A group of alcoholics in Amsterdam are being paid five cans of beer a day in return for cleaning the city's streets.

The private, but government-funded Rainbow Group Foundation employs two groups of 10 men who work three days a week picking up litter.

Each day they get paid €10 (£8) and are given one hot meal, half a packet of cigarettes and five cans of beer.

Karel Slinger, 50, said he used to spend his days in a nearby park getting drunk.

"Yes, of course in the park it is nice weather and you just drink a lot of beer," he explained.

"Now you come here and you have something to do. I can't just sit still. I want to do something."

Programme director Gerri Holterman, from the Rainbow Group Foundation, said: "I think we are already successful, when we get them to drink less during the day.

"This is a start to go towards other projects and get maybe another kind of job."

There is a waiting list for those alcoholics who want to join the programme.

Fatima Elatik, district mayor of eastern Amsterdam, where the project takes place, said: "For a lot of politicians it was really difficult to accept, 'So you are giving alcohol?' No, I am giving people a sense of perspective, even a sense of belonging.

"We don't ostracise our people, because these are people that live in our districts."


read full article...

A 100-year-old woman celebrated her milestone birthday - by hiring a male stripper for a party at a pub.

Doris Deahardie even brought along her own bottle of baby oil for her special night in North Wheatley, Nottinghamshire.

The centenarian travelled from her home in nearby Saundby by limousine for the celebration, reports the Retford Times.

She had chosen the stripogram herself from an online directory and requested the 'full monty' despite her advanced years.

The widow, who lives with her son Barry and his wife Sharon, had originally wanted to mark her century by booking a helicopter ride in a repeat of her 90th birthday celebration.

Sharon explained: "She asked me if when she was in the air the pilot would strip for her!

"We told her that no, pilots don't do that, we'll have to get you a real stripper, and she chose one herself; she said 'he looks like he's been looked after'!"

"I told the lad he might have to be careful with her because of her age, but then she told me she wanted the whole lot!"

"It was brilliant, a really good night. Her face when the lad straddled her! I don't think she'd believed he would do the whole lot."


read full article...

Norwegian students solved nearly 5 million algebra equations in a week long challenge, using an app aimed at popularizing mathematics among children whose maths skills have been steadily sliding in international rankings.

Students hoped to just beat the previous record of 40,000 equations set by students in Washington state using the Dragonbox app; but that record fell in just three hours, organizers said.

"This has been a mind-blowing experience for us," Dragonbox co-founder Jean Baptiste Huynh said as the competition came to an end on Wednesday. "No one has done anything of this scale on a national level before."

"The best part is that this is scalable. We hope to do a national event also in the US and in Brazil within a year. And then we might go global with these events," he added.

Norwegian students were ranked 30th in the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a big drop from 21st just three years earlier. U.S. students fell to 36th from 31st.

The Dragonbox app aims redefine mathematical language for games and adapt the learning process into game play for children in both elementary and high school.

Huynh, who left a well paid job as a fund manager to teach, now plans to launch a geometry game before summer.

The Dragonbox app has been downloaded more than 250,000 times.

Students in Minnesota will be the next to take the challenge, hoping to solve 250,000 equations in a week.


read full article...

WILLIAMSTON, S.C., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Restaurant chain Waffle House apologized to a South Carolina man who was charged $1,666.61 for a $16.51 breakfast.

Jim Andrews of Williamston said he and his wife ate at the Waffle House in Piedmont Friday and he gave the cashier his card to pay the $16.51 bill, WHNS-TV, Greenville, reported Wednesday.

"I sign it, and I look at it again, and it says $1666.61," he said.

Andrews said the cashier argued with him about the charge, so he put in calls and emails to officials until he was able to contact the Waffle House corporate office, which was able to reverse the pending charge.

"Our accounting department spoke with Mr. Andrews this morning to apologize and correct the matter," Waffle House said in a statement. "During the conversation, Mr. Andrews confirmed that the money was in his account this morning. Both the store manager as well as the area manager have left voicemails for Mr. Andrews to offer their assistance in the matter. No other incidents of this nature have been brought to my attention."

Andrews said the most frustrating part of the ordeal was that he was not able to speak with the restaurant's manager until he contacted the corporate office.

"Make sure you look at these receipts carefully," Andrews said.

Fox News

read full article...

A McDonald's in Queens, New York has become the contentious scene between some elderly patrons and management who says the group is driving away business.

According to the New York Times, many of them -- mostly Korean locals from the neighborhood -- arrive as early as 5 a.m. at the restaurant and often stay until after dark. They show up, some of whom use walkers, canes or wheelchairs, after eating a free lunch at a nearby senior center, and then split a small pack of french fries to count as paying customers.

A manager said they have called the police on the group in an effort to get them to move on, but that doesn't seem to deter them much. Nor does the sign posted at the restaurant saying customers have 20 minutes to finish their food, reports the New York Times.

"They ordered us out," says one customer, Man Hyung Lee, 77. "So I left. Then I walked around the block and came right back again."

The group say they're entitled to stay as long as they like. "Do you think you can drink a large coffee within 20 minutes?" David Choi, 77, says. "No, it’s impossible."

Although the elderly folks have been meeting at the McDonald's for years, the tension between the customers and the fast food restaurant has mounted over the past few months. The Times reports that police have received four 911 calls since November.

One of the group Hoick Choi, 76, even told the Times that he doesn't really like the food.

Oddly enough, right down the street is another McDonald’s and Burger King, but neither draw any crowds.

FoxNews.com is still awaiting comment from McDonald's

Fox News

read full article...

CAIRO – Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities says that American and Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown pharaonic king dating back to dating to roughly 1650 B.C.

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim says in a statement Wednesday that archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, cooperating with the ministry, uncovered the tomb of sixteenth-dynasty King Seneb Kay near the southern city of Sohag. The team determined his name by deciphering hieroglyphics on the tomb's walls.

During the second intermediate period of ancient Egyptian history, the country was divided among several rulers.

Head of Antiquities Ali al-Asfar says the discovery will shed light on a complex period of ancient history.

"This adds to our pharaonic history, and sheds light on an era about which we knew very little previously," he says.

Fox News

read full article...

(Reuters) - A woman held captive for six months by a former boyfriend who threatened to kill her if she tried to escape was rescued from a Nevada motel after writing about her plight on Facebook, police said on Tuesday.

Her captor, Jason Greniger, 34, was arrested on Saturday at the MV Motel in Mesquite, a golfing and gambling resort town 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, said Detective Sergeant MaQuade Chesley, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department.

The woman, Sheena Herschbach, had not been physically restrained by Greniger during the ordeal and was regularly sent to a nearby store for food and beer, Chesley said.

"She had opportunities to contact police, it just took her six months to get the courage to do it," Chesley said. "She legitimately believed that he would kill her, hurt her or hurt her family if she didn't stay with him."

Greniger was being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping and also on an outstanding warrant from Minnesota stemming from a charge of first-degree felony malicious punishment of a child, Chesley said.

He is due in court on Wednesday in Mesquite in the kidnapping case, which will be resolved before the Minnesota case is adjudicated, Chesley said.

Herschbach turned to Facebook to seek help after Greniger, in an uncharacteristic move, allowed her to visit a nearby public library on Saturday, Chesley said.

Her post, presented as written, read, "I just whant to let every one know im sarry I whant to come home but he wont let me."

Chesley confirmed the authenticity of the post, which also gave her whereabouts.

Later that day, Mesquite police were told of the post and went to the ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

25-year-old Chicago woman Anna Bachman, who was visiting her family in San Diego over the weekend, fell to her death while posing for a picture on Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach Sunday.

Her sister reportedly witnessed her take one step too many and disappear over the edge down a 40- to 50-foot drop.

A witness told Chicago's WLS several people rushed over to help but were unable to revive her.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lt. Paul Phillips with the San Diego Police Department told KPIX, "There were two nurses here that hussled down the cliff and began CPR and first aid, as well as a couple of surfers is my understanding. They did their best but it just wasn't meant to be."

Local media reported the area where Bachman fell isn't roped off, but is marked with several warning signs of unstable cliffs.

Police have ruled her death as an accident and do not believe alcohol was a factor.

Fox News

read full article...

A 12-year-old boy armed with a shotgun opened fire at a middle school in New Mexico on Tuesday, seriously wounding two students before a staff member persuaded him to put down the firearm, authorities said.

The shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell took place in a gym where students had gathered to stay warm from the frigid weather outside before the start of class, Governor Susana Martinez told reporters.

"The shooter was quickly stopped by one staff member who walked right up to him and asked him to set down the firearm, which he did," Martinez said. CNN quoted Martinez as hailing the intervening teacher as a "hero" for his action.

The wounded children were an 11-year-old boy, who students said had been shot in the face, and a 13-year-old girl, whose condition was serious but improved after surgery. The boy underwent two rounds of surgery and was in critical condition.

The adolescent shooter, who was not identified, remained in police custody on Tuesday night, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said. He had come to school that morning with a 20-gauge sawed-off shotgun concealed in a bag, Kassetas added.

The boy's motive remains unclear, police said, but student Monique Salcido, a friend of the two children who were shot, told CNN he had been bullied at the school.

"I don't want to go to Berrendo anymore because of what happened. Because I'm afraid it's going to happen again," Salcido told CNN.

The shooting was the second to take place at a U.S. middle school in three months, after a 12-year-old boy opened fire at his middle school in Sparks, Nevada, in October, killing a teacher and wounding two students before killing himself.

It comes amid a contentious national debate ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

A man has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly hurling his two-year-old son from a motel balcony in Florida.

Juan Pablo Maradiaga, 41, threw the toddler from the 12ft-high balcony at the Budget Inn in Kissimmee, and then jumped off seconds later, police said.

They added that the child landed 25 feet away and suffered broken bones in the fall.

Maradiaga - who officers said smelled of alcohol - was also badly injured.

He told detectives he threw the child from the second-floor balcony because he was "frustrated" with him.

Police said the incident was captured on the motel's CCTV cameras.

"I got a baby and a young man that's laying on the ground," a 911 caller told emergency services moments after the incident on Tuesday.

"They're out … they're unconscious. I just pulled up in the parking lot and I seen them lying on the ground unconscious."
The father and child were flown to a nearby hospital.

Officers said the child suffered a fractured right arm, a fractured right orbital bone in his face, abrasions on his stomach and head injuries.


read full article...