World's 'fattest man' tended by seven carers a day

Keith-Martin_2138040b Mr Martin, 42, has been unable to work for more than a decade owing to his weight and cannot move from his reinforced bed.

As well as his carers, who wash and change him in two shifts, he also receives visits from two nurses every other day who tend to his bed sores.

Yet despite the huge drain on public funds, Mr Martin, who is trying to lose weight to qualify for a gastric band, claimed people should not judge him.

He told the Daily Mail: “It’s either that or I would end up dead. Until people have lived like it, they can’t judge.

“Some people need help. Smokers get help, rock climbers get help if they get injured. Some people have bigger problems than others.

Clashes in Bahrain ahead of protest anniversary

120214115232-lakhani-bahrain-revolution-00004830-story-top Police in Bahrain turned tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters who wanted to march from a Monday night demonstration on the outskirts of Manama toward a city landmark.

About 2,000 people broke away from the main body of the protest and started to march toward the Pearl Roundabout, the focal point of pro-democracy protests that began a year ago Tuesday. Several people were injured on both sides as police forced them back, with some demonstrators hurling Molotov cocktails at police during the melee.

In a statement issued late Monday, Gen. Tariq Hassan al-Hassan, Bahrain's public security chief, blamed "a large group of terrorists" for the clashes. He said demonstrators were disrupting traffic on main streets and attacked police when they intervened and ordered the protesters to disperse.

Silver surfer daters 'more honest'

o_2055607b Older people also tend to describe themselves in more gentle and discreet manner on their online profiles, and are less likely to lead their suitors on a wild goose chase.

These are the conclusions of researchers who trawled popular online dating sites to find out how people of different ages present themselves to others.

Such websites have increased massively in popularity over the last few years. Some people believe they have fuelled an increase in casual, no-strings-attached sex.

NATO Says Afghan Children Found Dead After Airstrike

NATO officials in Afghanistan say coalition aircraft may have mistakenly killed several children during a bombing raid last week in the eastern part of the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the air strikes and ordered an investigation after saying that eight children were killed on February 8.

NATO spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson said Monday coalition aircraft and ground forces attacked insurgents in Kapinsa province.  After the raid, NATO forces found several "young Afghans of varying ages" among the casualties.

Greeks Riot as Parliament Passes Austerity Measures

apGreeceProtestsAusterityMeasures11Feb2012-resizedpx480q100dpi96shp8 The Greek parliament has approved a new package of spending and job cuts demanded by international lenders, bringing Greece closer to a new badly needed bailout.

Lawmakers passed the plan late Sunday after protesters burned buildings, smashed windows and pelted police with rocks and gasoline bombs. Police attacked the rioters with tear gas.

Around 100,000 protesters marched through Athens and the second largest city, Thessaloniki.

At least 10 buildings in Athens were set on fire, including movie theaters, cafes and banks.

Apple 'iPad 3 photo' sparks rumours

ipad3_2133323b Apple typically updates its products annually so a new iPad is widely expected next month. A photo published online purports to show the back of the new device, suggesting that it has already entered production.

The photograph shows only slight differences from the iPad 2 back and it is possible that the part is not from an 'iPad 3' but instead from a rejected prototype or even a fake.

Nevertheless, it has generated a new round of rumours about what Apple has in store. If the company follows the same schedule as last year then the next iPad will be announced in late February or early March and will be released a week or two later.

Singer Lana Del Rey postpones tour after infamous flop on 'Saturday Night Live'

LanaDelRey Singer Lana Del Rey postponed her tour in the wake of her disastrous "Saturday Night Live" appearance last month, sources said.

The "Video Games" singer's gigs were set to coincide with the release of her album, "Born To Die" -- but the plug was pulled after her tour managers, booking agents and label heads at Interscope met, following her bizarre, listless appearance on "SNL."

The performance grew so notorious, it was spoofed by Kristen Wiig on the show itself last weekend.

"[Lana] and her manager decided to cancel [the tour] after 'SNL,'" a source said. "She was very upset."

But, the source added, "They figure it allows time for her to clear her head, then go back to selling tickets. More importantly, they figure, the extra time gives them more distance from 'SNL.'"

Safer Internet Day: almost half of under-12s using Facebook

Facebook requires its members to be at least 13 years-old to use the site. However, 44 per cent of British children aged between eight to 12 years-old are routinely flouting this age limit and logging onto the popular social networking site.

New research, which surveyed 2,000 children aged between six and 14, across the UK and the US, found that British children who are under the Facebook age limit, were using the site more than their American counterparts. In the US, 37 per cent of eight to 12 year-olds access the site on a regular basis.

Fisker announces layoffs as automaker misses targets, has DOE loans frozen

Fisker Automotive, an electric car maker that received a half-billion-dollar loan from the federal government, said Monday that it has laid off workers in Delaware and California.

The layoffs include 26 workers at a former General Motors plant in Wilmington that Fisker is retooling to manufacture its Nina plug-in hybrid sedan. Another 40 contractors and employees who were working in design and development of Fisker's Karma luxury car in Anaheim, Calif., also have been cut.

The layoffs come as Fisker is seeking to renegotiate its loan agreement with the Department of Energy.

Fisker has received $193 million of the $529 million DOE loan, mostly for work on the Karma, which sells for about $100,000. The introduction of the Karma was delayed because of regulatory issues and battery pack problems that prompted a voluntary safety recall by Fisker.

Palestinian Rivals Agree to Form Unity Government

reuters_palestinian_politics_480_06feb2012 The leaders of the rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas announced they have agreed to form an interim unity government led by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, head of the militant Islamist Hamas, said Monday the two groups would move forward without delay to form a government of independent technocrats, paving the way for presidential and parliamentary elections possibly later this year. No specific timetable was set.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who sponsored the talks, sat between the rival Palestinian leaders as they announced the deal in Doha.

Tibetan Exile Administration Reports More Protest Immolations

AP_TibetImmolations_6feb12-resizedpx480q100dpi96shp8 The India-based administration of Tibetan exiles is citing "unconfirmed reports" that more Tibetans in areas under Chinese control have self-immolated in protest against Beijing's policies. The apparent immolations are the latest sign of spreading unrest.

Tibetan Exile Administration Cabinet Minister and spokeswoman Dicki Chhoyang says the reported immolations took place on Friday, in Serthar, a Tibetan area of China's Sichuan province. "Unconfirmed reports state that three Tibetans were involved, two of them aged in the 60s and 30s respectively," she noted. "All three have sustained injuries, but their exact condition and whereabouts remain unknown."

US Closes Damascus Embassy as Assad Forces Kill More Syrians

ap_syria_damascus_us_embassy_480_12jan2012 The United States has closed its embassy in Syria as the government there escalates its violent crackdown on an opposition uprising.

The U.S. State Department said Monday that embassy functions have been suspended and that Ambassador Robert Ford and other staff have left the country. The Obama adminstration had warned last month it would close its mission in Damascus unless Syria's government addressed security considerations, including the safety of its personnel.

Violence continued to flare Monday as Syrian government forces bombarded the country's third largest city of Homs, large parts of which are in rebel hands.

Residents say shells slammed into apartment blocks, causing numerous casualties, as Syrian government forces pounded areas of Homs with heavy artillery. Opposition sources indicated that tanks had blocked all entrances to the city.

U.S. brigadier general dies in Afghanistan

120205013509-hildner-story-body U.S. Brig. Gen. Terence Hildner died in Kabul of apparent natural causes, officials said, making him the highest ranking officer to die in Afghanistan.

He was 49.

Hildner, who was commander of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, Texas, was in Afghanistan to support the NATO training mission.

"The unfortunate and untimely death of Brigadier General Hildner was a shock to our unit and Families," Col. Knowles Atchison, 13th ESC rear commander, said in a statement posted on the Fort Hood website. "Both forward deployed elements and we at home station are deeply saddened by this loss. We will all pull together through this difficult period and care for one another."

The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation, the statement said.

Obama Condemns Syrian Attack

reuters_syria_violence_4feb12_eng_480 President Barack Obama is harshly criticizing the Syrian government for an attack that killed more than 200 people in the city of Homs. The president’s sharply-worded statement released Saturday aims to reassure the Syrian people.

In some of his strongest language yet, President Obama condemns what he calls “the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs.”

The written statement uses words like “murdered” and “disdain for human life and dignity.”  Mr. Obama asserts that “any government that brutalizes and massacres its people does not deserve to govern.” 

He again calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying he “has no right to lead Syria, and has lost all legitimacy with his people and the international community.”

22 Children Killed by Afghan Winter's Cold

ap_afghanistan_weather_04feb2012_eng_480 A report in The New York Times says at least 22 Afghan children, all under the age of 5, have frozen to death in the past month in two refugee camps in the capital, Kabul, after fleeing with their families from Afghanistan's war zones.  The newspaper says the dead children include 3-month-old twin girls and a month-old boy.

The report says government officials have sought to "suppress or play down" the deaths.  However, The New York Times says the children's deaths have prompted "soul searching among aid workers" who question how children could be dying of something as "predictable and manageable as the cold" in a country that has received tens of billions of dollars in humanitarian aid and international development assistance.  Afghanistan is experiencing one its coldest winters in decades, with temperatures reaching far below the freezing point most nights.

Shootout at South Sudan peace meeting kills dozens

120110012925-clancy-south-sudan-violence-conts-00020627-story-top At least 37 people were killed during a shootout at a meeting to resolve cattle disputes in South Sudan, officials said Saturday, the latest in a spate of violence in the world's newest nation.

One U.N. officer was wounded during the meeting at Unity state, which was attended by several staff members of the world body, according to Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Juba.

Seven U.N. staff members and three local officials traveled to Mayendit County to investigate a wave of violence from cattle raiding on the borders of Unity and Warrap states.

During the meeting Wednesday, the county commissioner from neighboring Lake state appeared and interrupted the meeting, yelling angry remarks at his Mayendit county counterpart, the spokesman said.

The shooting followed soon after.

What the unemployment rate doesn't measure

A drop in the unemployment rate is always good economic news, but those of all political stripes say .. it's not as good as it looks.

"This feels like a Charles Dickens novel. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Michael Burgess, R-TX,  said during a hearing with Labor Department officials.

"I don't think we should forget that as bad as the unemployment rate has been, the actual job situtation in the country has been worse than that because of these ways they don't get measured," Austen Goolsbee, a former economic adviser to President Obama said.

What the unemployment rate does not measure is those without jobs who have simply given up.

"It does not include the number of people who have become discouraged and are just not looking for a job at all," Matt Mcdonald, a Republican economic analyst at Hamilton Place Strategies, said.

Libyan diplomat was tortured, died in detention, rights group says

A Libyan diplomat died 24 hours after he was detained by a militia based in the city of Zintan, Human Rights Watch said.

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed Omar Brebesh's death in prison, though it did not have any information as to the circumstances. The ministry said Brebesh, 62, had served as the charge d'affairs in France from 2004 to 2008.

CNN's attempts to reach Libyan officials were not immediately successful. However, Libya's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Shalgham, told the United Nations this month that Libya does not approve of any abuse and was working to stop any such practices.

Brebesh was detained January 19 and appears to have died from torture, Human Rights Watch said Thursday after viewing a preliminary autopsy report.

Romney Poised for Nevada Victory Ahead of Caucuses

apRomneyNevadaRepublicans3February2012-resizedpx480q100shp8 Fresh from a major win in Florida, U.S. Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney appears poised for victory in the western state of Nevada, with just one day to go before that state's presidential caucuses.

A new poll gives the former Massachusetts governor a 20-point lead over former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich (Romney with 45 percent and Gingrich with 25 percent). The survey of likely Republican caucus voters showed former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum with 11 percent and Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 9 percent.

Nevada is one of eight presidential nominating contests to take place ahead of "Super Tuesday" on March 6, when 10 states will hold their nominating contests.

2 kidnapped Americans released in Egypt, authorities say

Two American tourists who were kidnapped in the southern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula were freed Friday, a security official said.

They had been abducted by unknown Bedouins, said Gen. Mohamed Naguib, head of security in the region.

The kidnappers had demanded that some detainees be released and retried, but it is unclear if these calls were met.

Earlier Friday, the country's tourism minister said on Al Hayat Egyptian TV that authorities had located the kidnappers and were negotiating with them.

The abductions came several days after kidnappers held a larger group for a day.

Activists: Syrian Troops Kill More Than 217 in Homs

syria_protests_480_03feb2012 Human rights activists say Syrian armed forces have killed at least 217 people in the city of Homs as the United Nations gets ready to vote on a resolution aimed at stopping the violence.

The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights said Friday hundreds more have been wounded. Homs has been one of the main flashpoints of opposition to the regime during the uprising that began nearly 11 months ago.

As the death toll continued to mount, the U.N.  Security Council said it will vote Saturday on a draft resolution on Syria. Russia has threatened to veto earlier versions of the resolution and the Obama administration has been pressing it to back a softened version condemning the violence in that country.

Egyptians Blame Military for Soccer Bloodshed

Reuters Egypt Port Said protesters police 480 Egypt has begun three days of mourning for the victims of the worst soccer violence in the nation's history.

The people of Port Said are reeling after the spasm of violence tore through this coastal town. At least 74 people were killed when fans rioted and many are blaming the military government for failing to maintain security.

Few could believe their local football fans, rowdy as they have been in the past, would ever do anything this deadly. Many saw a sinister hand behind the rioting.

Currency trader Ahmad Hosni believes it was planned by the army and the police. Standing outside closed shops on a largely deserted street, he asks “how many matches have taken place and nothing like this happened?  They want to mess up the country.”

Nearby, driver Mamdouh Hassan questions how fans managed to get weapons into the stadium in the first place. He says no one was searched, and they brought in batons and knives. Hassan believes “something else” is behind the violence.

Indian top court scraps scandal-hit telecom licenses

111009035035-india-market-phone-story-top India's supreme court Thursday ordered the cancellation of 122 cellular permits that have been at the center of a multibillion-dollar scandal involving the country's booming telecommunication sector, attorneys said.

A telecom minister awarded the licenses in 2008. The former minister -- A. Raja -- is in jail for his alleged role in what is believed to be a rigged sale of radio waves to companies.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan called the judgment "historic."

"It will change the manner in which corruption will be examined and dealt with in the country," said Bhushan, also the petitioner.

Protesters pelt U.N. chief's vehicle with shoes in Gaza

The convoy of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was pelted with shoes by Palestinians in Gaza Thursday, according to witnesses and a U.N. official.

Upon entering Gaza from Israel, Ban's car was met by a protest of several dozen people who threw objects, including shoes, at it, said U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey.

Witnesses said the demonstration was made up of relatives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, protesting what they see as a lack of U.N. attention to the plight of imprisoned Palestinians.

The convoy did not stop, del Buey said, and the protest did not interrupt Ban's planned meetings with U.N. personnel. "All is fine," the spokesman said.

Bamboo mobile phone to be launched by British student

bamboo_2127018b The new smartphone, called ‘ADzero’, is expected to launch later this year. Made from four-year-old organically grown bamboo that has been treated to improve its durability, the phone runs Google’s Android operating system.

Kieron Scott-Woodhouse, from Shepherds Bush in London, said he designed the phone in his spare time because he was frustrated that so many existing models looked similar to each other. Middlesex University said that he was contacted by a technology entrepreneur after posting designs online.

Alaskan volcano could erupt, disrupt international air travel

Officials are monitoring a remote Alaska volcano that could launch an ash cloud, potentially threatening intercontinental flights.

"Eruptive activity" of Cleveland Volcano was detected in satellite data, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The volcano, also known as Mount Cleveland, is on the Aleutian Islands, southwest of mainland Alaska.

"A new lava dome has been observed in the summit crater," the observatory said Tuesday. "There have been no observations of ash emissions or explosive activity during this current lava eruption."

But the volcanic activity could heighten and affect air travel, said Steve McNutt, a scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Bahrain Opposition Fears Effects of Iran-West Tensions

ap_bahrain_opposition_05Jan12-resized Opposition supporters in Bahrain have expressed concern that escalating tensions between Iran and the West may further stifle their calls for democratic reform in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain’s majority Shi’ite Muslims took to the streets nearly a year ago demanding a new government and more rights from their Sunni leaders.

The country continues to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations and blames Shi’ite-ruled Iran for inciting the civil unrest.

Last month, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa alleged that Syria, which is also ruled by Shi’ites, was training young Bahrainis to overthrow the ruling family.

Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq disputes the claims.

Former ECB head: Eurozone part of 'global crisis'

120127103239-qmb-intv-jean-claude-trichet-solving-eurozone-crisis-00002410-story-top The former head of the European Central Bank says the eurozone's woes must not be taken in isolation, but viewed as part of a global crisis.

Former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet told CNN's Richard Quest at Davos that it would be "an immense mistake to take the present situation as the European crisis."

"It would be the same mistake to take Lehman Brothers as the American crisis only," he said. "The epicentre of the crisis is in Europe on the sovereign risk, but it's a global crisis."

Report: Sudanese army frees at least 14 kidnapped Chinese workers

120130040839-sudan-bashir-story-top The Sudanese army has freed at least 14 Chinese nationals who were kidnapped in the volatile South Kordofan state, the official Sudan News Agency said Monday.

The news agency quoted Ahmed Haroun, the state governor, as saying the workers were taken to neighboring North Kordofan and were in good condition.

The report did not mention the fate of the other 56 construction workers who militants had also captured when they attacked a construction site in a remote area Saturday.

At the time, Alsawarmi Khalid, spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces, blamed the attacks on the Sudan People's Liberation Movement -North, a rebel force in the border region with neighboring South Sudan. Khalid said a total of 70 workers were kidnapped in the incident -- a mix of local and foreign workers.

Audio from 911 calls reveals chaotic scene at deadly Florida highway crash

013012_fr_crash_640 Calls from victims of a pileup on a Florida highway that killed 10 people describe the chaotic scene to dispatchers in 911 recordings released Monday.

A stretch of Interstate 75 near Gainesville had been closed due to low visibility caused by smoke and haze. Just fifteen minutes after reopening, at least a dozen cars, six tractor-trailers and a motorhome collided on the roadway.

One caller, who was on the smoke-filled scene as the cars began piling up, spoke to an operator about the crashes.

When the 911 operator asked how many crashes she had seen so far, the caller replied, "We cannot see. This is the third one now already."

The sound of cars colliding is audible in the background.

Another caller told a dispatcher that the fog and smoke was so thick they couldn't see.

"The smoke is very thick you can see obviously only your hand in front," the caller said. "I do hear an ambulance or police officer coming down the road."

Jury finds Afghan family guilty in 'honor' killings

shafia A jury on Sunday found an Afghan father, his wife and their son guilty of killing three teenage sisters and a co-wife in what the judge described as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honor" in a case that shocked and riveted Canadians.

Prosecutors said the defendants allegedly killed the three teenage sisters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and using the Internet.

The jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

After the verdict was read, the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia's childless first wife in a polygamous marriage.

AU Summit Highlights Africa's Tilt Toward the East

reuters_african_summit_29jan12_eng_480 An African Union summit has opened with the selection of Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi as AU chairman for the coming year. The opening speeches reflected Africa's increasing shift toward the East.  

China is the honored guest at this summit, and the opening session was filled expressions of gratitude for Beijing's gift of a new $200-million AU headquarters.

Speakers referred to China's rising influence in Africa, and to the continent's growing resentment at what is widely perceived as Western interference in African affairs.

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping described 2011 as a year of trials and hardship, as Western institutions imposed solutions to crises in Libya and Ivory Coast, rejecting or ignoring African proposals.

Gunmen kill journalist in Somalia

A leading Somalia journalist was shot outside him home in Mogadishu on Saturday and died on the way to the hospital, according to other journalists.

Hassan Osman Abdi, 29, was the director of Shabelle Media Network, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and Reporters Without Borders. He had also previously done some freelance work for CNN.

Unknown gunmen opened fire as Abdi arrived at his home in Madina district, striking him in the head and chest, NUSOJ said.

"This is a terrible tragedy, both for Hassan Osman Abdi's family and for the Somali journalist community," said Omar Faruk Osman, secretary general of the NUSOJ.