Monthly Archives: December 2011
This iconic building will be a familiar sight for anyone who has gazed at London’s skyline.
But the distinctive sky-scraper pictured is not the world-renowned Gherkin, but the Crayfish Mansion in eastern China.
The tapered, glass Crayfish looks almost exactly the same as the English landmark – and it even shares a bizarre name.
Spot the difference: Chaina’s Crayfish, left, looks just like the 180m-high Gherkin, but reaches only 99m
The Crayfish is to become the epicentre of the crayfish industry in Xuyi county, Jiangsu province – an area famous for its production of the crustacean.
Xuyi Crayfish Group began building in March 2010 and have spent around $19million on the gleaming 20,000-square-metre structure.
It is unclear if it was flattery or a desire to save money on an architect that prompted the company to emulate the Gherkin’s diagonally striped, diamond-effect design.
The City of London office block, which is officially named 30 St Mary Axe, was designed by Ken Shuttleworth for Sir Norman Foster’s firm.
It opened in 2004, and would tower over China’s 99m-high imitation at 180m tall – more than three times the height of Niagara Falls.
But the Gherkin’s unique design has attracted its fair share of criticism, and even designer Mr Shuttleworth admitted later that the days of ‘crazy shapes, silly profiles and double curves’ were over.
China’s creation has already been nicknamed ‘The Giant Egg’. Let’s hope it escapes an identical fate.
A former community college instructor in Tacoma faces accusations that he convinced a student that she could improve her vocal range by getting naking or touching herself sexually.
The News Tribune says Kevin Gausepohl, 37, is charged with seven counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and one count of obstructing a law enforcement officer. The charges he faces are midemeanors.
He is a former music instructor at Tacoma Community College. He is accused of telling a Gig Harbor student — a 17-year-old girl attending college as part of the Running Start program — that he was studying how sexual arousal could change vocal range.
The newspaper says court records show that the girl complied to some of his requests to strip or touch herself during private voice lessons.
The teacher resigned in October and has said he did nothing wrong.
Other students said Gausepohl asked them to be part of his study, they told investigators. They declined.
CHATHAM, Ont. — Hamburger-eating cats, video game disputes and not being allowed into a bar are not emergencies.
That may seem obvious, but those are just three of the many 911 calls made in the Chatham, Ont., area this year.
Chatham-Kent police have released their third annual list of “Top 10 Silly Calls” of the year in an effort to remind people to call 911 only if they need emergency assistance.
Among the calls deemed not an emergency was one dispatchers received from a woman whose cats ate her hamburger — she wanted another one.
Also not an emergency was a couple’s video-game argument in which the man wanted to play Xbox and the woman wanted to play Nintendo Wii.
Const. Michael Pearce says he suspects alcohol was a factor in some of the top 10 calls.
Apparently closing time wasn’t quitting time for one guy at an Old Sacramento bar. Koula Gianulias reports.
VANCOUVER — Crack addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have started receiving free crack pipes as part of a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority harm reduction strategy aimed at curbing the spread of disease.
Part of a $60,000 trial project first announced in August, the pipes are just one piece of drug paraphernalia found inside kits that have been distributed to users in the troubled neighbourhood since the beginning of the month.
The glass pipes are heat-resistant and shatterproof, which experts say should reduce injury to the users’ lips and mouth — wounds that can make them more susceptible to diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
Also included are mouthpieces, filters, alcohol swabs, screens and push sticks.
While harm reduction tools such as these have been made available to addicts in the past, this marks the first time that they have been combined in a single kit, said Trudi Beutel, a spokesperson for the health authority.
In total, 60,000 kits are expected to be distributed at five locations during an eight-month trial period.
“What this boils down to is it’s about disease prevention,” said Beutel. “It’s about preventing more communicable diseases which land these people in hospital on a frequent basis and clog up emergency rooms.”
Beutel said the project, which comes at a time when crack is enjoying a local surge in popularity, also will allow health officials to determine if the distribution of the kits is an effective way to engage users and steer them toward detox services.
It will also help them quantify the number of crack smokers in Vancouver and provide insight into crack addiction, she added.
Hugh Lampkin, the president of VANDU, estimated that his organization, which puts the kits together before distributing them to the four other centres, is handing out an average of 70 to 90 kits a day.
Alcohol is fuelling an epidemic of ‘risky sex’ among teenagers, senior doctors warned yesterday.
Many youngsters admit going ‘further than intended’ while drunk, according to the Royal College of Physicians.
In a report, the college said excessive drinking and sex was a ‘cocktail’ for teenage pregnancies and infections.
It urged GPs and nurses to ask teenagers about their drinking habits when they turn up to sexual health clinics for contraception or the morning-after pill.
The organisation highlighted research showing that a fifth of 14- and 15-year-old girls said they did more sexually than they wanted to while drunk.
And more than 80 per cent of 16- to 30-year-olds said they drank before sexual activity.
The college said one million teenagers attend sexual health clinics every year to get free contraception, the morning-after pill or to undergo tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
It said this provides doctors and nurses with a ‘key opportunity’ to find out about youngsters’ drinking habits and warn them about the dangers of going overboard.
Dr Simon Barton, chair of the RCP’s Alcohol and Sexual Health Working Party, said: ‘The links between alcohol use and poor sexual health have been recognised for some time, yet the services available do not reflect this clear association.
‘Failing to discuss alcohol consumption with a patient accessing sexual health services is a missed opportunity.
‘Although services that aim to tackle this problem cannot be effective in isolation, there is a real opportunity for sexual health services to support people both in identifying their behavioural risks and in empowering them to take action.’
Dr Janet Wilson, president-elect of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, who helped write the report, added: ‘A sexual health check-up is the ideal time to broach the subject, to find the one in five young people attending our clinics who are at most risk and give them structured advice around alcohol consumption, referring to alcohol services where appropriate.’
The report looked at a survey carried out on 14- and 15-year-old girls in Rochdale in 2004 which found a fifth had gone further than intended when drunk.
And a separate study of 2,000 15- and 16-year-olds from 1991 found that 11 per cent regretted having sex after drinking. Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘Nurses are often the first point of contact when dealing with sexual health issues.
‘Robust regulation on the sale of alcohol, along with sensible minimum pricing and educational campaigns, is also desperately needed.’
Yesterday it was revealed that teenagers were responsible for a quarter of abortions in Britain. The figures compiled by the EU showed that more teenagers have abortions in this country than almost anywhere else in Europe. Only Belgium was found to have a higher rate.
Britain also has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, although the numbers have at last begun to fall in the past few years.
MIRA LOMA, Calif. — Authorities say a 12-year-old girl was struck and killed on a Southern California freeway as she ran through traffic while attempting to retrieve clothing from the roadway.
The California Highway Patrol tells the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/uMHq3H) that Eunice Flores was hit at about 11 p.m. Sunday on State Route 60 in Mira Loma, about 45 miles east of Los Angeles.
The patrol says suitcases had fallen from the roof rack of the car that Flores was traveling in, scattering the clothes.
John Sullivan was driving about 70 mph when he saw the girl, but it was too late to avoid the collision. The 74-year-old wasn’t injured or arrested.
Flores was pronounced dead at the scene.
An Indian man who died in a state-run hospital is alleged to have had his penis chewed off by rats, Asian Age newspaper reports.
Arun Sandhukha, 53, had been a pneumonia patient at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) since December 11. According to the newspaper, his family members arrived at the hospital for a visit and found him in a pool of blood, with no medical staff in sight.
“No nurse was found at the scene and he was writhing in pain. His penis had been nibbled by rats,” a victim’s relative identified as Bishwanath said. The relative said that hospital staff “admitted the presence of rats in the hospital.”
Later in the day, Sandhukha was pronounced dead. (Asian Age published its story on December 24, but it is not clear on what day the incident occurred.)
The horrific story is only the latest in a string of medical mishaps to capture the Indian public’s attention. On December 23, a government doctor was found to be practicing medicine while inebriated, reports The Statesman.
In a more serious case, a drunk medical worker “was reported to have pulled off the oxygen mask of a three-week old baby that led to her death,” reports the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.
And in a tragedy that made international headlines, 89 people were killed when a fire swept through a Kolkata hospital on December 9. Medical staff abandoned patients as the blaze spread, and six administrators were charged with culpable homicide.
Even people who think caviar is to die for might lose their appetite when it’s stored in a hospital morgue.
But that’s where St. Petersburg police found a huge stash of the delicacy this week — 175 kilograms (385 pounds) stored in the refrigerated space where cadavers are kept.
A morgue employee and a businessman were arrested after the Wednesday discovery, but police said Friday the matter is still being investigated and it is unclear if the men will be charged.
The arrested men said the caviar was to be a treat for hospital employees at a New Year’s party.
Caviar consists of unfertilized eggs from sturgeon, a widely endangered fish. Amid heavy restrictions on sturgeon fishing, caviar is increasingly produced and sold illegally.
In the run-up to New Year’s, one of Russia’s most lavishly festive holidays, police have made a series of other seizures of caviar.
A day after the morgue discovery, St. Petersburg police said they seized an additional 100 kilograms (220 pounds) intended for illegal sale at local markets.
On Friday, the Interfax news agency reported that border guards in the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv confiscated 249 cans of caviar worth almost $22,000 that was allegedly being smuggled from Russia to Ukraine.
In the far eastern region of Khabarovsk, a vehicle inspection turned up 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of caviar, leading police on a weeklong investigation, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported. They raided a village home on Friday and found another 26 kilograms (57 pounds).
At two different spots along the Amur River basin, police found 47 sturgeon carcasses and 2.5 tons of live sturgeon. Sturgeon fishing in the Amur basin is prohibited.