Police Crackdown On Raunchy Pictures Of Singer Edison Chen And Others

Chinese police have launched a nationwide online crackdown to delete pornographic pictures of several Hong Kong celebrities and pledged to close any Websites that published the raunchy photos.

The step is the latest in authorities' bid to control the spread of the photos, which show Hong Kong actor and singer Edison Chen and several female stars naked in bed and in sexual poses.

The scandal has created a media frenzy and heated discussions on BBS communities both in Hong Kong and on the mainland since late January.

Some Internet users shared the 800-plus pictures by e-mail or posting them on other Websites.

Police in Beijing warned that anyone found sending the pictures to friends, even for free, will be detained for a maximum of 15 days. Posting the photos online violates the Security Administration Punishment Law, the Legal Evening News reported yesterday.

Those who have sent more than 200 nude pictures via email, chat rooms and BBS will be investigated under criminal law, the police said.

The Beijing Internet News Information Review Council, initiated by the government-sponsored Beijing Association of Online Media, issued a statement on Monday rapped Baidu.com, the biggest Chinese search engine, for "behaving badly."

The association "severely criticizes Baidu's behavior" and demanded the company make a public apology for spreading the nude pictures.

In Hong Kong, up to 10 people were detained for spreading the photos.

And in the southern city of Shenzhen, police have apprehended 10 suspects for allegedly producing, selling and purchasing discs of the photos.

Three suspects were given five-day administrative detention, and two others were under criminal detention and still being quizzed by police.

Thirteen online portals on the mainland have issued a joint statement asking domestic Websites to boycott the nude photos. It urged Netizens and Website staff to be self-disciplined and halt the spread of the photos.

So far, more than 40 domestic Websites have rallied to support the joint statement.

Chen out of a job

Meanwhile, actor Edison Chen said he will fulfill existing commitments and then leave the Hong Kong entertainment industry indefinitely due to the nude photo scandal.

Pictures showing the 27-year-old, Canadian-born Chinese actor and singer posing in bed with numerous female celebrities - including singer Gillian Chung and actress Cecilia Cheung, Joey Yung and Bobo Chan -- recently hit the Internet, the Shanghai Daily reported Thursday.

"I'm sorry to those ladies and their families and most of all, I feel sorry for Hong Kong people," Chen said at a press conference. "These photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone."

The Shanghai Daily said Chen explained he would honor some existing commitments, and then leave the entertainment industry "indefinitely."

He said he decided to do this "to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul.

"I have failed as a role model. However I wish that this matter will teach everyone a lesson. I hope the scandal can be over as soon as possible and prevent more young people from further injuries," Chen said.

Iranian Sisters Get The Death Sentence For Adultery

Two Iranian sisters convicted of adultery face being stoned to death after the supreme court upheld the death sentences against them, the Etemad newspaper Monday quoted their lawyer as saying.

The two were found guilty of adultery -- a capital crime in Islamic Iran -- after the husband of one sister presented video evidence showing them in the company of other men while he was away.

"Branch 23 of the supreme court has confirmed the stoning sentence," said their lawyer, Jabbar Solati.

The penal court of Tehran province had already sentenced the sisters identified only as Zohreh, 27, and Azar (no age given) to stoning, the daily said.

Solati explained that the two sisters had initially been tried for "illegal relations" and received 99 lashes. However in a second trial they were convicted of "adultery."

The pair admitted they were in the video presented by the husband but argued that there was no adultery as none of the footage showed them engaged in a sexual act with other men.

"There is no legal evidence whereby the judge could have the knowledge for issuing a stoning sentence," Solati said, adding that he had appealed to the state prosecutor.

"The two sisters have been tried twice for one crime," Solati protested.

Under Iran's Islamic law adultery is theoretically punishable by stoning, although in late 2002 judiciary head Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi issued a writ suspending such executions.

However in July 2007, Jafar Kiani was stoned to death for adultery in a village in the northwestern province of Qazvin in a rare execution by stoning that provoked a wave of international outrage.

Capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, serious drug trafficking and adultery. Iran currently makes more use of the death penalty -- almost always by hanging -- than any other country apart from China.

Zohreh's husband -- who accused his wife and her sister in January 2007 of having extra-marital affairs -- had planted a camera in his house in a bid to catch them in the act.

"She did not treat me well and her actions made me feel she did not want to live with me any more," said the husband, who was not named.

"To make sure I planted a camera in the house... When I watched the tape two days after, I found out that she and her sister brought over men after I left and had relationships with them," he said.

Zohreh said she had an edgy relationship with her husband because of the strict limits he imposed on her life.

"I was a teacher and loved my job but my husband did not let me work... he was always suspicious of me and thought our differences were because I had an affair," she was quoted as saying by the daily.

"I do not approve the confessions that I made in the investigation phase and I deny what I said," she said.

Etemad reported that the husband of the other sister, Azar, had not filed any complaint against her.

Taiwanese Mother Breeding School Age Prostitutes

A mother in Tainan County, southern Taiwan, was found to have allegedly forced her three young daughters to serve as prostitutes for more than two years. The woman and five patrons were arrested and questioned by police just before Chinese New Year, local news media reported yesterday.

The illegal operation was exposed after the eldest daughter, now aged 13, told her school teacher several days before Chinese New Year's Eve on Feb. 6.

The student said that since October 2006, her mother had forced her and her two younger sisters to serve as prostitutes, with patrons mostly men aged over 60. At the time, the three sisters were aged 6, 7, and 10.

Following initial investigations, police found that men paid NT$500 to NT$1,000 for each incidence, and some patrons asked to be served by the three sisters simultaneously.

The police have already located 8 suspects involved in the cases, and have taken six into custody after interrogations, including the mother and five patrons.

The Tainan County Government has stepped in to settle the housing and living arrangements for the three sisters.

Fertility Diet And The Chances Of Pregnancy

Deborah Kotz
One in seven American couples grapples with infertility, often with no explainable medical cause. A new book, The Fertility Diet, may offer a low-tech, low-cost solution for some. It's based on research from the well-respected Harvard Nurses' Health Study suggesting that diet may play a role in women's efforts to conceive. The book identifies particular nutrients they should be getting, such as iron, or avoiding, such as trans fats, to improve their chances of getting pregnant. How much are the odds increased? The book doesn't say. That's because the 10-step plan was formulated from dietary habits collected from surveys—and not actually tested on infertile women. While no one knows whether this plan can truly help women get pregnant, it's based, for the most part, on good nutrition and smart health habits. Book coauthor Jorge Chavarro, an investigator on the Nurses' Health Study and research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, spoke with U.S. News to explain how the Fertility Diet works.

How do you know food actually affects ovulation?
We don't know for certain, but we think this is the case, based on our data. We looked at nearly 19,000 female nurses who were actively trying to get pregnant to see if there was any link between what they ate and whether they became pregnant. We found some very interesting statistical associations. Those who took multivitamins containing folic acid, for example, were more likely to become pregnant. So, too, were those who had a high intake of iron, but it had to come from fruits, vegetables, beans, or supplements, not red meat. Trans fats from doughnuts, margarine, and other processed foods seemed to have a particularly detrimental effect on fertility.

Any theory as to why diet would have an impact?
We think it has to do with the hormone insulin and the function of the ovaries. Women who have healthy insulin levels are more likely to ovulate normally; those who have insulin resistance or diabetes are more prone to irregular ovulation. What's more, several studies, including ours, have shown that women who exercise moderately, about 30 minutes every day, are less likely to experience ovulation-related infertility than those who don't, and we know that exercise improves insulin levels. In fact, moderate activity, as well as nutrition, is a key part of the Fertility Diet.

Avoiding trans fats, which may also disrupt this hormonal pathway, is key as well. We recommend eating as little as possible—less than 2 grams per day—or even banning them altogether. Replacing processed foods with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables appears to have a beneficial effect on insulin levels, which could also promote healthy ovulation.

What is the single most important thing a woman can do to improve her fertility odds?
After a fertility workup on both the woman and man to determine underlying medical problems like blocked fallopian tubes or a low sperm count, I'd say the most important thing would be to get to a healthy body weight. Women who have a body mass index of 20 to 24 [between 117 and 140 pounds for someone 5 feet, 4 inches tall] have the best chance of getting pregnant. Those at either extreme of the weight spectrum, underweight or overweight, are more likely to be infertile. But I don't want to imply that obese women should throw in the towel. Numerous studies have shown that they can frequently jump-start ovulation by losing a modest amount, about 5 to 10 percent, of their starting body weight. So, the fertility diet recommends splitting the difference and aiming for a 7½ percent weight loss, which is 15 pounds for a woman who currently weighs 200 pounds.

Can having a small bowl of full-fat ice cream really help trigger ovulation, as the book jacket claims?
The Nurses' Health Study found that a daily serving of a full-fat dairy food, such as whole milk, ice cream, or cheddar cheese, increased a woman's pregnancy odds. This doesn't mean women can consume a nightly carton of Ben & Jerry's without guilt. The impact of ice cream was seen at two half-cup servings a week, which means a pint should last you two weeks. I'd rather see women replacing a low-fat yogurt with a full-fat one or adding whole milk to their cereal instead of skim. But I'm still skeptical about the full-fat dairy connection that we found in our study since high-fat dairy foods have been connected to poor insulin levels in other research. I consider it an optional part of the diet. Women can try a small amount, but they certainly shouldn't go overboard.

Kylie Minogue Spotted With Olivier Martinez In Paris

Pop princess Kylie Minogue has been spotted out on the town in Paris with her estranged lover, French actor Olivier Martinez, sparking rumours they may be back together a year after they split.

The pair, who split in 2007 after a four-year relationship, were snapped walking arm-in-arm during a late-night stroll and the pictures were splashed in Britain's Sunday Mirror.

The tabloid said Minogue arrived in Paris on Sunday and her chauffeur dropped her at her former boyfriend's apartment before Olivier walked her back to her hotel about 11pm.

The next day, the two walked the dog they once shared, Sheba, who still lives with Olivier but often receives visits from Kylie.

Minogue and Martinez also reportedly went shopping and visited a cafe.

Martinez's father, Robert, told the paper: "We love seeing Kylie in Paris, especially Olivier. She makes everybody very happy."

Asked whether his son was still single, Robert was quoted as saying: "But of course."

Kylie flew back to London on Tuesday after Olivier was seen leaving her hotel with a gift-wrapped box and a scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face, according to the paper.

Kylie and Olivier released a statement exactly a year ago saying they had mutually decided to go their separate ways and remained friends.

They also said they were saddened by "the media's false accusations of disloyalty" after sections of the press linked Martinez with a string of glamorous women around the time of the break-up.