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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Banning very long names - the German Court makes a decision

Have you ever wondered about some names of people from South America, they can be pretty long, and similar is the case with some names of people from South India (while American and British names can be very short - consider the name Joe Smith). However, have you heard of a court intervening to decide how long names can be ? Well, the German constitutional court has banned long names where a couple hyphenated their already hyphenated names, to make names with 3 words or more (link to article):

It was not the first time the court was forced to weigh in on the subject of names, which are regulated start to finish, fore to family, in Germany. This time, it was a Munich couple who decided to challenge the constitutionality of a 1993 rule limiting the names of married people to a single hyphen and two last names.
Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim, a Munich dentist, wanted to take the last name of her husband, Hans Peter Kunz-Hallstein, to become Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein. The case brought Germany’s minister of justice before the court in Karlsruhe for oral arguments in February to defend the ban on what the Germans call “chain names.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Man died after being beaten up by brethren

There are many communities, especially in backward areas which believe in being a closed society - they run their own version of law and order. When somebody is accused of committing a crime, they do not wait for the legal process of society, but instead do their own process. In this case, the person was accused of being a part of a rape, and of violating religious rules.
For this, over a period of time, he was put in a cage, but with no apparent effect. Finally, he was tied to a pole and left for 9 hours, but when he came down, he was pretty ill and died soon after (link to article):

There have been no arrests for the death of Franz Wieler Kloss, 37, but police said community members thought he was a participant in a two-year mass rape case that was uncovered this summer. “The Mennonites punished Kloss according to their customs and that punishment killed him,” said Col. Miguel Gonzales, special crime unit director.
His final punishment came almost two weeks ago, when his accusers tied him onto a pole and left him there for nine hours. When he was taken down he couldn’t move his arms. He was taken to a hospital a few days later and placed on a respirator, but he died Wednesday, police said. Bolivia’s insular Mennonite community lives traditionally, shunning modern conveniences such as electricity as they farm soybeans, corn and other crops. They use wagons, not cars, for transportation and sew their own clothes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

An expert at staging crashes for insurance fraud

Insurance fraud is something that insurance companies have long fought against, having specific departments that fight against such fraud. These can be in terms of life insurance, car insurance, householder insurance, or other such frauds. To make these frauds happen, many innovative methods are tried, and insurance companies have to be always on the watch out. Then there are those people who are expert in the processes used by insurance companies, and help in committing these insurance frauds (link to article):

Mohammed Patel, 24, charged £500 a time to stage accidents which enabled fraudsters to claim an average of £17,000 from their insurers. Police said he staged at least 92 crashes between 2005 and 2008, each time persuading the other driver to believe they were at fault.
The plot was uncovered after workers in an office block became suspicious about a regular number of crashes taking place at a nearby roundabout.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Losing her life because of a crash diet

The quest to become slim and look good is a very strong impulse; people go on diets, go for crash exercise programs, and so on, anything to ensure that they look good. Further, when there is an event such as a marriage, the quest to become in shape can make a person do anything. In this particular case, a person died because of a crash diet in order to lose weight for an oncoming marriage (link to article):

It was revealed at an inquest that Samantha Clowe, 34, was “fit and well” when she started the diet, but passed away 11 weeks later, after losing three stone from her original 17st 6lb. Clowe, a metal researcher, had got her GP’s approval before she started the LighterLife diet of special soup, bars and shakes.
Her fiance Andrew Smith found her collapsed at the home they shared in Leeds. “She said she wanted respect at work and didn’t want to be a fat bride,” the Daily Star quoted her mother Barbara as saying at the inquest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trying to get their name cleared back from Wiki

Modern technology and its global reach can create a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas, especially in the cases when the policies of 2 different countries combine while the same site is available in both countries.
In this case, 2 people were convicted of a murder in Germany in 1990, and they served their time. Under German law, after serving their time, they are entitled to prevent their name from re-appearing with respect to the crime once they have served their time, while the American First Amendment ensures that the right to free speech is protected. As a result, the German language version of Wikipedia has already removed their names, but the quest is to remove the information from the English language versions (link to article):

The legal fight pits German privacy law against the American First Amendment. German courts allow the suppression of a criminal's name in news accounts once he has paid his debt to society, noted Alexander Stopp, lawyer for the two men, now out of prison. "They should be able to lead a life without being publicly stigmatized" for their crime, Stopp said. "A criminal has a right to privacy, too, and a right to be left alone."
Now Stopp, in suits in German courts, is demanding that the Wikimedia Foundation, the American organization that runs Wikipedia, do the same with the English-language version of the article. That has free-speech advocates quoting George Orwell.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Man's lung problems caused by bits of plastic spoon

For some time now, there has been a constant push that fast food is not healthy, with its focus on sugars, fried food, and non-healthy ingredients. However, even if a person knew all that and accepted it, here is another way in which fast food affected a person.
A person had been feeling ill all these years, and when he finally got some investigations and expert medical advice, he found that it was a fragment of a plastic spoon that had finally ended up in his lungs that was causing him the ill-health (link to article):

His doctor found the spoon after looking into his lungs with an endoscope, a medical instrument with a long, thin tube containing a light and a video camera.
"He explained that there was an object down there, and it had writing on it," Manley said. "It spelled out 'Wendy's' on one side and 'hamburgers' on the other, and I was a little floored."

Monday, February 15, 2010

A talking sex robot - costs $7,000

The quest for sex is a very strong emotional quest, that drives a lot of decisions and actions taken by humans. Technological advances have been moving ahead in this area as well, including the development of advances in web technology for better serving of porn sites, phone sex telephone lines, and now the robotics for meeting sex needs (although a bit expensive at $7000) (link to article):

To some men, she might seem like the perfect woman: She's a willowy 5 feet 7 and 120 pounds. She'll chat with you endlessly about your interests. And she'll have sex whenever you please -- as long as her battery doesn't run out. Meet Roxxxy, who may be the world's most sophisticated talking female sex robot. For $7,000, she's all yours.
Powered by a computer under her soft silicone "skin," she employs voice-recognition and speech-synthesis software to answer questions and carry on conversations. She even comes loaded with five distinct "personalities," from Frigid Farrah to Wild Wendy, that can be programmed to suit customers' preferences. "There's a tremendous need for this kind of product," said Hines, a computer scientist and former Bell Labs engineer.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bear does the job of army, kills militants in Indian Kashmir

The Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir, has seen an insurgency with a conflict between the Indian Government and Islamic militants, backed by Pakistan. The fight between them has been going on now for almost 2 decades, and can be pretty brutal.
The cat and mouse game between these 2 covers many parts of the territory of Kashmir; and given that Himalayas pass through the territory, there is a lot of mountainous region. Given that the region is also heavily forested, there are also many animals in the region.
In this case, the militants were hiding in a cave in a high-up region, and were attacked by a bear that claimed the cave for itself (link to article):

The militants had assault rifles but were taken by surprise - police found the remains of pudding they had made to eat when the bear attacked. The militants had made their hideout in a cave which was actually the bear's den, said police officer Farooq Ahmed.
The dead have been identified as Mohammad Amin alias Qaiser, and Bashir Ahmed alias Saifullah.
News of the attack emerged when their injured comrade went to a nearby village for treatment.
"Word spread in the village that Qaiser had been killed by the bear," another police officer said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Denying citizenship to a man because his wife is veiled

In recent years, the tensions involving Muslims and their religious customs are sparking a huge amount of debate in Europe, especially France. Britain is much more accommodating of Islamic cultural norms, such as wearing the veil, preventing woman from meeting other men, getting jobs, and so on. France however, maybe because of its Algerian background, has a much more controversial stance regarding religion, especially because of the conflict between the openness of French society and the customs of hard-core Muslims.
Now, a man has been refused the right to join his French wife in France (his citizenship was refused) since the Government declared that the fact that his wife was wearing the veil, and was supposedly not able to have the same freedom as the man (link to article):

The decision, made Tuesday, came exactly a week after a French parliamentary commission recommended a partial ban on any veils that cover the face -- including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women.
The ban -- which has not yet come up for a vote -- would apply in public places like hospitals and schools, and on public transport, the commission announced.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Man kills burglar with sharp sword - defense of your home is perfectly legal

There are certain cases where being able to kill somebody else can be defended in court; one case is when you are killing in self-defense, another case is when, in the United States, you encounter a robber in your home, and in the course of defending your home, you kill the intruder.
Imagine a case when a person intrudes into a house, especially a house where there have been things stolen, and then finds himself encountering a sword wielding resident of the house who is ready to confront you.
In this case, the resident of the house used the sword to deadly effect, killing the intruder. The police normally have trouble arresting the residents involved in such incidents, since a person has the right to defend his home. (link to article):

Baltimore homicide detectives don’t believe a Johns Hopkins University student had “the intent to kill” when he used a samurai sword to confront an intruder behind his home, a police spokesman said Thursday. John Pontolillo, 20, a junior chemistry major from New Jersey, killed the man with a single blow early Tuesday after police said the suspected burglar lunged at him.
Pontolillo has not been charged in the death of Donald D. Rice, 49, who had a long rap sheet of burglary arrests and was released from jail just two days before the altercation. Prosecutors will determine whether charges are appropriate after consulting with police, a process that could take weeks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Students on school trip see live sex show

Sex shows are something that a number of people like to see, but an equal number of people really don't appreciate, don't consider them morally defensible, and would like their children to stay away from. When you add this to the fact that you consider school a place to bring about a good education, to inculcate morals, then it would be shocking to hear that a school trip involved students being taken to a live sex show.
And this was promoted by the teachers who went along with the trip, and worst of all, the parents did not know about this until they saw it on Facebook (link to article):

A particular snap shows the students aged 16 to 18, and the two teachers sitting around a table littered with beer bottles outside a Bangkok bar.
Now, it has also come to knowledge that later the pupils headed to the city's red light area, whose streets are lined with bars offering sex shows.
Seemingly, the development has created a buzz in the school.
"It is the talk of the school. The teachers, a man and a woman, are fighting for their careers over this because the youngsters were supposed to be in their care," News of the World quoted a source as saying.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eating a burger made with camel meat

Restaurants all over the world serve exotic meals, but how often have you seen a traditional food item becoming exotic. Burgers are famous for chicken or beef patties, and in countries such as India, having vegetarian patties. But to use meat that is something that most of us would not associate with traditional food, to eat camel meat, can be pretty strange (link to article):

A new fast food sensation has hit the Emirates' culinary scene. Right now, Dubai diners can't seem to get enough of the "camel burger." "It's a sensation," Ramesh, restaurant manager at "Local House" the restaurant chain behind the burgers told CNN. "Everyone's bored of beef and chicken. So, as soon as the word got out, we had queues of customers eager to give it a try."
"Not only are they super healthy, but the flavor is amazing," he told CNN of the centuries-old Bedouin delicacy they have given a 21st century twist. Instead of the familiar sesame bun, they serve the burgers with freshly-baked "khameer" -- a popular and yeasty regional read.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A banker caught on tape watching semi-nude photos

In trading rooms and banking rooms, the presence of a camera and live reporting is pretty common. However, what becomes fascinating is when the person who is speaking on camera does not become popular, instead the person not facing the camera, or in any way connected to the event happening on the news becomes more popular. And what is that ? Well, it became quite clear during the interview that a certain banker in the background was viewing semi-nude photos of a model Miranda Kerr.
This clip became very popular on Facebook and led to popularity that the banker would certainly not have wanted. Even the bank, Maquarie, was embarrassed and sent the banker home for the day; however, an internet campaign has started to prevent the banker from being affected (link to article):

That colleague, David Kiely, was caught on camera opening up an email and linking to photos of a semi-nude model, Miranda Kerr, in her recent spread for GQ magazine. It's hard to notice what Kiely is up to at first until he magnifies the image on his computer screen around the 1:30 mark of this 1:52 minute video (see below -- he's sitting with his back to the camera, slightly to the left of Lakos's head). Emails like this are standard trading room fodder, but usually the recipients aren't caught on tape.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Parents locked 12 year girl into closet for an year

Parents are supposed to be the ones responsible for ensuring the development of their children, for educating them; so it becomes very difficult if the parents themselves are responsible for preventing the growth of the child, or for creating a set of circumstances in which the child cannot develop. In such cases, society has to step in, and ensure that the child is separated from the parents and placed in better circumstances.
In this case as well, where this girl was allowed to go to school, but when home, she would have to stay in a closet; and she was the only child on whom this restriction was placed while her brothers were free. The amount of psychological damage this does to a child can be immense (link to article):

Police officers say a young girl was kept locked away in a closet in a West Brownsville duplex by her parents for about a year. She attended school every day and held steady grades, but once she was home she was not allowed to watch television or play with her brothers, investigators said. The 12-year-old girl had to stay inside the closet.
No one would have known of the abuse, police officers said, if one of her brothers had not reported it to officials at his school, which initiated an investigation by Child Protective Services. “Everyone in the house knew what was going on, but you have children, who based on fear, hold this secret,” Sgt. Jimmy Manrrique, Brownsville Police Department spokesman, said.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Girl auctions her virginity for getting money for tuition

This has happened time and again. A few years ago, a girl put up a trend by getting money by auctioning her virginity; she needed money to fund her higher studies, and was willing to sleep with anyone who paid the most amount of money. This was innovative, and she got enough money to fund her studies. At that time, there was condemnation for this sort of moral grey issue, but now seems to be something that other girls have also adopted, since we keep on hearing this time and again.
Now, there is another case of this happening, where a girl earned $32,000 dollars by auctioning her virginity online, and in the country of New Zealand, this is not illegal. If the girl does indeed go through with this arrangement, she would have got money to pay for her college fees (link to article):

A New Zealand teenager who says she auctioned her virginity online for $32,000 to raise tuition money did not break any laws but it might be risky for her to follow through on the deal, police warned Wednesday. She said in a post that more than 30,000 people had viewed her ad and more than 1,200 had made bids before she accepted an offer of more than New Zealand dollars 45,000 ($32,000).
Prostitution is legal in New Zealand under laws considered more liberal than many countries. Prostitution among consenting adults is allowed in brothels and on the streets, and offering sexual services in print ads and online is also legal. National police spokesman Jon Neilson said no law appeared to have been breached.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting arrested for a Facebook poke

A Facebook poke is a pretty innocent event, with many of us even ignoring when somebody gives us a poke. However, when you combine the 'online' world with the real world, you end up in dangerous zones or questions that are only resolved by courts. Consider the case when a person has been warned by a court against communicating in any way with somebody else, and a facebook poke happens. Is this a violation of the court order, or will the 'poke' be seen as a continuation of the earlier activities that led to the restraint order ?
A court resolved this to some degree by finding the person in this case guilty of violating the restraining order, and was sent to jail with a bail set at $1500. Now, the person faces a possible jail sentence and a fine (link to article):

Beware: a Facebook poke could land you behind bars. Just ask Shannon D. Jackson of Hendersonville, Tennessee, who faces that very real possibility.
Jackson was arrested and transported to Sumner County Jail on September 25th with a bond set at $1,500 after she violated an order of protection by allegedly poking a woman on Facebook. The alleged poke broke the terms of the court order: “no telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boy cries tears of blood

Almost all of us would have cried sometime or the other in our lives, and you would see tears coming out (slightly salty). It pains a mother to see her child crying, but consider how horrific a mother would have felt when she would have seen her child crying out tears of blood for the first time. This is a medical condition which is somewhat rare, but happens (link to article):

The Tennessee boy cries blood uncontrollably, sometimes three times a day, and doctors cannot tell him why.
"Sometimes, I can feel it coming up, like a tear. I feel my eyes watering," Inman told ABC News affiliate WATE. "Sometimes, it will burn as it comes out."

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