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One quarter of Britons still in contact with first best friend

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Thanks for Retuning!

One in four said they were still in contact with their closest friend from primary school, according to the poll.

The survey of 1,050 adults found the average Briton only counted five of their current day acquaintances as ‘close friends’.

Women were more likely to keep the same friends as they went through life, with three in 10 still close to their first best friend, compared with two out of 10 men.

But females also appeared more selective when it came to who they counted as friends, with men averaging one more close friend among their immediate circle than the fairer sex.

The study by snack maker Pom-Bear to highlight its ‘Let Make Friends’ campaign revealed some marked differences in friendship patterns across the country.

Four out of 10 in the North East were still close to their first best friend from school, compared with just two out of 10 people in the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside and the South West.

People living in the North West and the Midlands were found to have been the most fickle in collecting ‘best friends’ through their school years, with a third of respondents from each region admitting they had counted no fewer than five ‘best mates’ along the way.

Londoners claimed to have the largest circle of friends as adults with more than six each, compared with those in the South West who averaged less than four.

Respondents aged 18 to 34 and the over-55s claimed to have the greatest number of friends.

Roxanne Amir-Mohammadi, brand manager from Pom-Bear said: “Even though many of us can count many more people in our wider circle of acquaintances, we are still quite choosy when it comes to defining who we consider to be our real friends.

“It also appears that the busiest years of our working lives take their toll when it comes to staying in touch with friends with people aged between 35 and 44 averaging less than four friends each.”

Obamamania books a place in record books (Reuters)

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JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) – At a thumb-numbing 5,472 pages, a book devoted to the life of Barack Obama is probably not going to be on the U.S. President’s list of beach reads, but its Indonesian author is hoping for interest from the White House.

Hailed by Indonesian record keepers as the world’s thickest book, “The Collection, Obama and Pluralism,” was unveiled by local author, director and artist, Damien Dematra to coincide with a visit by the U.S. president which ended on Wednesday.

At 34 cm (about 1 ft) thick, the hardbound tome chronicles snippets of Obama’s life in Jakarta. The U.S. president spent about four years in Indonesia as a child with his anthropologist mother from 1967 and during his visit spoke fondly of those days.

Jaya Suprana, curator of Indonesia’s records museum in a nation obsessed with record breaking, said the size of the book beats the previous international title holder — Agatha Christie’s “The Complete Miss Marple,” a relatively slender 4,032 pages.

Author Dematra, who credits the start of his “Obamamania” to a dinner he attended at the U.S. embassy, has already completed seven books and a movie about the U.S. president in less than a year.

Dematra good-naturedly shrugs off suggestions he is obsessed.

“I don’t mind; for me, the crazier, the better,” he said. “He is someone I’ve been inspired by, giving me more understanding on the potential of dreams and pluralism.”

Dematra’s book includes letters to Obama from students at his former school. One child with leukaemia wrote to Obama asking for help with medical treatment in the United States.

Other letters expressed admiration — and sympathy for the job.

“I think it’s not exciting to become a president. Just look at President SBY,” said one, a reference to Indonesian leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Every day he looks as if he has a headache. It must be even harder to lead the American people.”

Obama spent less than 24 hours in Jakarta on the second stop of his 10-day four-nation Asian tour. He flew on Wednesday to South Korea, where he attends a G20 summit.

(Editing by Sugita Katyal)

Wanted: Village doctor. Benefits include sausages (Reuters)

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BERLIN (Reuters) – A small German village community left in the lurch after their local doctor retired in September has pulled together to try and attract a new GP — by offering free bread, meat, flowers, haircuts and accommodation.

Niko Ringhoff, who runs the butcher’s shop in the northwestern village of Lette, is offering a doctor willing to move to the 2,200-strong community free meaty lunches and a complimentary sausage-themed feast when the new surgery opens.

“Everybody wants to do something to help get a doctor,” he told Reuters on Tuesday. “We all want to give him a warm welcome and make sure he feels at home here. We desperately need a doctor, but it’s difficult to attract one to the countryside.”

Marion Funke, who runs the local hotel with her husband, is offering a doctor a place to stay for free until he or she finds permanent accommodation.

Other services with which the community hopes to entice a doctor include haircuts on the house at the local salon, complimentary bread rolls from the local baker and free flower arrangements for the surgery from the local florist.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin)

Granny DJ plays first US gig

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Grandmother Ruth Flowers played her set at Anaheim’s Electro Festival and praised her youthful followers, she said, “They want to touch me and kiss me and they throw me gifts, bracelets off their arm.

“I’ve had two red roses thrown at me by young men and I think that’s rather lovely for an old biddy like me.”

Flowers only became interested in becoming a disc jockey in 2005 when she attended a London nightclub for her grandson’s birthday.

In a previous interview with The Telegraph, Flowers described her first reaction to the nightclub, “It was frightfully noisy of course, and there were all these lights flashing.

“But what I realised was that these young people were just having so much fun.

“So I said to my grandson, ‘You know what darling, I could arrange things like this, for the local kids.’ And he said he thought that would be very cool.”

Five years on and Mamy Rock is quickly establishing herself as a top DJ, with a stream of bookings in both Europe and now the US. While in Los Angeles Flowers worked in the recording studio on her next single “69″, a nod to her age.

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Giant Jesus statue rises above Polish countryside (Reuters)

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SWIEBODZIN, Poland (Reuters Life!) – A statue of Jesus Christ that its builders say will be the largest in the world is fast rising from a Polish cabbage field and local officials hope it will become a beacon for tourists.

The builders expect to attach the arms, head and crown to the robed torso in coming days, weather and cranes permitting, completing a project conceived by local Catholic priest Sylwester Zawadzki and paid for by private donations.

Standing on an artificial mound, the plaster and fibre glass statue will stand some 52 metres (57 yards) when completed, taller than the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer with outstretched arms that gazes over Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Polish officials say.

The actual statue will measure 33 metres — Zawadzki has said this reflects the fact that Jesus died at 33, according to Christian tradition — and weigh 440 tonnes.

“I’m happy because this project will bring publicity to our town, not only in Poland but also from the global media. Other countries are showing a lot of interest,” said Dariusz Bekisz, mayor of Swiebodzin, a town of about 21,000 people in western Poland some 100 km (60 miles) from the German border.

“More people will visit Swiebodzin and leave their money. Some will come for spiritual reasons, others out of curiosity,” he said, adding no public money had been used in the project.

“The priest, Father Zawadzki, is a man of action who always, throughout his life, has built and created… In the future we’re going to have to think about bringing the carnival to Swiebodzin too, just as in Rio,” he joked.

SCEPTICISM

Zawadzki is avoiding media for the time-being and Polish church leaders could not immediately be reached for comment. But the editor of Poland’s Catholic Information Agency (KAI) sounded a sceptical note.

“Everybody has a right to do what they want. Swiebodzin’s Jesus project doesn’t touch my religious sensitivity. These kinds of monuments don’t have much to do with spirituality,” editor Tomasz Krolak said.

“People should think more about building within themselves rather than making big monuments.”

Local townspeople seemed bemused by the whole affair.

“Building Jesus is an interesting idea, but I’m afraid we can’t beat Rio. I don’t treat this 100 percent seriously,” said local resident Piotr Pinio.

Others thought the money could have been put to better use.

“There are far more important aims to which we could put the money — sick children, for example, orphanages, old people. Do we really have to build a big Jesus statue to make people believe,” said Mieczyslawa Hundert.

Poland remains one of the most religiously observant cou

Bernd Ottovordemgentschenfelde – the man with the longest name in Germany

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Filling out a German form Bernd Ottovordemgentschenfelde says he has trouble getting his name to fit on official forms Photo: ALAMY

The 45-year-old floor tiler from the Rhineland says he has trouble getting his name to fit on official forms, as well as the side of his van.

He often has to shorten his name for credit cards, while his wife Sylvia, 45, and daughter Nadine, 14, have both shortened their last name to Gentschenfelde.

“My father wanted to give me a second first name,” he said. “But my mother successfully stopped that!”

Judth Schwanke, a name expert from the University of Leipzig in Germany, confirmed he currently has the longest name on record, at 24 letters.

Robbery-hit city hides its statues (Reuters)

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The eastern Dutch city of Nijmegen is taking 10 statues off the streets after some of its bronzes were stolen and most likely melted down to take advantage of the high price of the metal alloy.

Among the statues to be removed for safe-keeping is “Mariken van Nieumeghen” — or Mariken from Nijmegen — which refers to a local character in one of the Netherlands’ earliest books, written around the year 1500.

The city plans to protect the statues by implanting a GPS chip or may replace them with copies made from cheaper materials.

(Reporting by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Sara Webb)