|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/02/27 17:57 《英语学习》|
Fast Food Scraps Threaten Rat Plague?
Britain is facing a sharp rise in its rat population as growing numbers of people leave fast food scraps in the street, an environment group warned. Keep Britain Tidy said the rodents were abandoning their traditional haunts underground and were roaming the streets, enticed by discarded remnants of burgers, pizzas and crisps. "The rat population is on the rise and soon it'll be as common to see a rodent on our street as it is to see a dog or a cat," said group Director, Sue Nelson. The practice of dumping fast food litter and scraps on the street rather than in the trash - with young men the worst offenders - was behind the rise. According to the National Rodent Survey in 2001, Britain's rat population has grown by nearly one quarter since 1998 and is now estimated at 60 million, two million more than the human population. On average a rat can give birth every 24-28 days and just a single pair of rats can produce a colony of 2,000 a year. Around 200 Britons a year contract Weil's Disease - an infection which can lead to kidney or liver failure and eventually death and which is carried in rat's urine. To highlight the issue, Keep Britain Tidy launched a cinema advert entitled "How close do you want them to get?" The ad culminates in a shocking image of a young woman sleeping in a bed of rats - echoing the nightmare scenario from James Herbert's classic horror tale The Rats, in which mutant rodents begin to prey on humans.
100-Year-Old Rewards Doctor
Israel Haimowitz made a deal with his doctor 15 years ago - get me to 100 and I'll buy you a European vacation. On Sept 5, 2002, Haimowitz is celebrating his 100th birthday. And Dr. Robert Drimmer and his wife are looking forward to a trip to London next summer. "I hate to take his money," Drimmer said, but Haimowitz "would be mad if I didn't go." Haimowitz, a retired furniture salesman, said it's the least he can do. The native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is in good health, complaining only occasionally of fatigue. He moved to Florida 16 years ago. "To get a doctor down here that's considerate of his patients is difficult," Haimowitz said. He credits his longevity and health to drinking two ounces of cognac daily, along with eating five Danish butter cookies. Haimowitz, who just renewed his driver's license, said he plans to stick around awhile. "When I don't feel good, I don't want to be here. But when I feel as I do now, I want to live to 120," he said.
People Born in Autumn Live Longer
People born in the autumn live longer than those born in the spring and are less likely to fall chronically ill when they are older, according to an Austrian scientist. Using census data for more than one million people in Austria, Denmark and Australia, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in the northern German town of Rostock found the month of birth was related to life expectancy over the age of 50. Seasonal differences in what mothers ate during pregnancy, and infections occurring at different times of the year could both have an impact on the health of a new-born baby and could influence its life expectancy in older age. "A mother giving birth in spring spends the last phase of her pregnancy in winter, when she will eat less vitamins than in summer," said Gabriele Doblhammer, one of a team of scientists who carried out the research. "When she stops breast-feeding and starts giving her baby normal food, it's in the hot weeks of summer when babies are prone to infections of the digestive system." In Austria, adults born in autumn (October-December) lived about seven months longer than those born in spring (April-June), and in Denmark adults with birthdays in autumn outlived those born in spring by about four months. In the southern hemisphere, the picture was similar. Adults born in the Australian autumn - the European spring - lived about four months longer than those born in the Australian spring. The study focused on people born at the beginning of the 20th century, using death certificates and census data. Although nutrition at all times of the year has improved since then, the seasonal pattern persists, Doblhammer said.
Love Means Sharing the Same Diseases
Married couples share more than their homes, cars and finances - they are also likely to have some of the same diseases, experts say. If a spouse suffers from asthma, depression, peptic ulcers, high blood pressure or raised cholesterol levels, the chances are their partner will be afflicted with the same illness. "Partners of people with specific diseases are at increased risk of the disease themselves - at least 70 percent increased risk for asthma, depression and peptic ulcer disease," Julia Hippisley Cox of the University of Nottingham in northern England said. Cox and her team said the most likely reason for the shared diseases was environment. Married couples usually eat the same foods, are exposed to the same allergens and often have similar exercise patterns, all of which contribute to ailments such as allergies, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol. The scientists studied the medical history of 8,000 married couples, aged 30 to 74. "The findings could have implications for targeting screening or disease prevention measures at partners of participants with one of these diseases," Cox added.
Paris Invents New Love Messages
Declarations of undying devotion will flash across Paris's municipal bulletin boards every 20 seconds next month as the French capital invents a new way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day. Bertrand Delanoe, the left-wing mayor known for his innovative city festivals, said the electronic boards would carry the best short love letters on February 14 - Valentine's Day - and throughout that weekend, adding that they would "help Parisians tell each other 'I love you'". He urged Parisians to send in their messages with a note indicating which neighbourhood they wanted them to be posted in. A special committee would pick out the best ones to display. The illuminated boards, which normally announce everything from city festivals to traffic warnings, stand at key squares and intersections all around the French capital.
Romance Blooms in Cozy Corners of Cinemas
Lovers have it tough in India's teeming financial capital, but some of the city's cinemas are playing Cupid to couples longing for time away from prying eyes. For the first time in Bombay, three upmarket cinemas have each set aside a dozen seats, called "Close-Up Corners," for couples wishing to watch a film together. The seats - priced the same as other cinema seats - are bigger and designed for two people with no arm rests between them. In conservative India, where public displays of affection are frowned upon, young men and women rarely dare to even hold hands for fear of censure or getting a "bad name." "This is the ideal place for couples to spend time together," said Hameed Shaikh, general manager of a suburban cinema, adding the "corners" were proving popular with college students. "This is a progressive step. We can't have culture cops dictating how we should behave," said 21-year-old college student P. Vijay outside a movie hall. "It's stupid to be prudish. This should be extended to more theaters in Bombay." Kamal Sharma, manager of another movie hall, said the romantic corners were a big hit even with married couples who often live in cramped, one-room homes that offer little privacy.
World's Greatest Job, Up for Grabs*
Calling all chocoholics. One of Britain's most exclusive grocery stores needs a new chocolate taster - and will pay 35,000 pounds ($54,400) a year for the successful candidate. Fortnum & Mason in London's Piccadilly - one of the capital's most prestigious addresses - is looking for a chocolate buyer to travel the world, taste as much chocolate as possible and select the best for its discerning customers. Daily Telegraph newspaper said the Fortnum's personnel director Cathy O'Neill has already been bombarded with applications after she advertised the post as the "best job in the world." But not all of those interested have the right qualifications. "We only advertised it a couple of days ago," O'Neill told Daily Telegraph. "But already we have had loads of people writing in saying they have absolutely no experience, or they work in the metal industry or something, but they love chocolate."
*up for grabs：俚语，意为可得的，易得的，任何人都可能取得的。
Firm Sold Out-of-Date Food as It Was 'Tasty'
Fine wines and cheese may improve with age, but Japanese consumers were probably shocked to find that one company executive thought Chinese spring rolls did too. That, at least, is what Reiko Yoshida, head of a small food firm in western Japan, told a news conference when asked to explain why her company sold frozen spring rolls and other products that were well past their sell-by date1. "I was told that the products were past their expiry date, but I gave the order to sell them after I tried them and found them tasty," a spokesman for the company, Shinsho, quoted Yoshida as telling a news conference. The company sold about 2,600 frozen spring rolls to stores even though some were nearly six months past their expiry date, the spokesman said. Yoshida accepted now that the company should have thrown the food away after the sell-by date passed and that it would take care from now on. The firm has voluntarily halted business in 21 of its 23 shops around the country for an indefinite period of time. Japanese consumer confidence in food products has been shaken by several recent scandals, include cases of mislabeling.
Scarecrow Guards Jail Birds
A judge on an inspection visit to a Brazilian jail discovered a straw scarecrow dressed in police uniform on the watchtower "guarding" some 735 jail birds, police said. The judge removed the scarecrow, which had apparently been manning the watchtower for days, and took it to the court as evidence. Police opened an investigation. "It is considered a grave breach of security rules," a police spokesman said, adding that a prison guard or a police officer should have been on the tower at all times. The Taubate Provisional Detention Center for prisoners awaiting trial near Brazil's biggest city of Sao Paulo was opened at the end of 2001 and has already had one publicized escape via an underground tunnel. Brazil's prison system is plagued with break-outs and violent riots due to extreme overcrowding, lack of funds and poor pay for prison officers.
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