Archive for June, 2010

Schoolboy builds suction climbing machine

June 29, 2010

Interesting Invention

Trapped drunk driver opens another beer as awaits rescue

June 29, 2010

(Reuters) – A drunk driver trapped after overturning his car cracked open another can of beer while he waited for emergency crews to rescue him, a New Zealand court was told.

ODDLY ENOUGH

Paul Nigel Sneddon, 47, pleaded guilty to careless driving and drunken driving after being nearly three times over the legal alcohol limit in a district court in the city of Palmerston North, the Dominion Post newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Police found Sneddon, a former baker, trapped in his overturned Ford Laser on June 1, drinking a can of beer after he failed to take a corner properly and crashed through a wooden barrier, flipping his vehicle.

Defense lawyer Peter Young said that when Sneddon found he could not open the doors, "he had nothing else to do at that point, so he had another beer."

When asked by police how much he had consumed, Sneddon replied: "Plenty, I’ve been drinking for four days straight."

Sneddon, who is estranged from his wife, told the Wellington- based newspaper that he went on a drinking binge after losing his job at a bakery on the same day that he heard his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Judge Gregory Ross fined him NZ$1,100 (US$780) and disqualified him from driving for 10 months. It was his first offence.

McDonald’s heir robbed of 250,000 at his French villa

June 29, 2010

The heir to the McDonald’s fast food empire was violently attacked in a 15-minute ordeal and robbed of £250,000 at his villa in Provence, southern France.

Henry Samuel in Paris
Published: 5:37PM BST 29 Jun 2010

Geoffrey McDonald, 60, and his 58-year-old wife were violently attacked Photo: AFP / GETTY

Geoffrey McDonald, 60, and his 58-year-old wife were left "severely shocked and bruised" after the burglary at their eight-bedroom home in Eygalieres, near Avignon a small, picturesque village where many celebrities have second homes.

Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie recently bought a £10-million chateau in the same village in a region that attracts thousands of British tourists every year.

The masked robbers managed to circumvent the villa’s burglar alarm and break into Mr McDonald’s home on the night of June 18.

Police said they stumbled on the sleeping couple at 3am while searching the house for valuables, and "violently beat" Mr McDonald before making off with between 300,000 and 400,000 in jewellery and cash, as well as passports.

It is understood they were subjected to "15 minutes of anguish, violence and terror".

The couple’s children and other friends, sleeping in guest bungalows in the domain’s grounds, were not woken by the robbers.

Their lawyer Gilles-Jean Portejoie said the pair were "severely shocked" by the burglary and had flown home to the US after giving statements to police on Monday.

Local judicial officials said it was the latest in a string of robberies targeting wealthy residents in the region. "We’ve had a big series (in the region), around a dozen acts since the start of the year. So we’re clearly dealing with quite a professional team targeting wealthy people," said Christian Pasta, the local public prosecutor.

Located on the outskirts of the village, the McDonald’s villa has two guest bungalows and a swimming pool on six acres of grounds, and olive groves.

Locals said the fast food heir was known as "Monsieur McDonald" in the village, where he and his wife were much appreciated.

France has a love-hate relationship with McDonald’s as a company.

Anti-fast food crusaders led by Jos Bov trashed a McDonald’s store in 1999 and there was uproar when it announced it would open a branch next to the Louvre this year. But France is the group’s second most profitable country after the US and it has just celebrated its 30 anniversary here. Its Champs Elyses store is the most frequented in the world.

Eggs by the dozen will be allowed, EU says

June 29, 2010

Shoppers will be allowed to by eggs by the dozen, or half dozen, politicians at the European Parliament insisted yesterday, after fears Brussels was trying to ban the practice.

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
Published: 6:59PM BST 29 Jun 2010

The EU said eggs could still be sold by the dozen Photo: GETTY

Reports had suggested that the EU was planning to ban shops from selling eggs by the traditional measure and instead rule that they be sold solely by weight.

Renate Sommer, the German MEP in charge of steering the new food labelling rules through the EU Parliament, was forced to intervene to quash fears that shoppers would have to change the habit of a lifetime.

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"Labels will still be able to indicate the number of food items in a pack, whether of eggs, bread rolls or fish fingers," she said in a statement. However, the weight will also have to be included on the box, which has led to fears that retailers and producers will have to incur extra costs, which will be passed on to shoppers.

The fears of the ban came about because new rules, which have been in discussion for 18 months, made no explicit declaration that goods could continue to be sold by number.

Amendments tabled to make it clear that they could were rejected.

That prompted speculation that the rules as drafted would prevent food being sold by number.

Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, said the EU should allow shoppers to "buy eggs by the dozen".

"We know what customers want. They want to buy eggs by the dozen and they should be allowed to – a point I shall be making clear to our partners in Europe," said UK

Conservative MEP Syed Kamall warned that "millions of pounds could be wasted by shops and bakers having to change packaging just to comply" with the new legislation.

The Grocer trade magazine warned that the legislation "could even see special unit-based promotional packs offering ‘eight chocolate bars for the price of six’ banned".

Ms Sommer said: "Reports that claim the new rules will not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed are also wrong. There are four official sizes of eggs – very large (73 grams and over); large (63-73g); medium (53-63g) and small (under 53g). This will not change."

Google Will Stop Redirecting Chinese Searchers to Hong Kong

June 29, 2010

For the last three months, Google has found a clever way to overcome its ethical objections to self-censoring search results on its Web site for mainland China, google.cn. It has automatically redirected Chinese users to an uncensored search site, google.com.hk, maintained on the company’s servers in Hong Kong.

There was only one problem with this solution: as we reported in March: the Chinese government objected to it.

On Monday night, Google acknowledged those objections in a blog postwritten by David Drummond, its chief legal officer. Mr. Drummond wrote that the Chinese government was ready to reject Google’s application for renewal of its Internet Content Provider license, which would effectively mean the company would have to shut down its Web site in the country entirely. The license renewal application is due on Wednesday.

Mr. Drummond wrote that in an effort to continue to serve Google’s Chinese users while placating the government, the company is proposing a compromise. In the next few days, it will stop automatically redirecting users to its Hong Kong site. Instead, Chinese users will see a page at google.cn which offers a single link to the Hong Kong site, where they can conduct searches or use other Google services, like translation and music, that require no filtering.

The company said it had resubmitted its content provider license based on this approach and hopes the Chinese government will find it more palatable. If the government continues to object, Google would lose its ability to operate a Web site in China altogether.

“This approach ensures we stay true to our commitment not to censor our results on google.cn and gives users access to all of our services from one page,” Mr. Drummond wrote. “We are therefore hopeful that our license will be renewed on this basis so we can continue to offer our Chinese users services via google.cn.”

Reuters reported that China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday declined comment on Google’s decision to end automatic rerouting.