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Showing posts from February, 2008

Language Barrier

Language barrier scuppers walker
A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after gettingas far as Calais, France.

Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped torely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

He now plans to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year.

Mr Boyle, a former organic food company boss, belongs to the Freeconomy movement which wants to get rid of money altogether.

Cold and tired

In his online diary at the start of his journey to Porbander, Gandhi's birthplace, he said he was given two free dinners on his first evening away in Glastonbury.

Later, he was joined in Dover by two companions, and the three managed to get to Calais.

But in one of his last entries, he wrote: "...not only did no one not speak the language…

Round Number One

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Spanish candidates clash on key election issues
The Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was accused last night of lying to and insulting the victims of terrorism by the leader of the conservative opposition, Mariano Rajoy, as the two went head-to-head in the first live TV election debate in 15 years.

The much-anticipated debate, the first of two to be held ahead of elections on March 9, saw the candidates clash over the economy, immigration, terrorism and social reform. Watched byover 13 million viewers, polls this morning suggested Zapatero had emerged the victor, though it is unlikely to have changed many voters' opinions.

Spaniards will decide in under two weeks whether to return Zapatero's socialist government to power after a first term in which he introduced a wide range of social reforms, or back the rightwing People's party (PP), which governed between 1996 and 2004.

The most contentious moments came when Rajoy repeatedly accused Zapatero of bein…

Hit the Jackpot

US iron worker wins $275m lottery


An iron worker has won a $275m (£140m) jackpot in the US state of Georgia - the largest single-player prize in the state lottery's history.

Robert Harris, 47, used the dates of his grandchildren's birthdays in two $1 tickets his wife bought in Portal, the small town where they live.

Having quit his job after his win, Mr Harris said he planned to "live happy".

He and his wife Tonya, 55, have opted to take $167m now rather than $275m over 26 years.

Tonya Harris said she almost did not enter the lottery because it was raining heavily on the day.

"I was headed home and it was raining like crazy, and I said, 'Nah, I'm not going back up there'. And then something just changed my mind. I said, 'I'll go play'."

Neither of them played the lottery very often, and neither watched the draw on Friday night as they did not believe they would win.

It was their daughter who alerted them to the win.

On Saturday, Mr H…

A bit of a gamble

50ppunterwins £1m on birthday

A fertiliser salesman from North Yorkshire has come forward to claim his £1m winnings - amassed through a 50p eight horse accumulator bet.
Fred Craggs, from Thirsk, found he hit the bonanza on his 60th birthday at the weekend, but sat through a family meal without telling anyone.
He beatodds of two million to one when all his horses came home on Saturday.
A William Hill spokesman said the bet was "the most amazing ever" since betting shops were made legal in 1961.
Mr Craggs placed his bet last Friday in a William Hill shop in Thirsk.
He needed all eight horses to win - from the first horse called Isn't That Lucky, to the last horse called A Dream Come True.
But he only discovered he was a millionaire when he went to place another bet in Bedale on Saturday.
"I had quite a glowing feeling in the shop but none of the other customers seemed to notice."
"I've never spent more than the price of a packet of cigarettes on …

Rioting (again) in Madrid

Bolton complain over Spain police

Bolton Wanderers have made an official complaint about "overzealous and disproportionate" treatment of their supporters by Spanish police.
The club contacted European football's governing body Uefa after the 0-0 (1) at Atletico Madrid in the Uefa Cup.
Bolton said there were "a number of assaults and unprovoked batoncharges before, during, and after the game". About 17 fans were injured.
British police also criticised Spanish officers' "(2)" tactics.
James Kirk, a Bolton fan from Fife, said: "We came out of the stadium and just as we came down loads of police with (3) and batons (4) back just where we'd come from.
"They were battering people to the ground - it was absolutely brutal and (5). I've been to Spain many, many times but I tell you I don't want to go again."
Another fan said: "I've been all over the country watching Bolton and the police in Spain (6) like animals. I h…

The (lack of) Rain in Spain

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Spain suffering worst drought in over a decade
Spain faces water restrictions widely this summer as it suffers its worst drought in more than a decade. In one of the worst affected areas, Catalunya, the Barcelona government is hoping to pre-empt a summer crisis by importing water by tanker.
A decrease in annual rainfall since the 1970s is said to have contributed to the low reservoir levels. At present Spain’s Water Agency reports that reservoirs across the country are running at an average capacity of less than 50 percent. In the worst affected areas such as Catalunya and Andalucia the capacity in many reservoirs is said to be less than 20 percent Malaga is facing its fourth year of severe drought.
Barcelona plans to import water from southern France and ironically from drought stricken Andalucia. The water from the latter is to be imported from a desalination plant in Almeria. The Water Agency has been forced to address the growing problem of water shortages. It is currently investing…

It's Valentine's Day soon!

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Valentine's Day is almost upon us again. Read the following article about how much the Brits spend on February14th.


How do you celebrate Valentine's Day in Spain? Is it a day that you would rather forget or do you look forward to it? What is the most romantic Valentine's Day story that you have heard of?


How much do love's labours cost?

The price of love remains difficult to quantify, according to a series of surveys ahead of Valentine's Day.

While one suggests the averagespent on a loved one on 14 February is £71.25, another says the amount is £50 lower.

Even so, men seem to be digging deeper into the heart of their wallets, especially those aged 25-34.

Valentine's Day has become a multi-million pound industry, with consumers blitzed with dealsto tugon the purse-strings and heartstrings.

Love don't cost a thing

The average shopper can expect to be bombardedwith more consumer surveys than Valentine's Day cards on February 14.

But they offer widely fluctuat…

Controversial Ads

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Sarkozy pair win Ryanair ad case
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his bride Carla Bruni have won a case against low-cost airline Ryanair for using their picture without consent.
But the court in Paris awarded Ms Bruni only 60,000 euros (US$89,000; £45,000) - a fraction of the 500,000 euros she had asked for.
Mr Sarkozy was given the symbolic single euro he had claimed for himself.
The couple sued over an advert which showed Ms Bruni saying: "With Ryanair, all my family can attend my wedding."
The advert appeared in France before the couple's wedding on Saturday.
'No offence meant'
Ms Bruni - a former model - said 500,000 euros would have been her normal professional fee for appearing in an advertisement.
But the court put her loss of earnings at only 60,000 euros.
Ryanair had apologised before the case came to court for using the couple's image without their consent, insisting it meant no offence.
Ryanair said: "In the light of the extraordinary …

Pancake Day

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Source: Wikipedia (PedroFigueiredo)
Many people love to eat warm pancakes covered with butter and syrup in the morning. But did you know that there is actually a holiday where people celebrate and eat pancakes with their families and friends? It is a tradition that started many years ago in England.

Pancake Day is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Lent. Lent is a Christian holiday that was established in the 4th century as 40 days and is generally a period of fasting or other forms of self-denial. People generally eat a lot and have fun the day before Lent begins.
Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as Pancake Day because fats, which were generally prohibited during Lent, had to be used up. People would take all the eggs and dairy products that they had left in their kitchens and use them to make delicious pancakes.
In the United Kingdom of Great Britian, Northern Ireland and several other countries around the world, Pancake Day is celebrated with fun, games, and o…