Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manuscript Beatles’ “Day in the Life” lyrics to be auctioned

LONDON—John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to “A Day in the Life”, considered one of the Beatles’ greatest songs and the final track on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will go on sale in New York in June.

Sotheby’s auctioneer, which described it as “the revolutionary song that marked the Beatles’ transformation from pop icons to artists”, expects the manuscript to fetch $500-700,000 when it goes under the hammer on June 18.

The single sheet of paper features a rough draft of the lyrics, including crossings out and a spelling error where “film” is written as “flim”.

On the reverse side is a neater version written in capital letters and with fewer corrections.

Apparently added later is the line: “I love to turn you on”, for which the song was banned by the BBC when it first came out in 1967 because the words were deemed to be a reference to taking drugs.

That did little to prevent the album on which the song appeared from becoming one of the Beatles’ most successful.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band topped the U.S. and British charts, won four Grammy awards in 1968 and is ranked number 26 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The lyrics once belonged to Mal Evans, the Beatles’ road manager.


The lyrics provide a glimpse into the band’s methods, with Lennon noting where Paul McCartney would insert his more upbeat verse. Lennon’s words appear to be inspired by newspaper headlines and articles.

The song includes the words “He blew his mind out in a car/He didn’t notice that the lights had changed”, widely accepted to be a reference to the accidental death in a car crash of Lennon and McCartney’s friend Tara Browne.

On a lighter note, the final verse about “four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire” was taken from a report on the high number of potholes on the roads.

McCartney’s contribution, an upbeat middle passage about falling out of bed and dashing to catch the bus, does not appear on the manuscript to be sold.

“With its languorous cry of ‘I’d love to turn you on,’ the song was generally interpreted as a hymn to drug use,” said Norman Philip, a leading Beatles biographer and author of John Lennon: The Life.

“Actually, it is a cry of despair from John, trapped as he then was in the Beatles’ smiley collective image and an atrophied first marriage, yet still lacking the resolution to break out, join forces with Yoko Ono and become the ‘real’ artist he had always pined to be.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aussie multimillionaire leaves her daughters '30 pieces of silver,' or about $1.25 each

Leo- Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So all the effort you have been pouring into an important process will pay off with amazing progress. And all your struggles – and you’ve had more than your fair share over this past winter – will bring the sweet satisfaction of success. No one can say you have a dull life! Your mind is now sharp as a result. And your luck is on the rise.


Aussie multimillionaire leaves her daughters '30 pieces of silver,' or about $1.25 each

An Australian millionaire has left her three daughters "30 pieces of silver," amounting to about $1.25 each, from her estate of $3.2 million.

Valmai Roche of Adelaide effectively cut her daughters out of her will because she believed that they had plotted to kill her mother.

She left the same amount to her former husband, John Roche, who served as the city's mayor from 1975 to 1977.

She also left her daughters equal shares of her jewelry.

However, in a novel twist, she said the women, to claim the inheritance, must answer questions relating to her personal diaries from January 1974 until October 1981.

In a further snub to her children, Roche bequeathed her remaining millions to the Knights of the Southern Cross, a Catholic Church charity organization for men.

In an attempt to gain access to the money, her daughters Deborah Hamilton, Fiona Roche and Shauna Roche, have mounted a case in the South Australian Supreme Court. They claim their mother was delusional when she drew up the will in 1981.

Roche, who died last year at age 81, left her estranged daughters "30 pieces of silver of the lowest denomination of currency," or 30 five-cent pieces, claiming it was "blood money due to Judas."

The only change she made to the will was in 1987, when she stated that Fiona, now in charge of family businesses the Roche Group, could have a French Empire-style desk.

Roche "specifically excludes" her children and former husband, whom she divorced in 1983, "from any further benefits."

Court documents say Hamilton claimed that her mother had accused the women and their father of having "colluded" to kill Dorothy Haber, her mother.

Haber died in a nursing home in Plympton, South Australia. A spokesman for South Australia police said he had no knowledge of a criminal investigation into her death.

Hamilton said that her mother held "fixed, false and incorrigible views" about Haber's death. The case will return to court next month.

Noah’s Ark found, researchers claim

"The search extended for nearly two years. A milestone was marked by one of the team members, Panda Lee, who went for a pioneer climb to witness the existence of a wood structure high above an altitude of 4,000m. He also surveyed the landscape, preparing for further search. Panda Lee said, “In October 2008, I climbed the mountain with the Turkish team. At an elevation of more than 4,000 metres, I saw a structure built with plank-like timber. Each plank was about 8 inches wide.

I could see tenons, proof of ancient construction predating the use of metal nails. We walked about 100 metres to another site. I could see broken wood fragments embedded in a glacier, and some 20 metres long. I surveyed the landscape and found that the wooden structure was permanently covered by ice and volcanic rocks. Prior to my expedition, the Turkish team had excavated the site to expose the "

Noah’s Ark found, researchers claim

April 27, 2010

Cathal Kelly

A group of Christian researchers claimed on Tuesday they have found the remains of Noah’s Ark, located four kilometres up the side of Turkey’s Mt. Ararat.

The famed mount is the biblical docking point of the vessel, which carried Noah, his family and representatives of all the world’s animals safely while God flooded the Earth. In the Book of Genesis, the ark is said to have come to rest in the “mountains of Ararat.”

Explorers, adventurers and mystics have sought the ark for centuries, poring over the mountain range which straddles the Turkish border with Armenia.

Now a group called Noah’s Ark Ministries International says they’ve found the ship’s wreckage.

“It's not 100 per cent that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,” researcher Yeung Wing-Cheung told Agence-France Presse.

The researchers and a film crew have apparently uncovered wooden beams and compartments they say housed the animals. Carbon dating has proven the structure to be 4,800 years old, Yeung said, which gibes with the literal biblical timeline of the flood. He also says the group has ruled out a human settlement at the dig site.

The group is said to have asked Turkish officials to apply to UNESCO so that the excavation can be granted world heritage status while it is explored.

Many explorers have sought the ark. Several have claimed to discover it. None of these claims has been proved out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Revolution Muslim website hacked in retaliation for targeting South Park creators

Revolution Muslim website hacked in retaliation for targeting South Park creators
Posted: April 23, 2010, 1:58 PM by Shereen Dindar

The Muslim website, Revolution Muslim based in New York City, has been hacked in retaliation for the fact that the website targeted South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone over of two recent episodes that satirized the Prophet Muhammad. Currently, Revolution Muslim's website is down.

The hack was first noticed Wednesday night and lasted for a brief period of time. According to, the hackers managed to redirect Revolution Muslim's website to another website called Revolution Islam. When a visitor went to Revolution Muslim's website they were redirected to images of Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head and an older Muslim man kissing a young boy passionately.

Also on Wednesday night, the controversial images and audio relating to Prophet Muhammad were censored out by the television station that airs South Park -- Comedy Central.

Revolution Muslim -- before the hack -- had a post up by one of the group's members, Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, which read:

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid, and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.

To read the National Post news story about this controversy, click here.

Photo: The Prophet Muhammad as depicted as a bear on a recent episode of South Park (Credit: The Comedy Network)

South Park draws anger of radical Muslim website

Leo- Friday, April 23, 2010

Not all opportunities are obvious. In fact, in may be correct to say they rarely are. Often they arrive under the guise of bad news. The trick is not to succumb to gloom when difficult events strike. It is imperative to stay motivated, passionate and determined. If you think now that no opportunity exists, think again. The trouble you are currently dealing with is your ticket to success.

The creators of South Park have, once again, sparked anger from Muslims after the show once again depicted the Prophet Muhammad. Depictions of the prophet and Allah are forbidden in Islam.

The website, which CNN says spreads radical Muslim propaganda, slammed the show's creators after they depicted the Prophet in a bear costume on South Park's 200th episode.

From CNN:

On Sunday, posted an entry that included a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that they risk violent retribution after the 200th episode last week included a satirical discussion about whether an image of the prophet could be shown. In the end, he is portrayed disguised in a bear suit.

The posting on says: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.”

Van Gogh, was a Dutch politician a Dutch filmmaker who was assassinated for making an anti-Islamic film.

The author of the blog post said that he wasn't threatening Parker and Stone but merely saying that provoking Muslims could incite violence.

From Fox:

"It's not a threat, but it really is a likely outcome," al Amrikee said, referring to the possibility that Parker and Stone could be murdered for mocking Muhammad. "They're going to be basically on a list in the back of the minds of a large number of Muslims. It's just the reality."

This isn't the first time that South Park has depicted Muhammad, the Muslim Prophet has been featured on the show before. In the 2001 episode, "Super Best Friends," Muhammad appears alongside Buddha, Jesus, Krishna and other religious figures to magician David Blaine [ed. note: yeah, we can't top that]. Two 2006 South Park episodes, "Cartoon Wars Part One & Two" also touched on the controversial Danish cartoon which depicted Muhammad.

And now for something completely different...

For many years Jehovah's Witnesses recognized that it was the Creator's promise to bring a new world before the generation of 1914 passed away. Because of the firm grasp from the Watchtower Society, Jehovah's Witnesses cannot see that God Himself would never allow this to be the understanding then entirely change it to something else. This is not progressive understanding from God, it is a deliberate alteration of doctrine created by the Watchtower Society to keep members and their financial contributions. Although most Jehovah's Witnesses went along with this doctrinal change, thousands left knowing that the Watchtower Society (like all other religious cults) claim to be God's chosen organization when they are not. What urgent Armageddon doctrine will the Society come up with next to keep loyal followers and their financial contributions?

So, let's clear this up.
  • Through Charles Taze Russell's doctrinal ping-pong, Armageddon was supposed to
    occur in the year 1874, later changing the date to 1914.
  • When 1914 came and went, Russell referred to 1914 as the "beginning of the time
    of trouble", and Christ's return was now considered invisible.
  • After Russell's death, the Watchtower Society ran with this date, using the major
    historical events that had taken place in this year as proof that Russell was correct
    in his calculations.
  • The Society referred to this "generation" (Matt.24:34) as those who were teenagers
    living in 1914 and that they would not pass away before the end comes.
  • Then the Society added to this "generation" by incorporating all those who were
    born in 1914; no longer limiting this generation to those who were old enough to
    understand it.
  • Then, the Society changed it to all those who at least understand that Jesus came
    invisibly in 1914.
  • Next, the Society will never refer to this generation ever again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clashes at Brampton Sikh temple fuelled by 'greed' April 21, 2010 Raveena Aulakh

Sunday's pitched battle at a Sikh temple in Brampton can be traced to a bitter conflict over politics and the control of millions of dollars.

When two warring groups clashed at the Guru Nanak Sikh Centre, turbans flew and blows were exchanged before machetes, hammers and construction knives were brandished. Four people were injured and three were charged with assault. Each side said the other incited the violence.

It was the most extreme example of internal conflict at a Sikh temple in the Toronto area in recent times but it was by no means the only one. Few of the almost two-dozen Sikh temples in the Toronto area have been untouched by controversies, mostly pertaining to different factions vying for control.

Currently there is a power struggle at four temples, including Ontario Khalsa Darbar at Derry and Dixie Rds. in Mississauga, one of the largest temples in Canada.

"It's all about greed," said Sandeep Brar, amateur historian and creator of "The congregation is growing rapidly and much money is being offered at the temples. The issue at heart here is who controls the money."

At stake are millions of dollars.

Ontario's Sikh community, pegged at about 105,000, is relatively well-to-do and, in terms of charitable giving, extraordinarily generous. Anyone can worship at the temple anytime and services are followed by communal meals open to all.

At each temple is at least one donation box. As a result, most temples are rich.

The Guru Nanak Sikh Centre, for example, has assets worth more than $30 million and annual offerings of more than $2 million, said Nachhattar Chohan, one of the board members who have taken temple management to court. "There is no transparency, no accountability," he said.

No one will talk openly about it but there have been rumblings of misappropriation of funds at temples for years.

In 2008, a YouTube video surfaced showing a board member at Guru Nanak Sikh Centre stuffing his pockets while counting money donated by the congregation. "There was outrage among the community but the temple management then said it was a fabrication," said Rajinder Sandhu, now a board member.

Apart from money, temples, that are well attended every weekend and on special occasions, are also a platform to promote political agendas.

"It doesn't sound (like) much, but it's very important," said Gurdev Mann, president of the North York Sikh Temple, which is not affiliated with any umbrella Sikh organization.

Temple managements decide which politicians to invite to events which thousands attend, added Mann. "It's all about who they want to give the platform to. If it's a politician management doesn't care for, they'll ask him to speak at a time when few people are there."

The Guru Nanak Sikh Centre, with the largest congregation in the province, is considered a Liberal stronghold even though some temples unofficially banned MPs Navdeep Bains and Ruby Dhalla after they voted in favour of same-sex marriages about five years ago.

Being connected with temples is also a status symbol, said Balraj Deol, editor of Khabarnama, a Brampton Punjabi weekly. "You are considered important and influential ... People will do anything for it."

Some even resort to violence, as recent events have shown.

Pritpal Singh, 46, understands that people have differences, but "violence inside temples is unacceptable to people."

Singh was at the Glidden Rd. temple when the fight broke out. "I tried to stop some people who were hitting others with hammers and machetes but they started hitting me instead."

He was bruised and has a cut on his forehead, but that's not what really bothers him. "Violence bothers me. Temples should be free of controversy. They should be what they are meant to be: Places of worship."

Australian Magician James Galea's Unbelievable Trick

The Ellen DeGeneres Show - Magician Shawn Farquhar Blows Ellen's Mind [2...

See this amazing card magician stun Ellen D!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crack Shack Or Manison In Vancouver-What Do You Think?

The original Crack Shack or Mansion game.

The game features real Vancouver real estate listings, as of April 10th, 2010.
Can you tell the difference between a crack shack and a Vancouver, BC mansion, listed for one or two million dollars? Find out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bloody fight erupts at Brampton Sikh temple Five are in hospital after fight

Five people are in hospital after two opposing groups clashed inside a Brampton Sikh temple Sunday afternoon.

The fight broke out at the Guru Nanak Sikh Centre at Glidden Rd. near Hwy 410 and Steeles Ave. when one group tried to break up the other group’s meeting. It started as a fistfight but witnesses say turbans soon flew and hammers, machetes and construction knives were brandished as a group of about 100 people clashed at about 3:45 p.m.

The fight spilled outside as Peel Regional Police scrambled to take control, said witnesses.

“It was quite chaotic,” said Jagdish Grewal, editor of Punjabi Post, a newspaper published in Brampton, who arrived minutes after the fight broke out and saw two men lying outside with a bloodied hammer between them. Others were being given first-aid and taken to hospital.

Inside the hall, where the scuffle happened, Grewal said knives and machetes were still lying on the floor along with torn blood-soaked clothes. “There was blood too on the tiles,” Grewal told the Star.

At heart is the control of the temple but no one will say that openly.

The management was not available to comment on Sunday’s violence but members of the temple said trouble had started brewing a couple of days earlier when the group opposing the management announced that it would hold a meeting inside the temple.

“All we wanted was to have a meeting to discuss matters of the temple,” said Rampal Dhillon, who was inside the hall when the fight broke out. “We started the meeting at 3 p.m. and it was going smoothly when about two dozen people stormed inside.”

They were wielding hammers, machetes and construction knives, said Dhillon, who lives in Dundas, near Hamilton. There was screaming and yelling as people shoved and pushed to get outside, he added.

“It’s an ongoing dispute among the board members,” said Const. George Tudos of Peel Regional Police, adding that police had been called in earlier. “There was indication that there might be some trouble here.”

This fight comes two weeks after Manjit Mangat, a prominent Brampton lawyer, was stabbed outside the Sikh Lehar Centre, a Sikh temple located barely a kilometre away from the temple at Glidden Rd. Witnesses had said at least two men brandished unsheathed kirpans, the ceremonial dagger worn by baptized Sikhs, triggering a fresh controversy about Sikhs’ right to wear it.

Acton man charged for not paying student lifeguards April 18, 2010 Brett Popplewell

The provincial labour ministry has charged a twice-bankrupt businessman for failing to pay more than $60,000 in unpaid wages to student lifeguards.

Peter Check, a 62-year-old bespectacled Acton man, was charged Thursday under the Employment Standards Act with six counts of failing to comply with orders to pay 68 former teenaged members a total of $63,527.91 in unpaid wages from 2007 and 2008.

Last June, a Star investigation found Check had been withholding wages to students for years, changing the name of his pool-supply company each summer and leaving a trail of lifeguards (aged 16-22) owed thousands of dollars. At the time, the ministry had issued a series of orders to pay students, but never laid charges.

Recently, the Star reported on the ministry’s unsuccessful attempts to retrieve money from Check. After two years, the ministry was able to extract only four cents of every unpaid dollar, about $3277.88.

A government official tipped the Star last week that charges were finally being laid after Check again failed to comply with three separate orders that he pay the staff of his pool company when it was going by the name Aquatic Pool Solutions and All Pool Solutions.

Still out more than $60,000, Check’s former employees say they are pleased by the ministry’s decision to press charges but aren’t holding out hope that they’ll ever see their money.

“It’s about time, I’ve been waiting to here about this for two years now,” says Jessica Machado, 19.

“I’m still hoping to get my money, but I don’t know.”

Machado worked for Check during the summer of 2008. During that summer she said she did a good job for his company. On one occasion, she fished a struggling 11-year-old boy out of the deep end of a pool.

“Check hired me to keep people safe at pools and then didn’t pay me,” she says.

She filed a claim with the ministry of labour for $562.07. She has only recouped $24.63 of that.

Before Machado was involved, other students had similar experiences. The Star found the ministry had previously issued 12 orders for outstanding wages. There are also new orders for unpaid wages from another group of students after Machado. Those students worked for the latest incarnation of his company, Pools Anatomy Inc.

Check could not be reached for comment Friday.

He did speak to the Star last year during a brief interview in the parking lot of a Mississauga auto-parts shop. When asked why the lifeguards hadn’t been paid, Check replied: “It’s being looked after.”

To collect money from Check, the ministry has tried to find assets in his name. The Star’s own search turned up only a 2001 Ford F250 pickup truck. Five other cars seen parked in his driveway are registered to his wife.

Even the Timberlea Blvd. property where Check’s pool business operated for 20 years was listed in his wife’s name.

Check’s Acton home was put up for sale last month with an asking price of $749,500. It is currently on the market for $699,900. However, the house — a four bedroom home with detached garage, outdoor pool, and two hectares of land in Acton is registered in his wife’s name.

“If the house isn’t in his name it’s unlikely that we’re going to see any money from that sale,” says Bruce Skeaff, spokesperson for the ministry.

The employment standards act provides a range of penalties, including jail time and fines if a person is convicted.

Check is to appear in a Brampton court June 8, 2010.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Some Men Have Dogs And Not Wives:

Why Some Men Have Dogs And Not Wives:

1. The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.
2. Dogs don't notice if you call them by another dog's name.
3. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.
4. A dog's parents never visit.
5. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
6. You never have to wait for a dog; they're ready to go 24 hours a day.
7. Dogs find you amusing when you're drunk..
8. Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.
9.Dog will not wake you up at night to ask,"If I died,would you get another dog?"
10. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.
11. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.
12. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don't get mad. They just think it's interesting.
13. Dogs like to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
And last, but not least:
14. If a dog leaves, it won't take half of your stuff.

Why Some Men Have Dogs And Not Wives:

1. The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.

2. Dogs don't notice if you call them by another dog's name.

3. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

4. A dog's parents never visit.

5. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

6. You never have to wait for a dog; they're ready to go 24 hours a day.

7. Dogs find you amusing when you're drunk..

8. Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.

9. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, "If I died, would you get another dog?"

10. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.

11. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.

12. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don't get mad. They just think it's interesting.

13. Dogs like to ride in the back of a pickup truck.

And last, but not least:

14. If a dog leaves, it won't take half of your stuff.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Scientists say volcano could erupt for months

Leo- Weekend of Saturday, April 17, 2010

It’s quite amazing that Mars is still in your sign. Congratulations! This is an extremely rare event. It first entered Leo way back in mid-October and it will remain with you right through to early June. Your life has had a few hassles and it’s gone through several ups and down during this period of time. On the whole, though, Mars has been most helpful by imbuing you with power, energy and drive. A certain goal, not long ago, may have seemed as if it would never come, but thanks to your unrelenting drive, it’s now starting to get back on track.

Scientists say volcano could erupt for months

April 17, 2010

Arthur Max


Smoke billows from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano on April 16, 2010. The volcano is still spewing ash into the air in a massive plume that has disrupted air traffic across Europe and shows little sign of letting up, officials said.


PARIS–A cloud of ash hovered over Europe on Friday, casting a pall over an interwoven world.

Made up of microscopic particles as hard as a knife's blade, the dust cloud coughed up by an Icelandic volcano crept across the industrial powerhouses of Europe, into the steppes of Russia and as far south as Hungary.

It left behind stranded travellers, grounded cargo flights, political confusion, and even fears the cloud of grit settling on Earth will endanger the lungs of children, asthmatics and others with respiratory ailments.

According to volcanologists, how long it lasts and how far it spreads depends entirely on two unpredictable events: whether the volcano beneath Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier keeps pumping tonnes of dust into the air and what wind patterns do.

The invisible cloud could split, reaching down into northern Italy, and perhaps break apart over the Alps. Scientists say the volcano could continue erupting for months, with more chaos ensuing with each big belch of basalt powder and gas.

"It's going to be a mess," said volcanologist Michael Rampino of New York University. "It's a menace to air traffic, just sitting there, waiting to go off.''

Henry Margusity, senior meteorologist for, predicted the jet stream winds will continue picking up dust over Iceland and carry it to Britain and Europe "like a spray can of ash" through next Wednesday.

Is it a first? The devastating 19th-century eruption of Indonesia's Krakatau was bigger. In ancient times, Mount Vesuvius buried an entire city and in the 17th century, a series of eruptions from Peru to the South Pacific blocked the sun's energy and sent the Earth's temperatures plunging.

But in this era of global trade crisscrossing the planet by air, the Icelandic eruption has implications that underscore the particular vulnerabilities of the modern world.

The airline industry said it was losing $200 million a day in cancellations and almost two-thirds of Europe's usual 28,000 flights were grounded. Air space remained closed in Britain and across large chunks of north and central Europe.

Restrictions were imposed or lifted as the cloud moved. Flights were suspended at Frankfurt airport, Europe's third-busiest, but Ireland reopened airports in Dublin and Cork.

Potentially lifesaving organs, too, were stuck in transit.

All organs that usually get flown out to patients were instead being distributed to those within driving distance.

"Hearts, lungs and livers, which are normally transported by air, are now delivered regionally and by ground travel," said Nadine Koerner of the German Foundation for Organ Transplant.

The volcanic ash drifted at between 6,000 to 9,000 metres, but was not a solid band of dust and particles. It was moving at around 40 km/h, said Harry Geurts, of the Dutch meteorological office KNMI.

Ash settled like a layer of talcum powder in parts of Iceland and lightly coated parts of Scotland, England, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Oddly, the sun shone over much of Britain and the European low countries – more used to overcast skies than sunshine. Europe could be treated to spectacular sunsets for weeks or months to come from the lingering dust.

Rampino, the volcano expert, said the explosive power of the eruption was unusual for Iceland, where volcanic activity normally occurs as lava flows. It may have been an interaction between the volcano's magma and the glacial ice that thrust the ash high enough to catch the winds of the jet stream sweeping toward northern Europe, he said.

"It's very difficult to predict the size, predict the behaviour of a volcano," he said.

A study by Italian scientists of the dispersal of ash from the Etna eruption in 1998 highlighted the uncertainty of any predictions.

It said the trajectory of an ash cloud can change within a few hours in response to wind speeds at various heights.

Particle size is also a factor: the smaller the grains of ash, the less likely they will fall to Earth. The minuscule size of the Iceland particles makes them likely to disperse in the atmosphere unless they wash down with rain.

For now, the ash appeared unlikely to have the same cooling effect on the planet as major eruptions in history, including the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which reduced temperatures and lowered sea levels for several years.

The Philippines eruption spewed up to 28 tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the air in two days that acted like millions of tiny mirrors reflecting sunlight back into space, said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.

"These are two different types of volcanoes to start out with,'' she said. "We're still stuck with global warming.''


#1 in Identity Theft Protection

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Car dealership workers accused of $1.71M fraud Records falsified, vehicles sold to imaginary customers, trial told

Car salesman Shahid Sheikh sold a black Kia Sorrento, a modest SUV with a base price of about $32,000, to a customer for more than $47,000.

Included in the deal were many outrageous extras: $2,500 for a BMW grill that normally sells for $995, and $1,000 each for rustproofing, fabric guarding and undercoating — “excessive” add-ons that were in some cases more than double the usual price, says John Van Rooyen, at the time general sales manager at 401 Dixie Kia in Mississauga.

The 2004 deal, which earned Sheikh about $1,700 commission, is part of a $1.71 million fraud where imaginary clients as well as those with bad credit, fake insurance slips, phony T4s, and doctored employment and income records were used to sell 41 vehicles. Only 11 were ever recovered.

Sheikh, 50, and two others face charges in a trial which began Monday in a Brampton court.

Van Rooyen testified Sheikh’s connection to the Punjabi community made him an excellent salesman. “I welcomed him at the business. He was great for business because many of the people coming in couldn’t speak English.”

In fact, some of Sheikh’s customers didn’t even exist, the Crown contends. Others were paid for the use of their names and in one case, the identity obtained from a stolen purse was altered from a male to a female and then used for two vehicle purchases, court was told.

The Scotia Bank, Royal Bank, TD Bank, HSBC Bank, Nissan Canada Financial Corp. and the Wells Fargo Financial Institution are on the hook for the lost funds, court was told. Of the 41 loans, all but one went into default.

Sheikh committed most of the fraudulent car transactions with Lynn Fuller, business manager at Airport Nissan in Mississauga, between Oct. 1, 2004, and Aug. 31, 2006, says Crown prosecutor Cam Watson.

Fuller “was intimately involved with Sheikh in those 40 deals,” Watson told court in his opening address.

Another man, Ranjit Bisram, is also accused of purchasing several vehicles in deals arranged by Sheikh and Fuller using fake company information and other fraudulent documentation. On his credit application, he claimed to be the owner of a financially sound Brampton trucking firm when in fact he was an unemployed truck driver whose submitted T4 statements vastly overstated his real income.

Bisram is alleged to have fraudulently purchased five vehicles from Sheikh and Fuller, cars that were 100 per cent financed through different lending institutions. He later reported three of them stolen.

It’s the Crown’s case that Sheikh, as a salesman, wrote vehicle purchase agreements at Airport Nissan and Fuller, as business manger, wrote the sales contracts and secured funding from various lenders.

Fuller completed the paperwork, some legitimate and some fraudulent, and submitted documentation to auto and finance companies, Watson said.

“She at the time was the sole business manager at Airport Nissan and she signed vehicle purchase agreements and sought funding for the 40 vehicles,” he said.

Fuller earned 22 per cent commission from the sales and extras such as extended warranties and rustproofing, Watson said.

“Sheik and Fuller worked together to produce vehicle purchase agreements that contained fraudulent documents,” Watson said. “The two orchestrated how otherwise unqualified purchasers with bad credit qualified for financing. This was done by boosting numbers, increasing pay cheques with elevated incomes or creating outright fraudulent documents.”

A former accused, Akbar Warris, is expected to be the Crown’s star witness and reveal the inner workings of the elaborate scam.

Warris produced false insurance slips, phony T4s and other fraudulent documents for Sheikh and Fuller. He also arranged for people to be paid a fee so their names could be used to purchase vehicles they never actually bought, Watson told the court.

Warris’s charges were dropped in return for testifying at this trial, which is expected to last four to six weeks.

Warris “was directed by Sheikh to produce false insurance documents from Nordic and Award insurance companies,” Watson said.

Warris attended a meeting at an Oakville pub where fraudulent business plans were discussed and false companies, such as Leo Enterprises and Tri-Star Cargo, were created by him to produce false pay and employment records for a fee, the Crown said.

“He will testify Fuller directed him to increase the dollar values on pay slips to increase the credit of otherwise unworthy credit applicants.”

Court heard that Sheikh and Fuller also prepared sales documents for Andre Chiarato in June 2006. He purchased four vehicles worth more than $168,000 with 100 per cent financing from Nissan and Wells Fargo. Chiarato and the vehicles vanished and a warrant is out for his arrest.

Initially, eight people were to be tried, but four had their charges withdrawn. Another man is to be tried separately.

The trial continues before Justice Casey Hill.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Master Plan

He isn't an employee. He is a contractor. He is 19 and therefore legally responsible for himself. Nonetheless, I agree, Spring Masters does exploit their workers. Very few earn anything even close to minimum wage. Ben Stewart's strategy is quite simple: Brute Force. Fill the city with as many contractors as possible; Harass the same area of town 5 times over a period of 6 weeks. Some will succeed; some will falter. On average, Ben profits substantially.

1. The Fertalizer used is not as advertised.
2. The grass seed used is not as advertised.
3. The driveway sealent is not as advertised.

Yes, it is highly unethical. However, your 19 year old son is an adult. He signed a binding contract. He is legally responsible. Please, teach him how to read carefully before he commits his time and energy.

Posted: 2009-05-25 by scarlett2122

Staff exploitation
Complaint Rating:  85 %  with 27 votes
Company information:

An open letter to Spring Masters:

My son worked for you for 5 days. No solid training or assistance was given, he was left alone in a neighourhood for 10 hours to knock on doors, he had no marketing materials to distribute which was very important given than many people are not at home at 10 in the morning on a weekday. But worse - he was told there were pre-booked appointments from which he could try to obain new business. Once he started, he was told that all the pre-books were done in April - he started May 4.

What kind of operation are you running?

On his last day, waiting to be picked up by his manager, 3 managers approached him. They accused him of stealing, called him a criminal, searched his backpack (this is illegal) and took the $20 he had made from one sale, his own ten dollar bill and a looney and left him with nothing. They took his shirt, leaving him in his undershirt, and LEFT HIM IN NIAGARA FALLS TO MAKE HIS OWN WAY HOME. And it took 3 of your bully boys (you call them managers) to intimidate a 19 year old. I guess I should be grateful they didn't rough him up.

Even if the accusation was true, which it was NOT, you have an obligation as an employer and should at least have taken him back in the truck and then fired him. This is appalling way to treat staff.

I have filed complaints of your disgraceful ethics with the Better Business Bureau of Canada, and Employment Standards.

And I will blog this story everywhere I can to warn other students to beware of working with unethical people.

I'm currently an independent contractor for Spring Masters Canada and I, myself, have heard of a similar scenario occurring at my own location (although not to that extreme). I don't intend on staying with the company, as I've come to realize that I'm not a strong sales-person. I do, however, find it hard to believe that the managers would take such actions without having some reason to believe that he had stolen. Granted, the fact that they allegedly searched his bag and took his money is illegal and horribly unethical (the situation could have undoubtedly been resolved in a more tactful fashion), as is the fact that they left him in Niagara. As well, no they don't have an obligation to bring him home, but doing so is both morally and ethically unacceptable.

As for the statement that:

"1. The Fertalizer used is not as advertised.
2. The grass seed used is not as advertised.
3. The driveway sealent is not as advertised."

I would like to know what grounds of evidence this is based on; it's a very vague statement.

I've purchased the Spring Masters Standard Plan over a month ago and I'm still waiting to have someone come to my home to get the job done.
I've heard every excuse in the book so far...and now nobody returns my calls. I'm concerned that Spring Masters Canada isn't even a legitamate company...if anyone has had a good or bad experience can you kindly share? I'm just hoping I didn't get scammed.

Rocker Jeff Beck insures his fingers for £7million

Rock legend Jeff Beck has insured his fingers for £700,000 each after hacking off the tip of one digit.

The guitar hero, 65, had his gruesome mishap as he sliced carrots at his Sussex home.

Surgeons sewed the tip of his left index finger back on but it meant he struggled to finish his new album Emotion and Commotion.

So he has now raised his insurance cover on his hands five-fold - making his 10 digits worth £7million.

A source close to the former Yardbirds star said: "Jeff was making a stew when he cut his finger clean off.

"Thankfully surgeons were able to patch it up. But now he's taking no chances and has upped his insurance to $1million per finger."

Other stars insured for huge sums are Mariah Carey and J.Lo, for £650million each, Irish dancer Michael Flatley, with £25million legs, Bruce Springsteen's voice (£3.5million) and Heidi Klum's legs (£1.2million).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Telephone ‘wife’ sours Indian celebrity wedding

The celebrity wedding that many hoped might bring India and Pakistan closer together has been thrown into doubt by accusations of bigamy, a bizarre case of mistaken identity and now a fatwa issued by a noted cleric.

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, 23, and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, 28, met for the first time in February. Their surprise cross-border engagement – announced soon thereafter on Twitter – was greeted with delight in both countries. The Times of India published a gushing editorial on the marriage’s ability “to ease tensions between the two neighbours.”
However, within hours of the announcement, another Indian woman, Ayesha Siddiqui, 29, came forward to claim that she was already married to Malik. According to her family, the couple was wedded in 2002 - over the telephone - in a ceremony called a nikah.

Malik says he was duped into marrying Siddiqui, who sent him photos of a younger, prettier woman, then masqueraded as that imaginary woman’s sister.

The subsequent media frenzy has drawn in politicians, sports stars and religious scholars. News reports claim that no fewer than five dedicated police investigative teams are probing the allegations against Malik of cheating and harassment. He has been questioned by Indian police, who have also confiscated his passport.

Ominously, the Pakistani foreign ministry has pledged its support for their sports idol, and demanded details of the Indian investigation.

Day after day, the obstacles to the fairy tale wedding pile up. On Tuesday, a Muslim cleric issued a fatwa against Malik.

“If Shoaib accepts the nikah, no problem,” the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan’s Mosque told the Hindustan Times. “But if he denies, he will be out of the Muslim society.”

Initially, Malik denied ever having married. But when Siddiqui’s family provided a marriage certificate, including what they say is Malik’s signature, he changed his story. Malik now admits that a phone marriage took place, but claims it wasn’t valid.

The strange story of Malik’s first marriage began in 2001, when he says he was contacted by a female cricket fan from India. The pair exchanged emails, phone calls and, eventually, photographs. However, visa problems prevented them from meeting in person.

When Malik managed to travel to India to see the woman – Ayesha Siddiqui – he says he was told she had left suddenly to return to her job in the Middle East. However, Siddiqui’s family, including her Maha apa (older sister), offered to show him around.

Malik now says the Maha apa was, in fact, Siddiqui herself. Later, Malik says, Siddiqui pressured him into a marriage – intended to end local gossip – that took place over the phone, with an imam present.

Malik says he only discovered the true identity of his wife three years after he married her.

“We accidentally ran into the truth about who Ayesha was. It was the worst moment of my life. No one enjoys being made a fool of, and that was exactly how I was made to look,” Malik told reporters in Hyderabad on Sunday.

“It happened in August 2005. My brother-in-law got a photograph of a teacher in Saudi Arabia who was telling people around her that she was married to me. His nephews were studying in that school,” he said.

“I was aghast when he showed me the photograph of the teacher. The woman in it was the person I called Maha apa. I immediately confronted Maha apa. It was she who had been making a fool of me all these years, pretending to be the person whose pictures she had been sending me. I told her I didn’t even want to speak to her again. At that point, I wondered if I could ever trust anyone again.”

Malik says that because the marriage was based on a lie, it isn’t valid under Islamic law.

He also claims the nikah was dissolved in 2008 because the families could not agree on the terms of the marriage.

It’s not clear how much time the husband and wife spent together between 2002 and 2008. Malik has suggested almost none, and most of it under false pretenses. Even the Siddiquis aren’t suggesting the marriage was close.

“We have proof that Shoaib and Ayesha met 14 times,” Dr. Shams Babar, a Siddiqui family friend told reporters Monday, in an attempt to bolster the family’s case. “They even lived together for a few days in Dubai.”

The family claims that Siddiqui became pregnant during the marriage, but miscarried. Malik claims there was no intimate contact between them.

Newspapers have been poring over photographs of the pair, though no one can be positive of what Siddiqui looks like because she remains hidden. Like her marriage, her contact with the media comes over the phone or through relatives.

Her family blames the marriage’s failure on Malik’s superficiality. Siddiqui’s father told reporters that Malik dumped his daughter because “she has become fat.”

The Siddiqui family has said they have no objection to Malik’s marriage to Mirza, as long as he first apologizes to and then divorces their daughter. Malik continues to maintain that no divorce is necessary, as the marriage is invalid.

A dizzying variety of lawsuits have been threatened, with lawyers in Pakistan and India retained by both sides.

On Monday, Mirza, the 90th ranked tennis player in the world, said she is still determined that she will wed Malik on April 15.

By Tuesday, Mirza family insiders were floating the possibility of a postponement.

For now, the floor belongs to a variety of astrologers, bookmakers and mystics, all of whom are wagering on when, how and if India’s most anticipated marriage comes off.

Both Mirza and Malik regularly court controversy. She has come under pressure to dress more demurely. He is serving a suspension from the Pakistani national cricket team after creating “disharmony” in the dressing room and faking an injury.

Malik became a political lightning rod in 2007 when he thanked “Muslims all over the world” for supporting Pakistan against India. In one blow, he managed to irritate Indian Muslims, non-Muslim Pakistanis, and Muslim cricket fans from a dozen other nations.

His celebrity status managed to survive that blow. It’s debatable whether it can emerge from this current whirlwind relatively intact.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Two men arrested for late-night foray into sewers

Leo- Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If you’re still really nervous about something, stop worrying. It’s not worth all the torment it’s causing you. Nothing is. In some ways, you’d be better off living in a state of blissful ignorance than constantly confronting yourself with a certain set of harsh realities. Being on top of every detail as you are is commendable. But it would be good now to ease up just a little.

April 05, 2010

Katie Daubs

While many urban explorers publish under aliases, Cook and Emond have always revealed their identities.

When two men were arrested for taking a stroll in the sewers on Sunday, police were flummoxed.

“That’s not normal, people going down into the sewers,” said Det. Dan Murphy at 14 Division. “Why are they going down into the sewers?”

Well, it really doesn’t smell that bad, according to one of the men arrested.

“For the most part it isn’t toilet waste, which makes up a small part of the stream,” Andrew Emond told the Daily Commercial News and Construction Record last month. “It’s mostly water from showers, baths and dishwashers, which gives off a kind of soapy, organic smell, which isn’t unpleasant.”

Michael Cook, 27, of Toronto, and Andrew Emond, 35, of Montreal were arrested Sunday after a perplexed citizen saw them enter the sewer near Ossington Ave. and Dundas St. W. Both face charges of mischief to interfere with property.

“I don’t feel comfortable commenting on this event just yet until it’s been resolved in court,” Emond wrote in an email on Monday. Emails to Cook were not returned.

Both men are urban explorers and photographers. Cook runs, and Emond runs Both have explored drains for several years and most recently, the men were exploring the sewers that replaced Garrison Creek, in the western section of downtown.

Urban exploration is a hobby and subculture where people venture into drains, abandoned buildings and infrastructure to photograph the forgotten past and unseen workings of a city. Some ask permission, some don’t.

“It’s illegal what we do unfortunately” said a Toronto photographer acquaintance of Cook and Emond, who’s accompanied them twice to the sewers that don’t smell as bad as you’d think.

“We don’t do this to break the law,” said the fellow explorer who did not want his name used. “It’s about urban cartography, viewing the city that isn’t visualized through streets and other landmarks.”

He said they are usually outfitted with hip waders and goggles, and always listen to the weather forecast to make sure there’s no rain.

Urban exploration can be deadly. In 2009, a man lost his life after he was swept into the Mississippi River when the tunnel he was exploring in Minneapolis-St. Paul filled with rainwater. Another urban explorer on the same venture survived.

“We take every precaution necessary to keep ourselves safe,” the photographer said. “Every time it rains obviously those pipes are going to fill up and are potentially dangerous.”

In a 2007 interview with a U.S. blog, Cook said he once ran into trouble while navigating the “surge spillways” that “spiral downwards” at the Ontario Generating Station in the Niagara Region. Cook said he lost his footing and slid 60 metres to the bottom.

“I was very lucky to come away from that with just a few friction burns and a sprained thumb,” he told BLDGBLOG.

Although many urban explorers publish their photos under aliases, Cook and Emond have always been up front about their identities on their respective websites.

Emond has said he’s explored Montreal’s sewer and waste water system for three years without any repercussions.

“In fact, I’ve received positive responses from a wide range of people, including historians, engineers, architects, community planners, the media, artists and even local politicians,” he said.

Cook has said most urban explorers aren’t interested in “undergrounding” because it can be kilometres on end of “featureless pipe.”

Troy Paiva, a San Francisco photographer who wrote Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration, has other reasons to stay above ground.

“I don’t do functioning infrastructure. I find it’s too easy to get thrown in jail,” he said.

Paiva has run into police, property owners and people with shotguns, all telling him to scram. He’s never been charged.

“You have to learn how to talk to people and say you’re just a weirdo artist, not a vandal or a thief. I think most people think you’re in there to do drugs, break the place up or to tag it,” he said.

In his interview with BLDGBLOG, Cook acknowledged legal issues around sewer exploration are “pretty grey.”

“It’s not something that I’ve ever had a problem with — and definitely not something that requires me to go in the middle of the night,” he said. “The only thing that really dictates what time you can go is traffic conditions. If you have to use a streetside manhole, you generally don’t want to be doing that doing the day.”

Stanley Greenberg, who has photographed the infrastructure beneath New York City since the early ’90s, says urban explorers are like well-intentioned computer hackers.

“Part of the challenge is finding your way in. They’re not there to do any harm, these aren’t people who do graffiti,” he said. “Granted it’s occasionally dangerous, it can cause problems, but most of the time it’s pretty harmless.”

Greenberg, who published Invisible New York, has pestered officials for permission for most of his explorations, but there have been a few places he had to sneak into.

“So many places I’ve been to, I thought, ‘I almost don’t care if I make a good picture, I’m getting to see this incredible place, to be on the edge of the unrestored part of Ellis Island, it’s like you’re in a different century.’ ”

Cook and Emond’s acquaintance said he felt obliged to speak about urban exploration to dispel myths.

“A city like Toronto desperately needs more urban mythology. Instead of having crap like the CN Tower, the SkyDome represent the city, we present things that have been around much longer that most people aren’t even aware of.”

With files from John Goddard

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