"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, December 25, 2009

"The conception of two people living together for twenty-five years without having a cross word suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep." - Alan Patrick Herbert

***

Hundreds of pagans turn up at Stonehenge for the winter solstice... on the WRONG DAY - "The crowd had met at the mystical site in Wiltshire to mark the shortest day of the year, normally December 21, but this year the solstice did not become official until the early hours of this morning. So they were forced to spend a cold night shivering outside in their full-length cloaks."
Nice caption: "Arthur Pendragan, formally known as John Rothwell, takes part in this morning's ceremonies"

Vicar tells needy to go ... shoplifting - "My advice does not contradict the Bible's eighth commandment (Thou Shalt Not Steal) because God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich."

Christmas card snowflakes 'corrupt nature' by defying laws of physics - "Christmas card manufacturers, advertising agencies and children's book publishers are accused of corrupting nature with "incorrect designer versions" of snowflakes that defy the laws of physics. A letter to the prestigious journal Nature calls on scientists to take a stand against all images of four, five and eight-sided "faux" snowflakes"

Star Wars Weather Forecast

Drunk men who force women to have sex 'are rapists and cannot use alcohol as an excuse' - "Drunk men who force their wives or girlfriends to have sex should be prosecuted for rape, the head of a Government inquiry into sex crime said yesterday. Drinking by the man should be considered an 'aggravating factor' when any woman makes a complaint of rape... A similar idea has already been put forward by ministers, who said it should be a crime for a man to have sex with a woman who was very drunk. Judges quashed the plan... Criminologist David Green, of the Civitas think-tank, warned that the law should not treat men and women differently. 'If a man is responsible for his conduct when drunk, so is a woman,' Dr Green said. 'The law must be applied equally. It is a choice to get drunk, but it follows that the consequence of that choice applies to both sides.'"

It's a ho-ho-hold up: Armed bank robber dressed as Santa demands money so he can 'pay his elves'

Stockholm's straw goat burned by vandals again - "A giant straw goat was burned down yet again early Wednesday in a Swedish city where torching it has become a Christmas tradition... Vandals have burned down the goat 24 times since it was first set up in Gavle in 1966 to mark the holiday season. It has also been smashed several times, run over by a car and had its legs cut off. In 2006 and 2007 city officials doused it in fireproofing chemicals. Ostman said they stopped doing that because it discolored the goat, making it "look like a brown terrier instead of a yellow straw goat."... This year the city Web site offers users a chance to follow the goat's fate via a Webcam, Twitter page and a blog - in both Swedish and English... In 2005, the goat was burned down by two arsonists dressed up as Santa Claus and the Gingerbread Man. They were never caught"

Of Civil Wars, Diaspora, and Culinary Nostalgia - "Not including General Tso’s Chicken in one of the first English-language books solely focused on the cuisine of Hunan seemed, in Dunlop’s words, “a little perverse, given that it’s the only dish most people know from the region in the first place”... The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward (with its subsequent famine) were a “culinary disaster,” explained Dunlop, during which traditional dishes and cooking techniques went underground or were lost altogether... Taiwan is where Dunlop eventually found the original General Tso’s Chicken, or at least its close relative, Viceroy’s Chicken. The dish was a little less sweet than the American version (it used tomato paste rather than sugar – Dunlop’s version of the recipe is here) and it had been on the menu at Peng’s, a restaurant specialising in Hunanese cuisine, since the 1950s"

NZ policewoman allows naked cycling - with helmet - "Public nudity can attract a charge of offensive behaviour in New Zealand, but Ms Duder said she let the two men go free. "It was dark and there was no-one else around. They were jovial young men who had not intended to cause offence," she said."

HP looking into claim webcams can't see black people

The Gender Wage Gap as a Function of Educational Degree Choices in an Occupationally Segregated EU Country (Greece) - "The subjects in which women are relatively over-represented (e.g. Education, Humanities) are also those with the lowest wage returns. Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions subsequently imply that gender differences in the type of degree studied can explain an additional 8.4% of the male-female pay gap. Risk-augmented earnings functions of the Hartog-type also indicate that women seek for less risky educations that consequently command lower wage premiums in the job market."

Excessive maternity leave and huge sex discrimination payouts 'risk backfiring on women' - "She denied allegations of sexism in the City, claiming most women did not rise through the ranks because of their own choices rather than any prejudice against them.And she suggested bosses were reluctant to employ women for fear they could go on to have lots of children supported by Britain's over-generous maternity leave system... 'Employers have to be more careful about making a woman redundant... so bosses have to ask themselves whether they take them on in the first place. What is so difficult for employers is that women can take up to a year off work and are under no obligation to come back. Meanwhile, they have to keep the job open'"

Bad girls less likely to be told off than boys - "Boys are five times more likely to be told off in a primary school class than girls even though they are just as likely to misbehave... They are also less likely to be praised or picked to answer a question, despite raising their hands just as often as girls... Dr Swinson said that this "prejudice" could explain why girls get better exam results than boys. "Perhaps some boys get disenchanted with lessons because they are being told off too much""
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