Thursday, November 19, 2009

Miss USA rocked by sexy new scandal

A Miss USA contestant has been stripped of her title after racy photos of were made public.

A Miss USA contestant has been stripped of her title after racy photos of her were made public.

Some of the images of Katie Rees were posted on Wednesday evening, sparking headlines all over North America and prompting pagent officials to investigate.
Late Thursday, Rees was dethroned. “Katie Rees has been relieved of her duties as Miss Nevada USA 2007,” said Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, which owns the Miss USA pageant, according to the Associated Press.

First runner-up Helen Salas will assume the title and compete at the 2007 Miss USA pageant on March 23 in Los Angeles.

The shocking photos came hot on the fashionable heels of a scandal that rocked reigning Miss USA Tara Conner. The pics show Rees exposing her breasts, passionately kissing other young women, and simulating oral sex with females and a male.

Click here to see some of the photos. Discretion is advised.

"The pictures were disgusting," Miss USA co-owner Donald Trump told Larry King on CNN Thursday night. "These pictures were pretty far out there and that is not representative of Miss USA. We had no choice but to terminate her."

Rees insists the raunchy behaviour in the photos was "an isolated incident."

In a statement, she said: "While I take full responsibility for the photographs, I want everyone to know the truth. This was by no means representative of who I was, who I am, or who I will become. I have no intentions to disgrace the state of Nevada, the Miss Universe Organization, or Mr. Donald Trump."

Rees believes it was unfair of pageant officials to strip her of her crown.

"I am very embarrassed by the situation. Regardless, such a brief and distant lapse in judgment does not warrant my loss of the title I worked so hard to achieve," she said in her statement.

Rees, 22, was crowned Miss Nevada in Las Vegas in October and was due to represent the state in the Miss USA pageant next spring.

Earlier this month, she was the guest of honour at a Special Olympics bowling tournament and last month attended an event for underprivileged children. But Rees showed off a much wilder side in the pictures, taken during a party in Tampa, Florida when she was 19.

Last Tuesday, Trump announced that hard-partying Miss USA Tara Conner – accused of underage drinking, drug use and promiscuous behaviour – was going to enter rehab but will keep her title.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Manila's elite on spending spree despite economic crisis

MANILA - While everyone else was cutting expenses and beefing up savings amid the economic downturn, affluent consumers in Manila were on a spending binge, according to a survey by global market intelligence company Synovate.

Synovate's 2009 PAX Survey revealed that Manila's elite continued to purchase luxury goods—from designer clothes to laptops and financial products—in the second quarter of the year.

Among Asia-Pacific markets, Manila also saw the highest jump in the percentage of affluent consumers preferring to buy well known brands (from 39.6% last year to 48.4% this year).

Synovate PAX is the region’s most comprehensive study of elite adults, tracking media and digital consumption, prosperity, and influence across 11 markets: Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and Australia.

Now on its 13th year, the survey polled 1,670 affluent residents in Manila between the third quarter of 2008 and second quarter of 2009.

It found that ownership of laptop among the elite rose 7.8% in the second quarter over the year ago while purchase of MP4 players and digital cameras grew 8% and 8.7%, respectively.

Smartphones have also been on the rise. About 15.6% of elite consumers in Manila have hybrid moble phones in their pockets compared to only 7.5% last year. Findings also showed that 69.1% own a mobile phone with Internet access and camera functions, which is 37.1% more than the general population.

Similarly, more affluent consumers in the Philippine capital have been purchasing private cars (62.1% of elite consumers versus 12% of population) and properties (from 51.5% of elite consumers to 58.2%).

The Synovate survey further revealed that 75% of these consumers have invested in one or more financial products this year compared to 68.5% last year, while almost a quarter or 23.9% of them have gone on one or more leisure trips in the past 12 months against only 2% of the general population.

Over the coming months, Synovate said spending levels of the Filipino elite are likely to continue to grow.

"We are seeing that affluent consumers in Manila do not want to give up the finer things in life," said Carole Ann Sarthou, managing director of Synovate in the Philippines.

Sarthou said that among markets, Manila's elite expressed the highest increase in intention to purchase all things luxurious such as designer clothes and leather goods (from 6.2% last year to 8.7% this year), quality accessories and footwear (from 5.1% to 7.1%), jewelry (from 6.5% to 10.5%), and luxury watches (from 7.1% to 8.6%).

Transport group to ask for P0.50 fare hike

MANILA, Philippines – Transport group Pasang Masda will ask for a P0.50 provisional fare increase if the price of diesel goes up to P35 per liter, an official said today (Nov. 18).

Pasang Masda national coordinator Rogel Fernandez said they are now monitoring fuel prices since the government has lifted the Executive Order 839, which pegged prices of basic commodities in calamity-hit areas.

"We will ask that the P0.50 provisional fare hike be given if diesel price goes up P35 per liter," Fernandez said.

Oil companies have imposed a hike on their petroleum products, with diesel retailing at an average of P30 after the Palace lifted EO 839. Prior the lifting of the order, diesel was sold at P28 per liter.

Pasang Masda also filed a P0.50 provisional fare hike before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board February last year. - By Dennis Carcamo (Philstar News Service,

Pacquiao batters Cotto for TKO win

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao staked his claim atop boxing’s mythical throne as the pound-for-pound best, using his lightning hand speed to beat and batter Miguel Cotto into submission Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao knocked Cotto down once in the third round and again in the fourth, pummeled him repeatedly and easily lifted the World Boxing Organization welterweight belt from the Puerto Rican with a 12th-round stoppage. The time was 55 seconds into the final round, as referee Kenny Bayless leaped between the fighters to save Cotto a more savage beating and ignominious end.

Cotto came out strong and landed some hard punches, but Cotto couldn’t deal with the speed. Pacquiao was landing three shots for every two Cotto did early. After the knockdown in the fourth, Cotto’s offense was nonexistent as he spent most of the last two thirds of the fight fending off Pacquiao’s onslaught.

Cotto landed in single digits in power shots in every round from the fifth forward.

Pacquiao nearly had the stoppage after the 11th when Cotto trainer Joe Santiago walked onto the ring apron and waved his hand at Bayless.

It appeared he was going to stop the fight, but then Bayless and ringside physician James Game spoke and allowed it to continue. It was only extending the misery as Pacquiao poured it on in the 12th.

When the fight ended, the crowd began to chant, “We want Floyd!” It was a reference to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the other man with a claim to the top of the boxing pound-for-pound list.

Pacquiao, who has won championship belts in five divisions and beat the linear champion in two others, can no longer be knocked as a small man who was beating washed up fighters.

In Cotto, he took on an elite and powerful welterweight whose only loss came under suspicious circumstances to Antonio Margarito last year. There is suspicion that Margarito’s gloves were loaded for that fight, though it has never been proven.

But Pacquiao proved he was able to not only take a welterweight punch, but rock him repeatedly. It was a magnificent performance and will create public demand for a fight with Mayweather.

“I want to see him fight Mayweather,” Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said.

Santiago said Pacquiao hit harder and was stronger than expected. Cotto injured his left shoulder in the eighth.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Miracle Aussie baby beats rare condition in world first

MELBOURNE (AFP) - – A "miracle" Australian baby has become the first person cured of a rare and deadly brain-melting condition after doctors gambled on an experimental drug tested only on mice, they said on Thursday.

The child, known only as "Baby Z", was facing a painful death of seizures and brain damage from molybdenum cofactor deficiency, a genetic defect which causes a build-up of toxic sulphite and usually kills in months.

But she made an amazing recovery just three days after first being given the untested treatment which was flown in from Germany and rushed through the courts.

"We are looking at her now and she is just an absolute miracle -- she has defied everybody," her mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told reporters.

Baby Z started having seizures within 60 hours of her birth in May 2008, prompting her family to appeal to biochemist Rob Gianello to help beat the previously incurable condition which affects just one in a million Australians.

"There was courage and there was death -- we opted for courage," the mother said. "If she wasn't treated she would die a very painful death."

Baby Z's doctor Alex Veldman said Gianello discovered an experimental drug which had been successfully used on mice by Germany's Gunther Schwarz, but had never been tested on humans.

As Schwarz couriered his entire stock of the compound from Cologne to Melbourne, doctors were in a race against time to get ethics approval from the hospital and a court order clearing its use, with Baby Z worsening by the hour.

"The team ... managed to get this therapy from bench to bedside in about two weeks, a process which normally takes several years," Veldman said.

Within hours of receiving her first dose of the drug, cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate (cPMP), Baby Z's sulphite levels plunged by more than two-thirds and were at normal levels within about three days.

Veldman said Baby Z's alertness improved and her twitching slowed rapidly, with her seizures dropping by 90 percent in three weeks.

"The response was just amazing," he told AFP.

"We can treat this in humans for the first time in (the history of) mankind. It has the potential to save lives all around the world."

Baby Z's development has been slowed by the brain damage she suffered before the treatment, and Veldman said she would need a cPMP injection every day for the rest of her life.

But her mother said the baby, now 18 months old, had started speaking and was physically active.

"Every day just gets better and better. We look at her every day and just think, 'Wow'," she said. "(The procedure) was a tiny bit of hope but, when you have nothing, that is a lot of hope."

Veldman said a second child, "Baby P", had since started cPMP treatment in Germany and was "improving rapidly".

The cases were now being analysed ahead of a planned international human trial of the medication at Melbourne's Monash Medical Centre, he said.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Orlando Hotel Information

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