Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Leading Hotels of the World

The Leading Hotels of the World - The Leading Hotels of the World, the luxury hospitality organization representing nearly 450 of the world’s finest hotels, will release today a limited number of the world’s most-coveted hotel rooms at the unprecedented rate of US$19.28 per night. For 80 minutes only, consumers will be able to secure the celebratory US$ 19.28 rate and experience a myriad the organization’s iconic members.

With rates at member hotels traditionally starting from USD 450, the USD 19.28 offer salutes The Leading Hotels of the World’s inception, and serves as a thank you to travelers for their loyalty and support throughout its 80-year history. Available exclusively via, and based on availability, the promotion enables registered customers to reserve a maximum of two nights at USD 19.28 per night (exclusive of taxes, VAT or other supplemental charges) at a single participating hotel for travel between November 1 and December 15, 2008.

The Leading Hotels of the World luxury programs:

* Leading Families – There is nothing nicer for families than a trip that includes the kids. Participating Leading Hotels offer a savings of 50% when you reserve a second room just for the children.

* Leading Honeymoons — The ultimate resource for helping you plan the most important trip of your life, with an array of attractive packages at some of the world’s most romantic hotels and resorts.

* Leading Breakfast Inclusive – Along with a superb rate at a participating Leading Hotel, you will wake up each morning to complimentary continental breakfast.

* Leading Suites – A program through which guests can enjoy savings of 20% on the finest accommodations in the world’s most sought-after hotels. Apply the savings to the cost of the suite, or use it for dining, limousine service, or other extras.

* Leading Celebrations – A collection of packages designed to help guests mark special occasions in memorable ways, with components that reflect the individuality of each participating hotel and its destination.

* One The Night – Sometimes a truly great escape requires a little extra time. Guests can indulge in an extra day or two at no additional charge at participating Leading Hotels.

* Great Affordable — One of the longest running programs in the industry, offering savings of at least 25% off published rates or 25% in value-added benefits during shoulder and off- peak seasons.

* Leading Weekends – Time is not always on your side. Leading Weekends are strategically priced to make shorter getaways as easy as they are emotionally fulfilling. Epic adventures that begin on a Friday and end on a Sunday.

* Shop Around the World with Leading – For those with a passion for shopping, a collection of packages, which include exclusive experiences, such as a chauffeured shopping excursion with a personal shopper.

* With Love from Leading – Romantic interludes with an extra touch – breakfast in bed, chilled champagne, sweets on your pillow, the couples massage – at participating Leading Hotels.

* Leading Arts and Culture – Discover the cultural treasures of the world with a stay at a Leading Hotel near renowned galleries, theaters, museums and concert halls.
* The Lap of Luxury Pet Package – For those who travel with a four-footed companion, packages with pet-perfect extras – treats, grooming, breakfast in bed, and more.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Make Your Picnic or Brunch Sparkle

Make Your Picnic or Brunch Sparkle - If you're in the process of preparing a magnificent spring brunch for a family get-together or a even a picnic under a tree, every edible detail has probably been thought out to perfection.
That is, every detail except the beverage.
A perfect gathering cannot have an ordinary drink. Tea and soda simply will not do. So, why not try one of the most versatile wines you can drink with a wide variety of foods? A sparkling wine will do the trick.
Sparkling wine's crisp, clean texture allows it to pair with a surprisingly wide range of foods. Try it with quiche lorraine, pizza, seafood, brie, artichoke and cheese dip and even spicy Asian foods. It's also great with fresh berries and fruit desserts.
Oftentimes people do not realize the only difference between sparkling wine and champagne is simply where the grapes are grown and produced. Champagne is made from grapes from the Champagne region of France, while sparkling wines are grown and produced outside the region.
The best Champagne and sparkling wines are made by methode champenoise, which requires a second fermentation inside the bottle. This secondary fermentation produces the delicate bubbles in the bottle, making the wine sparkle.
So, what can a person do to make their picnic or brunch even more extraordinary? Try these simple and creative sparkling wine cocktails by Domaine Ste. Michelle, a sparkling wine from the state of Washington, made in the traditional methode champenoise style.
French kiss. Chill a narrow tube glass. Drop in a sugar cube, and coat with a splash of Chambord. Fill with Domaine Ste. Michelle, and add a slice of lemon for garnish.
Sparkling cosmo. Combine Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut and cranberry juice in a sugar-rimmed martini glass.
Brutini. A martini glass is the perfect shape for this. Start with Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, and add a splash of Melon Liqueur. Give it a squeeze of fresh orange, and garnish with a slice of fresh strawberry.
Sparkle punch. If you are having a larger party, try the Sparkle Punch. Combine one-half cup pineapple juice, half a cup of lemon juice, one-third cup Triple Sec, one cup brandy and one-third cup Grenadine, and mix well. Then add one 750 ml bottle of white wine and two 750 ml bottles of your favorite Domaine Ste. Michelle sparkling wine.
For more information and tips on sparkling wine, visit

Roses at the Rose Parade Treated to Filtered Water

Roses at the Rose Parade Treated to Filtered Water - It's a stunning display of natural beauty that takes place annually to celebrate the paradise that is California -; the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

It's internationally televised New Year's Day Rose Parade celebration features more than 40 magnificent floats decorated with thousands of roses, plants, fruits, vegetables and exotic flowers.

Jacob Maarse Florist in Pasadena, Calif., the preferred florist of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, provides many of the roses that grace the floats in the Rose Parade -; an event that garners the attention of more than 150 million viewers worldwide. And since roses, like every other living organism, need clean water to thrive, the florists at Jacob Maarse Florist decided to research the best water for their roses.

They tested cut flowers in three types of water including: LifeSource water, city tap water and tap water with floral preservatives. When asked about the test, Hank Maarse, president of Jacob Maarse Florist said, "We've been testing the LifeSource water system in our Pasadena floral shop since March 2006, and we found that cut flowers keep their vibrant color better and last three to four days longer when kept in the fresh, filtered water."

Additionally, Phoenix Decorating Company, a float builder for the Rose Parade since 1956, has LifeSource water systems installed in float decorating facilities, flower tents and flower-prep areas. The filtered water keeps the flowers used in the decorating process, and those in vials of water on the floats, fresh and vibrant. Chris Lofthouse, president of Phoenix Decorating said, "Their water makes flowers not only grow better, but also helps them last longer."

Why does filtered water make such a difference? Water free of chlorine and chloramines gives flowers the boost they need to better withstand the sun and heat they endure during the two-day event. From their original unveiling during the parade to the special up-close viewings that follow the parade, the flowers remain softer and retain more moisture, just like our own skin, when treated to chlorine-free water.

For more information about tap-based, water filtration, visit

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Student Cultivates Peace Around The World

Student Cultivates Peace Around The World - An international art contest celebrating children's visions of peace capped off its 20th year by recognizing a teenager from Malaysia as the grand prize winner.

The grand prize winner of this year's Lions International Peace Poster Contest is Ming Yang Soong, a 13-year-old boy from Bidor, Malaysia. His poster, selected from 350,000 entries from 81 countries, portrays the theme "Peace Around the World." As the grand prize winner, Soong receives a trip to New York City for a special award ceremony during Lions Day with the United Nations.

"All nations must work together to keep this world peaceful," Soong said. "If there is peace in the world, we can progress and live in harmony. I hope that all countries on this planet will support peace."

During the past two decades more than four million children, ages 11 to 13, have artistically shared their visions for peace through the Lions International Peace Poster Contest. Lions Clubs sponsor the contest in schools and organized youth programs. The contest provides an outlet for children and adults to discuss the meaning of world peace while visually portraying their feelings. Now entering its 21st year, the contest has been held in more than 100 countries.

"Today the world is divided into pieces by hatred, terrorism and war," said Kajol Chetan Bid, a merit award winner from India. "Together we can make this world a better place to live in - a world full of love and peace."

Winners have come from all across the globe, many from areas where children do not know peace.

"Peace is a gift to live and to let others live it," said Feliccina Sioufi of Lebanon, a merit award winner.

Lions Clubs International President Mahendra Amarasuriya said, "Lions in many nations have embraced the Peace Poster Contest as a hands-on way to promote peace and to support the young people in their communities. It is another way Lions have accepted the challenge to change the world."

The 24 finalists' peace posters will be exhibited during the year at children's museums and various locations throughout the United States. Visit to view posters and send e-cards.

Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with nearly 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 202 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions Clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired while making a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.

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Speak Out About Cancer with Your Art

Speak Out About Cancer with Your Art - As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But for Anne Wilson of Morganton, N.C., a photograph that she took of her late daughter Katherine contains enough inspiration to tell a story with an infinite word count.

The photo moved family and friends so much that Wilson entered the picture into the 2006 "Lilly Oncology on Canvas" art competition -; and went on to win first place in the United States. The art competition, started in 2004 by Eli Lilly and Company, honors the journeys that many face when confronted with a cancer diagnosis.

"When we launched 'Oncology on Canvas,' we hoped to create a forum where those affected by cancer could express their hopes and fears," said Dr. Richard Gaynor, vice president of cancer research for Lilly.

First diagnosed with lung cancer at age 23, Katherine -; a non-smoker -; began a long road of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Five years later and after six recurrences, she succumbed to her disease. In Wilson's photograph, titled "This is Not a Dress Rehearsal," a smiling Katherine and her father playfully remove their hats to display their bald heads -; Katherine's from her cancer treatments and her father's a result of his sympathetic shaving.

"Katherine's cancer diagnosis changed our family in unexpected ways," said Wilson. "From the earliest days, Katherine proved that she would not let this disease negatively impact the rest of her life. The photograph shows how much she believed that -; even in those days after first learning about her diagnosis."

Throughout her battle with cancer, Wilson said that her daughter continued making the best of every moment -; traveling around the world with friends and family, speaking at a cancer center and even graduating from nursing school just a few months before her passing. After receiving her first-place award, Wilson accepted a $10,000 donation to the cancer charity of her choice, the hospital where her daughter was treated, the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The 2008 competition, which is open to all U.S. and Puerto Rico residents, is currently looking for entries in the form of oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, photography, pastels and mixed media. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2008.

For more information on how to enter the 2008 "Lilly Oncology on Canvas" competition and to receive a participant pack, call 800-734-4131 or visit

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Buying a New Home? Ask About its HVAC System

Buying a New Home? Ask About its HVAC System - Summer is peak buying time for the sale of both new and existing homes. However, when purchasing a home, prospective buyers often forget to ask about the home's heating and cooling (HVAC) system.

With heating and cooling costs accounting for nearly half of all home energy usage, it's important to do some research regarding a home's HVAC system before making an offer. Following are some tips that can help buyers of new and existing homes ensure that a home's heating and cooling system will perform efficiently.

- New home construction. Production home builders typically offer a few select brands of furnace and air conditioner systems. Ask the builder about the brand and model number that will be installed in your newly built home and its fuel efficiency.

It may be worth upgrading to a higher-efficiency system. A certified contractor can help you calculate the potential savings of a high-efficiency unit. For example, by selecting an Infinity 19 heat pump by Carrier, a homeowner can save up to 40 percent on annual heating and cooling costs.

Custom builders generally provide extensive flexibility when it comes to selecting a furnace or air conditioner. An especially popular trend is hybrid heat technology that allows the system to automatically choose the most efficient fuel source given certain conditions and alternate between fuel sources as conditions change. The Hybrid Heat Dual Fuel system by Carrier is so energy-efficient that the cost to heat is less than with any gas furnace.

- Existing homes. Don't rely on the home inspector to audit a home's HVAC system. A qualified contractor can inspect the home and identify areas that might not be energy-efficient. He or she also will be able to provide insight into the system's efficiency and whether you may want to consider negotiating a system upgrade in your purchase offer. For example, beginning in 2010, manufacturers will no longer be permitted to produce units that use R-22 (Freon) refrigerant; so, you should ask whether a system is Puron-refrigerant compatible.

Ask the seller for copies of utility bills to estimate what energy costs might be. And finally, check with local utility companies to find out if they offer any energy-savings programs.

These tips are brought to you by Carrier. For additional information on home heating and cooling systems visit and click on the "home" button.

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Saturday, 22 March 2008

Race (2008) Movie Review

Race (2008) Movie Review - Race was the most-awaited release this year but the movie review does not seem to be that exciting. I’ve surfed through many ‘Race movie reviews‘ but couldn’t find one which really lives up to the hype, the movie had generated prior to it’s release.

You know I don’t write about many movie reviews… only the ones which I think everyone is anticipating about.

Race is a typical Abbas-Mustan Bollywood masala movie with a star-cast to be jealous of. Though the critics have slammed the movie by giving it anything between 2-3.5 stars, user reviews have been exciting.

Race is the story of two brothers Ranvir Singh (Saif Ali Khan) and his alcoholic younger brother Rajiv Singh (Akshaye Khanna). Their life revolves around horse racing – from owning a stud farm to betting huge money on them, the two millionaires can’t see beyond the thrills of fast cars and fast horses.

The first half of the movie is made very well, you don’t get bored or anything as such but the 2nd half was kind of weak, specially the character of RD (Anil Kapoor), which was sketched on the lines of the famous investigator, Karamchand.

On the acting front, Saif was good, Akshay was better, really liked the way his character was shaping up throughout the movie. Bipasha Basu was in kind of confused state of mind all the time. Katrina was at her worst (shockingly!) and Sameera Reddy should go back to the South-Indian films.

Overall the film is not bad but a large amount of credit for that goes to the editor and to Allan Amin – the man behind all the action. Abbas Mastan will draw in fans to the box office largely because of the multi star line up and for the infamous Bipasha Basu – Saif Ali Khan lovemaking number (which let us warn you isn’t all that much!).

In my opinion, the movie, driven by it’s cast and action-scenes will do a reasonably good business. And I would give it a three star rating.

Race (2008) Movie Trailer:

Race is reasonable enough to win a ‘not bad’ stamp. But isn’t imaginative enough to gain a ‘good’ tag.


Saif Ali Khan
Akshaye Khanna
Katrina Kaif
Bipasha Basu
Anil Kapoor
Sameera Reddy

Director : Abbas-Mastan
Musician : Pritam

That's Race (2008) Movie Review

Jamie King Sexy Pictures

Jamie King Sexy Pictures - Latest high quality Jamie King Sexy Pictures from Maxim Magazine (April 2008)
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Kirsten Dunst Pictures

Kirsten Dunst Pictures - Latest high quality pictures from Kirsten Dunst - Dark Lady Photoshoot
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Body Of War

Body Of War - "Nothing is too good for our vets. And nothing is what they will get."

Body of War
See the Pain. Don't Sanitize the Iraq War
The Thomas Young Story
Independent Film by
Ellen Spiro and Phil DonahueSEE THIS FILM

For more information about the film and where you can see the film go to this link:

A related program:

PBS: FRONTLINE: Bush's War - March 23, Monday 8pm central

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Hansbrough Brothers

Hansbrough Brothers - Who would dare stand up to the 6-foot-9, 250-pound likely national player of the year?

His older brother, Greg, a student at Columbia College.

“Still today when I go home, Greg’s trying to roughhouse me,” said Tyler Hansbrough, the UNC star. “But the tables have turned for him.”

Their little brother, Ben, just watches them fight. “Greg will be the first one to pull a punch,” said Ben Hansbrough, a starting sophomore guard for Mississippi State. “Now after he throws that punch, it’s not too pretty. But he’ll still fight. He may be in a headlock and get beat every half a second, but he’s still trying to fight.”

That relentless attitude has carried Greg Hansbrough, 24, since a malignant brain tumor threatened his life 17 years ago. Although the surgery was successful, doctors thought he might never walk again.

But with love and resolve driving him, he has gone farther than anyone thought possible. And inspired witnesses — his younger brothers — are following his persistent path.

Sports were effortless for Greg Hansbrough when he was a young boy running around Poplar Bluff, 150 miles south of St. Louis. Layups dropped through the net from his left or right hand. With his long, spider-like legs, he won races by yards and the long jump by feet at track meets.

Those left-handed layups started to clang off the rim when he was 7. One night at dinner he couldn’t use his fork with his left hand. His father, Gene Hansbrough, was concerned. He was an orthopedic surgeon and took his son to the hospital to get a CT scan. The results were shocking.

“I saw this big tumor in his head. It was very devastating,” his father said.

They rushed to a hospital in St. Louis the following day. The doctor’s prognosis was dire: The tumor is in an inoperable part of the brain. Enjoy him while he’s here. It’s only a matter of time — six months to a year.

His father could not accept that. He tracked down and phoned neurosurgeons across the country while his son came home from school and collapsed on his bed, complaining about the unbearable pain in his head. After making calls for two weeks, he realized his options were limited. Two neurosurgeons could help him — Dr. Patrick Kelly at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and a doctor in Russia.

Gene Hansbrough got in touch with Kelly, who looked at his son’s records. The doctor thought his new technique could extract the tumor. But since it was located perilously close to the brain’s on-off switch — the reticular activating system — it would be a delicate, potentially fatal operation.

The condition didn’t seem so serious to Greg Hansbrough, however. He thought it was just a prolonged case of the flu. But that perception changed moments before he was wheeled into surgery. Peering up from his gurney, he saw his parents crying in each other’s arms. They paced around, waiting for the news, while doctors operated for more than five hours.

The surgery was successful. But when Greg Hansbrough woke up, he could only hop on his right foot. The doctors weren’t optimistic about his recovery.

He might be able to walk again, they said. But he wouldn’t be able to ride a bicycle, play contact sports or run. His left side was too weak and clumsy.

It took Greg Hansbrough only about one month to learn how to walk again. But the rehabilitation did not pain him the most. He wanted to return home and play with his beloved brothers, Tyler and Ben. They sent him a picture while he was stuck by himself in Minnesota. “When I saw it, I just started crying because I missed them so bad,” he said.

After one month, Greg Hansbrough returned home. He continued to work hard to regain control of his body’s left side. He lifted weights and threw medicine balls in the basement. He got black eyes and a few broken arms. He got a bicycle, went to a baseball field with his father and strapped on a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. He fell often but soon he was able to smile and say, “Look, Father, I’m riding a bike.”

More medical work was necessary for him after the initial operation. But after getting a shunt in his head, he was playing Tyler Hansbrough one-on-one. “My head was all bandaged up and really tender, but I beat his ass,” he said.

Greg Hansbrough took every opportunity to beat up his younger brothers. One day, Tyler Hansbrough could take the bruising no longer. “Greg, stop hitting me. Stop,” he said.

“Why?” his older brother asked.

“Because my teacher thinks I’m suffering from child abuse,” he replied.

“So I just blasted him again,” Greg Hansbrough now recalls.

The brothers wrestled and boxed and shot paintball and BB guns in the woods. They battled while playing basketball in the backyard.

But some pain arose when Greg Hansbrough was in junior high. Students teased him because he still had trouble performing fine motor skills with his left arm. He cried when he came home. His father set up a punching bag in the basement. “When you feel bad, you go down and punch that bag really hard, really hard, until you don’t feel so bad anymore,” he told his son. Once Greg Hansbrough started to grow into his 6-foot-5 frame, he made sure the ridicule stopped and laid out one of the bullies.

Continuing to defy all the doctors’ proclamations, Greg Hansbrough joined the high school basketball team. But he admits he was “roly-poly” when he was a sophomore and needed to get in shape. So he decided to run.

Gene Hansbrough was surprised. He thought his son would last only two or three weeks on the cross-country team. He was running alongside boys who weren’t as big as one of his legs, his father joked.

Greg Hansbrough dreaded the pain and constant soreness. But during the last meet of the season, the hatred vanished. “I took pride in knowing that what I was doing was really hard and tough,” he said. That spring, he joined the track and field team.

The giant runner was an inspiration at Poplar Bluff High School. Whenever Greg Hansbrough checked into basketball games, the fans stood for an ovation. When he sank one of his right-handed hook shots, they rose again.

Greg Hansbrough had already surpassed doctors’ hopes, but he was determined to reach another remarkable goal. After finishing his first track season, he asked himself, “Why can’t I complete a marathon?”

Hansbrough discovered his passion after completing his first marathon in St. Louis in 2003. He didn’t stop, logging more than 150 long-distance miles by finishing two more marathons and six half-marathons.

He’s planning to make a career out of the distances he has covered. He is studying at Columbia College to be a physical education teacher and track and field coach. He already has experience after spending three years as a student assistant for the University of Missouri track and field team. “They helped make me who I am today,” he said.

But Greg Hansbrough has also influenced others, especially his brothers. They watched him struggle daily to overcome his physical limitations and fight back when they feebly tried to beat him up. Once when Tyler Hansbrough hit his older brother in the leg with a broomstick, Greg Hansbrough retaliated by throwing a bat. When Tyler Hansbrough broke a chair over his older brother’s leg, Greg Hansbrough destroyed the rest of chair over his younger brother’s leg.

That toughness hasn’t worn off. Tyler Hansbrough displayed it during his famous altercation against Duke last season. His nose started to gush blood after Gerald Henderson’s vicious elbow. The incident incensed his older brother. “I wanted to go punch Gerald in the face right then,” Greg Hansbrough said.

When he saw his younger brother in the locker room after the game 10 minutes later, Tyler Hansbrough greeted him by saying, “Dude, did you see me go after him?”

The UNC star has dedicated his career to his older brother. He wears No. 50 in honor of Greg Hansbrough, who had that number in high school.

When “Psycho T” takes the floor for the Tar Heels, he realizes the relative importance of putting a ball through a hoop.

“He comes back and does all these things to prove everybody wrong,” Tyler Hansbrough said. “It just kind of puts in perspective what I do. I’m just trying to win a basketball game.”

Tyler Hansbrough will turn into his madcap alter ego for No. 1 North Carolina tonight in its NCAA Tournament opener.

“Psycho T” will trample the court, rampage down the lane and swarm loose balls.

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Friday, 21 March 2008

Man Sells His Life on eBay

Man Sells His Life on eBay - We've All Thought About Starting Over Completely. Meet a Man Who Is Trying to Sell It All When Ian Usher realized he needed a fresh start, he put his entire life up for sale on eBay, from his toys to his toilet paper.

At first glance, the 44-year-old Australian who sky-dives, snowboards and rides motorbikes in his free time might seem to have a great life. But in fact he says he no longer wants it.

"The initial trigger for it was, unfortunately, the breakup of my marriage," he said.

After his five-year marriage ended two years ago, Usher decided the best way to patch up his broken heart was to pitch all his stuff and start over. In June, he's auctioning everything off on eBay.

He's currently planning to list his house, his hot tub, his clothes, his big-screen TV and his beat-up car. Usher says you can even get his friends and their dogs -- apparently, they'll be nice to you if you win.

People have bought all sorts of interesting items on eBay before: Toast with the image of the Virgin Mary burned on it went for $28,000; a sock worn by a paparazzo when he was run over by Britney Spears went for $600.

Usher thinks his life could go for up to $500,000. His ex-wife thinks he has gone mad.

"One of the phrases she used was it sounds 'a bit mental,'" he said.

Usher says he's not looking back though and is just thinking about his next big adventure.

"I plan to go to the airport, show up and see what plane has a seat available on it," he said.

Click here to visit Ian Usher's auction site.

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Sarah Jessica Parker Unsexiest Woman?

Sarah Jessica Parker Unsexiest Woman? - Sarah Jessica Parker was extremely upset that Maxim magazine had named her the "unsexiest woman alive" last fall.

In an interview with Grazia magazine, the "Sex and the City" star commented, "Am I really the unsexiest woman in the world? Wow! It's kind of shocking."

The popular lad mag had compared her features to a horse's: "How the hell did this Barbaro-faced broad manage to be the least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women and still star on a show with 'sex' in the title? Pull your skirt down, Secretariat, we´d rather ride Chris Noth."

Not only was Parker "filled with rage and anger" after hearing these comments, but her husband Matthew Broderick was upset "because it has to do with his judgment too."

Despite her outrage, Parker isn't going to let the comments change her own opinion of herself.

"I really like the choices I've made. I am who I am," she says. "Do I have big fake boobs, Botox and big lips? No. Do I fit some ideals and standards of some men writing in a men's magazine? Maybe not."

Amy Winehouse, "Grey's Anatomy" star Sandra Oh, Madonna and Britney Spears also landed on the Unsexiest List.

The "Sex and the City" movie will be released on May 30.

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Sara Jane Olson Released

Sara Jane Olson Released - Former Symbionese Liberation Army member Sara Jane Olson, who hid for years by posing as an ordinary housewife, was released from prison Thursday after serving time for attempted murder and second-degree murder in two separate cases, authorities said.

Olson, 61, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, walked out of the Central Women's Facility in Chowchilla, prisons spokesman Bill Sessa said.

For almost 24 years, Olson was one of the nation's most sought-after fugitives - she disappeared in 1975, the same year two Los Angeles police cars were bombed. She changed her name from Kathleen Soliah and, over the years, lived as a mild-mannered Midwestern housewife. She married a Minnesota physician and became a celebrated cook and soccer mom in the St. Paul area.

She was captured in June 1999 on charges of planting the police car bombs. She subsequently pleaded guilty to attempted murder charges for the attempted car bombings. In 2004, a Sacramento judge vacated the 14-year sentence for the car bombs given to Olson after ruling that the state Board of Prison Terms did not independently review her case upon sentencing her in 2002 for the bombings. After a review, her sentence was reduced by one year.

Olson was also serving time for murder.

In 2002, Olson had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for her role in the 1975 SLA robbery of the Sacramento area bank in which customer Myrna Opsahl, 42, was shot and killed. She received a sentence of six years.

In her 2002 probation report, police said Olson emerged as the leader of the SLA after a 1974 fire and shootout in Los Angeles in which six of the nine members of the SLA died.

Back when she was Kathy Soliah, Olson was president of the Palmdale High School Pep Club in Los Angeles County. Her mother said in an interview in 1975 that her oldest daughter was "into everything - Girl Scouts, the Rainbows, Sunday school."

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Fire Elk

Fire Elk - If it feels like Easter is coming early, it's probably because it is.

Falling on March 23, Easter comes earlier this year than it has in nearly 100 years.

The earliest day Easter can fall on is March 22, while the latest is April 25.

The last time Easter - a Christian holiday which observes the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and his subsequent resurrection three days later - fell on March 23 was in 1913 and it will be more than 150 years before it comes this early in the year again.

The next time Easter falls on March 23 will be in 2160. Easter falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.


Mounties have charged a second man in last month's arson of Frog Lake First Nation's office, about 271 km northeast of Edmonton.

Cpl. Brad Lazicki with Elk Point RCMP declined to release the man's name yesterday. Police had already charged a 22-year-old man following the Feb. 25 blaze that levelled the building.

Mounties were notified of the fire around 8 a.m. Fire crews from Frog Lake and Elk Point battled the fire but failed to save the building.

On Feb. 29, police charged Ronald James Stanley with arson and break and enter.


CALGARY -- An ammonia leak at a Calgary building yesterday forced the evacuation of more than 75 people, including three women taken to hospital.

Reports suggest a maintenance person accidentally caused a small discharge of ammonia gas while working.

Firefighters said three women in their 30s and 40s were taken to hospital in stable condition.

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Fire Elk

Kylie Minogue Pictures

Kylie Minogue Pictures - Latest high quality pictures of Kylie Minogue for Calendar 2008 + More pictures
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