Organ Donor TV Show Triggers Condemnation(dying patient allows viewers to vote)

Published: May 31, 2007
Filed at 12:28 p.m. ET

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch TV station’s plan to air a reality show during which a dying woman will choose a recipient for her kidneys has triggered condemnation in Europe.

“Desperation becomes a spectacle in the Netherlands,” said Italian newspaper Del Corriere Della Sera.

This is a “macabre contest,” the Times of London said.

When the 80-minute show airs on Friday, a 37-year-old woman with a brain tumor, identified only as “Lisa,” will pick one of three candidates with kidney problems, based on their history and conversations with their families and friends.

Viewers are encouraged to advise her via text messages.

Public broadcaster BNN said the idea was to highlight the growing shortage of organ donors in the Netherlands and the show would also serve as a tribute to its founder who died of kidney failure five years ago despite several transplants.

Only the Dutch could spawn such a show, said conservative German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, referring to the steady stream of reality TV shows like “Big Brother” and “Fear Factor” from Dutch producers.

“The idea is so disgusting that it could only come from Dutch TV,” it said. Endemol, famous for producing the two pioneering reality TV shows, is also producing the donor show.

Website BellaOnline, which calls itself the voice of women, questioned whether Dutch TV had gone too far.

BNN made headlines some years back with a show called “Shooting and Swallowing” underlining the impact of drug use, and another show on sex called “This is How You Screw.”

Local media and Dutch people have been similarly critical.

“Social involvement is seen in another perspective if the suffering of one serves as entertainment for another,” De Volkskrant wrote in an editorial.

In a poll of 3,150 people conducted by mass-selling daily De Telegraaf, about two-thirds of respondents said they would not watch the show. Some called it “tasteless” and “harrowing.”

Callers to a local radio station even suggested the whole thing could be a hoax by BNN to boost its ratings.

The broadcaster has brushed off such criticism and said it was ready to go ahead with the one-episode show and the transplant.

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Artist eats dog to protest alleged animal cruelty

CNN.com
POSTED: 8:29 p.m. EDT,
May 30, 2007

In my book I can think of better ways of protesting without going to this extreme to get a point across.  To me this is just as cruel, if not worse.

storymcgowandogap.jpg

LONDON, England (AP) — A British performance artist has eaten part of a corgi — the breed of dog Queen Elizabeth II favors as pets — to protest the alleged mistreatment of animals by the royal family.

Mark McGowan dined on corgi meatballs Tuesday at a table set up on a London street in hopes of drawing attention to media reports that Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, had beaten a fox to death during a hunt. The event was broadcast over a live radio program.

Yoko Ono, featured on the same radio program, also tasted a bit of the dog, McGowan said. Ono’s spokesman did not immediately return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

“We love our animals in Britain,” McGowan told AP Television News. “Why is it then that we then allow people — especially people who are supposed to be ambassadors for this country — to treat animals with such disrespect?”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, and Britain’s top animal-protection charity said there was no evidence to support the claim that Prince Philip abused the fox.

To make the corgi more palatable, it was minced with apple, onion and seasoning, turned into meatballs and served with salad.

McGowan said the corgi he consumed had died recently at a breeding farm and had not been killed for the purposes of the protest. He did not say what the dog had died from.

“I ate three lumps of it. But I spat two of them out, so I really ate one and a half of them,” McGowan said.

The stunt was aired during the Bob and Roberta Smith radio program, broadcast at a London-based arts station.

The queen has a particular fondness for corgis, and they have the run of Buckingham Palace — even during formal state events.

Woman on Life Support Dies After Power Company Cuts Electricity

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand —  A New Zealand mother who needed an electric oxygen pump to breathe died after an energy company cut the power to her home due to an unpaid bill, her family claimed Wednesday.

Police said they launched an investigation into the death of Folole Muliaga, 44, on Tuesday, in the northern city of Auckland, which happened within two hours of state-owned company Mercury Energy cutting power to her house.

Mercury Energy’s general manager, James Moulder, said the company was devastated by the woman’s death and was conducting its own investigation to determine what happened.

He refused to say how much money Muliaga had owed the company.

Muliaga, a schoolteacher with four children ages 5 to 20, had been off work since February with an illness when a Mercury Energy representative arrived on Tuesday to disconnect the electricity, said Sheehan, a nephew-in-law of Muliaga’s.

Sheehan said both Muliaga and her son told the technician she was dependent on the oxygen machine to stay alive and invited him into the house to see it, so he knew the situation.

“Then he cut the power off,” he told The Associated Press.

Almost immediately, Muliaga began having difficulty breathing, became faint and then collapsed, he said. Paramedics were unable to revive her, and she was pronounced dead within two hours of the power being cut.

Inspector Bruce Bird said police would investigate the death.

Moulder said the company restored electricity to the house on Wednesday after learning of the woman’s death, and that the grieving family had spent a night without power.

Moulder expressed his “deep condolences” to the family, and said the company was checking reports that it had been warned Muliaga needed power for the oxygen machine.

Sheehan said the family’s bills would prove Muliaga was trying to pay the account, and received no warning the power would be shut off. He declined to say how much she owed.

State Owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard said there were also reports the family had been warned about the overdue account, something Sheehan disputed.

“The correct authority to investigate this and sort out the facts is the police,” Mallard said, adding the government would expect “full accountability” if the company was found to be culpable.

Auckland University professor of law Bill Hodge said manslaughter charges could potentially could be filed, depending on what information Mercury Energy had and how it was expressed to them.

Boy Who Killed Monster Hog Says ‘It’s Not Fake’

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
By Sara Bonisteel

Due to the amount of negative posts on their web site, it prompted the family to respond and this is the response.  What do y’all think, is it real or fake? 
An 11-year-old Alabama boy caught in the center of a humongous hog controversy denied his monster kill was staged Wednesday in an interview with FOXNews.com.

“I just want to say it’s not fake,” said Jamison Stone of Pickensville, Ala

Stone made news last week when the world learned of his massive kill, a 1,051-pound feral hog, which he shot eight times with a pistol on a hunting preserve in eastern Alabama. But the young man soon found himself in a media maelstrom when some Web sites questioned the veracity of the photographs.

“He did kill that pig,” the boy’s father, Mike Stone, told FOXNews.com. “Those pictures are not doctored.”

“No pictures have been touched,” the 11-year-old said. “They first were saying I couldn’t shoot the gun, but I could and I did.”

What should have been a moment of fun in the spotlight for a middle schooler became a nightmare, with some bloggers asking Mike Stone to take measurements of his son’s skull to prove his claims, he said.

“Before we got to New York this was a feel good story, everybody was excited about it,” Mike Stone said. “And now all of a sudden my family is suffering because people are making fun of it and thinking that it’s not real.”

After Jamison bagged his pig May 3, the Stones took their prize to the Clay County Farmers Exchange in Lineville, Ala., where it weighed in at 1,051 and measured approximately 9 feet 4 inches.

In the heat of the moment, Mike Stone said, they snapped a few photographs for family and friends to share Jamison’s moment of pride.

“We would have took pictures of the scales, we would have took pictures of us measuring it, we would have took pictures of all the stuff if we would have thought this was going to be some big deal,” Mike Stone said.

Jerry Cunningham, owner of Jerry’s Taxidermy in Oxford, Ala., said the feral hog was one of the largest he’d seen.

“They’re about as twice as big as the normal pig,” Cunningham told FOXNews.com. “Five-hundred pounds is big, giant. Most of them that come in to be mounted are between 150 and 250.”

On Tuesday night, Cunningham showed Jamison the hog’s mounted skull. Mike Stone, who stresses to his family the importance of hunting for food, had the rest of the humongous hog made into breakfast sausage.

“We gave a lot of it away … some of them are going to use it at church fundraising breakfasts, some of them are going to use it for school fundraising breakfasts,” Mike Stone said. “We actually do have two big freezers completely full.”

The boy’s pig adventure is documented on http://www.monsterpig.com, where the response from the public has been about 85 percent positive, Mike Stone said.

“Regardless of what the negative e-mails say, we’re not ashamed of the fact that we actually hunt,” Mike Stone said.

Man Described as One of World’s Top 10 Spammers Arrested in Seattle

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Associated Press

SEATTLE — A 27-year-old man described as one of the world’s most prolific spammers was arrested Wednesday, and federal authorities said computer users across the Web could notice a decrease in the amount of junk e-mail.

Robert Alan Soloway is accused of using networks of compromised “zombie” computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails.

“He’s one of the top 10 spammers in the world,” said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. “He’s a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day.”

A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Soloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to all charges after a judge determined that — even with four bank accounts seized by the government — he was sufficiently well off to pay for his own lawyer.

He has been living in a ritzy apartment and drives an expensive Mercedes convertible, said prosecutor Kathryn Warma. Prosecutors are seeking to have him forfeit $773,000 they say he made from his business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp.

A public defender who represented him for Wednesday’s hearing declined to comment.

Prosecutors say Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails since 2003. The computers are called “zombies” because owners typically have no idea their machines have been infected.

He continued his activities even after Microsoft won a $7 million civil judgment against him in 2005 and the operator of a small Internet service provider in Oklahoma won a $10 million judgment, prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said Wednesday that the case is the first in the country in which federal prosecutors have used identity theft statutes to prosecute a spammer for taking over someone else’s Internet domain name. Soloway could face decades in prison, though prosecutors said they have not calculated what guideline sentencing range he might face.

The investigation began when the authorities began receiving hundreds of complaints about Soloway, who had been featured on a list of known spammers kept by The Spamhaus Project, an international anti-spam organization.

The Santa Barbara County, Calif., Department of Social Services said it was spending $1,000 a week to fight the spam it was receiving, and other businesses and individuals complained of having their reputations damaged when it appeared spam was originating from their computers.

“This is not just a nuisance. This is way beyond a nuisance,” Warma said.

Soloway used the networks of compromised computers to send out unsolicited bulk e-mails urging people to use his Internet marketing company to advertise their products, authorities said.

People who clicked on a link in the e-mail were directed to his Web site. There, Soloway advertised his ability to send out as many as 20 million e-mail advertisements over 15 days for $495, the indictment said.

The Spamhaus Project rejoiced at his arrest.

“Soloway has been a long-term nuisance on the Internet — both in terms of the spam he sent, and the people he duped to use his spam service,” organizers wrote on Spamhaus.org.

Soloway remained in federal detention pending a hearing Monday.

Paris Hilton Prepares for the clinker (or one might say “The Less than Simple Life”

A collection of posts from “The Paris Hilton category in the TMZ Zone”

Paris the Patriot

Posted May 29th 2007 11:41AM by TMZ Staff

Everyone appreciates a good barbecue — even more when it’s Paris Hilton heatin’ up the hotdogs!

The sullied socialite had her closest friends over to her pad for a Memorial Day BBQ yesterday, with guests ranging from “Simple Life” co-star and on-again BFF Nicole Richie, to MTV VJ turned D-Lister Simon Rex.

Paris was quiet around cameras when she appeared at her front door for an American flag-hanging photo op, though Rex told photogs the jail-bound blonde is “doing good.”

Other guests included Paris’ sis Nicky, Brandon “Greasy Bear” Davis, Keisha Cole, director Brett Ratner and Elisha Cuthbert.

Paris Gets “Happy Feet”

Posted May 24th 2007 11:11AM by TMZ Staff

What does a convicted socialite do to cheer herself up when she’s got only a dozen days to go before she’s wearing fashionable prison stripes? She rents “Happy Feet.”

Paris, dressed in prison jeans and a butch polo shirt, grabbed her Louis Vuitton satchel and sauntered into a Blockbuster in WeHo, perused the comedy aisles, and settled on the penguin toon and “Charlotte’s Web” to give her some pre-jail jollies.

Miss Hilton also bought an ice cream cone, wisely substituting licking for liquor as she walked back to her infamous car. The heiress is scheduled to go directly to jail on June 5.

Paris Runs For Cover in Prison

While we’re told the blankees are a hit with children of celebs like Tori Spelling and Gwen Stefani, Paris will be the first incarcerated A-lister (?) to cuddle with the $66 security blanket. That’s hot!

Holy S**t! Paris Turns to Religion?!

Posted May 22nd 2007 9:51AM by TMZ Staff

Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Paris Hilton has cometh over to the light! Can you feel Jesus knockin’?! Let him in!!!

With her jail term only two weeks away, Ms. Hilton is pulling out the big guns to prepare for her stint in the pokey, carrying the Bible and “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” as she left her home yesterday.

Say goodbye to the sinner — and hello to the winner!

Ex-Chief of China Food and Drug Unit Sentenced to Death for Graft

DAVID BARBOZA
Published: May 30, 2007

This article follows my two previous posts-
-“Tainted Chinese Imports Common”
-“From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine”

SHANGHAI, May 29 — The former director of China’s top food and drug safety agency was sentenced to death on Tuesday after pleading guilty to corruption and accepting bribes, the state-controlled news media reported.

Zheng Xiaoyu was the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from its founding in 1998 until mid-2005, when he was removed from his post. He was detained in February in a government investigation of the agency, which is supposed to be China’s food and drug watchdog. Two other top agency officials have also been detained.

Mr. Zheng, 62, received the unusually harsh sentence amid heightened concern about the quality and safety of China’s food and drug system after several scandals involving tainted food and phony drugs.

China is also under mounting pressure to overhaul its food export controls after two Chinese companies were accused this year of shipping contaminated pet food ingredients to the United States, setting off one of the largest pet food recalls in United States history.

China’s regulators are also coming under scrutiny after diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical sometimes used in antifreeze, ended up in cough syrup and toothpaste in Latin America. In Panama, more than 100 people died last year after consuming cough medicine laced with diethylene glycol, which was shipped from China mislabeled as a harmless syrup.

The incidents pose a huge threat to China’s growing food and drug exports and have already led to international calls for new testing and screening methods for Chinese-made goods.

The problems are more serious in China because tens of thousands of people are sickened or killed every year as a result of rampant counterfeiting of drugs, and tainted and substandard food and drugs.

For instance, last year 11 people died in China after being treated with an injection tainted by a poisonous chemical. Six people died and 80 others fell ill after taking an antibiotic that had been produced, according to government regulators, with a “substandard disinfectant.”

Small drug makers in China have long been accused of manufacturing phony or substandard drugs and marketing them to the nation’s hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. And mass poisonings involving tainted food products are common.

The Chinese government has stepped up its patrols in recent weeks, announcing measures aimed at strengthening food and drug safety and cracking down on counterfeiting operations.

On Tuesday, the government said it was preparing to release its first regulation on nationwide food recalls. It also said it would crack down on food products that are being illegally exported, bypassing food inspections.

As for Mr. Zheng, the government said that as director of the Food and Drug Administration, he took bribes worth about $850,000 in exchange for approving drug production licenses.

Worried that many of those drugs may be substandard, China is reviewing more than 170,000 production licenses the agency issued in the past decade.

It is unclear whether or when Mr. Zheng will be executed. In some cases, death sentences for officials are commuted.