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presse > dépêches > Press Association > 2000s




Concerns over teenage self-harming


There has been a dramatic increase in the number of troubled teenagers presented for counselling with self-harm problems, it has emerged.

Crosscare, a social support agency, has warned that the massive demand for its five teen counselling services across Dublin over the past year has resulted in a three to four month wait for support.

Mary Forrest, Clinical Director of Teen Counselling at Crosscare, said: "If a person is calling with a teenager with depression or self-harm it is too long."

Concerns over teenage self-harming, PA, 10.5.2005.





'Urge patients to take HIV test'


More work needs to be done to measure the true number of people living with HIV in the United Kingdom, it has been claimed.

With one third of those with HIV unaware they have the disease, the British HIV Association called doctors on the frontline to do more to urge patients to take a test.

Dr Margaret Johnson, BHIVA chairman, said hospital clinics and GPs had a role to play in revealing the true extent of the battle against the virus.

    'Urge patients to take HIV test', PA, 21.4.2005.




Property bought at click of a mouse


While many Britons are just getting used to buying clothes or groceries online, a growing number of investors are now buying properties at the click of a mouse, it has been claimed.

Some landlords are buying houses without having even seen them first, using no more than a photograph and vital statistics to steer their decision, according to property website LandlordTrader.co.uk.

Coined "blind buying", this new trend is on the increase, the website said.

    Property bought at click of a mouse, PA, 10.4.2005.




Police launch internet safety site


Police have launched a pioneering new website which will help to catch online paedophiles.

The site is the first central point of contact for children and parents throughout the world to report suspicious behaviour in cyber space.

Developed over the last year by the UK's National Crime Squad the www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com site will also give information on how to use the internet safely and links to support agencies like the NSPCC and Childline.

    Police launch internet safety site, PA, 26.1.2005.




U.S Army prepares 'robo-soldier'


The US Army is preparing to send 18 remote-controlled robotic sharpshooters to fight in Iraq.

Made by a small Massachusetts company, the Swords - Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems - will be the first armed robotic vehicles to see combat, years ahead of the larger Future Combat System vehicles currently under development by big defence contractors such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Corp.

Military officials compare the 3ft-high robots favourably to human soldiers: They don't need to be trained, fed or clothed; they can be boxed up and warehoused between wars; they never complain; and there are no letters to write home if they meet their demise in battle.

    U.S Army prepares 'robo-soldier', PA, 25.1.2005.




Google 'to launch free phone calls'


Internet search engine brand Google could be set to launch a free telephone service, it has emerged.

The technology, which has been around for some time, would allow people to make free, unlimited calls via a broadband connection, using a headset and a home computer.

Similar software by London-based telephone Skype has been downloaded nearly 54 million times around the world, but large telecommunications firms are yet to properly exploit it.

    Google 'to launch free phone calls', PA, 24.1.2005.




Stars head campaign to end poverty


Celebrities are launching a year-long campaign to put pressure on governments to eradicate world poverty.

Bono, Claudia Schiffer, Scarlett Johansson, Jamelia, Fran Healey from Travis, Busted, the Sugarbabes, Graham Norton and Stephen Fry are among those who have signed up to the Make Poverty History campaign.

The campaign, supported by more than 100 charities, unions and faith groups, is calling on Tony Blair and other world leaders to deliver trade justice, debt cancellation and better aid provision for the world's poor.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 1.1.2005.








Rich must help poor, says Brown


Rich countries have an "enlightened self-interest" in tackling world poverty, Chancellor Gordon Brown said.

Mr Brown said poor nations would increase world trade if developed countries helped them out of poverty.

The Chancellor said rich countries also had a moral duty to help because human dignity meant they could not ignore the plight of the poor.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 12.12.2004.






Shopping online 'less stressful'


Christmas shopping on the high street can be as stressful as an interview with the taxman and as tiring as marching with the army, according to a new report.

The comparisons emerged from a study looking at the different physical and mental effects of visiting stores or shopping on the internet.

Compared with those who shop from home, people who take on the crowds will more than double their heart rate, quadruple their blood pressure and see their anger level soar six times as high.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 11.12.2004.






Boy dies after school fight


Police have named a 15-year-old boy who died following a fight at school.

David Thomas Sandham, from the Partington area of Greater Manchester, died at hospital after an "altercation" at Broadoak High School on Warburton Lane in Partington.

Two 14-year-old boys were arrested in connection with the incident and are being questioned by police.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 1.12.2004.






Experts create 'flowering' phone


A biodegradable mobile phone containing a seed which germinates when the handset is buried in compost has been developed by researchers hoping to encourage consumers to recycle.

Materials experts based at the University of Warwick have created a casing which starts to disintegrate within weeks of being composted and is fitted with a seed which throws up a flower some time later.

Engineers based at the Warwick Manufacturing Group designed a small transparent window in the phone cover to hold the seed and worked with horticultural experts to identify the best performing flowers.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 1.12.2004.






The death of video recorders


The death of the video recorder came a step closer when the country's largest electrical chain said it is stopping selling them.

Dixons has decided to phase out VCRs after more than a quarter of a century to concentrate on their successor, the DVD. The move signals the beginning of the end of VHS (video home system), the technology which revolutionised viewing habits around the world when it allowed people to leave the house without missing their favourite programmes.

But the humble VCR, with its clunky tapes and habit of chewing up precious recordings, has fallen victim to the speed and superior quality of DVD. Dixons say demand for video cassette recorders has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 1990S. Meanwhile sales of DVD players have grown seven-fold in the past five years.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 22.11.2004.






Electronic eye can help blind


A sophisticated electronic "eye" has been developed to help blind people cross roads more safely, it has been disclosed.

The device, mounted on a pair of glasses, is able to detect pedestrian crossings, measure the width of the road to the nearest step, and even recognise the colour of traffic lights.

Information is passed on to the wearer by means of spoken words fed to an earpiece. Previous attempts have been made to improve the mobility of blind people by using white canes with added functions, such as lasers or ultrasound signals that detect objects.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 19.11.2004.






More children on 'unsuitable' drugs


Soaring numbers of children in the UK are being prescribed anti-depressants and other mind-altering drugs, research has revealed.

No antidepressants are licensed for use in children under 16, but doctors can prescribe them where they feel it is clinically appropriate.

Now two studies, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, have found an ever increasing number of prescriptions have been made out to children and young people in recent years.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 18.11.2004.






Pollution linked to death rates


Many thousands of lives could be saved by reducing one of the chief products of traffic pollution by about a third, scientists have said.

A large-scale study in the United States found the first evidence of a direct connection between ground ozone levels and increased death rates.

Ozone is a harmful form of oxygen created by the action of sunlight on pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts, factories and power stations.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 17.11.2004.






Computers linked to sight problems


Heavy use of computers may be linked to the development of a progressive eye disease which can lead to serious sight problems, researchers have claimed.

A study in Japan found that days spent staring at a screen could be related to glaucoma, which if left untreated can lead to blindness.

It is a double blow for male office workers who were last year also told that wearing their tie too tight could also increase the risk of glaucoma.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 16.11.2004.






Texts promote the safe sex message


Young people will be able to receive text messages with advice about contraception and sexually transmitted infections amid efforts to stem the UK's growing sexual health crisis.

The texts will include information such as what methods of contraception are available and where young people can get them.

They will also list symptoms of sexual diseases, such as unusual bleeding, burning, rashes and itching, pointing out that many people will have no symptoms but still be infected.

The service has been launched by charity Brook, which provides sexual health advice and contraception to under-25s.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 10.11.2004.






Bush wins second term


US President George Bush has won a second term in office from a divided and anxious nation, his promise of steady, strong wartime leadership trumping John Kerry's fresh-start approach to Iraq and joblessness.

After a long, tense night of vote counting, the Democrat called Mr Bush to concede Ohio and the presidency, The Associated Press learned.

Kerry ended his quest, concluding one of the most expensive and bitterly contested races on record, with a call to the President shortly after 4pm, according to two officials familiar with the conversation.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 3.11.2004.






Cemeteries could go online


The centuries-old practice of church vicars logging deaths in dusty parish ledgers could be a dying art, it emerged.

Instead, men and women of the cloth are now being urged to swap their quills for keyboards and computerise their graveyards.

The idea is the brainchild of Wolverhampton-based software firm Data Developments who first worked on a database programme for a local vicar 20 years ago.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 24.10.2004.






Reeve to appear in stem cell advert


Even in death, Superman star Christopher Reeve is promoting

human embryonic stem cell research.

The paralysed actor stars in a new TV commercial in support of a California ballot measure that would devote $3 billion (£1.7 billion) to stem cell experiments.

The 30-second spot was filmed about a week before Reeve died of an infection on October 10.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 23.10.2004.






Schools urged to ban camera phones


Camera phones may be banned in schools because of fears that secret pictures of teachers could be taken.

Staff are worried their photographs could be manipulated and end up on the internet.

There are also fears that photos of children taken in school could fall into the hands of paedophiles.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 19.10.2004.






Employers can spy on staff


Bosses can now use "big brother" technology to keep track of their workers throughout the day.

A new service allows companies to find where staff are anywhere in the country by tracing their mobile phone signal.

The information sent back enables managers to pinpoint their location on a map - and potentially catch out those who claim to be elsewhere.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 17.10.2004.






Satellite control of traffic on way


Satellite-based vehicle surveillance may be used to charge UK motorists for road use within five years, a transport expert has claimed.

All new cars will be fitted with spy-in-the-sky equipment within that time frame, Professor Alan Woodside predicted.

The Global Positioning System will not only detect speeders, but also tax drivers depending on their type of journey, he warned.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 27.9.2004.






RAF jets escort bomb scare plane


A bomb threat forced a passenger plane to divert to a London airport under military escort for an emergency landing.

The Olympic Airways flight from Athens to New York's JFK airport was carrying 301 passengers when it was re-routed to Stansted in Essex as a "full emergency".

The alert came after a Greek daily newspaper, Ethnos, received the telephone warning.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 26.9.2004.






Internet shoppers spend £770 a year


Shoppers surfing the internet spent an average £770 each last year on goods and services.

Almost half those polled had purchased a holiday, flight or hotel in the past 12 months.

Close behind were CDs and other forms of music, bought by 45%.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 24.9.2004.






Half net users download illegally


More than half of UK internet users have downloaded music illegally in the past 12 months, according to a new survey.

Web surfers believe the legal download sites do not hold a wide enough range of music, the poll for a consumer website found.

Just under half (42%) of the internet users questioned have tried out one of the newer legitimate download sites, such as iTunes or Napster.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 20.9.2004.






Irish tobacco sales plummet


There has been a huge drop in cigarette sales in Ireland since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban.

Smokers in the Republic are expected to buy 500 million fewer cigarettes this year if the decline continues in the wake of a ban on lighting up in pubs and clubs, new figures revealed.

The state's tobacco market shrank by 7.5% in the first six months of the year, according to the country's largest cigarette manufacturer, Gallaher.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 9.9.2004.






Mums 'still smoking and drinking'


A quarter of women drink alcohol and a fifth smoke during pregnancy despite the health risks to their baby, new figures show.

The survey, from baby charity Tommy's to mark National Pregnancy Week, revealed that one in four women drink between two and five units of alcohol a week - double the recommended weekly limit when pregnant.

And four in 10 women take folic acid too late to protect unborn babies against the risk of conditions such as spina bifida, other researchers claimed.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 6.9.2004.






Boy, 10, wins Junior Mastermind


A 10-year-old has become the first ever Junior Mastermind Champion, after beating four other children in the final of the junior version of the renowned quiz show.

Daniel Parker, from Cardiff, won the competition by eight points beating Jacob Richler-Kleiman from Manchester into second place.

He was equal first after answering questions posed by fellow Welshman John Humphrys on his specialist subject but eventually steamed ahead in the general knowledge to win with a total of 31 points.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 4.9.2004.






Bus drivers to get DNA test kits


Bus drivers are to be issued with DNA testing kits to help catch "disgusting" passengers who spit at them.

The saliva of violent yobs will be preserved using sterile swabs and handed over to police who can test it against records on the National DNA database.

A total of 2,500 of the kits - each of which includes two swabs, gloves and an evidence bag - will be given to drivers and other transport workers whose routes take them through Brent in north-west London.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 1.9.2004.






Email blitz teenager arrested


A sacked accounts clerk was arrested after allegedly blitzing his former employer with five million emails.

Scotland Yard confirmed that a youth, now 17, was arrested after officers received a complaint from insurance giant Domestic & General.

The teenager, who worked at the London-based company's site in Bedworth, Warwickshire, has now been freed by detectives pending further inquiries.

       Headline and first §§, PA, 12.7.2004.






Controversial 9/11 film is released


Michael Moore's controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11

is now on general release in the UK.

The movie has already broken box office records in the US. Now British audiences have the opportunity to see the documentary, a scathing attack on the Bush administration.

Moore portrays US President George Bush as a bumbling incompetent who, prior to September 11, spent almost as much time on holiday as he did on running the country.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 9.7.2004.






Passive smokers are at high risk


The risks of heart disease faced by passive smokers are double what was previously estimated.

Previous research has found that passive smoking is linked with a 25-30% increased risk of coronary heart disease.

But the latest study, published on bmj.com, found that non-smokers faced a 50-60% increased risk of falling victim to the disease.

        Headline and first §§, PA, 30.6.2004.






Phone firm's music download service


Mobile phone users will be soon be able to download and play CD quality music tracks with the launch of a new service.

Technology from mobile operator T-Mobile will eventually enable customers to choose from thousands of songs and instantly purchase any they want to listen to later.

The new Mobile Jukebox service, part of what T-Mobile has labelled Ear Phones technology, follows the success of websites which allow computer users to legally download songs and albums from the internet.

          Headline and first §§, PA, 29.6.2004.






Private rocket makes it into space


Space tourism came a step closer when a private commercial rocket flew into the near reaches of space for the first time.

The privately-funded SpaceShipOne craft made aviation history when it flew more than 62 miles above the surface of the Earth.

It also brought the design team, led by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, closer to a £5.5 million prize set up to encourage commercial space travel in the future.

          Headline and first §§, PA, 21.6.2004.






Met unveils 999 Translation Service


Non-English speakers who dial 999 in London will now have access to a translation service in 150 languages, it was announced.

The Metropolitan Police said the service would cater for an increasing numbers of emergency calls in other languages.

About 20 of the Met's 7,000 emergency calls a day come from people whose first language is not English, with the figure growing all the time, said a police spokesman.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 21.6.2004.






Branson hopes to offer space trips


Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson is hoping to offer adventurous tourists the chance to take a flight into space.

Sir Richard said he wanted to bring "space tourism" to the masses by pricing the flights at affordable levels.

He told the Guardian Unlimited website that Virgin was now investing money in the futuristic science-fiction style project.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 11.6.2004.






Student's invention aids asthmatics


A student has invented an asthma inhaler the size of a credit card.

The Thinhaler is far less bulky than traditional inhalers and can fit easily into a wallet or purse.

A fully working prototype has been built by design student and mild asthma sufferer Adam Bates.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 2.6.2004.






Fans fall under spell of Potter


Harry Potter is set to weave his magic across cinemas as the latest film of the young wizard's adventures opens across the UK.

Thousands of fans thronged Leicester Square in central London on Sunday night for the European premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Organisers said the crowd was three times the size of that at the New York premiere.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 30.5.2004.






Chat room safety device wins title


A British beautician and mother has been voted the world's top female inventor after coming up with a device to control children's access to chat rooms.

Paula Ward, 35, developed the Phone & Net Guard, as a result of fears about her daughter Stephanie's internet conversations.

Now she could be on her way to making a fortune.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 30.5.2004.






Teen groomed web friend to stab him


A teenage boy posed as a spy in an internet chatroom to persuade a friend to kill him in an "extraordinary suicide attempt", a court heard.

The boy, 14 at the time, groomed his friend, then 16, with an "elaborate matrix of deceit" involving a series of fictional identities in the chatroom.

The older boy, boy A, tried to kill his friend, boy B, on the orders of the "spy", Manchester Crown Court heard.

Boy A pleaded guilty to attempted murder and boy B pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and incitement to murder.

        Headline and first §§, PA, 28.5.2004.






Satellite-tracking of sex offenders


Police would use lie detectors and satellite-tracking to keep tabs on sex offenders released from prison, under plans being unveiled by the Government.

Home Secretary David Blunkett wants police and probation officers to use satellite-tracking for convicts released on licence and offenders given community sentences.

And he plans to allow them to use lie detectors to make sure sex offenders are keeping to the conditions of their release.

He also wants to beef up a new database which allows officers to share information on violent and sex offenders

     Headline and first §§, PA, 28.5.2004.






Obese toddler died of heart failure


A three-year-old has died from heart failure brought on through obesity.

Ministers and food industry chiefs were facing mounting pressure after a damning report condemned them for failing to tackle Britain's obesity epidemic.

The Commons Health Committee warned that obese children could become the first generation to die before their parents.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 27.5.2004.






Critics spellbound by Potter film


Critics have praised the third Harry Potter movie The Prisoner of Azkaban.

The JK Rowling blockbuster, which opens in Britain on Monday, is a darker version of the first two films.

Teenage angst runs through the plot as Harry enters his junior year at Hogwarts.

Convicted murderer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped the wizards' prison at Azkaban and it seems he's coming after Harry.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 25.5.2004.






493 sued over music downloads


The US recording industry has sued 493 more people that it said were illegally sharing music across the internet.

The latest round of lawsuits raised the number of people who have been sued by companies to nearly 3,000.

As in previous cases, the recording industry filed its latest complaints against "John Doe" defendants, identifying them only by their numeric internet protocol addresses.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 25.5.2004.






Hubble images show universe at deepest


Astronomers at the US Space Telescope Science Institute have released the deepest-ever view of the universe, a long-duration exposure that reached out to a point just a few hundred million years from the Big Bang.

Officials said the Hubble image contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies, and astronomers around the world will now search in this field of view for the most distant objects known.

Steven Beckwith, director of the institute, said the long-duration exposure by the orbiting space telescope collected light that has been streaking through space for more than 13 billion years and started its journey when the universe was only 5% of its present age, believed to be about 13.7 billion years.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 10.3.2004.






Britney beats Kylie to number one


Pop princess Britney Spears has topped the UK singles chart for the first time in nearly four years - beating Kylie Minogue to the number one spot.

Her single Toxic went straight in at number one, while the Aussie starlet's new single Red Blooded Woman reached number five.

Britney last topped the chart in May 2000 with Oops!... I Did It Again.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 8.3.2004.






Web pastor needed for online church


The Church of England has announced the creation of its first "virtual parish".

In an advertisement in the Church Times, the Diocese of Oxford invites applicants for the post of 'web pastor' to build and oversee a groundbreaking Internet parish community.

The successful applicant, who will answer to the Bishop of Oxford, will need to be as familiar with the Information Superhighway as they are the Road to Damascus.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 5.3.2004.






Sir Elton wants to 'marry' his partner


Music legend Sir Elton John has said he would like to 'marry' his lover David Furnish.

Sir Elton said he looked forward to the day when same-sex civil partnerships became lawfully recognised in Britain.

"I'm totally for it. In this day and age, if people who want to make a life commitment can't have protection, then we live in a pretty sick world," he told the New York Daily News.

"I would like to commit myself to David. I already have in my mind anyway."

     Headline and first §§, PA, 3.3.2004.






Schools meet through 'internet dating'


A "dating agency" web site that will enable English schools to get together with others around the world has been officially launched by Education Secretary Charles Clarke.

The Global Gateway, which has been developed for the Department for Education and Skills by the British Council was a "fantastic" opportunity to give children's education an international dimension, he declared.

Mr Clarke urged every school in England to make use of the web site, saying there was a lot to learn from schools in other countries.

      Headline and first §§, PA, 11.2.2004.






Oxygen found beyond solar system


Astronomers have for the first time identified oxygen and carbon
in the atmosphere of a planet beyond the Solar System.

The oxygen naturally exists and is not produced by plant life, as occurs on Earth.

But the finding demonstrates that the chemical composition of atmospheres on planets many light-years away can be measured.

     Headline and first §§, PA, 8.2.2004.






Orbiting astronaut phones school


A British astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS) has contacted pupils at his former school via a live radio link up.

Michael Foale, 47, answered questions from boys and girls at The King's School, Canterbury, for eight minutes as the ISS passed nearly 250km overhead.

The school's head of science, Dr Jonathan Allday, said it was believed to be the first time a British astronaut had contacted a former school from space.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 29.1.2004.






Heatwave a taste of things to come


Last year's heatwave, which claimed an estimated 20,000 lives across Europe, may have been a scorching taste of summers to come, scientists warned.

Researchers believe the blistering temperatures were a direct result of instability caused by global warming.

Only fluctuations caused by climate change could have led to such a record breaking hot spell, said the experts.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 12.1.2004.






Internet chat peril warning


Police have warned families about the perils of Internet chat rooms after a 14-year-old girl travelled hundreds of miles to meet a man she contacted online.

The girl, from Winchester, Hants, is believed to have gone to Kirby on Merseyside with another man, who she also met on the Internet, to see an 18-year-old she had been in touch with for several months, according to police.

After phone calls from her mother and police, the girl, who was said to be unharmed, went to a police station in Kirby, a spokeswoman for the Merseyside force said.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 6.1.2004.












Armed marshals to patrol UK flights


Armed sky marshals are to be deployed on some UK passenger planes in response to the heightened state of alert in the US, the Government has announced.

Extra security measures for air travel have also been put in place on the ground following the raised terror threat.

The government said it was "a responsible and prudent step" at the present time.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 29.12.2003.






Fury as price of Aids drug soars 400%


A storm of protest has erupted in the US over a company's decision to increase the US price of an important Aids drug more than four-fold.

Abbott Laboratories has defended the move, saying the treatment value and the cost of improving the drug's formulation has increased sharply. The company informed doctors, Aids groups and pharmacies of the price change of Norvir earlier this month, company spokeswoman Melissa Brotz said. The wholesale price for a month's treatment of the protease inhibitor is being raised from £36 to £175. The dramatic price hike was reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said the increase has sparked fury among Aids groups and other critics of the move.

    Headline and first §§, PA, 20.12.2003.






'Saddam should face ultimate penalty'


Saddam Hussein should face the "ultimate penalty" for his reign of terror in Iraq, United States President George Bush said.

Mr Bush branded the captured Iraqi leader a "disgusting tyrant" but said the decision on whether he should be executed was for the Iraqi people.

He told ABC's Primetime: "He is a torturer, a murderer, and they had rape rooms, and this is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.

        Headline and first §§, PA, 17.12.2003.






Saddam Hussein: 'We got him'


The capture of Saddam Hussein has been confirmed by Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq who told a news conference: "Ladies and gentlemen we got him!"

Saddam had been found hiding in a hole 6ft to 8ft deep at a remote farmhouse near Tikrit in an operation entitled Operation Red Dawn, which involved the 4th Infantry and special Coalition forces, the conference was told.

Pictures of Saddam undergoing his medical tests after his capture were shown live at the press conference, and prompted wild cheers from journalists.

        Headline and first §§, PA, 14.12.2003.






Eminem 'Bush threat' probed


The United States presidential bodyguard has said it is examining lyrics by rap star Eminem to see whether he had threatened George Bush.

The Secret Service confirmed it was probing lyrics by the controversial artist, who says in a song: "I'd rather see the president dead."

The words to the song, We As Americans, are available on the internet and have not been released by the award-winning rap artist.

        Headline and §1, PA, 6.12.2003.






PM calls for action against Aids


Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a renewed international drive to combat the scourge of HIV/Aids

Mr Blair argued that fighting the disease is not only a moral duty, but also in the national interest of countries in the developed world.

Writing in The Sun newspaper, Mr Blair stated: "Unless we act now and decisively, the deepening poverty and instability (caused by the disease) will reach far beyond the parts of the world worst affected."

        Headline and §1, PA, 1.12.2003.






Children teach parents about internet


Children as young as five have helped their parents or grandparents use the internet, according to a new report.

Around one in five adults said they had learned a new computer skill or been shown how to use the web by a five to eight-year-old.

A third of the 869 people surveyed by telecoms giant BT said they had been taught or encouraged to surf the net by a teenager.

    Headline and §1, PA, 26.11.2003.






Top doctors back public smoking ban


Smoking should be banned in public places in Britain, senior doctors have demanded.

All 13 Royal Colleges of Medicine warned that employers had a duty to protect staff from harm and that smoke-free workplaces could save 150,000 lives in the long term.

In a letter to The Times newspaper, 18 signatories, headed by president of the Royal College of Physicians, Carol Black, criticised the current system of self regulation, adding: "We believe that the time has come for legislation to make public places smoke-free."

      Headline and §1, PA, 25.11.2003.






Asylum seekers could lose children


Asylum seekers could have their children taken into care under Home Office plans to persuade them to go home.

Parents whose asylum claims have been rejected would be told to take a "voluntary" flight home or lose their benefits.

They could then have their children taken from them as they would not be able to afford to support them.

    Headline and §1, PA, 23.11.2003.






Meteor shower set to return


The Leonid meteors make a return appearance in the night sky this week as the Earth ploughs through a comet's dust trail.

Although nothing like as spectacular as last year, the meteor shower should still reward patient night owls.

Experts predict that up to 100 Leonid shooting stars could be seen

streaking across the sky every hour.

    Headline and §1, PA, 18.11.2003.






Beckham voted greatest pop icon


David Beckham has been named the greatest pop culture icon, beating Hollywood stars, Madonna and Elvis.

The soccer idol triumphed in a poll compiled from thousands of votes by music channel VH1 for a TV special.

Real Madrid star Beckham was ranked 31 places ahead of his wife Victoria, who wins a place in the list by way of her role in the Spice Girls.

     Headline and §1, PA, 6.11.2003.






Kylie - the new comeback queen Pop princess


Kylie Minogue has overtaken Madonna to become the solo female star who has enjoyed the longest span as a UK chart-topper by again hitting number one.

Minogue, 35, scored her seventh spell at the top spot with new single Slow.

And it means the Aussie singer, famed partly for her pert bum, has now been churning out number ones for more than 15 years.

     Headline and §1, PA, 6.11.2003.






Voyager at edge of earth's solar system


The Voyager 1 spacecraft, the most distant human-made object, has reached the end - or perhaps just the beginning of the end - of our solar system, scientists said.

Twenty-six years after its launch, Nasa's Voyager 1 is 8.4 billion miles from the sun. That is 90 times the distance separating the Earth from our star.

As the robotic spacecraft continues to push far beyond the reach of the nine planets, two teams of scientists disagree whether it passed into the uncharted region of space where the sun's sphere of influence begins to wane.  

     Headline and §1, PA, 6.11.2003.






Pupil held after schoolboy death


A schoolboy has been arrested after another pupil died following a fight, police said

The boy, who has not been named, was a pupil at Birkbeck School, in North Somercotes, near Louth, Lincolnshire police said.

Police were called to the school at 10.12am after reports of an altercation between two students.

A 14-year-old boy was stabbed inside the school building and was taken to Grimsby Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

     Headline and §1, PA, 4.11.2003.






Junk food advertising clampdown due


Fresh attempts will be made this week to clampdown on junk food advertising

aimed at children.

A Bill is due to be introduced in the Commons calling for a ban on TV advertising of food and drink high in salt, sugar and fat to under five-year-olds.

The move comes at a time of heightened concern about the possible impact advertising has on children's diets.

  Headline and §1, PA, 2.11.2003. 






US helicopter shot down in Baghdad


A US Chinook helicopter was shot down near Baghdad airport, injuring at least 20 people on board, a US military spokesman said.

"The Chinook was shot down by an unknown weapon," said an unnamed spokesman.

US military officials have repeatedly warned that thousands of surface-to-air missiles remain unaccounted for in Iraq after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in April.

  Headline and §1, PA, 2.11.2003. 






Big Bang theory up in the air


The universe began with a deep hum rather than a Big Bang, it has been reported.

Scientists have analysed radiation left over from the dawn of creation and created audio files which can be played on a computer.

Physicist John Cramer, from the University of Washington in Seattle, said: "The sound is rather like a large jet plane flying 100 feet above your house in the middle of the night."

     Headline and §1, PA, 30.10.2003.






Space station astronauts homebound


An American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut have spent the final hours of their near six-month tour on the International Space Station preparing for a lightning journey back to Earth inside the wingless Russian spacecraft filling in for the United States' grounded shuttle fleet.

It will be only the second time that a US astronaut comes home in a Russian craft and lands on foreign soil.

Space officials are hoping for less drama than the nerve-racking landing in May, when a computer error sent the Soyuz's American and Russian crew on a wild descent 250 miles off-course.

     Headline and §1, PA, 28.10.2003. 






Half of homes are online


Half of all households in the UK now have a connection to the internet.

A study from Oftel found that 12.5 million British homes are online with 750,000 connecting to the web in the past three months alone.

And efforts to promote broadband - which speeds up connection times dramatically by giving customers a permanent link to the web - also appear to be paying off.

     Headline and §1, PA, 27.10.2003.






Elvis is richest dead celebrity


More than 25 years after his death, Elvis Presley is still the King - at least when it comes to earning power.

For the third year in a row the rock 'n' roll legend has topped the Forbes.com income list for deceased celebrities.

Also making the top five are former Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison.

     Headline and §1, PA, 25.10.2003.






Pop Idols hope to enter top ten


The search for the nation's Pop Idol is hotting up with the hopefuls set to be whittled down from 12 to 10.

Each finalist will sing live on the show and the public will vote for their favourites.

The two with the least number of votes will have to wave goodbye to their chance of stardom.

     Headline and §1, PA, 25.10.2003.






Baby stabbed to death in shop attack


A 39-year-old man is being questioned by detectives after a 10-month-old baby boy was stabbed to death in a shop.

The child, who has not been named by police, suffered a stab wound to his neck during the attack in the bakery shop Greggs in Scotch Street, Carlisle.

He was taken to Cumberland Infirmary where he was pronounced dead, said a Cumbria Police spokesman.

       Headline and §1, PA, 21.10.2003.






Spam e-mail fuelling PC rage


A quarter of all people who use computers say they are more hassle than they are worth, according to a new survey.

Among the complaints are computer viruses, unwanted e-mails, and adverts which pop-up on the Internet.

Almost nine out of 10 users get irritated and stressed with their computer as a result, according to the poll for Internet security firm Symantec.

    Headline and §1, PA, 21.10.2003.






World's tallest building in Taipei


The world's tallest skyscraper is nearing completion in Taipei after workmen installed the pinnacle on the 1,676ft Taipei 101 building.

The 101-storey structure -- which includes a mall, office space and an observatory -- will not formally open until next year in east Taipei.

The building stands more than 165ft higher than the world's former highest skyscraper, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Headline and §1, PA, 17.10.2003.






Titanic 'greatest film ending ever'


Anyone with a grasp of history knows what is going to happen but hit movie Titanic has been named as the film with the greatest ending of all time.

The movie, about the love story which unfolds between Jack and Rose on the ocean liner which sinks after striking an iceberg sending Jack, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, to a watery grave, topped the poll (...).

    Headline and §1, PA, 15.10.2003.






Murder probe launched after stabbing


A murder investigation has been launched after a shop employee was stabbed to death in broad daylight.

The victim, in his 60s, suffered multiple stab wounds after the attack outside the Rose and Hollis picture framing shop in north London.

A man aged 54 was arrested and is in custody at Islington police station.

    Headline and §1, PA, 14.10.2003.






Rap star honoured for anti-gun stance


Rap star Ms Dynamite has been honoured for her "courageous" contribution to the campaign against gun crime.

The singer was presented with the Capital Radio Big Voice Award by the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence at the Women Of The Year Lunch and Assembly 2003, held at the Savoy Hotel in London.

The award was made in recognition of Ms Dynamite's call for an end to gun violence in Birmingham.

    Headline and §1, PA, 14.10.2003.






Orphan Ali gets new arms


Ali Abbas, the 13-year-old Iraqi war orphan, has been fitted with his new arms.

The youngster lost both arms and suffered 60% burns in a US missile attack on Baghdad early in the Gulf War. His parents and 13 other family members were killed.

He was airlifted from Iraq to a hospital in Kuwait for treatment amid fears an infection could prove fatal and then later brought to Britain.

He has been fitted with two artificial arms at Queen Mary's Hospital in Roehampton, south-west London, which is a world renowned centre for working with amputees.

    Headline and §1, PA, 13.10.2003.






Six in a row for hip-hop band


Hip-hop band Black Eyed Peas stayed at the top spot of the UK's singles chart for the sixth week running, securing a place as the longest run for five years.

But the group's Where Is The Love? single, their response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, faced stiff competition from this week's highest new entry Beyonce's Baby Boy.

If the band manage to hold on for one more week they could equal Cher's Believe, which enjoyed seven weeks in pole position in 1998.

    Headline and §1, PA, 13.10.2003.






Conjoined twins successfully separated


Two-year-old Egyptian twins joined at the top of their heads have been separated in a 26-hour operation in the US that took more than a year of planning.

Doctors at Children's Medical Centre Dallas in Texas worked through the morning separating the intricate connection of blood vessels running between the brains of Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim -- considered the riskiest part of the operation.

"They are now within striking distance of living independent lives," said Dr Jim Thomas, chief of critical care at the hospital.

    Headline and §1, PA, 13.10.2003.






Groundbreaking plane takes off


A plane that flies without fuel by riding on a ground-based laser beam has been successfully tested by scientists.

The 5ft wingspan model could lead to the development of pilotless aircraft that can stay aloft indefinitely.

Such planes could provide a low-cost alternative to communication and observation satellites.

    Headline and §1, PA, 12.10.2003.






Operation begins on conjoined twins


After more than a year of preparation, a team of 18 doctors have begun the delicate surgery to separate two-year-old twins from Egypt joined at the crown of their heads.

The surgery, expected to last 18 to 24 hours, is risky -- one or both of the boys may die.

If they survive, some brain damage is inevitable.

However, Dr. Jim Thomas, director of critical care at the Children's Medical Centre, Dallas, said ethics boards at two hospitals had reviewed the case and felt it was worth attempting.

    Headline and §1, PA, 12.10.2003.






Alicia, 12, is new Speaking Clock


A child is to become the voice of the Speaking Clock for the first time in its 67-year-history.

Alicia Roland, 12, from Renfrewshire, beat thousands of children from all over the UK in a competition to become the famous voice for a week.

It is the first time a Scottish accent has been recorded for the Speaking Clock since it began in 1936 - and only the fifth time it will have been changed.

       Headline and §1, PA, 9.10.2003.






Hard hitting anti-smoking advert


A hard-hitting TV advert featuring a former smoker whose life dramatically changed after he suffered a heart attack has been launched to encourage people to kick the habit.

The film features Jack Patel, 47, who smoked for 29 years before his sudden heart attack in May 2001.

The married father of two describes how his arteries became blocked and the restricted blood flow caused his heart to actually "miss a beat" as it struggled to pump blood around the body.

The advert is part of a series which have featured victims of lung cancer, pulmonary disease and stroke, for the Department of Health's Don't Give Up Giving Up campaign.

     Headline and §1, PA, 9.10.2003.






Bogota car bomb kills at least six


A car bomb blast in the black market district of the Colombian capital Bogota has killed at least six people.

The explosion occurred in a commercial area filled with electronic, clothing and liquor stores as staff were arriving for work.

The goods sold in the neighbourhood, called San Andresito, are contraband and much cheaper than those found in legal shopping districts.  

    Headline and §1, PA, 8.10.2003.






Clint warns Arnie of nightmare ahead


Actor Clint Eastwood offered Arnold Schwarzenegger his congratulations on winning the governorship of California but joked: "Now the nightmare begins."

The star learned of Schwarzenegger's win while in London to promote his new film.

And he knows just how difficult life in politics can be - Eastwood spent two years as mayor of Carmel, California.

      Headline and §1, PA, 8.10.2003.






Aids among young 'global catastrophe'


The huge spread of Aids among young people is a global catastrophe that demands urgent action, the United Nations has warned.

An estimated 6,000 youngsters aged between 15 and 24 become infected with the disease every day - one every 14 seconds - and the majority are young women, the UN report showed.

The age group now accounts for half of all new infections of Aids, and a leading UN official said it should serve as a "wake-up call" to the world and its leaders.

      Headline and §1, PA, 8.10.2003.






Campaign on 'obesity timebomb'


Parents and schools are crucial to tackling the problem of overweight children and Britain's obesity timebomb, health experts have said.

Families need to work together to make sure they take measures to control their weight and remain healthy, the Health Development Agency said.

The authority said their own extensive evidence gathering showed that by targeting parents and children together and providing basic diet and exercise advice obesity could be effectively targeted.

    Headline and §1, PA, 8.10.2003.






'Afghan women still being violated'


The international community has failed to fulfil its promises to bring freedom and equality to the women of Afghanistan, Amnesty International has said.

Two years after the US-led invasion and ousting of the Taliban regime, "discrimination, violence and insecurity remain rife" in the war-torn country, according to the human rights organisation.

A new Amnesty report documents Afghan women's concerns about widespread domestic violence, forced marriage and rape by armed groups.

    Headline and §1, PA, 6.10.2003.






Computer to revolutionise forecasting


Data from the world's biggest computer could soon bring about a major change in forecasting the world's weather.

Researchers expect the giant Earth Simulator supercomputer to provide the first reliable long term predictions of major storms, heatwaves and coldsnaps.

As a result countries will be better prepared for the extreme effects of global warming.

    Headline and §1, PA, 6.10.2003.





Rap star's brother injured in shooting


A man injured in the current wave of gun crime is the brother of a rapper with award-winning group Big Brovaz.

DJ Andre Shepherd, whose sister Nadia Shepherd recently won Best Newcomer at the Mobo Awards with the band, was one of nine people shot last week in a series of attacks which left two people dead.

He was shot in the arms and back on Friday night as he walked in the red-light area of Reading.

    Headline and §1, 6.10.2003.






Rock star can get fair trial


A judge ruled that a French rock star's chances of a fair trial in the fatal beating of his girlfriend were not compromised by a new book that accuses him of being a murderer.

A lawyer for Bertrand Cantat, frontman for rock band Noir Desir (Black Desire), had argued that the book by his girlfriend's mother undermined the singer's right to be presumed innocent.

The book, Ma fille, Marie (My daughter, Marie), by Nadine Trintignant, does not refer to Cantat by name but uses the term "murderer" 85 times.

    Headline and §1, PA, 4.10.2003.






Tiger mauls Vegas magician during show


Las Vegas magician Roy Horn, famous for performing with signature white tigers in the Siegfried & Roy act, is in a critical condition after being mauled on-stage by one of the animals.

A tiger attacked Horn around the throat during a performance at The Mirage hotel-casino in the Nevada desert gambling city, authorities said.

Horn was taken to University Medical Centre, where he was listed in critical condition,

said hospital spokeswoman Cheryl Persinger.

    Headline and §1, PA, 4.10.2003.






Alex is favourite to win Fame Academy


Alex Parks is the bookies' favourite to win tonight's Fame Academy final.

She will battle it out with Carolynne Good and Alistair Griffin

in the live showdown on BBC1.

The winner gets a £1 million record deal and will live like a celebrity for a year.

    PA, Headline and §1, 4.10.2003.






Man arrested under terrorism act


A 23-year-old man is being questioned by officers in an anti-terrorism inquiry.

The arrest took place in the South Tyneside area and Anti-Terrorism Branch detectives travelled to the North East to quiz the suspect.

The man was initially arrested last Thursday at his home in connection with firearm and credit card offences.

    PA, Headline and §1, 3.10.2003.




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