Archive | May, 2013

New York Tests Out Bike-Share Program… And Other News

New York Bike Share

It didn’t catch on in Toronto, but Mayor Bloomberg is determined to make it work in New York.

New York City has launched the first phase of its bike-share program, placing 6,000 bikes at 333 stations in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Although it’s off to a late start (10 months later than scheduled), fourteen thousand New York hipsters have already signed up. For an annual fee of $95 New Yorkers can take unlimited bike rides of less than 45 minutes each. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the program was a “big win” for the city. BBC News

Zimmerman v MartinFamiliarity with guns and marijuana use do not make you a shooting target. A Florida judge ruled that “hostile” texts Trayvon Martin sent before being fatally shot and the fact that marijuana was in his system when he died are inadmissible in George Zimmerman’s trial for second-degree murder. Bad news for Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. The judge is still mulling over whether the 911 call in which Martin ‘might’ be heard screaming in the background can be used in the June 10 trial. CNN

Frosted Mini WheatsKellogg’s frosted mini-wheats will NOT improve your child’s attentiveness, memory and other cognitive functions. Instead you’ll just be left with an annoying kid hopped up on sugar. Kellogg’s learned that the hard way after they agreed to pay $4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over the marketing claims it made for Frosted Mini-Wheats. Kellogg says in a statement that the ad campaign in question ran about four years ago and that it has since adjusted its messaging to incorporate guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission. Now, the new slogan is all about fiber: “fill you up first thing and help keep you focused all morning.” CBC News

GoatGoats gone wild! A goat has been terrorizing a Brazilian village, causing hilarious YouTube footage.  Residents of Londrina, Brazil recently filmed a troublesome goat on a rampage as he terrorized bystanders, motorcyclists and even the cameraman, knocking old ladies over and running people off the road before he was finally subdued. After the goat head-butting rampage, there was nothing left to do except upload the footage. Raw Story

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Chinese Baby Found in Sewage Pipe

Baby in Sewage Pipe

A newborn baby was rescued in China after being found alive in a sewage pipe after apparently being flushed down the toilet.

Apparently today is anti-Chinese day on Reagan Plus Cats. But they kind of had it coming when they started flushing babies down the toilet…

In a surprising twist, the discarded newborn was NOT a girl. The baby boy was discovered after reports of a baby crying in a residential building in Jinhua in the wealthy coastal area of Zheijang. After firefighters removed the sewage pipe, located directly beneath a toilet, and took it to a nearby hospital, the baby had to be cut free by doctors.

The child, thought to be just a few days old, is somehow in a stable condition and police are treating the case as an attempted homicide.

The case has sparked outrage on Chinese social media sites, where footage of the two-hour rescue was broadcast widely. Users did not have the nicest things to say:

“The parents who did this have hearts even filthier than that sewage pipe

“Can these people be called human beings?”

According to Agence France-Presse, the baby’s 22-year-old unmarried mother had hidden her pregnancy and claimed the baby “fell into the toilet” after she unexpectedly gave birth. No word yet on the whereabouts of the father. The child has since been named Baby No. 59 based on the number of his incubator.

Abandoned babies are fairly common in China due to the country’s one-child policy, preference for males, and poor medical care. Lack of education and medical care contributes to many young mothers not even being aware they are pregnant. But flushing it down the toilet? Come on, China, you know that’s not a No. 2; it’s a No. 59. 

Via: The Guardian

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Obnoxious Chinese Tourists? You Don’t Say….

Chinese Tourists

Following a graffiti incident in Egypt, China is beginning to get embarrassed about it’s tourists’ obnoxious behaviour abroad.

On Friday a photo was posted online of graffiti at a Luxor temple in Egypt saying “Ding Jinhao was here.” Original, no. Obnoxious, yes. The actions of Ding Jinhao, the Chinese teenager who vandalized the ancient Egyptian artwork, caused outrage in China and the rest of the world.

Ding Jinhao’s parents have since apologized for the incident, after Chinese hackers identified the boy and posted his personal information online.

“We want to apologise to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China,” Mr Ding’s mother told local newspaper Modern Express on Saturday.

Luckily, Egypt’s ministry of antiquities was quoted as saying the damage to the temple wall was superficial and measures were being taken to restore it. But the incident speaks to a larger problem which is, as one of China’s four vice-premiers, puts it, the “uncivilised behaviour” of some Chinese tourists harming the country’s image.

Vice premier Wang Yang recently scolded Chinese holiday habits:

 “They speak loudly in public, carve characters on tourist attractions, cross the road when the traffic lights are still red, spit anywhere and [carry out] some other uncivilized behavior,” said Wang. “It damages the image of the Chinese people and has a very bad impact.”

Chinese tourism overseas is rapidly rising, boosted by new wealth and ever-improving exchange rates, and Chinese officials are becoming increasingly concerned. Reports of Chinese tourists behaving badly generally include spitting, littering, ignoring traffic laws, speaking loudly, and going to the bathroom where there is no bathroom. This has prompted a sign outside the Louvre in Paris which forbids people from urinating or defecating wherever they want. The sign is only written in Chinese.

Some chalk up this behaviour to naivety and cultural misunderstanding. After all, many tourists may be travelling overseas for the first time and are not really aware of any cultural etiquette. While not sh*tting in public seems like a no-brainer to most, others need a sign to tell them. At the very least, it’s taken the heat off of American tourists who are perceived to be loud and obnoxious. Maybe it’s a superpower right of passage: before you can become a superpower you must first have obnoxious tourists that make everyone hate your country.

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Chinese Hackers

Current Event Cat - Hacked by Chinese Hackers

According to a report prepared for the Pentagon, Chinese hackers have gained access to top-secret military documents that detail designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems.

The confidential report reveals that more than two dozen major weapons-design systems were compromised by Chinese hackers, including crucial programs for missile, aircraft, and combat defense.

Experts worry that Chinese access to this information could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U.S. military advantage in a future conflict. Long story short: China’s taking over.  

The Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group made up of government and civilian experts, did not outright accuse the Chinese of stealing the designs, but they’ve got a pretty strong feeling. When you know, you know! In fact, the Board believes the hacking could be part of a larger espionage plot by the Chinese. Yep, they’re definitely taking over.

Maybe America should just hand over their sensitive information to begin with and pray the Chinese show them mercy when they attack?

Via: Current Event Cats & The Washington Post

John McCain Goes to Syria… And Other News

John McCain Goes to Syria

John McCain is making the most of his memorial day by visiting with Syrian rebels.

The trip makes Republican senator John McCain the highest-ranking U.S. official to enter Syria since the bloody civil war there began more than two years ago. Although he only remained in the country for a few hours (once you’ve seen one pile of rubble, you’ve seen them all!), he met with met with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army and some other Free Syrian Army commanders. The Syrian rebels tried to get John McCain to give them weapons to continue their fight against Syrian President Bashar al Assad. But the decision is ultimately up to the Obama administration, who are considering increased support to the Syrian opposition but fear American weapons flowing into Syria could end up in the hands of terrorists. Via: The Daily Beast

John-ValluzzoMilitary museum founder shot dead by police – Happy Memorial Day everyone! Police shot and killed “drunk” Korean war vet John Valluzzo, 75, at his Connecticut mansion on Friday. Connecticut state police said officers were called to Valluzzo’s home in Ridgefield, Connecticut to respond to a domestic dispute. A neighbour had called police saying that Valluzzo was intoxicated and having an argument with his girlfriend. Valluzzo then pointed a handgun at officers and refused to obey orders to put it down. End result? They shot him. Via: Connecticut News-Times

Rob FordToronto Mayor Rob Ford is going down and everyone seems to be jumping ship. Four days after Rob Ford fired his Chief of Staff, both his press secretary and deputy press secretary have suddenly quit, amid the rumours that he’s a crackhead mayor. The mayor’s office confirmed the news with a short statement: “The Mayor thanks both George and Isaac for their valuable contributions and wishes them the best in their future endeavours.” Rob Ford is still denying the video of him smoking crack exists and has also denied he has a cocaine problem. Maybe he will be next to jump ship? Via: CBC News

ViagraNew hope for blue balls everywhere! A new pill, marketed as “women’s viagra”, could be available as soon as 2016. The pill, called Lybrido, uses a combination of testosterone and a Viagra-like drug in a bid to increase sexual desire and improve sexual satisfaction. The results of a trial involving more than 200 women have not yet been published, although Dr. Tuiten, the founder of the Dutch firm Emotional Brain who has developed the pill, describes them as “very, very promising”. Dr. Truiten also says that up to 43 per cent of women suffer from a low sex drive at some point in their lives and that the drug will simply raise a low libido to normal levels. Via: Business Insider

Car bomb blast in BasraMore bombs over Baghdad. This time with extra casualties! A series of car bombs targeting mainly Shia areas exploded in Baghdad, killing more than 57 people. Many more were injured in the blasts, which occurred in busy shopping areas and markets in the city. Sectarian violence in Iraq is worsening and tensions between the Shi’ite leadership and the Sunni Muslim minority haven’t exactly been the greatest lately. No group claimed responsibility for the blasts. But Sunni Muslim Islamist insurgents and al-Qaeda’ s Iraqi wing have increased attacks since the beginning of the year and often target Shi’ite districts… so it was probably them… Via: BBC News

Cat beardNewsflash: Cat beards are the new thing. The Internet loves cats and now it loves cat beards. If you don’t know what cat bearding is, you’re probably too old to be using the Internet. Check up the 25 most epic cat beards of all time here. Sometimes cats get in on the fun and make their own cat beards! Proof.  Via: The Toronto Sun, the classiest of all Toronto newspapers!

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Colombia Unveils Major FARC Breakthrough

FARC PEace 

Colombia made a deal with the devil. And by the devil, I mean FARC rebels. And by deal, I mean a land reform deal.

The Colombian government joined forces with the leftist FARC rebels on Sunday to reach a breakthrough deal on land reform, the first step in a peace process launched six months ago.

The land reform deal will create a “land fund” of illegally seized land or underused acres that will be put aside to be redistributed to landless peasants. Land rights and distribution are a big deal in Colombia, where 52% of farms are in the hands of just over 1% of landowners. Between 1985 and 2008 a lot of land was stolen, abandoned or forcibly taken as a result of the conflict.

Under this new redistribution plan, farmers would receive loans, technical assistance and marketing advice as well as legal and police protection. Details about how many hectares would be redistributed remain vague at this point.

The deal was not an easy one to negotiate. A FARC negotiator said both sides had worked for two days without sleep, with both sides wanting to end the 50-year conflict. Both sides have motivation to seek peace.

On the government side, the agreement is seen as the first part of a possible peace accord that would be a major boost for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who plans to seek reelection next year. Ending the conflict is also seen as the key to opening up the country to more investment, infrastructure projects and social programs.

On the FARC side… well, FARC hasn’t been doing so well lately. The rebel group has weakened in recent years and has been basically been kept alive with profits from drug trafficking and extortion. With the original goal of overthrowing the government and installing a Marxist regime, FARC seems to have said “FARC it” and resorted to kidnapping people and dealing drugs. FARC is thought to have some 8,000 fighters, down from about 16,000 in 2001. I guess they realized they should probably step up the peace agreements before their numbers dwindle any further.

Via: The Los Angeles Times

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Germany Says Goodbye to Graffiti and Hello to Drones

Graffiti No More

Not to be outdone by America’s anti-terrorist (and sometimes anti-civilian) drones, Germany has introduced anti-graffiti drones.

If Germany’s biggest problem is graffiti, then I’d say they’re doing okay. But for Germany’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, okay is not enough! The railway is not happy with the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property. The solution (which is in no way an overreaction)? Drones!

The company plans to test small drones with infra-red cameras to collect evidence needed to prosecute graffiti artists who deface railway property in the darkest hours of the night. Apparently graffiti costs Deutsche Bahn almost 8 million euros a year. And the drones? Each one will cost around 60,000 euros.

But not so fast Deutsche Bahn! Germany has very strict anti-surveillance laws and privacy is a very sensitive issue among the German folk. If they objected to Google Street View, they probably won’t be too pleased with flying surveillance cameras.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman tried to reassure everyone that its drones would only be used in big depots where vandals enter at night and spray-paint carriages. So unless you are a night-time railway graffiti artist, the drones won’t really care about you. But if you are a night-time railway graffiti artist, the drones will identify you with their sophisticated infra-red sensors and you will go to jail.

Sounds like Germany will have to pull an Obama and weigh the pros and cons of drone use. Except, instead of increased terrorist attacks vs. civilian casualties, it will be annoying graffiti vs. angry privacy loving Germans.

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Robbie Rogers

Current Event Cat - Robbie Rogers

On Sunday Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S professional league when he made his Major League Soccer debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Yes, despite the hoards of metrosexual soccer-loving Euros, THIS was the first time an openly gay player took to the field. Another historic title for Robbie Rogers: the best looking openly gay athlete who has played in American pro sports.

The proof is in the smile —–>Robbie Rogers

Robbie Rogers retired from soccer in February after publicly revealing his sexual orientation. But now Robbie Rogers is back where he belongs – playing with balls. The soccer stud announced his return on Friday, got picked up by the Galaxy on Saturday, and entered a game in the 77th minute as a substitute on Sunday. Busy weekend.

“It’s crazy to me to think I stepped away from this game at 25,” he said. “I’ll sit in my bed tonight and thank God gave me the courage to do this and come back.”

“I guess this is a historic thing, but for me it was just a soccer game,” he continued. Gay AND modest!

And I guess with David Beckham retiring, soccer needed a new gay poster boy.

Via: Current Event Cats

Mayor Rob Ford Fires Chief of Staff… And Other News

Rob Ford on Crack

Crack smoking, food guzzling Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has fired his chief of staff amid allegations that he was caught smoking crack cocaine on video.

According to the Post, Mark Towhey gave the Mayor Rob Ford three options last Friday,: fight the accusations — and lose, resign or go away and get help for his “problem.” Towhey failed to include the most popular option: fire your Chief of Staff and refuse to speak about the drug video.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ford’s own executive committee released a statement Friday afternoon urging him to directly address the crack allegations. “The allegations need to be addressed openly and transparently,” the letter reads. “We are encouraging the Mayor to address this matter so that we can continue to focus on serving the people of Toronto.” Your move Rob Ford. The National Post

UPDATE: Rob Ford speaks! 

“I do not use crack cocaine,” Ford told a jam-packed news conference at Toronto City Hall. “Nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.” Ford went on to say he could not comment on a video “that I have never seen or does not exist.” The Mayor then left the room and refused to answer any questions.

Obama - No Sexual Assault in NavyFemale soldiers are now more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed in combat. WHaaaat??! With this in mind, President Obama has urged the navy to stop sexual assaults. In a commencement address at the US Naval Acadamy, Obama warned that the sexual-assault problem in the military must be addressed immediately. “Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong,” Obama said. Earlier this month, the Pentagon released a report revealing that as many as 26,000 service members may have been sexually assaulted in 2012 and unreported sexual assaults are expected to increase in 2013. Yikes, maybe female soldiers should buy some rape insurance before enlisting… USA Today

Bad BurnHappy “Don’t Fry Day”! Just in time for Memorial Day tanning, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated May 24, 2013 as “Don’t Fry Day”. The day is designed to encourage women to use sunscreen before baking in the sun.

  • FACT 1: Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • FACT 2: Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for young adults 15-29 years old.
  • FACT 3: It is estimated that one American dies every hour from skin cancer.
  • FACT 4: The American Cancer Society estimates that 12,650 people will die  from skin cancer in 2013, mostly due to malignant melanoma, which is among the fastest rising cancers in the U.S.

Know any retarded 16 year olds who like to bake in the sun? Send this video to them. Washington Post

Picnic on an IcebergWhy not to have a picnic on an iceberg: the iceberg may drift into the ocean… Four American tourists learned this lesson the hard way after their picnic spot in the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon in East Iceland began to detach and drift away from the shore. The tourists were later rescued from the piece of ice after one managed to jump to shore and call for help. According to the rescue team, the group had set up a table and chairs with the plan of eating dinner when a gust of wind suddenly pushed the ice away from land, leaving them stranded about 10 meters from the shore. “When we arrived it was quite comical to see them sitting on chairs and with a table on an iceberg … Yes the dinner was over,” one rescue worker said. Iceland Review

Amanda Bynes and a Gross WigAmanda Bynes noooooo! The troubled Disney trainwreck was arrested last night after smoking weed in the hallway and then throwing a bong (Bynes claims it was a “vase”) out the window of her 36th floor apartment. Her mugshot showed her with a bald Britney circa 2007 look but Bynes showed up in court the next day in what has to be the worst wig ever created. If you want a judge to believe you are sane, do not wear this 99-cent wig in public. The judge however wasn’t fazed by the wig and released her after warning that she will be arrested again if she doesn’t show up to her court hearing in July. The Daily Beast

Jersey Shore Meets Jersey WhaleDoes Chris Christie hate Snooki? Snooki seems to think so. And why not? Everyone else hates her. Governor Chris Christie and the female cast of Jersey Shore has an awkward run-in on the Seaside Heights boardwalk after taping separate segments for the “Today” show. In the Jersey shore meets Jersey whale video, Snooki appears repulsed when the Governor leans in super close to talk to her right after she complained he was standing too close. After the meeting, Snook tweeted a photo of the encounter and wrote, “Getting told why we are bad for jersey. Amazing.” TMZ

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Turkey Says No to Alcohol, Yes to Yogurt!

No Alcohol, Just Yogurt

Turkey’s parliament has passed an anti-alcohol bill designed to restrict the consumption and advertising of alcohol.

The controversial measure, passed on Friday, bans the sale of alcoholic drinks between 10pm and 6am and bans producers from sponsoring events.

Also included in the law:

  • Alcohol sales will be prohibited within 100 metres of mosques and schools
  • Images of alcoholic drinks will have to be blurred on television – something that is already done for cigarettes
  • Venues where alcohol is sold and consumed can no longer openly display drinks.
  • There will be stricter penalties for drink-driving, with drunken drivers with a blood alcohol level above 0.1% facing up to two years’ imprisonment
  • All liquor bottles will have to display warning signs about the harm of alcohol

The banning of alcohol advertising and the increased restrictions on consumption has angered secularists (and alcoholics) who say the law tries to impose an Islamic agenda on a secular, though predominantly Muslim, country. They also argue that the legislation intrudes into private life.

But the Islamist-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn’t really care. They say the law will protect society, particularly young people, from the harmful effects of alcohol.

President Abdullah Gul must still sign the law before it can come into effect, but given that he’s part of the AKP, he’s expected to do so quite soon.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (seen below chugging a pint of yogurt), is also fully onboard. Erdogan, who does not drink or smoke, has a solution for drinkers: switch to yogurt! Erdogan is encouraging youths to drink ayran, the Erdogan proclaimed “national drink” of the Turks.

Erdogan Loves Ayran

“For a healthy generation, my grandfather suggested me ayran as the national drink,” Erdogan said in a speech.

“Beer was unfortunately presented as a national drink. However, our national drink is ayran,” he said. “There is no way you can defend as a lifestyle the consumption of alcohol which has no benefit to society, but on the contrary inflicts harm.”

Ayran is a non-alcoholic cold beverage of yogurt mixed with cold water and sometimes salt. Sounds delish.

Via: Al-Jazeera

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