Paralysed woman earns uni degree by blinking the answers during exams

File photo of mortarboards bring thrown in the hair during a graduation celebration. Ms Dawn Faizey Webster blinked her way through exams to earn a degree in ancient history.

Two weeks after giving birth to her son in 2003, Dawn Faizey Webster suffered a stroke.

The incident left her unable to talk or walk. Besides the slight movement of her head and eye lids, she was completely paralysed.

But her mind remained active.

Inspiring determination

The courageous woman did not let the incident kill her thirst for knowledge.

Six years ago, Ms Webster started on a degree in ancient history using a laptop which translates her eye movements into text, reported Mail Online.

She spent three hours a day on her studies, touching buttons with the side of her head to move the cursor and blinking to get the letters she wanted, reported ITV.

Her fastest writing pace of 50 words per hour meant each three-hour exam took her three weeks to complete, reported The Mirror.

'I am still me'

The 42-year-old recently completed the Open University qualification with honours.

Ms Webster wrote: "When I passed my degree, I was so pleased and proud of myself. I had achieved my goal that I had for six years been striving for and no matter what obstacles were in my way, such as getting pneumonia twice and other lesser illnesses, I was determined to reach my goal.

"When I first had my stroke, I realised I would not be able to do anything physical. I then decided to use the thing that had not been affected and that was my brain.

"I felt I needed to prove to myself and to others that I was still me, Dawn."

She now plans to study for a Masters in History of Art.

Proud of her

Ms Webster, from Staffordshire in the UK, is being cared for by her father, 80, and mother, 75. Her husband left her a few months after the stroke.

Mail Online reported her father as saying: "It's amazing she has managed to do this considering her condition. We are so proud of her. She worked so hard to get there."

Sources: Mail Online, Mirror, ITV

Trying to figure out your score under the new IPPT? One guy has a solution

The new Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) format set to be put into place might be a bit more forgiving, but calculating your score sure isn't.

With 14 different age bands and up to 50 different scores for the three stations, you could be forgiven for feeling a little daunted when you see the scoring charts for the first time.

Step forward one Internet user known as YC Tay, who came up with a simple website to help you find out where you stand before the new system kicks in next April.

All you need to do is key in your age, the number of push-ups and sit-ups you can do in a minute as well as your 2.4km run timing and presto, you've got your score.


Video of 'nude games' on Penang beach creates social media storm

A screen capture of the video showing  the group of "naturists" taking part in the "Games".
A screen capture of the video showing the group of "naturists" taking part in the "Games".

A five and a half minute video has created a huge furore in Malaysia.

The video shows a group of people — both men and women — in the buff frolicking on a beach in Penang.

They were apparently participating in what was termed the “Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza”, Malay Mail reported.

Among others, the participants were seen racing one another in the nude, performing kettle bell exercises around a campfire and a “Gangnam-style horse dance” where a woman straddles a man on his back as he walks forward.

In one activity, a naked woman is seen trying to climb over three men as they lie shoulder-to-shoulder in the sand.

On Facebook, the video was shared over 260 times and has triggered a debate over its authenticity.

Taken down

It was uploaded on video sharing website Vimeo by one Albert Yam two months ago, but was taken down by Tuesday (Aug 5) afternoon, The Star reported.

According to the video, 18 nudists took part in the undated event.

Meanwhile, the Penang state government said it has no knowledge of a “nude sports” event.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the state would not even approve a casino for Penang, let alone a nude sports event.

“We’ll let the police investigate the matter,” Mr Lim said.

Source: Malay Mail, The Star


Tags: penang, video and nude games

Golfer Sergio Garcia's wild swing knocks diamond off woman's ring

Sergio Garcia of Spain hitting off the sixth tee during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on Sunday.

Golfer Sergio Garcia's wild drive on Sunday knocked the diamond off an engagement ring on a woman's finger.

The incident happened during Garcia's tee shot on the third hole during the final day of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course in Ohio.

The apologetic Spaniard gave the fan an autographed ball and attempted to find the gem.

He failed to recover the diamond and asked for someone to help him take down the woman's contact details.

Fortunately, another spectator found the gem and returned it to the woman.

Garcia finished in second position, behind Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.

Sources: Mail Online, NY Daily News, AFP

Singapore Zoo No 1 in Asia: TripAdvisor

Visitors enjoying themselves watching the sea lion splash water during the Splash Safari Show at the Singapore Zoo
Visitors enjoying themselves watching the sea lion splash water during the Splash Safari Show at the Singapore Zoo.

The Singapore Zoo has been ranked first in Asia in a top 10 list by TripAdvisor in its Travellers’ Choice Awards.

It beat the likes of the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand, which was second, and the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in India, which was third.

Overall in the world, the Singapore Zoo ranked fifth, TripAdvisor said in a statement.

The S.E.A. Aquarium in Sentosa also clinched seventh place in Asia in the aquariums category.

In total, 275 winners were identified, including the top 25 in the world and dedicated lists for Asia, Canada, Europe, India, South America, South Pacific, the UK and the US.

Mr Lee Meng Tat, CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said, “We are pleased to be recognised as one of the best zoos in the world by TripAdvisor travellers. We hope that with this accolade, we are able to reach out to a greater audience in our mission to educate the public to better appreciate, protect and together secure the future for our most valued assets – wildlife.”

Japan tops

Japan has the most number of winning zoos and aquariums in the region.

Ten of its zoos and 17 of its aquariums are featured in the top 25 Asia lists.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka was rated the top aquarium.


Outrage in Saudi Arabia as woman reads news without veil

In a first, an anchorwoman for a Saudi Arabia TV channel did not don a head scarf or veil while reading the news.

An anchorwoman for a Saudi Arabia TV channel caused a controversy when she did not don a head scarf or veil while reading the news.

It was an unprecedented sight in the Saudi kingdom, and the scene on Al Ekhbariya news channel outraged some viewers.

While Saudi TV does show unveiled women, it usually happens on foreign shows or when they are guest speakers - never for news readers, reported Mail Online.

Gulf News reported Saudi radio and television spokesman Saleh Al Mughailif as saying: "She was a correspondent reading the news from a studio in Britain."

"She was not in a studio inside Saudi Arabia and we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country’s systems," he said.

He added that measures were being taken to ensure this would not happen again.

Sources: Mail Online, Gulf News

Xavi retires from international football

Spain's midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.
Spain's midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.

Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez has announced his retirement from international football.

Speaking at a press conference, the 34-year-old Barcelona player said: "I have decided to leave the national team. I think my time there has finished.

"It has been a wonderful, fantastic period for me. It has been an honour.

"We have managed to achieve many successes in the past six or eight years and now I am just another fan of the Spain team."

An icon of both his club and country, pass master Xavi typified Spain's tiki-taka style of play that led them to World Cup success in 2010 along with back-to-back Euro titles in 2008 and 2012.


Since making his debut in 2000, the midfield maestro has accumulated 133 caps for La Roja and scored 13 times.

Xavi's last appearance for Spain was at the 2014 World Cup when he started their opening group match which ended in a 1-5 defeat to Holland.

The Spanish national team's official Twitter account led the tributes with a #GraciasXavi hashtag:



Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher also tweeted his praise for Xavi:



Source: AFP, Twitter

Two Americans with Ebola given experimental drug

An isolation unit at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr Kent Brantly and Ms Nancy Writebol were infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia. He arrived back in the US on Saturday. She is to arrive today (Aug 5).

The two Ebola-stricken American missionaries were given an experimental serum before they were flown back to the United States.

Dr Kent Brantly and Ms Nancy Writebol, both of whom had contracted Ebola while helping patients in Liberia, gave their consent for a drug cocktail known as ZMapp to be used on them.

ZMapp has been tested on monkeys but not on humans. It was developed by San Diego company Mapp Biopharmaceutical and manufactured in Kentucky using fast-growing tobacco plants, which act as a "photocopier" to produce the necessary proteins.

Dr Kent Brantly (in blue) was infected with the deadly virus while helping to battle an outbreak in West Africa. He arrived back in the US on Saturday. Ms Nancy Writebol is supposed to arrive today (Aug 5).

Mr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "This so-called experimental serum is a cocktail of antibodies that have the capability of blocking the virus."

"The physicians in charge of the patients’ care made a risk-benefit decision. The risk was less than the potential benefit," he said.

While it is too early to say whether the treatment saved the lives of the two missionaries or slowed the disease’s progression enough to allow them to return to the US for care, some reports have suggested that both patients improved after getting the serum.

A colourised transmission electron micrograph of the Ebola virus virion.

It is unclear whether the duo will continue to receive doses of the ZMapp serum during their treatment in Atlanta. Any use of an experimental drug in the United States must receive the blessing of the Food and Drug Administration.

There is no approved cure for Ebola and no proven vaccine to prevent the disease.

According to an update on Monday from the World Health Organization, 887 people have died in four countries – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria - and more than 1,600 people have taken ill by Ebola in the current outbreak.

Source: Washington Post

Lions drawn against M'sia, Thailand in Suzuki Cup

Reigning AFF Suzuki Champions Singapore have been drawn against Malaysia and Thailand along with the winner of the qualifying round in Group B.
Reigning AFF Suzuki Champions Singapore have been drawn against Malaysia and Thailand along with the winner of the qualifying round in Group B.

Singapore will take on Causeway derby rivals Malaysia as well as Thailand in a tough Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The group will be completed by a fourth team - the winner of a qualifying group consisting of Timor Leste, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

The draw conducted in Hanoi on Tuesday will also pit Vietnam - who will co-host the tournament with Singapore - the Philippines, Indonesia and the runners-up from the qualifying group in Group A.

Photo courtesy of WSG

The tournament will kick off on Nov 22 and end on Dec 20.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.

The Lions are the reigning champions of the biennial Asean football tournament and have won it a record four times.


Surrogate mother wants Gammy's sister returned

Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua holding baby Gammy, who was born with Down Syndrome, at the Samitivej hospital in Thailand's Chonburi province on Monday.

The Thai surrogate mother of seven-month-old Gammy has asked for the baby's twin sister to be returned to her.

Her request came after it was revealed that the biological father has convictions for child sex offences.

Australian Associated Press said court documents show that the Australian man, 56, had been convicted for sexually molesting three girls.

State broadcaster ABC added that he was jailed for sexually molesting two girls under the age of 10 when he was in his 20s. He was also accused in 1997 of another six charges of indecently dealing with a child.

Other reports said child protection services had been called in to investigate his “suitability", although they were unable to confirm this to AFP and police had no comment.

The Guardian reported Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua​ as saying: "I am very worried about my baby girl. I need help from anyone who can bring my girl back to me as soon as possible... This news make me sick. I will take care of my twin babies. I will not give her or him to any family that wants a baby."

The revelations came as the Australian couple claimed that Ms Pattaramon had misled the world over what happened.

The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had hired Ms Pattaramon and paid her AS$16,000 (S$18,600).

Ms Pattaramon claims they rejected the boy, who has Down Syndrome and a heart problem, taking only his healthy twin sister back to their home in Bunbury, south of Perth.

The couple have come under heavy criticism for their alleged actions, which include asking Ms Pattaramon​ to abort the boy.

The Australian couple said in a statement, issued through a friend to their local newspaper the Bunbury Mail, the allegations were false and they did not know he had Down Syndrome, although they were aware he had a congenital heart problem.

“Gammy was very sick when he was born and the biological parents were told he would not survive and he had a day, at best, to live and to say goodbye,” the friend, a woman, told the newspaper, without saying who told them this.

The birth of the twins was supposed to take place at a major international hospital in Thailand but Ms Pattharamon went to another facility, which made the surrogacy agreement void, according to the newspaper.

This meant that the couple had no legal rights to the babies although the surrogate mother finally agreed to hand over the girl, the report said.

"The biological parents were heartbroken that they couldn’t take their boy with them and never wanted to give him up, but to stay would risk them losing their daughter also," the friend said.

She added that allegations that the couple “ignored” Gammy when they visited the hospital were untrue and they had bought gifts for both infants.

The friend said the couple spent two months in Thailand but due to military unrest at the time felt they had no option but to leave without Gammy.

“This has been absolutely devastating for them, they are on the edge,” she said.

Sources: AFP, The Guardian