodile, saying he had been "taking plenty of photos with a huge smile".

Senior Wildlife Ranger for the Crocodile Management Team, Tommy Nichols, agreed the prince seemed to enjoy the visit on April 15.

"Prince Harry managed to speak to all members of the crocodile team during the time he spent with us and he appeared to be a nice bloke," he said.

"It was the first time any of us had met a member of the Royal Family and we were all very excited."

 

 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

 

Worrying' rise in binge drinking among youths, women PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:45

 

Binge drinking is emerging as a major hazard for the young in some countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Tuesday in its first probe into alcohol abuse.

Over the past 20 years, alcohol consumption in OECD countries has declined by 2.5 percent on average, the 34-nation club of rich economies said.

But this figure masks important national changes and a worrying shift in some countries towards youth boozing and excessive drinking by women, it said.

In 2012, the average per-capita consumption in the OECD was 9.1 litres (16 pints) of pure alcohol per capita, it said.

Estonia, Austria and France had the highest consumption, with 12 litres or more per person per year.

Those countries below the OECD average included South Korea, the United States and Canada, while the lowest on the list were Israel and Turkey.

 

 

 

Within the broad overall decline, "many countries have experienced a significant increase in some risky drinking behaviours," the report said.

It cited binge drinking among young people and alcohol abuse by women.

"These trends are worrying because some of the harms typically associated with heavy drinking in young age, such as traffic accidents and violence, often affect people other than drinkers themselves," said the report.

"Heavy drinking at a young age is associated with an increased risk of acute and chronic conditions.

"It is also associated with problem drinking later on in life, and people who are successful in the labour market may see their long-term career prospects jeopardised."

The biggest surge in youth drinking was seen in Russia, followed by Estonia, and then India and China, which like Russia have partnership status with the OECD and were included in part of the analysis.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:48
 
'Stormin Mormon' Romney survives Holyfield dust-up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 May 2015 18:59

 

 

Former world boxing champion Evander Holyfield used ex-presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a punching bag for two rounds -- all in the name of good fun and charity.

The 68-year-old Romney and the 52-year-old Holyfield squared off in the lighthearted spectacle that raised $1 million for Charity Vision, an organization that provides eye-sight operations.

The fight didn't have the hype of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao mega showdown earlier this month in Las Vegas or the historical value of the Ali-Frazier "Thrilla in Manila," but it did reach its goal of raising enough money to enable thousands of blind people to see again.

"Tonight @CharityVision raised $1 million which will help 40,000 people have their sight restored," Romney tweeted after the fight.

Romney entered the ring wearing a red silk robe and a pair of red boxing trunks after a ring entrance walk to the song "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, blasted through the loud speakers at the Rail Event Center in Salt Lake.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 19:05
 
Drug combo helps people with common cystic fibrosis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 18 May 2015 05:49

 

 

A combination of two drugs has shown promise toward improving the health of people with the most common form of the incurable lung disease known as cystic fibrosis, researchers said Sunday.

Patients treated with two medications -- lumacaftor and ivacaftor -- saw "significant" gains in their ability to breathe and fewer lung infections than those taking a placebo, according to the results of two international clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The randomized controlled trials included 1,108 people, age 12 and older, who were treated for six months.

"These groundbreaking findings will benefit around 15,000 patients in US alone," said Susanna McColley, one of the study's authors and a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

About 75,000 people in Europe, North America and Australia suffer from cystic fibrosis, which is caused by genetic mutations.

Although there are different mutations associated with the disease, the most common is when people have two copies of the F508del mutation, which is seen in about half of all CF patients.

The disease causes the body to overproduce thick mucus that leads to chronic lung infections and pancreatic problems.

The median, or midpoint, predicted survival for people with the F508del mutation is 37 years in the United States.

Ivacaftor, known by the brand name Kalydeco, in 2012 became the first drug of its kind ever approved by the US Food and Drug Administration after studies showed it helped improve the health of people with a more rare genetic mutation for CF that affects about four percent of all patients.

The other drug in the combination, lumacaftor, is also made by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and has yet to be approved by regulators.

Vertex announced earlier this week that an FDA advisory panel voted 12-1 to approve the two-drug combination, known by the brand name Orkambi.

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 18 May 2015 06:01
 
Ireland approves same-sex marriage in national referendum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 23 May 2015 18:58

Irish voters backed legalizing gay marriage by a landslide, according to electoral figures announced Saturday - a stunning result that illustrates the rapid social change taking place in this traditionally Catholic nation.

Figures from Friday’s referendum announced at Dublin Castle showed that 62.1 percent of Irish voters said “yes.” Outside, watching the results announcement live in the castle’s cobblestoned courtyard, thousands of gay rights activists cheered, hugged and cried.

The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. Analysts and campaigners credited the “yes” side with adeptly using social media to mobilize first-time young voters and for a series of searing personal stories from Irish gay people to convince voters to back equal marriage rights.

Ireland is the first country to approve gay marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries have legalized the practice.

“We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world, of liberty and equality. So it’s a very proud day to be Irish,” said Leo Varadkar, a Cabinet minister who came out as gay at the start of a government-led effort to amend Ireland’s conservative Catholic constitution.

“People from the LGBT community in Ireland are a minority. But with our parents, our families, or friends and co-workers and colleagues, we’re a majority,” said Varadkar, who watched the votes being tabulated at the County Dublin ballot center.

“For me it wasn’t just a referendum. It was more like a social revolution,” he added.
Michael Barron and Jaime Nanci, a gay couple legally married in South Africa five years ago, celebrated with friends at the Dublin City counting center as the reality sank in that, once Ireland’s parliament passes the complementary legislation, their foreign marriage will be recognized in their homeland.

“Oh.My.God! We’re actually Married now!” Nanci tweeted to his spouse and the world, part of a cavalcade of tweets from Ireland tagged #LandslideOfLove.

A rainbow nation

Political analysts who have covered Irish referendums for decades agreed that Saturday’s emerging landslide marked a stunning generational shift from the 1980s, when voters still firmly backed Catholic Church teachings and overwhelmingly voted against abortion and divorce.

“We’re in a new country,” said political analyst Sean Donnelly, who called the result “a tidal wave” that has produced pro-gay marriage majorities in even the most traditionally conservative rural corners of Ireland.

“I’m of a different generation,” said the gray-haired Donnelly, who has covered Irish politics since the 1970s. “When I was reared up, the church was all powerful and the word ‘gay’ wasn’t even in use in those days. How things have moved from my childhood to now. It’s been a massive change for a conservative country.”

Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Labour Party leader Joan Burton, said Ireland was becoming “a rainbow nation with a huge amount of diversity.” She said while campaigning door to door, she met older gay people who described how society made them “live in a shadow and apart,” and younger voters who were keen to ensure that Irish homosexuals live “as free citizens in a free republic.”

The “yes” side ran a creative, compelling campaign that harnessed the power of social media to mobilize young voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. The vote came five years after parliament approved marriage-style civil partnerships for gay couples.

Those seeking a “no” outcome described their defeat as almost inevitable, given that all of Ireland’s political parties and most politicians backed the legalization of homosexual unions.

‘Never underestimate the electorate’

David Quinn, leader of the Catholic think tank Iona Institute, said he was troubled by the fact that no political party backed the “no” cause.

“We helped to provide a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who did vote no. The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view,” he said.

Fianna Fail party leader Michael Martin, a Cork politician whose opposition party is traditionally closest to the Catholic Church, said he couldn’t in good conscience back the anti-gay marriage side because “it’s simply wrong in the 21st century to oppress people because of their sexuality.”

 
London bombmaker jailed for life for US soldier murder in Iraq PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 23 May 2015 19:29

 

A London taxi driver who made bombs targeting coalition troops in Iraq, one of which killed a US soldier, was jailed for life with a minimum of 38 years after being convicted of murder.

Anis Sardar, 38, built an improvised explosive device (IED) which killed Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment when it exploded under his armoured vehicle outside Baghdad on September 27, 2007.

Sardar was arrested in London in September 2014 after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation found his fingerprints on two bombs which were planted in the area at the time, although not the one which killed Johnson.

Sentencing him at London's Woolwich Crown Court, the day after a jury found him guilty of murder, Judge Henry Globe told Sardar that the soldier's death "was a loss for which you are directly responsible".

The judge rejected Sardar's defence that he had only been involved once in making a bomb, to protect the Sunni community from Shiite militias.

"I am satisfied that at the material time of the offences you had a mindset that made Americans every bit the enemy as Shiite militias. Both were in your contemplation at all times," he said.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said it had been a "landmark" case, showing that "international borders are no barrier to terrorists in the UK being brought to justice".

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 May 2015 19:31
 
Large Hadron Collider resumes collisions after upgrade PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 16:03

 

 

The world's largest particle smasher resumed colliding protons Tuesday as it gradually reboots following a two-year upgrade, Europe's physics lab CERN said.

The low-energy collisions took place in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Tuesday morning, CERN said in a statement.

The protons collided at an energy of 450 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), allowing the scientists to fine tune LHC's detectors as they prepare to crank the power up to allow collisions at an unprecedented 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV), it said.

Experiments at the collider are aimed at unlocking clues as to how the universe came into existence by studying fundamental particles, the building blocks of all matter, and the forces that control them.

In 2012, the LHC was used to prove the existence of Higgs Boson, the particle that confers mass, earning the 2013 Nobel physics prize for two of the scientists who, back in 1964, had theorised the existence of the so-called "God particle".

Tuesday's collisions at the giant lab, housed in a 27-kilometre (17-mile) tunnel straddling the French-Swiss border, are part of preparations for the next experiments to delve into the mysteries of the universe.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 16:06
 
Gays 'not accepted' on sports field: survey PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 May 2015 13:48

 

Only one percent of people feel that gays are "completely accepted" on the sporting field, according to a new international survey released on Sunday highlighting homophobia.

Close to 9,500 people were interviewed for the survey, initiated by the Sydney organising committee of a gay rugby event, which found few positive signs that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people were welcome playing team sports.

"Even in the most promising countries, such as Canada, discrimination and homophobia were still widely experienced by both LGB and straight participants," it said.

Participants in the study, who mostly came from Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States, were also largely unanimous in the view that spectator stands were not accepting of gay people.

About 78 percent of respondents said they believed LGB people would not be "very safe" if they visibly displayed their sexuality, for example by showing affection to each other.

Participants in the survey also said the most likely environment for sporting homophobia to occur were spectator stands (41 percent) and school sports classes (21 percent).

Although not an academic study, the survey, which used data collected by sports market research firm Repucom, was reviewed by seven leading experts on homophobia in sport, including Caroline Symons from Melbourne's Victoria University.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 May 2015 13:50
 
Prince Harry ends New Zealand, Australia visit on winning note PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 May 2015 09:12

 

 

Britain's Prince Harry wrapped up a visit to New Zealand and Australia on Saturday by scoring the winning goal in a football match and proving he can help capture a crocodile.

The 30-year-old prince spent a week in New Zealand, which started with a pub quiz on an outer southern island, included learning a traditional haka at a military camp, and finished with a day of sport at Auckland.

He also revealed during the official visit that he wants to have children and would like a partner to "share the pressure" of royal duties, but is still waiting for the right woman.

As New Zealand prepares to hold a referendum on whether to change its flag, which features the British Blue Ensign, Harry used a farewell reception to highlight his family's ties with the country.

 

 

"These links are of course central to the constitution of this nation, but they go much deeper than that," he said.

"They are built on a profound personal fondness for this captivating country and its charming, talented people."

He also touched on his love of rugby and although the sport featured prominently during his visit, he joked that he was not on a spying mission ahead of the World Cup in England later this year.

"I've always wanted to know how you can be so damned good with such a small population. But don't worry, I am not here to spy on you. I come in peace, despite what people think."

But it was with football that the fifth-in-line to the throne closed his public duties.

 

- 'Plays all right for a prince' -

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 09:18
 
Obi-Wax Kenobi: 'Star Wars' stars join London wax museum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 May 2015 19:06

 

 

Heroes and villains from a galaxy far, far away have flown into Madame Tussauds wax museum in London for a new "Star Wars" exhibition, which opens Saturday.

Darth Vader, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are among the 16 characters recreated in scenes from the six films so far in the saga.

Fans can immerse themselves in 11 scenes from the box office-busting movies.

The project has taken 180 artists around a year to complete and recreating the characters has provided some unusual challenges.

"In the case of Princess Leia, obviously there's this famous bikini, it's one of the most famous costumes in film history," said principal sculptor Stephen Mansfield.

 

"We've faithfully recreated it."

Hair insertion -- real human hair is used -- on a waxwork normally takes around six weeks.

However, hirsute Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, memorably described as a "walking carpet" in the films, took 10 people six weeks to do -- more than a thousand hours' work.

Jabba the Hutt and the bikini-clad Leia are depicted in the slobbering gangster's Tatooine palace, while Jedi master Yoda sits in the swamps of Dagobah.

"They've really tried to build a full swamp," said James Burns, editor of Jedi News, Europe's largest "Star Wars" fan site.

"As you walk in, the floor is soft, there's smell, there's fog, leaves around and it looks absolutely incredible," he told AFP.

"It's an amazing, immersive experience."

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 19:11
 
Eiffel Tower reopens after staff protest over pickpockets PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 23 May 2015 19:12

 

Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower on Friday reopened after staff working at the popular landmark staged a near one-day walkout to protest a steep increase in pickpockets targeting the plethora of tourists.

The tower, also known as the Iron Lady, was closed on Friday morning when staff said they had had enough of the "increase in pickpockets around the Eiffel Tower”, saying they are regularly subject to “threats and assaults" by the thieves.

The workers demanded "formal guarantees from management that lasting and effective measures will be taken to end this scourge to which numerous tourists fall victim every day".

After a near seven-hour closure, however, La Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE), the firm in charge of operating the 126-year-old monument, said it had come to an agreement with the workers and that the tower had opened again, but did not provide more details on the measures agreed upon.

One of the workers that took part in the walkout told the AFP news agency that the pickpockets operating in the area commonly work in gangs of four to five people, but can at times be as many as 30. It is not unusual for staff operating the tower’s elevators to warn passengers if a pickpocket is trying to blend in with the tourist crowds.

The Eiffel Tower receives around seven million visitors a year.

The Paris police department could not immediately provide the number of complaints it received from tourists targeted by thieves last year, but are expected to release the number in the coming days.

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 May 2015 19:16
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 81

 

British Queen celebrates 

 

World Cup