Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Amazing photographs

This is the moment two cheetah cubs finally catch and kill an impala fawn as it desperately tried to run for its life.

These amazing photographs, taken in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, show the female cheetah demonstrating to her young the vital skill of how to hunt and kill.

cheetahUnder their mother's ever watchful eye, the unskilled hunters watch for vulnerable prey in the planes of the reserve.

Once spotted, the young fawn doesn't stand a chance against the hungry and experienced mother which can chase her to speeds of 70mph.

cheetahThe experienced hunter corners and catches the prey and brings it to her offspring so they can learn to do the same.

After watching her corner and the prey the cubs attempt a clumsy chase and after several minutes finally manage to pin the exhausted fawn and eventually kill it.
cheetahHunting is the most important lesson the cubs can learn from their as these newly honed skills not only ensure they can hunt for food, but also enables them to avoid predators such as eagles.

Mastering the skill of the hunt will be vital to the cub's survival as they are left to fend for themselves once they reach 18 months of age.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

False claims of doctor who 'can reverse'

A doctor who claimed to be able to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's with an arthritis drug was disciplined last year by US health chiefs for claiming the same drug could halt back pain.

Sensational footage of Dr Edward Tobinick injecting a dementia patient who subsequently appeared to recognise his wife for the first time in five years was shown in Britain earlier this month.

It gave new hope to the 700,000 UK dementia sufferers and their families.

doctorBut this newspaper has learned Dr Tobinick, 56, has previously made unfounded claims that the same drug, etanercept, could cure chronic back and neck pain.

He also has a financial interest in the success of the drug because he owns shares in its manufacturer, Amgen.

Last year Dr Tobinick was disciplined by the Medical Board of California (MBC) after he failed to provide scientific evidence that etanercept was a 'breakthrough' treatment for back pain.

He was found guilty of unprofessional conduct and placed on probation for a year. He was banned from practising for 60 days - but the order was suspended for the period of his probation.

Last year researchers conclusively proved that etanercept was not an effective treatment for back pain, although Dr Tobinick contests their methods.

In 2001, he was involved in another row when he threatened legal action against a website that challenged claims he made about his patented laser hair removal treatment.

Dr Tobinick claims he teaches at the prestigious University Of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a member of its clinical faculty.

But a UCLA spokesman said Dr Tobinick merely rented an office in a private building also used by the university's medical centre.

He added that his work was not supported by the university and that any teaching he did was on a voluntary, unpaid basis.

Dr Greg Cole, assistant director of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Centre, called Dr Tobinick's Alzheimer's work "suspicious" and said it did not meet clinical trial standards. He added that most doctors were "very sceptical" of his claims.

Etanercept is part of a group of medicines which work by "switching off" a chemical that causes inflammation in the body. It is routinely used to treat rheumatic problems and severe psoriasis.

Dr Tobinick says he has given weekly injections to 50 dementia patients, many of whom have shown continuing improvement in problems such as forgetfulness and confusion.

The drug is injected into the neck near the spinal column and the patient is tilted, supposedly to encourage the drug to seep into the brain.

An Amgen spokeswoman said: "We have carefully examined this study and believe there is insufficient scientific data to support the use of a TNF inhibitor as a means of treating Alzheimer's disease."

Alzheimer's experts in the US have also described Dr Tobinick's findings as "implausible".

When approached by The Mail on Sunday, he said: "Pilot studies are the initial scientific evidence that support further investigation of a new treatment approach. Our results support the initialisation of further large-scale clinical studies.

"This is how all new treatment approaches begin. I feel the disciplinary action was unfair. There is not a single study that shows my treatment methods do not work.

"My breakthrough ideas have been attacked by the scientific community for almost a decade. This is what happens when you are the first in the world to invent a new treatment. It has happened to every medical pioneer throughout history.

"My ideas are legitimate and valid - all of this just points to the fact that my work is ahead of its time."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Identical triplet girls

With their bright blue eyes and cherubic smiles, Gabriella, Alessia and Olivia are a picture of cuteness.

But as well as being adorable, they are also quite extraordinary.

For they are naturally-conceived identical triplets.

triplet girls

Medical experts say the chances of such births are around 200million to one.

Their delighted parents are Richard Rees, 22, and his 23-year-old fiance Carmela Testa, who is a midwife.

She gave birth in January surrounded by colleagues at the maternity unit in Peterborough where she normally works.

The sisters were born seven weeks prematurely via Caesarean section.

They weighed between 3lb 4oz and 3lb 10oz and spent three weeks in an incubator until they were strong enough to go home.

triplet girls

Miss Testa said: "I found out at my 12-week scan I was having triplets.

"I knew they would be identical because there was just one placenta, so they were from the same egg.

"I was very shocked. They weren't planned. I'm quite small - only 5ft tall - so at the unit they joked that out of all the midwives it would have to be me that gave birth to triplets."

She added: "Everything is fine now and the girls are all putting on weight. I'm so overwhelmed when I see them. I can't believe they are mine and that they are perfect."

Telling the triplets apart is not proving too difficult.

"Olivia has a strawberry birthmark on her neck, Gabriella is a little bit smaller and Alessia has a sharper cry," explained Mr Rees, a vocational coach.

Identical triplets occur when one fertilised egg splits to create three embryos which grow separately but normally in the womb.

Non-identical triplets occur after three separate eggs are fertilised. This is increasingly common during IVF treatment.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Measure your bra size without making a boob?

As Trinny and Susannah have often pointed - and prodded - out, the right bra makes a huge difference to your appearance and self-esteem.

Last week, a London hospital claimed that many women considering breast reduction surgery would be better off buying a properly fitted bra.

So, why are millions of us wearing the wrong bra size? Is it really that difficult to find a bra that fits?

Over the years, my breast size has fluctuated greatly, depending on weight gain, weight loss, my exercise routine and use of the contraceptive pill. I have a drawer full of pretty but now useless bras, in every size from 32C to 36D.

Today, I am a 32E, making my breasts exactly the same size as the voluptuous Kelly Brook - although sadly, I don't have the rest of her body to go with them.

Am I wearing the right size? I spent a day visiting bra shops to find out.



I begin at Rigby & Peller, where the Queen is said to buy her bras. If it's good enough for Her Majesty, it's certainly good enough for me.

I like the 'we're all women here in all shapes and sizes' approach, which makes me feel comfortable and normal.

Buying a bra here is about support, not sex. The assistants aren't afraid to hoist your breasts into place. They show you the correct way to put on a bra - cups first - and how to position it accurately.

The friendly, but efficient assistant asks me to remove my top and measures me by sight. 'You're a 32E,' she says. 'Although, in some bras you might be a 34DD - they vary according to the elasticity and the shape of the cups.'

She brings me a selection, some of which fit better than others. We settle on a pretty caramel lacy bra which gives me a Fifties sweater girl shape and plenty of support.

It costs £53.50, but it's well worth it. As it fits so well, I decide I can use it as a benchmark for the rest of my fittings.


The luxury lingerie shop sells itself as a 'lifestyle concept store' - you can buy sex toys and scented candles with your smalls.

Kate Moss has bought underwear there, which should probably give me a clue that I'm not their target customer.

As I'm the only person in the shop, I get the full attention of the friendly - but intimidatingly slim and beautiful - shop assistant. She says they don't do fittings, but she can help me find a bra that fits. Then she asks me what size I usually wear.

'I'm sorry, but we don't do E cups', she says, making me feel outsize. 'But we do have a few DDs.'

She brings me a 32DD, which is so small that even a contortionist couldn't fasten it.

Then she brings me a 36DD, which is so big at the back I can fit both hands in. Flustered, she fetches a 34 in the only other style made in bigger sizes. It's lacy, white and costs £79. She says it's too tight.

'You definitely need a 36,' she concludes. 'But we don't have one in stock. I can let you know when we get one in. And you always need a full cup bra at your size.'

I know this isn't true - if anything, plunge and balconette styles suit my shape better.


After feeling outsize all day, it's a welcome relief to visit the bra shop for 'big boobed women'. Unfortunately, they've made a bit of a boob: there's no record of my appointment, but they fit me in.

'We don't use tape measures,' says the assistant, who looks about 16. She asks me to take off my top, then to raise my arms as high as I can.

breastYou're between a 32 and a 34,' she concludes, and points out what's wrong with the bra I'm wearing. 'And you're an E or F cup.'

When I say I want an everyday bra, she brings a selection of nude and white bras in both sizes, which are functional, not pretty. She stays while I put on each one, asking me to raise my arms, examining the fit and altering the straps.

The one which fits best is a 32F white mesh and lace number, which costs £28. It's supportive and gives me a great shape. Sold.


The emphasis is on sensuality - many bras come with matching suspender belts.

Again, there's no fitting. I'm asked what size I take and am handed a pile of 32Es in every shape and colour.

None fits. When I tell the assistant, she returns with a pile of 34Es.

I have better luck with these, finding a beautiful navy blue and pale pink lace number that gives me a cleavage to die for.

It's £75 (the matching knickers are £50), and provides no support whatsoever but, to be fair, I don't think Agent Provocateur bras are designed to stay on that long.

'It's perfect for everyday and for, er, dressing up,' says the assistant.


The hassled shop assistant - she's measuring two customers at the same time - passes a tape measure around my back and tells me I'm a 34FF.

Unsurprisingly, the bras she brings me are big enough to fit my shopping in. She comes back with 34Es, which don't fit either.

John Lewis must have a 'no touch' policy, as she insists she can't manipulate my breasts to fit the cups, showing me on herself instead.

breastEventually, she finds me a slightly padded nude plunge bra (£26) in size 34DD which she declares fits me perfectly. Then she disappears and doesn't come back.

I don't buy it - already own this particular bra, but in size 32E!


This is to bras what Armani is to suits: the haute couture option. It's so posh there are security people on the door. It's certainly exclusive: I'm the only customer.

'We don't do many bras in E cups,' says the petite Italian assistant. She gives me a pile of 32E bras and waits outside the changing room.

When I tell her they're too small, she comes back with a pile of 34Es, ranging in price from £75 to £150. One just about fits, but it's an impractical maroon and is £139.

'We can send bras to our studio to have the straps or the back altered,' the assistant informs me. 'We do a made-to-measure service.'


After measuring my back and bust, the matronly bra fitting assistant tells me I'm a 36DD. Noticing my surprised expression, she measures me again and says I'm a 34DD or 34E.

She comes back with a selection of bras, all of which are far too big in the back, making the cups gape.

Not only won't she touch me while I'm trying on the bras, but she orders me to stand with my back to her at all times so she can't see my naked breasts. I feel like a freak.

When the bras she's brought don't fit, she gives up. 'Get dressed, go out on the shop floor and choose some bras in a 34E,' she says. 'You'll find one that's right for you.' Then she abandons me.

I can't find a single bra in the whole store which fits. It's by far the worst experience of the day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The multiple personalities

Aged 29, Karen Overhill was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder. In one of the most intriguing and disturbing cases of its kind, her psychiatrist helped her identify 17 distinct personalities - the result of abuse she'd suffered at the hands of her family. Here, Karen tells her story - and how she found a cure.

On New Year's Eve 1989, I took a trip to Las Vegas with my husband and some friends, leaving our two children at home. Initially, I had gone to bed early feeling unwell, but throughout the evening I then found myself in different parts of the casino and couldn't work out how I got there.

DisorderWhen my husband finally caught up with me, I had $2,500 in my handbag. I'd started with $25. I had to make excuses about where I'd been and why I wasn't in our room - because I simply had no idea how it had happened.

There had been many other similar episodes in my life around that time. One day, I left the house to go shopping for food; but then I "awoke" in a department store to find myself buying my son a hat. I don't really remember making the decision not to go grocery shopping; nor do I know how I got to the store.

Sometimes I'd pick up a novel and discover the bookmark had moved - yet I couldn't remember reading the chapter. Once, I found a knife under my pillow that I couldn't explain.

After the birth of my second child, I began to lose more time and the occurrences left me almost suicidal. Crazy as it must sound, I could not remember marrying or making love to my husband. Nor could I remember anything about my life between the ages of six and 10.

That's why, when I was 29, I went to visit psychiatrist Richard Baer in Chicago. Until that point, I'd always tried to cover up my memory lapses. Dr Baer told me that my "dissociative episodes" could be a way my mind had found to cope with the pain of having been sexually abused by men in my family when I was young.

During my weekly therapy sessions, he suggested I keep notes about the times I found myself in unusual situations. After one Friday night I wrote: "It's 2am and I don't know where I am or how I got here. I don't know what city I'm in. There are no homes; it seems deserted. I don't know what to do. Should I ask for help, or just keep driving until something seems familiar?

"I can't call my husband. He wouldn't understand. I am alone and scared. I'm at a petrol station and there's a lady inside. I'll ask her.

"The lady was very helpful and now I know where I am. We will get home OK."

The fact that I had used the word "we" in my note - although I was definitely alone that night - combined with other information I had already given him, made Dr Baer wonder for the first time if I might have multiple personality disorder (MPD).

He thought that when I was losing time, I might not simply be disassociating with myself, but possibly switching to another personality. A few months later, I was faced with something that would confirm his suspicions.

When I went along for my weekly session, Dr Baer presented me with a letter he had received in the post. Written in a child's hand, it said: "Dear Doctor Baer, My name is Claire. I am 7 years old. I live inside Karen. I listen to you all the time. I want to talk to you but I don't know how."

The return address on the back of the envelope was mine, and although I didn't remember writing the letter and it was written in a child's hand, I knew instinctively it had come from me. I was so shocked, I thought I was going to faint.

For a while I was terrified that Dr Baer - the only man I'd been able to trust - would disown me for being too disturbed, but instead he carefully explained what he now believed.

He told me I had been suffering from MPD, and that research suggested childhood sexual abuse was the most common cause of the condition. He explained that if a person lives with severe, persistent abuse, they sometimes create alternative personalities to cope.

He also explained that it was common for MPD patients to try to hide their symptoms because they feared being labelled as "crazy", and that sometimes an alternate personality could come forward through - among other means - a letter to the therapist.

I realised the letter was a real sign that some part of me finally wanted this out in the open.

After the revelation of "Claire's" letter, it was as though a switch had been flipped. Suddenly, I started to become more aware of other personalities inside me - especially in the evenings and at night. I could almost sit back and watch myself function.

Even routine things such as cooking dinner, housework, or driving the children to school seemed unfamiliar to me much of the time because they were being carried out by other parts of me. I knew I'd done them a thousand times, but I felt like I'd never really done them at all.

At night, I could hear different voices in my head discussing the events of the day - events I could not even remember. Bizarre though it sounds, it seemed to be a way for all these different personalities to catch up with each other.

I began trying to identify the different voices I could hear, and came up with a list that I gave to Dr Baer.

They included four children under ten (three girls and a boy), two teenage girls (Julie and Sandy), a 21-year-old woman, myself, a man and a woman aged 34 (Holdon and Katherine) and another very angry man.

This list really helped to clarify things. I now knew there are at least 11 distinct personalities within me. They had names, ages, unique and separate personality traits, and their own individual histories.

I even started to "see" what they were doing and how they were behaving - but it was distressing and exhausting switching personalities all the time.

I had to rely on one personality - a 30-something male - to drive, for example. If he was otherwise engaged, "we" (the personalities and I) couldn't get anywhere.

Around this time, I would bump into people who claimed to know me, but I didn't recognise them at all. I could only assume that they had a friendship with another side of my character.

By the spring of 1994, I could stand the chaos no longer, and Dr Baer felt I was ready to try to tackle my condition with hypnotherapy - a recognised treatment for MPD. Under hypnosis, I was able to identify my 11 alternate characters and find out more about them.

Over time, six more personalities started to emerge through letters they wrote to my therapist and via our hypnotherapy sessions, making a total of 17. Each one appeared to have been formed to help me deal with specific, difficult aspects of my life and experience.

There was Jensen, for example, an 11-year-old boy, who was "born" in 1971 when I was 12 years old and was raped by my grandmother's brother.

I'd never told anyone about the abuse that I'd suffered for fear that my father would kill me - as he had threatened. Jensen fought back against the abuse and tried to bind my breasts flat to help me appear more masculine. He especially hated older men.

Then there was Juliann - 15 years old and very energetic, who didn't tend to worry about anything. She was disorganised and promiscuous, and tended to talk too much.

It may seem bizarre that a human being can be organised in this way. It's an alternative way of thinking and functioning, but it uses the same mental tools - the same brain - that we all have. If we all grew up under the same abusive circumstances as me, maybe we'd all operate in the way I did then.

Over the next few years, Dr Baer spent more time talking to my different personalities under hypnotherapy than he did talking to me. This gave me terrible headaches because the parts didn't always agree. Some of them started to keep a journal in which they could all write, but then one of the personalities burnt it.

My condition seemed to be getting worse rather than better.

Then, in the summer of 1996, Dr Baer received a memo from Holdon, the 34-year-old male in my group of alternate characters. As the protector of my "group", he had described a step-by-step procedure to help incorporate the other personalities into my own. Dr Baer and I were both utterly amazed.

That August, Dr Baer and I tried Holdon's integration process with Julie, my 13-year-old persona who was "born" at a time when my grandfather was molesting me. Julie was crippled and suffered breathing problems.

Under hypnosis, I "met" Julie in a place I visualised as secure, and Julie "stepped into" my body. With Dr Baer's help, I absorbed her thoughts, memories and character traits. The process seemed pretty easy - but the results were painful.

After Julie and I integrated, I immediately started feeling very sensitive to all sounds around me.

I was able to hear Dr Baer's breathing and the sound of his pen writing, the traffic below and the air conditioning. When he talked, it sounded as though he was screaming at me.

The "integration" felt like I'd gone through major surgery, and it left me with serious doubts about ever doing it again.

At home, my mind raced as if I were watching a movie in fast forward. As the memories of what had happened to me poured into me, I felt every pain associated with them - and even though each pain lasted only a few seconds, I just wanted these memories to stop.

During the next week, I worked through all the memories the Julie character had, and gradually I started functioning again.

I realised that having Julie had always been a form of protection from what had happened to me as a child - and now I was going to have to deal with the memories of the degradation myself.

We "integrated" Claire next - and the experience did not seem to take such a toll. Having Claire join my personality made me suddenly feel more feminine and more sensitive.

The process was long and hard, but it worked - and eventually we dealt with Holdon. After that, I could see changes in myself. It's hard to pinpoint, but I felt like more of a person. There was a new richness in everything about me - and in 2001 I divorced my husband after a troubled marriage.

It scared me to have to re-live and talk about what had happened, but the experience made me stronger.

Two years ago, I finally stopped having therapy, although I still see Dr Baer as a friend. Today, I don't lose hours of my life any more.

What I have come to understand is that when children are victimised, as I have been, they turn to the only safe place they know - within themselves.

I don't ever want to forget the different parts of me - they made me who I am - but I've missed so much of my life. Now I feel reborn.

Latest Mango swimwear range

A heavily airbrushed Liz Hurley posed happily in a series of her own bikini designs earlier this week for latest Mango swimwear range.

So onlookers were surprised to see her arrive at the exclusive presentation for the campaign in Madrid in a knee-length pink dress, despite several models donning bikinis.

And today she also stayed fully covered up as the Mango bandwagon moved onto Munich.

Could it be that she wasn't prepared to pose in a two-piece without any digital help?

bikiniUnlike other celebrities - Miss Hurley, 42, freely admits that her photographs had been airbrushed - confessing that she now relies on "nice photographers” and retouching for swimwear shoots.

In fact not so long ago she declared that she was through with bikinis.

Never again, would she sit eating lunch on a boat in a skimpy two-piece.

The same went for tripping around the beach in a bikini top and skirt with her midriff showing.

But it seems Miss Hurley will relax the rules under certain conditions.

bikiniFirstly, it must be in her best business interests, such as helping to launch a series of her own swimwear designs in a diffusion range for the High Street store Mango.

And there must - read must - be an airbrush involved.

In an interview to accompany these photographs in the Sunday Times Style magazine, the model and businesswoman conceded that "shooting bikinis is now my life".

She said: "I can't think of anything worse in the world than another bikini shoot - and I've got two next month.

bikini"It's unbearable and I bring it all on myself. I've got nobody else to blame."

But, she revealed, she now relies on "nice photographers" and a little digital enhancement.

"I like a certain amount of retouching like anybody," she admitted.

Even if they have been airbrushed a little, the photos suggest that Miss Hurley has made good on her promise to "go to ground and annoy everyone by emerging thinner, sexier and mentally cleansed".

She made that vow in an interview in 2005, at the same time as she spoke of instituting her bikini ban.

bikiniMiss Hurley, a mother of one, revealed that when she looked in the mirror she saw "a person who eats too much junk food and doesn't exercise. That has sadly become my reality over the past year".

Commenting on one of her own designs for Elizabeth Hurley Beach, she said her days of wearing a towelling miniskirt, bikini top and flip-flops were over.

"I don't feel comfortable doing that any more," she said. "As the years go by you do feel less confident about your body."

Miss Hurley is not afraid to follow strict diets when she needs to drop weight fast.

Her regime after the birth of son Damian, now six, was punishing, she said at the time.

"I did it by eating very little breakfast and not too much lunch.

"And only boring snacks such as a banana or six raisins. The only meal I have is dinner."

She lost four stone, and was back in her trademark white jeans within three months of Damian's birth.

Friday, April 11, 2008

World's smallest girl

At just 1ft 11 in tall, she is dwarfed by her neighbour's baby, but Jyoti Amge is 15 years old.

The teenager, who is the world's smallest girl according to the Indian Book of Records, has a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia. Now fully grown, she weighs just 11 lb.

shortest girlFar from being unhappy about her tiny size, Jyoti says that she enjoys the celebrity status her height has brought her.

"I am proud of being small. I love the attention I get," she told the Sunday Mirror.

"I'm just the same as other people. I eat like you, dream like you. I don't feel any different."

Jyoti attends her local high school, in Nagpur, India, where she studies alongside classmates of her own age, though she sits at a specially made miniature desk.

Her mother, Ranjana, 45, explained that her daughter's condition was not apparent until some time after her birth.

"When Joyti was born she seemed quite normal. We came to know about her disorder when she was five," she said. "Jyoti is small, yet cute, and we love her very much."

Like any other teenager, she loves listening to pop music and watching DVDs and even hopes to become a Bollywood actress.

She has recently recorded an album with her favourite Indian pop star, Mika Singh.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Girl with two faces

two facesThe family of an Indian girl born with two faces, who has been venerated as a "gift from God" by local villagers, will not consult doctors to see if their daughter needs to receive treatment or corrective surgery.

The baby, who is yet to be named, was born to a labourer, Vinod Kumar, and his wife, Sushma, nearly four weeks ago in a village 35 miles outside Delhi. Since her arrival, the family home has drawn hundreds of visitors. "People have come in trucks and have been queuing at our doorstep," said the Mr Kumar, 24.

The reason for the crowds is the child's appearance: she has two pairs of eyes, two noses and two lips but only one pair of ears.

The child's 19-year-old mother, says that she has "accepted the way she is and so will the rest of the world. Why should [I regret], after all God formed her features and it is he who decided how she should be."

The family, who are poor and largely illiterate, do not believe modern science can help their child and are already building a small temple to the girl in the village.

Kumar said that when his daughter was born, hospital staff told the family that everything was normal. "So where's the need to get medical help? She's feeds through one mouth and sucks her thumb with the other. She's just a baby."

Doctors predict a difficult life ahead for the girl, who was born without any pre-natal care. They said it was an extremely rare case, with the baby having two skulls joined together, and that separating them was out of the question.

"The chances of survival are not very bright in such cases," Mukul Verma, a neurologist at the Apollo hospital, Delhi. "It is a developmental defect where two different things have been partially formed. It would require plastic surgery to try and remove one face. But then that all depends on how the brain is placed, as also the food and windpipes."

Saturday, April 05, 2008

School bans three-year-old boy over haircut

haircutA three-year-old boy has been banned from his Tyneside nursery school class for his trendy "tramlines" haircut.

The mother of Tavis Cook was told the youngster's distinctive hairdo broke the rules of Riverside primary School in North Shields.

Donna Cook has been told to keep her son away until his hair grows back.

North Tyneside Council said it was aware of the matter and was advising Ms Cook on her options. No-one at the school was available for comment.

Miss Cook took the youngster to the barber's where he chose the trendy hairstyle.

But less than an hour after dropping the youngster off for nursery class the next morning, she was telephoned and asked to return to collect him.

Miss Cook, 21, a mother of two, of Cardonnel Street, North Shields, said: "The wall of the barber's shop was covered with hundreds of pictures of different haircuts.

"Tavis marched straight up and picked out the one where the man had tramlines.

"I'd checked with the school and been told there was no uniform policy for either the nursery year or reception year, and I thought the haircut looked good.

"When I arrived he was in floods of tears. I can't believe they'd do this to a little boy like Tavis.

"He is the most placid, lovely lad, he's never in trouble."

A spokesman for North Tyneside Council said: "We are aware of this issue and are currently advising the parent on the matter."

A spokesman from Riverside Primary School said head teacher Dame Mary MacDonald was not available for comment.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Killer polar bear? I'm just a big teddy

It was a chance encounter that could have ended with flying fur and bloodshed in the snow.

Wildlife photographer Norbert Rosing was taking pictures of a team of huskies in Canada's frozen north when a polar bear gatecrashed the party.

Along with dog handler Brian Ladoon, Mr Rosing watched helplessly as the bear and one of the dogs approached each other.

2 - Watch out, I'm a southpaw: The dog cowers as his adversary threatens to land a knockout blow

They growled and bared their teeth. But then, instead of fighting, the enemies became firm friends.

First the bear gently nuzzled the husky's neck. The dog responded by rising on its hind legs to lick the bear's face.

The bear then rolled on its back to play as the husky looked on, somewhat bemused.

After the encounter, which took place on the coast of the Hudson Bay near the town of Churchill, the dog trotted back to its mightily relieved owner.

3 - On second thoughts, you're not so bad: A nuzzle with the muzzle clinches the peace deal

4 - Go on, give us a (bear) hug: The new friends enjoy a cuddle

5 - If I lie here long enough I might even get a tickle on the tummy: The bear is playful, the husky is a little bemused and the handler (out of shot) is extremely relieved
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