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Jack Horner, the technical adviser on Jurassic Park and professor of palaeontology at Montana State University, is hoping to use living birds to hatch a dinosaur
Jack Horner, the technical adviser on Jurassic Park and professor of palaeontology at Montana State University, is hoping to use living birds to hatch a dinosaur.
Jack Horner believes that a modern bird’s DNA contains a genetic memory that could be “switched on” again, resurrecting long-dormant dinosaur traits.
What’s more, Jack Horner is looking for a helper to assist in the retro-engineering of a prehistoric beast.
Jack Horner told LiveScience: “I’m looking for a postdoctoral researcher. An adventurous postdoc who knows a lot about developmental biology and a little bit about birds.”
He explains that to make a dinosaur, he would start with the genome (the whole hereditary information encoded in the DNA) of an emu.
“Emus have all the features we need in order to make a Velociraptor-sized dinosaur,” Jack Horner says.
“If I were to make a dinosaur that is where I’d start.”
Jack Horner’s work is supported by other leading academics.
Sean Carroll, a geneticist at the University of Wisconsin, says: “The inventory of genes in a bird would be very similar to the inventory of genes in a dinosaur.
“It is differences in the decision-making that takes during development that make the difference between a chicken and a tyrannosaurus.”
Hans Larsson, a palaeontologist at McGill University in Canada, conducted an experiment recently into the evolution from dinosaurs’ long tails into birds’ short tails more than 150 million years ago.
Looking at a two-day-old chicken embryo, he made an unexpected discovery.
Expecting to see between four and eight vertebrae present in the developing spine, his microscope instead picked out 16 vertebrae – effectively a reptilian tail.
As the embryo developed, the “tail” became shorter and shorter, until the young bird hatched with only five vertebrae.
Hans Larsson says of the significance of the find: “For about 150 million years, this kind of a tail has never existed in birds.
“But they have always carried it deep inside their embryology.”
So, the blueprint for a dinosaur remained locked inside the modern-day bird.
Hans Larsson now believes that in a hundred years or so, geneticists could retro-engineer animals that appear identical to Mesozoic dinosaurs.
“Why can’t we take all the genetics, just change it around a little bit, and produce a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or something that looks like one?” he asks.
“I think that kind of scenario is quite possible. Maybe sooner than we think.”
John Fallon, a developmental biologist at the University of Wisconsin, agrees, saying: “As we learn more, we’ll be able to do it.
“The genetic knowledge is in the bird.”
Jack Horner, meanwhile, imagines creating the first example.
“I have to admit that I’ve certainly imagined walking up on a stage to give a talk, and having a little dino-chicken walk up behind me,” he says.
“That would be kind of cool.
“There is now nothing to stop us bringing back dinosaurs but ourselves.
“People who don’t believe it don’t know much about evolution.”
Jack Horner adds: “Whether it is a good idea or not is another question…”
NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne has sparked a real rampage on Twitter over breastfeeding in public, after he said he was disgusted to see a mom’s breast as she was feeding her son in a supermarket.
Kasey Kahne, 31, said he first thought he was imagining things, but once he realized the mother was indeed nursing, he began tweeting his horror.
“Just walking through supermarket. See a mom breast feeding little kid,” the bachelor tweeted.
“Took second look because obviously I was seeing things I wasn’t!”
Upon second look, Kasey Kahne described the woman’s breastfeeding in detail.
“One boob put away one boob hanging!” Kasey Kahne tweeted, with the hashtag “#nasty “ following the post.
NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne has sparked a real rampage on Twitter over breastfeeding in public, after he said he was disgusted to see a mom’s breast as she was feeding her son in a supermarket
The NASCAR driver was apparently so repulsed that he then wrote: “I don’t feel like shopping or eating anymore.”
Later, a woman named Deana P. tweeted to him that she disagreed breastfeeding was “nasty” and that he was “kind of a douchebag”.
“I hope someday you have a kid and someone tells your wife that feeding your child looks nasty,” Deana P. wrote.
“Stay classy a**hole.”
Kasey Kahne, who currently stars in an Allstate ad campaign that centres around his appeal among women, responded by calling her a “dumb b***h”.
However, late last night, the racer apologized via his Facebook page, writing: “It was in no way my intention to offend any mother who chooses to breastfeed her child, or, for that matter, anyone who supports breast feeding children.
“My comments were not directed at the mother’s right to breastfeed. They were just a reaction to the location of that choice, and the fashion in which it was executed on that occasion.”
Kasey Kahne also apologized to Deana P., saying his remarks were “out of line”.
Deana P., whose Twitter page indicates she’s a mother of three from Minnesota, wrote an apology of her own, saying her comments to the racer were also “knee-jerk and out of line”.
Kasey Kahne’s NASCAR sponsor Great Clips also released a statement, which read: “Our apologies for this. Please know that response was uncalled for & does not reflect our organization.”
Kasey Kahne’s very public qualms came amid another breast-feeding controversy, which resulted in hundreds of mothers in 35 states staging a nurse-in at their nearby Target stores after a Texas mother was told last month that she could not breastfeed in public.
Michelle Hickman, a mother of four, was trying to do some Christmas shopping last month when Target employees asked her to relocate to a more private location, such as a family fitting room.
Humiliated by the incident, Michelle Hickman used Facebook to organize the massive “nurse-in”.
Kasey Kahne, who has 12 NASCAR wins to his credit, does a great deal of charity work through his “Kasey Kahne Foundation”, which benefits chronically ill kids and their families.
In 2007, however, Kasey Kahne found himself on the wrong side of the law.
In November of that year, he was charged was charged with assault for pushing an elderly security guard at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
The misdemeanor charges were later dropped after Kasey Kahne completed 50 hours of community service.
Kasey Kahne was also slapped with a civil suit by the security guard, who claimed he suffered a severe back injury as a result of the incident, but that suit was settled in 2009.
Michael Plumadore, the suspected killer of 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon from Fort Wayne, Indiana, posted her picture on Facebook one month before he allegedly bashed her in the head with a brick, hacked her to pieces with a handsaw and kept her head in his freezer.
Suspect Michael Plumadore posted a photo of Aliahna Lemmon standing alongside her sisters – once he was able to take because he had gained the trust of the family after befriending her grandfather James Lemmon.
James Lemmon and Michael Plumadore knew each because they were both sex offenders and were in jail together.
On his Facebook page, Michael Plumadore has several chilling pictures of the disabled girl who captured national attention when she went missing from a trailer park in Fort Wayne Thursday night.
The girl and her two sisters were staying with Michael Plumadore, 39, at his trailer while her mother recovered from the flu.
Richard Patee, 58, whose trailer is next to where Michael Plumadore was living, said he didn’t think it was odd that Aliahna Lemmon’s mother, Tarah Souders, had him watching the girls for an extended period.
“They had known each other for somewhere of three to four years, I know that, and he took care of their grandfather,” Richard Patee said.
“I didn’t see any reason to question it at all.”
Tarah Souders and Aliahna Lemmon were listed among nearly 600 friends on a Facebook page listed under Michael Plumadore’s name that said he was “Self Employed and Loving It!”, and enjoyed fantasy novels.
Michael Plumadore, the suspected killer of 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon, posted her picture on Facebook one month before he murdered her
The day after Christmas, Michael Plumadore calmly admitted to detectives that he had committed an unimaginably horrific crime: brutally killing young Aliahna Lemmon and then dismembering her body so he could dispose of it.
Michael Plumadore led detectives to a dumpster at a nearby business where they found pieces of her torso, arms and legs that had been cut up with a hack saw and stuffed into garbage bags.
In his freezer, an even more grizzly find – little Aliahna Lemmon’s head, hands and feet.
Michael Plumadore’s Facebook photos reveal that he spent time with the girls at a riverside park in Fort Wayne and was at their home, as well.
One especially horrifying picture was of the three girls leaning against a railing labeled simply “Three Princesses”, which was uploaded in late November.
All of the pictures were in an online album called “The kids”.
Sheriff Ken Fries said detectives have a good idea why he killed Aliahna, but the lawman would not discuss Michael Plumadore’s motive.
Michael Plumadore cracked during his third interview with police. Detectives had spoken with him twice before and he had given no indication that he was responsible for Aliahna Lemmon’s disappearance, sheriff Ken Fries said.
The bogus story he first gave to detectives was that he had seen the girl sleeping in his chair at 6:00 a.m. Thursday when he got up to buy a cigar at a nearby convenience store.
He was awakened realized she was gone when Aliahna Lemmon’s mother called him at 10:00 a.m., he claimed. He told police he thought that she had left with her mother so she wasn’t reported missing until almost 9:00 p.m. Thursday.
Sheriff Ken Fries said he and his detectives didn’t believe his story but they had nothing but his word to go on.
Until Monday, the day after Christmas, detectives “finally hit the right chords” and Michael Plumadore came clean.
He said used a brick to beat Aliahna Lemmon in the back of the head multiple times as she stood on the steps outside his trailer. He then wrapped her body in several garbage bags and put it her in his freezer, according to court documents.
Despite the confession, the little girl’s grandmother, Amber Story, stood by Michael Plumadore.
“I don’t care what anybody says. Mike did nothing to her. He loves those girls,” Amber Story told the News-Sentinel.
On Monday, FBI agents descended on the rundown mobile home park in Fort Wayne where Aliahna Lemmon lived.
The park is a known haven for registered sex offenders, though Michael Plumadore isn’t on Indiana’s registered sex offenders list. He has a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina that includes convictions for trespassing and assault.
More than 100 emergency workers searched Saturday for Aliahna Lemmon around the mobile home park, where she was last seen.
Sheriff’s deputies, police officers and firefighters fanned out in the area around the trailer park where she disappeared, searching on ATVs and on foot. An airplane circled the area.
But Sheriff Ken Fries called off the hunt for Sunday, Christmas Day, and ordered only limited searches of area ponds on Monday.
He didn’t see any good in using the manpower to lead further widespread hunts for the girl, who was feared dead as federal authorities took over.
Aliahna Lemmon’s mother, Tarah Souders, 28, told The Journal Gazette earlier on Monday that her daughter had vision and hearing problems and suffered from attention deficit disorder and emotional problems. She also has a history of sleepwalking, family members said.
The multi-vitamin pills are taken daily by millions of people in the world, hoping to ward off ill-health.
However, a major study showed that the vitamin pills do nothing for our health.
A team of French researchers spent more than 6 years following 8,000 people and found that those taking supplements were just as likely to have developed cancer or heart disease as those who took an identical-looking dummy pill.
And when they were questioned on how healthy they felt, there was hardly any difference between the two groups.
Experts said the study – one of the most extensive carried out into vitamin pills – suggested that millions of consumers may be wasting their money on supplements.
Many users fall into the category of the “worried well” – healthy adults who believe the pills will insure them against deadly illnesses – according to Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St. George’s Hospital in London.
Catherine Collins said: “It’s the worried well who are taking these pills to try and protect themselves against Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks and strokes.
“But they are wasting their money. This was a large study following people up for a long period of time assessing everything from their mobility and blood pressure to whether they were happy or felt pain.”
A team of French researchers spent more than 6 years following 8,000 people and found that those taking supplements were just as likely to have developed cancer or heart disease as those who took an identical-looking dummy pill
Multi-vitamin supplements have become increasingly popular as a quick and easy way of topping up the body’s nutrient levels.
But a series of studies have indicated that, for some people, they could actually be harmful.
Two studies published in 2010 suggested supplements could raise the risk of cancer.
One found pills containing vitamin E, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc increased the risk of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, four-fold.
Other study discovered women on a daily multi-vitamin pill increased their risk of breast cancer by up to 20%.
While the evidence that vitamins can do harm is still limited, the latest study seems to confirm that many people are at the very least taking them unnecessarily.
The team of French researchers, led by experts at Nancy University, tracked 8,112 volunteers who took either a placebo capsule, or one containing vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc, every day for just over six years.
They assessed the state of their health at the beginning and end of the trial, taking a quality of life survey designed to measure everything from mobility and pain to vitality and mental health.
When researchers analyzed how many in each group had gone on to develop serious illnesses over the years, they found little difference.
In the supplement group, 30.5% of patients had suffered a major health “event”, such as cancer or heart disease. In the placebo group, the rate was 30.4%.
There were 120 cases of cancer in those taking vitamins, compared to 139 in the placebo group, and 65 heart disease cases, against 57 among the dummy pill users.
In a report on their findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers said: “The perception that supplementation improves general well-being is not supported by this trial.”
Catherine Collins said the results of the study “reinforce the idea that if you’re worried about your health and start taking multi-vitamins, you will still be worried about it six years later”.
The Health Supplements Information Service, which is funded by supplements manufacturers, said the finding that vitamins had no impact on how people perceived their health was “to be expected”.
Spokeswoman Dr. Carrie Ruxton said: “The role of vitamin supplements is to prevent deficiencies and make sure people are receiving their recommended levels.
“They won’t have a measurable impact on how you feel on a day-to-day basis but what they are doing is topping up your recommended levels to the right amount. They are not meant to be a magic bullet.”
Nick Confalone, a writer for the Disney Channel cartoon Fish Hooks, edited a home video footage his father filmed every December 25 to chart his sister and himself growing up over 25 years.
The video, which was posted on YouTube, shows the changes in Confalone family’s lives over a quarter of century.
The footage begins in 1985 and shows the two children clambering down the staircase in their pyjamas as toddlers to see what Santa Claus has left under the Christmas tree.
Nick Confalone edited a home video footage his father filmed every December 25 to chart his sister and himself growing up over 25 years
In the following years, their styles change – as does their willingness to be featured on the home video.
By 1991, a dog has entered the scene and in one of the last scenes, the girl’s boyfriend is brought into the family tradition. The tape is accompanied by the song Christmas Time by Vince Guaraldi.
Nick Confalone explained: “Every year, for pretty much my entire life, Dad has videotaped me and my sister coming down the stairs on Christmas morning.
“As teenagers, we begrudgingly accepted our fathers tradition, but as we grew up we realized we were part of something special – dare I say, <<something magical>>.”
A mystery woman has popped up to help families pay their bills brandishing an American Express card at a Californian Toys R Us.
The woman, believed to be a retired grandma, delighted shoppers at the store in Culver City when she offered to pay for gifts for around 50 people.
The mystery shopper was joined by a “sidekick” who helped her pass an Amex card between the lines, according to a report by the Daily News.
“She was very quiet and unassuming and nobody in line had a clue what was going on,” shopper Laura Yoo told the daily News.
“People were excited and crying.”
Laura Yoo said the mystery woman paid for shopping for at least 50 people, many of whom had carts heaped with toys.
The woman’s assistant offered to pay for Laura Yoo’s own $54 bill after she bought gifts for her children.
“My boss would like to pay for your purchases today,” Laura Yoo recounted the sidekick as saying.
“I said, <<Thank you very much>> and gave a hug and she said <<Merry Christmas>>,” Laura Yoo told the Daily News.
Witnesses described the woman as at least 50, wearing a skirt, leather boots and a beret.
The woman would not give her name and has not been identified.
There has been a plethora of “layaway angels” in stores this holiday season, paying bills and debts in Kmart, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us stores across the country.
“It’s the Santa effect, really,” author and psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo told msnbc.com.
“It’s exciting and motivating and when people hear about it, they want to be in on it, too.”
More than $400,000 in layaway bills has been paid off at Kmart stores alone, according msnbc.com.
In one of the most recent examples of generosity, David Wilson, a car dealer from Laguna Beach, contacted a K-Mart in Costa Mesa, California after seeing a television report about donors paying off strangers’ outstanding accounts.
He asked the manager to tally up the balances on all the accounts with balances of $100 or less, and then wrote a check for $15,919.61 to pay off the total.
As her family was struggling financially and was unable to afford a big Christmas celebration, all that 5-year-old Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes wanted, when she wrote a Christmas message to Santa, was a doll, some clothes and a pair of shoes.
Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes from Auburn, Washington, attached her frugal Christmas list to two balloons and set it off hoping it would somehow reach Santa in the North Pole.
Julie Sanders and her son discovered the scrap of paper while they were out on their quad bikes near their home in Laytonville, California.
Although Helen’s letter was written in Spanish they could tell it was a Christmas list and could make out a few words.
So Julie Sanders asked a ranch hand to translate the rest of note.
Julie Sanders told ABC news: “The fact that she asked for a doll, some pants, boots and nothing materialistic, I just knew it was a family in need.
“I thought if I we can get a hold of them we can make sure there is something for her under the tree for Christmas.”
Julie Sanders decided to get on the phone and called up the family.
She found out that Helen’s mother is injured and her father had struggled to find any work at all this year.
Little Helen sent her letter on December 2, which is a particularly emotional date for Julie Sanders as it is the birthday of her brother, who passed away a few years ago.
So kind-hearted Julie Sanders headed to the shops and bought little Helen a few outfits and toys.
Julie Sanders addressed the package from Santa and sent it special delivery so it could be under the girl’s tree in time for Christmas.
Dennis Dodds, a family friend of the Sanders was also there when they found the balloon message.
He told ABC: “Laytonville is a small timber industry town that has lost its mill. People here know what it is like to struggle around the holidays. It is always good to pay it forward.
“We’ve been in that situation ourselves, I know what it feels like,’ said Sanderson ‘but now we are in the position to help so it really felt good to help this little girl.”
Helen’s mother, Rosa Cardenas de Reyes, said she helped send the note.
The mother said: “I didn’t know what to do.
“So I always told her we would send a balloon to Santa because that was a tradition when I was little.”
Sarah Symonds did not exactly spread festive happiness in December 2008 when she claimed she had had a seven-year affair with Gordon Ramsay.
Former “professional mistress” Sarah Symonds – who now claims to be “clean” – has admitted the loneliness of being “the other woman” at Christmas has in the past made her suicidal.
Sarah Symonds, 40, said the fiery Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay had been her long-term lover, although he denied the claims, saying he was “more likely to have an affair with Delia”.
Sarah symonds also said she had an affair with shamed Tory peer and bestselling author Jeffrey Archer, and says she has lived as a mistress for 15 years.
In a piece for a down-market tabloid newspaper, Sarah Symonds said: “I’ve been clean for three years now.
“I’ve been with no married men since Gordon Ramsay and never will be. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation again.”
Sarah Symonds added: “I take full responsibility for my past. But having affairs is like a drug – you’re always desperate for your next fix of the guy.
“It can destroy you. I’ve felt so low I’ve been suicidal.
“You end up imagining what your lover is doing on Christmas Day and you can’t wait until the New Year because you fool yourself into believing the following year will be your time.
“If you’re in love with a married man you want a life with him. The fact that he’s having Christmas with someone else eats to your core.”
Sarah Symonds did not exactly spread festive happiness in December 2008 when she claimed she had had a seven-year affair with Gordon Ramsay
Sarah Symonds hit the headlines in late 2008 when she went public with claims she had been in a long-term relationship with Gordon Ramsay.
She also claimed chef Gordon Ramsay had been having affairs with two other women.
The chef, who is married to wife Tana, denied anything had happened.
Now Sarah Symonds has spoken about how having an affair with a married man leaves the other woman the odd one out at Christmas when he goes back to his wife and family for the holidays.
She warned women to avoid the trap – but gave some money-minded tips for those who do it – and offered a glimpse into how some of her lovers have treated her in the past.
Sarah Symonds said: “My advice is, don’t have an affair. But if you’re going to, know that he’s using you and use him back. Mistresses should get something nice for Christmas – after all, he’s buying his wife something.
“Mr X was wealthy and he’d always try to buy me off. One Christmas Eve he gave me a Cartier bracelet with diamonds in it.
“He said: <<Each year we’ll put another diamond on it for the amount of time we’re together>>. Another man phoned to say he had a Christmas present for me, which he was very excited about.
“When he turned up he gave me £1,000 [$1,500] in an envelope. It was a sweet gesture, but as we’d just spent a night together his timing made me feel cheap – then he asked me to leave the hotel in disguise so no one would see me.
“In the end, I used the money to clean a carpet he’d spilled red wine over.
“At least he spent some money, though. Jeffrey Archer, who was one of the tightest people I’ve ever met, bought me a tin of humbugs for my Christmas present.”
As a poacher-turned-gamekeeper, Sarah Symonds also had some tips for suspicious wives.
Sarah Symonds wrote: “Christmas is a good time for finding out if your other half is cheating.
“Remember, if you think that something is up, it probably is.
“Does he go to bed after you because he doesn’t want the intimacy? Does he take his mobile phone to the toilet because you might check it or perhaps because he’s secretly texting his mistress?
“Does he have a second phone you don’t have the number for? Look for clues, such as receipts for hotels or presents you know nothing about.
“I wasted years being a mistress but I’ve finally emerged as a much stronger person.”
The gadgets that we’re used to seeing in science fiction films could soon become a thing of reality as researchers develop new technology to make lives more like a Hollywood epic.
Wall climbing adhesive, self-destructing gadgets and cars that charge themselves are all things that could become reality.
Unveiling their work early next year at the Big Bang Fair, a celebration of all things science and engineering, inventors have come up with all of the above and a host of other gadgets.
David Kirby from the University of Manchester said that “real life is not only catching up with filmmakers but also inspiring their work – so the two are inextricably linked”.
While filming the latest installment of the Mission Impossible series, Tom Cruise – who plays Ethan Hunt – was pictured scaling Dubai’s Burj Kalifa using high-tech magnetic gloves.
Determined not to be outdone by such a fantasy world, inventors at Cornell University in New York have come up with a palm-sized device that uses the adhesive power of water to create a reversible adhesive bond.
That “glue” can stick to glass, wood and even brick. They hope to be able to create gloves and shoes that will allow us to scale even the blankest of walls.
Developers came up with the idea by looking at a beetle native to Florida which can stick and unstick itself to a leaf with a force 100 times its own body weight.
Some of the creations that have been thought of are already partially available including self-destructing gadgets.
While the iPhone may not actually explode when it falls into the hands of the wrong person, data stored on the device can be destroyed remotely.
Technologists in the US have come up with self-destructing text messages that could mean an end to embarrassing late-night, drunken messages. Tiger Text allows users to set a time period for them to be deleted.
People with office gossip on their mobile phone those with government secrets they want to hide should look out for the Tamatebako flash drive.
Fujitsu is behind this particular piece of kit, already available in Japan, which erases unwanted data without the distracting nature of a mini-fireball.
That information can be stored and deleted within a time frame of 10 minutes to a week. It will also be erased if the user inputs the wrong password or if it is plugged into an unauthorized computer.#
Another creation would surely be welcome news for motorists and green campaigners everywhere – although not that great for the tax man.
BMW created an i8 hybrid concept car for Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol that does away with the need to go to petrol stations.
Turbines generate enough energy from the wheels to power the car and could well be a glimpse of how we will drive in the future.
After getting out of your super-efficient car and arriving at your office, the new technology will just keep on coming.
“Surface computing” is being devised by Microsoft and it’s not just a version of the burglar light in the back garden that switches on every time a leaf blows past it.
The gadgetry will allow users to manipulate digital content through different motions and hand gestures.
Dr. David Kirby said: “Ethan Hunt’s adventures will no doubt capture the imaginations of millions, but the real excitement comes in knowing that film fiction is already being brought to life by scientists and engineers.”
The big Bang Fair will take place at Birmingham NEC from March 15 to 17.
Dr. David Kirby’s top science fiction hits that inspired reality:
iPad: 2001: A Space Odyssey – An astronaut is seen using a gadget similar to the iPad
Mobile phones: Star Trek – Dr Martin Cooper credits fictional devices as inspiration for his 1973 creation
Test tube babies: Brave New World (1931) – Aldous Huxley wrote about artificial reproduction… 46 years later the first test tube baby was born
CCTV: 1984 (1949): George Orwell’s all-seeing Big Brother nightmare has become a reality in the UK with more cameras per person than any other country
Robotic limbs: Six Million Dollar Man (1974) and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Scientists at University College London are creating limbs that can be connected to the human skeleton
A Bucharest court has ordered the arrest of two self-described celebrities witches, Vanessa and Melissa, on blackmail and extortion charges in a high-profile case involving a TV star and, reportedly, other public figures.
The Bucharest Appeals Court ruled Wednesday that Rada Minca (Melissa) and Roxana Lider (Vanessa) should be arrested for 29 days pending trial.
Judges decided they should be investigated while under arrest in order not to influence the witnesses.
The witches, of gypsy origin, are accused of deceit and blackmail as tens of victims filed complaints.
According to Bucharest Police spokesman Christian Ciocan, the two women approached public figures promising to help them overcome work or love difficulties and break curses. He says they initially charged very little, but as their victims became hooked on their services, increased their prices.
Last week, Romanian prosecutors have searched 13 houses in Bucharest and Ilfov County and arrested several women who had allegedly scammed people through fortune telling. The two fortune tellers, Melissa and Vanessa from Bucharest and one from Satu Mare and four of their accomplices have been arrested on allegedly taking EUR 450,000 from Romanian TV star Oana Zavoranu. Three others have submitted complaints against them so far. People who have asked for their supernatural services claim they have paid in cash and in kind: cars and jewelry.
Celebrities’ witches Vanessa (left) and Melissa (right) have been arrested on blackmail and extortion charges
Witches Vanessa and Melissa said they cast spells to dispel black magic and curses allegedly cast by other witches upon those asking for their services.
The alleged scam chain also included four loan sharks who lent money to victims to cover the increasing amounts the fortune tellers demanded. People even pawned their houses and cars to get the loans. According to the Romanian Police, several public notaries were also involved in the shenanigans. Those who wanted out of the scam- some of them Romanian VIPs- were then blackmailed and threatened with more curses if they did so.
According to media reports, a well-known politician, a soccer player, TV stars and others are among the alleged victims.
The Three Magi are one of the most recognized symbols of the festive season, emulated in nativity plays all over the world and whose imagery adorns the front of millions of Christmas cards.
However, the three wise men who presented the newborn baby Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh could have been larger in numbers if a new interpretation of an ancient document is correct.
An eighth-century script has been translated into English for the first time and throws an incredible new light on the Christmas story.
The translation of the mysterious “Revelation of the Magi” describes how the three wise men actually numbered over a dozen and came from a faraway land, possibly China.
The Magi was the term, used from at least the fourth century BC, for ancient stargazers who were able to read and manipulate the fate foretold in the skies.
The script also reveals how it was Jesus himself who was the famous star followed by the Magi.
Brent Landau, a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, spent two years translating the eighth-century text from its original Syriac.
The document has been held in the Vatican for 250 years and the story is thought to have been first told in the late second, or early third, century.
This takes it back to possibly just 100 years after Matthew wrote his Gospel – the only one to include the story of the Magi.
Matthew never mentions how many the Magi numbered; they are described as three wise men simply because there were three gifts.
There could have been several scores of them, according to the new translation.
The translation of the mysterious “Revelation of the Magi” describes how the three wise men actually numbered over a dozen and came from a faraway land, possibly China
The authors of the document claim it was penned by the Magi. However experts do not believe this to be the case and say it could have been written by their descendents, as it carries detailed accounts of their prayers and rituals.
Professor Brent Landau thinks the sect that wrote it identified with the mystics.
The story tells how the Magi were descended from Adam’s third and righteous son, Seth.
It says they came from a semi-mythical place called Shir, which is on the eastern edge of the world – where modern-day China is.
Prof. Brent Landau said: “The story says that Seth passed down a prophecy that at some point a star would appear that would signal the birth of God in human form.
“The Magi waited thousands of years, passing down the prophecy and then the star appeared where the Magi were.
“It transformed into a small luminous human being who was Christ himself in a pre-existent, celestial form.
“It is saying that Jesus Christ and the Star of Bethlehem are the same thing and Jesus Christ can transform himself into anything.
“The star guides them to Bethlehem and into a cave where it transforms into a human infant who tells them to go back and be preachers of the Gospel.
“Later the Apostle Thomas turns up and baptizes the Magi and tells them to go into the world.
“The story does say that the Magi brought gifts to Jesus, but interestingly the text never tells us if they are the familiar gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Prof. Brent Landau said it is unknown who wrote the text but added: “Somebody was really fascinated by the wise men to have created this big, long story and tell it from their perspective.
“The Revelation of the Magi is part of the Christian Apocrypha and was written in the Syriac language that was spoken by Christians from Syria through Iran and Iraq.
“There might have been a community who were using the Magi or its persona to get its religious perspective across.
“There are many details of strange rituals, praying and silence. There is a description of a sacred mountain and purification at a sacred spring.
“The detail is so great I wondered if it was the community’s actual practices that were being described.
“There is much in the Revelation of the Magi which is not self evident why it is there.
“Nobody knows where Matthew got the story from so along with Matthew’s Gospel this is as close as you can get to the Magi.”
In terms of the text itself, very little is known about its origins.
It is unclear who wrote it or when, though academics think it is an 8th century manuscript written from a story from the second or third century.
After, it is unsure where the text was for a millennium until a collector stumbled across it in a Turkish monastery in the eighteenth century.
The collector then transferred the document, written on Vellum, a type of parchment made from animal skin, to the Vatican Library.
It was then lost, archived away in Syriac until a Harvard student, Brent Landau, spent almost a decade translating the text.
Dutch researchers who developed a deadly strain of bird flu to help create vaccines have been told their research is a terrorist threat.
Scientists have for the first time been able to mutate the H5N1 strain of avian influenza so that it can be transmitted easily through the air.
Previously it was thought that H5N1 bird flu could only be transmitted between humans if they came into very close physical contact.
The research team of the Erasmus Medical in Rotterdam was hoping their work would help with the development of drugs and vaccines to counter mutations of the disease.
However, the groundbreaking investigation may never see the light of day amid fears that it could be used to develop a biological weapon.
Last month it was reported that there were fears the modified strain of the H5N1 virus is more dangerous than anthrax.
At the time, virologist Ron Fouchier admitted the strain is “one of the most dangerous viruses you can make”, but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.
Last month it was reported that there were fears the modified strain of the H5N1 virus is more dangerous than anthrax
The findings had been due to be published in the American journal Science, but the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity is now reviewing the paper to assess whether it should be blocked from publication.
One senior scientific advisor to the U.S. Government was last night quoted as saying: “The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic the mortality and cost to the world could be massive. The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine.”
The mutated virus is being stored under lock and key in a basement building at the centre in Rotterdam, but is without armed guards.
Dr. Ron Fouchier, who led the study, said that by experimenting on ferrets, whose immune system is very similar to humans, it is possible to create a highly-infectious strain through just a few mutations.
The decision on whether the findings should be published has divided academics as well as security specialists.
Thomas Inglesby, of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, told the New Scientist: “The benefits of publishing this work do not outweigh the dangers of showing other how to replicate it.”
Some critics have said that the research should never have been carried out because there is a risk that the dangerous form of flu could escape from the laboratory.
But Dr. Ron Fouchier defended the experiment, saying: “We know which mutation to watch for in the case of an outbreak and we can then stop the outbreak before it is too late. Furthermore, the finding will help in the timely development of vaccinations and medication.”
A second team of independent researchers at the universities of Wisconsin and Tokyo have carried out a similar study and are thought to have found similar results, which show how easy it is to create a more contagious strain.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu is fatal in 60% of human cases, but its spread has been limited because it is not passed between humans easily.
It has led to the deaths of millions of birds, but has only killed around 300 people since 2003.
There are more than a dozen strains of bird flu in the wild. The most virulent are H5 and H7, while the H5N1 subtype is the deadliest.
Scientists have previously warned that H5N1 could mutate into a new, deadly form of human flu.
Paul Keim, chairman of NSABB, said: “I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don’t think anthrax is scary at all compared to this.”
Traditionally scientific research has always been open so that fellow scientists can review the work of others and repeat their methods to try and learn from them.
But numerous scientists have said they believe research on the avian flu should be suppressed.
However bio-defense and flu expert Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the work carried out was medically important.
He added he could not discuss the papers because he was a member of NSABB but said if they were published certain information could be withheld and made available to those who really need to know.
“We don’t want to give bad guys a road map on how to make bad bugs really bad,” Michael Osterholm said.
Battlefield 3 player RendeZook’s “daring” stunt has become a “see-it-to-be-believed” spectacle among the gaming community, many of whom believe it could be one of the greatest ever feats pulled off in video game history.
Rendezook has become somewhat of a gaming hero on YouTube, where millions of Battlefield players have viewed his stunt in awe and flooded online forums with praise.
The video clip has attracted more than 5million hits on YouTube. But perhaps more incredibly, the video was actually taken from someone playing a video game.
Player RendeZook' stunt in Battlefield 3 game has 5 million viewers on YouTube
One gamer, Thomas Olson wrote: “It’s hard enough to even kill anybody in BF3, let alone pull off insane manoeuvres like this.
“One time, I managed to drop a low-flying Apache with an unguided rocket, and I was pretty stoked about it for the rest of the night. I can’t even imagine the exhilaration experienced from throwing down a move like this.”
Eloy Sanchez posted: “This can be practiced and repeated. Knife throws are random people throw them for hours and sometimes get a kill it is random by definition. I don’t think at all this was a first try at all.
“A beginner can get lucky by throwing a knife across the map and getting a kill but I highly doubt any beginner can pull off this move.”
Players from all over the world play Battlefield fighting each other online on foot, in tanks or SUVs and flying choppers or jets, in opposing U.S. and Russia forces.
How was sports betting invented?
Nowadays, it is hard to imagine the existence of sporting events without sports betting; this is because sports betting has a long and colorful history which runs parallel with the development of sport around the world.
The roots of sports betting in general can be traced back to the sport of kings: horse racing. It was at the horse racing tracks that the first steps towards what we now know as organized sports betting were made. Throughout the 19th Century and into the early 20th Century, members of the upper class enjoyed small wagers and bets on the outcomes of certain races within the regular gatherings and race meetings.
It was after the Civil War that horse racing tracks started appearing in larger numbers across the landscape; this, in turn, attracted a great many betters and would-be entrepreneurs from all over the country.
The idea of the bookmaker started at these race meetings, where bookmakers would organise auction pools. These auction pools saw bets auctioned off for each horse within the race.
If betting is still your thing then it’ll definitely be worth checking out FootyAccumulators for Paddy Power and other bookmaker offers.
During this time, particularly business-savvy individuals were starting to realise that setting the odds on individual horses could serve to improve the betting handles meaning better business for the bookies.
The origins of online betting
This spawned a technique that is still used within bookmaking to this very day: If there was an overwhelming amount of money being wagered on one particular horse (giving an overpowering indication that it was the favourite to win), then the bookmaker would simply lower the odds on that particular horse, thereby increasing the attractiveness of betting on other horses within the race, this process became known as shortening the odds, with the opposite being known as lengthening the odds.
Although sports betting has moved into every conceivable betting market even Online Betting, its origins can still be traced back to the racetracks.
Angelina Jolie has confessed during an interview with U.S. Marie Claire that there is at least one thing missing in her life – female friends.
In the interview with the new issue of Marie Claire, Angelina Jolie spoke frankly to the magazine about her lack of female confidantes.
“It was nice for me to play with other girls; I don’t really have girlfriends in movies, if you’ve noticed,” she said.
“Well, I have a few girlfriends, I just… I stay at home a lot. I’m just not very social. I don’t do a lot with them, and I’m very homebound.”
Angelina Jolie, actress, director and mother-of six, who looks stunning in a blue top and gold statement ring, has previously bemoaned the fact that she really only chats with her partner, Brad Pitt.
“I’ll talk to my family,” Angelina Jolie said.
“I talk to Brad … But I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of friends I talk to. He is really the only person I talk to.”
Angelina Jolie‘s reputation as the ultimate man-eater and husband-stealer may account for her lack of gal pals.
The actress famously enticed Brad Pitt away from his wife, Jennifer Aniston, and her second husband Billy Bob Thornton broke off his engagement to Laura Dern to elope with his Pushing Tin co-star.
In the interview with the new issue of Marie Claire, Angelina Jolie spoke frankly to the magazine about her lack of female confidantes
One of the few close female friends that is not deterred by Angelina Jolie’s reputation is singer Gwen Stefani.
Earlier this year Angelina Jolie were spied with Gwen Stefani getting together at Gwen’s home in London for a fun-filled playdate .
“All of the kids are very close in age. They’ve attended each other’s birthday parties and gotten together several times at each other’s homes,” a source to Yahoo news at the time.
Angelina Jolie and Gwen Stefani have been friends since 1998.
“Somehow Gwen and I keep ending up pregnant at the exact same time,” Angelina Jolie has explained.
Best known for action films such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Wanted, Angelina Jolie also reveals that she may want to move on from acting.
“I woke up one day realizing, God, I’m an actor,” she said.
“I don’t think I intended to be an actor. I think my mother wanted it for me.
“I loved telling stories, and I enjoyed the profession, but is it too late to be something else?”
When asked whether she and partner Brad Pitt were planning to extend their already considerable brood, she would only say: “Nothing planned at the moment, but we just don’t know. I could end up pregnant.”
Angelina Jolie credits Brad Pitt with helping her juggle her career with raising children.
“I have a wonderful partner in Brad and we take turns working always,” the actress said in the interview.
Angelina Jolie also touched on the subject of her children wanting her to marry long-term love Brad Pitt, 47.
“They have mentioned it, yes,” the actress admitted.
The star also opened up about her daughter Vivienne being a “girly girl”, divulging: “She is so elegant and delicate. Vivi will pick flowers from the garden and put them in her hair.
“She likes to get her nails done and collects stuffed animals.”
Angelina Jolie added: “It’s very funny for me to have to buy all things pink and watch princess movies!”
“Knox is very much a dude. Very physical, tough. He loves dinosaurs and swords.”
Angelina Jolie also gushed about her happiness saying: “Brad has expanded my life in ways I never imagined. We built a family. He is not just the love of my life, he is my family. I hold that very dear.
“I suppose what I’ve learned from Brad is to be able to have the kind of family whose happiness and well-being comes before your own.
“I’m very, very grateful to have such a loving family, and I wouldn’t have that without him.”
Speaking about the subject of her film Angelina Jolie said: “I think it’s still hard to understand what happened and how it could happen 40 minutes away from Italy in the ’90s at the time Schindler’s List came out.”
Explaining the inspiration for the movie Angelina Jolie said: “It began as a private exercise, an excuse to get out some of my frustrations with international community and justice issues.
“Some of the very darkest sections of the film were conceived in Shiloh’s art class; I was in the back waiting for the kids to finish.”
Angelina Jolie has also revealed she plans to do another war film focusing on Afghanistan, where she made humanitarian trips to recently.
In the Land of Blood and Honey is is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 23.
The new issue of Marie Claire is on newsstands Tuesday December 13.
French television has broadcasted today the incredible live images of New York Sofitel’s chamber maid Nafissatou Diallo reporting Dominique Strauss-Kahn for alleged attempted rape victim.
The CCTV images were taken inside New York’s Sofitel hotel and show Nafissatou Diallo, 32, some 40 minutes after performing oral sex on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62.
Pictures shot inside the Times Square hotel on May 14th shows a clearly shocked Nafissatou Diallo gesticulating wildly as she tells colleagues about what happened.
In turn, other images show DSK checking out of the hotel, and heading off for lunch with his daughter in a yellow cab.
Sofitel released the images through French TV news channel BFMTV because they want to put an end to conspiracy theories claiming DSK was set up by French government agents because he wanted to be the country’s next Socialist president.
Part of the footage shows two male hotel workers appearing to take part in some kind of “victory dance” before high-fiving each other in a 13-second segment.
It is not clear why Sofitel workers celebrate together, but reports of the episode fuelled speculation that DSK was set up by his political enemies.
U.S. investigative journalist Edward Epstein had claimed their “celebration” lasted some three minutes, and made it look as though they had executed a trap to perfection.
In fact the tapes show that the “victory dance” lasted less than 10 seconds, with the hotel staff allegedly celebrating a “sporting result”, according to a spokesman for the Sofitel.
Edward Epstein has since admitted a “mistake”, with the New York Review of Books, which originally published his conspiracy theory, publishing a correction.
Henri Leclerc, a lawyer for DSK, admitted today: “I have no proof that there is a conspiracy. I have no evidence that there is a conspiracy.”
DSK was arrested by U.S. police on May 14th and imprisoned, but after a lengthy legal process was finally cleared and returned home to Paris.
DSK admitted having a sexual encounter with Nafissatou Diallo, but said it was consensual.
Back in France, DSK was accused by writer Tristane Banon, now 32, of trying to rape her in 2001, but the statute of time limitations on the case meant it could not be reopened.
Last week, DSK claimed that his “uninhibited” sex life cost him his chance to become president.
He is at the centre of a judicial inquiry into a vice-girl ring operating out of a hotel in Lille, northern France.
DSK has admitted attending “sex parties” but said: “I have a horror of prostitution and pimping. Can you imagine the damage caused to my wife, our children?”
At the weekend, France’s Interior Minister Claude Gueant revealed that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was stopped by police in the Bois de Boulogne, a notorious red light area after dark, five years ago.
Claude Gueant also rubbished conspiracy theories linking President Nicolas Sarkozy with a bid to undermine his political rival.
Ramie Marie Grimmer from Texas, the daughter of a woman who killed herself after being refused food stamps wrote “may die 2day” on her Facebook page during the seven-hour stand-off her mother had dragged her into with police.
Ramie Marie Grimmer, 12, and her ten-year-old brother were shot and critically wounded by their mother Rachelle Grimmer.
Rachelle Grimmer, 38, entered the Texas Health and Human Services Commission office in Laredo on Monday afternoon and demanded to speak to a supervisor after trying “for months” to gain benefits for her family.
She then pulled out a handgun and started walking through the office, threatening several employees, authorities said.
Rachelle Grimmer took a supervisor hostage in a room while a SWAT team managed to evacuate three dozen people.
Ramie Marie Grimmer wrote “may die 2day” on her Facebook page during the seven-hour stand-off her mother had dragged her into with police
After a seven-hour stand off, Rachelle Grimmer allowed the male supervisor to go free, but she remained in the office with her two children.
The apparent Facebook profile of Ramie Marie Grimmer is updated regularly on Monday.
At 7:50 p.m., the girl wrote: “May die 2day” on her wall.
Ramie Marie Grimmer then accepted a friend request before writing “I’m bored” at 10:34pm and tagged her location as Laredo, Texas.
The girl then “liked” the band Evanescence and wrote “ahhhhhhhhhhahhhhhh” at 10:52 p.m.
At 11:28 p.m., she wrote “tear gas seriasly”. [sic]
Joe Baeza of the Laredo Police Department reported on Tuesday: “About 11:45 last night, she hung up the phone with negotiators, and a little bit later, negotiators heard three shots.
“What had happened was that she had shot each of her children once and herself once.
“She had issues and felt that she had been let down by social services in general.”
Joe Baeza added: “She was making all sorts of outlandish claims.”
The children were airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio in extremely critical condition. The mother was dead at the scene.
There has been no updates on the children’s medical condition so far but Ramie Marie Grimmer had accessed her Facebook page 13 hours ago to take a quiz.
Joe Baeza said Rachelle Grimmer, who was from Ohio, arrived in Laredo about eight months ago and had lived with her children in several locations around the border city.
Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission, confirmed that Rachelle Grimmer applied for food stamps in July and was denied.
She said Rachelle Grimmer’s application was incomplete and that she was not sure whether the woman qualified for assistance.
“We’re still trying to track down exactly what happened with the case,” Stephanie Goodman told Reuters.
“As you can probably imagine, I think she had a lot of other issues she was dealing with as well.”
Joe Baeza credited the supervisor with remaining calm and allowing officers to evacuate the other employees and members of the public who were in the building.
He had been with the state agency for 24 years and had been a supervisor since 2000, Stephanie Goodman said. She said the commission will provide counselling for its workers.
“They go into this profession because they really want to help people, so when something like this happens, it’s doubly traumatic for them,” Stephanie Goodman said.
Stephanie Goodman also said the commission will look at what it needs to do to ensure its offices are safe for staff and the public. She said there was an unarmed security guard on duty on Monday at the Laredo office, where Texans can go to apply for food stamps and other programs.
“This is the kind of thing you hear of happening in other places, but not in our quiet home town,” Joe Baeza said.
Artist Ron Piccirillo claims to have cracked a 500-year-old mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa – by spotting a series of zoo animals hidden in the painting.
Ron Piccirillo, an amateur oil painter and graphic designer based in New York, believes it is possible to see the heads of a lion, an ape and a buffalo floating in the air around the subject’s head along with a crocodile or snake coming out of the left hand side of her body.
He says he followed a series of instructions set out by the artist Leonardo da Vinci to decipher the image and claims his discovery cracks open the meaning of the work, painted in 1519.
The secret is that the Mona Lisa is actually a representation of envy.
The theory is likely to lead to controversy among art critics, many of whom having theories of their own about the painting and the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile.
Ron Piccirillo claims to have found similar hidden images in works by other Renaissance painters such as Titian and Rafael.
It was when he turned the painting on its side that he first noticed the lion’s head.
Artist Ron Piccirillo claims to have cracked a 500-year-old mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa - by spotting a series of zoo animals hidden in the painting
Ron Piccirillo said: “Then I noticed the buffalo and I thought: <<Oh my God>>. Then I realized I was really onto something. I just could not believe what I was looking at. I realized, <<this is what I’ve been looking for>>.”
The artist also said he had found either a crocodile or snake by following the instructions of Leonardo da Vinci’s journals.
Looking at the painting from a 45 degree angle from the left, the path that runs in the scenery behind the Mona Lisa appears almost serpentine.
This was supposedly where the angle of the light was best and led to the least amount of reflection. From a diagram in Leonardo da Vinci’s journals which explained this, Ron Piccirillo called it the “D-point”.
The instructions also called for the viewer to put their eyes on the same level as the horizon in the painting.
From this he was able to make sense of the line in the passage about how to paint envy which reads: “Make her heart gnawed by a swelling serpent”, as there is such a creature emerging from her right breast.
Ron Piccirillo then spent two months pouring over the Leonardo da Vinci’s journals before coming up on a passage about envy.
“It’s amazing because everyone thought that da Vinci never wrote about the Mona Lisa, but now it appears that he did.”
The passage in question talks about how the artist trying to paint envy must “give her a leopard’s skin, because this creature kills the lion out of envy and by deceit” – a reference to the hidden lion’s head.
Once Ron Piccirillo cracked that everything else fell into place.
He said: “This is really about viewing perspective. Imagine standing in front of an oval line drawing. It is obviously an oval, but if you view it from the left or right, at a large enough angle, the oval turns into a circle.
“This is the key to understanding how Leonardo and many other Renaissance artists hid subjects in their artwork. If you know to look for them, they are there.
“I don’t know why this has been missed for so long and I can’t tell you what it means – that’s one for the art historians.
“Da Vinci could have been using horses heads as some kind of religious code, but as to why they are hidden I have no idea.
“It’s not every day you spot something that has gone unnoticed for 500 years.”
Ron Piccirillo added: “It is not just in da Vinci’s works.
“I have seen these hidden images in works by Titian and Rafael and also all over the Sistine Chapel.”
Last year Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage claimed revealed that magnification of high-resolution images of the Mona Lisa’s eyes has revealed letters and numbers.
Infra-red images have also revealed Leonardo da Vinci’s preparatory drawings that lie behind layers of varnish and paint.
Leonardo da Vinci began work on the painting in 1503, and it now hangs in the Louvre in Paris in a concrete, climate-controlled bunker where she can only be viewed through two sheets of bulletproof glass set 25 cm apart.
The work, also known as “La Gioconda”, is believed to have portrayed the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
The title is a play on her husband’s name, and also means “the jolly lady” in Italian.
The fight to uncover Leonardo da Vinci’s hidden battle scene
A row between art historians over the uncovering of Leonardo da Vinci’s “hidden” but finest work is reaching a climax.
The Battle of Anghiari is believed to have been painted in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence underneath a 16th century fresco and has been the subject of an argument for the last 35 years.
The Battle of Anghiari is believed to have been painted in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence underneath a 16th century fresco and has been the subject of an argument for the last 35 years
To see if the painting really is there could see the destruction of the fresco and 150 art experts from around the world have been protested against the speculative work.
Last week a 2 cm cavity was drilled into the wall, according to the Guardian, and there were traces of an organic pigment found by a tiny camera inserted into the wall.
The work is being done by Maurizio Seracini who features in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code.
The fresco that is currently in place is the Battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana by Giorgio Vasari and was painted in 1543, nearly 60 years after Leonardo da Vinci started his work.
The painting technique, used experimenting with an oil paint technique, was not successful and he abandoned the work, unfinished. Copies, however, have been made by other artists such as Ruben’s drawing which hangs in the Louvre.
David Gray, a very successful JP Morgan investment banker has thrown away his career by stalking his beautiful colleague Daniela Rausnitz.
David Gray, 28, is almost certain to be fired from his prestigious position at JP Morgan after a passionate affair became an uncontrolled obsession.
The young and wealthy American analyst was yesterday convicted of harassing Daniela Rausnitz, 25, after she transferred to the global finance giant’s London offices to escape him.
David Gray, a very successful JP Morgan investment banker has thrown away his career by stalking his beautiful colleague Daniela Rausnitz
David Gray deluged Daniela Rausnitz with hundreds of texts, emails and phone calls as he repeatedly flew across the Atlantic to pursue her when their one-year relationship turned sour.
He used his old key to get into her Chelsea flat, falsely said his sister had died and even claimed he was critically ill in a desperate effort to attract her attention.
Daniela Rausnitz told police David Gray planted a tracking device in her phone and hacked her email, leaving her afraid that his campaign would never end.
When officers confronted David Gray at a Park Lane Hotel where daniela Rausnitz was hiding with her family he told them he was an agent for the Israeli secret service.
Even on the eve of his trial David Gray was accused of breaching his bail by turning up at the same Notting Hill restaurant as his former lover.
David Gray deluged Daniela Rausnitz with hundreds of texts, emails and phone calls as he repeatedly flew across the Atlantic to pursue her when their one-year relationship turned sour
West London Magistrates’ Court heard the couple met while working in adjacent cubicles at JP Morgan’s investment banking division in New York. David Gray, a graduate of Ivy League Cornell University, had been working for the firm since 2004.
Daniela Rausnitz worked as an unpaid intern before completing her studies at Duke University, ranked as one of the best in the world, where she set up a high-profile organization dedicated to supporting women in business.
When she returned as an employee she began an affair with David Gray, despite the fact he was married. In a strange twist, their relationship was cemented after she confided that she was being sexually harassed by a senior banker at the firm.
The court heard they were at one point “very much in love with each other” as David Gray considered leaving his wife.
But his behaviour became stifling and when Daniela Rausnitz transferred to London to further her career and put distance between them, he followed her.
The tipping point came in August as David Gray flew to London four times and subjected his victim to a relentless barrage of visits and messages.
David Gray was extremely jealous after discovering she had a new boyfriend during one visit and caught them together at her Chelsea flat.
At one stage David Gray sent Daniela Rausnitz 176 text messages and 23 emails over just 16 hours. He even used his key to enter her Onslow Gardens home and take two candlesticks that belonged to his grandmother.
Daniela Rausnitz accused him of trying to change his flights so they were on the same aircraft, putting a tracking device in her bag and breaking in to her email account.
David Gray collapsed in front of her at Heathrow Airport –something she accused him of faking and which he said was brought on by stress.
And in a bizarre confrontation at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane, David Gray was arrested after telling police he was an Israeli secret service agent.
Carrying two bottles of whisky and Cuban cigars, David Gray said he travelled to the hotel to apologize to Daniela Rausnitz and her father.
David Gray told a police officer that he had received tapes of conversations recorded by a hidden bug under the bed at her home and urgently needed to speak to her.
Speaking in his defense, David Gray admitted the story was a complete lie which he concocted in a desperate attempt to evade arrest.
David Gray also admitted claiming falsely that his sister had died and that he was seriously ill in a Paris hospital after an accident. He described himself as a “broken man”.
David Gray’ solicitor Dan O’Callaghan described him as a “pathetic lovelorn fool” who was sent “mixed signals” by the victim.
Daniela Rausnitz wept in court as she described how David Gray’s actions left her scared, unable to sleep and forced her to take a leave of absence from work.
In a statement, Daniela Rausnitz said: “His erratic and obsessive behaviour began to frighten me and I was hopeful that moving to London would put an end to it. Unfortunately it escalated.
“His unwarranted, unprovoked and unrelenting actions have caused me extreme distress.”
Sentencing David Gray to a conditional discharge at West London Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Andrew Sweet said Gray could face a serious penalty if the harassment continues.
The judge said David Gray will be arrested if he contacts Daniela Rausnitz by any means and then visits Britain.
The court has no powers to stop David Gray contacting his victim from America but can arrest him if he returns having done so. David Gray is free to come to Britain if he does not contact Daniela Rausnitz before or during the visit.
JP Morgan declined to comment.
France’s Interior Minister admitted today that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was stopped by police trying to “clean-up” a Paris park notorious for transvestite prostitutes five years ago.
Claude Gueant said DSK was stopped by officers patrolling the Bois de Boulogne, one of the most infamous red light districts in the city.
The incident was recorded in a police log, before being publicly announced by Claude Gueant in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Asked about the scandal, Claude Gueant said: “Yes, I’ve heard of this story in which Mr Strauss-Kahn was stopped in the Bois de Boulogne by the officers in charge of the area’s surveillance during a routine check.
“But there was no action taken over this matter. He wasn’t framed by the police. He was not being followed. After all, it’s not the police’s fault if he was there that night.”
Claude Gueant said DSK was stopped by officers patrolling the Bois de Boulogne, one of the most infamous red light districts in the city
The revelation comes as DSK desperately tries to prove a conspiracy theory aimed at stopping him becoming President of France.
It has been claimed that government agents were behind a “plot” which saw DSK accused of trying to rape a chamber maid in a New York hotel earlier this year.
Although eventually cleared of attacking Nafissatou Diallo, DSK’s bid to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy as Socialist candidate for president is in tatters.
Now Claude Gueant has made clear that Nicolas Sarkozy’s government is sick and tired of the “conspiracy theories” and wants DSK to shut up about his stolen smart phone, which he thinks may have been hacked by the authorities.
“I am shocked when I read that entire conspiracy theories are being concocted just because Mr Strauss-Kahn lost his phone,” said Claude Gueant.
“Mr Strauss-Kahn was not being spied on by the French police – it is scandalous to suggest that today.”
In turn, DSK admitted that he had been stopped by the police in the wood, but said he was with his wife, the former TV presenter Anne Sinclair, and only because they lived nearby.
Richard Malka, a lawyer for DSK, said: “It was nothing more than a routine check”, and that during 15 years living near the wood, the Strauss-Kahns had been “stopped several times”.
Earlier this week, DSK claimed that his “uninhibited” sex life cost him his chance to become president.
DSK, 62,denied paying to sleep with prostitutes but admitted attending “sex parties”.
He was also investigated but then cleared over the attempted rape of writer Tristane Banon, now 32, in 2001.
DSK is now at the centre of judicial enquiry into a prostitution ring operating out of the Carlton Hotel in Lille, northern France.
DSK said: “I have a horror of prostitution and pimping. Can you imagine the damage caused to my wife, our children?”
He is now set to meet prosecutors so he could clear his name of “dangerous and malicious insinuations” connected to the Carlton Affair – a move welcomed by Claude Gueant.
It came as new links emerged between Nicolas Sarkozy and the Accor Group, which owns the Sofitel hotel where DSK was accused of attempted rape.
One of Accor’s senior directors has had a close bond with the French president since Nicolas Sarkozy – then the mayor of a prosperous Paris suburb – helped rescue his three-year-old daughter from a school siege.
Sebastien Bazin’s daughter, Fleur, was one of 21 children taken hostage at their nursery in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1993.
The friendship between Sebastien Bazin, 50, and the president is so strong that Bazin often jokes he has known Nicolas Sarkozy “since kindergarten”. They are also united by a shared passion for the Paris Saint-Germain football club.
Judy Lewis – the secret love child of Clark Gable and Loretta Young – has died of cancer aged 76.
Judy Lewis sensationally revealed in her 1994 memoir Uncommon Knowledge that she was conceived in 1935 when Loretta Young, 22, and the married Clark Gable, 34, were shooting the classic movie Call of the Wild.
Loretta Young, a single Catholic woman, concealed her pregnancy and placed her daughter in an orphanage at eight months. The actress brought her daughter into public view at 19 months, saying the girl was her adopted child.
Judy Lewis - the secret love child of Clark Gable and Loretta Young - has died of cancer aged 76
Terrified her secret would come out, Loretta Young did all she could to cover up clues about her daughter’s origins. There are no photographs of Judy Lewis up to two. Up to seven the photos show her wearing a bonnet.
Judy Lewis recalled: “My ears stuck out, just like my father’s did. So I had plastic surgery when I was seven. My surgeon had told my mother that an operation of this nature was extremely painful.
“He suggested it should wait until I was older. But she insisted.”
Judy Lewis saw her father, Clark Gable, who died in 1960, only once, when she was 15.
She said of the encounter: “As he left, he gave me a kiss on my forehead, but I didn’t know he was my father. I cry when I watch his films. Why didn’t he ride up on a white horse and rescue me?”
There is a Gone With The Wind scene where Clark Gable plays affectionately with his fictional daughter. “I like to imagine that he was thinking of me when he was playing those scenes,” Judy Lewis said.
She added that perhaps the famous “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” was a truer reflection of his feelings towards her.
“At the time, what Loretta Young did was completely successful,” said Leonard Maltin, a film critic and Hollywood historian.
“The general public never had any inkling that she had done this. It protected her stardom and her image as a wholesome young woman.”
Judy Lewis sensationally revealed in her 1994 memoir Uncommon Knowledge that she was conceived in 1935 when Loretta Young, 22, and the married Clark Gable, 34, were shooting the classic movie Call of the Wild
In 1940, Loretta Young married Thomas Lewis, and Judy Lewis took his surname – but she was never formally adopted by her stepfather.
“It was very difficult for me as a little girl not to be accepted … by my mother, who to this day will not publicly acknowledge that I am her biological child,” Judy Lewis said in 1994.
Loretta Young’s parenthood was an open secret in Hollywood but Judy Lewis’s friends had been instructed not to tell her.
It wasn’t until Judy Lewis’ wedding that her groom Joseph Tinney finally told her that Clark Gable was her father. She was 23.
Judy Lewis explained: “I grew up surrounded by rumours that Clark Gable was my father. Everyone knew who my parents were, even my closest friends, but no one dared tell me.
“It wasn’t until the night before I was to get married that my future husband told me who my father was. I had told him my suspicions about my mother being my real mother and that I didn’t know who my father was.
“He then said: <<I know everything. It’s common knowledge, Judy. Your father is Clark Gable>>.”
“Twenty-three years of my life had passed and everyone in the world knew about me – but me. I cried then. And I have been crying for most of my life,” said Judy Lewis, who had years of therapy.
Judy Lewis was born in Venice, California, and went on to perform on Broadway and TV in her own career.
She also produced the soap opera “Texas”, a spinoff of “Another World”. In the 1980s, Judy Lewis earned psychology degrees, advocating for children’s rights and counselling teenagers.
Judy Lewis later became a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, something she pursued until her illness. In 1994, she wrote “Uncommon Knowledge”, acknowledging her parentage publicly for the first time.
“The situation in which they found themselves in 1935 would not have posed such a problem in the Hollywood of today,” Judy Lewis wrote in the book.
Before Judy Lewis’ memoir was published, the identity of her parents had long been rumoured.
However, Leonard Maltin said the truth was never truly public until the memoir, in which Judy Lewis describes her mother telling her the truth in 1966.
In the book, Judy Lewis said Loretta Young told her then: “Well, he was your father. He was darling. Sweet and very gentle.
“He was married, so when I discovered I was pregnant with you, I was frantic and terrified. It would have ruined both our careers, a scandal like that.”
Loretta Young, one of Hollywood’s most glamorous screen goddesses of the Thirties and Forties, died in 2000 aged 87. Gable died in 1960 aged 59.
Judy Lewis, a psychotherapist and actress, of Palm Springs, California, died in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, on Friday. Her survivors include her daughter, three half-brothers and her partner, Steve Rowland.
Santa was embarrassed when his beard and hair got stuck in rope while repelling into Palm Beach Gardens Mall, Florida, while horrified children watch.
A man dressed as jolly old St Nicholas was supposed to make a grand entrance at Palm Beach Gardens Mall, Florida.
Instead, the man managed to get his beard tangled in the rope, losing the beard -and his hat – entirely.
It was trouble from the get-go when Santa hesitated and fumbled before clumsily going over the ledge.
An elf helper tried to get Santa off to a good start.
Santa was embarrassed when his beard and hair got stuck in rope while repelling into Palm Beach Gardens Mall, Florida, while horrified children watch
What followed was nearly three minutes of Santa – still suspended in mid-air – trying to descend down to the stage after his beard got tangled in the rappelling equipment.
Santa bounced around and at one point scissor-kicked to try and loosen the stubborn rope.
The elf looked on, helpless at Santa’s plight.
A lone child hopefully cried out: “Santa!”
Two announcers commenting on the event didn’t help the awkward entrance.
“Everybody cheer, everybody cheer Santa on!” the female announcer said to the crowd.
“I think if you guys sing nice and loud, you can help Santa come down!”
The announcer also told the horrified children: “Magic can happen!”
She also encouraged children to sing along with a rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
The hilarious video has over 35,000 hits on YouTube.
Gary Speed, the Welsh soccer team manager, was not depressed and had not argued with his wife before being found hanged at his home, says Hayden Evans, his agent and a close friend.
Gary Speed’s agent and best man Hayden Evans said of his friend was “happily married” and that his widow Louise is bewildered by his suspected suicide.
Hayden Evans said: “They were happily married and anyone who knows them will tell you that. This is why it is a mystery.
“We genuinely at the moment have no clue whatsoever what has caused it and I have been with the family all day.
“Everybody is asking the same question and no one has an answer. We are all in shock.”
When asked about the circumstances behind Gary Speed’s death and whether he had argued with Louise before killing himself, Hayden Evans added: “Louise is saying that’s not the case. She just doesn’t understand it.”
Gary Speed, the Welsh soccer team manager, was not depressed and had not argued with his wife before being found hanged at his home, says Hayden Evans, his agent and a close friend
When asked if Gary Speed had suffered bouts of depression, Hayden Evans told The Sun “none whatsoever”.
Hayden Evans said: “The one thing the family and me as one of his closest friends would totally refute is that. There was no indication of any problems and never has been.”
Gary Speed, 42, appeared happy as he left the BBC studios in Salford on Saturday afternoon after filming Football Focus. Louise Speed found him hanged in the garage of their £1.5 million ($2.3 million) mansion near Chester just after 7:00 a.m. on Sunday.
On Monday, as tributes to Gary Speed continued to pour in from across the sporting world, police were preparing for the delicate task of speaking to his wife, Louise, 40, and their two teenage sons.
As they struggled to come to terms with his death, Hayden Evans spoke of how they had been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of sympathy over the past 24 hours.
“Gary’s family would sincerely like to thank all the people who have sent messages of condolence and tributes in what is a very difficult time,” said Hayden Evans.
“They have been overwhelmed by the support – it really has helped. You can imagine how Louise is feeling.”
A pile of tributes including flowers, footballs and soccer shirts was growing at the gates at the end of Gary Speed’s drive last night as a steady stream of fans came to pay their respects.
Yesterday officials at the Welsh Football Association promised to support the family and offer them a “shoulder to cry on” in the coming weeks.
Chief executive Jonathan Ford said: “I’ve no understanding of why it happened, I don’t know the answer and I don’t think we ever will.
“At the moment our thoughts aren’t with that – they are with Gary’s family.
“He was a family man, he loved his wife and children.
“We will do whatever we can to help Louise and the boys.”
Both Gary Speed’s sons are promising sportsmen, 14-year-old Ed is a talented footballer and his 13-year-old brother Tommy a keen boxer.
Cheshire Police confirmed that Gary Speed’s death was being treated as “non-suspicious”.
An inquest will be opened and adjourned today in Warrington.
Emma West, a 34-year-old British woman from New Addington, London, has been charged with racial harassment after video showing her allegedly abusing passengers aboard a tram while balancing a toddler on her knee appeared on the internet.
Emma West appeared before magistrates today charged with racially aggravated harassment following an appeal by the British Transport Police.
The woman was remanded in custody on Monday night, after complaints were made in relation to the footage uploaded to YouTube.
Emma West appeared before magistrates today charged with racially aggravated harassment following an appeal by the British Transport Police
Emma West’s arrest followed an appeal by the British Transport officers who asked the media to publicize the video to help identify her.
A British Transport Police spokesman said: “This is in relation to an incident onboard a Croydon Tramlink.”
The video, posted on YouTube, shows a woman apparently hurling abuse at other passengers on the South London tram and making xenophobic insults.
The footage appears to have been discreetly captured by a passenger as the tram travelled from Croydon to Wimbledon.
Throughout the two minutes of footage the woman’s little boy sits nervously as his mother begins her rant.
At one point the woman declares other passengers should go back to their own country, saying they’re not British because they are black.
Onlookers appear to be uncertain whether the woman is drunk while she is making the comments.
The woman in the footage says: “None of you are ****ing English. Get back to your own country. Sort your own countries, don’t come and do mine.
“It’s nothing now. Britain is nothing now. Britain is **** all. My Britain is **** all.”
At one point the woman claims passengers in the carriage are “****ing burnt people.”
The film was posted on Youtube, on Sunday, by LadyK89 and already has more than 10,000 viewers.
The British Transport Police said: “The video posted on YouTube and Twitter has been brought to our attention and our officers have launched an investigation.
“At present it is not entirely clear which tram stops the offence took place between and when it occurred.
“As a result we need anyone who witnessed this incident, or with any information that could assist our investigation – including the identity of the woman – to contact us.
“We will not tolerate racism in any form on the rail network and will do everything in our power to locate the person responsible.”
A spokeswoman for Transport for London (TfL), said: “All of our customers have the right to use our services without fear of being abused.
“TfL will not tolerate disgusting and offensive behaviour and we will work with the police to fully investigate this incident.
“London Tramlink has a dedicated team of police officers who patrol the network and we would like to assure all our customers that we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that they can travel safely.
“We would appeal to whoever posted the video to contact us in confidence.”
The transcript of Emma West’s racist rant:
“What has this country come to? A load of black people and a load of ****ing Polish. A load of ****ing, yeah… you’re all ****ing… do you know what I mean?
“You ain’t English. No, you ain’t English either. You ain’t English. None of you’s ****ing English. Get back to your own ****ing… do you know what sort out your own countries, don’t come and do mine.
“It’s nothing now. Britain is nothing now. Britain is **** all. My Britain is **** all.
“Yeah its fine. I have got a little kid here. Have respect? I have a little boy here. **** you. I dare you, I ****ing dare you.
“Don’t watch my language. Go back to where you come from, go back to ****ing Nicaragua or where ever you come from. Just ****ing go back.
“I work, I work, I work, this is my British country until we let you lot come over.
“So, what. It is my British country, you ain’t British. Are you British? You ain’t ****ing British. **** off.
“You ain’t British, you’re black. Where do you come from?
“No, someone’s got to talk up for these lot. Look the whole ****ing tram, look at them. Who is black and who is white.
“There is all black and ****ing burnt people.”
Katherine Goldberg, a teacher from Ealing, west London, who groped a Virgin Atlantic steward and demanded sex while drunk on the plane, has avoided a jail sentence today.
Katherine Goldberg, 25, drank around a pint of whisky on board before apparently grabbing the cabin crew member’s crotch.
In mitigation, Isleworth Crown Court was told that South African-born Katherine Goldberg was convinced that the man was her boyfriend as a result of her “alcohol-induced illusion”.
Katherine Goldberg, who groped a Virgin Atlantic steward and demanded sex while drunk on the plane, has avoided a jail sentence today
Katherine Goldberg, who pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft, was on board a night flight from Johannesburg to Heathrow on August 24 at the time of the episode.
But a judge today said he did not want to impose a “lifetime punishment” on the teacher, who had been working at her mother Debbie’s Montessori nursery, St Michael’s, Barnes, South-West London.
The teacher has been suspended since the sex assault and her lawyers claimed she was liable to be struck off if she was jailed or placed on the sex offenders’ register.
The court heard Katherine Goldberg had downed “at least 50 centilitres of whisky” when the incident took place.
Prosecutor James O’Connell said at first the techer’s behaviour on the flight was described by witnesses as “very irritating” because she disturbed them while they were trying to rest.
Katherine Goldberg was eventually moved to the plane’s galley where one member of the cabin crew “took an interest in her care” and tried to calm her down.
James O’Connell went on: “However, it was at this point that the defendant’s antics changed and became rather sexual.
“She sat on his lap and grabbed hold of his genitalia through his trousers.”
Katherine Goldberg also spoke to the man suggestively and kept “making offers to him”, the court heard.
The woman was heard to tell the air steward: “Let me and you go somewhere. You can touch me anywhere you want, I don’t mind.”
James O’Connell said Katherine Goldberg was also heard to say the names of two men.
The prosecutor added: “In her complete alcoholic funk she was confusing him with her current boyfriend, Clayton, and Owen, a previous boyfriend.
“She was somehow imagining this was her boyfriend with whom she was interacting.”
Katherine Goldberg eventually went to sleep for around an hour but then woke up and continued to be loud and disruptive, the court was told.
Eventually the woman slept again, and remained asleep until the plane landed at Heathrow and she was met by police.
James O’Connell said she was “very co-operative” with the officers who questioned her, and admitted she had no recollection of events on board the plane but was very apologetic.
The total amount that Katherine Goldberg had drunk was not mentioned in court but it was believed she consumed her own alcohol that she had taken on board, rather than that supplied by cabin crew.
The air steward Katherine Goldberg sexually assaulted, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was said to have been unaffected by the incident.
The court was told that Katherine Goldberg has since admitted to having an alcohol problem and now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings five times a week.
She also went on a one-month residential course after realizing she had hit “rock bottom”.
Katherine Goldberg was fined £1,500 ($2,300), ordered to carry out an 11-month community order and 80 hours of unpaid work, and to pay £250 ($380) costs.
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