Saturday, October 31, 2009

Will the real Kim Jong-il please stand up? - North Korea's Kim Jong-il is leading a double life, literally:

"He says he knows a girl whose father is the actor for Kim Jong-il," says Mr. Ha. "Recently Kim Jong-il loses fat. He's very skinny these days. The defector says, If Kim Jong-il looks skinny, the actor can do the same thing."

Here in South Korea, there's a booming business in Kim Jong-il look-alikes. Dozens of people in recent years have portrayed Kim Jong-il in television comedy shows, nightclub routines, and serious movies and dramas.

SHOOT: Crazy isn't it. But L.Ron Hubbard wrote about this in one of his books, showing how absurd our obsession with appearances and celebrity can turn out to be, especially when those posing as real people actually aren't who they say they are. The metaphor turns out to be not far from the truth.
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In this Aug. 4, 2009 file photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, seated lef

Seoul, South Korea –
Will the real Kim Jong-il please stand up?

A number of analysts here are convinced that not all the photos being released of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, are really photos of Kim Jong-il.

Instead, they say, a look-alike has been standing in for him on some of the 122 trips he's reportedly made this year to the countryside, factories, cultural events, military units, and all sorts of other venues.

Some observers say the North Korean leader is too ill to make all these appearances. One Japanese analyst claims President Clinton didn't meet with Kim Jong-il in August – he met with a Mr. Kim double.

The evidence of Kim stand-ins is far from verified, but several North Korean refugees here say that Kim has not one but several look-alikes playing his role.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

New Moon Trailer Official


Johannesburg, October 30h 2009:- Following the worldwide release of the first trailer of INVICTUS in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Nu Metro Films will be showcasing this prestigious title with an exclusive 60 second clip of the film in the break just before the ABSA Currie Cup this Saturday.

Directed by four-time Oscar® winner Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”), INVICTUS tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country.

Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.
The film stars Oscar® winners Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby,” “The Dark Knight”) and Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting,” the “Bourne” franchise).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Spyglass Entertainment, a Revelations Entertainment/Mace Neufeld production, a Malpaso production, “Invictus.” The film is produced by Eastwood; Lori McCreary, under her and Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment banner; Eastwood’s longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz, for Malpaso Productions; and Mace Neufeld for Mace Neufeld Productions. The screenplay is by native South African writer Anthony Peckham, based upon the book Playing the Enemy, by John Carlin. Freeman, Tim Moore, and Spyglass Entertainment’s Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum are the executive producers.

Filming on INVICTUS was accomplished entirely on location in and around the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

Opening nationwide in both the United States and South Africa on December 11, 2009, INVICTUS will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company and by Nu Metro Films in South Africa.

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What mistakes to avoid when buying a second-hand car

Criminals can create counterfeit or fraudulent titles and use them to legally register and then sell stolen cars. If you buy a car without a valid title, it's the worst-case scenario -- you don't legally own the car you just bought.

SHOOT: Be careful when buying a used car. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
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5 Used-Car Red Flags

If only cars could talk. It would make the buying experience a lot easier, wouldn't it? Because
verbalized or not, every used car has a story to tell. And to avoid getting ripped off, it's up to you to
listen. You need to know about the skeletons in that car's closet, the dark secrets of its past.

Red Flag #1: No Service Records

One of the most important aspects of a used car is its maintenance history. You want to make sure you're
buying a vehicle that has had routine oil changes and major mileage services. Always ask the seller, even if
it's a car dealership, for all service records.

Red Flag #2: Vehicle and Accident History Issues

The report shows accident/damage
history as well as title problems, frame damage and an odometer rollback check -- any of which should be
deal breakers.

Red Flag #3: Mechanical Problems

Red Flag #4: A Problem Title

Red Flag #5: A Fraudulent Title

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Marethe [Photography]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

'Job losses to exceed a million'

SHOOT: Not to worry, the economy is on track to 'recover' and companies will soon turn a profit again, as soon as they can dismiss enough employees to cut their overheads.
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Johannesburg - Job losses could exceed the one million mark for 2009 by the
fourth quarter of the year, trade union Solidarity said on Thursday.

This followed the release of Statistics SA's quarterly Labour Force Survey which showed that the official jobless rate had increased from 23.6% to 24.5% in the third quarter of 2009.

"More than 770 000 employees in South Africa have lost their jobs in the past 12 months, since the start of the economic downswing in the third quarter of 2008," the trade union said in a statement.

He said although there were signs of economic revival, many retrenchment processes still needed to be finalised and would therefore only be reflected in the statistics of the coming months.

The survey showed that the manufacturing and retail sectors were
particularly hard hit in the third quarter.

"Nearly 150 000 job losses were recorded in the manufacturing
sector in the third quarter, while 194 000 job losses were recorded
in the past 12 months.

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The scientific evidence supports the notion that humans evolved to be runners

NYT: “The sense of distance running being crazy is something new to late-20th-century America,” Mr. McDougall told me. “It’s only recently that running has become associated with pain and injury.”

Most mammals can sprint faster than humans — having four legs gives them the advantage. But when it comes to long distances, humans can outrun almost any animal.Because we cool by sweating rather than panting, we can stay cool at speeds and distances that would overheat other animals. On a hot day, the two scientists wrote, a human could even outrun a horse in a 26.2-mile marathon.
SHOOT: Fascinating.
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The conventional wisdom is that distance running leads to debilitating wear and tear, especially on the joints. But that hasn’t stopped runners from flocking to starting lines in record numbers.

Last year in the United States, 425,000 marathoners crossed the finish line, an increase of 20 percent from the beginning of the decade, Running USA says. Next week about 40,000 people will take part in the New York City Marathon. Injury rates have also climbed, with some studies reporting that 90 percent of those who train for the 26.2-mile race sustain injuries in the process.

But now a best-selling book has reframed the debate about the wisdom of distance running. In “Born to Run” (Knopf), Christopher McDougall, an avid runner who had been vexed by injuries, explores the world of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, a tribe known for running extraordinary distances in nothing but thin-soled sandals.

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“The really interesting question,” Dr. Tlsty said, “is not so much why do we get cancer as why don’t we get cancer?”

There is growing evidence that cancers can go backward or stop, and researchers are being forced to reassess their notions of what cancer is and how it develops.

SHOOT: Cancer is related to your lifestyle, your habits. Change these in time, and you can change your prospects.
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Call it the arrow of cancer. Like the arrow of time, it was supposed to point in one direction. Cancers grew and worsened.

“The old view is that cancer is a linear process,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health. “A cell acquired a mutation, and little by little it acquired more and more mutations. Mutations are not supposed to revert spontaneously.”

So, Dr. Kramer said, the image was “an arrow that moved in one direction.” But now, he added, it is becoming increasingly clear that cancers require more than mutations to progress. They need the cooperation of surrounding cells and even, he said, “the whole organism, the person,” whose immune system or hormone levels, for example, can squelch or fuel a tumor.

Cancer, Dr. Kramer said, is a dynamic process.

But some of the skeptics have changed their minds and decided that, contrary as it seems to everything they had thought, cancers can disappear on their own.
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Surge in Youth Runaways

“We keep running into this,” said one of the boys, Clinton Anchors, 18. Over the past year, he said, he and five other teenagers living together on the streets had taken under their wings no fewer than 20 children — some as young as 12 — and taught them how to avoid predators and the police, survive the cold and find food.

SHOOT: Think about these people when you next find you're feeling sorry for yourself.
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MEDFORD, Ore. — Dressed in soaked green pajamas, Betty Snyder, 14, huddled under a cold drizzle at the city park as several older boys decided what to do with her.

Betty said she had run away from home a week earlier after a violent argument with her mother. Shivering and sullen-faced, she vowed that she was not going to sleep by herself again behind the hedges downtown, where older homeless men and methamphetamine addicts might find her.

The boys were also runaways. But unlike them, Betty said, she had been reported missing to the police. That meant that if the boys let her stay overnight in their hidden tent encampment by the freeway, they risked being arrested for harboring a fugitive.

“We always first try to send them home,” said Clinton, who himself ran away from home at 12. “But a lot of times they won’t go, because things are really bad there. We basically become their new family.”

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Three Thoughts - about Death

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest , of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? - from Shakespeare's Hamlet

I've had a handful of epiphanies about the eternal sleeping sickness - by Nick van der Leek

At the last moment tonightI decided to swim two lengths underwater. I've done it before, but I somehow doubted whether I had the same - the required - fortitude this time. After the first length underwater I turned, and I knew then, that I was going to have to dig deep. With 5 metres to go my lungs started screaming, and I looked into the halls of water remaining. And that's when it hit me, when I looked and saw how far I had to go, and how my lungs were bursting: the absolute certainty of death. I sputtered through on the other side, I completed the length, but felt a terrible sense of fatal depression wash over me.

You can't escape it, just as you can't escape the fact that underwater, your body reaches a limit. No matter what you may do, or think, or say, your body approaches a limit. Life has limits. Maybe you'll live a long time, maybe you'll check out early, but everyone checks out, and no one comes back, ever. In the same way, whatever we may think or do or say, all - of - us - will - die.

I sometimes find writing a form of drowning. It's the giving up of life in service of something else...observing, commenting, criticising, complaining about life. It's especially bad being a writer when your work is lost on a computer, or hard work and time spent compiling it is dumped by a ruthless editor. It's the same as taking that time, time that could have been spent running or soaking up the sun, or kissing someone, and pouring it down the toilet.

The second thought is an easier one to deal with, because it is almost the opposite of the gripping panic of a dark destiny, of non-existence. Some time ago I took a sleeping pill. I'm not in the habit of doing this, but I did this because thanks to a LOT of writing, my sleeping patterns had quickly fallen into disarray. I slept so soundly that when I woke I thought so that's what it's like to be dead. You have absolutely no feeling about it, one way or the other. Think about it, what was it like before you were born, before you existed? That's right. Nothing.

We can worry and fret about death, but when you're dead, you don't exist to know, or care - because you're not there. So that sort of takes care of death. It's your choice whether to be scared, and there's justification in being scared, or whether to not be scared, after all, the moment of death might be as quick and awful as a flu shot. After that, of course, oblivion. Least that's what I believe.

Now, the third thought concerns life. You may have regrets in your life, but if you're still alive, you still have a choice. And that's the beauty of it. Every single moment, you can seize the power you have over your life, or relinquish it. When you seize it, you live, and for as long as you don't, you're not quite here in the land of the living anyway. So what are you going to do? Choose now. NOW.

Weusi McGowan threw feces in CA courtroom - gets 31 years

Weusi McGowan has an extensive criminal history, and despite suffering from mental illness he was found competent to stand trial. Now before you start making comments that this man deserved to stay out of prison let me quote from the news story about his criminal history, then you can decide if this is someone that should be out on the streets.
The prosecutor said the defendant went on a shooting spree at age 16 and once out of prison, committed the home-invasion robbery he was on trial for when he flung his feces at the jury box.

SHOOT: Nutcase
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SAN DIEGO -- A man who sneaked a bag of his feces into a San Diego courtroom during his home-invasion robbery trial, smeared it on his lawyer and threw it at jurors has been sentenced to 31 years in prison.

Superior Court Judge Frank Brown on Monday sentenced Weusi McGowan for robbery, burglary and two assault charges stemming from the feces-flinging incident during his January trial.

McGowan, who attorneys say suffers from mental illness, had asked for a mistrial because he believed jurors had seen him in restraints when he entered the courtroom.

Several days after his request was denied, McGowan pulled out a bag of excrement he had hidden in his clothing, rubbed it on his lawyer and tossed it at the jury, hitting one juror's computer case.

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I've lost my job - how do I go about claiming UIF

SHOOT: You'll need the following information from your previous employer
- last 6 payslips, a U119 form
-You will need to provide your ID book or Passport and complete a U12 form at your local Department of Labour of Office
-Proof that you are registered as a work-seeker with the Dept. of Labour

Find your local Labour Office here:

Credits are given to the worker as they work and contribute to the Fund. For every six days you have worked you get one day’s credit up to a maximum of 238 days. To build up the maximum credits you have to work for four years. If you have worked for less than 238 days you can claim for the number of days credits you have built up. Benefits are calculated on a sliding scale dependent on your salary. The benefit rates range from 38% for the highly paid workers (earning more than R97 188 per annum, R8099 per month or R1869 per week) to 58% for the lowest paid workers.
types of benefits provided by the Fund: 
– If you lose your job you must apply
within 6 months of becoming unemployed.  You can claim benefits for up to 34 weeks (238 days).
Benefits can be claimed when:
Benefits may be claimed
for any period of unemployment lasting more than 14 days, if -
The reason for
the unemployment is the termination of a contract of employment,
dismissal of the contributor or insolvency;
Application is
made in accordance with the prescribed requirements;
The contributor
is registered as a work-seeker with a labour centre established
under the Skills Development Act;
The contributor
is capable of and available for work.
of payment by the Fund:
needed to apply for benefits:
Unemployment Benefits

13 digit bar-coded identity document or

Last 6 payslips

Information supplied by employer (U119)

A fully completed application booklet

Proof that you are registered as a
work-seeker with the Dept. of Labour

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"It's easy to Spot a BAR-ONE Man” reality series

SHOOT: Looks like fun.
A new reality TV series, Bar-One Manhunt, will be broadcast on Wednesday nights SABC3 prime time early next year, Nestlé announced on Monday 26 October 2009. The series is an extension of the brand's latest creative integrated marketing campaign, "It's easy to Spot a BAR-ONE Man” .

It's easy to Spot the Bar-One Man, which is at the creative centre of Bar-One’s latest creative brand campaign, but now 14 South African contestants will have an opportunity to actually compete against each other for the ultimate title as South Africa’s alpha male in “Bar-One Manhunt” which will début on SABC3 in January 2010.
"The reality TV show concept is spot on with the brand architecture and DNA - the chocolate bar gives real men the energy to live a 25 hour day,” states Monique Koning, Bar-One brand manager.
Several challenges are planned for each episode offering brain and brawn showdowns on various sets in locations in South Africa and others across the world.
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How do you market a country with the sort of disgusting statistics we have?

SHOOT: Answer, just get marketers and figure it out. Forget the reality that it is a dangerous country, that crime and corruption is a chaotic levels. Just market it like mad because maybe you can earn some money. Great strategy there.

Marion Scher: The sad thing is what is being done to educate people overseas, especially with 2010 looming. I tell you what - virtually nothing or at least nothing I've seen in my travels.

On my recent flight back from Atlanta, the plane was full, mostly with Americans. But were they coming to stay in Johannesburg. Oh no - not Johannesburg. The ones I spoke to were either catching immediate connecting flights to Botswana or staying close to the airport 'til they could catch flights out the next day.
In the last year I've visited the US and the UK and the one thing they have in common is their fear of South Africa as a destination. Unless they've already been here, you'll hear the same refrain - “South Africa, oh no, wouldn't consider going there - way too dangerous.”
So alright, no good kidding ourselves, we do have a crime problem. But hey, I've just come back from Dallas where the local TV news featured a story on restaurants closing down. Not from lack of customers but from repeated break-ins. And how come everyone there has an alarm on their house?
While in the US, I heard from numerous people that South Africans had told them:
  • That it wasn't safe to walk on the streets in SA
  • That there was no way we could hold a decent FIFA World Cup
  • SA was such a backward nation
  • ALL our politicians were corrupt - somehow they ignored what was on their own back yard here
  • There were very few real houses - mainly shacks
  • There are riots every day
  • You needed bodyguards to go out of your house
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Mother slits her childrens throats - to protect them

SHOOT: The boyfriend threatened to kill her and the children if she told anyone, so she decided to rather kill them herself?
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SHRINE OF SADNESS: Relatives of the two murdered children mourn next to the children's clothes

A Pietermaritzburg mother was so afraid of her boyfriend, who had been arrested for abusing her child, that she allegedly slit her two young children's throats and then tried to take her own life yesterday.

Her brother told The Times that his sister was afraid for her life after elders in the village had her boyfriend arrested at the weekend.

"I know she was scared to face the future," said the brother. "The boyfriend threatened to kill her and the children if she told anyone about [the abuse].

''She was worried about the children and she wanted to kill herself also," he said.

The woman's brother said: "I saw a trail of blood leading out of the kraal, and I followed it for about a kilometre.

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The art of goal-driven web design

Your goals and those of your visitors are not likely to be exactly the same. While a site visitor could be looking for specific information, for example, you would be hoping to somehow convert that website visit into a sale or get a user to download something specific.

The art of goal-driven web design lies in finding the middle ground between these two interests - your visitor is more likely to perform an action if it simultaneously meets their own needs.

SHOOT: Useful article, check it out.
Setting goals based on your client's and your organisation's needs can dictate design and navigation choices and ultimately determine how you measure the return on investment.
It's therefore worth asking yourself and those in your organisation the right questions.
  • Who is my target audience and who is my target market, is there a difference?
  • Why are they coming to my site?
  • What does my visitor hope to achieve from their website visit?
  • What action do I want my visitor to take when visiting my website? Is there a hierarchy of actions that they could take?
  • What results do I expect from my website that would mean its implementation is a success?
  • Do my site visitors face any accessibility challenges (like bandwidth or motor function limitations)?
  • How can my brand ID be expressed through my website?
  • What is/are my key message/s to convey?
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    It's cool by the Pool - right? [COLUMN]


    I'll be deciding later today whether to throw in the towel. I already know what I must do, but, like Frodo, I'm reluctant to do it. What I must do is move out of a double-storey cottage where only one of me is staying. I'm loathe to do this because...well...because I'm lazy. Because I like living here. I like all this space. I like the area [other than the constant beep beep beep of mini bus taxis].
    I realise that as soon as I leave I am acknowledging something quite humbling: that my standards of living are dropping, or contracting.

    It is sheer lunacy, after having lost my job in September, to expect to be able to pay the sort of rent I'd anticipated my girlfriend [now ex] would be sharing. Now there's not one salary coming in, there's just so much freelance money here and the odd photo gig there.

    If it's so clear that this chapter in my life is over, why am I not facing the music?
    Because I think I'm more important than something as simple as reality. This is exactly the same problem going on in the rest of the world. We know we have to change our habits, how we live, what we consume. We know we must, but we don't want to do it until we're forced to. It probably will come down to that.

    For some fascinating background on this topic, I suggest you read this:

    I'd like to know what folks imagine we are recovering to. To a renewed orgy of credit-card spending? To yet another round of suburban expansion, with the boys in the yellow hard-hats driving stakes out in the sagebrush for another new thousand-unit pop-up "community?" For a next generation of super-cars built to look like medieval war wagons? That's the "hope" that our officials seem to pretend to offer. It's completely inconsistent with any reality-based trend-lines, by the way.
    Read the rest here.

    Ponzi masterminds to be arrested

    SHOOT: But they said they didn't do it.
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    Johannesburg - Warrants for the arrest of Barry Tannenbaum and Dean Rees, alleged to have been behind a multi-billion rand pyramid scheme, have been issued, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in parliament.

    Gordhan said one individual was thought to have benefited by up to R800m on which "he was not probably paying any tax."

    The scheme crossed some eight jurisdictions, said Gordhan who was formerly head of the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

    Tannenbaum, who currently lives in Australia, has denied being involved in such a scheme.

    "Our efforts have to include better vigilance in both the public and private sectors against corruption and financial mismanagement," said Gordhan.

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    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    We've become a self-jiving nation intent on playing shell games, running Ponzi schemes, and working Polish blanket tricks on ourselves.

    Hope should be based on confidence that the individual or group is reliably competent enough to meet the challenges that circumstances present. Hope is justified when people demonstrate to themselves that they can behave ably and bravely. Hope is not really possible in the face of patent untruthfulness. It is derived from a clear-eyed and courageous view of what is really going on. I don't think that defines any of the behavior in the United States these days.

    SHOOT: In short we've become professional and serial liars - to ourselves and each other.
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    When the historians look back at this era - especially at the time between January 20th and the holiday season of 2009 - won't they marvel at how well-understood our predicament actually was, by so many parties to it, and the gulf between that comprehension and the story we told ourselves:  that we were "recovering."
         Like a lot of other observer-interlocutors, I'd like to know what folks imagine we are recovering to.  To a renewed orgy of credit-card spending?  To yet another round of suburban expansion, with the boys in the yellow hard-hats driving stakes out in the sagebrush for another new thousand-unit pop-up "community?" For a next generation of super-cars built to look like medieval war wagons?  That's the "hope" that our officials seem to pretend to offer. It's completely inconsistent with any reality-based trend-lines, by the way.
    To me, hope is not synonymous with "wishes fulfilled."  In fact, hope should not be about wishing at all.  
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    Heavy users of cellphones face a higher risk of developing brain tumours later in life

    a breakdown of the latest findings, seen by The Daily Telegraph, shows that six of eight Interphone studies found some rise in the risk of glioma (the most common brain tumour), with one finding a 39 per cent increase.

    Two of seven studies into acoustic neurinoma (a benign tumour of a nerve between the ear and brain) reported a higher risk after using mobiles for 10 years. A Swedish report said it was 3.9 times higher.

    An Israeli study found heavy users were about 50 per cent more likely to suffer tumours of the parotid salivary gland.

    SHOOT: Something else to worry about.
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    Brain Tumors to Cell Phone

    British researchers warn that long-term cell phone users face a higher risk f developing brain tumors at a later stage in life.

    The Daily Telegraph said that risks were identified in a landmark decade-long study by the world Health Organization.

    Elisabeth Cardis, the head of the study told the Telegraph, said that in a survey involving 12,8000 people in 13 countries, it was found that a “significantly increased risk” of brain tumors among people who had used cell phones for 10 years or longer.

    Cardis added that the use of cell phones should be reduced, though she does not imply banning the use of cell phones for children because of their importance in emergency situations and in helping parents knowing the whereabouts of their kids.

    The use should be moderated by adults and direct contact with the device should be minimized with the use of wireless ear devices, headsets and other hands-free options.

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    A man uses his mobile phone: Long-term use of mobile phones 'may be linked to cancer'
    Heavy users may face a higher risk of developing brain tumours later in life
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