Thursday, 28 August 2008

China sets Olympics record in weddings

9,000 Couples to Marry on Lucky 080808

The new couple (Front) hold a special wedding ceremony to promote environment-friendly and economical wedding, in Huai'an, east China's Jiangsu Province, Aug. 8, 2008, the opening day of the Beijing Olympic Games. (Xinhua/Xu Changzheng)

A couple wave on tricycle during their wedding ceremony, to promot the environment-friendly and economical wedding, in Huai'an, east China's Jiangsu Province, Aug. 8, 2008, the opening day of the Beijing Olympic Games. (Xinhua/ Xu Changzheng)

Here's one Olympics competition where China definitely set a record: at least 314,224 couples tied the knot across the nation on Friday, or 08/08/08, the opening day of the 29th Olympic Games, official statistics showed.

As expected, that was a one-day record for marriages since 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Saturday.

Although there's no previous national figure available, so many cities set records that the countrywide tally is considered to be the record. In Beijing alone, the host city of the Olympics, 15,646 couples were married, 23 times the daily average.

The previous one-day record for marriages in the capital was 4,452 on Dec. 18, 2006, which had one eight in it by the Western calendar. Under the lunar calendar, it was Oct. 28, which had two eights.

On Aug. 8 last year, 3,390 couples were married in Beijing, making it the second most popular date after Dec. 18.

Major Chinese cities saw a surge of applications to wed on Friday, either for the triple-eight symbolism or to catch an "Olympic wedding".

The number eight symbolizes wealth, fortune and luck for Chinese. Many choose dates with the number to start a business, marry, deliver babies or undertake some other significant step. People also pay extra to have it in phone numbers or vehicle license plates.

Local civil affairs authorities said that 6,418 couples were married in Shanghai on Friday and 4,841 in Wuhan. Figures for other cities were not immediately available.

The ministry held a special meeting on Tuesday asking local authorities to increase staff, use volunteers, work longer hours and open more offices to cope with the surge.

Some registration offices in Beijing and Tianjin worked around the clock to meet demand.

The Chaoyang District office in eastern Beijing registered a couple shortly after it opened for business at midnight. Source: Xinhua

Chinese Man Pierced 2008 Times

China has been buzzing with anticipation for the 2008 Olympics this summer.
From putting up sexy Olympic street lights to naming 3,500 babies after the event, you can definitely feel the pride and excitement for thes Olympic Games.

Wei, a 60 year-old Chinese acupuncturist from Guangxi province, showed his patriotism for the upcoming Olympics by piercing his head, face, chest, and arms with 2008 decorative needles in five different colors.
The event broke his previous Guinness Record of 1790 needles set in 2004. Wei also hopes to share more about the history of acupuncture to the world.

Initially inspired after reading about a Canadian who had set a record for inserting 420 needles in his arm, Wei felt that it was “not much compared to our centuries-old acupuncture,” and began experimenting with piercing his own body with needles.

On January 13, 2007, Wei had also paraded through town with 800 needles in his forehead and even put on skates and skated around the streets to show he was not in pain and alright. (

“I shook with fear when I saw his hedgehog-head. It seemed like he must be hurting himself.” said a lady in her sixties.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Chinese Acupuncturist Skates with 800 Needles in His Head

A Chinese acupuncturist paraded in front of onlookers in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality with more than 800 acupuncture needles in his forehead during a self-acupuncture performance on Tuesday, a local newspaper reported.

Passersby couldn't help crying out when Wei Shengchu, a 60-year-old acupuncturist and cosmetic surgeon from southwestern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, appeared in downtown Jiefangbei street on Tuesday afternoon, reported the Chongqing Morning Post.

"I shook with fear when I saw his hedgehog-head. It seemed like he must be hurting himself." said a lady in her sixties.

Some people thought the needles could do harm to the body and thought it was a fake performance.

Wei invited onlookers to experience inserting the needles themselves. Donning a pair of skates, he skated around the street to prove he was quite OK with the acupuncture.

"Inserting the needles is quite enjoyable for me. Whether I'm working or taking a rest, I often insert needles into my head. It is really comfortable", said Wei.

It takes Wei several hours to insert 800 needles into his head and face.

Wei said he plans to insert 2,008 needles into his head in 2008in Beijing when the city hosts the 2008 Olympics. He said has already booked a hotel room for this purpose well over a year in advance.

Wei's passion for self-acupuncture stems from a 2002 newspaper clipping which reported that a Canadian had a Guinness World Record for inserting 420 needles into his arms.

"It's not much compared to our centuries-old acupuncture," thought Wei, who began experimenting with inserting needles into his body.

Wei finally achieved his Guinness World Record for self-acupuncture when he inserted 1,790 needles into his face in 2004.

Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine with a history of over 2,000 years. It involves insertion of fine metallic needles on the body to relieve pain and cure diseases.
(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2007)

Monday, 11 August 2008

World Most Expensive Villa

Russian oligarch 'invader' pays record £392m for Riviera villa

A mysterious Russian billionaire has trumped his big-spending rivals and broken a world record by splashing out €500 million (£392 million) on one of the most sumptuous villas on the French Riviera.

The price of the Villa Leopolda, a Belle Époque mansion on the heights of Villefrance, has amazed estate agents but fuelled local worries that the invasion of Russian money on the Côte d'Azur is getting out of hand.

Since the early 1990s, Russian oligarchs, drawn by memories of the Riviera-mad old Russian aristocracy, have been piling into seaside properties at Cap Ferrat, Cap d'Antibes, Saint-Tropez and the other great playgrounds.

None, however, has come near the price with which the unnamed Russian clinched the Leopolda deal with Lily Safra, the widow of Edmond Safra, a Lebanese banker who was killed by an arsonist's fire in Switzerland in 2003.
Mrs Safra was said to have held out for months as the buyer raised his bid for the villa, between Nice and Monaco, which King Leopold II of Belgium acquired in 1902.

The previous record for a house was said to be the £57 million that Lakshmi Mittal, the steel tycoon, paid for a property in Kensington Palace Gardens in 2004. The macho spending contest by Russian oligarchs is making property agents giddy.

Jean Pierre, a high-end agent, said: “It's completely surreal and we are really uneasy. We don't dare any more to propose any price below €100 million for these clients. Anything below and they throw you out...and you should see how they do it,” he told Le Parisien. The Nice Matin newspaper said: “At this price tag, we are beyond luxury and even reality.”

Russian excess is feeding discontent among poorer people. Pierrette, a housekeeper for one Russian, said: “I attended a party where the guests had fun throwing burning €500 notes into the air while everyone split their sides laughing. The domestic staff were later told to collect the ashes. It was sickening.”

Jean-Marie Tarragoni, a Nice property manager, said that the Riviera market had gone mad. “Two hundred people are completely destabilising it. These Russian oligarchs have thrown themselves into a bidding war like Onassis and Niarchos.” Rivalry between Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos sent local prices rocketing in the 1950s.

The price for the Leopolda, which once belonged to the late Gianni Agnelli, the Fiat tycoon, has dwarfed the €20 million paid six years ago by Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea Football Club owner, for the semi-derelict Château de la Croë. Mr Abramovich is lavishly restoring the château, home to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor after the Second World War.

His staff have denied local rumours that he is the buyer of the Leopolda, which has a commanding view of Cap Ferrat and the Mediterranean and is often listed as one of the world's most desirable residences.

Regulars at parties in the Agnelli years there included Frank Sinatra and Ronald Reagan. Its turreted mansion and two guest houses sit in 20 acres of grounds with hundreds of olive, cypress and lemon trees tended by 50 gardeners. Former members of the Israeli special forces are said to ensure Mrs Safra's tranquillity there. She moves out in September.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Man 'Marries' Dog To Beat Curse

An Indian man has "married" a female dog, hoping the move will help atone for stoning two other dogs to death.

P Selvakumar, 33, said he had been cursed since the killings, suffering paralysis and a loss of hearing.

The wedding took place at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu state. The "bride" wore an orange sari with a flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.
SSuperstitious people in rural India sometimes organise weddings to animals in the hope of warding off curses.

'Tried every cure'

Crowds cheered the newly-weds at the end of the ceremony in Sivaganga district, about 50km (30 miles) east of the city of Madurai.

The "bride", who is called Selvi, was led to the temple in Manamudurai wearing a sari before vows were exchanged in a traditional Hindu ceremony.

A relative of the groom who attended the wedding said he hoped Mr Selvakumar would now be cured.

"Fifteen years back Selvakumar was physically fit. But, once he attacked a pair of dogs and thereafter Kumar could not move his limbs freely," the relative, Ramu, told the BBC.

"He tried every cure for his ailment but could not be rid of his disability".

"On the advice of an astrologer and others, he decided to marry a bitch to get cured. Then we arranged Selvakumar's marriage with a bitch."

Saturday, 9 August 2008

8lb baby born at 8.08am on 08/08

A baby was born at exactly:
Eight minutes past eight;
On the eighth of the eighth 2008;
Weighing eight pounds.

Baby Conner Bolland,
with mum Samantha Wilson,
was born at 8.08am

By Daily Telegraph Reporter
Conner Bolland's split second timing bodes well, as eight is considered a lucky number in many cultures.

His mother Samantha Wilson, 20, was taken to hospital on Wednesday when her waters broke, but Conner waited until the exact stroke of 8.08am on Friday to make his remarkable entrance.
Miss Wilson said: "It's just incredible.

"It wasn't until about an hour before he was born one of the midwives said 'if you can hang on for just a bit longer your baby could be born at 8am'.

"He was due on the seventh so it's almost as if he waited for the exact time to make his appearance.

"He's our first child so obviously he was always going to be special but this has made him unique."

Youth worker Samantha lives in Hull, East Yorkshire, with partner Bill Bolland, a 39-year-old car park attendant.

The pair met through work two years ago.

She said: "We will make him fully aware of how special he is when he is old enough to understand. He was smiling straight away.

"He looks a lot like his dad. I don't really have any ambitions for what I want him to do when he grows up - he can be whoever he wants to be."

The Beijing Olympics werwe deliberately timed to began at 8.08pm as the Chinese believe that the number eight is lucky, because it sounds similar to their word for 'wealth'.

Labour ward manager Sue Proctor said: "There's been a real buzz on the ward. We were joking in the morning that maybe one of our new arrivals would be at 8.08am but we never dreamed it would happen. It has to be highly unusual that it all fell into place, it's a real fluke.