The Marriage

A man met a beautiful blonde lady and decided he wanted to marry her right away.

She said, ‘But we don’t know anything about each other.’

He said, ‘That’s all right, we’ll learn about each other as we go along.’

So she consented, they were married, and off they went on a honeymoon at a very nice resort.

One morning they were lying by the pool, when he got up off of his towel, climbed up to the 10 metre board and did a two and a half tuck, followed by three rotations in the pike position, at which point he straightened out and cut the water like a knife.

After a few more demonstrations, he came back and lay down on the towel.

She said, ‘That was incredible!’

He said, ‘I used to be an Olympic diving champion. You see, I told you we’d learn more about each other as we went along.’

So she got up, jumped in the pool and started swimming lengths.

After a hundred lengths she climbed out of the pool, lay down on her towel and was hardly out of breath.

He said, ‘That was incredible! Were you an Olympic endurance swimmer?’

‘No,’ she said, ‘I was a prostitute in Liverpool but I worked on both sides of the River Mersey.

Image of the Week: Medicine Corner India

Wellcome Trust Blog

Medicine Corner

Our image of the week shows an old Hakim (a practitioner of traditional medicine) as he looks out of his shop at the hustle and bustle of the street outside. The photograph was taken near Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, India.

India has a long history of traditional medical knowledge systems such as Ayurveda and Unani and many are still widely practiced today. The country has been a pioneer in medical science, but high-quality, universal healthcare for the masses remains elusive. Some studies suggest there may only be one formally trained physician per 8,000 villagers in India, and that informal practitioners like hakims, roadside dentists and bonesetters outnumber qualified doctors 23 to 1.

This photograph is one of many stills taken by award-winning audio-visual act BLOT! during their research for a new music video exploring India’s informal health sector. The video was commissioned by Wellcome Collection as the first part…

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European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction?

A 120-page research paper entitled “No-Go Zones in the French Republic: Myth or Reality?” documented dozens of French neighborhoods “where police and gendarmerie cannot enforce the Republican order or even enter without risking confrontation, projectiles, or even fatal shootings.”

In October 2011, a 2,200-page report, “Banlieue de la République” (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming “separate Islamic societies” cut off from the French state and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law.

The report also showed how the problem is being exacerbated by radical Muslim preachers who are promoting the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in order to create a parallel Muslim society in France that is ruled by Sharia law.

The television presenter asks: “What if we went to the suburbs?” Obertone replies: “I do not recommend this. Not even we French dare go there anymore. But nobody talks about this in public, of course. Nor do those who claim, ‘long live multiculturalism,’ and ‘Paris is wonderful!’ dare enter the suburbs.”

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Would a Palestinian State Be a Part of the Islamic State’s Caliphate?

MYTH:

A Palestinian state will not be part of the Islamic State’s caliphate

FACT

For years, supporters of a Palestinian state have falsely portrayed a future entity as secular and democratic. The autocratic rule of Yasser Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas (whose term as president was due to expire six years ago, but has been prolonged by refusing to hold elections), combined with the suppression of the rights associated with democratic nations (freedom of speech, assembly, religion, press, women’s rights, gay rights) is evidence a future Palestinian state is unlikely to be democratic. Similarly, the fact that no Arab state is secular is good reason to believe a Palestinian state will be Islamic. As radical Islamists gain more influence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it is increasingly possible that “Palestine” might be incorporated into the caliphate proclaimed by the Islamic State (a.k.a., ISIS, ISIL).

According to the draft constitution for a Palestinian state, the official religion will be Islam so there was never any possibility the state would be secular. The influence of the radical Muslims of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, moreover, has raised the specter of an Iranian-style repressive Islamic state emerging. In fact, this already exists, minus sovereignty, in the Gaza Strip where Hamas rules with an Islamic fist according to its interpretation of Sharia law. Furthermore, the group’s objective is to work with other Muslims to restore the Islamic empire and to expand it to encompass the entire world. 575

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Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

A change in mood this week in Westminster, with the Conservatives on a high and Labour deflated. “Our worst week in the parliament,” was one verdict yesterday. The big NHS gun has failed to fire. That take-home pay is lower in real terms than it was in 2001 – “The great wages crash” is the Guardian’s splash – according to the IFS has some in the Opposition still hopeful that a spirit of general disgruntlement may be enough to get them into office in May.

But the wind has come out of Labour’s sails – they appear to be slipping back somewhat in London from their blow-out victory last May, and stagnating in Wales, where they had their worst result in 2010 – something that Grant Shapps will take great glee in pointing out later today when he attacks “30 days of Labour chaos”.

Of course, it still isn’t the Conservatives who are doing any real damage to Labour. (In fact, it’s an interesting question whether it’s Labour, who are losing votes everywhere, who should be more worried that the Tories, who don’t seem to be able to pick up votes anywhere.) Small wonder that Alex Salmond, who has a must-read interview with BuzzFeed’s Jamie Ross, is in a cheerful mood. (Spare a thought for the Liberal Democrats, who privately expect to lose nine of the 11 seats they hold in Scotland) His one-liner that the last referendum was “a dry run…I was just testing the No side to see what arguments they would come up with” will haunt supporters of the Union, who “left everything out on the field [last time]” in the words of one.

Publically, Jim Murphy is still in an ebullient mood – he’s also been interviewed by what the PM calls “the Buzzfeed”, and says he’s been “surprised by their lack of energy, and the degree to which they’re just a normal government” – and says he talks to Ed Miliband – who visited yesterday – most weeks. Despite everything, most Labour figures expect a degree of recovery between now and May (although John Curtice is unconvinced).

“I think we’ll end up back [in 2011, when Labour polled 31% to the SNP’s 45% at Holyrood], which would be a triumph, considering everything,” one organiser predicted recently. That that rout looks like good news now is a testament to the scale of their challenge. It’s strange, but for the first time, the optimists are those who think it’s a temporary consequence of Mr Miliband’s lack of personal appeal or overarching message, while the pessimists are the ones who fear that Labour’s Scottish problem may have decades left to run.

BORIS JOHNSON, POTTYMOUTH

Young British jihadis are “not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort,” Boris Johnson tells the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn, “They are just young men who desperate need of self-esteem who do not have particular mission in life, who feel that they are losers and this thing makes them feel strong – like winners.” Also in the interview: he’s done no deal with the PM, and quite fancies a super-ministry in charge of infrastructure after 2016, says that Ed Miliband “despises people who are out to make money”, and says that Mr Miliband and his Shadow Chancellor are “the Thelma and Louise of British politics”. They “drove the car off the cliff last time”.

THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF MR MILIBAND

“Energy Fatcats Profits Up 1,000 Per Cent” is the Mirror’s splash as it emerges that the Big Six will rake in bumper profits due to the cold weather and the low cost of energy. It’s all the fault of the Coalition for not voting to give Ofgem the power to cut bills, says Caroline Flint. No! It’s all the fault of Ed Miliband’s energy price cap née freeze, thunders the Mail in its leader. “This quasi-Marxist does not have a clue how the markets work.”

THE TARGETS NEVER BOTHERED ME ANYWAY

Labour’s reforming tendency is out in force. Liz Kendall and Steve Reed, two Opposition frontbenchers, have written a pamphlet calling for a massive devolution of power to people and localities to make public services better, in what Patrick Wntour describes as a “last-minute push to sharpen the Labour manifesto on devolution”. The full pamphlet frankly admits that many public services can and must do better. Elsewhere, Jon Cruddas has given a speech calling for Labour to embrace the politics of fraternity and to steal some of the PM’s abandoned lines about the Big Society. It’s all part of that party’s New n’ Blue mash-up that Rafael Behr blogs on.

COMING HERE, DECIDING OUR ELECTIONS

Foreign-born voters could decide the result in up to 70 marginals. “March Of The Migrant Voters” is the Mail’s splash, who focus on the two seats – East Ham and Brent North – where foreign born voters will make up the majority of voters. But it’s the impact of anti-immigration rhetoric on Conservative electoral hopes that has caught the eye of the i. “Tories fear migrant voting power” is their front page, while the Indy goes for “Hard line on immigration could cost Tories election”.

MUST YOU GO?

Dame Anne McGuire is the latest subject of Rosa Prince’s excellent running series about the MPs who are standing down at the next election. She explains why she has never rebelled from the Labour whip in 18 years in Parliament: “I do think I am here on a party menu. I am not here as Anne McGuire…the people of Stirling, they elected me in the context of a Labour manifesto.” “Sometimes,” Dame Anne adds, “The easy route is to rebel.”

FORGET SAVING THE HAMSTER, BRING BACK THE DINOSAUR, SAJID

Sajid Javid’s 11-year-old daughter was distraught recently when her hamster went missing. The Culture Secretary placed foil on the floors and stayed up all night to listen for the pitter-patter of tiny feet. His lack of sleep paid off and the hamster was found. All that plus his reaction to opera and Mary Beard from Emily Ashton’s profile of the rising hope of the Osborne tendency. Have a lovely weekend.