Reward offered for missing Xbox gamer

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 06:03:00 10/29/2008
OTTAWA -- US software behemoth Microsoft has doubled a cash reward for information on the whereabouts of a Canadian boy who ran away from home after his father took away his Xbox game console, it said Tuesday.

Brandon Crisp, 15, took off on his bicycle from his Barrie, Ontario home on October 13 -- Canada's Thanksgiving holiday -- and rode east along an old rail line.

He has not been seen since.

His father told local media he had removed Brandon's Xbox, built by Microsoft, after noticing changes in behavior since Brandon started playing "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" online.

The boy started skipping school, stealing money and ignoring his studies, his father said.

A local newspaper, the family's Internet service provider and Child Find offered a 25,000-dollar (US$19,500) reward for information leading to his return.

Microsoft topped it up with another $25,000, the company said Tuesday in an email to AFP, "hoping for his swift return."

"Like everyone, we are deeply worried about the disappearance of Brandon Crisp," the company said.

Exhaustive searches have not turned up a single clue beyond the boy's bicycle, found last week with a flat tire.

Police are said to be examining who Brandon played with online. "Law enforcement has contacted Microsoft about this matter and we are cooperating fully with them," said Microsoft.

On Sunday, 1,600 volunteer searchers packed up their reflective vests and ended their efforts to find him, while police stopped their air and water search.

In an interview with the daily Globe and Mail, the boy's father, Steve Crisp, said he had not known how important the gaming system was to his son and how he would react when it was taken away.

Experts commented that gamers may form bonds with fellow online players.

"This had become his identity, and I didn't realize how in-depth this was until I took his Xbox away," Steve Crisp told the Globe and Mail. "That's like cutting his legs off."

"This is such an issue that hits every parent out there, with video games that are starting to control our kids' lives," he said.

"I just took away his identity, so I can understand why he got so mad and took off. Before, I couldn't understand why he was taking off for taking his game away."

Now, Brandon's father says he just wants his son to come home.


To all Filipinos Please Read!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The message goes:
As you know, we have plenty of Koreans currently
studying in the Philippines to take advantage of our cheaper tuition fees and learn English at the same time.

This is an essay written by a Korean student i want to share with you. (Never mind the grammar; it's the CONTENT that counts) Maybe it is timely to think about this in the midst of all the confusion at present.

Jaeyoun Kim

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in
the Philippines . Do you really think that corruption is the big problem in the Philippines ? I don't think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines .

Let me first talk about my country, Korea . It might help you understand my point.
After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest country in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because entire country was destroyed after the Korean War, and we had no
natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines , for
Filipinos were very rich in Asia . We envy Filipinos.
Koreans really wanted to be well off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father & brother also died because of famine.

Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism.

Koreans did not work just for themselves but also
for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

40 years ago, President Park took over the
government to reform Korea . He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investor because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had
only three factories. So, President Park sent many
mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow
money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park . They asked to him, "President, when can we be well off?" That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea , and the President
of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea . So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea . He always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA
came back to Korea to help developing country
because they wanted their country to be well off.
Though they received very small salary, they did their
best for Korea . They always hoped that their children would live in well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where
poor and physically handicapped people live. They wanted me to understand their life and help them. I also worked for Catholic Church when I was in the army. The only thing I learned from Catholic Church was that
we have to love our neighborhood. And, I have loved my neighborhood.

Have you cried for the
Philippines ? I have cried for my country several
times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so
many poor people. I have been to the New Bilibid
prison. What made me sad in the prison were the
prisoners who do not have any love for their country.
They go to mass and work for Church. They pray
everyday. However, they do not love the Philippines . I talked to two prisoners at the maximum-security
compound, and both of them said that they would leave the Philippines right after they are released from the prison. They said that they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines .

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company were distributed their
profit to their employees fairly so that employees
could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea , I had a very strong faith and
wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines , I completely lost my faith.
I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable
situations in the Philippines . Street kids always make me sad, and I see them everyday. The Philippines is the only
Catholic country in Asia , but there are too many poor people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has
been changed.

My parents came to the Philippines last week and
saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so
many beggars and street kids. When we went to
Pagsanjan Falls, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun. However, they were not happy after taking a boat. They said that they would not take the boat again because they were sympathized the boatmen, for the boatmen were very poor and had a small frame. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it.
But, my parents did not enjoy it because of love
for them. My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just go to
mass without changing ourselves, we are not
Catholic indeed. Faith should come with action.
She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good
things for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God, so that the Philippines will be well off.

I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos
should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from person. Love must start in everybody,
in a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love. Let's put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes.

I discover that every person is worthy to be
loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes
possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and
relationships. It changes the world. Please love your
neighborhood and country.

Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we do unto Him. In the Philippines , there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love.
If you have a child, teach them how to love the
Philippines . Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country.
You already know that God also will be very happy if
you love others.

That's all I really want to ask you Filipinos.


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Dating 101: Eight New Love Truths You Must Know

Navigating a relationship can sometimes feel like driving to an unknown destination without a GPS: perplexing, frustrating, and even scary. And while you don't want to take the mystery out of your romantic life entirely, learning important facts about what makes unions tick (and tank) can help you avoid trouble.
Experts analyzed recent dating trends to define a whole new set of relationship rules to guide you along. Some of them may indicate that your romance is on rocky ground, while others can prove it's totally rock solid.
More Dating Articles from Cosmopolitan:
  1. Spending time apart strengthens your bond. Sure, it's important to hang out with your guy. But experts now know that it's almost as important not to hang out with him every so often. "When you take time away from each other, it gives you both the opportunity to collect new thoughts, new stories, and new ideas to share," says Jennifer Oikle, PhD, dating coach for Coupling Connection. But the benefits extend beyond having novel tidbits of conversation. "When you're with someone in the moment, you're not really spending time thinking about them," says Debbie Magids, PhD, coauthor of "All the Good Ones Aren't Taken." "When you're distanced, you really think about the person and yearn for them, and you look forward to seeing them again."
  2. Your inkling that something is wrong in the relationship is probably right. By nature of being a woman, you have a keen intuition, so you'll feel any kind of distancing on a visceral level pretty quickly. And unless you're an overly suspicious or insecure person -- you know who you are! -- you should always trust your gut. Example: He's incommunicado. Before the days of emailing, texting, IMing, and Facebooking, if you didn't hear from your boyfriend for a day or two, it wasn't the end of the world (or your relationship). But now that communication is so easy and instant, it's usually a sign he's not fully invested.
    "When a guy wants to break up, he'll often start to create space," says Oikle. In other words, he'll stop calling quite as much, it will take him a bit longer to return your texts or emails, and he'll sometimes be "too busy" to hang out. "For the record, if a guy is into you, he'll never be too busy," says Paul Coleman, PsyD, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intimacy."
    If the pattern continues, confront your man about his behavior in a direct yet nonaccusatory way, saying something like "You haven't called me, and I'm thinking that means you're having second thoughts about us." If he doesn't give you a clear answer, well, let's just say he's giving you a clear answer.
  3. If a man has a history of cheating on his girlfriends, he'll probably cheat on you too.Nasty Men," Sometimes a guy cheats on his partner because there is an emotional or physical void in the relationship. But more often than not, philandering is indicative of something wrong with him. According to Jay Carter, PsyD, author of "
    “many guys two-time because they love the thrill of the chase”
    many guys two-time because they love the thrill of the chase, they need to feed their ego, or they have a hard time turning down a woman when the opportunity presents itself.
    All those factors contribute to serial straying, "which is why men who cheat once usually cheat again," says Oikle. (A recent survey found that men are twice as likely as women are to cheat more than once.) So if your guy cheated on his last girlfriend with you, don't necessarily write it off as an isolated incident.
  4. He wants to think he's taking care of you. Despite the fact that many women are outpacing men on the college level and in the workplace, "lots of guys still derive their feelings of masculinity and self-worth by being of value to the person they love," says Allen Berger, PhD, author of "Love Secrets Revealed." "And they feel most valuable when they're doing things for that person." So even though you're an independent chick who can support herself, it may benefit your relationship if you step back once in a while and let him step up -- even if it's just to do something as simple as pay for dinner. Think of it this way: Letting him care for you shows you care for him.
  5. If a guy tells you that he's not ready for a relationship, take his word for it. Believe it or not, men really hate to disappoint women. So if he's "gotten up the guts to actually cross the threshold and tell you that he's not ready for a relationship, he means business," says Oikle. There could be a variety of explanations for his antirelationship position (he has commitment issues, he wants to meet other people, he doesn't see you as girlfriend material), but in the end, the result is the same: He's doesn't desire to be your boyfriend. End of story.
    And no, he won't change his mind when he gets to know you a little better. "Once a guy decides how he sees a girl in his life, it's hard to break out of that thinking," says Coleman. Warning: If you stick around after he's told you this, he will likely take it as a sign that you're cool with the casual, nonexclusive nature of your relationship. So make sure you are.
  6. Passion can grow as a relationship progresses. People used to think settling down meant saying goodbye to romance and passion. But research has found that young married couples are more satisfied in the romance department than their single counterparts are. Familiarity definitely has its perks. Couples who have been together for a long time have probably learned how to please each other and are more comfortable sharing their fantasies and desires to keep the romance alive.
  7. You won't regret breaking up with a guy you're feeling unsure about. Nowadays, women may be impulsive about dating guys but not dumping them. "In fact, a lot of single women will try really hard to fit a square peg into a round hole because they want the relationship to work so bad," explains Magids. "It's only after a tremendous amount of thought and effort that they finally give up on it."
    In part, women go through that painstaking process because they fear they'll end up kicking themselves for ending a relationship too soon. But a new study from Northwestern University found that even in the short term, people aren't as upset as they thought they'd be after a breakup. So if you sense you're with the wrong person, don't fret so much about walking away to find a better mate.
  8. You will always be the one to initiate a relationship talk. Unlike women, who are conditioned to take the pulse of a relationship from time to time, men don't contemplate the state of your union until something's wrong. And even then, they want to work it out in their mind, whereas women want to talk it out.
    When you go to initiate a relationship talk, bear in mind that men are uncomfortable with the unknown and paranoid that you'll end up in tears. So don't ambush him or it'll feel to him like going to the principal's office or being pulled over by a cop: surprising and nerve-racking, says Coleman.
    To put him at ease, try what Oikle calls a compliment sandwich: Start with something positive, work in the concern, and end with something positive. For example, if you're trying to gauge if a new guy sees your relationship as serious, say, "I really like you a lot. Are you thinking this is a long-term thing? We've been having so much fun that I hope you do!" That will be much easier for him to digest than "Hey, am I your girlfriend or what?" Or if you want to broach the subject of moving in with a dude you've been dating for a while, try "I think we have an amazing relationship, and I'm ready to take the next step and move in together. Think of how much fun we'd have living under the same roof!"


MLS, Galaxy not Beckham’s main goal

CARSON, Calif. – It was the kind of sunny California day perfect for the start of a brave new adventure and maybe, just maybe, David Beckham meant every word he said.

At the glitzy, open-air press conference to herald his arrival in the United States 16 months ago, Beckham spoke at length about his commitment to the Los Angeles Galaxy and his delight at charting new waters in Major League Soccer.

Even then, there was public doubt and skepticism, but as one of the world’s most recognizable soccer players spread his arms and beamed his winning smile, you wanted to believe him – and to believe in him.

It has taken a while, yet now we know how much the Galaxy, MLS and raising the profile of North American soccer really means to Beckham.

The midfielder’s imminent loan switch to AC Milan in the opening months of 2009 proves that Brand Beckham and England rank far ahead of the employer that facilitated his estimated five-year earnings of up to $250 million.

As addressed recently in this column, England and the chase for more cheap national team appearances has become an obsession for Beckham.

Every player has the right to represent his country if selected. However, the timing of the announcement of his move to Milan – before the MLS campaign has even ended – sends out the totally wrong message.

The Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, a defeat in Houston providing the final blow in an utterly humiliating season. What MLS’s highest-profile yet most deeply sickened franchise needs is strong leadership and a combined effort to ensure that fortunes improve in 2009.

What does a base salary of $33 million over five years and countless extras buy you these days? Apparently not Beckham’s undivided attention.

Beckham is showing the Galaxy and the league a chronic lack of respect. Every signal suggests that he wishes he had not come to America so soon, but that’s tough. No one forced him. It was his hand that scrawled the signature on the huge contract that sent his career off on a tangent.

However, the blame is not Beckham’s alone in this instance. If the Galaxy are not strong enough to stand up to him on the matter of a loan, then maybe he is within his rights to push the issue.

The Galaxy’s problem is that owners AEG seem to prioritize the bottom line over the product on the field. That approach is their prerogative, but soccer wisdom dictates that it makes more sense to develop a quality team and allow the extra revenue to follow.

Beckham is placed in an inflated position of strength because the Galaxy cherish their cash cow so dearly that they are afraid to stand up to him. Hence, the waving him on his way to Italy when he should be sitting down with head coach Bruce Arena and asking what he can do to help build a tighter, hungrier and more competitive squad for next season.

It would be wonderful to hear Beckham’s thoughts on the matter, but on Wednesday he shied away from any media questions, leaving the U.S. soccer public to guess about his mindset. The best indication on that front lies in Beckham’s performances for the Galaxy in the second half of the season.

Gone is the hungry warrior desperate for success. Instead, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star looks every bit a 33-year-old and, worse, one who is going through the motions.

The anger and gesticulations that inevitably follow every time he is tackled were once seen as a sign of commitment. Now, they fool nobody.

Whether it is right or not, seeing how Beckham fares in Milan will certainly be interesting. Financially, the deal makes perfect sense for the Serie A club. Yet Beckham faces a tough task in proving he is still capable of being competitive in the highly technical and talent-laden Italian league.

Undoubtedly, there will be rumor and speculation linking him with a permanent move, especially if he does show glimpses of impressive form in Italy. And if his heart is not in California, then maybe he should call time on his American experience, although it is hard to see how such an arrangement could be worked out.

What amount of money could Milan or another European club possibly offer the Galaxy that would compensate them for effectively signing away more than 50 percent of their net worth?

Yet the Galaxy have shown little propensity for making smart decisions in recent times. Why should they start now?


European Stocks Drifted

Thursday, October 23, 2008

European stocks drifted at the open, after Asian stocks tumbled overnight on fears of a recession.

The FTSE-100 index was up 23.09 at 4063.98 - after opening lower - with France's Cac 40 up 11.9 at 3310.08 and Germany's Dax down 31.63 at 4539.44.

Japan's Nikkei index closed down 2.5%, recovering from earlier lows of as much as 7%, amid concern that slow exports could accelerate a fall into recession.

The White House is to hold a global summit on the crisis next month.

The meeting will debate the reforms needed to avoid another financial crisis and look at the progress being made. Leaders from the G20 group of nations - the world's leading industrialised countries and major developing nations - will attend.

In other developments:

  • South Korea's Kospi index fell 7.4%, its lowest close since July 2005. The Korean won lost 5% of its value against the dollar
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 4.7%, at its lowest ebb since April 2005
  • At one point, the Nikkei was trading at 8,016.61, its lowest level for more than five years. It recovered to close down 213 points at 8,460 points
  • The yen strengthened against the dollar and the euro. The dollar hit a seven-month low of 96.85 yen, while the euro hit a six-year low of 123.40 yen.
  • Indian shares opened down 4.8% at their lowest since June 2006. The rupee has so far shed nearly 21% against the dollar in 2008
  • In Australia, the benchmark index closed down 4.4%.

Export fears

The fall in Japanese stocks was triggered in part by weak export data.

The impact of the global slowdown has had a clear impact on Japan's exports
Tatsushi Shikano, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities

Its trade surplus plunged 94% to 95.1bn yen ($970.1m; £596.7m) in September and exports grew only 1.5% in September from a year earlier, far below forecasts.

Exports of Japanese cars to the US fell, a sign of slowing consumer demand in the world's largest economy.

The continued strength of the yen prompted fears that this will cause further damage to already weak exports.

"The impact of the global slowdown has had a clear impact on Japan's exports and this was even before the financial crisis erupted in September," Tatsushi Shikano, senior economist, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

Stock board in downtown Tokyo
News of weak Japanese exports knocked shares

"Sluggish export volumes will put a drag on Japan's industrial output and its export-reliant economy in the coming months," he added.

The plunge came in the wake of Wednesday's trading on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones index closed down 5.7%, amid an increasingly gloomy outlook for the global economy.

Job cuts at Yahoo and drugs firm Merck have increased economic concerns in the US.


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