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Cannabis buyers face biometric testing June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Odd World.
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Buying cannabis in the Dutch city of Maastricht will soon mean having your fingerprints taken, your face scanned and your biometric data recorded.

All 15 coffee shops in the southern city are spending about 100,000 euros installing a security system that makes it harder for an under-age cannabis smoker to enter than a terrorist to set foot in Europe, according to Marc Josemans, head of the local coffee shop union.

“We are ashamed for this attack on your privacy”, reads an explanatory leaflet about the system starting in September. The coffee shops face a continual struggle to prove they are not selling to people under the age of 18 or more than 5 grams of cannabis a day to any one individual. If they can’t, they risk being shut down.

“If a 17-year-old comes here, shows the ID of his very similar-looking older brother and then gets caught by the police with cannabis bought in our shop, we have to prove that he broke the rules, not us,” said Josemans.

Cannabis is theoretically illegal in the Netherlands but has been tolerated in small amounts since the 1970s. Customers in Maastricht will have their fingers and face scanned. The scans will be compared with stored data and, if everything matches, they will be able to enter the coffee shop.

No names and addresses are stored and details on the amount of cannabis bought every day will be saved only until midnight. The information is completely secure, coffee shop owners say. But Josemans concedes 90 percent of his clients don’t like the system and he expects the new measures to hurt sales initially. “I don’t like them registering what you buy, it’s too much Big Brother”, says Barry, 34. “But a fingerprint is okay.”

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Stab victim ‘continued masturbating’ June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Odd World.
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A Brisbane woman stabbed a male friend twice in the shower after he refused to stop masturbating in front of her children.

Defence lawyers for Kylie Louise Wilson, 28, said the mother of two “lost it” when her friend of six years, Daniel Peter Blair, went on a masturbation marathon on April 6 last year.

Brisbane’s District Court this morning heard Mr Blair had showed up at Wilson’s Birkdale unit, in Redland Shire, where he took amphetamines before having a shower. Whilst in the bathroom, Mr Blair, 32, began pleasuring himself, before moving to Wilson’s bedroom, where he rolled around naked on her bed and continued his lewd conduct. He returned to the bathroom for more and was busted by Wilson, who was attempting to bath her three-and-a-half year-old daughter.

The court heard Mr Blair refused her repeated requests to stop, prompting her to fetch a knife from the kitchen which she used to stab him twice in the left shoulder. Crown prosecutors said Mr Blair paused only to put on his shorts and flee outside to wait for police to arrive, but was again overcome by the urge. “Despite his injury, it seems Mr Blair continued to masturbate while in the garage,” the prosecutor said. Police took him to hospital where he received treatment for the minor stab wounds.

Wilson pleaded guilty to one count each of unlawful wounding and wilful damage. Her defence barrister, Mark Johnson, said Wilson regarded Mr Blair as a “tolerably decent person” when he was not using drugs, but had become “extremely protective” of her daughter under the circumstances. “He was in and out and round about, doing this sort of thing all over the house, ” Mr Johnson said. “She just lost it, to put it crudely.”

Senior Judge Gilbert Trafford Walker accepted the Crown’s submission that Wilson had been subjected to “grossly offensive conduct … which in a moral sense amounts to extreme provocation.” He sentenced her to nine months’ jail but ordered that she be immediately released on parole.

Bookies caught out by the Queen’s Ascot hat June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in The Royals.
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Bookmakers William Hill have been caught out for the second time in three years over the colour of the hat worn on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot by the Queen.

The Queen is traditionally driven down the course before the start of racing in a carriage at the head of a colourful horse-draw procession and much interest centres on her outfit, including the hat. On Thursday it was predominantly cream, which was 5-1 in the betting. That will cost William Hill well over 10,000 pounds, following a 20,000 pound pay-out two years ago when she wore brown.

Hill’s spokeswoman Jennie Prest said: “The biggest bet we laid on cream was 150 pounds at 5-1 and we had dozens of requests at smaller stakes and a number of new customers opening new accounts, specifically to have this bet.”

Betting has already opened for Ladies Day 2008 with blue the 3-1 favourite, followed by yellow at 5-1 with a repetition of cream rated a 7-1 chance.

I’ll give up money, sex … but not the mobile June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Mobile Telecoms.
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Young Britons would rather give up sex than live without their mobile phones, according to a survey.

One in three people would not sacrifice their mobile phone for one million pounds or more, with women leading the way on those most likely to refuse, the survey by the Carphone Warehouse and the London School of Economics found.

Most respondents aged between 16 and 24 would rather give up alcohol, chocolate, sex, tea, or coffee than live without their mobile phone for a month.

In contrast, more than 40 percent of the those aged over 45 would give the phone simply to be able to have their favourite hot drink. The online survey polled 1,256 adults aged between 16 and 64.

Ferrari > It ain’t a sin to buy the car June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cars & Motors.
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When it comes to luxury sports cars, Ferrari begs to differ with the Pope.

The Vatican issued a document listing its rules of the road, including one warning against using cars “as a means for outshining other people and arousing a feeling of envy”.

Ferrari’s general manager acknowledged the Vatican’s concern that some drivers could use the cars as status symbols, but he said most people bought Ferraris for the love of driving.

“Unless having fun has become a sin, I don’t believe it (to be wrong),” Amedeo Felisa told Reuters this week at an event celebrating Ferrari’s 60th anniversary in its hometown southeast of Milan.

A unit of Italy’s Fiat, Ferrari makes some of the world’s most exclusive cars, each worth more than 100,000 euros. Felisa was convinced that buying a Ferrari was not a sin. “I hope not, but you should commit at least one from time to time,” he said.