Vietnamese Man does things differently

The pain of loss make Le Van do the craziest things

A heartbroken Vietnamese widower who wanted a hug from his dead wife dug up her corpse and slept beside it in his bed for five years, reports say.

Le Van was so traumatised by the death of his wife in 2003 that he started sleeping on top of her grave in Quang Nam province in central Vietnam, online newspaper Vietnamnet reports.

Mr Van did that for 20 months until he became so sick of cold weather and rain that he dug a tunnel to his dead wife which allowed him to sleep beside her.

The 55-year-old's children found out about the tunnel and prevented him from visiting the graveyard so, in November 2004, he dug up the corpse and took it home with him.

Mr Van then moulded a figure around the skeleton using clay and dressed the body up in women's clothing and make-up.

The father-of-seven has been sleeping beside it ever since.

"I'm a person that does things differently ... I'm not like normal people," Mr Van was quoted as saying.



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Nightmare of a Malaysian transsexual

A TRANSSEXUAL woman married to a Derby man could face 20 years in jail if she is forced to return to her home country after being turned down for a visa.

Fatine Young, 36, who was born a man, has lived with her husband, school caretaker Ian Young, in Spondon for six months.

Big day ... Ian and Fatine at their 2009 civil ceremony

They met in a Starbucks cafe at Petronas Twin Towers three years ago.
Ian Young, a Briton who was then working as a security officer, was smitten by her exotic features and striking eyes.
He took the seat next to her and was impressed by how good her English was during the conversation.
But when he asked for her number, she said she might not be what he was looking for. Fatine said she was a transsexual.

But despite Fatine's revelation and her refusal to have sex-change surgery, Ian says he is still in love and "can't contemplate his life without her''.

But Fatine has been refused a UK visa and faces jail if she is sent home because their relationship would be perceived to be homosexual. Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia.

The couple were married at a civil ceremony at Derby Register Office in June after a three-year romance.

Despite that, Fatine has been refused permission to stay in the UK by the Home Office.
Ian, 30, who works at St Chad's Infant School, said: "I know it is hard for many people to understand, but I love Fatine and I feel lucky to have met such a caring, wonderful person like her.

"It doesn't matter to me that she is a transsexual, it's the person she is inside that I care about and love."

The couple met in Kuala Lumpur in 2006, when Ian was working in the country.

Ian, who was born in Derby and went to Chellaston School, recalled the moment the couple met.

He said: "I was overwhelmed by her striking eyes and exotic features – she was gorgeous. We started talking and I was immediately impressed by how good her English was.

"When she got up to leave I asked for her number and that's when she told me. She said she might not be what I was looking for, and that she was actually a transsexual.

"Naively I just said 'oh' and blushed with embarrassment. But for some reason I wasn't put off. I'd never met a transsexual before and my instinct was that I liked Fatine."

Two days later, Ian and Fatine, who was born Mohammed Fazdil Bin Min Bahari, went to a bar together and at the end of the night they kissed for the first time.

Ian said: "Being a straight man, I did have a few concerns about what had happened and the way I was feeling. But I couldn't ignore how I felt."

When Ian's contract finished five months later, he returned to Derby.

But he and Fatine stayed in contact and he would spend £10 a day on telephone calls.

In December, Ian arranged for Fatine to come over to the UK on a visitor's visa, for what was at first intended to be a holiday, but they soon realised it would be more long-term.

A month into Fatine's visit, Ian proposed and they applied to the Home Office for a certificate to marry in a civil service, which was granted in June.

His family were supportive, with his mum saying on the day of the civil service: "I've got a son and a daughter now."

They hoped it would support Fatine in her bid to secure a permanent settlement visa.

However, their dream of staying in the UK has been thrown into doubt after Fatine's leave to remain visa was refused in September, on the grounds of an incorrect passport photo. Their second application was also rejected because it was received after Fatine's visitor's visa had expired.

She has now been told she must return to Malaysia – although the couple will put in a third application on Monday.

Exotic looks...Fatine who was born as Mohammed Fazdil Bin Min Bahari

In Malaysia, transsexuals can be sacked from jobs and arrested.

But Fatine said she had always felt she was in the wrong body and, from the age of 17, had dressed as a woman.

Although her father accepted her, Fatine's sexuality caused a permanent rift with her mother.

Nevertheless, Fatine took hormones to feminise her body and voice, although she has no plans for major surgery.

Ian said: "We've followed every procedure and done everything by the book, but we've still been refused.

"Ultimately spending our life together is our dream, just like any other couple in love. We want to do simple things like have a mortgage together, work and be happy.

"At the moment we both feel desperate and that our options are quickly running out. We love each other. Being forced apart is our worst nightmare."


UPDATE: 2 Dec 2009
Transvestite may face action if he returns

PUTRAJAYA: A Malaysian transsexual, who married a 30-year-old man in Britain, may face action when he comes back if he has been found to have violated immigration laws.

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman said it could not take action against Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari as long as he remained in Britain but would investigate the case if he was deported home.

He said it would have to study Mohammed Fazdil’s travel documents to ascertain if he had committed any offence.

UPDATE: 3 Dec 2009
Fatine worries for safety after negative reactions to ‘marriage’

Malaysian transsexual Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari is afraid to return home due to the negative reactions over her marriage to a Briton.

She has received a lot of negative e-mails and comments from people, some even accusing her of insulting the Malaysian government.

Mohammed Fazdil or Fatine, said she felt frustrated that people did not understand she had come to the United Kingdom because she wanted to be with the man she loved.

She added that she could not do that in Malaysia and people in the country seemed to be taking a religious point of view over the matter.

“I am so frightened to go back. I am worried for my safety,” she said in response to what she claimed was the inaccurate portrayal of their love story by a Malay tabloid which caused the negative reactions.

Fatine’s family pleading for him to come home

THE FAMILY of a Malaysian transsexual who married a British man in London, are pleading for him to return home, reported Kosmo!

However, Fatine, whose real name is Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari, told Kosmo! via Facebook that his fate was still unclear although his marriage to Ian Young was sensationalised both here and in Britain.

According to the report, Fatine’s family was initially angry and upset to hear that the 36-year-old make-up artist had married Young, 30, last May.

His sister Noor Min Bahari told Kosmo! that the family still loved Fatine and had forgiven him.

Noor said she did not want her brother to be a fugitive and he had to sacrifice by leaving his “husband” and return to Malaysia, the report said.

“Our mother is appealing for him to come home. We are not angry and have forgiven Fazdil,” she told the daily, adding that they only knew of the marriage from the newspapers.

Noor said her brother had contacted the family and apologised over the marriage but did not ask for help to return to the country.

Meanwhile, Fatine told Kosmo! that he was worried about his fate should he return home as his visitor’s pass had expired and he had failed to extend it twice.

His first application last Sept­ember was rejected as British authorities were confused over an “in-correct” photograph on his passport while the second was made after the visa expired, the report said.

Fatine also expressed disappointment that his family’s name was dragged in, adding that he had applied to stay in Britain as a spouse.

UPDATE: 4 Dec 2009
Fatine to face action only if marriage registered in Malaysia

MALAYSIAN transsexual Fatine will only face action under the Syariah law should he return and re-register his marriage here, reported Kosmo!

Fatine’s marriage to a British man Ian Young, 30, in London last May has created waves both in Britain and here.

Quoting Syariah Lawyers Association vice-president Musa Awang, the report said that Fatine, whose real name is Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari, had escaped punishment for same-sex marriages as he had wed overseas.

“If the same-sex marriage was registered here, it will be deemed as an insult to Islam,” he told the tabloid.

Those found guilty under the Syariah law could face a maximum of three years’ jail, RM5,000 fine or both.

Fatine could also face another charge should he return wearing women’s clothes.

Both Fatine and Young have set up a Facebook chat group, which currently has 2,000 friends, to draw support for their plight.

UPDATE: 8 DEC 2009

Fatine: I’ve never neglected religious duties

HE may be a transvestite but Mohammed Fadzil Bahari or better known as Fatine, 36, claimed in his Facebook webpage that he has never neglected his religious duties as a Muslim, reported Kosmo!.

Fatine who has been staying in the UK since last year and recently married an Englishman, Ian Young, said he might be ignorant about some religious matters but had never neglected his prayers and fasting.

“Let God be the only one to judge me when it comes to my sexuality,” he said.

Fatine’s family has recently expressed concern that he might leave Islam after marrying the 30-year-old Englishman.

Fatine, who is currently living in Derby, is in a limbo as his tourist visa has not been approved.

The make-up artist explained that he married Young in a civil contract to legalise their relationship.

“It had nothing to do with religion. He is still of his religious faith and I am still a Muslim,” he said, adding that he was happy living there as people accepted him as he was.

He also said he could not return to Malaysia to visit his ailing mother at the moment.

A note written in his Facebook read:

“I have never committed any crime and have never hurt anyone in my life. My only crime is being a woman trapped in a man’s body, but I still deserve to love and to be loved.”

UPDATE: 14 Dec 2009


In an exclusive interview with The Malay Mail, Fatine speaks his mind.

Q: Why have you chosen to remain silent up to this point to the Malaysian media?
A: I had nothing to say to them and I was just cautious and afraid if I did say anything, it would some how end up fuelling the controversy back home. Hence, my choice was to stay silent.

Q: Why was your visa application rejected? Some speculate that it was because the photo showed you as a man.
A: My application was rejected due to a technical reason. It had to do with the wrong background colour of my photograph sent to the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) and nothing else. The picture in my passport is not of me as a man as speculated by some, but as you see me now.

Q: How is your situation now?
A: I am running out of options, and all we can do is wait for an answer from the UKBA on the outcome of my third application.

Q: You have just made the third request for approval, how long will it take?
A: I don’t know how long the process will take for approval. It may take months.

Q: You have been chided for overstaying illegally. Is that a fact, since you seem to be in a legal wrangle?
A: According to the Immigration solicitor who represents me, I cannot be classified as an illegal overstayer as my application is still being processed by UKBA and my case pending.

Q: Do you feel victimised and do you feel there are those who are taking advantage of the situation by being vocal about your situation?
A: I don’t know what to think. I have no comments on this.

Q: Should your third application fail, what is your next course of action?
A: I believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Should my third application fail, we will appeal. If they say we can't appeal, we will try another way.

Q: There are those who would claim you've shamed Malaysia, what do you say?
A: It makes me very sad. Far from being sympathetic towards my plight, these people have singled me out from amongst thousands of overstaying Malaysians in the UK. If these people didn't turn their backs on Malaysians who have even been convicted of crimes abroad, why are they dressing me down in public? What crime have I done? I've tried my best to comply with UK Immigration laws. I followed everything by the book and even hired an Immigration lawyer to handle my application, just to ensure I don’t breach UK immigration laws. Tell me how have I brought shame to our nation? Could it stem from prejudice towards me as a pre-op transsexual who was registered at birth as Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari?

Q: There have been questions pertaining to whether you are still a Muslim.
A: As ignorant as I am, my faith has not strayed. I am still a Muslim, and I still carry out my religious duties as expected of me.

Q: Do you think people were confused over the terms marriage and civil partnership? Is it the same or does it just bear similarities?
A: A civil partnership is an agreement, which validates my relationship with Ian within the civil laws of England. It has nothing to do with religion. Ian is still practising his own religion, and so am I.

Q: You have been following Press reports concerning your case in Malaysia. What do you think of what has been said about you?
A: I am not an artiste or a popular personality, so there is no need for the media in Malaysia to sensationalise my story.

Q: What is one thing you would say to Malaysians in general?
A: Not all Malaysians have been vicious and hateful towards me. There have been those who have been sympathetic and offered moral support and advice. To them and the many non-governmental organisations that
have supported me – thank you so much. I am appreciative of all that you’ve done for me, and only God can repay the kindness you’ve shown.

Q: If you have to choose between never coming back to Malaysia, or leaving Ian, what will you do?
A: I will never leave Ian. He is a really, really good person who really wants to take care of me. He accepts me for who I am and what I am. Someone who is not ashamed to face up to society, and who is willing to go through all this with me. We will fight for my visa together, and hopefully be able to spend the rest of our lives
together. Only death can tear us apart.

Q: Some quarters have urged you to come home and promise 'help' if you do, are you reassured by that?
A: I have no idea what 'help' they’re offering, so I will refrain from commenting.

Q: How is your relationship with your family now? You have reportedly been disowned and that your mother is ill.
A: My relationship with my family is getting better. I do not deny, not all my siblings are accepting, some are okay with the situation and some are just shocked and angry. But my mother has forgiven me and understands my current situation of not being able to see her. We are growing stronger by the day through our contact by phone. She is constantly praying for my safety and wellbeing. As for claims that my mother is unwell, it’s a twist of words supposedly from my sister by a tabloid.

Q: You have primarily been seeking support for your case on Facebook but there have also been hateful comments. Do you have anything to say to these people?
A: To those who have nothing nice to say in Facebook's 'Right To Stay Together' group, I say enough with what you’re doing. There is no need to insult me or my friends who extend support. These people act so pious but one wonders if they are aware that their actions, especially claiming me as an apostate. That's a sin!

Q: If you could address someone here, a leader in our country, to seek aid for your situation, who would it be and what would you say?
A: I think they have a lot more important things to think about and handle. But if there are those who are sympathetic to my plight, and can extend any form of help, I would definitely be appreciative.

Q: Do you think life will ever be the same for you after this?
A: I don’t know if my life will ever be normal after this. I hope sooner or later, people will not talk about this anymore. Ian and I just want a simple existence, earning our keep like everyone else for a happy life together.

UPDATE: 17 DEC 2009

A growing number of Malaysians have voiced support for Fatine.

THINGS appear to be looking up for Fatine, the Malaysian transsexual who caused a furore back home over her marriage to a Briton. The 36-year-old make-up artist has just received an acknowledgement from the Home Office about her application for a Right to Family Life under the Human Rights Act in Britain.

Although it did not state the processing time or the chances of approval, Fatine believed that she did not fear deportation to Malaysia for the time being.
For her, that’s probably a sweet consolation after several weeks of edge-of-seat moments following the rejection of her Leave to Remain visa in Britain and the subsequent appeal.

“At least, I am safe for now. They can’t deport me as my application is still under process,” said a somewhat relieved Fatine, who was born Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari.

Her marriage to Ian Young touched a raw nerve in Malaysia, with the Immigration Department director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman reportedly accusing her of having “brought great shame upon us” for overstaying in Britain.

While Fatine’s love story has irked certain quarters in Malaysia, it has also touched the hearts of many who felt she should not be penalised because she is a transsexual.


Ian Young said his life is in ruins after he spent £12,000 to get his Malaysian wife Fatine a visa - only for her to leave him immediately after it was granted

A transsexual who walked out on her British husband two weeks after he helped her win the right to stay in this country has explained her decision to leave.

Malaysian-born Fatine Young – who was born Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari – spoke out after her husband Ian told yesterday how the couple split after he spent £12,000 on helping win the visa battle.

Fatine, 38, has defended her actions, saying she made major sacrifices to move to the UK and live with the school caretaker, who she claims eventually pushed her away with his behaviour.

Fatine said: 'In the end he was totally ignoring me. It's horrible when the man you love treats you like that. I've sacrificed my life because of him.'

Mr Young admitted he had not treated her as well as he could have done.

The night before she left, Fatine said the couple had a 'massive argument', with her husband storming out of the house they shared in Pear Tree, leaving her alone.

'He left me without any money,' she said.

Mr Young previously told how he was hounded out of jobs at three Derby schools by angry parents because of his love for Fatine, who was born a man.

The saga left the 32-year-old jobless and homeless, and at one stage he tried to take his own life by downing a bottle of pills.



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The University of Leeds is advertising for a lap dance researcher.

The advertised position, in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, is for: “Research Officer - The rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy”.

The advertisement further stipulates that “prior experience of conducting research in the female sex industry” is essential.

Having got the post, the successful applicant would work with the school's team on a research project to examine the “rise, tolerance and integration of sexual consumption and sexual labour displayed through the erotic dance industry”, and the commercialisation of female sexuality and the female body.

It hopes to determine where dancers are recruited from and what their working conditions are like, as well as examining how erotic dancing has become a “mainstream” entertainment, available on the high street of most British cities.

The researchers will interview 300 erotic dancers in two northern English towns, as well as other industry figures including manage and regulators.



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One in three women are violence victims in Italy

On November 25th we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We are talking about one of the most cowardly and brutal violations of human rights that affects millions of women every year. Last year Amnesty International promoted an important campaign to remind people that the majority of cases of rape and violence against women take place within the home.

In Italy one in three women have been victims of violence and ill-treatment, the National Statistics' Office Istat reported Wednesday on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

A total of 6,743,000 women have suffered physical or psychological violence, said the report.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano warned against the commercial use of women in television, asking for an end to presenting "vulgar feminine images which merely serve consumer desires and are often a vehicle used by the press and the world of advertising."

Napolitano said violence against women is a "real emergency on a global scale" and "it is essential to take concrete actions to spread a respectful concept of women."

More than 4,000 women were protected and freed from stalking in2009, said Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna.

"Now Italian women have more legal instruments to defend themselves from violence," she said.

Last February Carfagna introduced for the first time in the Italian penal code the crime of stalking, including mental harassment through phone calls, cellphone messages or e-mails.



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Mrs World 2009

Five hundred million people around the world last night saw Russian Victoria Radochinskaya, 28, win the Mrs World contest in Vung Tau City Vietnam.

First runner-up was Mrs America Andrea Robertson, a professional model. Mrs Viet Nam, businesswoman Hoang Thi Yen, was second.

Victoria, who works in advertising, defeated the US and Vietnamese favourites in Vung Tau City to became the 15th winner of the crown since the contest started in 1985.

The lovely Russian was selected from three finalists narrowed down from a field of 12. Seventy-six women from 75 countries and territories earlier took part in the contest.

Mrs Hongkong Chen Yijuan was declared Mrs World Traditional Dress 2009 and Mrs Ivory Coast Marie Carine Davison won Mrs World Ao Dai.

Victoria was ecstatic when receiving the jewell-studded crown from Ukrainian Natalya Shmarenkova, who won the Mrs World Pageant last year in Kaliningrad, Russia.

In questions deciding the winner, Victoria was asked why a judge should vote for her.

Mrs Viet Nam Hoang Thi Yen, replied that she would like to change the concept that woman should stay at home and do housework. However, her reply in English was apparently not clear enough for the judge.

Contestants have been visiting historical sites and schools for disabled students, taking part in cultural and sporting activities.

They all said they were moved by the hearty welcome they received from Vietnamese people.

The evening was conducted by American Alan Thicke and Miss World Viet Nam 2007, Ngo Phuong Lan. The Mrs World 2010 contest will be held in Seoul, South Korea.

The first runner-up, Mrs. USA and her family.

Mrs. Kazakhstan and her son.

Mrs. World 2008 and Mrs. World 2009, both from Russia.

From the left: Mrs. World 2007 Diane Tucker (American), Mrs. World 2009 and Mrs. World 2008.


World's Most Beautiful Wife of Russia Likes to Sleep and Hates Sausage

The most beautiful married woman on the planet, Victoria Radochinskaya of Russia, does not go in for diets. She likes to sleep instead.

Victoria was crowned as Mrs. World 2009 in Vietnam and recently returned to her home town, Rostov-on-Don. Victoria said at a news conference in the city that she was terribly missing her four-year-old son, Bogdan, whom she could not see for more than a month.
“I think Bogdan will be very proud of my victory. My attitude to all children changed entirely after my son was born. There are no someone else’s children. I was very depressed after we visited an orphanage for sick children in Vietnam. I will try to do something for children afterwards, if my title allows me that,” the beauty queen said.

Victoria Radochinskaya started working in the modeling business when she was 16. She currently works as a manager for advertising. The woman said that she did not have any special preparations for the beauty pageant. There were 78 other women competing for the title of Mrs. World in Vietnam, but it was Russia’s beauty that took the crown.

“It was probably about my spontaneity that made the jury choose me. They told me later that I looked very natural against other contestants. There were many professional models among them. I was honest about all my answers – I was not acting at all on stage. I did not rehearse many of my steps on stage. When I became the winner, my tears were real. I was so happy and could not think of anything at all,” Radochinskaya said.

“I dedicate my victory to all Russia. When there were three finalists left for the finals, they asked us: “Why do you think you deserve the title?” The Vietnamese woman said that she was a mother and a wife and deserved the title for that. The American woman said that she was working hard for the contest. I said that it was Russia – a huge country that chose me – and I could not come back without a victory. I said that the people of Russia wanted me to come back as the winner. I was sorry about what I said when we went backstage. I thought that my remarks were too elevated, but I was just speaking my mind at that moment. I’ve always been supportive of Russia, whether it was about football or Eurovision Song Contest. I am a patriot. I was very proud when they announced my name as the winner because it was Russia that won,” the woman said.

“Afterwards, I called my husband and yelled: Congratulations, your wife is the most beautiful woman in the world!!! But he only said – I knew it before that you are the most beautiful,” Victoria said.

“Like every woman I think about age and I don’t think that years will only make me even more beautiful. I do yoga, I swim and exercise. I also try to get enough sleep. I have a rule: better eat less than sleep less. I usually eat all I want to eat, but don’t eat sausage and pork,” Mrs. World 2009 said.

Many Russian bloggers wrote that Victoria had had plastic surgery.

“My eyes, nose and my lips are all natural. But if a woman feels uncomfortable and wants to change something in her looks – why not doing it?”

UPDATE: 13 Dec 2009

Gibraltar wins Miss World 2009

Miss Gibraltar Kaiane Aldorino won the Miss World crown for 2009, defeating 111 other hopefuls at a glittering ceremony in South Africa.
“Thank you South Africa, this is the most wonderful moment of my life,” said a tearful Aldorino. Mexico came second, with South Africa taking third place.

Miss India, Pooja Chopra, a hot favourite with the crowd, got eliminated in the top 16, after winning the “beauty with a purpose” title for her charity work.

“The build up to this event has been phenomenal, the girls have had a time of their lives in South Africa,” said Chinese television presenter Angela Chow, who hosted the show.

Among the disappointed contestants was Miss England, a soldier dubbed “Combat Barbie” by the British media.

Lance Corporal Katrina Hodge, a 22-year-old who has served in Iraq, was granted leave from the military for the one-month tour of South Africa, where before the live broadcast the contestants competed in sports, a talent showcase, and of course the swimsuit competition.

Also losing out was Miss Indonesia, Kerenina Sunny Halim, who was the subject of a last-minute legal battle with a South African weekly that reported on her public comments about her ties to an American religious cult.

According to a report by the weekly Mail and Guardian, Halim belongs to The Family International, which has been mired in child and sexual abuse allegations by former members.

The 23-year-old Halim told the Jakarta Globe that she is a member of the church, for which she did humanitarian work after the Asian tsunami in 2004, the Mail and Guardian said.

Organisers lost a court battle to quash the story early Saturday.

“This was a blatant attempt by Miss World Ltd to intimidate us by threatening damages running into hundreds of millions of pounds sterling,” said Mail and Guardian editor, Nic Dawes.

“I have offered the pageant organisers right of reply in our newspaper and on our website, which they have yet to take up,” said Dawes.

But organisers didn’t let the incident affect the glittering ceremony in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, where reigning Miss World Ksenia Sukhinova, 22, from Russia handed over the crown.

Organisers say the title pays recognition to beauty queens who have made a difference in people’s lives, through charitable works in their home countries.

“Charity work is integral to the Miss World ethos and part of the brief to contenders in each country is that they volunteer their time or fundraise for charity,” said pageant owner Julia Morley.



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Smiling on Facebook costs Canadian her insurance

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of Nathalie Blanchard of Quebec, Canada, it can also be worth thousands of dollars in lost benefits. The 29-year-old IBM employee, diagnosed with severe depression, spent more than a year and a half away from her job, during which she received paid sick leave from Manulife, IBM’s insurance company. At the suggestion of her doctor, Blanchard went on short vacations to try to improve her mental state while still out from work. These trips seemed to do the trick, for Blanchard was shown having a good time in the photos she posted on her Facebook page, including ones at Chippendale’s and on the beach. In October she noticed that her sick-leave payments stopped coming. That’s because, she alleges, her agent at Manulife saw the images and concluded that Blanchard was no longer depressed.
Manulife declined to comment on the incident but said in a statement that "we would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook."

But the company did recognize that it uses such information to learn more about their clients.

A technology expert says that's the lesson people should learn from the case of a Canadian woman who says her Facebook postings led to her disability benefits being cancelled.



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FIFA may impose World Cup ban on Thierry Henry

French striker Thierry Henry could miss the start of the World Cup if the FIFA disciplinary panel decides that his handball in the build-up to France's winning goal against Ireland in Paris last Wednesday night constituted "unsporting behaviour".

The Telegraph quoted a FIFA spokesman, as saying that Henry could yet face punishment should the commission, which will meet at some stage in the next two weeks, chooses to study the incident.

Now France is headed to the 2010 World Cup
and Ireland is headed to the pub to rant about it for time immemorial. Check out the controversial play, below:

Henry, who has called for the game to be replayed, has admitted he handled the ball before crossing for William Gallas to score, but he is likely to be punished only if it is thought he deliberately cheated.

"The disciplinary commission is an independent organ. It will decide if the case is of interest. The possibility exists of sanctioning a player for unsporting behaviour on the basis of video evidence," the FIFA spokesman said.

Irish journalist Geraldine Comiskey, who works Sunday World Irish newspaper, poses next to the poster of French football player Thierry Henry outside FC Barcelona's Joan Gamper Sports Center near Barcelona on November 20, 2009. France captain Thierry Henry said today that 'the fairest solution' to the row surrounding his handball in the World Cup playoff against Ireland would be to replay the match. He renewed his admission that he had controlled the ball with his hand, but insisted it was 'instinctive' in the heat of the action.

UPDATE:24 NOV 2009

Fifa to discuss Thierry Henry's handball but not a replay

It is understood that Fifa, having already ruled out replaying the second leg of the match at the Stade de France that saw France qualify at Ireland's expense, will not reconsider doing so at its meeting. The Football Association of Ireland reacted pointedly to the announcement, confirming "that it heard about this meeting today through Fifa's press release".

Henry says he considered retirement from the international game after feeling "truly alone" and "abandoned" by the France Football Federation in the wake of his controversial "Hand of God" assist in the play-off against Ireland.

The Barcelona striker, like so many of his fellow Frenchmen, has been engaged in soul-searching since last Wednesday's flashpoint, when replays showed him to have handled twice before he spirited the ball across to William Gallas, who scored the goal that secured France's place at the finals in South Africa next summer.

Henry chose to celebrate with Gallas and the rest of his team-mates rather than own up immediately to the infringement, a reaction that he has come to regret. France's record goalscorer has spent the time since the incident desperately trying to make amends.

He commiserated with Ireland's devastated players on the pitch at full-time and on Friday he said Ireland ought to get the replay they had demanded. By then, however, Fifa had confirmed that there could be no replay. Henry fears his reputation will be forever tainted by the events at Stade de France.

France Does Not Deserve to Be In World Cup - Poll

PARIS (Reuters) - Most people in France do not think their soccer team deserves to be in the 2010 World Cup and did not approve of Thierry Henry's handball that helped secure a finals place, according to an opinion poll published on Sunday.

Henry clearly handled the ball when setting up a late, decisive goal in the second leg of their playoff against Ireland last week, winning France a place in the World Cup finals.

But an OpinionWay poll for French state television said 81 percent of French people did not think their national team deserved to go to South Africa given their unconvincing performances throughout the qualifying stages.

An even bigger 88 percent said Henry was wrong to have used his hand to keep the ball in play and thereby create the vital scoring opportunity.

The contested victory has dominated French media over the past five days, with much soul searching about the notion of fair play in sport.

Henry, who has been vilified on the Internet, has denied cheating and said he wanted to see a replay against Ireland.

World soccer's governing body FIFA has ruled that the result should stand and that France rather than Ireland should take part in the World Cup.
OpinionWay pollsters questioned 1,003 people on November 20-21.


Martin Hansson, the referee at the centre of the Thierry Henry handball furore, has spoken at length for the first time about his "turbulent" ordeal and admitted he considered retiring during the fallout from the affair.

Martin Hansson waves away the Republic of Ireland's protests after France's equaliser.

The 38-year-old Swede failed to see Henry's double-paddle of the ball with his hand, which allowed the forward to then cross for William Gallas to head the extra-time equaliser which sent France to next summer's World Cup finals at Ireland's expense.

Speaking to his local newspaper, Sydöstran, Hansson said he hopes to return to high-profile officiating during the final round of Champions League group games next month.

"It has been a turbulent week. I cannot really comment anything about the match, and I'm not the one who decides that. That is Fifa regulations to protect the referees until the investigations are done," he said. "I asked myself if this job is worth all the humiliation I had to face.

"Thoughts like, 'Is this really what I want?' also came up in my head. But now I realise, after all the support I've got, that it wasn't my fault. It was an unlucky situation with big consequences for Ireland. But it wasn't our referee team's fault."

Of his return to refereeing in the Champions League on either 8 or 9 December, he added: "It is good to get a match so soon after all this [ France v Ireland flak]."

Hansson also said that directly after the second leg of the playoff in Paris last Wednesday he and his Swedish assistants returned and were offered support. "[On] Thursday we went to Enköping where all Swedish referees had a meeting. There we were offered support. We talked a lot, which felt good. The group got to know what had happened."



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Horror of hair dye

CASE 1:Horror of hair dye for Charlotte Higgins

PRETTY teen Charlotte Higgins was rushed to hospital "looking like Elephant Woman" after an allergic reaction to hair dye.
BEFORE: Charlotte Higgins
PRETTY teen Charlotte Higgins was rushed to hospital "looking like Elephant Woman" after an allergic reaction to hair dye.

The 13-year-old blonde did a 48-hour allergy test before using Clairol Perfect 10 to go dark brown.

Despite the test showing negative her face blew up like a balloon two days later.

She had trouble breathing because of swelling to her windpipe, her eyes were forced shut and her neck was burned.

Dad Scott, 39, took her to hospital where she was given anti-histamines and steroids to stop the swelling.

When that failed she had to return for more treatment.

Last night she was beginning to return to normal five days after seeing docs.

Lorry driver Scott, of Whitchurch, Bristol, said: "It's an absolute disgrace. My daughter followed the instructions right the way through, yet she still came out looking like Elephant Woman.

"Her nose and forehead grew to five times their normal size. This has left her emotionally scarred."

Mum Michelle, 35, added: "There should be clearer warnings on the packet."

Clairol apologised and urged Charlotte to contact them.

CASE 2: Horror of hair dye for Paula
Paula looking-like-an-alien-after-an-allergic-reaction-to-a-hair-dye
BEFORE: Paula Pratt
A WOMAN had to fight for breath as her face swelled up like an "elephant woman" in a terrifying allergic reaction to hair dye.
Paula Pratt, 38, was rushed to hospital when her head and neck ballooned and her eyelids were forced shut.

She was taken to A&E where doctors treated her with steroids and antihistamine tablets.

Married Paula had used a £5 Clairol Nice 'n Easy kit to turn her greying hair a chocolate brown.

She said she followed the instructions and carried out an allergy test before going ahead.

Paula had no obvious problems when her sister helped apply the dye and she went to work as usual the next day.
But that evening her head, face and neck began swelling. Her eyes closed and her scalp stretched and began to weep.

Paula said: "The swelling started travelling down my throat and it was hard to breathe."
She went on: "I went straight to see my GP.
"When I got there I looked like an alien with one side of my face going out like a rugby ball.

"He took one look at me and sent me straight to A & E. By the time I got there the other side of my face had swelled up too.
"I couldn't see my ears. The swelling must have gone out about three inches on either side. It was terrifying. I looked like the elephant woman."

Paula, a production manager from Bognor Regis, West Sussex, has now recovered and said she would not seek compensation from Clairol.

But she added: "I want to make people aware of the reactions you can get."

A Clairol spokeswoman said: "Allergic reactions are very rare. However, we recommend all consumers conduct a 48-hour test before each use of our colourant products."

CASE 3 :Horror of hair dye for Abigail
BEFORE: Schoolgirl Abigail Colbourne ignored instructions to test hair dye first
Pain ... Abigail struggled to see after her eyes and head swelled

A SCHOOLGIRL was left "looking like an alien" after an extreme allergic reaction to a hair dye.

Abigail Colbourne, 15, dyed her brown locks darker but didn't do a patch test, as advised.

The Clairol dye caused huge swelling. Abigail, of Sydenham, South London, said: "My eyes were glued together, and my head swelled up. It was terrifying."

Docs reduced the swelling but mum Joanna Leech said: "People should be aware of the effects of these dyes."

Clairol said such reactions "are very rare".

Mother left in a coma after using hair dye

A mother who collapsed and stopped breathing minutes after applying a home hair dye kit was in a coma last night and has been given only an 8 per cent chance of survival.
Julie McCabe, 38, may have suffered a severe allergic reaction to a chemical in the L’Oreal Preference product.
She remained on a life support machine last night, three weeks after she used the dye, as her family continued a bedside vigil.
Doctors have warned her devastated husband Russell that even if she survives she will almost certainly be permanently brain-damaged.
No definitive link has yet been made with the L’Oreal product but doctors caring for Mrs McCabe, an estate agent, have asked for the kit and gloves she used so they can carry out tests.
L’Oreal has offered to assist the medical staff with any information that may help save Mrs McCabe’s life.
It is feared the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) – present in 99 per cent of all hair dyes – may be linked to her condition.
Her family, who say she dyed her hair every six weeks and had never experienced any reaction previously, is now considering legal action.

They have contacted a solicitor representing others who have suffered reactions to PPD.


PPD is banned in France, Germany and Sweden, and a U.S. study has linked exposure to it to increased rates of bladder cancer. Under EU rules, in Britain it can constitute 6 per cent of a hair dye.

It is a colourless compound but it achieves a rich colour when it reacts with oxygen contained in ingredients in hair dye, such as hydrogen peroxide.

The chemical is used in many permanent hair dyes because it binds firmly to the hair and does not wash out.
Allergy to it is rare, affecting one in 250,000 people, and in most cases the effect is a mild rash. But reactions can be severe, causing serious skin irritations or even anaphylaxis.

An allergic reaction does not necessarily start the first time a product is used. It can happen after several uses.

Dye users are told to do a ‘patch test’, applying a small amount of it to their skin 48 hours before treatment every time they use it.



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