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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exposed: The cruel dog-spinning ritual to 'ward off rabies' that is STILL being practised Bulgaria

By Graham Smith

Bizarre tradition: An annual ritual that involves spinning dogs on a rope above a river in rural Bulgaria to ward off rabies was last weekend thwarted by animal rights activists six years after it was banned

Animal rights activists have managed to thwart a bizarre traditional that involves spinning dogs on a rope above a river in rural Bulgaria to ward off rabies.

For hundreds of years, locals in the remote town of Brodilovo in the south-east of the country have carried out the annual Spring ritual.

It involves twisting dogs a rope stretched out over a river until it is taut and then threading a dog through a noose at its end.

Cruel: The pagan tradition was banned by law in 2006, but still carried out. These photos are from last year

The local residents then let the animal go and it spins out of control until it tumbles into the water below.

The terrified dogs reach such high speeds that by the time they land in the river they are unable to swim.

But the pagan tradition - banned by law in 2006, but still carried out - was thwarted this year after animal rights activists mounted a campaign to expose the cruelty.

Members of Animal Rights Sofia guarded the banks of the Veleka River last weekend to make sure locals kept to the new guidelines.

The tradition involves twisting a piece or rope until it is as taut as can be and then threading a dog through a noose at its end....

... the local residents then let the animal go and it spins out of control until it tumbles into the water below...

... the terrified dogs reach such high speeds that by the time they land in the river some are unable to swim

Under these, the dogs are simply thrown into the water and can swim to safety on the other side.

A spokesman for the town's mayor Petko Arnaoudov said: 'It is not ideal, but it is better than it was.

'Some of these traditions have taken root over hundreds of years. You don't change them overnight.

'You cannot stop a traditional custom with a simple order.'


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Race against the tide: Bravery of young mother who stayed by her horse's side for THREE HOURS after getting trapped in mud 'like quicksand'

-Panic as 78-stone show horse is 'swallowed-up' by mud
-Mother freed her daughter and another horse before returning to trapped animal
-Astro was freed just minutes before the tide closed in

By Kerry Mcqueeney

'Like quicksand': Both Miss Graham and her horse were stuck up to their waists in the mud as the tide was closing in

This was the terrifying moment a brave young mother battled to keep her beloved horse calm as sea water closed in on the animal after he became trapped in mud 'like quicksand'.

Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham clung to her trapped horse Astro for three hours keeping his head high in a race against the tide.

The 78-stone show horse had sunk into quagmire-like mud and was facing the prospect of drowning as the water rose around them.

Desperation: Nicole Graham comforts her 18-year-old show horse Astro after he gets stuck in coastal mud

Swallowed up: Astro was stuck fast and Miss Graham's efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire

Miss Graham had been out on an afternoon ride with her daughter along the coast near Geelong, south of Melbourne, when 18-year-old Astro suddenly sank into the mud.

Before she could shout a warning, the smaller horse her daughter Paris was riding was also partially swallowed up by the mud.

After dragging herself through the mire, Miss Graham helped her daughter and the other horse on to firmer ground.

However, Astro was stuck fast and her efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire.

To the rescue: Vet Stacey Sullivan prepares to sedate Astro in a bid to get him out safely

Tidal terror: The brave mother tries to keep the horse calm as rescuers work how out to free the animal

Emotional: Miss Graham said it was heartbreaking to see her horse so exhausted and struggling

As Paris ran to their car and phoned for help, Miss Graham stayed at her horse’s side. She courageously clung on to his neck, terrified that he would not be freed before the tide came in.

After three 'terrifying' hours, rescuers managed to pull Astro and Miss Graham from the mud.

Miss Graham, who owns more than 10 horses and runs an equine dentistry business, told the Geelong Advertiser how a peaceful afternoon's ride had turned to terror.

She said: ‘It was terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse exhausted and struggling.

Race against the tide: The water is seen getting closer to the horse as the group battles to free him

Stuck fast: Rescuers look for ways to free the stricken horse as time is slowly running out for him

Pulled free: Astro is dragged from the mud with the aid of a farmer's tractor

‘We went straight down and under. There was mud everywhere and every time I moved it sucked me back down. It wouldn’t let us go.'

After ensuring her daughter and her horse were safe, she returned to Astro and prayed that rescuers would arrive before the tide engulfed the horse.

She added: ‘I’ve been riding here for 20 years and never had a drama. I’ve never seen any signs and didn’t realise it was so boggy.

‘When I saw the dust from the rescue trucks I was so relieved. I was starting to get overwhelmed.’

Fire lieutenant Roger Buckle, who was among a team of helpers, said: ‘It was like a quicksand.’

Fire crews worked with a local farmer, who provided a tractor, and a veterinary team. The firemen used hoses and a winch, but none of this equipment was successful.

Sedated and exhausted: Astro collapses on the ground after he is pulled free of the mud, to the relief of rescuers

Saved: Vet Stacey Sullivan helps Astro to his feet as the effects of the sedation wear off

A local helicopter was put on standby as a last resort at pulling Astro from the mud.

The combined rescue effort paid off. With minutes to spare before the water reached him, Astro - who had been sedated by vet Stacey Sullivan - was dragged from the mud with the aid of the farmer’s tractor.

‘It was a race against the tide and fortunately we won,’ said Lieut Buckle, who praised everyone efforts, including those of Miss Sullivan whose work in sedating Astro made it easier to pull him free.

Miss Sullivan said Astro was dehydrated but had coped well.

‘A lot of horses don’t make it and I think without the owner there the chance of survival would have been a lot lower,’ she said.

It's all over: Miss Graham leads her horses away from the beach after the traumatic rescue

Aftermath: Astro and Miss Graham are led to safety after the drama. The vet said the horse may not have made it had it not been for the efforts of his owner


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Drug dealers, backstreet abortionists and a deadly femme fatale: Fascinating mugshots of women prisoners from 1920s Australia

By Daily Mail Reporter

They were some of Australia's shadiest sheilas.

Murderers, bigamists, cocaine dealers and back street abortionists, all manner of vampish villain and fallen floozy scooped off the streets and photographed for police files. Their blank expressions hiding a catalogue of appalling crimes.

The incredible pictures - part of a collection of 2500 mugshots taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930 - give a fascinating glimpse into the role of women in the seedy underbelly of early 20th century Australian life.

There is 32-year-old Dorothy Mort. She may look harmless but behind that innocent-looking face lurks a terrifying femme fatale who turned to murder when her toyboy lover starred into her dark eyes and said their affair was over.

Femme fatale: Dorothy Mort, 32, shot her young lover, Dr Claude Tozer, dead on December 21, 1921, after he tried to end their romance. She was arrested after a failed suicide bid

The 32-year-old shot dashing Dr Claude Tozer dead on December 21, 1920 - when he arrived at her house to end their romance - before trying to kill herself.

Her portrait, taken four months later at the State Reformatory for Women in Long Bay, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, forms just one story among thousands revealed by the mesmerising collection.

How about Harry Crawford, real name Eugenia Falleni, a devious and deadly woman who spent most of her life masquerading as a man.

She married widow Annie Birkett in 1913 and was later convicted of her murder. The case whipped the public into a frenzy as they clamoured for details of the 'man-woman' murderer.

Then there were mother and daughter cocaine dealers Ada and Hazel McGuiness.

A police witness described Ada as the 'most evil woman in Sydney' when she appeared in court on charges of possession. A judge heard how as one of the city's most active suppliers of cocaine, she ran a drug's business from a quiet terrace house in Hargreave Street

Several shop lifters and thieves appear in the roll call of career criminals, who stole jewellery and pawned it for quick and easy cash.

Con artist: Clara Randall reported to police that her Bondi flat had been broken into and a quantity of jewellery stolen. It was later discovered she had pawned the jewellery for cash. Randall was sentenced to 18 months with light labour

Career criminal: Edith Ashton, 37, was a backyard abortionist who also dabbled in theft and fencing stolen goods. Described in the media as a 'social somebody' she was suspected of contributing to the deaths of at least two women during abortions

Family affair: Mother Ada McGuinness (left), age unknown, was called the 'most evil woman in Sydney' by a police witness when she appeared in court on charges of cocaine possession. Her daughter Hazel(right) also appeared in court at the same time, on similar charges, but was released on a bond. A judge heard how McGuinness senior, who occupied a terrace house in Hargreave Street, was one of the city's most active cocaine dealers

User: Fay Watson is listed in the New South Wales Police Gazette from 1928. She was arrested in a house in Crown Street, Darlinghurst, and subsequently convicted for being in possession of cocaine for which she was fined ten pounds.

Killer: 34-year-old Alma Smith was jailed for five years for performing an illegal abortion on a young woman who later died

Vera Crichton, 23 (left) conspired with two other women to 'procure a miscarriage on a third woman'. She was 'bound over to appear for sentence if called upon within three years'. While nothing is known of E. Walker who was believed to be a vagrant from her scruffy appearance

Jean Wilson, 23, had numerous convictions for housebreaking and theft. She preferred stealing jewellery as it could be easily pawned for money. She also robbed her employer and served a 12-month sentence.

Similarly Clara Randall reported to police that her Bondi flat had been broken into and a quantity of jewellery stolen. It was later discovered she had pawned the jewellery for cash and she was sentenced to 18 months with light labour.

Illegal abortions also put a few of the women in these photos behind bars such as Janet Wright, 68, who nearly killed a teenage patient during the procedure.

Edith Ashton 37, was a backyard abortionist who also dabbled in theft and fencing stolen goods. Described in the media as a 'social somebody' she was suspected of contributing to the deaths of at least two women during abortions.

And Alma Smith worked as an illegal abortionist in the northern NSW town of Tamworth. A young woman died as the result of a botched abortion, and identified Smith as the abortionist. Although she denied it, Smith was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail.

On the game: Elizabeth Singleton had multiple convictions for soliciting and was described in police records as a common prostitute. She was imprisoned at Long Bay but the details of her sentence have been lost

Bigamist: By the age of 24 Alice Adeline Cooke had amassed a number of aliases and at least two husbands

Elizabeth Ruddy (left) was a career criminal who was convicted of stealing from the house of one Andrew Foley. She was sentenced to 12 months with hard labour but there are no details relating to a Mrs Osbourne (right) who arrested at an undisclosed location in 1919

Angel of death: Janet Wright, 68, nearly killed a teenage patient during an illegal backstreet abortion

Newborn: Emily Hemsworth killed baby son but could not remember details and was found not guilty due to insanity

Man-woman murderer: Harry Crawford, above looks like a man but her real name was Eugenia Falleni (right). She spent most of her life masquerading as a man. In 1913 she married widow, Annie Birkett, whom she later murdered. The case whipped the public into a frenzy as they clamoured for details of the 'man-woman' murderer. (below), her full file photos

Thief: Legendary undercover policeman Constable CJ Chuck, or 'The Shadow' as he was known within the criminal milieu, was responsible for the arrest of Jessie Longford, 30, a well-known shoplifter

World weary: Little is known of this older criminal Annie Matthews - criminal record number 634LB arrested on 3 July 1924

Stealing: Doris Poole appeared before the Newtown Police Court charged with stealing jewellery and clothing. She had previously been convicted on a similar charge in North Sydney and so received a six-month sentence with light labour

Robber: Jean Wilson, 23, had numerous convictions for housebreaking and theft. She preferred stealing jewellery as it could be easily pawned for money. She also robbed her employer and served a 12-month sentence

Drug user: Amy Lee, 41, was described in court as a 'good looking girl until she fell victim to the foul practice' of snorting cocaine. Her dry, blotchy skin is testament to the drug use


Father collapses after being bitten 10 times by the UK's most venomous spider after it falls into his HOOD

-False widow spider is thought to have dropped into Mr Galton's hooded top from foliage near his home
-Arachnid arrived in Devon from Canary Islands a century ago and has spread south and east

By Daily Mail Reporter

A father collapsed in a toy shop after he was bitten ten times by the UK’s most dangerous spider.

Chris Galton had been shopping at children’s store Toys R Us with wife, Zoe, and one-year-old daughter, Imogen, when he suddenly became unwell and dropped to the floor.

Bitten: Chris Galton, pictured with his daughter Imogen, received several nasty bites from a fake widow spider

The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered as many as ten 50 pence-sized red welts on his neck and back.

Mr Galton, from Southampton, Hampshire, had been aware of several stings during the day and had assumed they had come from a bee.

He was horrified to discover the bites had come from the false widow spider, which is closely related to the black widow spider.

Thankfully he suffered no further reaction and was given painkillers before being released the same day.

The spider, whose body is bigger than a five pence coin, is thought to have dropped into Mr Galton’s hooded top from foliage growing close to Mr Galton’s home.

He said: 'I had been stung earlier in the day but had assumed it was a bee and took some anti-histamine pills.

'I didn’t think any more of it until I was shopping in Toys R Us for my daughter’s first birthday later and felt more stings.

'The next thing I knew I was feeling hot, queasy and light headed and collapsed on the floor.'

Mrs Galton, a nurse, kept her husband comfortable with the help of shop staff while the spider was caught and an ambulance was called.

Paramedics gave him oxygen and he was taken to Southampton General Hospital where doctors identified the spider as a false widow.

It has now been sent for formal identification.

Mr Galton said: 'I’ve been stung by wasps before. This was a like really a sharp pin prick and very painful. I’m just thankful it never jumped out and got on to my daughter.'

Only a handful of cases of bites from the false widow are confirmed each year.

It delivers enough poison to cause severe pain and inflammation.

Insect experts at the Natural History Museum said one particular variety, called the Steatoda Nobilis, arrived in Britain with a cargo of bananas from the Canary Islands more than a century ago.

A spokesman for Toys R Us confirmed the incident, which happened on
Saturday afternoon.

One store worker said: 'It was a very scary big spider. I’ve never see one like it before.'

Insect exterminators at Wessex Pest Control Southampton said increasingly mild climates were helping exotic species like the fake widow to spread and establish colonies.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I couldn't just watch Bentley die: Dog owner who inched across ice to save pet explains his 'reckless' act

By Claire Ellicott

Safe: Bentley back home in the warm with Mr Jarvis

His desperate rescue mission to save his dog from a frozen river was seen around the world after a passer-by photographed the drama.

Stripped to his underpants, Malcolm Jarvis crawled out on the ice and then fell through, before managing to save both himself and Bentley the Jack Russell.

Yesterday the 48-year-old company director bowed to critics who said the venture – which came only a week after another man had died trying to save his dog from a freezing lake – had been a silly thing to do.

Danger mission: Mr Jarvis, in just his underpants, crawls across the frozen river to Bentley, circled

But he said he could not just sit back and watch four-year-old Bentley drown.

And his family revealed that far from being grateful for being saved, Bentley was disappointed that his walk had finished so early.

Mr Jarvis had been strolling by the Stour in Dedham, Essex, with his wife, two daughters and their dog on Sunday. The family said the temperature was about -4c (25f).
They were a few minutes into their walk when Bentley spotted some ducks and chased after them on to the frozen river, despite the family’s shouts.

They watched in horror as he plunged through the ice, which was three or four inches thick, and bobbed back up in the water, trying to pull himself back on to the ice.

Loving family: Mr Jarvis with daughter Hannah, 13, and wife Rachel, 46

Instinct: Mr Jarvis said that when Bentley fell in adrenaline took over and he set about rescuing him
Mr Jarvis said: ‘He was desperately trying to scramble back on to it, but he couldn’t pull himself up.

‘We were watching his little head sink lower and lower in the water and he was getting tired and slowing down because of the cold. I was thinking, “We’re going to lose the dog – he’s going to die”. I couldn’t let that happen.

‘Then the adrenaline kicked in and I knew I had to make a decision and my gut instinct was to rescue him. Any dog owner would do the same.

‘I was wearing jeans and I didn’t want to go in the water with them. So I stripped down to my underpants.

‘I edged out and was flat on the ice so I could get as close as possible. But the ice wasn’t that thick and gave way when I was ten feet away and I fell into the water. I don’t remember the shock of the cold: I think the adrenaline had prepared my body for it.

Great escape: When Bentley was hoisted to safety Mr Jarvis said he was 'shivering but fine'

‘I just grabbed Bentley by the scruff of the neck and hoisted him back on to the ice. I then dragged myself out.’

He said Bentley ran straight to his wife, Rachel, 46, and their daughters Rebecca, 19, and Hannah, 13, and the first thing they did was put him back on the lead. He was shivering but was fine.

His rescuer was covered in cuts from the cracked ice, but dried himself off and the family drove straight home without phoning the emergency services.

Mr Jarvis, who owns an IT company, estimated the river was about 15ft deep and about 20ft wide. ‘I know it seems reckless,’ he said, ‘but it looked possible. With hindsight, it was dangerous as we knew nothing about the ice and how cold it was. But there was no way Bentley would have survived if we’d called the emergency services. He’d have drowned by the time they arrived.’

The family, from Bradfield, Essex, has now vowed to keep Bentley on the lead at all times and warned other dog owners to do the same.

Essex fire service said Mr Jarvis’s actions were ‘extremely dangerous’, while Paul Wenborne, who took the photo of Mr Jarvis in his underwear, described it as a ‘foolish act of bravery’. But Mrs Jarvis, a teacher, said: ‘When you don’t own a dog, you just think “crazy dog people”, but they are a part of the family. Some may criticise and some may call him a hero. He’s definitely our hero.’

Classic car enthusiast Tim Waddingham drowned while trying to rescue his dog from a freezing lake on February 5. The body of the 53-year-old, from Rudgwick, West Sussex, was pulled from the lake at a golf club in nearby Cranleigh. His dog was found alive.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

From pop music's queen to a fallen star ravaged by drug use: The life of Whitney Houston in pictures

By Mark Duell

Child: Houston, pictured in 1965, was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin

Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died on Saturday. She was aged 48. MailOnline looks back at the life of the star singer who was pronounced dead in her room of the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California

Young star: Whitney Houston belts out a song during her segment of a benefit concert at Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, in May 1986

Smiles: Whitney Houston seen at a news conference in New York in July 1988. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists

Film: In 1992, she became a star in the acting world with 'The Bodyguard'. The story of a singer (Houston) guarded by a former Secret Service agent was a success

Prizes: Whitney Houston shows off the seven awards she won in February 1993 at the American Music Awards. At her peak, she was the golden girl of music

Fun: Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown with their daughter Bobbi at Bobby's 25th birthday at Tavern On The Green in New York City in February 1984

Famous friend: South African President Nelson Mandela and Whitney Houston smile for photographers in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 1994

Couple: Actress and singer Whitney Houston and her husband Bobby Brown pose for photographers in New York City in October 1997. They divorced in 2007

Passion: Houston performs during the Billboard Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, in December 1998. She sold more than 55 million records in the U.S.

Relatives: In this January 1998 photo, singer Houston, left, celebrates her win at the American Music Awards with her mother, Cissy, and brother, Gary, in Los Angeles

Pointing out: Houston performs before winning the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 42nd annual Grammy Awards, in this photo taken in February 2000

Performance: Houston on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York in September 2000. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals

Flamboyant hair: Houston performs during a concert for ABC television's 'Good Morning America' show, in New York in December 2002

Looking to the sky: Houston emerges from the waters of the River Jordan near the Sea of Galilee during a Holy Land pilgrimage, in May 2003

Family: Houston, centre, poses with her former husband, singer Bobby Brown, right, and their daughter Bobbi, left, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in August 2004

Clapping: Houston gestures at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills, California, in this photo taken in February 2008. Houston died aged 48 on Saturday

Personality: Houston looks on while appearing on the German TV game show 'Wetten Dass' (Bet it...?) in Freiburg, in this photo taken in October 2009

Special star: Houston bows after performing 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, in November 2009

Public appreciation: Houston performs at the Pre-Grammy Gala & Salute to Industry Icons in this file photo taken in Beverly Hills in February 2011

Sad ending: Houston looked worse for wear as she left Tru Hollywood nightclub this week, just a few days before she was found dead in a hotel room on Saturday


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