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‘Living Barbie’ poses for her first photo-shoot in New York
  17th Nov 2012

Valeria Lukyanova is by most standards popularly known as the "Living Barbie." In April, the Ukranian model had become an online phenomenon when photos of her doll-like features and Barbie proportions went viral around the world.

This is her first major photo shoot, were Lukyanova showcases her real life for the paparazzi. V magazine flew Lukyanova from Odessa, Ukraine, all the way to New York City for an interview and fashion shoot  by Sebastian Faena. Lukyanova's popularity skyrocketed as photos Lukyanova circulated online, which flaunt the blonde with her impossibly thin waist, large chest, wide eyes and flawless skin. Her proportions reseble the Barbrie like figure and have made viewers questioned if she is real or just really cosmetic .

"Many people say bad things about people who want to perfect themselves," Lukyanova responded, when pressed about accusations about her having undergone cosmetic procedures or use of digital alterations to achieve her look, she said, "It's hard work, but they dismiss it as something done by surgeons or computer artists. But I don't take them seriously. I'm even flattered! It's what success is like. I'm happy I seem unreal to them, it means I'm doing a good job."

The Living Barbie, whose 'spiritual name' is Amatue, is unfazed by the attention she has received. "Indeed, I've noticed a trend," she told V. "Every good-looking woman with fine features and a slim figure looks like a doll. I won't deny that I play along with people's perceptions. I'm amused by the reactions. I don't take it seriously."

Forbes noted Lukyanova and others like her have spawned the "Barbie flu", being seen as a trend among girls and even women in the Ukraine, who attempt to attain near-unrealistic standards of beauty.

Couples clash over S&M erotica

Reasons for divorce can be varied and cannot be listed simply. But a peculiar case of a British woman has cropped up, where she recently decided to file for divorce because of something a tad more specific: her husband's refusal to recreate sex scenes from S&M erotica, "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"Fifty Shades of Grey" includes S&M, bondages and other kinky sexual activities for couples. Written by E.L. James, the book tells the story of a billionaire and S&M aficionado Christian Grey and an inexperienced college student, Anastasia Steele. The  series has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

The British woman, who works as a banker allegedly, hoped the role play that she picked up from the book would rejuvenate her husband's lacking libido. "The woman had been reading the book religiously and wanted to spice up her love life with its help." The woman's attorney Amanda McAlister told the daily mail. "She thought their sex life had hit a rut , saying that he never remembered Valentine's Day and he almost never complimented her on her appearance. So she tried to spice things up by buying sexy underwear, in an attempt to get her husband more involved and interested. She wanted to make things more interesting, but when he still didn't take any notice she told him he had a boring attitude to sex and she was fed up"She added.

This divorce case is currently going to the British High court, according to the Mirror. The woman's husband has upheld his case stating that his wife was displaying "unreasonable behaviour" which is one of the five grounds for divorce under English law, so the split can be approved quickly.

Carrots to dodge ticket tax

Recently imposed austerity measures in Spain have rocketed tax on theater tickets to 21% over the summer. Quim Marcé realised that his theatre, placed in the small town of Bescanó would otherwise go under. This made him come up with an "We sell one carrot, which costs [$16]—very expensive for a carrot," he explains to NPR. "But then we give away admission to our shows for free."

The theatre pays just 4% tax on the carrots sold, since the vegetables are classified as a staple and thus not taxed nearly as much. Theatre tickets, which used to carry 8% tax earlier, are now taxed at the highest possible rate.

Spain loves the "Carrot Rebellion," as it has been dubbed; shows at the theatre are selling out and even the local mayor is on the owner's side. Economists warn that the theatre director is actually committing tax evasion.

Cat-Man takes his own life

A man who spent years modifying his face and body to look like a cat died due to an alleged suicide.Daniel Avner, who was better known as Stalking Cat, was found dead in his Nevada home last week.A blog post by his friend Shannon Larratt, the former editor and publisher of BMEzine said the 54-year-old had taken his own life.

Over the years Avner underwent a series of operations to alter his appearance, including bifurcation (the splitting of his upper lip), surgical ear pointing, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth sharpening and facial tattoos and piercings. He also grew and painted his fingernails to look like claws.Despite his unusual appearance Avner maintained his job as a computer programmer, although he often made television appearances and starred in Ripley's Believe it or Not! shows.

In her blog post, Ms Larratt described Avner as: ‹a wonderful and complex person, he was at times as troubled as he was remarkable, and he recently took his own life at the age of 54.

Man arrested with a belly full of diamonds

South African police have arrested a 25-year-old man suspected of attempting to smuggle 220 diamonds out of the country consumed in his digestive tract through Johannesburg's main airport.

The Lebanese national bound for Dubai had managed to swallowed $2.25 million worth of polished diamonds before he was stopped before a security checkpoint at Africa's biggest airport and then relieved of his concealed cargo, police said.

"We used laxatives to remove the diamonds," police spokesman Paul Ramaloko said on Thursday.

The man will appear in court on Thursday. In March, police arrested another Lebanese national who was attempting to smuggle $1.69 million worth of diamonds out of South Africa.

'Tis the season to be homophobic

Uganda's parliamentary speaker said she wanted to pass as a "Christmas gift" for Ugandans. An anti-gay law, which rights groups have criticized for its draconian penalties against homosexuals.

The bill had initially proposed the death penalty for gays in the conservative east African country but still presents an array of jail terms for convicted homosexuals, including life imprisonment in certain circumstances.

Denounced as "odious" by U.S. President Barack Obama, the bill has left veteran President Yoweri Museveni struggling to balance the demands of the evangelical church on one side and aid donors on the other.

Some international donors have threatened to cut aid if the legislation, which is now before a parliamentary committee and was first introduced in parliament in 2009, becomes law.

"Ugandans want that law as a Christmas gift. They have asked for it and we'll give them that gift," parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga told Reuters on Tuesday.

As House speaker Kadaga can ask the committee to expedite scrutiny of a bill in order to bring it back to the House for final debate and voting.

Existing legislation already outlaws gay sex. The new bill prohibits the "promotion" of gay rights and punishes anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality".

Kadaga said it was still possible to pass the bill this year although there was little time remaining before the House went on recess for Christmas holidays. "It's very, very possible, we can do it," Kadaga said. Homosexuality is taboo in many African nations. It is illegal in 37 countries on the continent, including Uganda, and activists say few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of jobs.

Mailman mistakes corpse for decoration

The United States Postal Service acknowledged on Friday that one of its mail carriers did not report a corpse at a Denver home because he mistook the body for a Halloween display.

"We do know the carrier delivered mail to the house that day, and he remembered seeing something he thought was related to Halloween," the postal service said in a statement. "When the carrier learned that was not the case, he was shocked and extremely upset."

The local ABC News affiliate reported that the dead man, Dale Porch, 46, collapsed and died on November 2nd , on his porch steps after returning home from his night shift job.

Relatives of Porch could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

The postal service called the incident "an unfortunate situation" that probably would not have happened any other time of year.

"Our carriers have a long history of assisting customers in neighborhoods across the country each and every day, and that holds true for our letter carriers here in Denver," the statement said.

The unidentified carrier is a "conscientious and dedicated employee" who remains on the job, the post office said, and any action that may be taken against him will be handled internally.

World's largest bra auctioned

The auction for the world's largest bra, the size of 1222B was sold for £3,601, about 5,770 USD, according to the bra's official website. The bra is too huge, even for the woman with the world's largest natural breasts Norma Stitz. Stitz's 3.5 feet of cleavage would be swimming in the 87-foot piece of lingerie, which weighs in at about 198 lbs.The bright pink garment, "scaled up" from a size 34B, was designed by London sailmaker M. Putt Sailmakers and constructed a year ago by Chillisauce event management agency and Vanish brand for the Breast Cancer Campaign "Wear It Pink" Campaign.

The bra, along with an accompanying Guinness World Record certificate, went up for auction on eBay to raise money for the Breast Cancer Campaign. The bidding ended on October 29, when the behemoth bra was sold to GoldenPalace.comThe online casino company also boasts possession of the Pope-Mobile, William Shatner's kidney stone, and a lock of Justin Bieber's hair.

Nudists rally to bare it all

Two dozen pro-nudity activists wearing little but their righteous indignation assembled on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to protest a proposed municipal ban on public nakedness.

"We are here today in response to an attack on our fundamental freedom, our freedom to be ourselves in our own city," disrobed rally organizer Gypsy Taub declared as her fellow activists displayed signs saying, "Nudity is Natural" and "Nude is not Lewd."

Local politicians in the famously tolerant city, where men in particular are known to frequently parade undressed through the streets of the predominantly gay Castro District, are considering a law to criminalize nudity on streets, sidewalks and plazas.

A hearing on measure by the city's Board of Supervisors is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Following the protest, attorney Christina DiEdoardo filed suit on behalf of the nudists seeking to block the proposed nudity ban from enactment.

She contends that a prohibition on public nakedness would deprive her five clients, one of them a former mayoral candidate who ran on a nudist platform, of their constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection under law.

"The city is getting into trying to legislate and criminally enforce a dress code," she told Reuters. "My clients are trying to save the Board of Supervisors from acting unconstitutionally."

Tower of London intruder walks away with keys

British police are investigating how an intruder breached the security of the Tower of London and stole a set of keys from the tourist attraction and home of the crown jewels.

Locks to the Tower's drawbridges and other rooms have been changed and "a staff disciplinary procedure is underway" after a man was caught trespassing in the early hours of November 6 and escorted from the premises, according to a royal palaces statement.

The stolen keys did not provide access to the Tower itself, Historic Royal Palaces said in a statement, but admitted a lapse in security.

"Our well-established security systems and procedures are robust. However on this occasion, these procedures were not carried out to the expected standard," it said.

The Tower was begun by William the Conqueror in the 1080s and has been used by British monarchs as a home, place of execution and a prison for traitors ever since. Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn executed here.

The crown jewels on display at the palace include a solid gold crown weighing over 2 kg (4.4 lb) and the 105 carat Koh-i-Nur ("Mountain of Light") diamond.

A police spokesman said the incident was under investigation. The Tower is traditionally staffed by ceremonial custodians, known as Yeoman Warders (nicknamed "Beefeaters"), former members of the British armed forces whose elaborate scarlet and gold tunics are one of the best known symbols of the capital.

The warders give tours and carry out the Ceremony of the Keys, the traditional locking up of the Tower of London that has taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least 700 years and is a popular tourist attraction.

A young warder foiled a more audacious theft in 1671, when a gang of thieves attempted to make off with the crown jewels by smuggling them out under the cloaks and down their trousers.

Chocolates and underpants raise funds to restore School

Giant chocolate coins, squeezing people into a Mini car, didgeridoo playing and "sport stacking" will all be pushed to their limits during Guinness World Records day.

The eighth annual global celebration of the weird and wacky will see more than 420,000 people attempt to smash old records for charity.

At least 400,000 of those involved will be schoolchildren building pyramids of plastic cups against the clock (sport stacking) in the southern United States, while Britain's Manjit Singh will be firmly at the weirder end of the stunt spectrum as he attempts to lift over 23.5 kg (51 lbs) using only his eye sockets.

A team from Germany will attempt to beat the record for smashing the most pairs of coconuts in the space of one minute, while neighboring France will host a competition to throw the highest number of shaving-cream pies.

Some would-be record-breakers will be raising money for high-profile causes. Alberto Deleonardis is leading an effort in Bologna, Italy to mint the world's largest chocolate coin, "We decided to use the attempt as a way to raise funds to restore a primary school near Modena that tumbled down during the earthquake that struck earlier this year," he said. The perennial quest to squeeze 28 people into an old model of the British three-door classic Mini automobile will be undertaken in London by a team of women who have pledged all proceeds to the Children in Need charity.

In other time places, participants have opted for record attempts that demonstrate some national pride.

Fifteen year-old Australian Lachlan Phelps aims to break the record for holding the longest note on a didgeridoo without using the traditional "circular breathing" technique which lets the player draw breath while still holding a tune. Another Australian will attempt to don the most pairs of underpants worn and in Finland, an attempt will be made on the record for the most ice hockey target shots in 30 seconds.

"This year it seems to be all about bringing records back home to the people who are most passionate about enjoying their culture and national identity," said Craig Glenday, editor in chief of Guinness World Records.

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