Zimbabwe’s blind cricket commentator

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When the ball hits the bat, the radio announcer exclaims that it’s sailing far. Dean Du Plessis’ acute sense of hearing and his eavesdropping on other commentators helps him overcome the fact that he is blind, producing a delivery so polished that most listeners are unaware that he can’t see.

Mr Du Plessis hears the power and direction of the hit. He listens to the speed and spin of the ball, along with the players’ exertions and their cries of elation or frustration. He senses the excitement – or otherwise – of the play on the cricket field and collates the scores with a computer-like memory.

In the media area at Harare’s Country Club sports field, other journalists see the ball soar skyward after a sharp crack on the bat.

“That’s a big one. It’s gone for six,” said the 33-year-old Mr Du Plessis, his opaque eyes gazing into the distance.

It has, flying way out of the field.

Team members and spectators murmur applause as the often sedate game of cricket goes on. In a fast-moving sport like football, Mr De Plessis’ feat would likely be impossible. He asks a friend to confirm the score on the board and feeds the latest to state radio.

“I have to ensure I am totally accurate,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m generally spot on or very close. I think I have a pretty big hard drive in my head.”

Pizza chain offers $31,000/hour part-time job

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TOKYO | Tue Nov 2, 2010 9:48am EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) – Take-out pizza chain hiring. Aged over 18, no experience required. Uniform provided. Salary: $31,000 an hour.

As part of a series of events commemorating the 25th anniversary of its arrival in Japan, Domino’s Pizza Japan is set to hire one lucky person at the rate of 2,500,000 yen ($31,030) for an hour’s worth of work in December.

A company spokesman declined to provide further details until November 10, but the company’s website said that anyone who wants the job will need to file an application. Those passing to the next stage will undergo an interview.

“Basically it’s anybody over 18, no questions about education or experience,” the spokesman said. “We’re actually a little surprised by how much of a response it’s getting.”

Hourly pay for part-time jobs in Japan averages just under 1,000 yen ($12.41).

Many of the comments on a Japanese article about the offer noted that the salary was cheap for the probable advertising impact and that there might be better uses for the money, such as raising workers’ pay overall.

“If I got this, I couldn’t work for being afraid of what the people around me were thinking,” one wrote.

In another of the promotions, anyone born on September 30 this year — the actual date the first Domino’s opened in Japan — will receive a free pizza on their birthday until they turn 25.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; editing by Paul Casciato)

Dentists offer Halloween candy buyback program

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By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA | Tue Nov 2, 2010 9:49am EDT

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Just a day after Halloween two Pennsylvania dentists are offering a candy buyback program to save the teeth of young trick-or-treaters and boost the morale of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dentists Nalin and Arpan Patel, of Fairless Hills near Philadelphia, say they will pay $1 a pound (0.45 kg) to parents and children who turn in excess candy collected on Halloween. The proceeds will be sent to U.S. troops serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

“Not only will it save your teeth, our troops that are serving our country overseas will be able to enjoy a Halloween away from home,” the dentists said in a statement.

Americans consume about 24 pounds (10.9 kg) of candy a year and most of that is believed to be at Halloween, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The American Dental Association urged parents to be aware of the damage too much candy can do to young teeth.

“This Halloween and throughout the year, the American Dental Association advises not to play decay-causing tricks on your teeth,” it said in a statement.

Children seeking sweet treats from their neighbors on Halloween commonly come home with pounds of candy scooped up from baskets held out by home-owners or left on front porches where the roving groups can help themselves.

Children often eat too many of the free sweets on Halloween night and for days or weeks afterwards, boosting consumption well above normal levels.

But so much free candy can overwhelm even the sweetest tooth, and may encourage its recipients to give up their proceeds to the buyback program.

The dentists are accepting candy from November 1-5, and hope what is collected will cheer U.S. troops overseas.

“Now during these hard times, the spirit of giving and helping is needed more than ever,” they said.

Witch’s hat halts London Underground on Halloween

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Tube passengers had to walk through tunnels in the early hours of Sunday morning after the hat, which contained metal, was thrown on to the line at Chalk Farm, in North London.

A passenger is thought to have thrown the hat which cut out the power, halting four trains.

Hundreds of passengers were stuck on the trains for more than an hour before they were allowed to walk along tunnels to the nearest stations, London Underground said.

The four trains, three heading north between Camden and Belsize Park, and one northbound between Camden and Kentish Town, were stopped at 0040 BST.

“We apologise to passengers who were inconvenienced as a result of this incident, and would urge customers to exercise care and not to discard items on the railway,” a spokesman for the company said.

“The metal part of a hat thrown on to the rails at Chalk Farm caused power interruption,” London Underground said.

London Underground estimated that there were up to 90 passengers on each train trapped for between an hour and an hour-and-a-half.

Twins born black and white

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Baby boy Leo and baby girl Hope were born by caesarean within a minute of each other but when the midwife handed them to their new mum, Shirley Wales was shocked to see the difference.

With light skin, blue eyes, and fair hair, little Hope is the image of her white father, whereas brother Leo has the same black skin, dark eyes, and thick hair as his Grenadian mother.

Leo was born first weighing 5lb 14oz closely followed by his sister Hope at 6lb 3oz at Dewsbury District Hospital, West Yorks.

Miss Wales, 21, said: “I knew I was having twins, and I knew one was a boy and one was a girl, but I couldn’t believe it when the midwife told me they had different skin tones after I’d given birth to them.

“Throughout the pregnancy I’d joked about the babies being black and white, I even said to my friends that if one was black and one was white I’d call them Ebony and Ivory. When they were born though, I realised it would be cruel to actually call them that.

“I immediately noticed that Hope was completely white and although they didn’t look that different when they were first born, because they both had a bit of jaundice, I could tell Leo’s skin was going to get darker and Hope’s was going to stay white.”

Miss Wales’ parents are both Grenadian while the non-identical twins’ father, who she is no longer in a relationship with, is white.