YEMEN CONFLICT: Embattled president fires UAE ambassador

The embattled president of Yemen, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has ordered the dismissal of the Yemeni ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, who is also the son of the previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Zee News reports via the news service Reuters today.

Hadi, who fled the country for Saudi Arabia via the port of Aden this week, was unseated in a rebellion led by rebels known as the Houthis, Yemeni Shi’as said to be supported by Iran. The Houthis have already taken control of the capital Sana’a and other major cities and have placed a bounty on Hadi’s head.

A Yemeni official told the news agency Reuters that the UAE ambassador was fired, although the exact date of his expulsion from the post is not known. There are concerns that the removal of the powerful predecessor’s son from his diplomatic position could further escalate the power struggle in Yemen. Several neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and countries further afield such as Egypt and Pakistan have contributed military air support to repel the advance of the Houthis and their allies.

The military alliance of nations fears that the Houthis are a proxy force for Iran. Many of the Gulf Coast countries are deeply suspicious of the Islamic Republic’s motives and accuse it of using Shi’a rebels as a backdoor means of increasing its influence in the region. Numerous air strikes have rocked Sana’a as well as towns near the border with Saudi Arabia to neutralise the Houthis. Several civilians have already been killed in the attacks. The Houthis have in turn threatened suicide attacks on Saudi soil if the Saudi air force continues its offensive or attempts a ground invasion.

The sacking of the Emirates ambassador, Ahmed Ali Saleh, may well embolden the rebels. Supporters of ex-president Saleh are among those fighting alongside the Houthis. Both father and son wield considerable influence in the army units fighting with the rebels, who have so far weathered three days of Saudi-led air strikes and continue to push towards Aden, Zee News reports.

President Hadi departed on Thursday from his last base in the southern Yemeni port of Aden, which is under siege by the Houthis and Saleh army loyalists, and is currently in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have taken control of the presidential palace and government buildings in Sana’a.

Ahmed Ali Saleh is the eldest son of the previous president and before becoming the UAE’s ambassador in May 2013 he was a commander of the prestigious Republican Guard in Yemen’s armed forces. He was in charge of around 80,000 troops. Saleh has not yet commented on his dismissal.

“Useful Sites” – Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind
“Google News” – Google News, Google Inc (29 March 2015)
“Yemen president fires predecessor’s son, escalating power struggle” – Reuters via Zee News/Zee Media Corporation Ltd/Essel Group (29 March 2015)
“Ahmed Saleh” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Getty Images via Zemanta.

THE CREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD: Spanish souvenir from Sally’s Smorgasbord

In both my family and on this blog, I value creativity. Creativity is that very thing that makes the world a more beautiful place, from the goofy cartoon characters on your breakfast cereal box to the interiors of the tombs and pyramids of ancient Egypt. Since from thousands of years before humans were inventors, they were artists.

Creativity is that joyous segment of the human spirit because it is so diverse and democratic. Regardless of your means or talents, you can let the ‘creative juices’ flow as they say. Being creative is a skills that nearly anyone can tap into. You just need to discover it and let it sing. For me, being a journalist and a blogger is about telling a story, and it is my creativity that helps mould and flavour that story, especially when it is a personal article. Whether it is a witty play on words (like the title of this article) or creating a graphic image for the blog, the Half-Eaten Mind has been a perfect vehicle for my creativity.

In recognition of that creativity, a very good and supportive blogging friend, Sally from “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life“, has kindly awarded me the Creative Blogger Award for services to creative blogging. If you are not familiar with the work of Sally, then believe me, you are missing out. She is a blogger and author who lives in the mountains of Spain. She has worked in administration, hospitality and dentistry nursing and has led a very eclectic life, moving between various countries in her youth. Her creative career has also been diverse, with short stories and poems a specialty since her childhood, as well as writing newspaper columns in both the UK and in her current hometown near Madrid, Spain. She has also penned books and being recently involved in TV and online video work as well as blogging on Smorgasbord.

(c) MAKE ME UP MARIE via S. Cronin.

(c) S. Cronin

(c) S. Cronin

Just like the Scandinavian dish the blog is named for, Sally writes a bit about everything. Her blog runs the gamut from short stories and humorous scribblings to factual information on medical issues from brain health to the endocrine system. There is a lot of interesting stuff there and you are highly recommended to pay a visit.

If you happen to not accept awards or do not have the time, please instead accept this virtual bottle of that all-time awesome and indigenous Mauritian soft drink Eski and some nice snacks too. It’s not quite the Smorgasbord 2015 Rioja that Sally is offering but at least you can boast you ate some food from paradise!!

(c) melane_wong via

Here are the guidelines for this award.

  1. Contact all of your nominees and notify them of their award. You can pick as many blogs as you like, but five is the minimum.
  2. Give a shout-out to the blogger that nominated you and post a link to their website.
  3. Share five random facts about yourself.
  4. Display the Creative Blogger Award image above your post.
  5. Pass along these rules to the nominees.

Here are the lucky nominees with an excerpt taken from their intros so you can get a flavour of their creativity and check out their blogs. All richly deserved of this fine award….!

Ileana  -

Cred in autocunoastere, in iubire, bunatate, in eficienta muncii facuta din suflet. Mai cred in Dumnezeu, in creativitate si vocea inimii, sunt sociabila, rabdatoare, egoista, gandire unica, calma, romantica si Directa. Datorita faptului ca sunt Directa, asta deranjeaza pe foarte multa lume si…ajung sa ma inteleg doar eu pe mine. In rest sunt o persoana obisnuita ce plang…rad…sunt serioasa, independenta de situatie. Oricum Sunt Eu! “De ce ii este omului de astazi foame? De iubire si de sens” spunea Nicolae Steinhardt in Jurnalul Fericirii. Va multumesc pentru ca ati ales sa va petreceti o parte din timp pe blogul meu. Va astept in continuare cu drag… (I believe in self-awareness, in love, kindness, making the soul work efficiently. Believe in God, the creativity and the voice of the heart, being sociable, patient, selfish, thinking, calm, romantic and having direction…. Anyway I Am! “The man she is hungry today? The love and respect, “said Nicolae Steinhardt in the Journal of Happiness. Thank you for choosing to spend some time on my blog. We expect to continue the journey…)

Wendy Lee  –

In order to make the blog more interesting, we will include poems, meanings and origins of phrases, inspiring quotes and other interesting facts which are closely related to the designs of our jewelry pieces.

So, who says “Beauty is only skin deep”?

Ann V. Friend  –

This blog is a place for anyone who wants to know more about the Word of God, developing a deeper and personal relationship with Jesus Christ or get encouragement.

I write from the spiritual fruit within me–love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. I give glory to God when I can share my ebbs and flows, and stumbling experiences by walking through with faith and trust in Him. Praise The Lord for His mercy and His grace. (smile)

This is a place, you can always come for something positive and uplifting! We’ll leave the lights on for you! There is no judging here. It’s about being able to get encouragement or a good scripture to apply to a particular challenge in life and see things from a different perspective.


Ken Dowell  -

Off the leash is one way to interpret retirement.

Some of what I learned during a long career in the media and public relations services business is reflected in the Digital Deception series of posts and in the occasional rants about publishing, online audiences and digital marketing.

I wrote the Growing Up in the 50’s stories from the unique perspective of someone who was born just hours before the start of that decade. I am thus well positioned to describe the phobias, prejudices, politics and lifestyle of those times as seen through the eyes of a child.

Anastasia Beaverhausen  -

Welcome to my blog!  I’m SO glad you’re here!  Let’s get straight to the point of this blog, shall we?—To not waste our short precious lives on earth like I see SO many people do day after day.  It drives me NUTS!  Why do we do that to ourselves when there’s so many things to do, see, talk about, learn, and love in this world to make ourselves better and happier as people?

When I’m 357 years old, I want to be able to say I had a great time while I was here the best that I could do for me—whatever it is that makes me laugh, smile, happy, smarter, better, etc.  And I, obviously, want you to do the same for yourselves.  Lovin’ life, baby!  That’s how we roll.

I started ‘Loving Food, Fashion, & Life’ as a hobby one day during my yearly 6-week vacation from work (yeah, that’s right). I had always wanted to do a blog and now was my opportunity. I started at zero—as someone who didn’t know the first thing about blogging—so I did weeks of research on the subject. It was a LOT of work and VERY time-consuming, but I absolutely LOVED every minute of it!

The Drunken Cyclist  -

I have been a wine lover for some time now, but I try not to take it all that seriously.  I am also a Cat 3 cyclist, a husband, and a father of two great (most of the time) boys.  I love to combine all my passions when I vacation, especially when I am going to my in-laws.  Since they live close to Napa and Sonoma I can go there and get loaded as well as ride my bike in glorious California.

Carol A. Hand  –

Welcome to Voices from the Margins. I’m Carol Hand, an enrolled member of the Sokaogon Ojibwe Community, one of the 6 bands of Ojibwe people located in what is now the state of Wisconsin. During my early childhood, I spent my school years in New Jersey where I was born, and my summers with relatives on the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe reservation in Wisconsin. My bi-cultural heritage has had a profound influence on my life.

Teagan Geneviene  -

Welcome! Here’s some information about my novels and works in progress. I hope you enjoy your visit.

Atonement, Tennessee is now available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook versions. It is an urban fantasy with a mystery on the side. The story pulls in characters loosely inspired by the ancient Celtic myth of Gwydion fab Don. It also features an ensemble of memorable southern personalities. I did a post sharing my thoughts about releasing the book.

Five Facts About Me

1. My maternal grandmother, mother and one of my sisters were/are either chefs or very accomplished cooks. I can just about avoid burning things when I make spaghetti Bolognese.

2. I’ve written theatre reviews for two local newspapers here in Newham, east London, as well as reviews for a listings and cultural magazine in Battersea, also in London. I still have the work stashed away in my portfolio folder.

3. I am currently working on the written material for an investment platform’s website. My friend and work colleague is setting up his advisory and consulting firm that will operate between London, Paris and west Africa, principally the Ivory Coast.

4. I can play the tabla, a type of drum from India, reasonably well.

5. Just like the person who nominated me, I also have feet bigger than the average. My ones are billed at UK size 14, and my Mum used to refer them as ‘kippers’ because they were big and flat like the salted fish fillets.

Many, many thanks to Sally for nominating me and please do visit the nominees I have selected, follow them and say hello there! :)

“The Creative Blogger Award – So many great blogs so little space!” – Sally Cronin, Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life (26 March 2015)
“About Me” – Sally Cronin, Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life
Google Translate, Google Inc.
“♫°✿Blog Cu Motiv!♪☀♫” – Ileana, Alaturi de Tine
“ABOUT CLOUDS N CUPS” – Wendy Lee, Clouds N Cups
“About this blog” – Ann V. Friend, Ann – A Friend of Jesus 2013
“What is This and Who Wrote It?” – Ken Dowell, off the leash
“About” – The Drunken Cyclist
“A Little About Me” – Carol Hand, Voices from the Margins
“About Teagan’s Books” – Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, Teagan’s Books
“Pearona | Search Instagram | – Instagram Online Viewer” –
“”The Creative Blogger Award – So many great blogs so little space!” – Sally Cronin, Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life (26 March 2015)
“HalfEatenMind Blog” – The Half-Eaten Mind, Facebook/Facebook Inc.

SULLEE J: Kamikaze

From the streets of Baltimore, rapper and verbal philosopher Sullee J has released a new single fresh for March 2015. His latest banger is entitled ‘Kamikaze‘ and is a great example of the vigorous flow mixed with a stupendous delivery that has always been a hallmark of this artist.

(c) Sullee J Management

(c) Sullee J Management

Produced by GreezyDub, also known as Dub Vader, who has worked on production and sound engineering for CaShis, Royce da 59 and Par City, Kamikaze is where Sullee J runs unchallenged from the ground to the moons of Mars. With its fast-paced delivery accompanied by piano, Kamikaze is breathless, a sudden blood rush to the ears as the untouchable Sullee J cuts through lyrically, rising above the challengers like a pilot on his final mission.

Sullee J’s new track Kamikaze is now available for listening on xxsulleexx, his YouTube channel and also on Soundcloud now.

Sullee J Management.
#DubVader™, Twitter, Twitter Inc.
Sullee J Management.

PHOTO MOMENT: (Customisable road) signs of the times!!

A couple of months back, while completely bored out of my head and dealing with a set of itchy fingers, I decided to go on the Net and search for ‘do-it-yourself’ motorway (highway) signs that you could change the writing on to something of your choice. Not quite cute little kittens with balls of string, fair enough, but this was my inner trainspotter coming out to play…and nothing was stopping this old anorak!. Although I don’t and can’t drive myself, I’m often out and about in taxis, buses and the like, and often notice the road signs here in east London. For those of you based in the UK, you’ll know that we are crazy when it comes to filling our roads with signs of all sorts. We take safety…and not getting hopelessly lost….very seriously here.

One of the more unusual UK road signs, at the ...

One of the more unusual UK road signs, at the Magic roundabout in Swindon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the throes of my internet research, I stumbled across a few sites where you could churn out personalised signs at your pleasure, although disappointingly for me as a Brit, most of these signs were more oriented to the US side of things, and I couldn’t find much of the personalisable signage like the endless diagrams that grace the pages of your average driving theory book/Highway Code. It weren’t an issue though, and I soon began creating some cool signs, which are featured below in their original format. It’s a nice bit of fun for when you have nothing better to do and procrastination rears its ugly head. Find your way out of boredom, and remember, the destination is a whole bunch of laughs for you and your friends. Scroll down at the next sentence (satnav voice)…..

Make your own Highway Sign

(c) Atom Smasher

(c) Atom Smasher

Reading this while trapped in a traffic jam? Tailbacks for the next 10 miles?….hopefully the first of our recommended sign generators will switch all your happiness traffic lights to get-going green. Retro website Atom Smasher has a special adaptable widget where you can alter the message on this LED sign attached to a bridge over a U.S. motorway. You have four lines of space to enter text into, which is then re-imagined in little yellow lights that are the bane of every motorist. Delays…roadworks….overturned lorry…ah who cares?…I’m running for prime minister and giving old Davey Boy a run for his expenses. Even if your ambitions are more humble than mine, you can write a four-line message of your choice. Perhaps even email one to your boss to say you’re stuck in traffic. Check she has a sense of humour first though. I cannot accept any responsibility for anyone getting their ass fired.
The website runs under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License or similar attribution based licence which means you won’t get a lawsuit slapped on you if you decide to reproduce the picture on your site or blog. You have to download the picture though, so no hotlinking. While I’ve used the highway sign generator, there are a few others on the homepage to choose from to soup up your own petrol station, error message, and even Chinese restaurant and corporate office signs. Go wild!

Road Traffic Signs

(c) Road Traffic Signs

(c) Road Traffic Signs

RTS is a website for DIY traffic signs using North American formats. Using the RTS custom traffic sign wizard, you can design your own traffic or warning signs with options for sign shapes, colours and sizes. Unlike the ‘Make a Highway Sign‘ featured above, this is an actual company that manufactures signs according to customers’ specs. They’ve been accredited by the US Better Business Bureau and were in the top 500 online commerce sites for the US and Canada in 2014. However you do not need to give any credit card details or buy anything in order to use the wizard.
I chose a warning sign with red striped border and lettering…and yes it is a warning….I can be a bit ‘unusual’ at times. Be warned haha!!. If you’re based in north America and want to make your virtual sign a reality as a cool thing to stick on a wall at home, you can order direct and securely after creating your sign with the wizard.

London Street Sign

(c) M. Kampf/

(c) M. Kampf/

Now for something from this side of the Pond. Web designer/developer Marijn Kampf runs a site called, where you can create your own ironic London road name sign, just like those found in the touristy hotspots of the City of Westminster, Theatreland, and the like. The format for this sign has become as much of an icon representing London Town as our red buses, Beefeaters and the underground. Kampf’s site offers customisation using a choice of four popular fonts including the official ‘Streetsign‘ typeface used in the real deals ready to be teamed up with an overwhelming choice of colours. You can download the finished product as a standalone PDF or PNG file or go further and have your design transferred to all kinds of items from baby dummies and skateboards to leggings and doodle speakers. MyFunStudio also do a side range in Keep Calm posters and bored punters writing their names using elements from the periodic table. Very interesting and unique site, which is a good slice of the creativity my city is renowned for. These signs are highly recommended for blogs and sites on or operating from London as a way of showing some civic pride. North…South…East…..West London. The Half-Eaten Mind has got it covered!.
P.S. This website was originally used to create our new logo. Here I’ve gone somewhat narcissistic and named a major London throughfare after myself…well I’ve been in London virtually my entire life so surely naming rights are due. Anyone want to sign my petition?…Anyone?….*sad face*

Image Chef

(c) ImageChef Inc.

(c) ImageChef Inc.

While this is not strictly a road sign, it does give you an idea of how versatile the sign customisation technology found online can be. Image Chef, run by the company CyberLink, offers an option where you can take over a cinema’s backlit  entrance sign for your own star-studded premiere. Declare your love for your favourite movie star, name-check some friends or beg some popcorn off the VIP guests, this silver screen’s all yours buddy.
The Half-Eaten Mind is the star of the red carpet round here, but you can add your own blog’s name for that special 9 pm blockbuster post.
In keeping with the theme of this article, Image Chef also offers road signs, including one template that allows you to add text to an image to an artsy montage of Swiss signage and a standalone sign in the Midwestern desert. Check out my interpretations below. From my blog office to my world, you’re in for an interesting journey. Don’t feed the scorpions.
(c) Image Chef

(c) Image Chef

(c) Image Chef

(c) Image Chef

This fun site offers several images beyond flat metal pavement furniture that you can doctor easily to your heart’s delight. All look realistic with no stray pixels or shoddy resolution in the final image. Very useful for blogs, forum signatures and the like.

Homer Simpson Sign Generator 2015



From signs in the real world to signs in the animated world. The next pitstop in this road trip of virtual signage takes us to Springfield, U.S.A and the home of Homer J. Simpson and his merry band of yellow-skinned townsfolk. When not irritating the hell out of Mr. Burns in his day job of safety inspector at the nuclear power plant, our favourite donut-muncher likes to roam and pose with rictus grin around the streets of Springfield, scrawling over road signs in much the same way as his son writes lines on the board in the opening credits of every episode of hit cartoon The Simpsons.
More “woo-hoo!” than “d’oh!”, the sign generator at lets fans of America’s favourite dysfunctional family add a message to one of Springfield’s famous, if bland, signs. Just enter some text, choose your typeface style and size and then push the button to change the sign. Just like El Barto, you can make your mark on one of the world’s favourite mythical animated small towns. Just don’t let Chief Wiggum catch you.

Good Fortune Cookie Generator

After our long journey you’re bound to be feeling a bit peckish. All that altering of road signs on the Information Superhighway certainly leaves a hole in the stomach. Why not head to your local Chinese takeaway for a slap-up meal of chicken chow mein and steaming dumplings? When the plates are cleared away and the bill’s paid, help yourself to a fortune cookie and find out what the future holds for you….


Well, for once, a fortune cookie that gives some decent advice. Want to create your own crunchy yet insightful snacks?. also offer a good fortune cookie generator, using the same principles as their Homer Simpson generator featured above. Simply choose a suitable font and colour and your message will be faithfully reproduced unscrolled on a platter of the finest produce this side of the Yangtze. Ideal for takeaway-loving couch potatos or for the Chinese New Year.

All these websites make great pictures for blogs and personal websites, and are perfect for emailing to work colleagues and friends for a bit of a laugh. Give one or two a try and see for yourself. Completely free of charge and very amusing to boot.

Thanks for reading this special Half-Eaten Mind presentation.

(c) V. Shah/M. Kampf/MyFunStudio


“File:Magic Roundabout Schild db.jpg” – Dickbauch, Wikimedia Commons (20 February 2005)
“Make your own Highway Sign” – Atom Smasher
“Custom Road Signs – Design Yours in a Minute!” – Road Traffic Signs
“London Street Sign” – Marijn Kampf,
“Signs / Movie Theater Marquee” – image chef/ImageChef Inc./CyberLink
“Signs / Road Signs” – image chef/ImageChef Inc./CyberLink
“Signs / Freeway Sign Blue” – image chef/ImageChef Inc./CyberLink
“Homer Simpson Sign Generator 2015:” –
“Good Fortune Cookie Generator (Change The Text)” –

PHOTO MOMENT: Happy Hindu New Year 2072

This Saturday marks the Hindu New Year V.S. 2072. This new year’s day is most keenly celebrated in north India and Nepal, although some peoples such as the Gujaratis, Tamils and Bengalis mark their new year’s on a different date. This new year also marks the beginning of spring and the agricultural season in the northern parts of the Asian subcontinent. It also marks the beginning of the nine-day festival of Navratri, in honour of Goddess Durga.

The Hindu New Year 2072 or Vikram Nav Varsh Samvant,is celebrated on Chaitra Shukala Pratipada (March – April).
In 2015, the Nav Samvat begins on March 21. The New Year is first day after the Amavasi (No moon) in the month of Chaitra. The current year is known as Keelak Samvatsar.” (Sanwaliya Seth mandir, Chittorgarh)

According to the Vikram Samvat calendar in use by those celebrating New Year’s today, it is now the year 2072, fifty-seven years ahead of the Gregorian calendar used in the West.

Vikram Samvat, also alternatively termed as Vikram Samwat, Vikram Sambt, Bikram Samvat, Bikram Samwat and Bikram Sambat, literally means “Vikram’s era”. The Vikram in question was an emperor of ancient India, whose full name was in fact Vikramaditya. He ruled over Ujjain in the Malwa region of central India. This powerful local emperor created the calendar to mark his victory over the Sakas (nomadic invaders from the eastern reaches of Persia) in 56 BC (1 VS). The calendar is a solar year with lunar months.

Celebrations have begun in earnest across much of India and Nepal, where the Vikram Samvat era is official. The governor of the Indian state of Bihar, Keshri Nath Tripathi, extended greetings and warm wishes to celebrants, remarking “I earnestly wish may the New Year bring happiness, peace and prosperity in everyone’s life..” India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also gave greetings to the communities celebrating today. In a temple (mandir) in Udaipur, western India, dedicated to Lord Ram, priests presided over a two-hour long puja prayer ceremony using holy water from seven sacred rivers across their country.

For Kashmiri Pandits, an exiled community from the Kashmir region, it is ‘Navreh’. For Maharashtrians, today marks ‘Gudi Padwa‘. The Sindhis know it as Cheti Chand and for the southern state of Karnataka, it is Ugadi, while eastwards in the state of Manipur, the locals get down to marking the occasion of Sajibu Nongmapanba. Some Buddhists and Parsis also mark festivals around about this time.

In the spirit of the new year, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a gallery of cool and fun images from around the web marking the first day of 2072 V.S….. “Nutan Varsh Abhinandan”  !!!

(c) Nepali Association of Western Australia

Via YouTube.

(c) Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community




“Vikram Samvat” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“Governor greets people on 2072 Vikram Samvat eve” – UNI, webIndia123 News/Suni Systems (P) Ltd. (20 March 2015)
“Sanwaliya ji New Year Vikram Samvat 2072 special, Shri Sanwaliya Seth Temple Rajasthan Chittorgarh | Bhadsoda | Mandpiya | Sanwariya” – Shri Sanwaliya Seth Temple
“Nav Samvatsar-2072 festivity begins with Jyoti Kalash Pujan” – UdaipurTimes Team, Udaipur Times/ (19 March 2015)
“PM greets people on various festivals, including Navratras” – Day & Night News/Kansan News Private Limited (21 March 2015)
“NAWA NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS 2072″ – Nepali Association of Western Australia/NAWA Inc.
“New Year Calendar 2072″ – Pema Chhiring Sherpa, YouTube GB (21 February 2015)
“Happy Nepali New Year 2072″ – Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community (3 March 2015)
“How to Celebrate New Year (Vikram Samvatsar 2072)” – (20 March 2015)
“Happy New Year 2072 Wishes Shayari in Hindi Language” – Nepal Nepali (1 February 2015)
“Nav Samvatsar 2072 – Happy Navratri 2015″ –, Google + (17 March 2015)

SCARFACE: Tony Montana’s mansion on sale for £23 million

The luxurious mansion which doubled as the residence of feared gangster and Cuban refugee Tony Montana in the 1983 blockbuster Scarface, starring Al Pacino, is now on sale for £23 million (USD $33.9 million), reports the British tabloid Metro today.

The El Fureidis mansion, in Montecito, California, was the domain of the feared and fast-talking cocaine smuggler in the hit film, where it was set in Coral Gables, an upmarket town near Miami in Florida. As Tony Montana’s home in the movie, it was where he married the glamorous Elvira, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and went down in a blaze of bloody glory facing off against hordes of South American gunmen in the climactic ending of Scarface.

English: Looking back at El Frueidis from the ...

English: Looking back at El Frueidis from the southern gardens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The mansion, which is said to boast nine bathrooms, also has played host to visits by numerous politicians and film stars. It was built in 1906 using a mixed architectural style combining Greek, Persian, Spanish and Arab styles. Originally known as the James Waldron Gillespie Estate or Gillespie Palace for its original owner, the mansion was renamed ‘El Fureidis‘ (Spanish for ‘Paradise Gardens’) in the 1950s.

The house is currently owned by a Mark Cuban, ironically, and the new owners will also get the free use of four bedrooms and can stroll around the picturesque 10-acre gardens in return for the £23 million asking price. You can live in the lap of luxury and eat like a don in the grandiose living room which has a ceiling adorned with 24-carat gold leaf. The rooms have underfloor heating and modern expensive appliances. The rooftop is said to guarantee 360 degree views of the Californian coast, the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Channel Islands national park.

A spokesperson for, which gives a detailed description of the mansion, called El Fureidis “one of Montecito’s most celebrated estates steeped in rich and colourful history“. The spokesperson also mentioned that El Fureidis is a “place of legendary provenance and played host to many memorable visitors, including Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and John F. Kennedy“.

The estate is one of only three residences in Montecito designed by renowned architect Bertram Goodhue, and is a true piece of art history” the spokesperson added.

The movie was directed by Brian Palma and charts the story of Tony Montana, a refugee from the Castro regime who settles in Florida among the Cuban expatriate community there. Beginning life as a humble dishwasher in a roadside restaurant, Al Pacino’s character soon climbs up the crime ladder, before he becomes a gangster overlord in his own right. He knows unbridled wealth and prosperity, but a deepening addiction to cocaine and a run-in with a Colombian crime boss soon bring the world of Montana crashing down in a hail of bullets.

The film which still maintains a uniquely cult status and revolutionised Pacino’s career cost $25 million to make. It took in $4.5 million in its first week at the cinemas and became the 16th best grossing film of 1983.

(contains severe violence and some strong language)


Facebook, Facebook Inc.
“The mansion from Scarface has nine bathrooms and it could be yours for a mere £23 million” – Sarah Deen, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (14 March 2015)
“El Fureidis” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“File:El Fureidis.jpg” –  Tai Kerbs, Wikimedia Commons (28 October 2010)
“Say Hello to My Little Friend – Scarface (8/8) Movie CLIP (1983) HD” – MOVIECLIPS, YouTube GB (16 June 2011)



RED NOSE DAY FIASCO: Norwich fundraiser sparks off police manhunt

fundraiser collecting charitable donations for Red Nose Day in the eastern British city of Norwich got more than he bargained for when he inadvertently set off a six hour long police manhunt, reports the Eastern Daily Press.

The man, who was not identified in the Eastern Daily Press news report, took it upon himself to dress up as a British soldier, complete with camouflaged uniform and carrying around what appeared to be a rifle. He was videotaped walking around the streets of Norwich nonchalantly with the realistic toy gun, causing worried locals to call the police, who responded immediately. Police forces across the UK are already being placed on high alert due to fears of terrorism, and there were concerns that the fundraiser might have been a ‘lone wolf’ terrorist.

Norfolk county police reported receiving three calls from the public about a ‘young man believed to be carrying a firearm’ according to the Eastern Daily Press report. The calls came in at around 8.30 am local time. Armed officers and a helicopter were immediately called out to Norwich’s city centre in search for the mysterious ‘gunman’ and scoured the streets for around six hours before eventually tracking him down at around 2:00 pm. Marked police vehicles were also stationed around the city’s market, Bank Plain and Colegate areas, as well as later at the University College of the Arts, and the Territorial Army base.

The unfortunate fundraiser was described by the newspaper as feeling “embarrassed and apologetic” when police finally tracked him down. Officers gave him a stern warning for putting his life in danger by wearing the military attire and also confiscated his imitation ‘rifle’, which he had painted to look more lifelike.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, leading the operation, said: “He had dressed up for fundraising or charity but members of the public were concerned for their safety.

Public safety is paramount and we take all reports of firearms seriously.”

A taxi driver passing along Barrack Street saw the man walking around with his gun and began filming. In the forty-second video, the man is strolling down a busy main road. As the cabbie drives closer to the fundraiser, his rifle is seen by his side, while dressed in full combat gear and rucksack. He appears to be indistinguishable from an actual soldier. He was reported in a local news video as heading along Barrack Street in the direction of Norwich’s Puppet Theatre.

The driver, who shot the footage with his mobile phone, told local media: “I saw a man in the full combat clothing carrying a rifle in his right hand. I wasn’t sure if it was an imitation but I thought it was a bit strange.

Dale Buck, a resident from Norwich’s Spixworth area, saw him close to the Whitefriars district around that time too. He said: “I was turning into the car park when I saw him. He was in full UK military clothes with a helmet, bag and he was carrying a rifle.

The rifle was swinging by his side so I knew he wasn’t a genuine soldier.”

The man was let off with a warning and allowed to go on his way, with no charges being brought against him. The unlucky fundraiser is not the first resident of the town to get into trouble with the law for wearing controversial fancy dress. Weeks earlier, a local teenager who was spotted walking around town armed with a machete turned out to be a film student making a horror movie. The machete turned out to be a plastic one splattered with fake blood, which was only discovered after an armed police operation swooped on the student while he was acting out a scene on the Mousehold Heath.

Red Nose Day is a charitable initiative by the Comic Relief charity that takes place every March and was launched in 1988. People are encouraged to wear red plastic noses and take part in fun events at school and work to raise money for charities in the UK and in Africa.

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“Red Nose Day fundraiser ‘embarrassed’ for sparking six-hour manhunt in Norwich” – Rosa McMahon, Eastern Daily Press/Archant Community Media Ltd (14 March 2015)
“Red Nose Day” – Comic Relief
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BOOKSGOSOCIAL: Writers conference in Dublin this June

New and upcoming authors and writers hoping to make it big in the literary world will soon have the chance to reach for the stars thanks to a special conference to be held in Ireland this June.

The BooksGoSocial Writer’s Conference is being held at the Irish Writers Centre in the heart of the Irish capital Dublin from the 26-28 June 2014. The two-day event will see a team of experts and writing instructors guide authors in how to be discovered and to help them achieve their potential as a writer in the 21st century, according to the conference’s organiser, a book promotion service which helps authors spread the word on their latest books and e-books. Marketing advice will also be on hand for writers of fiction and non-fiction works to promote themselves via social media and advertising. There are numerous trainers who will be passing on their skills and advice, originating from not only Ireland, but also the United Kingdom and the States.

Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among the writing and marketing experts expected to be keynote speakers at the event are Laurence O’Bryan, an Irish diploma teacher of digital marketing for authors. A keen blogger and published author, O’Bryan‘s work has been published all over Europe and major Anglophone countries by Harper Collins and is said to have spent a decade trying to break into the publishing industry, before making it in with the help of a blog and Twitter account. Also featuring is Margaret Murphy, who has published nine critically acclaimed psychological thrillers and teaches creative writing at several UK universities. She has won numerous awards from her crime fiction and previously worked as an educator for thirty years before her writing career took off.

Other participants getting involved at BooksGoSocial include the writers Jean Gill and Catherine Ryan Howard, journalist and public relations professional Debbie Young and editor  Jessica Page Morrell. They will be hosting special themed events and workshops on subjects such as penning emotive fiction and gripping dialogue; as well as developing valuable knowledge of areas like digital marketing, self-publication and other useful skills necessary for budding wordsmiths in the technology age. The conference will end in a prestigious awards ceremony where writers will be invited to submit examples of their work. The ceremony will take place on the Saturday. Writers will also have opportunities, within and outside the event’s schedule to read their work and receive feedback from the panel of writing experts.

Dublin has proved to be an ideal location for the BooksGoSocial conference due to its prestigious and renowned history of writing prodigies who have become literary personalities both within Ireland and beyond its shores. The capital of the Emerald Isle, fabled for its legends of Celtic warriors, giants, mysterious fairies and leprechauns, is a UNESCO City of Literature, cradle of the classical Irish writers Swift, Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Wilde, Synge & Shaw as well as the modern masters Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and a dozen others.

Discounted and early bird tickets for all or part of the conference can be obtained from the BooksGoSocial website for the event:

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“BooksGoSocial Writers’ Conference June 26-28th 2015″ –
Ggggg “File:Dublin Castle.jpg” – Mike Peel, Wikimedia Commons (11 August 2005)

MITCHAM GANG ASSAULT: Elderly dogwalker hurt after attack by animal abuser

An OAP dog owner out walking his companion on a green in Mitcham, south London suffered a fractured wrist and rib after being shoved to the ground by a group of youths as he tried to protect his dog from being attacked by one of them, the BBC reports today.

The unidentified 76-year-old victim had been walking his dog in Mitcham’s Cricket Green yesterday (Friday 6 March) at about 4 pm GMT when the attack occurred. Local police said that the man got into a confrontation with four other park users, one of whom pushed him to the ground. The younger man had first attempted to kick the victim’s dog, before turning on the victim as he stood up for his pet. The elder’s injuries required hospital treatment, the BBC says.

Local police officer Det Con Jamie McIntosh said: “This was an unprovoked and cowardly attack on an elderly man who was out walking his dog alone.

As a result of the incident the victim has been left frightened and confused.

It would have been very busy around the Cricket Green at the time of the attack and there would have been a significant amount of traffic along the A239 (motorway/highway). I am appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the attack or anyone with any information to come forward and assist us with our investigating.

Police said that the victim described the gang as being made up of two men and two women, all described as of ‘black’ ethnicity and in their early twenties. All of the group were said to be wearing dark clothing. The man who assaulted the pensioner was described as being 5 foot 11 inches (1.80 metres) tall with short black hair.

The Mitcham dogwalker has now been discharged from medical treatment. Police are appealing for witnesses to the attack. Anyone with information on the attackers or the crime can call the Merton CID (police criminal investigations team) on 0208 649 3057 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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“Pensioner hurt after dog trying to stop dog attack” – BBC News London, BBC (7 March 2015)
“Pensioner attacked by gang of thugs as he walked his dog in south London” – Rachel Blundy, London Evening Standard (7 March 2015)
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LUNCHTIME PUNISHMENT: Oregon schoolchild forced to eat behind screen for lateness

The parents of a six-year old American schoolchild are up in arms against the child’s school after teachers punished the boy for being late to lessons, by making him eat his lunch behind a cardboard screen while forced to sit on a separate table from other children.

Hunter Cmelo’s parents, from Grant’s Pass in Oregon, were running late when they managed to take the first-grader to Lincoln Elementary School, the local primary school in the town. Teachers there punished Hunter by seating him on an unoccupied bench with a folded piece of cardboard shielding him from the eyes of his schoolmates. A set of polystyrene cups with the letter ‘D’ – standing for detention – scrawled on one of them was also placed near Hunter as he sat down to eat.

(c) Facebook via Metro

Pictures of the incident were put up on Facebook by Hunter’s grandmother Laura Hoover, who commented in the British newspaper site of Metro “This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a little first grader“.

His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple of minutes late to school.

‘Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of his control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students.”

The harsh punishment of being segregated from friends at lunchtime has caused considerable distress to Hunter, who was on one occasion taken home in tears by his mother, Nicole Garloff. Hunter’s father, Mark Cmelo, said to local television station KOIN6: “They are shaming him for something that’s not in his control.” Hunter’s parents are reported to be devastated at the treatment of their son by the school.

His mother said the punishment has left her son anxious about attending school, and that a few days ago, he began ‘flipping out’ because they were running late for the school journey. She said that she has experienced car troubles and suffers from the brittle bone condition osteoporosis, which can set her back in the mornings. “It causes a lot of pain and in the mornings it’s especially hard for me to get going,” she said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Lincoln Elementary School have agreed to stop using the cardboard partition in light of the Cmelos’ complaint, but have not said if they will end the policy of separating late students at lunchtime and forcing them to eat alone. According to the Daily Mail, the school received hundreds of complaints and threats after the incident went viral on social media.

A spokesman for the school district said: “The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.

Meanwhile, the school’s superintendent John Higgins, who received a barrage of threatening phone calls, told Newswatch 12 that the “protocol was communicated to parents via newsletter and is intended to provide the students with an above average level of tardiness, supervised additional learning time in a non-distracting setting,

‘It was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.

Principal Missy Fitzsimmons reached out to Hunter’s parents and arranged a meeting this past Thursday to hear the parents’ concerns, including ceasing use of the cardboard partition. Fitzsimmons said: “We are pleased to report the meeting was productive,

‘The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.”

The school has a roll call of 444 pupils and forms part of the Grant’s Pass School District 7 administration in the Oregon town.

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“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015)
“Outrage as six-year-old boy is forced to eat lunch alone behind a screen after his parents dropped him off late to school” –  Lydia Warren, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd (27 February 2015)
“About Lincoln Elementary – Mission Statement” – Lincoln Elementary School, Grant’s Pass School District No. 7
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015)

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