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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Demi Moore Hospitalized!

Demi Moore
This news may be a few days late, but it's worth re-mentioning. There were gossips that the actress who starred in so many Hollywood blockbusters including, Ghost, had been hospitalized, just two months after announcing her split from husband Ashton Kutcher. It appears that divorce can make someone sick. Well, that's no understatement, as a matter of fact, a failed relationship could result to emotional stress that could affect your health.

According to Moore's rep in a statement earlier: "Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health."

A flurry of unconfirmed reports suggest her exhaustion is code for substance abuse and malnourishment. An eating disorder, a late-night 911 call, a seizure, a nitrous oxide binge, are some of the whispers you could hear around the web.

Ashton was said to had been involved on another woman, the main reason why Demi decided to file a divorce.

"As a woman, a mother and a wife, there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life," said Moore in a statement to press on Thursday.

In addition to making it clear that she was the one ending her "six-year marriage to Ashton," she also set the record straight: it's not that she's too old, it's that he's too young.

Her follow-up (on Twitter no less), she said: "Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world."

Moore was a veteran of high-profile marriages and weathered her divorce from Bruce Willis, the father of her three daughters, better than any other in the business. They're friends, supporters, and have managed to put their family before their romantic drama.

Moore's brief statement on Ashton's cheating scandal proved she's still putting family before "keeping her man." And her address belongs in a hall of fame of strong women who've publicly handled their misbehaving husbands with aplomb.

That's why there's less talk about how the very public breakup of her marriage could be at the heart of her health problems. However, the effects of a broken heart take a physical toll. In a review released this month by University of Arizona, researchers found that divorced adults are at a higher risk of an early death than married adults. The effects of a split can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being overweight or drinking heavily, according to the report.

One 2006 study found that middle-aged women, in particular, are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than married women of the same age. Cancer and mobility issues have also been linked to the after-effects of a long-term romantic separation.

But in the initial days and months after a divorce, the mental health risks are most threatening.

"When you are processing the ending of a marriage, you are overcome with a variety of complex emotions - sorrow, anger, shame, fear," explains Rachel Sussman, a licensed psychotherapist and author of The Breakup Bible. "Sleep and one's ability to eat may be impacted by the sorrow and stress, [which in turn] may effect your overall health and cause you to get very run down."

A painful split is also grounds for a relapse of bad habits. Eating disorders, long-under control, may resurface in times of stress. Most notable, substance abuse is found in higher rates for women during a divorce than men, according to a WHO World Mental Health study.

Moore has touted her clean living lifestyle in the years after her early '80s rehab stint but anyone who has suffered from drug addiction knows the threat of relapse hovers in times of transition.

"Demi Moore is a recovering addict so for someone like her, a divorce may indeed produce a relapse," Sussman tells Shine. "Addicts turn to substances for a variety of reasons including the need to modify pain. It's a poor coping mechanism and will often produce the opposite effect than the one you are looking for."

While the WHO study found more women using substances as band-aids during divorce, men were more likely to become isolated and depressed. Kutcher might not be the shining example of that statistic. While Moore battles her demons, Kutcher's been parading around Brazil's fashion week and sucking on coconuts for his twitter followers.

To be clear, just because there are risk factors to divorce, staying in a troubled marriage isn't the healthy choice either. One University of Iowa study found that couples who weren't happy together had lower immune systems and took longer to heal than happily married spouses.

Sometimes, divorce is the only option. But setting a self-preservation game plan doesn't end with finding an attorney. In searching online for the terms "divorce" and "health risks," you have to plow through alarmist warnings about the health risks for children of divorce before you can find anything about surviving as a parent.

To protect the mind and body during divorce, experts suggests: Exercise to prevent depression and keep your appetite and sleep patterns in check. Commandeer your support system: family, friends, even therapists, and sponsors depending on your needs. "Deal with your grief head on," advises Sussman. "It hurts but better now than later."

I suppose that's the same advise she's (Demi Moore) been receiving by now.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mysterious Winged Structure from Ancient Rome

A recently discovered mysterious "winged" structure in England, which in the Roman period may have been used as a temple, presents a puzzle for archaeologists, who say the building has no known parallels.

The structure has been said to had been build around 1,800 years ago. The structure was discovered in Norfolk, in eastern England, just to the south of the ancient town of Venta Icenorum.

The structure has two wings radiating out from a rectangular room that in turn leads to a central room.

"Generally speaking, (during) the Roman Empire people built within a fixed repertoire of architectural forms," said Professor William Bowden, a professor at the University of Nottingham, who reported the find in the most recent edition of the Journal of Roman Archaeology. The investigation was carried out in conjunction with the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group.

The winged shape of the building appears to be unique in the Roman Empire, with no other example known. "It's very unusual to find a building like this where you have no known parallels for it," Bowden told LiveScience. "What they were trying to achieve by using this design is really very difficult to say."

The building appears to have been part of a complex that includes a villa to the north and at least two other structures to the northeast and northwest. An aerial photograph suggests the existence of an oval or polygonal building with an apse located to the east.

The winged building

The foundation of the two wings and the rectangular room was made of a thin layer of rammed clay and chalk. "This suggests that the superstructure of much of the building was quite light, probably timber and clay-lump walls with a thatched roof," writes Bowden. This raises the possibility that the building was not intended to be used long term.

The central room, on the other hand, was made of stronger stuff, with its foundations crafted from lime mortar mixed with clay and small pieces of flint and brick. That section likely had a tiled roof.. "Roman tiles are very large things, they're very heavy," Bowden said.

Sometime after the demise of this wing-shaped structure, another building, this one decorated, was built over it. Archaeologists found post holes from it with painted wall plaster inside.

Bowden said few artifacts were found at the site and none that could be linked to the winged structure with certainty. A plough had ripped through the site at some point, scattering debris. Also, metal detecting is a major problem in the Norfolk area, with people using metal detectors to locate and confiscate materials, something that may have happened at this site.

Still, even when the team found undisturbed layers, there was little in the way of artifacts. "This could suggest that it (the winged building) wasn't used for a very particularly long time," Bowden said.

The land of the Iceni

The researchers were not certain what the building was used for. While its elevated position made it visible from the town of Venta Icenorum, the foundations of the radiating wings are weak. "It's possible that this was a temporary building constructed for a single event or ceremony, which might account for its insubstantial construction," writes Bowden in the journal article.

"Alternatively, the building may represent a shrine or temple on a hilltop close to a Roman road, visible from the road as well as from the town."

Adding another layer to this mystery is the ancient history of Norfolk, where the structure was found.

The local people in the area, who lived here before the Roman conquest, were known as the Iceni. It may have been their descendants who lived at the site and constructed the winged building.

Iceni architecture was quite simple and, as Bowden explained, not as elaborate as this. On the other hand, their religion was intertwined with nature, something which may help explain the wind-blown location of the site. "Iceni gods, pre-Roman gods, tend to be associated with the natural sites: the springs, trees, sacred groves, this kind of thing," said Bowden.

The history between the Iceni and the Romans is a violent one. In A.D. 43 (CE 43), when the Romans, under Emperor Claudius, invaded Britain, they encountered fierce resistance from them. After a failed revolt in A.D. (CE) 47, they became a client kingdom of the empire, with Prasutagus as their leader. When he died, around A.D. (CE) 60, the Romans tried to finish the subjugation, in brutal fashion.

"First, his (Prasutagus') wife Boudicea was scourged, and his daughters outraged. All the chief men of the Iceni, as if Rome had received the whole country as a gift, were stripped of their ancestral possessions, and the king's relatives were made slaves," wrote Tacitus, a Roman writer in The Annals. (From the book, "Complete Works of Tacitus," 1942, edited for the Perseus Digital Library.)

This led Boudicea (more commonly spelled Boudicca) to form an army and lead a revolt against the Romans. At first she was successful, defeating Roman military units and even sacking Londinium. In the end, the Romans rallied and defeated her at the Battle of Watling Street. With the Roman victory, the rebellion came to an end, and a town named Venta Icenorum was eventually set up on their land.

"The Iceni vanish from history effectively after the Boudicca revolt in (CE) 60-61," said Bowden.

But while they vanished from written history, archaeological clues hint that their spirit remained very much alive. Bowden and David Mattingly, an archaeologist at the University of Leicester, both point out that the area has a low number of villas compared with elsewhere in Britain, suggesting the people continued to resist Roman culture long after Boudicca's failed revolt.

This lack of villas, along with problems attracting people to Roman settlements in the area, "can be read as a transcript of resistant adaption and rejection of Roman norms," writes Mattingly in his book "An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire" (Penguin Books, 2007).

There is "still a fairly strong local identity," said Bowden, who cautioned that while local people may have lived at the complex, the winged building is out of character for both Roman and Iceni architectural styles, a fact that leaves his team with a mystery.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nigeria sect leader threatens Nigerian president in message

Boko Haram sect leader Imam Abubakar Shekau
Lagos, Nigeria - An audio message allegedly posted on the Internet by the leader of a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria, threatens the oil-rich nation's president and denies its members killed Muslim civilians in an attack last week that left at least 185 people dead.

Meanwhile, unrest continued across the north with the kidnapping of a German on Thursday and the killing of 15 traders in a daylight attack by apparent armed robbers.

The video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, shows a still image of Imam Abubakar Shekau sitting on a beige sofa, a Kalashnikov rifle at his back. Speaking at times in Arabic, English and the Hausa language of Nigeria's Muslim north, Shekau said negotiations suggested by President Goodluck Jonathan between the sect and the government will not happen.

"He's lying. He cannot do it," Shekau said. "If Jonathan does not repent as a Muslim, even if I die myself, Jonathan's going to see. He's looking at me like I'm nobody, but he'll see."

In the message, Shekau acknowledged that Boko Haram carried out the Jan. 20 attacks in Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city, that killed at least 185 people. Gunmen from the sect armed with explosives and assault rifles, some wearing army and police uniforms, others suicide car bombers, attacked police stations, immigration offices and the local headquarters of Nigeria's secret police.

But Shekau denied killing civilians in the attack, claiming the sect's gunmen tried to protect the more than 9 million people who live in the important city in Nigeria's north.

"We're killing police officers, we're killing soldiers and other government people who are fighting Allah and Christians who are killing Muslims and talking badly about our Islamic religion," Shekau said. "I am not against anyone, but if Allah asks me to kill someone, I will kill him and I will enjoy killing him like I am killing a chicken."

Boko Haram wants to implement strict Shariah law and avenge the deaths of Muslims in communal violence across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people split largely into a Christian south and Muslim north. The group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, has now killed at least 262 people in 2012, more than half of the at least 510 people the sect killed in all of 2011, according to an AP (Associated Press) count.

The attack by Boko Haram comes during continued unrest across Nigeria's north. In Kano, gunmen kidnapped a German citizen who was working for Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Ltd. on Thursday.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told journalists on Friday that the embassy and a ministry crisis unit were working hard to resolve the case.

"I can't yet report any substantial progress," Peschke said.

Meanwhile, Zamfara state spokesman Ibrahim Muhammad Birnin Magaji said on Friday that gunmen killed 15 Muslim traders on their way to market. Birnin Magaji said the gunmen burned the bodies of their victims in a rural village in Katsina state on Thursday, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from Kano.

He said authorities suspect an armed robbery attack, but no goods were reported missing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dana White calls out Internet hackers!

Dana White
The war is on between the UFC and Internet hackers. On Sunday, was re-routed several times to the website UGnazi. The site's organizers, who White called terrorists several times during the "UFC on Fox 2" press conference, said the hacking of is a result of the company's support of SOPA and PIPA. The wide-ranging bills are aimed at stopping online piracy, however at the cost of compromising the free Internet. White had lashed out at the hackers.

White dug in deeper during a conversation with The Score's Mauro Ranallo (13:30 mark).

"Keep hacking our site, do it again. Do it tonight," said White. "These guys look like terrorists now and a bill that was about to die, is about to come back."

The hacker taking credit for the UFC hit, @joshthgod, went a different route after the challenge, posting White's personal info, including a Social Security number, a list of residential addresses, a vehicle identification number and a personal phone number.

That followed a tweet that said White is now the target.

"@danawhite We don't want your site anymore. We are going after YOU! Follow me for tonights exciting events! #ufc #sopa #acta #pipa,"

White said the hackers are only hurting their own cause by alerting politicians that there's a serious issue. He's willing to risk his own safety to stop the online pilfering.

"Is SOPA the perfect bill? No, it's not. The only thing that we're focused on is piracy. Piracy is stealing. If you walk into a store and you steal a gold watch, it's the same as stealing a pay-per-view. I don't care what your twisted, demented idea of stealing is," White said. "These kids who grew up on the Internet never had to pay for anything, so they don't think that you should have to."

Dana White closed by saying he's not afraid of the Internet, it's where cowards live.

Corruption scandal shakes Vatican as internal letters leaked

Vatican City - The Vatican was shaken by a corruption scandal on Thursday after an Italian television investigation said a former top official had been transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts.

The show "The Untouchables" on the respected private television network La 7 on Wednesday night showed what is said were several letters that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who was then deputy-governor of Vatican City, sent to superiors, including Pope Benedict, in 2011 about the corruption.

The Vatican issued a statement on Thursday criticizing the "methods" used in the journalist investigation. But it confirmed that the letters were authentic by expressing "sadness over the publication of reserved documents." As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny city-state's gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure.

Vigano, currently the Vatican's ambassador in Washington, said in the letters that when he took the job in 2009, he discovered a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.

In one letter, Vigano tells the pope of a smear campaign against him (Vigano) by other Vatican officials who wanted him transferred because they were upset that he had taken drastic steps to save the Vatican money by cleaning up its procedures.

"Holy Father, my transfer right now would provoke much disorientation and discouragement in those who have believed it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of power that have been rooted in the management of so many departments," Vigano wrote to the pope on March 27, 2011.

In another letter to the pope on April 4, 2011, Vigano says he discovered the management of some Vatican City investments was entrusted to two funds managed by a committee of Italian bankers "who looked after their own interests more than ours."

$2.5 Million, 550,000 Euro Loss

Vigano says in the same letter that in one single financial transaction in December, 2009, "they made us lose two and a half million dollars."

The program interviewed a man it identified as a member of the bankers' committee who said Vigano had developed a reputation as a "ballbreaker" among companies that had contracts with the Vatican, because of his insistence on transparency and competition.

The man's face was blurred on the transmission and his voice was distorted in order to conceal his identity.

In one of the letters to the pope, Vigano said Vatican-employed maintenance workers were demoralized because "work was always given to the same companies at costs at least double compared to those charged outside the Vatican."

For example, when Vigano discovered that the cost of the Vatican's larger than life nativity scene in St. Peter's Square was 550,000 euros in 2009, he chopped 200,000 euros off the cost for the next Christmas, the program said.

Even though, Vigano's cost-cutting and transparency campaign helped turned Vatican City's budget from deficit to surplus during his tenure, in 2011 unsigned articles criticizing him as inefficient appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.

On March 22, 2011, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone informed Vigano that he was being removed from his position, even though it was to have lasted until 2014.

Five days later he wrote to Bertone complaining that he was left "dumbfounded" by the ouster and because Bertone's motives for his removal were identical to those published in an anonymous article published against him in Il Giornale that month.

In early April, Vigano went over Bertone's head again and wrote directly to the pope, telling him that he had worked hard to "eliminate corruption, private interests and dysfunction that are widespread in various departments."

He also tells the pope in the same letter that "no one should be surprised about the press campaign against me" because he tried to root out corruption and had made enemies.

Despite his appeals to the pope that a transfer, even if it meant a promotion, "would be a defeat difficult for me to accept," Vigano was named ambassador to Washington in October of last year after the sudden death of the previous envoy of the United States.

In its statement, the Vatican said the journalistic investigation had treated complicated subjects in a "partial and banal way" and could take steps to defend the "honor of morally upright people" who loyally serve the Church.

The statement said that today's administration was a continuation of the "correct and transparent management that inspired Monsignor Vigano."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anonymous threatens Facebook again!

Anonymous, the hacker collective hacktivist group, is once again planning to target Facebook in an attack scheduled on Jan. 28 - at least, that's what a video uploaded to Youtube on Monday was claiming in the name of the hacker network.

"An online war has begun between Anonymous, the people and the government of the United States," the video begins. "While SOPA and PIPA may be postponed from Congress, this doesn't guarantee that our Internet rights will be upheld."

Following the U.S. government shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload on Friday, Anonymous attacked the U.S. Department of Justice's website, among others.

Monday's Youtube video calls on the American people to participate in the hack by downloading Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), the tool that was successfully used to target the U.S.' Department of Justice. LOIC crashes websites by sending thousands of information packets to their servers.

The video gives instructions for downloading and running the program, as well as a time - 12 a.m. on Jan. 28 - to launch the attack. No time zone, however, is distinguished.

"Would you like to become part of the greatest Internet protests and first official cyber war?" the video asks. "Operation Global Blackout is ongoing and everyone can be a part of it."

Facebook is one of the world's largest websites, operating through thousands of servers located across the world. In the video, Anonymous acknowledges the difficulties of attacking such a large site.

"While it is true that Facebook has at least 60,000 servers, it is still possible to bring it down," says the Anonymous voice. "Anonymous needs the help of the people."

YouTube commenters have raised an important question, "Why would Anonymous want to crash Facebook, after the site came out against SOPA and PIPA?"

The video essentially equates the privately-owned company with the U.S. government, with no explanation for the linkage. CNET postulates that Zuckerberg took too long to voice his opposition, landing his social network a spot on the potential targets list.

The global network of hacktivists had made this threat before, and promised to shut down the site on Nov. 5, 2011, over user privacy concerns. Ultimately, no attack was executed. And although there was a spam attack, it came out on a later date and was immediately neutralized by Facebook. The loosely-connected hacker network called the threat the work of peripheral members.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shalani Soledad and Congressman Roman Romulo Wedding

Shalani Soledad, President Aquino's ex-girlfriend was wedded to Congressman Roman Romulo yesterday (January 22).

The wedding was held in Westgrove, Sta. Rosa Laguna.

Shalani Soledad is a Councilor and a co-host in Willie Revillame's Willing Willie show.

In the wedding, the groom, Congressman Romulo, told his bride, "I waited 44 years before God gave me this favor..."

And with some 500 guests as witnesses, Shalani Soledad was officially pronounced wife of Congressman Romulo at around 6:45 p.m. says sources.

One of the highlights of the ceremony, which began a little past 5:30 p.m., was the homily of His Eminence Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales.

Cardinal Rosales stressed that it was love that brought the couple together, and not "economic welfare" or "political status."

He also advised the couple to be "kind", "patient", "understanding", not to be jealous, and "do what God calls you to do".

The wedding was the first time Shalani saw her father, Adolfo Aguirre, and her mother Evelyn Soledad-Yumol, together.

But the bride walked down the aisle alone.

The background music, "If It's Love", "Fields of Gold", and "Just The Way You Are", was sang by Gail Blanco.

Celebrities in attendance were Senator Bong Revilla and wife Lani Mercado, Richard Gomez and wife Lucy Torres, Mariel Rodriguez, Migz Zubiri and wife Audrey, Valerie Concepcion, Marco Alcaraz and girlfriend Lara Quigaman.

Reception was held at the Evoliving Center Dockside in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Aquino's message

An online news report earlier said President Aquino would not attend the wedding but would send a gift "bought by his staff." He had wished the couple a happy life together.

"What is the message?" the President said recently. "The emphasis has always been to strengthen the family. We believe that a lot of the situations to the problems of the country will be best addressed by a family that is strong, united and caring to the children that they bring."

Actress-TV host Kris Aquino, who was not at the ceremony either, wished the couple "good health ... and all of God's blessings in the years to come."

She also said: "I'll echo what P-Noy (Pres. Aquino) said, may both of them continue to be instruments of true public service."

"We thought Roman would not be able to find that person he can be with all his life," said actress Dawn Zulueta. "He finally did and I think Shalani is perfect for him."

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