Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cocaine on 94 percent of Spanish banknotes

Cocaine on 94 percent of Spanish banknotes
Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:45 AM ET

MADRID (Reuters) - Traces of cocaine can be found on 94 percent of banknotes
in Spain, a country that has one of the world's highest rates of users,
according to a study published on Sunday.

The 100 notes tested were collected in gyms, supermarkets and pharmacies
across Spain, where increased affluence and falling street prices have made
the drug more and more accessible.

Cocaine now sells for as little as 60 euros ($80) a gram, or 5 euros ($7) a
line, and it is regularly used by 1.6 percent of Spaniards, up from 0.9
percent in 1999, a government report said this month.

Law enforcement agencies say cocaine is getting cheaper and more popular in
Europe because of efforts to boost production by Colombian paramilitaries and
rebels who need money for weapons. Spain is a major entry point to Europe for
the smugglers.

It was not clear how many of the notes had been used to snort cocaine and how
many had picked up traces from other bills, according to the study by the
Sailab laboratory, published in the daily El Mundo.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Condoms 'too big' for Indian men

An embarrassing difficulty.
Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 13:08 GMT
Condoms 'too big' for Indian men
By Damian Grammaticus
BBC News, Delhi

Condom factory
There is a "lack of awareness" over condom sizes
A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.

The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.

It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.

The two-year study was carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research.


Over 1,200 volunteers from the length and breadth of the country had their penises measured precisely, down to the last millimetre.

The scientists even checked their sample was representative of India as a whole in terms of class, religion and urban and rural dwellers.

India Aids health promotion
The problem affects HIV prevention

The conclusion of all this scientific endeavour is that about 60% of Indian men have penises which are between three and five centimetres shorter than international standards used in condom manufacture.

Doctor Chander Puri, a specialist in reproductive health at the Indian Council of Medical Research, told the BBC there was an obvious need in India for custom-made condoms, as most of those currently on sale are too large.

The issue is serious because about one in every five times a condom is used in India it either falls off or tears, an extremely high failure rate.

And the country already has the highest number of HIV infections of any nation.

Mr Puri said that since Indians would be embarrassed about going to a chemist to ask for smaller condoms there should be vending machines dispensing different sizes all around the country.

"Smaller condoms are on sale in India. But there is a lack of awareness that different sizes are available. There is anxiety talking about the issue. And normally one feels shy to go to a chemist's shop and ask for a smaller size condom."

'Not a problem'

But Indian men need not be concerned about measuring up internationally according to Sunil Mehra, the former editor of the Indian version of the men's magazine Maxim.

"It's not size, it's what you do with it that matters," he said.

"From our population, the evidence is Indians are doing pretty well.

"With apologies to the poet Alexander Pope, you could say, for inches and centimetres, let fools contend."

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

No Shi'ite, Sherlock: "US 'not winning conflict in Iraq'"

No Shi'ite, Sherlock: "US 'not winning conflict in Iraq'

For some reason this was headline news:
US Defence Secretary nominee Robert Gates has told a Senate committee that the US is not winning the war in Iraq
In other news, the Japanese emperor announced that his country was definitely not winning World War II, and Al Gore conceded that it is unlikely he would win the 2000 presidential elections, and the Governor of Alabama conceded that it was unlikely that the Confederate States of America  would win the Civil War.
Could you imagine if Gates had said the US is winning the Iraq war?
S. Sharer

Saturday, December 2, 2006

North Dakota Tribe Barring Church Protesters

North Dakota Tribe Barring Church Protesters
By James MacPherson
The Associated Press

Saturday 02 December 2006

Bismarck, North Dakota - A church group that protests at military funerals
around the country will be barred from services for an American Indian soldier
on a reservation, tribal officials say.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., planned to
demonstrate at National Guard Cpl. Nathan Goodiron's funeral on Saturday at
the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Church members say the deaths of soldiers are punishment from God for the
country's tolerance of homosexuals.

Tribal leaders passed a resolution Friday that prohibits the group from
protesting on the reservation, said Marcus Wells Jr., chairman of the Three
Affiliated Tribes.

"We will not tolerate any harassment that is intended to provoke ill
feelings and violence," he said.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., pastor of
Westboro Baptist, said her group planned to protest outside the reservation
"on public rights of way."

"We don't get into anyone's private area," said Phelps-Roper, the church's
attorney and its spokeswoman. "We don't go on private land."

Goodiron, 25, of Mandaree, known on the reservation as Young Eagle, was
killed Thanksgiving Day in Afghanistan when a grenade struck his vehicle while
he was on patrol. He was a member of the 1st Battalion of the North Dakota
National Guard's 188th Air Defense Artillery.

Tribal officials said he was the first member of the Three Affiliated
Tribes to be killed in the war on terror.

American and tribal flags are being flown at half staff on the reservation
to honor Goodiron.

"We recognize and respect the right to free speech and the public's right
to assemble, but we want everyone to know that the Three Affiliated Tribes, as
a sovereign tribal government, has the right to regulate any person or persons
who harass and show disrespectful conduct towards our members, within our
boundaries," Wells said in a statement.

Wells said tribal police would prevent the protesters from coming on the