Thursday, 26 July 2012

A million Britons live with the hell of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Nadine Stewart was convinced she was going to die. Just ten minutes after setting off for a pop concert with her sister, she felt a tingling sensation in her arms and pain in her chest.

‘I knew I was having a heart attack,’ says Nadine, 41, a customer services adviser from Morecambe, Lancashire. ‘I begged my sister to take me to A&E: I ran in and screamed that I was having a heart attack.

‘They put me on a monitor and my heart was fine — what I had suffered was a panic attack. I have no idea to this day what caused it, but it terrified the life out of me.’ 

Nadine Stewart has to do everything nine times or fears her husband will die

Nadine Stewart has to do everything nine times or fears her husband will die

But worse was to come. ‘Afterwards, I developed a fear that if I didn’t do something nine times, something terrible would happen to me, my husband Paul or a member of my family.’ says Nadine. 

‘If I made a drink I had to stir it nine times. If I locked the door I had to check it nine times and if I used a cloth to wipe a surface I’d have to wipe it nine times. I don’t know why it was nine. I realised I was being utterly irrational. But every time I tried to curb it — such as only stirring my drink three times — I’d begin to panic.'

 ‘If I didn’t do these things nine times, I’d imagine Paul and me veering off the motorway in our car and see his injured face in the aftermath.’

Nadine had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), recognised by the World Health Organisation as one of the top ten most disabling disorders in terms of its effect on quality of life. 

Last month both the British actress Emily Blunt and the MP Charles Walker revealed they suffered from it, with Walker admitting he had to do everything in multiples of four — and felt the need to wash his hands hundreds of times a day. 

 Who knew?
Surveys estimate that fewer than
10 per cent of those suffering OCD are currently receiving treatment.

They are not alone. Around a million people in the UK are thought to be undergoing treatment for OCD, the majority of them women. Women are twice as likely as men to develop anxiety disorders such as OCD — and high-achieving perfectionists are particularly at risk. 

‘There are two parts to OCD, the obsession and the compulsion,’ explains Joel Rose, of charity OCD Action. ‘The obsession is a thought that pops into your head, about harm coming to someone you love or you causing harm to someone.'

‘Everyone has these thoughts but most of us ignore them and get on with our lives. Someone with OCD will develop a compulsive ritual as a reaction to them. It can be continually washing their hands or something invisible like repeating the same phrase over and over in their heads.'

‘The time spent on these compulsions lengthens with time. A severe OCD sufferer might spend six or seven hours a day washing their hands in the hope nothing terrible happens to their children.’

The cause of the condition is not known, though a stressful event in someone’s life may trigger an underlying problem. 

Nadine has never pinpointed the root of her troubles — though they began in the year she started a new job, moved house and got engaged. ‘I had no reason to feel anxious,’ she said, ‘though I suppose there was a lot of change.

‘I became scared of choking to death so I stopped eating and lost three stone in less than three months. I couldn’t leave the house without Paul, and even then it would take me three hours to pluck up the courage.’

Someone who can empathise with Nadine is Jeni Scott, 31, who’s had OCD for three years. 
It began when her father had a heart attack and her mother was diagnosed with cancer, soon after Jeni left university. 

‘I became obsessed with doing things in order,’ says Jeni, a tutor from Newport, Wales. ‘I started making lists but it had everything on it such as “get up, have shower, make a cup of tea” and if I didn’t stick to it I would punish myself by denying myself a treat.

Actress Emily Blunt, star of Five Year Engagement, has revealed she suffers from OCD

Actress Emily Blunt, star of Five Year Engagement, has revealed she suffers from OCD

‘I developed a phobia of being in the rain in the wrong clothes and had to take a backpack with spare bra, pants, coat, shoes and umbrella everywhere with me. I’d carry antibacterial gel in my bag and use it every ten minutes. I’ve still no idea why I did it, I just found it helped me.’ 

Aisha Faisal, from Reading, Berkshire, also suffers from OCD — and it’s getting worse. ‘I developed it in my teens when my mother fell ill and I had to clean the house,’ the 26-year-old says. ‘Now I’m obsessed with everything being super-clean. I wash my hands 14 or 15 times a day, I shower for an hour at a time and wash the shower head and bath thoroughly before I step in. 

‘If someone touches me, I cringe. My neighbour touched my scarf to tell me it was pretty and I had to have a shower and put all my clothes in the wash.’ Aisha, who has three children under four, admits her obsession extended to giving birth. 

‘Each time I had Caesarean sections — the thought of having a natural birth makes me feel physically sick.’ She made the surgeons assure her everything had been scrubbed thoroughly before each operation. Understandably, her OCD worries the rest of her family. ‘My husband Ali finds it very hard to see me like this. I won’t let him touch me when he comes in from work: he has to shower and put on clean clothes before he can hug me.'

‘With three young children, being clean is impossible and I bathe them twice a day in the winter and sometimes four times a day in the summer if they’re hot and sticky.’

As a result of her obsession her own hands are red raw and she suffers from eczema. ‘I have been to the GP but it’s very difficult to treat. I know I must do something soon, because my eldest daughter, who is four, is picking up on my behaviour and I feel very guilty about that.'

‘The other day she came in from the garden and said she was dirty so needed to get out of her clothes and I washed her and cleaned her thoroughly. My husband can’t believe our electricity bill because the washing machine is on constantly.’

While Aisha is still in the grip of OCD, Jeni and Nadine have overcome the condition. According to the NHS, the two recognised forms of treatment are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which helped Jeni, and anti-depressants. 

But Nadine used another therapy called The Linden Method — a two-day workshop costs £995 — when she reached her lowest point early last year.

‘I was unable to work, leave the house or answer the phone,’ she says. ‘My vision became blurry, my hands would spasm and I’d get pains like rheumatism. I began to think: “What’s the point in living?” yet I was too scared to kill myself.’

The Linden Method — which has also helped OCD sufferers Jemma and Jodie Kidd — works by convincing the sufferer’s sub-conscious that they are safe. 

‘I’m a different person,’ says Nadine. ‘I can leave the house, I’m applying for jobs, taking up hobbies and it’s transformed my relationship with Paul. 

‘He says it’s like having a wife in a wheelchair who can walk again. Except I feel I can not only walk, I can fly.’




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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Spain Scraps Siesta as Stores Stay Open to Spur Spending

The Spanish shopping siesta may be about to become the latest victim of the sovereign debt crisis. To stimulate spending after a 23 percent drop in retail sales since 2007, the euro region’s fourth-largest economy this month approved measures that allow shops of more than 300 square meters (3,229 square feet) to open for 25 percent longer a week. The new rules may encourage the outlets to sell during the traditional afternoon snooze from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and on an additional two Sundays or holidays a year for a total of 10. “When everything was fine, nobody complained, but now that things have gone awry, then it’s another story,” said Carmen Cardeno, director general for domestic commerce at the nation’s economy ministry, which created the rules. “We need to evolve and be more flexible.” Spain is following its European neighbors in trying to liberalize shopping hours that have traditionally been checked by governments in the region to protect religious observances, for rest and on behalf of smaller retailers that have fewer resources to staff shops around the clock. England has allowed retailers to open for longer on Sundays during the Olympics than the six hours usually allowed. In France, food shops can be open 13 hours a day and stores located in tourist areas have the right to open on Sundays. Spanish shops are allowed to open for less time than anywhere else in Europe, according to its government, which was asked by retail associations to allow large stores to open 16 Sundays or holidays a year. Some smaller merchants opposed the extension, arguing that the bigger stores would have the necessary manpower and they wouldn’t. The new measures allow stores 18 additional business hours a week and will permit merchants to decide when to cut prices in sales instead of only twice a year. Siesta Time The country’s regions will get to decide how to implement the rules, though they usually follow the lead of the central government. In Madrid, which is an exception, stores have been able to open for as long as they want since July 15. Outlets of less than 300 square meters also have no restrictions on opening hours, though the Spanish tradition of eating at home and having a siesta means most shopkeepers keep their businesses closed for about two hours in the middle of the day. The new measures may not be enough to offset shrinking demand in Spain’s 217 billion-euro ($264 billion) retail industry, which is worsening each year the crisis goes on in a nation where one in four people is out of work. The number of companies seeking bankruptcy protection rose 22 percent from a year earlier to 2,224 in the first quarter, according to the nation’s statistics institute, with commerce being the third- largest contributor behind construction and housing firms and industrial and energy companies. ‘Almost Insignificant’ Javier Millan-Astray, director general of retail association ANGED, said the approved loosening of restrictions on opening hours doesn’t go far enough. “The government’s reform is almost insignificant,” Millan-Astray told reporters in Madrid, when retail groups pushed for 16 Sunday openings. The associations’ “new proposal would help boost consumption and create more jobs because when we open on a holiday, people come and shop. It’s unbelievable that amid this crisis, we have to keep our stores closed.” Spain has been wrestling with the dilemma of preserving its culture and modernizing the industry for decades. The socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in 2004 rolled back liberalization of opening hours instituted by his predecessor, bringing them back to rules from the 1990s and leaving the country with the tightest regulations of any European country. Job Creation Even with the latest proposals, “retail regulation is hurting both business and customers in Spain,” said Fernando Fernandez, a professor at the IE Business School in Madrid. “Both big and small retailers would benefit from fewer restrictions. When big retailers such as Ikea or Zara open a store, all small shops in that area benefit from that.” Ending the restrictions completely would create 337,581 jobs across all industries and add 17.2 billion euros to economic growth this year, according to a study commissioned by the government, which examined the implications of several scenarios. The nearest of those to the current proposals, under which stores open on 16 Sundays or holidays, could have added 47,945 full-time retail jobs, the study found. About 1.8 million people worked in retail in the first quarter, 0.3 percent less than in the year-earlier period. Stores are also bracing for change as the government looks to the retail industry to help boost tax revenue. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will increase the most common rate of sales tax to 21 percent from 18 percent on Sept. 1, putting an additional brake on consumers’ ability to spend. previous

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Spain king ousted as honorary president of World Wildlife Fund branch after elephant hunt

The World Wildlife Fund’s branch in Spain has ousted King Juan Carlos as its honorary president — a title he’d held since 1968 — after deciding his recent elephant hunting safari was incompatible with its goal of conserving endangered species. The announcement Saturday was the latest in a string of bad news for Spain’s royal family, which has been embarrassed by legal and other scandals. The fund said in a statement that “although such hunting is legal and regulated” it had “received many expressions of distress from its members and society in general.” It said members voted at a meeting Saturday in Madrid to “to get rid of the honorary President” by a substantial majority of 226 votes to 13. The Royal Palace declined immediate comment on the announcement. Many Spaniards were dumbfounded when news broke in April that the king had made a secret journey to hunt elephants in Botswana even though it was widely known he was president of the Spanish branch of the fund. Such an opulent indulgence also angered Spaniards at a time when national unemployment hovers around 25 percent, the economy is contracting and there are fears the country may need an international financial bailout. The Spanish public learned of the safari only after the king had to fly back in a private jet to receive emergency medical attention for a broken hip suffered during the trip. In an unprecedented act of royal contrition, a sheepish Juan Carlos apologized, saying as he left the hospital: “I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won’t happen again.” It was a poignant moment because the royal family had been under intense media scrutiny for all the wrong reasons. The king’s son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, is a suspect in a corruption case, accused of having used his position to embezzle several million euros in public contracts through a supposedly not-for-profit foundation he’d set up. Over Easter, the king’s 13-year-old grandson, Felipe Juan Froilan, shot himself in the foot with a shotgun, even though Spanish law dictates you must be 14 to handle a gun. The king on Tuesday decided to take a pay cut in solidarity with civil servants who are to lose their traditional Christmas bonuses as part of the government’s most recent austerity drive. The salaries of Juan Carlos and Crown Prince Felipe will be reduced about 7 percent — to about 272,000 euros ($334,000) and 131,000 euros ($160,000) respectively — in line with government policy, the Royal Palace said. The king and prince acted voluntarily in cutting their salaries, the palace said.

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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Invasion of the pickpockets

Britain is in the grip of a pickpocketing epidemic as Eastern European gangs descend on London ahead of the Olympic Games.

A surge in sneak street thefts means more than 1,700 people fall victim every day – an increase of nearly a fifth in only two years, according to official crime  figures released yesterday.

At the same time, police warned that professional gangs from Romania, Lithuania and even South America who operate in capitals across Europe are heading to Britain, intent on cashing in on unwitting tourists at London 2012.

How they do it: A member of the pickpocket gang approaches a BBC reporter investigating the rise in thefts ahead of the Olympics

How they do it: A member of the pickpocket gang approaches a BBC reporter investigating the rise in thefts ahead of the Olympics

Keeping him occupied: The man speaks to the victim on the pretense of needing directions while another gang member approaches from behind

Keeping him occupied: The man speaks to the victim on the pretense of needing directions while another gang member approaches from behind

A BBC investigation exposed the tactics used by Romanian thieves, who were previously operating in Barcelona, to dupe their victims.

The criminals boasted of their ‘one-second’ theft techniques which leave targets unaware that anything has happened until  it is too late. They can make £4,000 a week taking wallets, smartphones and laptop bags. The goods are then shipped back to Romania and sold on the black market.

 Scotland Yard has made more than 80 arrests already and warned thieves the capital will be a ‘hostile environment’ in the coming weeks.

The Met has even drafted in a team of Romanian police officers to deal with the problem and patrol in the West End of London and Westminster during the Games. They will not have arrest powers.

Distracted: An accomplice (left) then plays drunk so he can get close enough to the target to strike

Distracted: An accomplice (left) then plays drunk so he can get close enough to the target to strike

 

Sleight of hand: The 'drunk' man jostles around with the BBC reporter, making it harder for him to notice what is going on

Sleight of hand: The 'drunk' man jostles around with the BBC reporter, making it harder for him to notice what is going on

 

 

Rich pickings: The sneering thief walks away with the wallet from the unsuspecting victim

Rich pickings: The sneering thief walks away with the wallet from the unsuspecting victim

Teamwork: The thief quickly hands the wallet to another member of the gang, who spirits it away

Teamwork: The thief quickly hands the wallet to another member of the gang, who spirits it away

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘These Romanian officers will prove to be a huge asset in cracking down on certain criminal networks who are targeting tourists in central London.’

Official statistics released yesterday showed pickpocketing thefts rose 17 per cent in the past two years.

In 2011/12, a total of 625,000 people fell victim, the Crime Survey of England and Wales showed.

That is an increase of more than 102,000 since 2009/10.

The vast majority of the total are classified as ‘stealth thefts’, but in 83,000 cases the victims’ possessions were ‘snatched’.



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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS TODAY


 
Grabbing a cup of coffee
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Dining out at your favourite restaurant
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Spending some time at the museum
  Description: Description: 810C23D4F768471C975BAA3637C7E2F9@HomeLT
 
Meeting at a popular fast food centre 
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Relaxing at the beach
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Going to a game
 
Description: Description: 86E35EEDDDD8402D90B4DE9C978CB4BF@HomeLT 
 
   Going out on a date
Description: Description: E2E7E88F4CF34955A4CAA39B6C207ED2@HomeLT   
 
Taking a drive around town
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I am thankful I belong to another generation  !!!!
 
“It’s become appallingly clear that our Technology has surpassed our Humanity” -- Albert Einstein
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Friday, 13 July 2012

Tattoos are permanent reminders of temporary feelings

Tattoo
'It's wisest to pick someone whom you cannot break up with or divorce.' Photograph: Gary Powell/Getty Images

Tattoos are permanent reminders of temporary feelings – at least if you believe the report in Thursday's Daily Mail, which looked at "embarrassing" matching couple tattoos – designs that complement or complete each other across two, romantically involved bodies.

Yet there are millions of people who feel no embarrassment about the tattoos they share with their friends, lovers and even exes. Moreover, as with most perceived "new trends" in tattooing, this practice is one with a history far older than the current generation; it's a phenomenon that provides both an insight into human beings' fundamental relationships with their own bodies and the bodies and lives of those close to them.

 

Tattoos have been used as markers of association for probably as long as human beings have walked the earth, to mark tribal affiliations, regimental membership in the military, membership of fraternal orders such as the masons or US college Greek letter groups, and to signify gang membership.

The most common of these types of affiliative tattoos, though, is marking an attachment to a loved one. There's an old adage in tattooed circles that suggests getting your lover's name tattooed on you is a sure kiss of death for that relationship, and it's an old gag too: Norman Rockwell's famous 1944 Saturday Evening Post cover painting, The Tattooist, shows a salty sailor in the tattooist's chair, having yet another name added to an arm already full of the crossed-out names of past paramours. Even earlier, a cartoon in Punch from 1916 shows a "fickle young thing" – a well-turned-out young woman, as it happens – revisiting her tattooist to seek an amendment to the ornamental crest tattoo on her arm as she has, euphemistically, "exchanged into another regiment".

 

None of this seems to have affected the long-standing popularity of having names or symbols tattooed to commemorate couples' love and bond. Magazines in the 1920s reported the latest fad for newlyweds was getting matching tattooed wedding rings; preserved tattooed skins in the Wellcome Collection from the late 19th century feature names and portraits of lovers; studies of tattoos in the American navy in the 18th century reveal a large percentage of seamen of the period bore tattoos of the names of women; even Christian pilgrims in the 16th century were recorded to have borne the names of their wives on their skins, as tokens or identificatory marks; and records attest to romantic tattooing even in ancient Rome – St Basil the Great (329-380) is said to have condemned the tattooing of a lover's name that he observed on someone's hand. While I'd certainly never advocate getting a permanent mark of your relationship too hastily, it does seem that the instinct to inscribe a permanent token transcends the ages. Caveat amator.

 

Single tattoos that span multiple bodies appear to be a more recent phenomenon, however. In 1977, New York-based tattoo artist Spider Webb undertook what was probably the first conceptual art project to use tattooing, in a piece called X-1000, in which he tattooed single, small Xs on to 999 individuals, and, as a culmination, one large X on the final, 1,000th skin, conceived as one contiguous work. This tattoo, potentially spanning thousands of miles at any one time, was, Webb said, "the largest tattoo ever done at any point in history". In 2000, as the culmination to a performance art project begun in 1998 designed to highlight the horrific lives and plights of the homeless and hungry in Mexico City, Santiago Sierra produced his piece 160cm Line Tattooed on Four People, a single black line tattooed across the backs of prostitutes in exchange for wraps of heroin, as a symbol of their desperation, interdependence, and utter powerlessness. Sierra would later remark: "You could make this tattooed line a kilometre long, using thousands and thousands of willing people." In 2003, author Shelley Jackson famously published her short story Skin on the bodies of 2095, one tattooed word per person. These tattoos bring together strangers in common cause.

 

My favourite set of matching tattoos, though, are probably the ongoing collection of work worn by twins Caleb and Jordan Kilby, tattooed with matching work by influential and extraordinarily talented New York-based artist Thomas Hooper. If you must get matching tattoos with someone, it's wisest to pick someone whom you cannot break up with or divorce, and to get the work carried out by a tattoo artist who will produce a piece of work that will stand the test of time on its own terms.

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Latvian company creates leather bound Ferrari


Motors News

We're familiar with seeing tight leather on smoking hot women, and weird old men, but it's a first for us seeing a leather bound Ferrari F430.

There seems to be a lot of fuss over this leather bound Ferrari F430 in the UK with both The Sun and The Daily Mail reporting about it recently.

However, this isn’t a new car by any means as US motoring blog Jalopnikreported on the F430 way back in August last year. It’s a pretty cool, albeit manky, car so we thought we’d show you anyway.

It’s the work of a Latvian custom car company called Dartz who hit the headlines in 2009 when they created a $1.5 million ruby red SUV with whale foreskin-covered seats. Yes, foreskin…

Anyway, some high roller with more cash then sense decided it would be a great idea to cover his €170,000 Ferrari in dark leather.

The owner of Dartz, Leonard Yankelovich, said: "One of our very rich customers from the Cote d'Azur wanted a leather exterior and knew we could deliver.

"It took three of my staff 16 working days to apply the leather and finish. He was more than happy when he picked it up."

He won’t be too happy when he scratches it though.

Is this the most expensive way to ruin a Ferrari?

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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Australian mega-brothel gets go-ahead

Sydney brothel has received the green light for a multi-million-dollar expansion which will see it become Australia's largest sex premises, with rooms featuring multiple beds and pool tables. Plans to double the number of rooms at inner Sydney's "Stiletto" into a mega-brothel complex were knocked back late last year by the city council on the grounds that it was too big. But the owners won an appeal to the Land and Environment Court this week, with Commissioner Susan O'Neill ruling the Aus$12 million ($12.2 million) development, including a wing for group bookings, should go ahead. "The issue of a moral objection to the nature of the activities of a sex premises were raised by some of the public submissions and resident objectors," O'Neill said in the judgement seen by AFP Wednesday. "As a sex premises is a legal land use and permissible... with consent, moral objections to the proposal are not relevant considerations." O'Neill said Stiletto's operation to date had been assessed by the council as "acceptable and better than most" brothels in the city, and the proposed expansion to 40 rooms had addressed traffic and other concerns. Stiletto promotes itself as "the world's finest short-stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel". Its standard hourly rate of Aus$370 includes room, lady of choice and beverages. It is open 24 hours each day of the year except for Christmas Day and boasts a "mixed clientele" which it claims includes top-end celebrities including movie stars, sportspeople and rock bands. Prostitution in Australia is governed by state and territory laws with brothels being legal in some parts of the country, including New South Wales, while in other areas, such as the Northern Territory, they are banned.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Barclays boss Bob Diamond resigns

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond has resigned with immediate effect. The move comes less than a week after the bank was fined a record amount for trying to manipulate inter-bank lending rates. Mr Diamond said he was stepping down because the external pressure on the bank risked "damaging the franchise". Chairman Marcus Agius, who said on Monday he was stepping down, will take over the running of Barclays until a replacement is found. "I am deeply disappointed that the impression created by the events announced last week about what Barclays and its people stand for could not be further from the truth," Mr Diamond said in a statement. He will still appear before MPs on the Treasury Committee to answer questions about the Libor affair on Wednesday. "I look forward to fulfilling my obligation to contribute to the Treasury Committee's enquiries related to the settlements that Barclays announced last week without my leadership in question," Mr Diamond said. Last week, regulators in the US and UK fined Barclays £290m ($450m) for attempting to rig Libor and Euribor, the interest rates at which banks lend to each other, which underpin trillions of pounds worth of financial transactions. Staff did this over a number of years, trying to raise them for profit and then, during the financial crisis, lowering them to hide the level to which Barclays was under financial stress. Prime Minister David Cameron has described the rigging of Libor rates as "a scandal". The Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to bring criminal charges.

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Beware of missed call to check SIM cloning

Next time if you get a missed call starting with +92; #90 or #09, don't show the courtesy of calling back because chances are it would lead to your SIM card being cloned. The telecom service providers are now issuing alerts to subscribers —particularly about the series mentioned above as the moment one press the call button after dialing the above number, someone at the other end will get your phone and SIM card cloned. According to reports, more than one lakh subscribers have fallen prey to this new telecom terror attack as the frequency of such calls continues to grow. Intelligence agencies have reportedly confirmed to the service providers particularly in UP West telecom division that such a racket is not only under way but the menace is growing fast. "We are sure there must be some more similar combinations that the miscreants are using to clone the handsets and all the information stored in them," an intelligence officer told TOI. General Manager (GM) BSNL, RV Verma, said the department had already issued alerts to all the broadband subscribers and now alert SMSes were being issued to other subscribers as well. As per Rakshit Tandon, an IT expert who also teaches at the police academy (UP), the crooks can use other combination of numbers as well while making a call. "It is better not to respond to calls received from unusual calling numbers," says Tandon. "At the same time one should avoid storing specifics of their bank account, ATM/ Credit/Debit card numbers and passwords in their phone memory because if one falls a prey to such crooks then the moment your cell phone or sim are cloned, the data will be available to the crooks who can withdraw amount from your bank accounts as well," warns Punit Misra; an IT expert who also owns a consultancy in Lucknow. The menace that threatens to steal the subscriber's information stored in the phone or external memory (sim, memory & data cards) has a very scary side as well. Once cloned, the culprits can well use the cloned copy to make calls to any number they wish to. This exposes the subscribers to the threat of their connection being used for terror calls. Though it will be established during the course of investigations that the cellphone has been cloned and misused elsewhere, it is sure to land the subscriber under quite some pressure till the time the fact about his or her phone being cloned and misused is established, intelligence sources said. "It usually starts with a miss call from a number starting with + 92. The moment the subscriber calls back on the miss call, his or her cell phone is cloned. In case the subscribers takes the call before it is dropped as a miss call then the caller on the other end poses as a call center executive checking the connectivity and call flow of the particular service provider. The caller then asks the subscriber to press # 09 or # 90 call back on his number to establish that the connectivity to the subscriber was seamless," says a victim who reported the matter to the BSNL office at Moradabad last week. "The moment I redialed the caller number, my account balance lost a sum of money. Thereafter, in the three days that followed every time I got my cell phone recharged, the balance would be reduced to single digits within the next few minutes," she told the BSNL officials.

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Sunday, 1 July 2012

France brings in breathalyser law

New motoring laws have come into force in France making it compulsory for drivers to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles. As of July 1, motorists and motorcyclists will face an on-the-spot fine unless they travel with two single-use devices as part of a government drive to reduce the number of drink-drive related deaths. The new regulations, which excludes mopeds, will be fully enforced and include foreigner drivers from November 1 following a four-month grace period. Anyone failing to produce a breathalyser after that date will receive an 11 euro fine. French police have warned they will be carrying out random checks on drivers crossing into France via ferries and through the Channel Tunnel to enforce the new rules. Retailers in the UK have reported a massive rise in breathalyser sales as British drivers travelling across the Channel ensure they do not fall foul of the new legislation. Car accessory retailer Halfords said it is selling one kit every minute of the day and has rushed extra stock into stores to cope with the unprecedented demand. Six out of 10 Britons travelling to France are not aware they have to carry two NF approved breathalysers at all times, according to the company. The French government hopes to save around 500 lives a year by introducing the new laws, which will encourage drivers who suspect they may be over the limit to test themselves with the kits. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - substantially less than the UK limit of 80mg.

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The number of Britons arrested overseas is on the rise, official figures have shown.

 The Foreign Office (FO) handled 6,015 arrest cases involving British nationals abroad between April 2011 and March 2012. This was 6% more than in the previous 12 months and included a 2% rise in drug arrests. The figures, which include holidaymakers and Britons resident overseas, showed the highest number of arrests and detentions was in Spain (1,909) followed by the USA (1,305). Spanish arrests rose 9% in 2011/12, while the United States was up 3%. The most arrests of Britons for drugs was in the US (147), followed by Spain (141). The highest percentage of arrests for drugs in 2011/12 was in Peru where there were only 17 arrests in total, although 15 were for drugs. The FO said anecdotal evidence from embassies and consulates overseas suggested many incidents were alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearics (which include Majorca and Ibiza), Malta and Cyprus. Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: "It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law. "The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country's legal system. "We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail. We always provide consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison."

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