ECHO Entertainment News: St Helens hosts the three-day Summer Streets event

FIERY stilt walkers, dinosaurs, acrobats – and an escapologist who fights his way out of clingfilm.

Welcome to St Helens this week.

The entertainers, along with magic, comedy dance acts and giant lobsters, are part of Summer Streets which will take over the town centre from Thursday to Saturday.

It promises three action-packed days of urban entertainment which, as an added bonus, is absolutely free.


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Highlights include The Foodies – a comedy chef and his hilariously hopeless trainee; Farenheight, the fiery stilt walkers; Tiny the Dinosaur, an amazingly life-like dinosaur, and a wonderful children’s show inside the stomach of a 30ft long sleeping pig!

Squashbox Theatre will entertain audiences with puppetry, storytelling, live music and comedy routines, while Gareth Jones – is an amazing escapologist who breaks free from a straightjacket, chains and even clingfilm!

Returning to St Helens are Turbo Jonez The Temple of Boom (a one man comedy dance show featuring beats from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s), and Granny Turismo who arrive on their souped-up shopping trolleys.

Other acts include Lobster a la Cart – giant lobsters who entertain the crowds; children’s favourites The Urban Meerkats, and Dan the Hat, complete with yo-yo skills and jaw-dropping hat routines.

Cllr Barrie Grunewald, who is Deputy Leader of St Helens Council and Cabinet Member for Urban Regeneration, Housing and Culture, says: “We’re thrilled that we’re able to deliver this new Summer Streets event brimming with wild and wonderful street acts that will amaze and enthral audiences of all ages. It’s top-drawer entertainment from across the world – and it won’t cost a penny to see it.

“Summer Streets is just one part of St Helens Council’s comprehensive town centre event programme designed to support town centre retailers and provide residents and visitors with a range of cultural opportunities in the heart of the town centre.”

Summer Streets runs from Thursday to Saturday. For more information visit www.whatsoninsthelens.com

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Massive India blackout leaves 300 million without power

A massive grid failure in Delhi and much of northern India left more than 300 million people without electricity on Monday in one of the worst blackouts to hit the country in more than a decade.


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The lights in Delhi and seven states went out about 2 a.m and had not been restored by the morning rush-hour, leaving the capital’s workers sweltering overnight, then stranded at metro stations in the morning as trains were cancelled.

Blackouts are frequent in much of the country, including major cities. Chaos reigned on Delhi’s always-hectic roads as stop lights failed.

“I’m 45 minutes late for work. First, no power since 2 in the morning, then no water to take a shower and now the metro is delayed by 13 minutes after being stuck in traffic for half an hour,” said 32-year-old Keshav Shah, who works in a multinational software company 30 km outside the capital.

“As if I wasn’t dreading Monday enough, this had to happen.”

Authorities made restoring services to hospitals and transport systems a priority. By mid-morning electricity had returned to parts of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, a state with more people than Brazil. Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir were also hit.

“We’ll find out the reason and see that such kind of things are avoided in the future,” Ram Nayak, the head of India’s state-run Power Grid Corporation, said.

“The biggest priority is to connect essential loads back to public transport systems, whether it be the rail or the airport, hospitals and other places,” he told TV network CNN-IBN.

Officials at Delhi’s international airport said flights were unaffected.

India has a peak-hour power deficit of about 12 percent, slowing the economy. Delhi’s private power company, BSES , said northern India last suffered such a major outage in 2001.

About 40 percent of Indians, or 500 million people, lack electricity. Delays in opening new power plants and coal mines, among other things, have held back capacity.

(Additional reporting by Anurag Kotoky, Matthias Williams and Nandita Bose; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Nick Macfie)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Click For Restrictions – http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

Porky & Buddy Pet Health – Keeping Pets Safe In Vehicles

Dear Porky Buddy,
My next door neighbor has started to criticize me for taking my dog Pluto for rides in the car.  She says I should have Pluto in a crate or a harness, but that would totally spoil the fun for him of hanging his head out the window and enjoying the wind.

I would like to tell her to mind her own business, but what if she’s right?  What do you think?
Bill

Dear Bill,
Obviously, what would totally spoil the fun for Pluto (not to speak of the guilt you would feel) would be if you had an accident and Pluto was injured after flying around the inside of the car or out of the car.

Car seats are no safer for pets than they are for babies or toddlers, so you need to use some sort of reasonable restraint to keep Pluto safe, just as you do for your kids.

The best option is a well-ventilated crate or carrier, (kept inside the car, obviously, not on top of it, but we digress…).

Make sure the carrier is large enough for Pluto to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. If instead, he will be riding on the seat, outfit him with a harness and safety belt to keep him secure in case of sudden stops or changes in direction.

Most injuries in car accidents are caused by bodies (human or animal) flying around the inside of the car.  Not only that, but, according to the ASPCA, unrestrained pets actually cause more than 30,000 auto accidents each year.

And please, we know he probably likes it, but don’t allow him to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects. Crack the window open just a little so he can enjoy all the fabulous smells, the sweat, the hot tarmac, the manure spreaders, but keep his head inside.

And speaking of busy bodies, while we’re at it, remember to never leave Pluto alone in a parked vehicle! On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, your car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing Pluto to freeze to death.

We know you want to have fun with Pluto and we are all about that, but do it safely.  And thank your busy body neighbor for her helpful advice.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter assistance, information and referral, adoption assistance to pet owners, humane education programs, foster care and adoption for pets in urgent need, assistance with lost and found pets.

Our administrative offices and spay/neuter clinic are located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Check our web site at www.oswegohumane.org or call (315) 207-1070 for more information or to be placed on our mailing list for our newsletter.

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.

Google urges end to authors’ digital book lawsuit

Google Inc retook the offensive against thousands of authors claiming it copied their works without permission, and urged the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit arising from its ambitious plan to build the world’s largest digital book library.

Friday’s request by the world’s largest search engine company followed a federal judge’s March 2011 rejection of a sweeping $125 million settlement of the now seven-year-old case. Talks to revive an accord later broke down.

Google has said it has scanned more than 20 million books, and posted English-language snippets of more than 4 million, since agreeing in 2004 with large research libraries to digitise current and out-of-print works for its Google Books website.

While Google planned to provide only snippets online to comply with copyright laws governing fair use, The Authors Guild and groups representing photographers and graphic artists complained that it amounted to “massive copyright infringement.”

In a filing with the U.S. district court in Manhattan, Google said authors have shown no economic harm from its scanning and display of their works and the creation of a searchable index to find them.

The company also said authors actually benefit because the database helps people find and buy their books, and that there is a “significant public benefit” from providing access to information that might otherwise not be found.

“Google Books creates enormous transformative benefits without reducing the value of the authors’ work,” it said. “(It) therefore passes with ease the ultimate test of fair use.”

Michael Boni, a lawyer for The Authors Guild, whose president is novelist-lawyer Scott Turow, said he asked the court on Friday to grant summary judgment in his client’s favour.

He said his filing is not public because it refers to confidential Google documents. “We’re grinding away,” Boni said in an interview.

In rejecting the $125 million accord, Judge Denny Chin had said it went too far because it gave Google a “de facto monopoly” to copy books en masse without permission and served to “further entrench” its market power in online searches.

Among the libraries whose works have been scanned are those of Harvard University, Oxford University, Stanford University, the University of California, the University of Michigan, and the New York Public Library, Google has said.

The United States, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp had been among those to raise antitrust concerns about the settlement.

Chin began overseeing the Google case as a trial judge and kept jurisdiction after he was elevated in 2010 to the federal appeals court in New York.

He granted class-action status to authors in May, and said groups representing photographers and graphic artists may also sue. Individual plaintiffs in the case include former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Jim Bouton, the author of “Ball Four.”

The case is The Authors Guild et al v. Google Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 05-08136.

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012

ECHO Entertainment News: Paddy Shennan’s TV Review: Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD (Channel 4)



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LIKE Ruby Wax’s documentary, Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD (Channel 4, Tuesday) was part of the 4 Goes Mad season.

There was comedy – while playing pool, the likeable comedian said: “Technically, this is a sport but for me it’s cleaning a table” – and there was tragedy, as he met the OCD-suffering mum of a young man whose own OCD led to him taking his own life.

A thoughtful, but painfully sad programme.

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Demi 'dating Martin Henderson'

Demi Moore

Martin Henderson

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Demi Moore has a new toy boy and an overseas gossip mag is reporting it’s New Zealand star Martin Henderson.

It would appear the actor has moved up in the ranks since his days on Shortland Street, as the pair were snapped by Life Style magazine enjoying a romantic holiday in Connecticut last week.

It was reported that Moore, 49, has been secretly dating Henderson, 37, twelve years her junior.

On July 19, Demi and Martin went to lunch at Nine Main Bakery and Deli in New Preston, Connecticut. “She was in line and a Colbie Caillat song came on – she started singing along and dancing in a playful, flirty way,” a fellow diner told Life and Style.

According to the magazine, the two went then grocery shopping together before driving back to the house where they stayed on their vacation.

“They were very comfortable with each other,” said a witness.

Tabloids across the world have reported that Moore was allegedly devastated at photos which emerged recently of her ex-husband Ashton Kutcher getting very close to former That 70s Show co-star Mila Kunis.

But Life Style reported that just 10 days ago the pair enjoyed a lobster dinner at a friend’s house followed by a two-hour hike at Steep Rock Preserve the next morning.

“Insiders” who saw the actress with new beau Henderson, said she ” looked great – chatty, healthy and happy.”

Henderson made his screen debut in children’s thriller Strangers, written by the late Margaret Mahy and became a household name in New Zealand when he appeared on Shortland Street as Stuart Neilson. HiSince then, he has appeared in Home and Away, the 2002 horror The Ring and a Britney Spears Video. Most recently he starred in an American doctor drama Off The Map, which was cancelled after its first season.

He previously dated Phone Booth star Radha Mitchell, with whom he starred in 1999’s Kick.

Moore called it quits with Kutcher in November after six years of marriage, after confirmed reports he had cheated on her numerous times.

It has been reported that her daughters, Rumer, 23, Scout, 20 and Tallulah, 18, have considered a restraining order against their mother in a bid to snap her out of a nervous breakdown since the split.

– © Fairfax NZ News

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Get a grip people – dont you realise all this rubbish about a relationship is a total fabrication. Unless you personally (underlined) know the people or were there, you can not believe what you read in the papers or mags about high-profile people. The NZ reporters were not there and do not know the people. They have spun a story.

to many opinions… take a look in the mirror I bet most of you are unfit, overweight and have zero class… bottom feeders

Would anyone actually give a shit if these two weren’t celebrities or if they were neighbours down the road? don’t think so, media needs to get a life of their own, instead of reporting everyone elses lives to make themselves feel better, i would hate to ever be a celebrity.

LOL @James #2. “He’s actually young enough to be her son”. I don’t know what part of NZ you are from but around here most mothers are older than 12.

Oh deary me, what’s the problem, I’m married to a man who is 14yrs younger than me, and we have been married for 5yrs, we are happy, and we are best friends, we are like two peas in a pod, I’m super young for my age, and full of energy, and very healthy! so good on you Demi and Martin, enjoy the moment, have fun, you cannot choose who you fall in love with! Amen

What celebities, actors and musicians need to do is this, have one fully televised, broadcast on the net orgy. Anything goes. The press can take photos and all. Then, once that’s finished with, what scandal can the tabloids inflict on the rest of the world ever again? we would have seen EVERYTHING – literally. After that, who cares?

I say good on Martin, good on Demi. In fact, the best thing for HER would be to get down to NZ (with Martin)for a holiday away from the limelight and scandal rags.

Wahooooo go Demi Martin ! honestly who cares if lasts 6 months or 6 years, life can be made up of lots of relationships, long or short. As long as they are happy having a good time, then great !

Life is for living people !!

@ James #2 07:58 am Jul 26 2012
“He’s actually young enough to be her son. Shameful”

She’s 49; he’s 37 – do the maths. Do you know many 12-year-old mothers, do you?

I thought cougars usually went for younger prey.

@ ck #37 – at 37 Martin Henderson is not a boy.
@ Felicity Maher #25 your disgusting
He also starred in Bride Prejudice was in Windtalkers and Smokin’ Aces.
Good luck to them.

Activists: Syrian helicopters pound Aleppo

On Saturday, activists said soldiers were targeting rebel-controlled neighborhoods to crush the opposition forces for good. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fierce fighting has erupted inside those neighborhoods. The group cited its network of sources on the ground in Aleppo.

It has been a difficult two weeks for the Syrian government with rebel assaults first on the capital, Damascus, and then on Aleppo, as well as several high-profile defections and a bomb that killed four top security officials.

The government, however, launched a swift counteroffensive and quashed the assault on the capital with a combination of heavy weapons and house-to-house searches. Scores of people were killed. Opposition activists said they expected similar tactics in the coming days to keep Aleppo from falling into rebel hands.

The rebels are outgunned by the Syrian forces, making it difficult for them to hold any territory for long. But the rebels’ run on Damascus and Aleppo suggests they could be gaining in power and organization.

Saudi Arabia and other nations have spoken positively of arming the rebels, though no country is known to be doing so.

Saudi King Abdullah announced a national campaign to collect money for “our brothers in Syria” on July 22, and on Saturday the country’s press agency said Saudi donations had reached more than $72 million.

On Friday, the U.N.’s outgoing chief observer in Syria said it’s just a matter of time before Assad’s regime crumbles, but that the violence of the civil war could worsen if Syria uses the full force of its military.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, whose three-month mission in Damascus ended last week, also said the situation in Syria is likely to remain unstable even if Assad’s government steps down.

“It’s impossible to imagine a future in Syria where the current people in power remain in power. So in that view, it’s just a matter of time before this regime collapses. And that is how it’s supposed to be,” Mood told a news conference in Oslo. That could happen, he said, if more members of the military simultaneously leave the ranks of the government to join the opposition.

Top 10 Most Unusual Dog and Cat Names of 2012 Revealed

BREA, Calif., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — “Bella” and “Max” once again topped the list of most popular pet names last year, but there are thousands of pet owners who look for more originality when naming their furry, four-legged friends. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, celebrates the most clever, creative and quirky pet names nationwide. After a thorough selection process, 50 unusual dog names and 50 unusual cat names were chosen from VPI’s database of more than 485,000 insured pets and narrowed down with a vote for the 10 most unusual names in each category. Following are the 10 Wackiest Dog and Cat Names of 2012:

 

“Sorting through our database of more than 485,000 insured pets, we found some very interesting, amusing and flat-out peculiar dog and cat names,” said Curtis Steinhoff, director of corporate communications for VPI. “When we spoke with the pet owners from our Top Ten lists, we heard some entertaining and heartwarming stories about how each owner selected their unusual pet name. While monikers like Stinker Belle and Vincent Van Furrball might sound odd, they are also a reflection of what makes each pet unique and special to their family.”

For the full list of 50 unusual dog and cat names, pictures of pets that made the Top 10, and the stories behind their unusual names, visit www.wackypetnames.com

About Veterinary Pet Insurance
With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, nearly 3,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

Yes, Virginia, the Government Invented the Internet

Al Gore was once routinely mocked for supposedly claiming to have “invented the Internet.” He didn’t really say that but that didn’t do much to stop the joke from spreading. Now, in similarly fact-challenged fashion, Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz has attempted to extend the idea and claim that government itself didn’t really have much to do with the Internet’s creation.

The difference is that critics of Crovitz’s misrepresentation of history are pushing back hard to set the record straight.

“It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet,” Crovitz writes in a column published in the Journal’s Monday edition, a rebuttal of sorts to President Barack Obama’s recent campaign-trail remarks about the U.S. government’s role in the creation of the Net.

Citing Michael Hiltzik’s history of Xerox PARC, “Dealers of Lightning,” Crovitz contends that it was the technologists at Xerox PARC who really invented the Internet and that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which created the widely recognized Internet precursor known as ARPANET, played a bit part at best.

The trouble for Crovitz is that Hiltzik himself, like Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall, has turned up to say, basically, “You know nothing of my work! … How you got to write a column on anything is totally amazing!”

Hiltzik takes a scalpel to much of the column, noting that “while I’m gratified in a sense that [Croviz] cites my book about Xerox PARC, ‘Dealers of Lightning,’ to support his case, it’s my duty to point out that he’s wrong.”

Some of what Crovitz gets wrong is simply bad research. For example, he credits Tim Berners-Lee with the invention of “hyperlinks,” when in fact, Berners-Lee and his colleagues at CERN created the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that gave rise to the World Wide Web. Hiltzik names Doug Engelbart as the “hyperlink” inventor Crovitz probably meant, noting wryly that, anyway, the development of these important technologies at CERN, a European government consortium, and the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) where Englebert created his NLS collaborative computing system with DARPA, NASA, and U.S. Air Force funding, does little to advance Crovitz’s cause.

The main pillar of the Journal columnist’s argument seems to be that Robert Taylor, who ran DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office before moving on to Xerox PARC and then the Digital Equipment Corporation, once said, “[t]he Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

Here’s Hiltzik picking apart Crovitz’s reliance on that quote:

“Crovitz confuses AN internet with THE Internet. Taylor was citing a technical definition of ‘internet’ in his statement. But I know Bob Taylor, Bob Taylor is a friend of mine, and I think I can say without fear of contradiction that he fully endorses the idea as a point of personal pride that the government-funded ARPANet was very much the precursor of the Internet as we know it today. Nor was ARPA’s support ‘modest,’ as Crovitz contends. It was full-throated and total. Bob Taylor was the single most important figure in the history of the Internet, and he holds that stature because of his government role.”

Game, set, match? Probably, but there’s more. Hiltzik notes with puzzlement that Crovitz wants to somehow credit private industry for the invention of the TCP/IP communications protocol without acknowledging that Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn developed it on a government contract. He also appears to have a thin grasp on what Ethernet is.

Then there’s the strange spectacle of Crovitz criticizing the government for allowing TCP/IP to “languish” for 30 years before private companies figured out how to make money from it, while at the same time heaping praise on Xerox—a company even he admits was far better at inventing things than packaging them for commercial sale.

Hiltzik, of course, is a fan of Xerox PARC and would scarcely disagree that its many contributions to the computing revolution were singularly impactful, if not always as beneficial to Xerox shareholders as they wound up being for Apple’s and Microsoft’s.

Luckily for the history of the Internet, the author isn’t such a big fan of revisionism.

For more from Damon, follow him on Twitter @dpoeter.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.