Bribing Politicians is Good • We're All Gonna Die, or Maybe Not • Stay in School Kids 


If you want politicians to be less corrupt you may just have to bribe them. That seems to be the thinking behind the creation of a new $5 million prize which will be awarded every year to Africa's most effective leader. "The Mo Ibrahim Prize For Achievement in African Leadership" will rate the governance of 53 African nations and award the president of the best-run country a $5 million prize paid out over 10 years after they leave office, plus an additional $200,000 a year for life after their retirement. Mo Ibrahim told newspapers that much corruption on that continent is due to the fact that African leaders are left with nothing after they leave office. "Suddenly all the mansions, cars, food, wine is withdrawn. Some find it difficult to rent a house in the capital. That incites corruption; it incites people to cling to power ... the prize will offer essentially good people, who may be wavering, the chance to opt for the good life after office." A group from Harvard University will be judging the performance of Africa's leaders based on who delivers the best security, health, education and economic development. The winner will also need to democratically transfer power to his successor in order to be eligible for the prize. (BBC)


Astronomers from Russia's Academy of Sciences have released an absolutely pointless doomsday warning about an asteroid which may or may not hit the Earth in the year 2035. Apparently, we won't know for sure for another 20-something years. "We cannot exclude the possibility that the asteroid which is now orbiting the Sun will collide with the Earth in 2035," said the observatory's spokesman. "But it will be only in 2028 that we will be able to determine the danger level." Hey, thanks for the penetrating analysis ... wake us up when you know something. (


A group of math professors who began picking lottery numbers based on mathematical probability theory four years ago won $13 million in a British lottery last week. The team of 17 staff members from Bradford University and College devised a formula which used all 49 numbers in their selections in order to increase their odds. "We just thought that if all the numbers are in use, we must have a good chance of winning and it has proved so," said one of the winners. (


Before you start hanging up those Christmas decorations, don't forget to celebrate these special days: Nov. 15 is Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, Nov. 19 is Have A Bad Day Day, Nov. 22 is Start Your Own Country Day and Nov. 30 is Stay At Home Because You're Well Day.


Halloween may be over, but spooky news never ends. Like this story out of Amsterdam where a 65-year-old woman who had meticulously planned her own funeral died next to her grave when she went to visit the site. The widowed woman had made elaborate plans for her own funeral after her husband died last year, including engraving her name onto the tombstone. Last week, while visiting the plot, she died after suffering what doctors assume was a heart attack. (Reuters)


We finally know who to blame for the fact there are now Starbucks stores every half a block. And no, it isn'st Starbucks, of course, but their consumers. According to Launi Skinner, vice-president in charge of Starbucks‚ store development, the coffee chain is practically forced to sell coffee in every available retail outlet because their customers don't want to walk too far to get a drink. "Going to the other side of the street can be a barrier," claimed Skinner, who reported that Starbucks has plans for over 30,000 new stores worldwide to add to the 12,440 they already operate. Meanwhile, in other caffeinated news, Oxfam has accused Starbucks of blocking Ethiopia's attempt to trademark the names of two of its types of coffee. While the name Yirgacheffe now belongs to Ethiopia, the trademark applications for the names Sidamo and Harar have been stalled in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "We have heard from a number of sources that actually Starbucks was involved in alerting the U.S. coffee association to block these applications," claimed an Oxfam spokesperson. Starbucks denies the charge. (AP/ :

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