Born in 1888, and still going strong


Is this the oldest person in the world? Brazilian receives birth certificate showing he turned 126 last week (… and his secret may be that he doesn’t like taking baths)

  •  Jose Aguinelo dos Santos was born on July 7, 1888, in Ceara state
  •  Mr dos Santos was 52 when Brazil football legend Pele was born
  •  Even now he’s so lucid he still amuses others by cracking jokes
  •  He has lived his entire life without documents proving his age 
  •  But the old people’s home he lives in hopes to provide evidence

A Brazilian man whose parents were African slaves could be the oldest living person ever documented after receiving a birth certificate showing he turned 126 last week, it was reported today.

Jose Aguinelo dos Santos was born on July 7, 1888, just two months after slavery was abolished in Brazil – the last country in the world to outlaw the trade.

Yet the batchelor, who never married or had children, still walks without a stick, eats four meals a day and has no health problems – despite smoking a packet of cigarettes a day for the last 50 years.

126 not out: Jose Aguinelo dos Santos, who claims he was born on July 7, 1888, could be the oldest living person ever

126 not out: Jose Aguinelo dos Santos, who claims he was born on July 7, 1888, could be the oldest living person ever

Source: DailyMail Read and see more

High danger hydrangea?


French police hunt gang peddling ‘cheaper weed’

Thieves are thought to be stealing colourful plants in northern France because smoking some varieties can get you high

A pink hydrangea flower or an evil cheap drug much sought after in northern France? Photograph: Lisa Carpenter for the Guardian

Some gardeners prefer the spiky Hydrangea paniculata; others opt for the smoother mop-head varieties such as Hydrangea macrophylla. Others, often those with yellow as opposed to green fingers, do not much care. They just like to rip off the petals of any old hydrangea – also known as hortensia – and smoke them, police in France have claimed.

Gendarme in northern France are on the trail of the “Hortensia Gang”, acting on reports that dozens of the wintering plants have been stolen or severely pruned in the past few weeks.

Initially sceptical that youngsters were roaming private and public gardens chopping off hydrangea heads and leaves to dry, mix with tobacco, and smoke as a cheap alternative to cannabis, police say they are now investigating.

As part of their inquiries, officers spoke to local pharmacists who confirmed the hallucinogenic and euphoria-inducing effects of the hydrangea bloom, of which there are thousands of varieties. Experts say the effect is similar to that of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the cannabis plant.

Read more

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Smoking Room


Ceiling mural of a smoking area in a New York hotel

Hazardous to your Health


Talk About Going into Debt


US smoker chokes on cost of habit

A man in the United States popped out to his local petrol station to buy a pack of cigarettes – only to find his card charged $23,148,855,308,184,500.

That is $23 quadrillion (£14 quadrillion) – many times the US national debt.

“I thought somebody had bought Europe with my credit card,” said Josh Muszynski, from New Hampshire.

He says his appeals to his bank first met with little understanding, though it eventually corrected the error.

It also waived the usual $15 overdraft fee.

Josh Muszynski

Josh Muszynski: ‘I thought someone had bought Europe’

“It was all back to normal,” Mr Muszynski told his local television station, WMUR. “They reversed the negative balance fee, which was nice.”

Debt crisis

His nightmare began when he checked his online bank account a few hours after buying the cigarettes.

He thought he would be a couple of hundred dollars in the black. But his overdraft had pushed him into the red – by an amount equivalent to many times the entire US national debt.

“It is a lot of money in the negative,” he said. “Something I could never, ever, afford to pay back.

A copy of Josh Muszynski's bill

The 17-digit amount on his online bill shocked Mr Muszynski

“My children could not afford it, grandchildren, nothing like that.”

In panic, Mr Muszynski rushed back to the petrol station, but they were unable to help. He says he then spent two hours on the phone with the Bank of America.

Eventually, it assured him it would be fixed – and the next morning, it had been.

But no-one has yet explained to Mr Muszynski how such a astonishing error could have been made.

Source: BBC News

Note: I don’t think that Europe is worth that much.

With $23qn I would have imagined that he could have bought the whole planet, then paid off the entire US debt with the change.

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