Diplomat bitten by graft charges over
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - First it was sex, then casinos. Now, a Singapore diplomat has been charged with inflating the number of pineapple tarts and bottles of wine carried on official visits in the latest corruption case to hit the squeaky clean city-state.
Lim Cheng Hoe, former chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allegedly overbilled authorities by around S$89,000 ($71,100) by overstating the amount of gifts bought for official purposes between 2008 and 2012.
Lim faces 60 charges and could be jailed for up to three years on each charge if found guilty.
Singapore, a wealthy Asian finance and trade center ranked as the world’s fifth least corrupt country by Transparency International, has been embarrassed by a number of recent cases involving senior officials.
Earlier this year, the former head of the civil defense force and a law professor were found guilty of corruptly accepting sexual favors. A former chief of the police’s anti-drugs squad faced similar charges but was acquitted.
More recently, an assistant director of the anti-corruption watchdog was charged with misappropriating S$1.7 million. Part of the money allegedly was used for gambling at the Marina Bay Sands casino.
Pineapple tarts are bite-sized snacks popular in many Asian countries. The versions favored in Singapore and Malaysia are open-faced buttery pastries topped with sweet pineapple jam.
Physician emerges as seller of Marilyn Monroe plastic surgery notes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Southern California plastic surgeon said on Wednesday he is behind the auction of a physician’s notes that shows actress Marilyn Monroe had undergone cosmetic surgery, and he will donate the proceeds to assist U.S. veterans with medical work.
Norman Leaf, who had previously requested anonymity, told Reuters that interest in the auction of the notes along with a set of X-rays caused him to come forward.
The set of six X-rays and the file of doctors’ notes offer a partial medical history of the Hollywood sex symbol from 1950 to 1962 and are expected to fetch between $15,000 and $30,000.
The auction will be held on November 9-10 by Julien’s Auctions, a Beverly Hills, California, auction house.
The notes were written by plastic surgeon Michael Gurdin and confirm speculation that Monroe, who epitomized Hollywood glamour and set a standard of big-screen beauty in the 1950s, went under the knife for cosmetic reasons.
“They had put a chin implant in and it was made of carved bovine cartilage,” Leaf said of Monroe’s 1950 cosmetic surgery. “They didn’t have silicone chin implants in those days.”
Monroe’s biggest films, such as 1953’s “How to Marry a Millionaire,” 1955’s “The Seven Year Itch” and 1959’s “Some Like It Hot,” were all shot after 1950.
Leaf, 72, added that the “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” actress also underwent a small cosmetic procedure on the tip of her nose at that time too.
Gurdin’s notes indicate that Monroe visited him in 1958 complaining of a chin deformity and he noticed the implant had dissolved.
“As what typically happens with that. It absorbed over the years,” Leaf said.
The X-rays are dated June 7, 1962, after Monroe saw Gurdin following a late night fall and two months before the actress would die at age 36 from an overdose of barbiturates.
Leaf, who began a medical partnership in Beverly Hills with Gurdin in 1975, said he did not know he was in possession of the files until about 20 years ago, when he was made aware of Gurdin’s old charts that were hidden away storage.
“I’ve been looking at it and treasuring it and keeping it under lock and key and hidden away in my safe,” Leaf said of Monroe’s files and X-rays.
Proceeds from the sale will be donated to nonprofit foundation Rebuilding America’s Warriors, which helps U.S. veterans receive free reconstructive surgery on injuries that are not covered by government benefits, said Leaf, who is the foundation’s medical director.
“I think it’s the perfect link because Marilyn entertained the troops in Korea (in the 1950s), so this is a chance for her to help the troops out again,” Leaf said.
Leaf self-published a memoir, “Are Those Real? True Tales of Plastic Surgery from Beverly Hills,” in 2010 in which he detailed Gurdin’s notes on Monroe.
Man mows lawn around Lincoln Memorial
With the government shutdown, certain tasks and chores aren’t getting done. Mowing the lawn around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for example, seems to be one of them.
Enter South Carolina resident Chris Cox. He’s not employed by the National Parks Service, but that didn’t stop Cox from doing what he could to help keep the land around the Lincoln Memorial looking as nice as possible for this weekend’s Million Vet March.
Cox spoke on camera with staff from the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and called himself the “first member of the Memorial Militia group.”
He said he’s trying to encourage Americans to go out and “help fortify the boundaries of our national monuments or memorials.” Cox said that with the shutdown, the memorials are “vulnerable to vandals and wackos,” and he’d like to encourage people to find a memorial and “bring a trash bag and a rake.”
At first, park police appeared to be OK with Cox’s mission, according to CBS News Washington. But the police later asked him to leave. Cox, reportedly, complied.
Seeking a cure for the hangover? Scientists say, ‘Sprite’
Most of us have been there. An evening of booze-fueled revelry morphs into a morning of nausea and regret. What’s a hangover-stricken body to do?
In the past, those with experience on the subject, like your college roommate, have suggested the copious consumption of herbal teas. Now, Chinese scientists have declared that a swig of Sprite might be just what the doctor ordered.
The group of researchers from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou conducted a series of experiments and found that hangovers are caused “not by the ethanol itself, but by ethanol’s first metabolite, acetaldehyde,” Chemistry World explained.
That means avoid herbal teas, because they have been found to increase the “activity of ADH, thus accelerating the metabolism of ethanol into toxic acetaldehyde, whilst also inhibiting ALDH, reducing acetaldehyde removal,” according to Chemistry World.
In other words, herbal teas might make your hangover worse because they speed up the creation of acetaldehyde.
Sprite and soda water, on the other hand, “markedly increased ALDH activity, thus promoting the rapid break-down of acetaldehyde and could minimise the harmful effects of drinking alcohol.”
Chemistry World spoke with Edzard Ernst, an expert in medicinal science from the University of Exeter in the U.K. He called the findings interesting and a reminder that “herbal and other supplements can have pharmacological activities that can both harm and benefit our health.” Ernst also stressed that the findings will need to be replicated.
Judge tells living man that he’s still legally dead
Life can be tough, especially when a judge says you’re dead in the eyes of the law.
That’s exactly what happened to Ohio resident Donald Eugene Miller Jr. on Monday when a judge upheld a 1994 court ruling declaring the 61-year-old legally dead.
The Courier reports that 19 years ago, a court in Hancock County declared Miller legally dead eight years after he disappeared from his rental home.
As a result, Miller has lost his Social Security number and his driver’s license.
Judge Allan Davis called it a “strange, strange situation,” but he also said the court cannot budge in its decision.
“We’ve got the obvious here,” Davis said. “A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health.”
Each state can make its own laws regarding declaring someone legally dead. Most generally rely on a similar set of criteria: that someone is missing and presumed dead if they can’t be located for at least seven years, the absence has been continuous and a genuine effort has been made to locate the person.
Miller said he is a recovering alcoholic and abandoned his rental home while in the throes of his addiction. He said he returned to the court as part of an effort to get his life back together.
“It kind of went further than I ever expected it to,” Miller told the court. “I just kind of took off, ended up in different places.”
Technically, Miller can petition to have his Social Security number reinstated in federal court, but his attorney, Francis Marley, told the Courier that Miller does not have the financial resources to pursue a second hearing.
“My client’s here on a wing and a prayer today,” Marley said.
His ex-wife, Robin Miller, asked for the initial death ruling so that Social Security death benefits could be paid to their two children. She reportedly declined to testify in court on Monday.
“I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” Davis said.
Robin Miller says she opposed overturning the death ruling, because she would then have to pay back the government for the benefits she received and does not have the means to do so.
Donald Eugene Miller reportedly owed her $26,000 in child support at the time of his “death.”
Despite Miller’s efforts to come clean with the court, Davis said there is a three-year legal limit for reversing a death ruling.
However, Miller said he wasn’t even aware of his legal “death” until his parents told him about it when he finally returned to Ohio in 2005.