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Monday, October 25, 2010

Zimbabwe Failing to Address Schoolgirl Pregnancies

Concern over reports of growing numbers of pupils dropping out of school due to pregnancy has rekindled debate over the link between intergenerational sex and HIV infection among Zimbabwe's youth.

While accurate data on the number of schoolgirls who leave classes because of pregnancy are not available, child rights activists and education experts say the issues that lead to schoolgirl pregnancies, including sexual violence, have largely remained unaddressed. 

Intergenerational sex between schoolgirls and older men has been flagged as a key factor. 

"Everyone knows schoolgirls fall for much older men because we want cell phones and money as many of our parents cannot buy us these things," Bulawayo schoolgirl Tatenda Hlatshwayo told IPS. 

"Even if we know what happened to other girls who fell pregnant and were ditched, we still follow them, not because we are stupid but because we also want those things," she said. 

Accepted by parents 

Teresa Chigovera of Childline, a child protection NGO, says while having sex with a minor – girls under 16 – is a crime in Zimbabwe, what has made assisting the victims difficult is that families accept offers of marriage made by perpetrators. 

"While some families report these men to us and the police, they soon withdraw the charges, claiming the much older man responsible has made arrangements to either marry the pregnant schoolgirl or pay for the needs of the unborn child," Chigovera said. 

"But we know the men disappear as soon as the threat of arrest is over," she added. 

The most recent Zimbabwe National Demographic and Health Survey, published in 2007. identifies intergenerational sex as one of the primary HIV risk factors for young women. According to UNAIDS/WHO (2008), the HIV prevalance rate for females aged 15 – 24 is 7.7 percent, compared to just 2.9 percent for males in the same age range. 

The worry over high rates of HIV infection and pregnancy also raises questions about the effectiveness of the sex education in schools. 

In 2000, the government introduced sex education into the curriculum - covering reproductive health, avoidance of early initiation into sex - as part of efforts to slow the country’s HIV prevalence rate among young people. 

"Sex education must be failing to raise awareness if we are still talking about how to deal with learner pregnancies," said Abigail Dube, a head teacher at a secondary school in Nkulumane High School said. 

Thomas Ntini, whose children are in high school, believes the curriculum is failing the country's school-aged children. 

"When [the Ministry of Education] first introduced sex education, many parents complained that this was only serving to corrupt our kids. Now schoolchildren are jumping into sex and getting pregnant and we still do not agree whether to let them go back and learn as mothers with other children," Ntini said. 

"But where are the men who abuse our kids? They disappear and repeat the same elsewhere and you are just plain lucky if your child is not affected," Ntini continued. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Cheryl Tweedy!

Check out Chezza 's The Flood (above).

Not bad.

Not great. Kinda boring! But it will probably grow on us! What do U think???

Her fans says:

Cheryl Cole confirms Girls Aloud will get back together.

Cheryl Cole just called her music "a different style" to that of Girls Aloud . Cheryl , love, I think we need a wee chat...

Why did Cheryl Cole have to go solo? This new song of hers is shit. Then again, I hated Girls Aloud as well...

'Disney star Selena Gomez says Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole is the new Britney Spears.' ROFL HAHAHAHA. HOW ABOUT NO?

Fascination Records Artists: Miley Cyrus, Girls Aloud , Jonas Brothers, Cheryl Cole , Lee Mead, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Demi Lovato, Connie Fishe

Toyota recall: Brake fluid problem affects 1.5 million vehicles

The Japanese automaker announced Wednesday that it is recalling 1.5 million models worldwide for brake fluid and fuel-pump problems.

Nearly half of those cars – some 740,000 – were sold in the United States. The Toyota recall involves these US models: the 2005-06 Avalon, 2004-06 nonhybrid Highlanders, 2004-06 Lexus RX330, and 2006 models of the Lexus GS300, IS250, and IS350.

Most of the rest of the vehicles were sold in Japan, as well as a few in Europe.

In the US, the problem is brake fluid. If car owners maintain their brake system by using a non-Toyota fluid that has no polymers or only a small amount of them, it can cause an internal rubber seal in the braking system to become dry and curl, Toyota said in a release. The polymers act as a lubricant.

If that happens, a small amount of brake fluid can leak, which over time could weaken the brakes if more fluid isn't added. "If the brake warning lamp has illuminated and the vehicle continues to be operated without refilling the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir, the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline," the Toyota release said.

Starting next month, Toyota will begin sending out letters to owners urging them to schedule an appointment with a local dealer who will replace the seal. There's no charge to the owner.

Owners wanting more information can call Toyota (800-331-4331) or Lexus (800-255-3987).

Toyota has recalled more than 10 million vehicles in the past year. The company has more information on those recalls at www.toyota.com/recall and www.lexus.com/recall.

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Windows Phone 7 handsets to hit AT&T, T-Mobile in November

Microsoft proclaimed Monday that it was back in the smartphone business, unveiling snazzy new handsets from HTC, LG, and Samsung that boast jumbo touch displays, speedy processors, HD video recording — and, most important, Redmond's completely revamped mobile OS, the touch-friendly Windows Phone 7. But will its rebooted platform be enough to get Microsoft back into the game against the likes of Android and the iPhone? That's the question of the hour.
A typically pumped-up Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s entertainingly excitable CEO, was on hand for a New York press event Monday, along with AT&T wireless chief Ralph de la Vega, whose carrier — which, if the latest reports are correct, may be about to lose its exclusive grip on the iPhone — will get the first crack at Windows Phone 7 handsets in early November, with T-Mobile soon to follow.

Among the first of the new Windows Phone 7 handsets will be a trio of handsets for AT&T, starting with the Samsung Focus, a 1GHz Snapdragon handset with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display (similar to what we've seen on Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy S devices) and a 5-megapixel camera. The Focus will also be the slimmest Windows Phone in the U.S., Ballmer promised — just 9.9mm thick. Expect the Focus to arrive Nov. 8 for $199 with a new two-year contract.

Set to arrive a few weeks later on AT&T is the HTC Surround, a handset with a 3.8-inch display, a 5-megapixel camera, 16GB of on-board storage, and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, along with — aptly enough — support for Dolby Mobile and slide-up SRS surround speakers. Interesting. As with the Focus, the Surround will sell for $199 with a two-year contract.
AT&T's third WP7 handset will be the LG Quantum, which comes with the same basic specs as the Focus and the Surround (1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5-megapixel camera) along with a 3.5-inch display, a slide-out QWERTY keypad, 16GB of internal storage and DLNA support for sharing media with local, DLNA-compatible PCs, HDTVs and the like. Price tag: $199 (again), with a two-year contract, with the handset coming out around the same time as the Surround.

Moving on to T-Mobile, we've got the HTC HD7 for T-Mobile, complete with a 4.3-inch display and a kickstand, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with a dual-LED flash and HD video recording, and 16GB of internal storage. Expect the HD7 to arrive on T-Mobile in mid-November — no pricing details just yet (although I'd be surprised if the HD7 didn't go for $199 with a two-year contract, same as the AT&T phones).

Also due for T-Mobile: the Dell Venue Pro, a QWERTY slider with a 4.1-inch display, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and a 5-megapixel camera, slated to arrive "in time for the holidays."

Verizon is sounding particularly cool to the idea of carrying Windows Phone 7 handsets. Its chief operating officer, Lowell McAdam, recently told  CNET that it sees RIM, Google and Android as the "three major mobile operating systems" in the U.S. and that Microsoft is "not at the moment ... at the forefront of our mind."

Microsoft's Ballmer said Windows Phone 7 devices will soon circle the globe on 60 mobile carries in 30 countries.

Of course, the spectacular failure of Microsoft’s Kin phones for Verizon earlier this year didn’t help matters much, and it’s also worth noting Verizon may be gearing up for a certain phone from Cupertino early next year, if reports from the from the New York Times and from the Wall Street Journal are true.

Still, the revamped Windows Phone 7 OS itself looks pretty impressive, or at least it did after my hands-on with a prototype device earlier this year.

Make no mistake: This isn’t your father’s Windows Mobile. Gone is the old, clunky-looking Windows Mobile interface with its thicket of tiny, desktop-like menus that required painstaking navigation with a stylus or an old four-way navigation pad. Instead, Windows Phone 7 delivers a clean, intuitive, friendly (and heavily Zune-based) touch UI with a grid of "live" tiles for your latest messages, your most-used contacts, the Web and your favorite apps.

The new platform is organized around six "hubs" of content: people (your contacts), pictures (including video and any uploaded Facebook or Windows Live snapshots), games (featuring your Xbox Live avatar and achievements), music and video (with access to your Zune Social card), marketplace (for downloading new apps) and, naturally, Office.

The clean, uncluttered look of Windows Phone 7 takes the new platform in a startlingly different (and welcome) direction from the old Windows Mobile, but there are also some key missing features. There’s no launch "cut-and-paste" support, for example — surprising, given that the new OS comes from the cradle of Microsoft Office — although Microsoft now says an update adding copy-and-paste is on tap for early next year. There’s also no Flash or even Silverlight video support in the Windows Phone browser, nor will any WP7 handsets support 3G tethering, at least for now.

Then there’s the matter of apps — or the relative lack thereof — a given for what’s essentially a brand-new mobile platform. Microsoft has already announced that some key Windows Phone 7 apps from the likes of Netflix, Twitter, Slacker, OpenTable, eBay, IMDB and Flixster (no Angry Birds, though) will be available at launch or shortly thereafter. And AT&T's de la Vega announced Monday that Windows Phone handsets on the carrier will get an app for U-verse mobile TV streaming sometime in November. (Oh, and by the way: The Xbox 360 will at last be able to hook into the U-verse TV service, as well. Can't wait.)

Still, Redmond clearly has a long row to hoe before its Windows Phone app store can even begin to compete with the Android Market or Apple’s gigantic iPhone App Store — and then there's the overall battle for the smartphone market in general, which has seen Microsoft slip far behind RIM, Apple and Google.

Miss USA winner who had title stripped dies in LA

LOS ANGELES - Leona Gage, who in 1957 was named Miss USA but had the title stripped the next day when pageant officials learned she was married and a mother of two, has died in Los Angeles, her son said Saturday. She was 71.
Gage died of heart failure after spending several weeks at a Sherman Oaks hospital on Tuesday, son Robert Kaminer told the Associated Press.
Like Vanessa Williams and Carrie Prejean decades later, Gage's pageant scandal probably brought her more fame than if she had kept the crown.
Born Mary Leona Gage in Texas, she was appeared as Miss Maryland USA in the competition in Long Beach, Calif.
Gage also lied about her age telling pageant officials she was 21 when she was 18.
She told reporters after winning that she didn't even have a boyfriend.
"I want to wait until I'm 26 before I become seriously interested in the opposite sex," she said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Just a day later her story was exposed. She had been already been married twice, both times at age 14 the first was quickly annulled and had her second child at 16, all forbidden for the resume of a pageant contestant.
Gage said she was used to such secrets. She had hidden her first pregnancy from her strict Baptist mother for as long as she could.
"To my mother, that was the biggest scandal there could be," Gage told the Sun. "All my life, she said, 'Don't you dare go into the bushes with a boy and get yourself pregnant.'"
Gage took advantage of the attention that came with the lost tiara and made many television appearances, including a highly rated appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
While winning the affection of Sullivan and much of the nation, Gage got plenty of hate mail too.
"I think one half of the U.S. hated me," she told the Sun.
After losing the trophy, prize money, trips and studio contracts that went to first runner-up Miss Utah, she pursued an acting career. But that didn't take off.
She had a difficult life in subsequent decades: Six failed marriages, lost custody of her five children, two of whom died before her, drug abuse and suicide attempts.
But Kaminer said she was proud to have had five children who went on to prosperous lives, including a commercial real estate agent and a lieutenant-colonel in the army.