Thousands of condoms clog Games village drains? (Reuters)

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Thousands of flushed condoms threaten to choke the Commonwealth Games village’s drainage system, media reports said, in the latest problem to hit the venue from hidden snakes to outbreaks of dengue.

Games organizers, who won a race against time to ready the village, are now battling to clear clogged drains after thousands of non-biodegradeable contraceptives were flushed down toilets in the first week of the event.

“If that is happening, it shows that there is use of condoms and I think that is a very positive story. Athletes are being responsible,” Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell told a news conference Thursday.

“We all know that encouraging safe sex is a very important thing to do.”

Games organizers had provided 8,000 free condoms in the village, and the provision appears to be in high demand. One official told the Mail Today newspaper Thursday that over 4,000 had already been snapped up by eager athletes.

Shoddy construction work, fears over an outbreak of dengue fever and worries about security had meant many teams delayed their move into the village before the Games began. However, blame for the latest problem lies firmly with the athletes.

Following a decision to provide free condoms at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, it has become something of a tradition.

At the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, athletes quickly used up the 70,000 free condoms provided, forcing organizers to supply another 20,000, while at the 2004 Games in Athens, the provision was doubled to 130,000.

At both the Beijing Games in 2008, and the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February, 100,000 condoms were provided for athletes.

(Reporting by Henry Foy; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Sugita Katyal)

Cabinet minister under fire for Vogue shoot (Reuters)

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TOKYO (Reuters) – A popular Japanese cabinet minister apologized Friday after a photo shoot she did in Japan’s parliament building for the local edition of Vogue drew fire from opposition parties.

Renho, a 42-year-old former TV presenter who is state minister for administrative reform, appears in the November edition of Vogue Nippon posing near a marble staircase in a short white dress, cream jacket, and ankle-high boots, hand on one hip.

The magazine went on sale roughly a week ago but only became an issue Thursday, when a weekly magazine — more usual reading material for Japan’s staid and overwhelmingly male political establishment — took it up.

Opposition lawmakers promptly denounced the shoot, which accompanied an interview with Renho on her political beliefs and juggling of job and motherhood, as “inappropriate.”

Renho, who is half-Taiwanese and goes by only one name, stressed to a news conference that she had gone through proper channels to set up the photo session, which took place in August when parliament was in recess.

“I frankly apologies if my action was inappropriate or caused concern, as that was not my intention,” she said.

Renho’s office registered her photo shoot with parliament as part of her political activities, which is permitted. Photo sessions for commercial use are prohibited.

Renho, one of only two female cabinet ministers, became popular among voters after news shows focused on her grilling of squirming bureaucrats about the effectiveness of projects at government panel meetings to cut waste.

The incident could become an additional headache for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is trying to reach policy deals with opposition parties in a divided parliament as Japan struggles to keep a fragile economic recovery on track.

(Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa;editing by Elaine Lies)

Couples flock to marry on 10/10/10 for luck

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Churches and registry offices will be packed to the rafters this Sunday with couples hoping the 10/10/10 date will bring them luck. Photo: PHOTOLIBRARY

Some register offices are opening for the first time to cope with demand.

Chichester Register Office, in West Sussex, is opening for the first Sunday in its history.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said it was a “in response to popular demand”.

Manchester Register Office is opening for only the third time since it started holding weddings in 1837. Six couples will marry there on Sunday.

Ngaryan Li, who is marrying Steven Higham, said: “I’m of Chinese origin and it’s seen as a very good date.”

She added: “It means the perfect day.”

Ms Li, whose parents came to the UK from Hong Kong some 35 years ago, said: “I was ringing round quite a lot of places, then Manchester Register Office said they were going to be open.

“It wasn’t my first choice – of somewhere local – but the main thing was offering the date.”

Women own 12 outfits which do not fit

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Researchers polling 4,000 women also discovered a woman’s fluctuating weight means she has a total of three different dress sizes in her cupboard.

Therese (corr) Coleman, consultant nutritionist for Wholegrain Goodness, said: ”Eating the wrong foods isn’t just bad for your health, it appears to have a bad effect on your wallet too.

”At first glance it might seem like you only have a few items of clothes that don’t fit, but when you start to think about the amount of clothes we have hung up in our wardrobes, or tucked away in our chest of drawers, it’s a massive amount.

”It’s a nice idea having a favourite pair of jeans or tops available for when you’re that size again, but in reality these women are frittering away hundreds of pounds.”

The nationwide study of women aged between 18 and 65 quizzed them on their dieting habits and the effect this has had on their wardrobe.

It emerged more than half (52 per cent) of ladies have bought clothes that were too small in the hope they will fit into them one day and half of women admit they fib to others about how much they weigh.

Half of women admitted constantly yo-yo diet which means they have ‘fat clothes’ at hand for when they pile on the pounds.

Reflection in the mirror (72 per cent), unflattering photos on Facebook (55 per cent) and upcoming events like birthdays or weddings (38 per cent) emerged as the biggest triggers to hit the gym.

And while one in six want a better sex life, one in ten watch what they eat after getting dumped and one in five decide to slim down after comments by friends or partners about their weight.

But despite their good intentions, a massive 47 per cent polled don’t regularly check the calorie content or nutritional information on foods they eat.

And when they finally fall of the dieting wagon, lack of willpower, boredom and constantly reaching for comfort food were named the biggest pitfalls.

Only TWO per cent of women polled were happy with their body, while most consider themselves ‘frumpy’, one in six want to alter their things and bum and one in ten know they’re fat.

Six in ten said they struggled with a diet because it deprives them of enjoying ‘normal’ meals, and more than half don’t have a plan in place to maintain their shape once they’ve achieved their goal weight.

It also emerged four in ten see diets as a short-term goal rather than a lifestyle change and the majority see themselves as having the most negative impact on their dieting success followed by colleagues.

The majority of women polled admitted it is themselves that has the most negative impact on their dieting success., while a significant amount blamed ‘office feeders’.

Therese Coleman added: ”Half the women we surveyed claimed they don’t think about how to maintain their weight once they’ve reached a target and four in ten see diets as a short-term goal rather than a lifestyle change.

”It’s important though to eat a balanced and varied diet at all times rather than just when trying to lose weight.

”The research reveals a contradiction in terms of women’s opinions on healthy eating, compared with their actual behaviour.

”While 52 per cent said eating the right foods was the key to dieting, it appears that there is confusion over just what a balanced and varied diet should include.

”Women start off with the best intentions, but obviously find it very difficult to manage their weight.

”Often this is due to the misconception that eating healthily means deprivation, which is not sustainable, that there’s a lack of choice and variety and that healthy food is not as tasty.”

The survey was commissioned to mark the launch of a series of online videos to help consumers identify and enjoy wholegrains to maintain their shape.


Japan hosts poem boxing championships

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The verbal sparring takes place in a boxing ring and each contestant is given three minutes to deliver a poem. The panel of judges awards points for originality and style, as well as the delivery of the piece, before declaring the winner.

Unlike chess boxing however, where contestants are required to alternate between a round of chess and boxing, the poets do not have to spar at any point.

The 16 final regional rounds are presently taking place ahead of the national final, which is to be held on October 16 at the Nikkei Hall in Tokyo.

Katsunori Kusunoki, from Kanto Gakuin University, said he created the event because he wanted young people to overcome their shyness and reluctance to participate

He added that by putting contestants into a ring, he has turned it into a popular spectator sport.

The subject matter for the poems range from politics and philosophy to everyday situations. The combatants are permitted to use props, but those that score the highest rely on their words, voice and delivery, Kusunoki said.

In the final round of the tournament, the two contestants still standing will be required to improvise a poem incorporating a word thrown at them by the judges. The winner of last year’s event came up with a work on butter.

A new division has been added to the tournament this year, with eight teams of three amateur poets battling it out in the ring in a tag team format.