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sexta-feira, 22 de maio de 2009

Festival gets political with controversial films from China and Iran

A Chinese film featuring graphic gay sex scenes and an Iranian film denouncing screen and music censorship threw world politics into the spotlight at the Cannes film festival on Thursday.

AFP - A torrid gay sex movie from China and a blistering denunciation of screen and music censorship in Iran threw world politics centre-stage at the Cannes film festival on Thursday.

Both movies were shot in secret and brought to France without official home country approval, but with controversy no stranger to Cannes they were scheduled to screen on the first day of the race to scoop the festival's Palme d'Or award.

"Cannes," said festival director Thierry Fremaux, "aims to unveil world cinema as well as unveil what is happening across the world around us."

Award-winning Lou Ye is among some of the world's 20 hottest directors competing for the top prize from the globe's leading movie showcase, to be awarded May 24.

"I hope to be the last Chinese director ever to be banned," he told AFP in an interview.

His "Spring Fever" is a two-hour tale of passion and seduction in twosomes and threesomes with lengthy graphic scenes of gay sex that he shot in just two months in Nanjing city with a hand-held camera, defying a ban on film-making.

"We were psychologically prepared to be stopped during the filming, but that never happened, and today here we are with the film and the cast, which after all is a good thing," he said.

The 44-year-old director is halfway through a five-year ban on film-making imposed by censors in 2006 after bringing his previous movie "Summer Palace" -- another steamy love tale set around the taboo subject of the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen protests -- to Cannes in 2006 without official approval.

Iran's renowned Bahman Ghobadi's "No One Knows About Persian Cats" was selected by festival organisers as the opening film of its parallel section spotlighting fresh talent "Un Certain Regard."

Ghobadi, romantically linked to just-released US journalist Roxana Saberi, also shot without permission in Tehran, was arrested twice and had to lie about the film, saying he was shooting a documentary on drugs.

His powerful movie shot in dingy cellars, rooftop sheds and even in a country cow-barn unveils an underground music scene ranging from indie rock to Persian rap to heavy metal -- as well as rare images of the Tehran urban scene.

"Many social liberties have been taken away in Iran without a replacement being offered," he told AFP. "In this film I'm crying out loud against the status quo."

"For the last 30 years, certain music, in particular Western music has been virtually forbidden by the authorities, forced into hiding underground and listened to underground," he says in his production notes.

Adding to the strong political undertone of Day Two at Cannes was a searing documentary about the Rwanda genocide shot over a decade in a lush hillside corner of the country.

The movie screened out-of-competition 15 years after the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people -- "My Neighbor My Killer" -- looks at whether victims and perpetrators of a mass atrocity can ever learn to live together again.

The 12-day film showcase lifted off Wednesday with a gala opening ceremony that saw goofy 3D spectacles foisted on tuxedo-clad celebrities as Hollywood's Disney-Pixar studios premiered cartoon comedy "Up."

"Film-makers ... tell us who we are and perhaps who we will become," said Isabelle Huppert, the French actress leading the jury that will pick the winner of the Palme d'Or top prize.

From "Brokeback Mountain" Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, to veteran New Wave icon Alain Resnais, at a ripe 86 back behind a camera, the world's grandest film-makers are competing to take home the coveted gong.

Huppert and her eight-strong team will choose from the work of directors such as Quentin Tarantino of the US, Spain's Pedro Almodovar, Palestinian Elia Suleiman, Park Chan-Wook of South Korea and Denmark's Lars Von Trier.

The competition is expected to be specially stiff this year with contenders including four previous Palme winners -- Tarantino, Von Trier, Jane Campion, and Ken Loach.

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26/10/2008 free counters

Garden city: Dragonfly-shaped skyscraper could feed Earth's booming population

By Claire Bates
Last updated at 2:48 PM on 22nd May 2009

A dramatic vertical greenhouse shaped like the wings of a dragonfly could revolutionise farming in cities around the world, according to its architect.

The bizarre looking 600m tall building was designed by Belgian designer Vincent Callebaut and would be based on Roosevelt Island in New York.

Spread across 132 floors it would provide urban farming space with enough room to raise cattle and poultry and 28 different types of crops.

There would also be space for housing and offices with walls and ceilings used to grow kitchen gardens. Each level would be cultivated by the residents.

vertical farm

The vertical farm is shaped like the wings of a dragonfly. It would be self-sufficient in water, energy and bio fertilizing.

The Dragon Fly has two central towers arranged around a huge greenhouse that are linked together via two wings made from glass and steel.

It would be heated using solar energy in winter, which would harness the warm air between the wings. In summer it would be kept cool using natural ventilation and evapo-perspiration from the plants.

Exterior vertical gardens would filter rain water that would then be mixed with domestic liquid waste. After organic treatment it would be recirculated for farm use.

dragonfly building

Paradise found? Residents of the 132-floor building would grow crops and cultivate kitchen gardens

vincent callebaut building

Belgian firm vincent callebaut architectures have designed a vertical farm

Mr Callebaut is known for his eccentric designs. His most recent plan featured a self-sufficient floating city in the shape of a giant lilypad.

While the Lilypad was designed to cope with rising sea levels in the future, the Dragonfly was conceived to deal with a world food shortage as the human population continues to boom.

'The worldwide urban population will go from 3.1 inhabitants in 2009 up to 5.5billion inhabitants by 2025,' Mr Callebaut explained.

'The ecological city aims to reintegrate the farming function on the urban scale in the use and reuse of natural resources and biodegradable waste.'

Vincent Callebaut dragonfly building

The revolutionary farm would completely redraw New York's skyline

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Workers flee in terror as motorist angry at speeding ticket drives his car into U.S. city hall... and around the corridors

By Paul Thompson
Last updated at 4:55 PM on 22nd May 2009

An irate motorist who was angry at being told to turn his radio down drove his car into a town hall causing more than £125,000 worth of damage.

Staff jumped for their lives as Marcus Johnson's car careered through revolving glass doors and continued down a corridor.

a man drives through Wichita city hall, taken from Youtube video

Marcus Johnson smashes through the doors of Wichita city hall

The 33-year-old told a court he had been angry at being pulled over by police for playing his car stereo too loud.

After being warned about the loud music, Johnson told the police officer: 'I'm going to drive my car through city hall'.

Minutes later CCTV security cameras captured the moment Johnson's saloon car crashed through the front doors of the civic building in Wichita, Kansas.

a man drives through Wichita city hall, taken from Youtube video

1. Smashing through the doors

a man drives through Wichita city hall, taken from Youtube video

2. He takes out one headlamp and the doors

a man drives through Wichita city hall, taken from Youtube video

3. Racing in at 45mph

Security staff were captured standing in the path of the car just moments before it crashed through at around 45mph.

Security guards were seen seconds later running through the shattered doors in pursuit of the car.

The vehicle caused more than £125,000 worth of damage before coming to rest in an office.

Miraculously, no one was injured during the outrageous incident, which occurred in January 2008.

a man drives through Wichita city hall, taken from Youtube video

The trail of devastation after he misses employees by inches

Johnson told the court in Wichita he had been hearing voices in his head that night.

His brother Maurice pleaded with the court to show leniency, claiming he needs medical help.

But a judge rejected the plea and jailed Johnson for 10 years after he pleaded no contest to battery on a law enforcement officer.

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British paedophile suspect in Madeleine McCann case faces extradition from Germany for sex attacks

By Vanessa Allen and Julie Moult
Last updated at 6:19 PM on 22nd May 2009

A British paedophile who is a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case could be brought back to the UK to be quizzed over a number of sex attacks.

Former soldier Raymond Hewlett, who has become the new focus of the investigation into the child's disappearance, is being treated for throat cancer at a hospital in Germany.

He was living just an hour's drive from the resort of Praia da Luz when she disappeared in May 2007.

Hewlett has a long record of sex attacks on young girls and is wanted by police in the UK and Ireland.

Resemblance? Raymond Hewlett, left, and the artist's impression of the suspect seen at the resort where Madeleine McCann disappeared

According to the Evening Standard, two police forces as well as Leicestershire Police held a conference call yesterday to decide how to proceed.

Manchester police want to quiz him over the abduction and abuse of an eight-year-old girl in 1975 while West Yorkshire police have said they want to quiz him over a number of 'serious offences'.

In a separate development, detectives working for Kate and Gerry McCann have flown to Germany to speak to 64-year-old Hewlett, where he is being treated.

Sources close to the investigation claimed they were told he spoke to friends about Maddie in such a way that they suspected he was involved or knew what had happened to the three-year-old.

The Standard added that investigators will want to know why Hewlett checked out of a hospital in the Algarve, Portugal, where he was being treated for cancer only to reappear in Germany.

Hewlett is described by detectives as 'cunning' and a 'danger to children' and operates by cruising in a van. He has posed as a police officer and befriended families to get access to their children.

Appeal: Madeleine aged three and how she might look now
Appeal: Madeleine aged three and how she might look now

Appeal: Madeleine McCann aged three and how she might look now

The McCanns have never given up hope of finding their daughter. Earlier this month, they marked the second anniversary of her disappearance from their holiday apartment by releasing two new pictures to help the hunt.

One was a striking computer-aided image of what she would look like today, at six.

Another was a detailed sketch of a suspect seen acting suspiciously near their Algarve holiday complex.

Hewlett has a long record of sex attacks on young girls

Hewlett has a long record of sex attacks on young girls

The team searching for Maddie is headed by two retired UK policemen - former Detective Inspector Dave Edgar, 52, and former Detective Sergeant Arthur Cowley, 57, who has worked on 'cold case reviews' of old crimes.

Mr Edgar has more than 30 years' experience with the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Cheshire Police.

He was awarded a judge's commendation for his work on the murder of father-of-four Garry Newlove, who was kicked to death by a teenage gang outside his Warrington home in 2007.

Mr Edgar and Mr Cowley now run the Alpha Investigations Group and have been hired by the Find Madeleine Fund to investigate missed leads.

They are said to have given the McCanns fresh hope after they suffered disappointments working with other private detectives, including the expensive Spanish firm Metodo 3.

Hewlett, a former Scots Guardsman who has worked as a trawlerman and fairground operator, was convicted of two sex attacks on girls in the 1970s and a further attack in 1988 - for which he was jailed for six years.

He was also investigated over the sex killing of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed near Ripponden, West Yorkshire, in October 1975.

She was abducted after she left her Rochdale home to buy a loaf of bread. She was sexually assaulted, stabbed 12 times and dumped on nearby moors.

Ronald Castree, 54, was jailed in 2007 for the murder of the schoolgirl, but has since been given permission to challenge his conviction.

Enlarge mirror front page.jpg

Raymond Hewlett, who lived near to where Maddy disappeared, in hospital

His lawyers are expected to argue it is 'overwhelmingly probable' that Hewlett, who lived in West Yorkshire was the killer. He moved to Ireland soon after the murder.

Hewlett is believed to have been living near the Algarve town of Faro, an hour's drive from Praia da Luz, at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.

It is not known if he was ever interviewed by Portuguese police but they have been informed about the fears that he could have been involved in an abduction.

Hewlett is also wanted for questioning by several British police forces over allegations of child sex abuse in this country.

But Hewlett last night denied having anything to do with Madeleine's disappearance.

Speaking of the time and place where she disappeared, he told the Mirror: 'I know exactly where I was. I wasn't anywhere near there.

'I've done nothing wrong, nothing, nothing.'

Enlarge Lesley Molseed

Hewlett was investigated over the sex killing of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed, pictured, in 1975

The alert over Hewlett was raised by a British couple who met him while on an extended holiday in Portugal, the Mirror has reported.

He reportedly told Alan and Cindy Thompson, not long before Madeleine's disappearance, that some 'gipsy tourists' had approached him offering cash for his own daughter who is blonde-haired, blue-eyed like Madeleine.

The couple said he told them he refused.

They also told the Mirror they remembered him telling how he had gone to Morocco with his family on a 'good business trip'.

But he did not reveal any details of what the deal had been.

Hewlett's trail of sex attacks began in September 1972, when he abducted a 12-year-old girl and took her on to moors near his home in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

He used paint thinner to knock her out, then raped her. He was jailed for a year.

In 1978 he attacked another girl, putting a gun to her back, but she managed to convince him that visitors were arriving imminently and he let her go. This time he was jailed for four years.

Hewlett also served a six-year prison term for a 1988 sex attack on a 14-year-old girl.

After leaving jail he went on the run. At one stage he was traced to the Republic of Ireland where he is thought to have lived for several years.

Irish police believe he was behind a series of attempted abductions there and he is also known to have travelled to several European countries.

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: 'We are aware of Raymond Hewlett and the claims that have been made surrounding him.

'The investigators searching for Madeleine are currently looking into the circumstances surrounding those claims.

'Hewlett is an individual of interest to the Madeleine investigation. Beyond that, I cannot go into any further operational detail.

'It's my understanding that if you are on the sexual offenders register you are supposed to alert the authorities to your movements.

'I understand that in this case Mr Hewlett's whereabouts weren't known to a number of police forces for some time.

'Now that he is being treated for an illness in Germany it's up to the individual police forces as to what they do with that information.'

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Teen who auctioned her virginity for £8,000 may lose half... because prostitutes in Germany are taxed at 50% of earnings

By Allan Hall
Last updated at 2:04 AM on 22nd May 2009

 Alina Percea

Student Alina Percea auctioned off her virginity to the highest bidder on a German website - but now she may lose half her earnings to taxes

Tax authorities in Germany are poised to claim 50 per cent of the money that a teenage student earned for 'auctioning' her virginity because they claim it was 'tantamount to prostitution'.

Romanian-born Alina Percea, who is a student in Germany, was paid £8,800 in cash for a weekend of sex with the Italian businessman after she auctioned her virginity online.

But tax officials in Berlin regard the 18-year-old's act as 'nothing more than prostitution'.

Prostitution is legal in Germany - but it is heavily taxed.

'It is not a moral standpoint but a fiscal one,' an official said. 'Prostitution is not an illegal act in Germany, but not paying tax on earned money is.

'Consequently we are assessing her case and it looks likely she will have to pay around half of the sum she gained.'

The Romanian-born computer studies student's visa allows her to work in Germany for 90 days - even as a prostitute.

One tax expert said: 'Even if she was taxed as a purveyor of erotic moments, or whatever she wants to call what she did, she would have to pay tax on it. Prostitution is merely a means for the bureaucrats to pin her down for a claim.

'She would have been better off keeping quiet about this strange transaction.'

It also emerged that, because Alina earned so much in such a short time, she may even be liable for a hefty VAT bill too.

VAT in Germany works out to 19 per cent, meaning the sale of her virginity could land her with just over £3,000 in the end.

'When we have hard figures then we can make an accurate assessment,' said a German inland revenue spokesman.

Alina, who studies in Mannheim, told how a 45-year-old Italian businessman took her virginity with unprotected sex at a luxury Venetian hotel.

'I liked the man and got on with him well. He didn't look 45, and he seemed much younger.

'We spoke in English as I can't speak Italian and he can't speak Romanian.
He paid me a lot of compliments throughout the day, and he was very funny and charming. We got on very well, and I was pleased he'd won,' said Alina.

'We kissed, then undressed each other. I'd never done that before, so I was nervous. He laid me on the bed and started kissing my body, then we had sex. I was attracted to him, so I enjoyed it, even though it was quite painful.

'We only had sex once, then fell asleep. Next morning, we had breakfast together like any other couple, and I took the morning-after pill. He told me he'd like to see me again, and I agreed.

'I hope to see the man again - and next time I won't make him pay,' she added.

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DoCoMo unveils Japan's 1st Google cell phone; Softbank launches 60 new models

DoCoMo unveils Japan's 1st Google cell phone; Softbank launches 60 new models

DoCoMo’s Google cell phone


Japan’s top mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc rolled out its new summer lineup of mobile phone handsets on Tuesday, introducing Japan’s first mobile phone to use popular Internet search engine Google Inc’s free Android operating system.

Smaller rival Softbank Mobile Corp the same day unveiled an equally eclectic lineup of mobile phone handsets for the summer season, including one able to recharge using solar energy and another designed by Giorgio Armani.

The two mobile phone carries, both based in Tokyo, took the wraps off their latest mobile phone handsets as they continue their efforts to attract customers with appealing, multifunctional handsets at a time when sales of mobile phone handsets are sluggish amid the nation’s economic slowdown.

In unveiling his company’s summer lineup, DoCoMo President Ryuji Yamada said his firm is striving to offer ‘‘appealing’’ mobile phones and stop slackening consumption in its mobile phone handsets.

‘‘Our new handsets have various new features that are aimed to make functions more user-friendly and applicable to our users’ lifestyles,’’ Yamada said.

From or after May 22, DoCoMo will launch 17 new models under its existing four series—style, prime, smart and pro—that were designed to suit the various lifestyles of its 54 million users and their preferences in designs, functions and digital tools.

Under the DoCoMo “pro” series, the HT-03A handset, Japan’s first Google phone, offers various kinds of Google’s services such as its search engine function, Google map, and video site YouTube, which can be easily accessed through the phone’s touch screen. Made by HTC Corp, a Taiwan manufacturer, it is scheduled to go on sale from June or July.

‘‘This handset can offer different services from iPhone and we see this as a big step forward in our smart phone series,’’ Yamada said. ‘‘The release of handsets carrying the Android OS is going to be a big impact among the smart phone models.’’

Apple Inc’s iPhone, offered by Softbank, has enjoyed popularity in Japan since the smart phone debuted last July.

In addition to its original handsets, DoCoMo is also offering limited editions of a SH-06A NERV mobile phone that is modeled after the latest film in the popular Japanese animation franchise ‘‘Neon Genesis Evangelion.’’ The film ‘‘Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance’’ will be released in late June, and will show its main characters on the NERV mobile phones.

DoCoMo said the NERV mobile phone will go on sale to the public from June or July. Of the limited edition of 30,000 handsets, 20,000 will be earmarked for those who have made reservations and the remaining 10,000 units will be put on sale at DoCoMo stores and other outlets.

Prices of DoCoMo’s newly introduced handsets are undetermined, but they are likely to range between 40,000 yen to 50,000 yen, a company official said.

Softbank, Japan’s third-largest mobile phone carrier, was not to be outdone, as it came out with its own lineup of 19 models which are scheduled to be sold as early as this month.

One of the newest attractions is the Solar Hybrid 936SH model, developed by Sharp Corp, which has been putting much effort into nurturing its solar-panel business. It is slated to go on sale in late August and is likely to cost around 40,000 yen.

‘‘The key word in current times is eco, and having said that, this is our latest offering that is environmentally friendly,’’ said Softbank Mobile President Masayoshi Son. ‘‘On top of that, this particular handset is convenient for people on business trips and outings such as camping.’’

Recharging the Solar Hybrid handset in sunlight for about 10 minutes makes it possible to secure two hours of standby display and call time lasting one minute, the company said.

KDDI Corp, Japan’s second-largest mobile phone carrier and the operator of the ‘‘au’’ brand mobile service, already announced in April it will begin selling in June a handset that can be charged by sunlight.

Softbank Mobile, a mobile phone service unit of Softbank Corp, also rolled out the classy 830SC Emporio Armani handset, a collaboration of Giorgio Armani Spa and Samsung Electronics.

Bearing the Armani trademark, the handset has the Armani name and logo in three different colors—red, blue and green—on its side.

Softbank said the design was created by Armani with the view of Tokyo at night in mind. The Armani handset will be available in mid-September and is likely to be priced around 10,000 yen, a company official said.

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Japan revamps policy to tackle new flu as number of cases rises to 302


The Japanese government adopted a new policy on battling new strains of influenza Friday amid the domestic outbreak of an apparently milder form of the infection, with the number of confirmed cases in Japan rising to 302.

The new policy, intended to allow for more flexible responses to minimize the impact on people’s daily lives and business activity, regroups affected areas into two—one with a limited number of confirmed infections and the other where infections are spreading rapidly.

It also puts an end to quarantine checks of passengers on flights from North America to Japan.

‘‘It is important for local municipalities to take flexible approaches in containing the flu in accordance with circumstances specific to each region,’’ Prime Minister Taro Aso told his Cabinet at a meeting at the premier’s office, where the new policy was approved.

The previous policy—amended in February and geared to address an outbreak of the more virulent H5N1 avian flu—called for wholesale uniform measures for affected areas, while the current outbreak of the new strain of H1N1 influenza, or so-called swine flu, has remained rather localized.

Municipal governments have been required to put patients into designated hospitals regardless of the severity of their symptoms, straining available resources in some areas such as Hyogo and Osaka prefectures, where reported infections ballooned over a short period of time.

The new government policy, based on the cases observed so far, says new-flu patients may be treated similarly to those who come down with seasonal flu, except for people concurrently having chronic diseases such as diabetes or asthma.

The revamped policy says in areas where only a limited number of infections are reported, all new-flu patients are hospitalized to forestall further proliferation.

In rampant infection areas, milder symptom patients are allowed to be treated at home and general practitioners, besides designated hospitals, may admit patients if steps are taken to prevent the disease from infecting others inside the institution.

Japan has conducted onboard inspections of passengers on all flights that arrived at its three major airports from the United States, Canada and Mexico—where a significant number of infections have been reported—since April 28. Passengers who tested positive have been quarantined, while those sitting around them on the same flight have been isolated for seven days.

These checks will no longer be implemented, except when advance information is provided about passengers suffering fevers and other flu-like symptoms is given.

But just on Friday, a South Korean man who took United Airlines Flight 881 from Chicago, was confirmed infected with the flu after arriving at Narita International Airport, near Tokyo, on Thursday, and has been quarantined at a hospital nearby.

Eleven people sitting hear him were also isolated at a hotel but the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry lifted the isolation measure in line with the newly adopted policy that no longer mandates such action.

‘‘Anti-flu medicines have been effective for the new flu strain, which seems like seasonal flu in many aspects,’’ health minister Yoichi Masuzoe said, commenting on clinical data regarding about 70 cases that have been detected in Osaka.

‘‘However, we should stay alert because some deaths have been reported among overseas patients suffering from combinations of the new flu and other diseases,’’ Masuzoe said.

On Friday, Saitama Prefecture, neighboring Tokyo, reported its first new-flu infection—a 29-year-old Japanese man, in yet another sign of the disease spreading in Japan. In addition, five cases were newly confirmed in Osaka Prefecture.

The cases brought the tally of patients in Japan to 299, with most of them concentrated in Hyogo and Osaka prefectures.

The Tokyo metropolitan government reported its second confirmed case Thursday.

Meanwhile, amid the growing impact on businesses from the outbreak, the industry ministry said it will take some emergency measures to financially assist mid-sized and small companies.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai said new-flu cases have been gradually dealing a blow to local economies where infections have been confirmed as there were lots of cancellations at hotels and travel agencies.

‘‘In some shopping areas, people are gone,’’ Nikai said, referring to those who favor staying home in fear of the virus.

The ministry said it will introduce a safety-net loan program through some government-affiliated financial institutions, which will help smaller companies deal with the rapid deterioration of their business environment.

It also calls on those institutions and credit guarantee associations to relax regulations on their existing loans, including granting a delay in repaying borrowed money.

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U.S. airman spots aircraft fuel leak at 35,000 feet on Narita-bound flight

Staff Sgt Bartek Bachleda took this video image showing a fuel leak on a civilian aircraft on a flight from Chicago to Narita airport.

By Tech Sgt Rey Ramon


Most of us hear stories of Airmen saving lives in combat, but a U.S. airman who saves the lives of more than 300 passengers is definitely a story worth hearing.

A fuel leak on a civilian aircraft caught the attention of Staff Sgt Bartek Bachleda, 909th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, during a flight from Chicago to Narita airport last week. After alerting the pilots and aircrew, the ranking pilot made the decision to divert the flight to San Francisco.

“I noticed the leak on the left side of the aircraft right behind the wing earlier during take-off,” said Bachleda.

Bachleda continued analyzing the outflow of fuel to be 100% sure it was a leak while the plane was reaching cruising altitude. Almost an hour into the flight, he told a flight attendant of the possible leak, but was given an unconcerned response.

Bachleda then began to capture the possible leak on video. He then got the flight attendant’s attention by saying, “Ma’am it’s an emergency.” He identified himself to her and showed her the image on video.

“She was completely serious and was no longer handing out drinks,” he said. “I told her you need to inform your captain before we go oceanic.”

The captain came from the cockpit to where Bachleda was sitting to see the leak and view the video footage. Bachleda said the captain and the crew were trying to figure out how the aircraft was losing 6,000 pounds of fuel an hour and then they knew exactly what was going on.

The captain made a mid-air announcement the flight would be diverted back to Chicago, but then changed it to San Francisco so passengers could catch the only existing flight to Narita airport.

Once the flight arrived in San Francisco, Bachleda and a coworker were asked to stay back while the aircraft was deplaned. They waited for the arrival of investigators, the fire chief, and the owner of the airport to explain what went wrong.

“When we got off the airplane, everyone was thanking us,” said the sergeant.

While conversing with the captain, the sergeant said he was hesitant at first to inform them about the leak, but he knew it was abnormal. The captain said they would have never made it to Japan if it wasn’t for him.

The two airmen were put up in a hotel overnight and flew back to Japan the next morning. The airline company showed their appreciation by seating them first-class.

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How Easy Is It to Get a Medical Marijuana Card?


After a 10 minute exam and paying $125, one San Diegan received a medical marijuana card.

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Pedophile Investigated in McCann Case

posted: 10 MINUTES AGO

(May 22) -- Raymond Hewlett, a fugitive British pedophile, is under suspicion in the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, according to reports Friday in the British media.
The London Evening Standard reports that Hewlett is being treated for throat cancer at a hospital in Germany and may be extradited to England, where he is wanted for questioning in sex attacks stretching back to the 1970s.
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Poice, PA / AP
10 photos
Investigators want to know whether Raymond Hewlett, a fugitive pedophile from Britain, had anything to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, according to British media reports. He was believed to be living near the Portuguese vacation resort where she vanished in May 2007.
Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for Gerry and Kate McCann, the girl's parents, told the newspaper that "Hewlett is somebody we have been looking at for a little while. But he is just one line of inquiry."
Hewlett is believed to have been living near the resort where the McCanns were vacationing in Praia da Luz, Portugal, when their daughter vanished in May 2007. Madeleine was 3 years old at the time.

Hewlett, 64, is a convicted sex offender, the Evening Standard said.
London's Daily Mail reported that detectives working for the McCanns have flown to Germany to question Hewlett. The newspaper attributed that information to unnamed sources close to the investigation.
The interest in Hewlett was disclosed just weeks after the McCanns marked the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance with a publicity campaign aimed at generating new leads in the case. They released a new police sketch of a man seen around their vacation villa in May 2007, as well as an image of what their daughter might look like today, at age 6.
The McCanns also discussed the case on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' in early May. You can see a video excerpt of that appearance below.

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Sem caixa, Hugo Chávez busca ajuda do BNDES

da Folha de S.Paulo, de Caracas

Com dificuldades de caixa após a queda no preço do petróleo, o presidente venezuelano, Hugo Chávez, está negociando com o BNDES (Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social) o financiamento de projetos em andamento que contam com a participação de empresas brasileiras.

"O BNDES tem uma carteira potencial de projetos com a Venezuela que ascende a US$ 10 bilhões e financiamentos potenciais na escala, por parte do banco, de US$ 4,3 bilhões", disse ontem à Folha o presidente da instituição, Luciano Coutinho, após se reunir com Chávez, em Caracas. A visita é parte dos preparativos para a viagem do presidente venezuelano à Bahia, na terça-feira.

Os financiamentos sob análise se encaixam na modalidade de exportação de bens e serviços de empresas brasileiras. As negociações mais avançadas envolvem duas linhas de metrô em Caracas, no total de US$ 732 milhões.

Ambas as obras estão sob a responsabilidade da Odebrecht, a maior empreiteira em operação na Venezuela. As negociações foram iniciadas em dezembro, e a expectativa da empresa é que o contrato seja assinado nos próximos 60 dias.

Nos últimos meses, a Odebrecht --assim como várias outras empresas prestadoras de serviço ao Estado- vem sofrendo com o atraso no repasse de verbas, provocando a redução no ritmo de algumas obras.

Também está em tramitação a concessão de empréstimo de até US$ 300 milhões para a Propilsul, empresa produtora de polipropileno que tem como sócias a Braskem (braço petroquímico da Odebrecht) e a estatal venezuela Pequiven.

Os projetos que podem ter envolvimento do BNDES incluem ainda a construção de um estaleiro e uma siderúrgica, ambos a cargo da construtora Andrade Gutierrez, e outras duas fábricas com participação da Braskem.

Com a receita do petróleo reduzida à metade e num cenário de pouco crédito mundial, o BNDES é visto por Chávez como opção viável de financiamento externo, principalmente pelo bom relacionamento político com o presidente Lula.

De acordo com Coutinho, o encontro com Chávez serviu para discutir mecanismos para que esses financiamentos sejam feitos no âmbito do CCR (Convênio de Pagamentos e Créditos Recíproco), uma câmara de compensação de crédito e débitos da Aladi (Associação Latino Americana de Integração), da qual Brasil e Venezuela fazem parte.

Pelo sistema CCR, os bancos centrais fazem periodicamente um acerto de contas. Se o devedor deixa de pagar, o BC desse país assume o débito -na prática, um seguro de pagamento.

Do lado brasileiro, um dos obstáculos para a ampliação das linhas de financiamento é o aumento do teto atual para o financiamento de exportação de bens e serviços à Venezuela.

A revisão precisa ser aprovada pelo Ministério da Fazenda e pelo Cofig (Comitê de Financiamento e Garantia das Exportações), no qual apenas representantes de ministérios têm direito a voto.

"Mesmo dentro do limite anterior, como a Venezuela hon- rou todas as dívidas, e o saldo devedor é muito baixo, existe limite para fazer mesmo dentro do que estava vigente. Então não há um grande problema imediato", disse Coutinho.

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Morre o músico Zé Rodrix, aos 61 anos, em São Paulo


da Folha Online

O cantor e compositor Zé Rodrix, 61, morreu na madrugada desta sexta-feira (22), em São Paulo. O músico deixa mulher, seis filhos e dois netos.

Drika Bourquim/Divulgação
Zé Rodrix ganhou destaque na música durante a década de 70, ao lado de Sá e Guarabyra
Zé Rodrix ganhou destaque na música durante a década de 70, ao lado de Sá e Guarabyra

De acordo com informações do "Bom Dia São Paulo", o músico se sentiu mal e foi levado às pressas ao Hospital das Clínicas, onde morreu.

A assessoria de imprensa do hospital afirma que o músico deu entrada às 0h30 e morreu às 0h45. A causa da morte ainda não foi informada.

Rodrix, cujo nome de batismo é José Rodrigues Trindade, apareceu para o grande público em 1967, em um festival da Record.

Sua carreira ganhou destaque nos anos 70, quando trabalhou com o grupo Som Imaginário --banda criada para acompanhar uma turnê de Milton Nascimento-- e ao lado dos músicos Sá e Guarabyra. O trio se transformou em ícone do chamado "rock rural".

Entre as canções mais famosas de Zé Rodrix estão "Casa no Campo", famosa na voz de Elis Regina, "Mestre Jonas" e "Soy Latino Americano".

Nas décadas de 80 e 90, Rodrix abandonou a carreira musical para se dedicar à publicidade.

Em 2001, voltou a se reunir com os companheiros Sá e Guarabira para uma apresentação do "Rock in Rio". No mesmo ano, o trio lançou um DVD ao vivo, reunindo seus maiores sucessos: "Sá, Rodrix & Guarabyra: Outra Vez Na Estrada - Ao Vivo".

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Alemanha: VW revela o novo Golf State

A Volkswagen divulgou na manhã desta quinta-feira (21),
as primeiras imagens e informações sobre a nova variante State (perua) do Golf,
também chamada de Variant, em outros países, e aproveitou para anunciar o início da
campanha de pré-venda do modelo para esta sexta-feira (22), apenas para a Europa.
Trata-se da sexta geração da perua e a quarta configuração da gama Golf,
que ainda é formada pelas versões hatchback, de duas e quatro portas,
e pelo modelo familiar Plus. De acordo com a VW,
a opção de entrada da perua custa 18.500 euros e traz de série controle eletrônico
de estabilidade ESP, seis airbags, acionamento elétrico de todos os vidros
e espelhos externos, travamento central das portas e por controle remoto,
além de ar-condicionado. visual externo é marcado pelas diretrizes de design presentes na
atual geração do Golf, caracterizado pelas linhas limpas e agressivas.
Assim como o hatch, a perua exibe novos párachoques,
grade e capô, alêm de faróis e entradas de ar redesenhadas.
De acordo com o fabricante, as primeiras unidades do novo Golf State devem
ser entregues aos consumidores em setembro. O cardápio de motores é formado
por seis opções, sendo quatro, a gasolina - 1.4 litro, de 80 cavalos de potência,
e 1.4 l TSI, de 122 cv ou 160 cv além de um 1.6 l, de 102 cv -, e duas, a diesel,
1.6 l, de 105 cv, e 2.0 l, de 140 cv.
Todos trarão caixas de câmbio manuais de cinco ou seis marchas.
No entanto, as versões a gasolina 1.4 TSI poderão contar com transmissão automática
de dupla embreagem DSG, de sete velocidades.

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Alertan de que sistema GPS podría fallar el próximo año

Imagen: Gps.gov

Imagen: Gps.gov

Desde pilotar un avión hasta localizar el camino a la gasolinera más cercana, el sistema GPS se ha hecho imprescindible en la vida diaria, pero un informe del Gobierno de Estados Unidos alerta de que podría fallar en 2010 por falta de fondos.

El Ejército del Aire estadounidense, responsable de la gestión de la red de satélites que hacen posible el sistema de posicionamiento GPS, ha descuidado sus tareas, asegura un reciente estudio de la Oficina de Responsabilidad Gubernamental.

El informe ha sido recogido por la prensa estadounidense y advierte al Congreso de Estados Unidos de que son necesarios unos 2.000 millones de dólares (1.460 millones de euros) para actualizar la red de satélites si se quiere evitar que empiecen a fallar.

"Cuando los viejos satélites empiecen a registrar fallos en 2010, existe una alta probabilidad de que la red caiga por debajo del número de satélites requeridos para proveer el nivel de servicio al que el Gobierno de Estados Unidos se ha comprometido", dice el estudio.

La Oficina de Responsabilidad Gubernamental acusa al Ejército de haber fracasado en su tarea de construir satélites para el sistema, ajustándose al presupuesto y en los períodos de tiempo requeridos.

El único en funcionamiento

Creado por el Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos y gestionado por el Ejército del Aire, el sistema de posicionamiento GPS es el único sistema global de navegación vía satélite actualmente funcionando.

La red dispone de entre 24 y 32 satélites en órbita alrededor de La Tierra y son necesarios al menos cuatro para localizar un punto determinado.

Es el único sistema global de navegación vía satélite que funciona actualmente

El sistema GPS puede ser utilizado libremente por cualquiera y sus usos civiles se han multiplicado en la última década.

Es habitual en aviones comerciales, barcos y automóviles donde ha sustituido a los tradicionales mapas de carretera, pero también en la última generación de teléfonos móviles, en los que ha permitido la creación de numerosas aplicaciones.

Aunque, teóricamente, el sistema podría seguir funcionando con menos de 24 satélites operativos, los expertos creen que su precisión se reduciría notablemente.

Clave en el Ejército

Para usted o para mí supondría no obtener resultados tan exactos cuando buscamos una calle en el Tom-Tom o el restaurante más cercano en Google Maps para iPhone, pero para la aviación comercial o el Ejército las consecuencias de una mínima imprecisión son enormes.

"Ellos operan con un margen de precisión del 99,9%. Si cae por debajo del 95% no se sienten cómodos", dijo a la cadena CNN Alan Cameron, editor de la revista especializada en el sector GPS World.

Precisamente por su interés para la seguridad nacional, los analistas esperan que el Gobierno encuentre una forma rápida de realizar las inversiones necesarias para actualizar el sistema.

"Si algunos bancos son demasiado importantes para quebrar, también lo son ciertos programas gubernamentales. Es el caso del GPS y, como con los bancos, parece probable que se destinen grandes sumas a encontrar una solución", dijo David Coursey, analista de PC World.

Galileo, en 2011

Una eventual falta de precisión del sistema GPS beneficiaría al sistema europeo Galileo, desarrollado por la Unión Europea (UE) y la Agencia Espacial Europea y que debería estar operativo en 2011.

Cuando empiece a funcionar, Galileo tendrá un margen de error de sólo de 4 metros en horizontal y menos de 8 en vertical, prácticamente la décima parte del GPS.

La iniciativa europea nació para evitar una excesiva dependencia del sistema de posicionamiento estadounidense, especialmente en el caso de que se produjeran fallos como los que podrían empezar a afectar a los navegadores de nuestros automóviles a partir del próximo año.

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Sitúan a un pederasta británico cerca de la zona donde desapareció Maddie

El presunto pederasta, Hewlett Raymond, y la pequeña Maddie.

El presunto pederasta, Hewlett Raymond, y la pequeña Maddie.

  • Raymond, de 64 años, estaba a una hora del lugar del que desapareció Maddie

elmundo.es | Madrid

Actualizado viernes 22/05/2009 09:24 horas

Los detectives privados que continúan investigando la desaparición de Madeleine McCann están sobre una nueva pista que sitúa a un pederasta británico condenado en la zona donde desapareció la pequeña hace dos años, según informa 'The Guardian'.

Un portavoz de Kate y Gerry McCann, que durante un tiempo fueron sospechosos de la 'muerte accidental' de su hija, han confirmado que los investigadores contratados por la Fundación Madeleine vieron en el sumario que Hewlett Raymond, ex soldado de 64 años, estaba viviendo a una hora en coche del centro turístico de Praia da Luz cuando la pequeña de tres años desapareció en mayo de 2007.

Hewlett, 64, ha sido encarcelado varias veces por delitos sexuales contra niñas.

El 'Daily Mirror' ha publicado hoy una foto de Hewlett que, según recoge, está siendo tratado de cáncer en un hospital alemán.

Según el 'Daily Mail', el ex guardia escocés se cree que ha vivido cerca de Faro, localidad del Algarve, en mayo de 2007. El periódico asegura que, aunque no está claro si Hewlett fue interrogado por la policía portuguesa, sí han sido informados de su presunta presencia en Faro en aquel momento.

'The Mirror' informa que Hewlett dijo que él estaba en un mercado en la ciudad portuguesa de Fuseta, a 30 millas de Praia da Luz, cuando Madeleine desapareció. Hewlett agregó: "Sé exactamente dónde estaba. Yo no estaba en cualquier lugar cerca de allí."
Nueva línea de investigación

Clarence Mitchell, portavoz de los padres de Madeleine, ha afirmado que Hewlett representa una línea de investigación que está siendo analizada por los especialistas que trabajan para la pareja, procedente de Rothley, en Leicestershire.

"No voy a entrar en detalles. Todo lo que diré es que somos conscientes de la presencia de Raymond Hewlett y las investigaciones que se han llevado a cabo en torno a él", ha dicho Mitchell.

"Los investigadores están estudiando las circunstancias que rodean a esas investigaciones. Hewlett es una persona de interés para la investigación de Madeleine. Más allá de eso, no puedo dar ningún otro detalle".

En este sentido, ha señalado que los McCanns eran "plenamente consciente" del desarrollo y ha añadido que los investigadores han estado en Portugal durante la última semana.

A principios de este mes, los padres de Maddie publicaron una imagen que mostraba cómo podría ser su hija dos años después de su desaparición. Además, se hizo público un retrato de un hombre al que se vio por la zona en actitud sospechosa.

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Nuevo VW Golf Variant

Nuevo Volkswagen Golf Variant
ampliar foto

Jueves, 21 de mayo de 2009

Nuevo VW Golf Variant

Volkswagen acaba de presentar una nueva carrocería de la sexta generación del Golf. Se trata del Golf Variant, que llegará a los concesionarios en las próximas semanas. La gama estará formada por tres motores de gasolina -1.6 de 102 caballos y 1.4 TSI de 122 y 160 caballos- y dos diésel -1.6 TDI de 105 caballos y 2.0 TDI de 140 caballos-.


  • MADRID.-Volkswagen acaba de presentar la versión familiar de la sexta generación del Golf. El nuevo Golf Variant es la cuarta carrocería de la gama de este compacto, después del Golf de tres puertas, el cinco puertas y el Golf Plus.

    Aunque el Golf Variant no es un modelo con una gran demanda en España, Volkswagen comercializó un total de 95.000 unidades de este modelo en 2008. Para hacernos una idea de lo importante de esta cifra, cabe señalar que Volkswagen vendió en España en 2008 alrededor de 96.000 turismos y todoterrenos.

    Nuevo Volkswagen Golf Variant
    ampliar foto

    También cabe señalar que aunque está basado en el Golf VI, en realidad se trata de la cuarta generación de Golf Variant, puesto que Volkswagen comenzó a fabricarlo en 1993 con la cuarta generación del Golf.

    Por tanto, del Golf Variant -también conocido como Estate- sólo han existido tres generación previas: Golf III, Golf IV y Golf V.

    Tal y como ocurre con el Golf VI, el nuevo Variant es una profunda actualización del modelo que todavía se comercializa. Por ello y a la espera de que Volkswagen comercialice las dimensiones del vehículo, todo hace pensar que el nuevo Golf Variant tendrá una longitud cercana a los 4,60 metros y una distancia entre ejes de alrededor de 2,57 metros.

    Nuevo Volkswagen Golf Variant
    ampliar foto

    Respecto al diseño, Volkswagen ha logrado mantener en esta carrocería la estética de la sexta generación del compacto alemán.

    Para lograrlo, ha introducido nuevos grupos ópticos, paragolpes y, lo que es más importante, una parrilla de diferente diseño.

    En la zaga, en cambio, los cambios son mínimos y tan sólo se aprecian nuevos grupos ópticos, ya que inicialmente para que Volkswagen ha mantenido elementos como el portón, la tercera ventanilla e incluso los paragolpes.

    Nuevo Volkswagen Golf Variant
    ampliar foto

    En el interior comprobamos que los cambios introducidos en la sexta generación del Golf también han llegado a este familiar.

    De todos ellos sobresalen las nuevas toberas, el cuadro de instrumentos, el volante, la consola, etc. Damos por hecho además que este nuevo Variant presentará además una mayor calidad de los acabados, así como un mayor confort de viaje tal y como ocurre con el compacto alemán.

    Nuevo Volkswagen Golf Variant
    ampliar foto

    Respecto a las mecánicas, pocas novedades si lo comparamos con el Golf VI. Tan sólo nos sorprende que Volkswagen también haya decidido retirar también el Golf Variant -tal y como ha hecho en el Golf- el 2.0 TDI de 110 caballos, sustitúyéndolo por un novedoso 1.6 TDI de 105 caballos.

    Según la firma alemana, este propulsor es más confortable, menos ruidoso, logra unas emisiones bajas -119 gramos de CO2- y unos consumos también bajos -4,5 litros-. El siguiente escalón diésel es en el tradicional 2.0 TDI de 140 caballos.

    Respecto a las versioens de gasolina, existirán cuatro propulsores, aunque a España sólo llegarán tres: 1.6 de 102 caballos y 1.4 TSI de 122 y 160 caballos.

    En el siguiente cuadro se muestran los motores que incorporará el nuevo Golf Variant:

    Gasolina - Cilindrada
    80 caballos
    Manual de cinco marchas
    102 caballos
    Manual de cinco marchas
    102 caballos
    DSG de 7 marchas
    1.4 TSI
    122 caballos
    Manual de seis marchas
    1.4 TSI
    122 caballos
    DSG de 7 marchas
    1.4 TSI
    160 caballos
    Manual de seis marchas
    1.4 TSI
    160 caballos
    DSG de 7 marchas

    Diésel - Cilindrada
    1.6 TDI
    105 caballos
    Manual de cinco marchas
    1.6 TDI
    105 caballos
    DSG de 7 marchas
    2.0 TDI
    140 caballos
    Manual de seis marchas
    2.0 TDI
    140 caballos
    DSG de 6 marchas

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