TOKYO, August 31 -- A group of Japanese porn actresses raised tens of thousands of dollars at the weekend by having their breasts squeezed by fans at a "Boob Aid" charity event for AIDS prevention.
Boob Aid is part of the 24-hour "Stop! AIDS" campaign event in Tokyo, which was also televised live on a Japanese adult cable channel.
The breast-squeezing resumed Sunday morning after an overnight break. More than 2,300 pairs of hands groped for a total of eight hours until early Sunday afternoon, organisers said. The figure suggests some $23,000 has already been collected as each participant was expected to donate 1,000 yen (about $10) or more. The final money count will be announced after the event closes at around 8pm (1100 GMT) on Sunday. The event is the 12th since its launch in 2003. It is backed by the Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention.
"I'm really looking forward to lots of people fondling my boobs," Rina Serina told the Tokyo Sports newspaper before the event. "But I would be very happy if you would please be delicate."
The event comes after sexist heckling of a Tokyo assemblywoman hit the headlines, highlighting old-fashioned views towards women that still permeate Japanese society.
"I never thought my boobs could contribute to society," added the ponytailed Serina, apparently unaware of any contradiction.
Fellow porn actress Iku Sakuragi had no qualms about being groped by hundreds of pairs of hands.
MOSCOW, August 31 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is leaving on another lengthy tour of Russia that will take him to the Urals, the Far East and Siberia, the Kremlin press service reported.
His first stop will be in Chelyabinsk, a city in South Urals. Putin who is a great judo fan will attend the closing ceremony of the Judo World Championship 2014 on Sunday. The competitions have brought together 639 athletes from 120 countries.
On September 1, which Russia marks as Day of Knowledge, Putin will arrive in Yakutsk, the capital city of the Sakha Republic located about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. He will meet the students and professors of the North-Eastern Federal University named after M.K. Ammosov.
Putin will also discuss state support for priority investment projects and territories of advanced development in the Far East at a meeting with the heads of the federal ministries, regional administrations and major companies, the Kremlin press service went on to say.
The same day, on Monday, Putin will attend a ceremony of connecting the first stage of the Force of Siberia gas pipeline that will be used to supply gas both to the domestic market and China.
After Yakutsk, Putin will move to Russia’s Amur region to inspect the Chita-Khabarovsk road (Amur) which has been under construction since 1978. The first 20 years of construction from 1978 to 1998 were not inefficient (only 25% of planned works were finished) but the process perked up significantly in 2002. The Chita-Khabarovsk highway was finished in 2010.
Vladimir Putin who was then the Russian prime minister took a historic ride on it in a yellow Lada-Kalina car. He covered 2,165 kilometers in four days. After the car run, Putin said that about a quarter of the road had to be renovated. One of the road’s worst sections was located exactly in the Amur region near the city of Blagoveshchensk.
Vostochny space launch facility
Putin will visit another vital construction site in the Amur region - the Vostochny space launch facility located near the town of Uglegorsk. The first launches are to start in 2015.
The construction of launching facilities for the Angara rocket will get under way in 2016. Manned spaceships will be able to lift off from Vostochny as of 2018. The construction is expected to be finished by 2020.
Putin will finish his trip in Gorno-Altaisk, the Siberian Autonomous District, where he will discuss the liquidation of flood consequences in Russian regions at a meeting with regional officials.
ROTTERDAM, August 31 -- Several dozen Yazidi women kidnapped by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq militants (ISIS) have been taken from Iraq to Syria, forced to convert and sold into marriage to militants, an activist group says.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said it had confirmed that at least 27 Yazidi women had been sold for around $1,000 each to ISIS fighters. The group said it was aware that some 300 Yazidi women had been kidnapped and transported to Syria by the militants, but it had so far documented the sale into marriage of 27.
"In recent weeks, some 300 women and girls of the Yazidi faith who were abducted in Iraq have been distributed as spoils of war to fighters from the Islamic State," a statement said.
The group said it had documented several cases in which the fighters then sold the women as brides for $1,000 each to other ISIS members after forcing them to convert to Islam. "The Observatory documented at least 27 cases of those being sold into marriage by Islamic State members in the north-east of Aleppo province, and parts of Raqqa and Hassakeh province," SOHR said. It added that some Syrian Arabs and Kurds had tried to buy some of the women in a bid to set them free, but they were only being sold to ISIS members.
The Observatory said it was unclear what had happened to the rest of the 300 women, and strongly denounced the "sale of these women who are being treated as though they are objects to buy and sell". Both U.N. officials and Yazidis fleeing ISIS advances in Iraq have said fighters kidnapped women to be sold into forced marriages. U.N. religious right monitor Heiner Beilefeldt warned earlier this month of reports of women being executed and kidnapped by ISIS militants.
"We have reports of women being executed and unverified reports that strongly suggest that hundreds of women and children have been kidnapped – many of the teenagers have been sexually assaulted, and women have been assigned or sold to IS fighters," she said. Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority who follow an ancient faith rooted in Zoroastrianism, are dubbed "devil worshippers" by ISIS militants because of their unorthodox blend of beliefs and practices.
The ISIS emerged from the one-time Iraqi affiliate of al-Qaeda but has since broken with that group and espouses an interpretation of Islam that has been widely rejected. It has pressed a campaign of terror in the areas under its control in Syria and Iraq, which it deems an Islamic caliphate, carrying out decapitations, crucifixions and public stonings.
In June, the group launched a lightning offensive in Iraq, overrunning parts of five provinces.
In August, it captured Yazidi villages in the area of Mount Sinjar, prompting an enormous outpouring of the minority amid reports of executions and the abduction of women.
KIEV, August 31 -- Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko said on Saturday her Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party would soon initiate a nationwide referendum on the country’s accession to NATO.
She said the party would submit the necessary papers to the Central Electoral Commission before the end of the day so that the referendum could be held simultaneously with the early parliamentary elections slated for October 26.
“The Batkivshchina party made the decision to begin today all procedures that are required for holding a referendum on accession to NATO on the day of the pre-term elections to the Verkhovna Rada [parliament],” Timoshenko said in a statement posted on the party’s official website.
The party is planning to collect 3 million signatures required for initiating a referendum. On Friday, a bill abolishing Ukraine’s non-bloc status was registered in the national parliament. The bill also resumes the process of accession to NATO.
The bill amends the laws on the basic principles of Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy and on the basic principles of Ukraine’s national security and creates a legislative framework for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic security space and for protecting territorial integrity and sovereignty. The bill also forbids Ukraine to join any alliances other than the European Union.
Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting earlier in the day that Ukraine would seek NATO membership. Only several months earlier, he stated that “the question of membership in the alliance is not on the agenda now” and “we are talking about cooperation and technical support in order upgrade the army”.
“We are submitting a draft law to parliament that cancels the non-bloc status. This charts the way for Ukraine to become a member of NATO,” he said.
Ukraine signed the Charter on Distinctive Partnership with NATO in 1997 and began to take steps towards joining the alliance five years later, setting 2008 as the target date for joining the Western military bloc. Ukraine joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme in 1994. NATO defines the programme as allowing Euro-Atlantic partner countries to build individual relationships with the bloc, choosing their own priorities for co-operation. The process of accession to NATO was halted in 2010 when the then president Viktor Yanukovich pushed through a law declaring the non-bloc status and giving up plans to join the organisation.
Yanukovich said that non-block status would allow his country to develop cooperation with all countries.
DONETSK, August 31-- More than 100 Ukrainian servicemen have surrendered to the army of Novorossia, the headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said on Sunday.
“The Ukrainian military surrendered arms in the area of Starobeshevo (in the southeast of the Donetsk region). The prisoners of war have been sent to detention facilities. Medical aid has been provided to the wounded,” the DPR headquarters is quoted by the Novorossia news agency.
“The first column of the surrendering came under the friendly fire, and the second passed unhindered,” according to eyewitnesses.
According to preliminary information, this group of Ukrainian troops accepted DPR premier Aleksandr Sakharchenko’s proposal made on Saturday to surrender arms.
The sides have been actively firing on each other’s positions, Novorossia says. Several groups of Ukrainian security forces are encircled by the separatist militia fighters in three locations, it added.
The DPR militias continue an offensive in the south of the Sea of Azov. Taking Novoazovsk, the militias has so far avoided storming Mariupol, only sending sabotage and reconnaissance forces bypassing the city, blocking the road to Berdyansk, the agency says.
Militia fighters after week-long fighting have forced the Ukrainian troops back from Novosvetlovka settlement in the Lugansk region that opens the way to the cargo delivery to Lugansk, a military analyst told Novorossia.
The prognosis of four of the injured were committed, said the prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis Philippe Gally. The rescue still looking at least six adults and five children. The Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, went there, around 9:30. At the scene of the collapse, ten vehicles and more than 150 firefighters from forty barracks were assisting the victims.
The possibility of a gas leak planned
"Other potential victims are searched and a dozen people are still buried" in rubble and red plane which provides significant medical resources mobilization was started at 7 am 40, said the commander Gabriel More Firefighters Paris. "We must congratulate the dedicated teams that have already saved two victims."
Reportedly, a third person had been located about 10 hours under the rubble with expert dogs and sensors firefighters. Firefighters had made eye contact with the lady who was still alive under the rubble, but she succumbed to her injuries explain firefighters on site. "We can expect to find victims in the rubble," said a firefighter, believing that they could discover the victims still alive under the rubble over a period between 12 and 24 hours.
Source: The Parisien
LONDON, August 31 -- In spite of Islamic State, a Wigan travel agency reports a surge in demand for its trips to the region.
A holiday in an area under threat from Islamic State militants is probably not most people's idea of a relaxing break. Yet a UK tour company is reporting a "massive increase" in bookings for trips to Iraq.
Wigan-based Lupine Travel has had demand for its tours to Iraqi Kurdistan treble following the recent escalation of the threat to the region by IS, and has taken about 100 bookings in a few weeks. The agency's owner, Dylan Harris, has filled the forthcoming tour in October and two trips in May and October next year, each taking 30 people. As there are a further 40 people on a waiting list, he is thinking of running two additional tours in December and February.
Mr Harris, 35, said that while the Iraq trip had proved popular since it launched a year ago, he was "really surprised" by the recent surge in interest. "Generally when things like this happen, the numbers go down," he said. "I also do trips to Ukraine, which was my most popular trip until this year, and this year it's just gone crashing down. Nobody wants to go there. Iraq looks a lot more dangerous, so you'd think there would be less interest, but for some reason there is a lot more."
He said recent bookings were from a mix of "thrill-seekers" who perceived the trip as dangerous, and charity workers keen to check out how their organisations might get involved in the region in the future.
The nine-day October tour, which costs £749 excluding flights, will start in Diyarbakir, Turkey, before crossing into Iraqi Kurdistan. Sights include the city of Erbil with its ancient citadel, a journey along Hamilton Road past gorges, canyons, lakes and mountains; and a sombre stop at Amna Suraka in Sulaymaniyah, where Kurds were imprisoned and tortured under Saddam Hussein's regime.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises against all travel to Erbil city and all but essential travel to the other areas in Iraq visited on the tour.
"The closest we get [to the trouble] is Erbil," said Mr Harris, who carries out background checks on the people going to Iraq and has offered to send their names to the FCO. "A couple of weeks ago we were waiting to cancel it because IS were getting very close, but the air strikes have knocked them back quite significantly now.
"We're getting updates by the day from each separate destination, so if it ever got to the point where it was looking too dangerous there is no way I would travel. The trip would be cancelled. But everybody knows that already and understands the situation."
Mr Harris is arranging to add visits to refugee camps in Duhok to the tour. "I know it can be seen as a bit voyeuristic but we're going to find out what these people need," he said. "We're going to ask people to bring stuff over to donate. It gives people an idea of what it is actually going on, and the scale. There are two million refugees over there. It's all well and good just hearing the figure but actually seeing it for yourself, hopefully it can help people to better understand."
Lupine Travel, which launched in 2007, specialises in "unique destinations", including Iran, Turkmenistan and Chernobyl in Ukraine. The company also has an office in Dandong, China, on the border with North Korea, which recently surpassed Ukraine as its most popular destination.
Source: The Independent
CAIRO, August 31 -- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Saturday that a Ukrainian plane crashed in Algeria.
A cargo An-12 plane of the Ukraine Aero Alliance company with a Ukrainian crew crashed in Algeria on Saturday morning, the ministry cited its embassy in Algeria as saying. The plane was carrying oil equipment on a flight from Tamanrasset (Algeria) to Malabo (Equatorial Guinea). According to preliminary reports, all the seven crew members died. Search work was continuing at the site. Experts were working there, the Foreign Ministry said.
Algerian media reported that the An-12 crashed three minutes after the take off. The plane fell 15 km south of the airport in the province of Tamanrasset. It was on a flight to Equatorial Guinea. Among versions of supposed causes is a technical fault. Three dead bodies have been found, including the body of the captain.
The search is complicated because the site is in mountains. According to the official website of Ukraine Aero Alliance, it is a private joint stock company, one of Ukraine’s first private airlines to receive the international status. It was founded in 1992. It provides cargo transportation services. The company has experience to transport U.N. humanitarian cargoes. It has seven An-12 planes.
Aero Alliance is approved to transport dangerous cargoes, including for military use.
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