Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Could you tell if your man ever faked an orgasm?

One in five men fake orgasms, a new poll shows. But how? And more to the point, why? Dr Brooke Magnanti considers the pressure for men to perform in bed.

The pressure for men to perform in bed leads a fifth to fake orgasms, a survey shows.
The pressure for men to perform in bed leads a fifth to fake orgasms, a survey shows. Photo: ALAMY
Has your man faked it? Go ahead and scoff - it is an article of faith that male orgasms are as frequent and common as Hollyoaks re-runs on Channel 4 - but according to recent data, odds are, you've probably been with a man who has faked it.
According to a poll commissioned by DatingAdvice, one in five men have faked orgasms, with divorced men more likely than singletons to have done so.
The DatingAdvice survey results echo the findings of a 2010 study from the University of Kansas in the Journal of Sex Research, in which a quarter of men reported having faked orgasm at some point. Usually during vaginal sex, but also during oral sex, manual stimulation, and phone sex. The men in the study seemed to respond to a 'sexual script' in which the "right" order was that a woman comes before a man, and that a man is responsible for his partner's orgasm.
The 'how' of men faking orgasms is one thing - the big question here is, of course, why. Most reported 'wanting the sex to end', but closely following it was also concern about their partner's impression of them. The pressure of performing for men does not stop, it would seem, simply at achieving erection. If porn is indeed influencing how men approach sex, then it probably says a lot that most heterosexual porn scenes end with visible evidence of the man's orgasm.
According to case studies from Harvard Medical School's Dr Abraham Morgenthaler, men are very concerned of what their partners will think of them if they don't orgasm, and of hurting their feelings. The stereotype of men as self-absorbed and selfish in bed may be one men object to as much as women do. "For every man who behaves badly, I can give you 10 who are dedicated and thoughtful, doing the best they know how to be a man and a solid partner," Morganthaler writes in his book Why Men Fake It. "What I hear repeatedly is a determined effort for what they believe their partners want them to be - responsible, reliable, strong."
A far higher percentage of women than men fake orgasms: study results vary, but place the number at a high 50 per cent to 80 per cent. Women in the University of Kansas study sometimes even chose faking an orgasm in the "right" time during sex (i.e. when your partner is climaxing or just before) rather than a real orgasm at the "wrong" time.
It is widely assumed that so much of sex is a script that is written specifically to appeal to men, that they can't possibly not be enjoying it. But such high proportions of men faking it does raise the question: if it was easier for men to get away with faking it (as it is for women), would they do it more often?

Has being unfaithful become easier for women?

Typically women are judged more harshly for having affairs than men. But is the internet changing that? Rebecca Holman reports

Mad Men Series 5...Mad Men Series 5 on Sky Atlantic.
Christina Hendricks,  John Slattery, Jared Harris, Vincent Kartheiser, Jon Hamm, Robert Morse, Elizabeth Moss
Nearly every character, male and female, had an affair in the hit TV show Mad Men. 
John Major did it, Kristen Stewart did it, and Gwyneth Paltrow denied Vanity Fair's claims that she may have done it. Proof that the question of infidelity transcends the cultural demarcation lines that usually ensure that John Major is never, ever put in a box with Gwyneth.
Lots of people cheat, all the time (it’s difficult to get exact figures – they veer between 25 and 70 per cent for women, and 40 and 80 per cent for men some of the time), yet infidelity remains the deadliest of sins. We are obsessed with it, yet have somehow created a series of complicated and convoluted rules and narratives that films, books, television programmes, celebrities and the media have to follow to make cheating acceptable:
1. If you meet someone and fall in love, when you’re already stuck in a loveless marriage, then that’s fine because finding The One supersedes everything else (for this to work, you then have to stay with The One forever. If you part ways after 15 years then it doesn’t count. Sorry. (See: Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt). Did they break up?
2. If your partner is mean or abusive, or unappreciative in anyway, then it’s ok to cheat, because you’re doing so in order to be rescued. This only counts for women, because everyone knows that men don’t need rescuing. (See: Titanic, although as Jack was also Rose’s One True Love, she gets a double cheating free pass for that one).
3. If you’re married to someone in a lunatic asylum/attic who is showing no signs of recovering from the unnamed mental illness that renders them either comatose or psychotic at all times. (see: Downton Abbey, Jane Eyre).
4. If both parties are attractive, wealthy, French, and meet on a train.
Ugly people can’t cheat, poor people can’t cheat. Cheat over the age of 40 and it’s a midlife crisis, start an affair in the office and it’s cheap and tawdry. And then there’s the biggie – women can’t be the cheaters.
We express surprise and disbelief when it’s a woman doing the cheating, and women’s magazines still treat infidelity (sometimes ours, but mainly his) with a shrill hysteria – ‘don’t do anything to make him stray, or you’ll end up alone, and that’s THE WORST’. And they’re still churning out the ‘How To Stop Your Man From Cheating’ features, while men’s magazines seem remarkably unconcerned with the issue.
Our attitude to affairs is positively puritanical compared to our continental counterparts. Sociologist and writer Catherine Hakim started researching a book on internet dating, but quickly moved her focus onto infidelity when it became clear how many attached people were using dating websites to get a bit of extra curricular. She thinks our attitude to cheating (our tendency to view infidelities as a bad thing, and to automatically walk out on a relationship if an affair is discovered) as unhelpful and unrealistic. “The French have the same attitude, it will be great entertainment, it will be lovely, we will go to nice restaurants and for weekends away to wonderful places – and everyone keeps their mouths shut
“They have rules there are certain ways to do it – it’s about style and elegance – everything’s done nicely. If it’s not done nicely, it’s not attractive.”
And the reality is plenty of people – plenty of women – do cheat. Noel Biderman set up Ashley Madison, a dating agency for married people looking for affairs, after working as a sporting agent, and seeing how many of his clients were juggling wives and mistresses. At the same time he read about how 30 per cent of the supposedly single men on dating sites were married or in a relationship.
Seeing a gap in the market, Biderman began to investigate further, and decided to focus his site primarily on women. “When I looked at the business of being unfaithful, the more I realised that there was already a billion dollar industry aimed at men – whether it was adult films, strip clubs, or so called massage parlours and ultimately escorts, so what I came to realise was that catering to women was going to be dramatically different, so that’s where I planted my flag.”
The website is based in North America, but he has a substantial British user base. Interestingly, female registration in the UK is growing at a far quicker pace than male. “For women it’s not just about sex, one word we hear all the time is passion. It’s not just about sex, it’s about intimacy.”
And Biderman notes that female users of the site in the UK are fairly young (averaging in at 25-34, which seems incredibly young, given that the average age for first time marriage in the UK is 28.9), female users in France are more likely to be in their 40s.
He feels that this reflects the way we view female sexuality beyond a certain age: in a word, we don’t. “Women [in their late 30s and 40s] who are having affairs believe that their sexual appetite is atypical, and that other women, their colleagues, their neighbours, their friends don’t have the same sexual appetites. They need to realise that being in your late 30s or early 40s and wanting to have sex all the time is not atypical, it’s quite natural, they shouldn’t be socialised out of that mentality.”
But where do we start? Our views of male versus female sexuality are so ingrained, that even those women who are having extra-marital affairs play along. “Women who are having affairs tend to blame their husbands for not paying them attention,” notes Biderman. “Men blame their genetics – I just couldn’t help myself.” Essentially, men will (rightly or wrongly) put their behaviour down to an uncontrollable sexual impulse, whereas women would rather find someone else to ‘blame.’
Both Biderman and Hakim predict that as the internet opens people up to ever-broader circles of potential lovers, more people will have more opportunity to cheat, more often. But will the way we view cheating evolve quite so quickly? I doubt it.


Africa must be pushed to the next level

Johannesburg – Africa has seen high levels of economic growth over the last decade, however that growth has had limited impact on boosting competitiveness and increasing the quality of life of ordinary people on the continent.

Weaknesses persist in the quality of institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic policies, education and adoption of new technologies.

There are also big gaps between its highest and lowest ranked economies.

These challenges will be in the spotlight at the African Economic Conference taking place in Johannesburg this week.

Heads of state and business and development experts from across the world are gathering to discuss regional integration and its role in boosting economic growth and human well-being on the continent.

“This great gathering should do more than restate the case for regional integration. It must examine how to push the African continent to the next level, to become a global growth pole in its own right,” said Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank.

“At a time of diminishing multilateral solutions, this is the sure way to build resilience against external shocks."

He is happy with the steady progress that has been made in areas such as tariff reduction.

"Robust action is what is now needed on non-tariff barriers, trade facilitation and the movement of people," he said.

"Africa has the political will and the strategic vision to make this happen. The time is right.”

Because of its focus on capital-intensive, commodity-based industries, Africa has seen limited economic transformation.

There has been little investment in the manufacturing, services and agricultural sectors.

Due to these limitations, the creation of jobs, markets and institutions required to help the youth build a better future have lagged behind.

Broader definition

“There needs to be a much broader definition of regional economic integration. True, regional integration must include investments in regional infrastructure, trade and labour mobility," said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Africa.

"But countries would also gain by harmonising regulations and standards, devising common approaches to macroeconomic policy, job creation, and effective management of shared natural resources for sustainable poverty reduction and structural economic transformation."

While the benefits of integration are well-known and many of the legal frameworks are in place, the biggest challenge is how to further that agenda.

Among the major hurdles are harmonising standards and regulations, boosting human resource capacities and mobilising leadership and political will.

“It is undeniable that regional integration will impel Africa to economic transformation and industrialization," said Abdalla Hamdok, the deputy executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa.

"Capitalising on natural resources and industrialisation can swiftly add value to the continent’s exports and, therefore, stimulate job creation.”


Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde to speak at education summit

Lagos - Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde will be speaking at this year's World Innovation Summit For Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar from October 29, 2013 to October 31, 2013.

The top Nollywood actress is expected to speak, discuss and deliberate on the topic Reinventing Education For Life.

Omotola had recently voiced her thoughts on the on-going Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) four-month strike on social network Twitter.

She tweeted: "Why are Students of the Most Populous Black Nation in the World, "Giant"of Africa NOT in school?where are all the educational funds? #Nigeria (sic)."

Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (BangShowBiz)

Lady Gaga's surprise gay club appearance

London - Lady Gaga has made a surprise appearance at gay club G-A-Y in London.
The Do What U Want singer, who is in the British capital ahead of a TV performance on The X Factor on Sunday, shocked fans with an unannounced stage performance at the popular hotspot late on Saturday night.
Gaga appeared to be getting into the Halloween spirit, clad in all white, with long, white hair and pale make-up.
The chilling look did little to scare fans away, however, as the raucous crowd welcomed the singer to the stage for an impromptu performance of her new song Venus.
She wrote on Twitter after the appearance: ''Had an amazing night tonight at G-A-Y in London, after all these years you continue to inspire me. Can't wait for X-Factor tomorrow night! (sic)''
It appears Gaga's performance was kept tightly under wraps as club promoter Jeremy Joseph declared her visit the ''hardest secret'' he's ever had to keep.
He tweeted: ''How incredible is @ladygaga, the hardest secret I've had to keep, sooooo happy, quadruple wow
''I think I've proved tonight, I can keep a secret, Wish I could that every week
''I've just woken up, had this really odd dream that I was on stage at G-A-Y with a naked Lady GaGa (sic)''

Kanye West to marry Kim Kardashian 'next summer'

Los Angeles - Kanye West wants to marry Kim Kardashian next summer.

The Power rapper - who popped the question to his reality TV star girlfriend last week on her 33rd birthday - has revealed the couple will likely marry in the summer of 2014 and he is planning a lavish ceremony complete with aircrafts.

He quipped: "Two words: fighter jets."

The 36-year-old star, who has a four-month-old daughter, North, with Kim, opened up about his lavish proposal at San Francisco's AT&T Park stadium earlier this month, admitting he was "nervous" about getting down on one knee.

Kanye hired out the entire baseball stadium for the proposal, hired an orchestra and had a fireworks display light up the sky as he asked his lady love for her hand in marriage with her family and friends watching on.

'Three rings were made'

Ever the perfectionist, the All of the Lights rapper says he was worried about "everything being on cue" and hoped to have Lana Del Rey perform for him and Kim, but instead he had to settle for an orchestral version of her song Young and Beautiful.

Kanye also revealed that he changed his mind about his new fiancée's engagement ring just 24 hours before popping the question and only selected the 15-carat diamond ring he presented Kim on the day of the proposal.

Speaking on US radio show Big Boy's Neighborhood on Power 106 FM, he said: "Kim knew I was eventually going to ask her to marry me. I just had to get that ring right. I worked with four different jewellers. Three rings were made and only one hit the ringer and that was Lorraine's. I actually changed the ring the night before. The ring was less than four hours old when I gave it to her."

Chris Brown released after assault charge reduced

Washington - Chris Brown's misdemeanor assault charge in Washington, D.C., could further complicate the R&B singer's unsettled legal situation.
Additional time behind bars remains a possibility for the singer - both in the District of Columbia and California - where Brown remains on probation for his 2009 beating of his on-again, off-again girlfriend Rihanna.
Brown emerged from a Washington court on Monday flashing a peace sign after spending more than a day in custody on a charge filed after a man accused the Grammy winner and his bodyguard of punching him and breaking his nose outside a local hotel.
Crucial time
Brown's arrest early Sunday comes at a crucial time for the singer, who is releasing an album this winter and is under a deadline to complete hundreds of hours of community service to satisfy his sentence for the Rihanna attack.
His day and a half in custody are the longest time the scandal-plagued singer has spent behind bars and the case represents the most serious accusations he's faced since his attack on Rihanna. Brown left the courthouse to cheers from supporters, some of whom clapped when a judge announced he would be released.
His time in custody was much longer than the few hours he spent at a Los Angeles jail after the Rihanna attack. In contrast to Brown's LA court appearances, which routinely happen in the afternoon when his case is the only one on calendar, Brown appeared in a crowded D.C. courtroom and had to wait until the end of the day for his case to be called and his release granted.
Homophobic attack
Brown is accused of punching a man who tried to get a picture with the singer and two other people near Washington's W Hotel early Sunday, according to the man's account in a police report. The report states Parker Isaac Adams, 20, said Brown told him, "I'm not down with that gay shit" and "I feel like boxing." The exact context of Brown's remarks was not immediately clear.
The man told police Brown punched him in the face, and a court filing states the man's nose was fractured. Brown's bodyguard, Chris Hollosy, stepped between them and also punched the man before grabbing Brown by the arm and leading him toward his tour bus, according to the report.
In an interview with police, Brown denied hitting the man and said he was on his tour bus when Hollosy got into a fight with Adams.
Brown is innocent
"We understand that his security acted to protect Mr. Brown and Mr. Brown's property as he was authorized to do under District of Columbia law. We are confident that Mr. Brown will be exonerated of any wrongdoing," Brown's lawyer, Danny Onorato, said after Monday's hearing.
Brown, 24, had a squeaky clean image before his attack on Rihanna on the eve of the 2009 Grammys, but since then has had several flare-ups that have been reported to authorities and noted by Los Angeles prosecutors. Brown broke a window after a 2011 "Good Morning America" interview in New York and was accused of snatching a woman's cell phone in Miami after she tried to snap pictures of the singer. He was also slightly injured in a New York nightclub brawl and earlier this year, was accused of being involved in a fistfight with Frank Ocean's entourage over a parking spot at a West Hollywood recording studio.
He was not charged in any of the incidents, but they have kept his public image tarnished, even as legions of fans continue to support him. Many of Brown's more than 13 million Twitter followers continue to come to the singer's defense and attack his critics on the site.

Hundreds complain about Lady Gaga's raunchy X Factor performance

Los Angeles - Lady Gaga's sexy performance on The X Factor has attracted over 200 complaints.

The Applause singer and her backing dancers appeared on the ITV show wearing flesh coloured bikinis, and she writhed around on a piano singing lyrics including "do what you want with my body" as she performed Venus and latest single Do What U Want on Sunday.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: "We will assess all the complaints received on this issue before deciding whether to investigate."

Some people voiced their upset at the performance - which came half an hour before the 21:00 watershed - with Jane Faram tweeting: "Unfortunately I'm watching the X Factor & so are lots of young impressionable kids. (sic)"

Joannna Parker echoed her sentiment writing: "Seriously this is the rotten level we've come to for our kids to watch this debauched shit on a Sunday night."

An ITV spokesperson defended Gaga's performance - watched by an estimated 10 million people - saying: "We do not believe Lady Gaga's performance was inappropriate for the family audience of the show, which has an established tradition of performances from the biggest music stars. She's well known for her highly individual style."

Gaga also attempted to make amends with Kelly Osbourne - whom she has been feuding with for months - while in London, presenting her mother, Sharon, with a birthday cake as a gesture.

Watch her performance on The X Factor

Usher warns Justin Bieber not to mess things up

Los Angeles - Usher has warned Justin Bieber not to "fuck up" his success.

The Scream hitmaker - who mentored the 19-year-old singer alongside his manager Scooter Braun in 2007 - is seen giving his protégé a few words of advice in a teaser for new 3D film, Believe.

In the video clip, Usher says: "When I first met you I told you, you could have all of this, if you believe in it. Now it's happened, don't fuck it up."

Mentors are seen addressing the singer after his recent mischievous behaviour, telling him to "stay humble", try and be the best person he can be and not to "fall off that wagon".

Behind-the-scenes footage

The film, which is released in the US in December, also features footage of the singer on tour and words of encouragement from his mother Pattie.

She tells him: "Justin, I'm so proud of you and you are turning into an amazing young man."

Open Road Films, confirmed that his upcoming concert film and documentary, Believe, will officially hit cinemas on Christmas Day.

Directed by Jon Chu, who also directed Justin in his 2011 film, Never Say Never, the movie will include concert footage as well as a behind-the-scenes look at his life.

He said: "I am so excited to be involved in this movie, and so happy to be able to give back to my fans, especially during the holiday season."

Watch the teaser trailer here

Kelly Osbourne ready to end Gaga feud

Los Angeles - Kelly Osbourne wants to end her feud with Lady Gaga "like adults".

The Fashion Police host has reached out to the Applause hitmaker to apologise for acting "like a child" when the singer gave her mother Sharon Osbourne - who is a judge on the UK version of The X Factor - a birthday cake to pass on to Kelly, who turned 29 on Sunday.

Gaga posed with Sharon and the cake after performing at London nightclub G-A-Y on Saturday and though Kelly - who lives in Los Angeles - suggested the gesture was a "publicity stunt", she is now keen to move on.

In a post on her Twitter account, Kelly posted: "@ladygaga I acted like a child last night. Just not into publicity stunts call me & we will end this like adults I dont want 2 fight anymore (sic)"

Gaga has not yet responded to the message.

A bitter feud

Perhaps Kelly agreed to forgive and forget after Sharon - who hugged Gaga following her performance on The X Factor on Sunday night - appeared to do the same.

Sharon tweeted on Sunday: "Blown away by Lady Gaga's performance and graciousness."

After hearing about the cake, Kelly flew into a rage posting a series of angry tweets which read: "Not to be ungrateful but why would you send me a birthday cake via my MOTHER in a country half the would away? #JustSendItToME #LoveNotWar

"#EatMyShit #Hypocrisy / #StefaniStopIt! / You are so far behind you think you are first! / I live for a #Cause not for the #Applause!!!!!!!

"I like desert, but i prefer the truth... it's sweeter / 'Let them eat cake' #MarieAntoinette (sic)"

The Osbournes have been locked in a bitter feud with Gaga for months, with Sharon branding the Alejandro hitmaker - whose Born This Way Foundation campaigns against bullying - a "publicity-seeking hypocrite" for letting her fans send threatening messages to her daughter Kelly after she criticised Gaga's 2012 Grammy Awards outfit.

Sharon joined the feud after Kelly was inundated with abuse from Gaga's fans online.

Rihanna and her bodyguard to go into space

Los Angeles - Rihanna is set to spend $750 000 to go into space.
The Only Girl (In The World) singer is reportedly planning to buy three seats on Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic programme.
The 25-year-old pop superstar is on the waiting list for one of next year's expensive flights, and she hopes to take her younger brother Rorrey, 23, and a bodyguard on the out-of-this-world mission.
A source told the Daily Star newspaper: "Rihanna has already put down a deposit for the flight.
"She has been obsessed with space since she was a child so it would be a dream come true for her."
Rihanna has long been fascinated by space and her rapper-and-DJ brother lifted the lid on her obsession with aliens last month.
Rorrey revealed: "She believes there are UFOs. No one knows for sure, but Ri and I think they're out there."
Other celebs to do the same
The Diamonds singer - who is worth more than $43m - is set to join fellow famous wannabe astronauts Ashton Kutcher and his girlfriend Mila Kunis, Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio who all have confirmed seats on the Virgin Atlantic programme.
The world's first commercial spaceline is expected to launch in 2014 and more than 500 people have already paid deposits for the trips.
The Virgin Galactic website states seats are $250 000 each and many potential passengers have visited Necker Island with Branson and completed G-force training.
SpaceShipTwo was unveiled in the Mojave Desert in California in 2009.
The first ever two-hour flight in the planet's orbit will be boarded by Branson and his family and anyone who has paid a deposit guaranteeing them a place on it.
Passengers will travel 62 miles in altitude - the internationally recognised boundary of outer space - and will experience weightlessness and an incredible view of the curve of the Earth.

Chelsea ousts Arsenal

London - Cesar Azpilicueta seized on a defensive blunder and Juan Mata scored a slick second as Chelsea dumped Premier League leader Arsenal out of the League Cup with a 2-0 victory at its London rival on Tuesday.
The fourth round loss ends one route to a trophy for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who failed to mastermind a victory over Jose Mourinho for the ninth time as he looks to deliver his club's first silverware since 2005.
Mourinho now has a quarter-final to look forward to in the competition that gave him the first trophy of his first Chelsea reign in 2005.
Manchester United will be joining Chelsea in the last eight after Javier Hernandez scored twice in a 4-0 victory over Norwich.
In a shock result, Fulham was beaten 4-3 by second-tier club Leicester. Stoke was forced into extra time against Birmingham but won 4-2 on penalties after it finished 4-4 over 120 minutes. West Ham also required penalties to see off lower-league opposition, but won 2-0 at Burnley with goals in regulation time.
At the Emirates Stadium, Chelsea was in action for the second time in three days, although only Gary Cahill survived the team that beat Manchester City on Sunday.
Wenger made eight changes for the side that won at Crystal Palace on Saturday to remain top of the league.
But in the cups, Arsenal has now lost twice in eight days, having been beaten at home in the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund last Tuesday.
A blunder at the back gifted Chelsea the opener in the 25th minute after launching a swift counterattack.
Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson's backwards header was too weak to reach goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, and Chelsea defender Azpilicueta ran through and dispatched the ball into the net.
Arsenal rarely looked like equalising and Mata smashed the second into the roof of the net in the 66th after Willian nodded the ball back to the Spain midfielder in a move that started from a throw in.
It left the home crowd demoralised.
"Let's not go too quick for conclusions," Wenger said. "It's difficult to swallow what happened to us in the last week."
But asked about his poor record against Mourinho, Wenger quipped: "I don't think he scored the first goal."
At Old Trafford, United turned in the kind of performance missing largely in the league this season and Hernandez might hope for more game time up front after this double.
The Mexica striker opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 20th after Leroy Fer fouled Adnan Januzaj. He was on target again nine minutes into the second half, heading home after Mark Bunn parried an initial effort.
Phil Jones volleyed in United's third, and Fabio da Silva collected a long ball from Wayne Rooney and slipped it past the onrushing Bunn.
In a seven-goal thriller at Leicester, it was a night to forget for Fulham.
Although Hugo Rodallega put Fulham in front, Wes Morgan, Chris Wood and Ignasi Miquel put Leicester 3-1 up by the 53rd.
Fulham staged a comeback through Rodallega and Giorgos Karagounis, who scored directly from a free kick in the 86th. But Lloyd Dyer restored Leicester's lead for good three minutes later.
At Turf Moor, West Ham left it late to see off Burnley thanks to two penalties.
Matthew Taylor scored the first in the 76th after Jason Shackell brought down Kevin Nolan, and Jack Collison netted in stoppage time after being fouled by Keith Treacy, who was sent off.

Juan Mata (AFP)

FIFA delay World Cup ticket sales

Rio de Janeiro - FIFA said on Tuesday it was postponing the second round of ticket sales for next year's World Cup to comply with a request by Brazilian authorities to monitor the process.
"In order to ensure the Brazilian authorities' involvement in supervising the procedures for the allocation of tickets following the first sales period, FIFA has had to postpone the draw," football's world governing body said on its website.
Results of this draw for applicants for the over 6.2 million tickets requested in the first round will now be known only on November 10 and not November 4 as previously agreed.
Therefore FIFA decided to put off the start of the next sales period from November 5 to November 11.
"As the next sales period is on a first-come, first-served basis, it is essential that all those applicants for tickets from the first period have been informed on the status of their application by the time we reopen sales," explained Thierry Weil, FIFA's Director of Marketing.
"We cannot risk any fan not being aware of his/her success before we put the remaining tickets on the market. Obviously, our priority is to ensure every applicant has an equal chance of success."
The electronic lottery will take place in the English city of Manchester in the presence of Brazilian government officials and a public notary.
A total of about one million tickets are available in the two sales periods of the first sales round.
Once the lottery has been completed, FIFA will announce how many of the one million tickets remain available for sale in the second round.
"We know we'll be forced to disappoint a host of committed supporters, but even if we'd had three times the number of tickets, we'd still have fallen well short of fulfilling everyone's wishes," Weil said.
In total, FIFA will make available for sale 3.72million tickets for the World Cup, which will be played in 12 Brazilian cities from next June 12 to July 13.
Overall, Brazil, straining to overhaul its creaking infrastucture for its first World Cup since 1950, hopes to welcome around 600,000 foreign tourists for the sporting spectacular.

Ribery heads challenge for Messi's Ballon d'Or crown

Franck Ribery, the newly-crowned European Footballer of the Year, will be hoping to end Lionel Messi's domination of the World Player awards in the 2013 Ballon d'Or vote.

Ribery joins Messi, winner for the past four years, on a list of 23 candidates named by football's world governing body FIFA and France Football magazine on Tuesday.

The France midfielder is accompanied by Bayern Munich teammates Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The list reflects a year in which Bayern won the UEFA Champions League and the German League and Cup double.

Mesut Ozil of Arsenal is the fifth German international among the candidates, while Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski completes a contingent of seven players from the Bundesliga.

The list has been drawn up by the FIFA Football Committee and experts from France Football.

The winner will be chosen by a vote by the captains and coaches of the men’s national teams and international media representatives selected by France Football.

The shortlist include Gareth Bale (Wales), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Philipp Lahm (Germany) and Robert Lewandowski (Poland).

Others are Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Mueller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Franck Ribery (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).

The rest are Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany).

The 10 coaches in contention for the World Coach of the Year award include Carlo Ancelotti (Paris Saint-Germain/Real Madrid), Antonio Conte (Juventus) and Vicente Del Bosque (Spain national team).

Others are Rafael Benitez (Chelsea/Napoli), Juergen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund) and Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid/Chelsea).

The rest are Sir Alex Ferguson (formerly Manchester United), Jupp Heynckes (formerly Bayern Munich), Luiz Scolari (Brazil national team) and Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).

In early December, FIFA and France Football will announce the names of those who have received the most votes.

These will be the three men and three women, as well as the three coaches for women’s football and three coaches for men’s football.

The eventual winners will be revealed at the Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich on January 13, 2014

Real demand Blatter apology

Madrid - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has labelled FIFA president Sepp Blatter's comments on Cristiano Ronaldo's demeanour on the field as disrespectful.

The 77-year-old described the Portuguese as being "like a commander on the pitch" and joked he spent more money on his hairstyle than Barcelona rival Lionel Messi in an audience with Oxford University students last week.

Those comments have been met with fury in Madrid as Ronaldo aims to topple Messi to win the Ballon d'Or for the first time in five years after both men were nominated in the 23-man shortlist for the award on Tuesday.

And Ancelotti confirmed that Real president Florentino Perez has sent a letter to FIFA asking them to rectify Blatter's comments.

"It seems to me like a lack of respect," Ancelotti said on Tuesday.

"I haven't spoken with Cristiano about it.
"Today he trained very well as he always does.

"He shows every day that he is great player. He is serious, professional and respects everyone.

"I know that our president has sent a letter to FIFA."

On the field, Real have been boosted by the return of Xabi Alonso, who could make his first appearance of the season against Sevilla on Wednesday as Los Blancos look to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at the weekend.

The Spanish international hasn't played since the Copa del Rey final in May as he was first sidelined by a groin problem and then a broken bone in his foot.

Alonso's presence was badly missed at the Camp Nou as Ancelotti resorted to playing central defender Sergio Ramos in the heart of his midfield, and the Italian recognises the importance that the former Liverpool man's return should have on the team.

"He is available. Tomorrow he could start on the bench and I will try to give him some minutes.

"Xabi has all the quality to be able to help the team play better.
"He has experience and quality in his passing. Moreover, he has a very good attitude defensively."

Gareth Bale is also likely to make his first start at the Bernabeu after starting for just the second time in a Madrid shirt against Barcelona.

The Welshman was largely anonymous during his 60 minutes on the field as he flitted between a central position and his more accustomed role on the wing.

And Ancelotti reaffirmed that he sees Bale as playing on the right side of Madrid's attack.

"Against Barcelona he could change his position with (Angel) Di Maria.
"I think his natural position is on the right and when he plays I think it will be there."

Alonso's return means that Ancelotti has his full squad available for the first time since arriving in June.

However, with Madrid midway through a run of seven games in 21 days, he admitted he will make a number of changes from the side that started against Barcelona.

Karim Benzema will return up front, whilst Spanish midfield duo Isco and Asier Illarramendi should also start after being surprisingly left on the bench at the weekend.

Pope Francis hits 10 million Twitter mark

Rome - Pope Francis broke the 10 million mark on Twitter on Sunday after more than doubling the number of his followers since his election in March.
"Dear followers, I understand there are now over 10 million of you!" Francis wrote on his account, @Pontifex. "I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me."
His immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI, had about 3 million followers at the end of his papacy. Benedict began the papal Twitter feed in December.
Francis, however, has a way to go before he catches up to Twitter's most-followed, who are primarily pop music stars. Justin Bieber counts more than 46 million followers, Katy Perry nearly 46 million and Lady Gaga more than 40 million.
US President Barack Obama is the fourth-most-followed Twitter user at nearly 39 million.

Saudi no woman, no drive video goes viral

Riyadh - A Saudi video mocking the kingdom's unique ban on female driving has gone viral, featuring a male performer singing "no woman, no drive", an adaptation of Bob Marley's famous song.
Nearly 3.5 million people had seen the 4:15-minute video by Monday, two days after the adaptation of the reggae legend's No woman, no cry had been posted on YouTube.
"Say I remember when you used to sit, in the family car, but backseat," sings Hisham Fageeh, a Saudi who introduces himself as an artist social activist, dressed in traditional white thawb cloak and chequered red headgear.
The video that sarcastically tells women not to consider getting behind the wheel was posted on the day set by female activists to launch an new campaign to defy the kingdom's ban on women driving.
At least 16 women were stopped by police while at the wheel on Saturday.
They were fined and forced along with their male guardians to pledge to obey the conservative-kingdom's laws.
Fageeh goes on to mock a claim by a Saudi cleric that driving would hurt women's ovaries and bring "clinical disorder" upon their children.
"Ovaries are safe and well, so you can make lots and lots of babies," he sings.
"In this bright future, you can't forget your past, so put your car key away," the song continues.
Women who in the past have defied the ban, which is not even enshrined in law, have run into trouble with the authorities.
In 1990, 47 women who got behind the wheel in a demonstration against the driving ban were stopped by the authorities.
In 2011, police arrested a number of women who defied the ban and forced them to sign a pledge not to drive again.
Saudi women are forced to cover from head to toe and need permission from a male guardian to travel, work and marry.
The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival this month introduced Fageeh as an up-and-running stand-up comedian who performs in Arabic and English.
On his YouTube account, "HishamComedy", Saudi-based Fageeh has posted many of his earlier videos, including 16 episodes of "Isboiyat Hisham", or Hisham Weeklies, including some reflecting on the lives of Saudi students in the US.
"A simple contribution by me and my colleagues on the occasion of the" women driving campaign, Fageeh wrote on his Twitter account, on 26 October, referring to his latest release.
Watch Here
(Picture: AP)

Nasa to probe why Mars lost its atmosphere

Washington - Nasa said on Monday it is on track to launch its Maven probe to Mars next month to find out why the Red Planet lost much of its atmosphere.

The unmanned spaceship is scheduled to leave Earth on 18 November at 13:38 (1739 GMT).

The 10-month journey to Mars means that if all goes well, the probe will arrive in late September 2014, and will begin its yearlong orbiting mission in November, space agency scientists said.

It will soar at an altitude of 6 115km above Mars's surface, and dip down to 125km five times during the mission.

Maven, which stands for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission has three suites of instruments to detect changes in Mars' upper atmosphere.

However, it will not hunt for methane, a gas which signals the presence of living microbes or organic materials.

$671m mission

Nasa's Curiosity rover is patrolling the surface of Mars and has found only trace amounts of methane in the Martian atmosphere, disappointing those who hoped to find higher levels, indicating the presence of some life forms there.

Still, scientists said Maven may add to knowledge of what Mars was like before the Sun conspired to strip it of its atmosphere.

The planet that neighbours Earth "underwent a major climate change in its past," said Jim Green, director of the planetary science division at Nasa headquarters.

"Maven will tell us why Mars went through such dramatic atmospheric changes over the years."

Mars' atmosphere is "now too cold, too thin to support liquid water," said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

"Maven will focus on the history of Mars's atmosphere and whether it was able to support life as we know it."

The overall mission costs $671m, and if it reaches orbit successfully, it may have enough fuel to continue for almost a decade, said Jakosky.

"We are hoping for a very long mission," he told reporters.

The Maven mission is part of a series of rovers and probes that aim to return key data about Mars before a planned mission to send humans there as early as the 2030s, NASA has said.

The 2 453kg spacecraft will launch aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Nigeria to witness partial solar eclipse on Sunday - NASRDA

Abuja - The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has predicted that a partial solar eclipse will occur in different parts of the country on Sunday.

The Director-General of NASDRA, Prof.Seidu Mohammed,made the fact known when he briefed newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.

Eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured.This occurs either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer as seen from the earth.

Mohammed advised Nigerians not to panic unnecessarily as nothing untoward would happen on that day."These things are natural phenomena; Nigerians should not be afraid; the agency has responsibility to the nation, hence the reason for the early warning signal,” he said.

Mohammed said that the partial eclipse would not affect the airspace but advised Nigerians not to think that the world would come to an end because of the occurrence.

Prof. Opara Fidelis, Director, Centre for Basic Space Science, said that different parts of the country would witness the eclipse at different times of the day.He said that for instance,Abuja would witness it at 1pm, Lagos, 12:30 pm.; Kano, 1:07pm and Enugu, 1:04pm. Fidelis,however,advised Nigerians to wear sunglasses to view the occurrence, adding that the measure would protect their eyes from damage that might arise.

Meanwhile, the NASDRA director-general said that the agency would provide such glasses for some Nigerians, especially children and selected Nigerians.He said that the entire African continent would be affected by the partial eclipse, while some other parts of the world would witness total eclipse.

Mohammed urged Nigerians to go about their normal businesses as such occurrences happened occasionally. He said that partial eclipse would occur in April 2014, March 2015 and September, 2016.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Nasa does U-turn on Chinese astronomer ban

Beijing - Nasa has reversed a decision to ban six Chinese scientists from a space conference, Chinese state media said, after prominent US astronomers vowed to boycott the meeting in a row over academic freedom.

The US space agency had barred them from participating in the meeting on exoplanets - bodies outside the solar system - in California in early November, saying it was legally obliged to do so because of their nationality.

A Nasa committee has now written to the six to change course, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

"We have since been able to clarify the intent of the referenced legislation and are pleased to inform you that this decision has been reversed and your paperwork is being reviewed for clearance," Xinhua quoted the letter as saying.

"We hope you will be able to join us," it added.

The initial decision to block the six led to an academic uproar and some leading US astronomers, including Yale University's Debra Fischer, announced plans to boycott the conference.

Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an e-mail to the organisers: "The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications."

China's foreign ministry also blasted Nasa's denial of the researchers' applications as discriminatory, arguing that politics should have no place at academic meetings.

Nasa administrator Charles Bolden responded earlier this month by pledging to review the committee's decision, which he blamed on "mid-level managers" at the agency's Ames Research Centre, which is hosting the event.

Nasa administrator Charles Bolden has said the US strongly supports space exploration. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

America warms to online dating, survey shows

Washington - Americans are growing more comfortable with online dating, and many are finding a spouse or partner in cyberspace, a survey showed on Monday.

The Pew Research Centre found 11% of internet users - or some 9% of all American adults - said they have personally used an online dating site.

That is a sharp increase from 2008, when just 3% of American adults had used online dating sites, Pew said.

The survey found 66% of those who use online sites or apps have gone on a date with someone they met through one of these services.

And 23% of online daters have married or begun a long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app, Pew found.

Pew researchers said Americans' attitudes about online dating have dramatically changed since it first began studying the subject in 2005.

Dating options

"When we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in the digital era just under a decade ago, the public had little exposure to online dating, and most viewed people who went online to meet potential romantic partners with a healthy dose of scepticism," said Aaron Smith, main author of the report.

"And although some of that scepticism remains, online dating has become much more culturally accepted in recent years. Americans are now much more likely to count an online dater among their friends and family, and a majority view online dating as a good way to meet potential partners - one that in some ways is superior to traditional ways of meeting people."

The survey found 59% of internet users agreed with the statement that "online dating is a good way to meet people", compared with 44% in 2005.

And 53% of the group agreed that "online dating allows people to find a better match for themselves because they can get to know a lot more people", up from 47% in 2005.

Pew found 21% of internet users claimed that people who use online dating sites are "desperate", down from 29% in 2005.

Around a third, or 32% online adults, said online dating keeps people from settling down by giving them more options to meet people. This is the first time Pew asked this question.

A number of respondents related negative experiences with online dating: 54% of those who used online services said they met at least one person who was "seriously misrepresented" and 28% said they felt harassed or uncomfortable by someone using online dating services.

The survey also found online daters going mobile: 7% of cellphone apps users, or roughly 3% of all American adults, said they have used a dating app on their phone.

Happier couples

The Pew survey generally supports the findings of a study published in June by University of Chicago researchers, which found more than one-third of US marriages between 2005 and 2012 began with online dating.

That study published in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also found couples who meet online may be slightly happier than couples who meet through other means.

However, some experts took issue with the findings because the survey was commissioned by, the dating site that attracted one quarter of all online marriages according to the research.

The Pew report was based on a phone survey of 2 252 adults between 17 April and 19 May. The margin of error for the full sample is estimated at 2.3 percentage points.

How true is this?  Comment your suggestion below

Apps check contents of cosmetics

Toronto - Consumers worried about what might be lurking within their cosmetics and skin care products can turn to new apps that scan barcodes to review the items for safety.
Each day women are exposed to about 168 chemicals in beauty products, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington-based health research and advocacy group that looks into toxic chemicals.
Think Dirty, a free iPhone app, gives a product a score after scanning the barcode for ingredients and chemicals.
"We all use so many products, and even when we look at the back of the label, we don't understand what's in them because we're not chemists," said Lily Tse, the founder of Think Dirty, which is based in Toronto.
"Cost is No 1 for the companies who make the products, and making something synthetic that can be mass produced lowers the cost," she explained.
The score indicates whether a product has any harmful ingredients and allergens. The app also lists each ingredient and its potential effect on health using sources such as The National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances Data Bank, the EWG and the David Suzuki Foundation, a Canadian environmental group.
Warnings from regulatory agencies in other countries show up as well.
"If it's considered safe here but not considered safe in Japan then consumers might want to know this," Tse said.
In 2004 the EWG started a website called the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database so consumers could look up potentially hazardous ingredients in skin care products.
It contains information on more than 78 000 items available in the United States.
This month the group plans to release the EWG Skin Deep app for iPhone and Android, which also will let consumers gain access to product information by scanning barcodes.
"We've had hundreds of millions of searches on the site since its launch 2004 and it's one of our flagship projects. It has pretty much changed the way people think about cosmetics," said Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research for the EWG.
Leiba said more people are becoming aware of toxins in cosmetics, and companies are responding by phasing out harmful ingredients.
Think Dirty and Skin Deep both suggest products that contain safer ingredients.

Layla Mandi, Canadian makeup artist, shows her cosmetic line OnePure. (Ola Galal, AFP)

Nokia launches first tablet, phablet phones

ABU DHABI, Oct 22, 2013 (AFP) -Nokia, whose handset division is to be acquired by Microsoft, launched its first-ever tablet computer in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, aiming for a stake in a fast expanding sector.
The Windows 10-inch screen tablet, Lumia 2520, was one of six new devices unveiled in the Emirati capital, including two so-called "phablets" -- large screen smartphones.
The Nokia Lumia 2520, available in red and white in a glossy finish as well as cyan and black in matte, is to go on sale in the United States at an estimated price of $499 by the end of the year.
"Initial roll out is to begin broadly in the US as well as the UK and Finland, with additional countries to follow shortly after," the company said in a statement.
"The award-winning design, the breakthrough imaging innovation, and the new experiences that we have brought to you with the Lumia smartphones we are bringing them to the tablet," Stephen Elop, executive vice president at Nokia Devices & Services, told reporters.
The device has a 6.7 MegaPixel camera and Zeiss optics.
Later on Tuesday in San Francisco, Apple was expected to show off slick new iPads to take on rival tablet makers in the runup to end-of-year holidays.
Industry tracker Gartner this week forecast that global tablet shipments will reach 184 million units this year, in a massive 53.4 percent rise from last year.
The Nokia phablets, Lumia 1520 and a less-expensive Lumia 1320, have a six-inch screen.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 "delivers a brilliant image experience," said Elop. "It has optical image stabilisation. It has the latest technology to capture more details in every picture you take."
The Lumia 1520, available in yellow, white, black and glossy red, will first be released in the United States, Hong Kong, China, Singapore as well as European markets with an estimated price of $749.
The 1320 version, to be available in orange, yellow, white, and black, will sell for around $339 and first go sale in China and Vietnam, followed by other Asian markets and Europe.
Three new low-cost smartphones -- Nokia Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 -- are mainly targeted at developing markets in Asia and Africa.
The Asha 503, which includes a five MegaPixel camera and comes with a dual SIM option, is most expensive among the three costing around $99.
Microsoft, which is trying to refocus the company around "devices and services" after missing out on the transition to mobile computing, announced in September it will buy Nokia's mobile phone division.
The deal worth $7.2 billion gives Microsoft Nokia's mobile phone operations along with an array of patents and licenses to help compete with rivals Google and Apple, as well as Samsung.
Nokia pioneered the mobile phone and dominated the market for 14 years, until it was overtaken by South Korea's Samsung in 2012 as the top-selling brand.
The company, long the pride of Finland, was blindsided by the shift to smartphones and struggled to fight off increasing competition from Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy.
Microsoft and Nokia have been partnered since 2011, co-creating Nokia's Lumia line of smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone software.
A Nokia distributor in Portugal, Agnieszka Loureiro-Pelc, told AFP that the deal with Microsoft "will definitely be a boost for the new development of Nokia."
Despite strong competition, "recent months have shown that the last Lumia products are quite strong and able to face the competitors," said Loureiro-Pelc, managing director at Azinor group.

Samsung Africa Tour set for Lagos

Abuja - Leading smartphone maker, Samsung, will next month hold its Smart Africa exhibition in an event that will see the firm offering local customers the opportunity to explore its latest technologies.

The company said the exhibition scheduled for November 2 at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos was part of its commitment to reward and inspire consumers in communities where it operated.

Addressing media in Lagos on the exhibition, Brovo Kim, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa, said that the initiative presented a platform for the company to share its products, philosophy and processes with consumers and stakeholders.

He said the event would also be used to  provide consumers with first-hand exposure to the latest innovation in all of its product categories, including audio-visual and home appliances, mobile phones, digital cameras and IT solutions that are Built for Africa and promotes a smarter way of living.

“During our more than ten years of doing business in Nigeria, we have seen the country’s rapid evolution to a technology-savvy market that is heavily reliant on same to drive everyday life. We are happy that Nigerians have given us the opportunity to play a major role in this evolution. Today, the Samsung brand has a huge percentage of the consumer electronics and digital media market in Nigeria and indeed the whole of Africa. This is a testament to our understanding of the unique needs of the African market and Africa as a whole. We are very proud to open up our brand to consumer engagement and to support our communities with the Samsung Smart Africa Tour. This is our way of showing our appreciation to our loyal customers,” said Kim.

In addition to providing consumers with the opportunity to interact with Samsung’s products, the exhibition to mark Samsung’s Smart Africa Tour in Nigeria will also feature hourly lucky dips with prizes from Samsung’s range of premium products, karaoke competitions as well as entertainment for children.

Registration for participation at the exhibition has already commenced on Samsung’s web and social media sites.

Samsung’s Smart Africa Tour leverages on three key strengths - new technology, innovative products and creative solutions- which, according to Kim, will enable the company to engage Nigerians with the Samsung brand story and also give back to society through its corporate social responsibility activities.

Apple unveils new Macs, software, iPads

San Francisco - Apple unveiled new Macs ahead of the holiday shopping season and said its latest computer operating system, Mavericks, is available free of charge.
The Cupertino, California-based company made the announcement on Tuesday at an event in San Francisco.
A new, 13-inch (33-centimeter) MacBook Pro with Retina display is thinner and lighter, said Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, adding that the laptop has up to 9 hours of battery life, enough to "watch the entire trilogy of 'The Black Knight' on one charge."
The notebook's new price is lower: $1,299, compared with $1,499 for the previous version.
A larger MacBook Pro, with a 15-inch (38-centimeter) monitor and 256 gigabytes of storage starts at $1 999, compared with $2 199 for the previous version.
The Mac Pro, a high-end desktop computer aimed at what Apple calls "power users," will be available in December for $2 999.
Apple also says nearly two-thirds of its mobile devices are running iOS7, the revised operating system it released in September. Twenty million people have listened to iTunes Radio about a month after its release.
Apple is expected to revive its tablet line with new iPads. The company sold 14.6 million iPads in the June quarter, down 14% from the same time last year.

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, speaks on stage before a new product introduction in San Francisco. (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP) Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

80% of world population rely on traditional medicine

Abuja - The West African Society for Pharmacology, Societe Quest Africaine de Pharmacologie (WASP-SOAP), on Tuesday said about 80 percent of the world's population relied on traditional medicine for their healthcare needs.

Prof. Helen Kwanashie, the president of the society, made this known at the society’s 37th Annual Conference in Lagos.

The theme is: "Promoting Profitable Pharmacological Research In West Africa."

"The use of traditional medicine is something that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been grappling with since 1978.

"They called for the recognition of co-integration of traditional medicine with conventional medicine, for a more effective healthcare delivery.

"This is because they found that about 80 percent of the world population, including Nigeria, use traditional medicine to meet their healthcare needs.

"The ultimate goal is to provide the requisite scientific validations, in line with the WHO's declaration for the co-recognition and integration of both conventional and traditional medicine practices globally,’’ she said.

According to her, pharmacology is the study of the properties and actions of drugs, especially in relation to their therapeutic uses or side effects.

"Drugs may be described as substances that are used for diagnosis, treatment or prevention of diseases.

"For the pharmacologists, however, drugs are not limited to medicinal products, but include all substances that are foreign to the body, including pesticides, cosmetics, alcohol and tobacco,’’ she said.

Kwanashie said that there were challenges regarding the integration of both types of medical practices.

"But, there are many challenges regarding this recognition and integration.

"One of this is that there is frequently no scientific validation of the claims by traditional medicine practitioners and that is where we, as pharmacologists, come in.

"Because, we take their products, we test them in the laboratories and there has to be active collaboration.

"Based on the experiments we carry out, we can tell at the preliminary stage, that the drugs which they claim they use to arrest certain conditions can actually do so.

"And so, that becomes the first stage in drug discovery and development,’’ she said.

Also, Dr Douglas Oliver, a professor of pharmacology at the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa, said that major transitions were rapidly reshaping Africa.

According to him, despite the accelerated growth in economies and technologies, major uncertainties are still being faced, especially in drug development, medicines, quality healthcare delivery and healthcare science and research development.

Oliver said that there was an urgent need to bring these under control and advance the education of people.

He said that WHO had emphasised six areas for a successful health system.

"They are healthcare services delivery, health work form, health information system, access to essential medicine, health systems financing and leadership and governance.

"Research will have greater impact when locally relevant and regionally contextualised, with country specific data and practices included in the analysis,’’ Oliver said.

Dr Theresa John, the conference chair, said it had become imperative for a smooth blend of the study of nature and science.

According to her, the future will be brighter with a more profitable research in West Africa, and Nigeria, leading to improved products and services, sustainable entrepreneurship and alleviation of most societal problems.

Norway rejects US on Syria arms destruction

Oslo - Norway on Friday declined a US request to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, with Foreign Minister Borge Brende saying it would not be feasible to do so.

"The reasons were the timeframe, technical facilities and other legal limitations," Brende said.

"We have agreed with the United States, which presented the proposal that Norway can contribute in other areas... Our focus is now to find other means of contributing to the process."

Brende said Norway could provide personnel and additional financial support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international watchdog charged with dismantling Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.

The OPCW began its work earlier this month under a UN resolution that backed the deal brokered by the US and Syria-ally Russia, and agreed by Damascus, to eliminate all the weapons by mid-2014.

In September, UN inspectors reported that rockets containing the nerve gas sarin were used in a 21 August attack near Damascus, which the US said killed more than 1 400 people.

The US blamed the Syrian government and threatened a military intervention before the deal with Moscow.

Media reports suggested Norway was asked to destroy 50 tons of mustard gas and between 300 and 500 tons of chemicals that could be used to make the nerve gas sarin.

Brende, who took office earlier this month, declined to speculate on which other countries could take on the task, but said he believed the US was considering other options.

The deadline for the destruction of all chemical weapons production facilities is 1 November. Inspectors have visited 18 of the 23 disclosed sites in Syria and destroyed production equipment at most, the OPWC said.

Apple unveils iPad Air, new mini

San Francisco - Apple on Tuesday took the wraps off a slimmer faster tablet called the iPad Air and said it will give away Macintosh operating and work software free to its users, challenging Microsoft's near-stranglehold on personal computing.
Apple announced the surprise offer, which will be available to all users of Apple MacBooks and Mac computers, at a product event on Tuesday at which it also unveiled a new line of Mac notebooks and computers. Its Mac OS and iWork software suite, which compete with Microsoft's Excel, Word and other applications, will now be offered free to all users.
"We are turning the industry on its ear, but this is not why we're doing it," Apple CEO Cook told media and technology executives at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Centre. "We want our customers to have our latest software."
Apple's iPad Air is about 20% thinner than the previous generation of tablets, starting at $499. But the new tablets would face stiff competition, with Microsoft, Nokia and all plugging rival devices in coming months.
Apple, which jump started the tablet computing market in 2010 with the first iPad, has already come under increasing pressure from cheaper devices ranging from Amazon's Kindle Fire to Samsung Electronics's Note.
But while Apple is ceding market share to rivals, its superior library of apps and content should safeguard its lead for years to come, analysts say. Longer term however, investors hope to see real device innovation from a company that has not unveiled a new breakthrough product in years.
Cook on Tuesday dismissed the competition as directionless. "Our competition is different: they're confused," he said. "Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they'll do next?"
"We have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal. We still believe deeply in this category and we're not slowing down on our innovation."

Eaglets whip Iraq 5-0 to advance into second round

Abuja - Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets on Friday ended their Group F campaign with a 5-0 whipping of Iraq to advancing to the second round of the ongoing 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Nigerian side won in style to finish top of their group ahead of rivals Mexico in their match at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai, in the competition holding at UAE.
Four goals in the first half set the tempo for the match to send the Iraqis home after three straight losses.
Mexico and Sweden also go through to the Round of 16 from the group in second and third places respectively.

Chidiebere Nwakali hit the woodwork after only two minutes, and it was a hint of things to come as the Nigerian side roared into incredible form.
Some seconds later, they took the lead when Musa Yahaya was fouled in the area and Musa Muhammed converted from the penalty spot.

The scorer turned provider a minute later, with his cross picking out Nwakali who had enough time and space to put the ball away from close range.
Nigeria were 3-0 after 18 minutes, when Kelechi Iheanacho laid on a fine pass for Taiwo Awoniyi, but which fell at the feet of Yahaya.

In the 41st minute, Yahaya took advantage of a rather grand error by the Iraqi goalkeeper, Hayder Mohammed, to poke home with ease from six yards out just before the half time.

On the stroke of full-time, Nigeria scored their fifth when substitute Chigozi Obasi hit home from 20 yards to take their goals tally in the group stages to 14.

Source: NAN