Glam in the Gulf: Get a glitzy tattoo in real gold (Reuters)

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Thanks for Retuning!

DUBAI (Reuters) – Forget the henna and flashy jewelry, the latest accessory trend for the fashion-conscious party-goer in Dubai is a temporary tattoo made of real gold.

A new business in Dubai is offering temporary 24-carat gold tattoos as the ideal body adornment for weddings and other special occasions at a modest starting price of $50, an affordable option given rising gold prices.

Precious Skin has two outlets in Dubai — one at the luxury, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel — which will design and apply body tattoos made of 99.9 percent gold or platinum to add a bit of glitz to your personal style.

“It’s a revolution in the body art business, it’s the first time we can use 24 carat gold and platinum on skin,” said Arnaud Flambeau, managing director of Flambeau Luxury Trading and Precious Skin.

Originally a Japanese concept, Flambeau thought the idea would catch on in the Gulf, where many women have temporary henna tattoos applied for weddings and special occasions.

“We have had a lot of interest so far because it’s a new idea and a new product that’s between jewelry, makeup and accessories and it’s a lot easier to make the decision to get a gold tattoo than buy new jewelry,” said Flambeau.

A thin film of gold or platinum is used to make the tattoo which is then applied to the skin and can last for up to a week, he said.

“More elaborate and larger designs can cost up to $5,500, and the idea really is just to have something that is very unique and new,” Flambeau said.

“We plan to have a total of 25 branches in Dubai over the coming year and by January we will be in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.”

Branded as the city of gold, Dubai’s gold retail sector has faced huge drops in sales as cash strapped consumers struggled to keep demand up with rising prices for the yellow metal.

Spot gold gained 0.3 percent to $1,407.34 an ounce on Thursday, just off an all-time high of $1,424.10 hit on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Paul Casciato)

No kimonos for APEC leaders in Japan (Reuters)

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YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao won’t have to worry about maybe having to put on a kimono at the weekend APEC summit in the midst of his row with Japan over disputed islands.

The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have been asked to wear “smart casual” for the commemorative photograph of their summit, being held this year in Japan’s port city of Yokohama, a Japanese government official said.

Summit hosts usually try to keep the APEC leaders’ costumes under wrap, so to speak, to provide a little frisson at the otherwise anodyne convocations.

The 21 APEC leaders usually dress up in native attire for what’s come to be known as a “silly shirts” class photo that concludes the summit. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton began the fashion show tradition by outfitting the leaders in black leather bombardier jackets at the 1993 summit in Seattle.

Previous meetings have seen the leaders don Chilean ponchos, Chinese silk jackets, batik shirts, Korean Hanboks, Vietnamese silk tunics, Mexican sombreros, New Zealand sailing jackets and Australian Drizabone raincoats.

The leaders gamely grin for excited photographers but some have looked decidedly ill at ease in tight silk gowns or rainbow ponchos.

The government official declined to give a reason for this year’s fashion decision, but traditional kimono, once the preferred dress of samurai, aristocrats and workers alike, could have made some of the leaders look uncomfortable, including Hu, who favors dark Western business suits.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been angling for a bilateral meeting with Hu in Yokohama. Sino-Japanese relations have taken a sharp dive due to a feud over claims to isles in the East China Sea near potentially huge maritime gas and oil reserves.

Perhaps they will have an opportunity to chat at the Kabuki show before the photo session. The highly stylized classical Japanese dance drama is known for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.

U.S. President Barack Obama will host next year’s summit in Honolulu. He has joked that he looks forward to seeing the leaders “all decked out in flowered shirts and grass skirts.”

(Reporting by William Tarrant; Additional reporting by Yoko Nishikawa and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

Starbucks defeats New York’s woman’s tea burn lawsuit (Reuters)

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Manhattan woman has failed to persuade a U.S. appeals court that Starbucks Corp should be held liable for severe burns she suffered after spilling tea served in a double cup.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld on Tuesday a lower court’s dismissal of a $3 million (1 million pounds) lawsuit brought by Rachel Moltner against the world’s largest coffee chain.

Moltner was 76 in February 2008 when she burnt herself at a Starbucks coffee shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

She spilt tea onto her left leg and foot when she tried to remove the lid from a “venti”-sized cup of tea, causing burns that required a skin graft. Her hospital stay later resulted in other injuries, including bed sores as well as herniated discs caused by a fall out of bed.

The plaintiff accused Starbucks of serving tea that was too hot in a double cup — one cup placed inside another — that was defectively designed. She also said Starbucks should have warned her the tea could spill.

The appeals court rejected her case, saying “double-cupping is a method well known in the industry as a way of preventing a cup of hot tea from burning one’s hand.”

David Jaroslawicz, a lawyer for Moltner, said Tuesday’s ruling probably ends his client’s case.

“The other side presented an old lady knocking over her tea,” he said. “The case was really about that Starbucks has a directive to employees that you should not double-cup because it changes the centre of gravity and can cause the cup to tip over.”

A lawyer for Starbucks did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

This is not the first time a restaurant or coffee retailer has faced a lawsuit over hot beverages.

In perhaps the best-known case, a jury in 1994 ordered McDonald’s Corp to pay $2.86 million to Stella Liebeck, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, woman who said she scalded herself with the restaurant’s coffee. The parties later settled.

The case is Moltner v. Starbucks Coffee Co, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-4943.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, editing by Matthew Lewis)

New Zealand TV host quits after sparking criticism (Reuters)

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A New Zealand television host has quit after sparking a diplomatic row when he ridiculed the name of Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Television station TVNZ came under heavy criticism after its “Breakfast” show host Paul Henry mispronounced Dikshit, despite being told by the lead anchor that it is pronounced “Dixit.”

India summoned New Zealand’s high commissioner on Thursday to formally protest against what it said were “racial remarks” involving Dikshit, who was asked last month to take charge of the floundering Commonwealth Games preparations.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Monday that Henry had resigned after several hundred complaints to the broadcaster regarding his Dikshit comments and questioning whether the nation’s Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, who is of Indian descent, was “even a New Zealander.”

“He has made that decision and I guess over the last week he’s had some time to reflect on the comments,” Key told breakfast television on Monday.

Key said there had been no pressure from himself or the government on TVNZ regarding Henry’s future and it was “good that he has personally made that decision.”

The prime minister said Henry’s resignation would help repair any damage caused to New Zealand’s relationship with India but stressed that these were comments from one person.

TVNZ Chief Executive Rick Ellis said he accepted Henry’s resignation on Sunday after seven years as a breakfast TV host and apologized to anyone who had been offended by the presenter’s “inappropriate on-air comments.”

“I will be apologizing in person to the Governor General. I also apologise to the Indian community, both here and in India,” he said in a statement.

Henry, 50, who was suspended from the TV station on October 5, said he had apologized twice and accepted that he had inadvertently crossed the line of what was acceptable from time to time.

“I do not want to continue to be used as a lightning rod for racial disharmony in this country. Likewise, I certainly do not want my elderly mother staked out at her nursing home by tabloid media, as has happened this weekend,” he said in a statement.

There are more than 100,000 New Zealanders of Indian ethnic origin, almost 3 percent of the population.

The row was the latest in a series of problems for authorities in Delhi who have struggled with a chaotic run-up to the Games, with corruption, shoddy construction, health and security issues bringing into question India’s ability to host the event.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Ossian Shine)

Malaysia Islamists object to Adam Lambert concert (Reuters)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party on Monday demanded that authorities cancel a planned concert by U.S. glam rocker Adam Lambert that they say is promoting “gay culture” in the mainly Muslim country.

The Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has also threatened to call “as many of its members and supporters” to proselytise to concert-goers if the performance by the former “American Idol” runner-up goes ahead on Thursday, a party official said.

“Adam Lambert’s shows… are outrageous, with lewd dancing and a gay performance that includes kissing male dancers, this is not good for people in our country,” said PAS Youth leader Nasrudin Hasan. Homosexual sex is a criminal offence in Malaysia.

PAS is Malaysia’s second-largest political party with close to a million members and is a partner in a rainbow opposition grouping led by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Foreign acts often draw protests from PAS, which since 2007 has campaigned against performances by singers including Beyonce, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne and Mariah Carey.

Police in May broke up a demonstration by Islamists including PAS supporters protesting against a concert by U.S. rapper Pitbull, underscoring a deepening tide of Islamic conservatism in the country.

An official from Malaysia’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry was reported saying that the singer, had signed a contract agreeing to abide by the Ministry’s rules on performances, which can require foreign performers to tone down their acts to suit local sensibilities.

(Reporting by Razak Ahmad; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Are you sitting comfortably? Ask the chair (Reuters)

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Getting back pain from sitting still for too long or in a bad position could be a thing of the past thanks to a chair developed by a German scientist which makes noises to tell users when they need to move.

Risto Koiva invented the “Intelli Chair” after researching “sonification” — the use of noise to convey information — with his colleagues at Bielefeld University in northwestern Germany.

“Four touch-sensitive sensors in the seat of the chair and another four in the back of the chair detect how the user is sitting,” Koiva said. “The data they collect is sent to a computer via a bluetooth module.”

If the chair detects that its occupant is sitting in the wrong position or has remained seated for too long, it makes a noise to tell the user it is time to change position.

Physicist and computer scientist Thomas Hermann said the Intelli Chair was mainly intended for use in a home office, but could be useful elsewhere.

“It could be used in school classrooms, or in big offices to optimize workflows by determining when employees need to take a break,” the 40-year-old said.

(Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Steve Addison)

Texas declares war on hogs gone wild (Reuters)

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DALLAS (Reuters) – October won’t be the best month to be a feral hog in the state of Texas.

The state’s Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has declared October “Hog Out Month – Get the Hog Outta Texas!” as part of a campaign to eradicate the pests.

The campaign aims to get Texans to lock and load and hunt down the animals, which cause widespread damage to farmers and other landowners.

“Not only are feral hogs a costly nuisance to agricultural operations and wildlife habitats, but they are increasingly finding their way into urban areas and destroying residents’ yards, public parks and golf courses,” Staples said in a statement this week when the campaign was unveiled.

“On my ranch in East Texas, I have eliminated a number of hogs and I am asking Texans around the state to step up and join the county challenge to learn about feral hogs and how best to legally hunt and trap them in their area,” he added.

Feral hogs are mostly domestic pigs that have gone wild, with some European wild boars that have escaped from exotic game ranches thrown into the mix and bloodlines.

State officials estimate the feral hog population in Texas to be around 2 million and they are estimated to cause around $400 million in damage annually as they eat or root up pastures, crops and even golf courses.

This makes them one of the most costly invasive species in the country.

The campaign may not please some animal rights groups but Texas farmers don’t need much prompting to pull the trigger when it comes to feral hogs.

Their numbers are growing because they are prolific breeders with few natural predators and are moving into suburban and urban areas.

They are also regarded as a challenge to hunt or trap because they are wary and intelligent. In author George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm,” the pigs ran the show for a reason.

“Get the Hog Outta Texas” month will feature a challenge among Texas counties that will run until October 31. The county that documents the most hogs removed during the month will get a $25,000 grant toward what the Texas Department of Agriculture terms “feral hog abatement technologies.”