Emirates cabin crew face jail over sexy texts

Two Emirates airlines cabin crew have been ordered jailed for three months in Dubai over sexually explicit text messages, the latest in a string of indecency cases against foreigners.

The pair, an Indian flight attendant and her cabin services supervisor, were convicted of “coercion to commit sin” over the messages and initially sentenced to six months in jail, The National newspaper said on its website, citing court documents.

The sentence was reduced on appeal last week to three months and deportation orders against the pair were lifted, it added. It did not reveal the content of the messages.

Dubai’s foreign population has expanded rapidly in recent years as expatriates flocked to the Gulf Arab trade and tourism hub for its tax-free earnings and year-round sunshine.

The changes have challenged the Emirati population, which is now vastly outnumbered by foreigners, raising concern that their emirate’s rapid pace of growth is a threat to their social and religious identity in what remains a deeply conservative region…

Hey, folks. You want tourists, want folks to move to Dubai and base their businesses in all that sunshine?

Move your minds from the shadows of fundamentalist crypts into the light of day. Take a look around at the 21st Century.

The internet saves a Kenyan farmer’s potato crop – and more

Kenyan farmer Zack Matere pulls his mobile out of his pocket holds it up and takes a couple of photos. “It seems they have come back and are digging here again.”

He is referring to a group of people who have encroached on a water catchment area and are endangering the whole community’s water supply.

“When they came before, I took photos of what they were doing, posted them on my Facebook page and was able to get assistance…”

This is just one of the ways in which he uses the internet.

Not long ago it also helped him discover a cure for his dying potato crop. “I cycled 10km to the local cyber cafe, Googled “potato disease” and discovered that ants were eating the potato stems.

“I checked again online and found that one of the solutions was to sprinkle wood ash on the crop.”

I think I am the only farmer in the area who uses the internet.”

It is not just the cost of accessing the internet that he thinks is restricting usage.

There is also a cultural barrier as Mr Matere is not convinced that all people would be content to browse via the phone in the isolation of their homes.

“The internet is quite an individual pursuit. But a noticeboard is more of a group thing.

“So if I post an item on a noticeboard on potato disease, for example, the community can read it, talk together and come to a decision.”

RTFA. Understand how a global phenomenon becomes useful to a unique community – in ways and through means literally foreign to folks in industrial cultures.

A lovely tale. Exciting to see another voyage of discovery upon the cybersea.

AT&T introduces ZERO charger to kill vampire energy waste

AT&T has a little something green for us today. No, it’s not a green iPhone. It’s the ZERO Charger, which automatically cuts off power from the wall socket even when left plugged in, which should save you a whole lot of green in your wallet as well.

According to AT&T, 80% of mobile phone users leave their chargers plugged in wall socket often. At the rate of three to four times per week for eight hours, that’s equivalent to being enough energy to power 24,000 homes for a year, or brew three to four million cups of coffee each day. Wowza.

Obviously if you’re wasting that much energy, you’re probably paying for it too.

So to reduce and prevent that problem, the AT&T Zero Charger hosts a “block and cable” design for compatibility with a larger number of handheld devices. Basically, the Zero automatically recognizes when the cell phone is not connected to the charger, blocking power from the wall socket. So you can leave the charger in the wall without worrying about it.

And for the green icing on top, the packaging will be made with 100% recycled paper. AT&T will release the charger in May, and while a price hasn’t been given yet, it should be comparable to other replacement chargers.

Simple enough tech to cause wonder at the countless devices rolling into the marketplace without similar circuitry.

Psychic didn’t foresee her arrest as scam artist – again

“Rub your body with an egg to cure ovarian cancer!”

Time was short, the psychic told her client. To keep her father from suffering a fatal heart attack, the client had to act fast.

So she did. The client went to the Aventura Mall and opened accounts in several stores, using the credit to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards, which she then turned over to the psychic.

It worked. The heart attack never came.

But the arrest did. Professed psychic Gina Marie Marks is in trouble with the law again, this time facing charges she swindled a former Coconut Grove woman out of nearly $300,000 in cash, gift cards, jewelry and other merchandise, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said…

According to the arrest warrant, Marks duped her victim into forking over large amounts of cash and performing strange rituals that made the gift card spending spree seem reasonable.

At one point, the client was allegedly asked to rub gel over her body, wrap herself in cellophane and go for a six-mile jog. That was in September 2008, according to a private detective later hired by the victim’s family. The woman went for the jog while wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants, said the detective, Bob Nygaard.

The Sheriff’s Office described the victim as being in a “fragile mental state,” but Nygaard said that was the result of her interaction with Marks. Nygaard, who has investigated allegations against Marks before, said the victim was manipulated and conned into giving Marks money so that Marks could “cleanse” it and return it to her.

The money was never returned, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Oh, and Marks is also busted for violating probation.

The balancing act between lifetime sentences and execution for poor and non-white [or both] offenders and “thoughtful” rehabilitating probation for some blonde bimbo is symptomatic of a “justice system” not worthy of either word.

Heart abnormalities in World Trade Center workers/responders

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine are presenting more than 20 ground-breaking studies at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 59th annual scientific session (ACC.10) in Atlanta. Their research includes data showing that the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse has caused potentially dangerous heart problems in responders on-site.

They…conducted the analyses of 1,236 workers who participated in the program from January 2008 to June 2009.

Dr. Croft’s study showed that responders have impaired diastolic function of both the right and left ventricle, meaning their hearts do not relax normally, which can put them at risk for heart problems such as shortness of breath and heart failure. More than 50 percent had abnormal relaxation of the left ventricle compared to only seven percent of people of a similar age in the general population.

Greater than 60 percent had isolated impaired diastolic function in the right ventricle of the heart, which pumps blood to the lungs.

Dr. Croft and her colleagues suspect that debris inhaled from the WTC site may have contributed to these heart abnormalities, however, caution that there is no comparison data of people working in a similar urban community plagued by air pollution and life and emotional stresses who were not exposed to the WTC.

We know that inhaled debris may be linked to heart and lung disease,” said Dr. Croft. “While we still have work to do in determining a definitive connection between heart abnormalities and the World Trade Center collapse, these data are an exciting first step…”

“The findings from these analyses underscore the need to have long-term monitoring of potential health effects related to the WTC disaster,” said Dr. Moline. “They also point to the need to evaluate first responders in general, to ensure that these public safety officers remain healthy and we identify what risk factors might be contributing to any potential health issues.”

Hear, hear! I’m cynical enough to believe it will take a class action suit following onto the untimely deaths of many responders before government at any level cares to take an interest.

Think I’m wrong?

U.S. losses to cybercrime almost doubled, last year

US losses to online crime almost doubled during 2009, reveals a report.

Losses totalled $560 million in 2009, up from $265 milion in 2008, showed the annual report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The most popular scams involved requests for advanced fees and non-delivery of merchandise…

One scam that proved popular in 2009 involved people receiving an e-mail from the “Ishmael Ghost Islamic Group”. The sender claims he has been told to assassinate the recipient and their family. Only by giving a donation to a UK group that helps Islamic expatriates will the death threat be lifted.

While the average loss from online fraud during 2009 was $575 the total jumped significantly because some victims lost enormous sums to criminals, said the report. About 1% of the crimes reported involved losses of more than $100,000…

The report also tried to put figures on the character of the hi-tech crime population. Figures it gathered suggest that 76% of criminals are male and more than 50% of them live in six locations; California, Florida, New York, Texas, Washington and the District of Columbia.

See! Stop giving all the credit to Nigeria. Our native con artists are doing OK on their own.