Monday, October 19, 2009

The Simpsons Celebrate 20 years on TV!!!!

The Simpsons celebrate milestone

Published: 3:15PM Tuesday October 20, 2009

Source: Newstalk ZB/ONE News

One of television's most famous families is celebrating 20 years in the business.

The Simpsons is the longest running US sitcom, animated programme and prime time entertainment show ever.

Creator Matt Groening has been celebrating with a yellow-carpet event in Santa Monica, California. The carpet hosted a slew of guest stars whose voices have featured on Simpsons episodes.

Groening says he is still surprised at the Simpsons' success and is astounded the show is still going 20 years later.

The TV family have already got their own postal stamps in celebration of the milestone.

Do you watch The Simpsons? What do you like/not like about The Simpsons? Please leave us a comment with your memories.

Drinks bad for our health?

Article from:

Kids addicted to caffeine in a can

Close Up has reported growing fears children below the age of 14 are able to buy caffeinated energy drinks and shots and that some seem to be getting addicted to them.

There is a already a limit to how much caffeine can be added to drinks, but energy drink manufacturers get around that by calling their shots 'dietary supplements'.

And while the drinks and shots are clearly labelled as not suitable for children, they are most likely to be sold next to the candy and lollipops, making them even more likely to be purchased by young children.

The worry that parents and health nutritionists have is that while a little caffeine is not problematic in a young person's diet; it is the amount that is contained in a single can or shot that gives cause for concern.

Thirteen-year-old Shinei de beer says she is completely addicted to energy drinks like Demon, Mother and Illicit.

She says that just last weekend; she ended up consuming seven cans of energy drinks - that's three and a half litres.

De Beer says if she does not get her caffeine fix for the day, she feels sluggish and slow.

"They (the drinks) make like your heart go faster, I feel really energetic, really friendly when I take energy drinks," says de Beer.

But she says those highs are than mostly followed by terrible lows.

"I hate the lows, that's probably the thing I hate the most about energy drinks&they are really bad."

She says she sometimes drinks so much that she actually feels sick and once fainted.

Health nutritionist Bronwen King says she despises energy drinks, but is even more concerned about the affect it has on children and teens.

King worries that the drinks will lead to rises in cases of obesity, bone deprivation, dehydration and insomnia.

"That teenagers drink these to stay awake, then they cant sleep, then wake up tired and so then reach for another one," says King.

She says a normal sized can has the caffeine equivalent to one-and-a-half cappuccinos.

But a shot in a small bottle is much worse, according to her. In essence, it's an extra cup, she says, the effect of two-and-a-half strongly brewed coffees or five instant coffees in a sugary syrup.

King says such drinks increase the heart pulse and blood pressure.

"Abuse of human rights"

And while the energy drinks may be sold in the same place where a consumer can find the colas and sodas in a grocery or supermarket, energy shots are sold right at the counter, with most retailers having no problem selling them to anyone, never mind if they are young children, as there is no law specifically banning them from doing so.

That was what Anthony Hopkins found out when his seven-year-old son Freddy bought a V Pocket Rocket - equal to two strong cups of coffee - at a Berkeley's cinema in Botany.

Freddy is not able to buy the V Energy drinks, but thought it was his lucky day when he set his eyes on the 'kid-sized' bottle, thinking they were for his age range.

While his dad says he was surprised that his son was able to purchase the energy drink despite being so young, he says he was shocked by the response he got from the cinema chain when he asked them to explain themselves.

"They said it would be an abuse of human rights to not sell Freddy the caffeine shot, that they couldn't distinguish whether Freddy was an adult or not and that it was quite legal what they were doing," says Hopkins.

Close Up tried to get energy drinks companies to come on the show, but none of the companies were willing and all declined to comment on accusations that they are actively targeting kids.

The Food Safety Authority (FSA), which allowed energy shots to be declared health supplements, while not backing from their decision, says they are working on a code of practice.

"We believe energy drinks are, in fact, beverages. They are there to slate the thirst and as such they need to have a maximum caffeine limit that is set by the Food Standards code," says Dr Jeff Allan, from the FSA.

"The shots themselves are dietary supplements, we believe, and they are not intended to be a drink. They are intended to be a mechanism to deliver a supplement, just like a tablet is or a powder is."

Allan says the authority is taking specific action where they believe children are being targeted and they are working with the manufacturers and importers to actually set down guidelines.

Green MP Sue Kedgely says there is a whole generation of young New Zealanders who are being encouraged to get addicted to the caffeinated drinks.

And she says health warnings on the drinks are not enough to stop the drinks and shots being sold to young children.

"Ultimately it is the unethical and unscrupulous nature of these companies themselves who are deliberately targeting young children, children as defined as under-14, they are deliberately targeting with an addictive substance, trying to get them at a young and impressionable age and get them hooked, so surely we should be enforcing what law there is," says Kedgely.

Anthony Hopkins says it would be nice to see companies being responsible with their products.

"These are big companies we are talking about so the cinema chain Berkeley deliberately puts these products beside sweets which is wrong, so do big supermarkets, and I think they should show the way and correct that."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't try this at home!

Sourced from: The Vancover Sun

Six-year-old boy in helium balloon appears to be crashing

ReutersOctober 15, 2009 12:29 PM

DENVER- A 6-year-old boy climbed into a small homemade aircraft — a balloon resembling a flying saucer — and floated thousands of metres into the air in Colorado on Thursday, local media said.

Authorities were trying to work out a way to bring the craft to land safely.

The Denver Post newspaper reported that the boy got into the aircraft, which it described as a "home-made flying saucer" at his family's home in Fort Collins and that it then came loose from its tether.

The father of the boy, Richard Heene, said he had been experimenting with the balloon with his sons, floating it just above the ground while it was tethered by ropes. His son, six-year-old Falcon Heene, is said to have climbed into the basket and the ropes came undone. Another brother ran into the house and alerted the parents, according to police.

The newspaper said that the aircraft was last spotted flying over nearby Weld County and that authorities were working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to determine how best to get the boy down.

A National Guard chopper is currently trailing the balloon which was at one time estimated to be traveling at an altitude of 8,000 feet.

The balloon appears to be losing helium at this time and is moving at an estimated 20mph.

Air traffic around Denver is being rerouted.

More to come...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Suspicious Blaze in Christchurch

Sourced from:

Two firefighters have been injured battling a suspicious blaze in an industrial area of Addington, Christchurch overnight Wednesday.

It is believed the fire started when sparking 66 000 volt cables caused several gas cylinders to explode at the Milton substation at around 11pm Wednesday. A ute near by went up in flames and police evacuated the area, including a nearby pub.

Four engines battled the fire and it took about an hour and a half to bring it under control.

The fire caused power outages in the suburbs of Sydenham, Beckenham and Addington but all power has now been restored. Around 10,000 customers were affected. One firefighter remains in hospital in a stable condition. The other was released at about 3am.

Police and fire safety officers will investigate the blaze on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baby Whales Caught in Shark Nets

Article from Goldcoast News

Whale freed from Burleigh shark nets

SHARK nets damaged during this morning's rescue of a humpback whale calf off the Gold Coast will be replaced later this afternoon.

More calls for removal of the shark nets during whale migration season appear to be falling in deaf ears, despite five whales being entangled this season.

This morning's rescue was the fourth in less than three weeks.

The calf was caught in the shark nets about 500m from the Burleigh Mowbray Surf Lifesaving Club.

Rescue teams from Sea World and the Department of Fisheries took about two hours to free the baby, hampered by a distressed mother whale concerned for its baby.

There were are at least two other mature whales near the nets with onlookers reporting up to five whales in the area.

At one stage rescuers had to move their boat away as the frantic parent was thrashing dangerously close to the rescue boat.

They then positioned a larger boat between the whale and the nets in a bid to protect the rescue team as it tried to free the calf.

It is believed the whale calf became trapped about 5.30am. Rescue teams arrived about 7.30am while a crowd of about 100 people watched the rescue from Burleigh Point.

Queensland Shark Control Program Manager Tony Ham said public assistance was needed with reporting suspected entanglements.

"The sooner we know that we have an entanglement, the better chance we have of a successful release," he said.

"Anyone who sees a whale or other marine life entangled in shark control equipment can call the 24-hour hotline on 1800 806 891.

"With a significant increase in the whale population - approximately 12,000 now migrating each season - entanglements are anticipated at this time of year as the population makes its journey back to southern waters," Mr Ham said.

Including today's entanglement, since 2000 28 whales have been caught in shark control equipment in Queensland.

Of these entanglements, 25 whales have been successfully released.

A comment from a reader of the article online:

"What will it take for something to be done about moving the nets? I'll tell you what, a rescuer being drowned trying to conduct a save, or crushed by a frantic mother whale while trying to rescue her calf. It's only a matter of a few weeks, and the nets only 'protect' a fraction of the beach anyway, they're more psychological than physical assurance. Shark numbers are in decline worldwide through over fishing too, so removing the nets during migration times makes sense, and yes, I'm a surfer! "
Glen Crawford

Have your say M9! Post a comment below. A selection of the comments will be posted on the actual news website.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Swine Flu Protective Suit

Article sourced from:

For the executive who doesn't have time to come down with the flu, a Japanese company has invented a new form of protection - the anti-H1N1 suit.

Menswear company Haruyama Trading claims the suit can protect wearers from the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, as it is coated with titanium dioxide, a chemical commonly used in toothpaste and cosmetics and that breaks down when reacting with light, supposedly killing the virus upon contact.

Shinto Hirata, vice director of merchandising at Haruyama, says the suit is proven to kill 40 percent of the latest flu virus in about three hours and will retain its protective capability even after being washed several times.

"If a person with the flu virus coughs, it might get on someone else's suit and from there, another person might get infected," he told Reuters.

"Small children might catch the virus after touching their father's suit. We came up with this idea to protect all businessmen and their families."

The suit was developed after joint research by several companies including Haruyama and Gaea, which specialises in anti-bacterial and deodorising coatings.

Gaea has been using its own method for more than 10 years to coat various fabrics, including anti-flu face masks, towels and physician's apparel, which are widely available.

Despite the new layer of protection, the suit seems fairly similar to others worn by Japanese white-collar workers. It comes in four colours and styles and costs around US$590.

"I bought this suit to protect my new-born baby at home. My wife is worried about the swine flu as well," said Japanese businessman Eiji Hiratsuka.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 340,000 people have been infected with H1N1 worldwide and the disease is responsible for 4100 deaths.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Aisling Symes Missing

Article sourced from:

Police: We have no leads on Aisling

Last updated 05:00 11/10/2009

As the search for missing Auckland toddler Aisling Symes enters its seventh day, police have admitted they have no strong leads, and have renewed pleas for those connected to her disappearance to come forward.

New "heartbreaking" footage of Aisling, two, dancing in her family home was released last night in the hope it might encourage anyone with information to contact police.

"While it is heartbreaking footage to see given the current circumstances, we feel it humanises Aisling even more than a still photograph can," the officer in charge of the investigation, Inspector Gary Davey, said.

"While several people of interest have been profiled by the intelligence section and suspect team, we have not had any strong information that might lead us directly to Aisling."

Davey has urged Aisling's captors to deliver her to a safe place, preferably a hospital in the Auckland region. "Our aim is to have Aisling returned safely to her family... Please return her."

Aisling's parents, Alan and Angela Symes, were yesterday too fragile to talk to media. A spokesperson said: "They have had a bit of a difficult morning."

The new low in what has been described as a week of living hell for the Symes family came as they would have learned that, six days into their little girl's disappearance, police had no promising lines of inquiry. Davey said the family was being kept up-to-date with police operations.

A family spokesperson told the Star-Times that Aisling's parents, along with family members and close friends, spent most of yesterday huddled at their West Auckland home, close to the phone, waiting for news.

Meanwhile, the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann expressed their sympathy for the Symes family. Four-year-old Madeleine disappeared in May 2007 from a holiday flat in Portugal, as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant. Despite a massive worldwide hunt she has never been found.

Aisling vanished last Monday about 5.15pm from her deceased grandparents' house in Longburn Rd, Henderson. She was last seen with an Asian woman walking a medium-sized black and grey dog. The woman has not come forward, and police believe Aisling has been abducted. Her disappearance sparked a large-scale police hunt by a team recently bolstered to 60 officers.

Davey said that entering the seventh day of the search and beyond into the new week, his team would be completing area canvasses and following up on a list of "persons of interest".

"What we're doing at the moment is we're really working through our persons of interest that have come up from our profiling of suspicious people and information from members of the public that have been calling in."

Yesterday a police van set up outside nearby Lincoln Rd Pak'n Save saw a steady stream of people coming forward. One police officer manning the van told the Star-Times about a dozen people had come forward in three hours. Police were following up on each bit of information and people should not think any detail too trivial to pass on.

In a statement to the Star-Times, Gerry and Kate McCann said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling and her family. We wish Aisling's parents the strength and support they'll be needing at this most painful time and we join them in hoping for Aisling's safe and speedy return. We urge anyone who has any information about Aisling to come forward to the local police as soon as possible and end this family's suffering."

The Symes were grateful for the McCanns' wishes, a spokesperson said.