Isreali Porn Site Unifying The Middle East

An Israeli porn site is proving surprisingly popular with Web surfers in a number of Arab countries, some of which don't have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Ratuv, Hebrew for "wet," specializes in producing skinflicks with topical political themes, typically featuring scenes involving female soldiers, Mossad agents and members of the military.

After installing software that could detect where users are logging on, managers of the site found they were receiving thousands of hits a week from folks in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, even though the Israeli net domain .il is blocked from some of these countries.

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"We were amazed to find a huge amount of our users from these countries," says Nir Shahar, who manages the site. "We cannot accept money from many of these countries, so they can't download the films. They can only look at the pictures."

To make up for the lack of local download access in those countries, Shahar decided to translate the entire site into Arabic, with detailed descriptions of each scene and plenty more pics. Traffic went up tenfold, with the site receiving up to 100,000 hits a week from Arab auds.

The most popular movie on the site is "Code Name: Deep Investigation," an X-rated parody of the arrest of dissident Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu, who spilled the beans on Israel's secret nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. He was eventually caught by Mossad agents, who sent a beautiful female agent to trap him.
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"Arab people usually see female Israeli soldiers in a bad situation, so there's a lot of curiosity to see what Israeli girls look like without any uniforms," says Shahar. "We don't make regular porn films. Our films parody the situation in Israel, so we look at issues like the elections here and Mossad. There is a lot of relevance to the Arab-Israeli situation."

Given that Israeli law precludes Shahar from accepting credit card payment from some Arab countries, he plans to set up a site registered in either Europe or the U.S.

"We are also interested in making films with Arabs and Israelis in them," Shahar says. "It's something we can do to speak about the connection between the two people, but its not going to be easy."

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Bangkok's Christian Evangelists Peddling Salvation Among Sex Workers

Two evenings a week, members of Nightlight Ministries visit the seedy hostess and go-go bars of Bangkok's infamous multi-story Nana Entertainment Plaza.

Unlike other customers, they are not there to drink beer, gaze at scantily-clad dancers writhing around chrome poles, or to take one of the women back to a hotel. Instead, their aim is to bring prostitutes "to Jesus Christ," according to the group's Website. "Nightlight's vision is to share the Light of the world in both word and deed to those who live in darkness," the group says.

Nightlight's American founder and director Annie Dieselberg, 43, says she has never encountered more evil than in the sex industry. "It's so dark and so destructive," she says. But her work is also controversial. The evangelists have been ridiculed, threatened and shouted at in the street. Critics say Nightlight preys on vulnerable, poorly educated women and offers them false hope with talk of miracles and salvation.

"These girls [sex workers] are very vulnerable," says Fannie Joanette-Samson, a Canadian volunteer worker at the Empower Foundation, a Thai NGO that supports women working in the sex industry by offering free English language classes, job training, health advice and a realistic take on the trade. Empower's approach is non-judgmental and sometimes even humorous. A newsletter the group puts out for sex workers carries the slogan, "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."

"They don't really have self-esteem and they are really shy about what they are doing . some of them are not educated. If you don't really have an education and you never went to school, you can believe anything," says Joanette-Samson.

Estimates of how many prostitutes there are in Thailand range from around 150,000 to a staggering two million (out of a population of 65 million). The figures are subject to controversy and are difficult to calculate because many "freelance" prostitutes work part-time or only occasionally, and move around the country. In addition, NGOs working in the field have manipulated statistics for their own ends.

Most prostitution in Thailand caters to local men or other Asians. In Bangkok, "girlie bars" catering mostly to western men are concentrated in three areas - Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza. The bars attract a mix of tourists and expatriates, and most of the women working there are from Thailand's poor, rural northeast. They hope to make a living, help their families, snag a regular boyfriend and maybe, if their luck is good, marry a wealthy farang (westerner).

Nightlight Ministries, which was founded two years ago, focuses on the Nana/Sukhumvit Road area, where Dieselberg estimates there are around 20,000 working prostitutes. An eloquent and engaging mother-of-four, Dieselberg has spent 12 years in Bangkok, eight of them working with women in the sex industry.

Nightlight offers training and employment to former sex workers through its jewellery-making business, and more than 60 are currently employed full-time. Applicants must have experience in the sex industry or be at risk of involvement in prostitution or trafficking. The Web sites solicits donations that can be sent to an address in Los Angeles or the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. They also accept credit cards.

The women start off earning 6,500 baht (around $210) a month and after a three-month trial they receive a salary of 7,000 baht, which is then raised every year. They also receive social welfare insurance and a savings plan. The salary is considerably less than many could expect to earn working in the bars, where a man would likely give a woman about half that much for one night of sex, but is about average for working-class Bangkok residents.

Despite the group's Christian orientation, Dieselberg denies that Nightlight preys on the vulnerable and pressures women to convert to Christianity, but her agenda is pretty clear.

"We are Christian but we don't believe that you can force somebody to believe in Christianity. It's a matter of the heart. If the women decide to become Christian, we want it to be because they want to be. Usually they become interested fairly quickly," she said.

"They begin to ask questions and seek answers. They begin to pray and seek God out, and over time many of them do become Christian, but that's because their hearts have been drawn to it and it's their own desire."

Now, she says, Nightlight has 19 or 20 Christian ex-prostitutes under its wing and "their lives have been transformed."

The group also claims, controversially, that God performs miracles for the women under its wing. It says one woman was diagnosed with lung cancer, but after being prayed for, the diagnosis was changed to asthma.

Other women have been cured of physical problems through the power of prayer, says Dieselberg. She talks of women on their death beds with HIV who became fit enough to go out running within a couple of weeks. "We see miracles day in, day out," she claims.
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Critics like Joanette-Samson are particularly scathing about such claims, saying they mislead the people Nightlight is supposedly trying to help and give them false hope. "All religions have been created to give hope to people," she said. "It's good to have hope but at the same time you have to be grounded, be there in reality."

However, the most controversial aspect of Nightlight is its outreach work. Dieselberg said members go out on the streets twice a week, from 7pm to midnight, and they also go into the bars.

"We order a drink for a woman. We watch their body language," she said. "You can tell from the body language if they are depressed. If we can read the signs we pray before we go out. We invite them for a drink, then we get to know them . We just build relationships."

The missionaries have attracted plenty of derision for their activities. They were ridiculed as "a bunch of donation-seeking religious wackos" by Mango Sauce, a popular expatriate blogger who chronicles the seamier side of Bangkok life. Some of his readers went even further, posting contributions labelling them "hypocrites" and "nut jobs".
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One reader wrote: "These people are just idiots. They thrive on public humiliation because they see it [as] proof of their suffering before God. Of course the reality is that it serves only to isolate them more from the rest of humanity".

Dieselberg says Nightlight missionaries have been shouted at in the street, threatened and nearly physically attacked. For safety reasons, they never do their outreach work alone.

"We have problems with foreign men. We interrupt their fantasies," she said. "We talk to the men, too. We are not hateful and try not to be judgemental towards the men either, but the men have their assumptions and false beliefs about what we are doing and who we are."

She says men who pay for sex are exploited too, in a sense, because afterwards they are even more lonely than they were before. "I feel sorry for the men sometimes. It [prostitution] is destructive to the men as well."

The story of Lek, 30, a former sex worker who is now employed by Nightlight and has converted to Christianity, is the kind of tale Nightlight likes to emphasize. A mother of two, from the northeastern province of Kalasin, Lek, whose parents are dead, came to Bangkok after she separated from a boyfriend who took all her money. She worked as a prostitute and go-go dancer for about five years, from the age of 23. Working in the bars was fun on the outside, she said, but inside there was sorrow.

"I don't know how to explain it. I never thought that I would come to the point where I would do this. One part was fun but the other part felt horrible and guilty and self-condemning," she said. "If you think you are going to find a relationship with a man who comes for fun, it's not going to be a real relationship."

Most of the customers she went with were fairly nice, she says, but a few were verbally abusive.

Lek has spent about nine months with Nightlight and says her life is now totally different. "I have time with my children now, to go home and rest. When I was working at night, I didn't have time to see my children. I had to leave my two kids alone in the apartment," she says.

"At Nightlight I feel a lot more secure. I have a lot more friends. I've got help and I've changed from being one kind of person to another kind of person. I've learned how to make jewellery and I'm learning English. I also get to study the Bible, and there are different activities we get to do. I'm happy with my work and what I'm doing now."

Lek talks vaguely about her health problems but doesn't elaborate. "What I'm still really, really sad about is my health. I'm worried about my children," she said. Dieselberg, who has been translating - accurately, as far as this writer could tell - comforts Lek and holds her hand. There seems to be mutual respect and affection between the two women.

"I still have some anxiety from time to time about not having enough money, but deep inside I'm happy because I'm not alone," said Lek. "I have some good friends. I think I will be here working at Nightlight until I can't do it anymore."

Dieselberg is determined to continue her battle against the sex trade, and argues that groups like the Empower Foundation add to the problem by "normalising" prostitution.

"Why is it that the women who are choosing prostitution are the ones who don't have other choices?" she asks. "This work is hard. It's destructive, it destroys the spirit . I don't want to empower women to stay in prostitution when it will kill them. I want to empower them to have a choice."

Addressing the moral issues of trying to convert people to Christianity in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, Dieselberg says: "People who are not Christian get upset about that, but they are not giving the Thais the respect to be able to make their choice. We don't go out there and evangelise. We're just there making friends and loving them, and they see something in us that they've not seen somewhere else."

The group's website, however, says something else. Nightlight's aim is to achieve its goals through "Relational Evangelism" - a way to "introduce women and children to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, to disciple them into a strong faith as people who will then impact their communities."

Joanette-Samson rejects Dieselberg's arguments and says Nightlight's actions can be harmful. Sex workers don't need a new religion, she says - they need information and help.

"Empower is not trying to say that prostitution is something normal," she says. "They are trying to get the girls to talk about it and have information. They are not saying that prostitution is such a good thing. They are just trying to remove the taboo so the girls can get more protection, more information.

"It's good that they [Nightlight] want to help but you can do better things than what they are doing now. They want you to be in their religion. There's something wrong with that."

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Churchy Vatican Airline

The Vatican expects to fly 150,000 pilgrims a year to religious sites and will use chartered Boeing 737 for its flights.

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James Blundell Out To Support Jesse Curran

Idol contestant Jesse Curran has turned to her boyfriend James Blundell for support as the fallout from publicity surrounding their newly revealed relationship continues.

As Curran awaited her Idol fate last night, Blundell was on hand to shield her from the negative publicity that has abounded since the pair's romance came to light.

Curran faced scrutiny from the talent show's judges and fans over the relationship on Monday night's show.

But, the young singer's beau - who is 20 years her senior - was seated in the front row for her performance in a show of strength.

As these exclusive photographs show, Blundell is making no secret of his feelings for the Mildura singer, whom he left his wife and two children for last week.

Blundell - who only confessed his affair with the budding star to his wife of nine years, Lidia, in April - stunned drinkers at a bar near the Idol stage at Fox Studios with a very public display of affection.

The Way Out West singer nuzzled Curran's neck, posed for happy snaps and toasted her appearance on the Channel 10 show.

Earlier, he sat front row for her performance on the elimination show, which was tainted by the scandal over the pair's relationship.

While Curran's Idol rivals defended the singer yesterday, long-time fans of Blundell continued their scathing criticism of the couple, particularly the age gap factor.

The youngest contestant on Idol, Matt Corby, 16, said scrutiny of Curran had "tainted her unfairly".

"She didn't deserve the scrutiny or publicity that's happened coming into the competition. She's a good person," he said.

Meanwhile, a Channel 10 spokeswoman declined to comment "on the private lives of contestants" yesterday, as it was revealed the show's website removed leaks about the affair last week.

An online discussion about rumours Curran was dating the married singer was blocked by online moderators on August 20, after network publicists were apparently informed of the romance.

A spokesman for Fremantle Media, which operates the official website on Channel 10's behalf, later gave reasons for the removal of the posts.

The spokesman said while the site "encouraged discussion about the various facets of the competition and the program, it is not appropriate for the website forums to retain comments that may be defamatory, misleading, abusive or inappropriate".

"The comments on Curran's private life were blocked and redirected to the Jesse thread. There was certainly no censorship," he said.

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Akon And The Game Hit Melbourne Wednesday

Lock up your daughters, folks. Bad-boy rappers Akon and the Game are ready for a whole lot of lovin' when they hit Melbourne wednesday.

The stars of the US rap scene, with appropriately lengthy rap sheets to boot, have included packets of condoms and a love seat on their list of demands to tour promoters.

Confidential can also reveal organisers of the Roc Tha Block tour have been busy scouting Melbourne's top-class gentleman's clubs for the visiting all-star hip-hop line-up.

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The Game, who has recently had a hit single in the US ironically called Let's Ride (Strip Club), is apparently particularly keen to sample the city's infamous King St strip, which friends have told him is a real eye-opener.

The rider also states the Game "requires a bowl full of Snickers bars in the dressing room" before his show at Vodafone Arena.

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Akon on the other hand must have at least 30 spanking new towels on hand at each show and his own personal towel attendant.

Two slabs of Heineken beer, a dozen bottles of swanky Cristal champers and six bottles of ice tea were also requested.

Roc Tha Block, touted as the biggest hip-hop/R&B extravaganza onstage Down Under, nearly didn't get off the ground last month.

Organisers were forced to push back dates after immigration officials delayed visa clearance.

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Philippino Government Clamp Down On Old Cinemas Now Prostitute Dens

The Manila government last week intensified its campaign against movie houses showing pornographic films.

This developed as Manila policemen arrested four men allegedly engaged in performing lewd acts inside old theaters in Quiapo and Sta. Cruz over the weekend.

Arrested were Rodolfo Balallo, 60, of Dan-Ar Santiago, Ilocos Sur; Larry Bihasa, 49, of Balintawak, Quezon City; Reynaldo Landicho, 48, of Tramo Street, Las Piñas City; and Emil Sacro, of Sampaloc, Manila, 29.

Police said the suspects were arrested after they were caught performing sexual acts with other male theatergoers.

The suspects were charged for violation of Article 200 of the Revised Penal Code (indecent act and public scandal) before the Manila Prosecutor's Office.

Authorities said some old movie houses in the city, particularly in Sta. Cruz and Quiapo, are showing pornographic films.
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These establishments have become a haven of gay prostitution, adding that even petty crimes also happen in these places, police said.

Mayor Alfredo Lim said he already ordered the inspection of movie houses in the city.

"I already asked city and police officials to keep a close watch at these establishments," he said, adding that he also asked City Hall's Business Permits and Licensing Office to look into the permits of such establishments whether they are complying with existing laws.

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James Kannis' 'Fake Internet Wife' Says "Am Sorry" For The Prank

THE girl posing as the fiance of Australian Idol favourite James Kannis has apologised for the "stupid prank".

The admission came after Kannis told Confidential that "news" he was about to wed girlfriend "Jemima" was in fact the fabricated online delusions of female groupies.

Fairytale cyber romances are causing increased alarm among stars, whose lives are being hijacked on the web.

Wannabes have created a worrying new trend, where they make fake lives for themselves that have damaging consequences for those dreamt into their fantasies.

This morning "Jemima" emailed Confidential, saying: "I am sorry for making up that I was engaged to James Kannis. It was a stupid prank."

Of course, it could be yet another prank in this particular Kannis of worms, but sources suggest that at least the apology is genuine.

Jemima had been reported in some quarters as Kannis' girlfriend of three years.

"News" of their impending wedding had even made it into a Wikipedia feed.

In the apology today, "Jemima" also claimed to be the "Amanda" who has been passing herself off to media as his cousin.

Earlier, Kannis had told Confidential: "They are two fans I thought were nice girls, but are obviously crazies."

The two fans had been bragging about the identity fraud to friends on MySpace.

Kannis contacted Confidential to clear up the claims, after being inundated by family about the wedding plans.

"My phone's been running off the hook with family and friends asking me when was I going to tell them about my engagement," the bachelor said. "The idea I wanted attention for the relationship was even weirder."

Kannis is not the only Idol name to run into problems with pranksters.

Earlier this month we reported that Idol judge Mark Holden wa seeking police help to protect his family from contestants upset at missing out on a shot at fame.

Holden had been targeted by deranged pop wannabes who are bombarding his Melbourne home with phone calls throughout the night.

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Our Pets Or Our Kids, Which Do We Care For Most?

Bill Tancer

There were two significant product recalls this year: tainted pet food and lead-based paint on children's toys. Two issues that concern the health of your pet and your child. Which is more important to you? Which topic would you seek more information on? It would seem that everyone would choose their child, yet our online behavior reveals a different story.

Internet search data reveals that given the two recalls, our pet's health is far more worthy of information-seeking than health issues surrounding our children. This month Mattel recalled almost 2 million toys worldwide for lead-based paint and other contamination issues. In response to the news, searches for the term "toy recall" spiked, nearly doubling the two-year average for all product recall searches.

While that would seem to be a significant increase in searches, the toy recall reaction was nothing compared to the pet food recall that occurred in March of this year, when the Food and Drug Administration found that contaminants in hundreds of brands were causing cats and dogs to fall ill. Searches for pet food-related recall issues were over seven times that same two-year average, over double the number of toy recall searches. Certainly protecting our children from the dangers of lead-based paint is more important — or, at the very least, equally as important as tainted pet food — so why the difference in searches? Perhaps media coverage of the two recalls will shed some light on the difference in attention.

Google News indicates that there were over 9,750 online news stories concerning the toy recall while the pet food recall has generated over 77,500 news stories. In fact news websites figure heavily in our search patterns. Take the search term "pet food recall." In March of this year, when news of the tainted pet food broke, the top sites visited after searching on the term weren't the manufacturers' sites with recall information; instead they were MSNBC (12.4%), Google News (11.6%) and CBSNews (9.1%). Contrast that with the Mattel toy recall, where media websites were not the most popular search destination. Searches for "toy recall" resulted in visits to (26.4%), The Consumer Product Safety Commission site, (17.2%) then to CNN (7.0%).

Or perhaps it's our empathy for animals that explains the difference in reaction. According to Hitwise, the #1 news search term sending traffic to the New York Times for last week wasn't the plight of the trapped miners in Utah, it wasn't the Hurricane Dean threatening the Yucatan Peninsula, or the hundreds dead in the Peru earthquake; it was searches for "Michael Vick." Sure, the charges the Atlanta Falcons quarterback faces for running a dog-fighting ring and the allegations of animal cruelty are reprehensible, but amongst a field of human tragedy and a potentially catastrophic storm, search term data indicates that the perils of domesticated animals trump all.

Bill Tancer is general manager of global research at Hitwise.

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Mother Teresa, Was She Confused About Her Faith?

David Van Biema

Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.
— Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979

On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the "Saint of the Gutters," went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance lecture, Teresa, whose Missionaries of Charity had grown from a one-woman folly in Calcutta in 1948 into a global beacon of self-abnegating care, delivered the kind of message the world had come to expect from her. "It is not enough for us to say, 'I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'" she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had "[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one." Jesus' hunger, she said, is what "you and I must find" and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world "that radiating joy is real" because Christ is everywhere — "Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive."

Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. "Jesus has a very special love for you," she assured Van der Peet. "[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."

The two statements, 11 weeks apart, are extravagantly dissonant. The first is typical of the woman the world thought it knew. The second sounds as though it had wandered in from some 1950s existentialist drama. Together they suggest a startling portrait in self-contradiction — that one of the great human icons of the past 100 years, whose remarkable deeds seemed inextricably connected to her closeness to God and who was routinely observed in silent and seemingly peaceful prayer by her associates as well as the television camera, was living out a very different spiritual reality privately, an arid landscape from which the deity had disappeared.

And in fact, that appears to be the case. A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."

That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'" Says the Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America and the author of My Life with the Saints, a book that dealt with far briefer reports in 2003 of Teresa's doubts: "I've never read a saint's life where the saint has such an intense spiritual darkness. No one knew she was that tormented." Recalls Kolodiejchuk, Come Be My Light's editor: "I read one letter to the Sisters [of Teresa's Missionaries of Charity], and their mouths just dropped open. It will give a whole new dimension to the way people understand her."

The book is hardly the work of some antireligious investigative reporter who Dumpster-dived for Teresa's correspondence. Kolodiejchuk, a senior Missionaries of Charity member, is her postulator, responsible for petitioning for her sainthood and collecting the supporting materials. (Thus far she has been beatified; the next step is canonization.) The letters in the book were gathered as part of that process.

The church anticipates spiritually fallow periods. Indeed, the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross in the 16th century coined the term the "dark night" of the soul to describe a characteristic stage in the growth of some spiritual masters. Teresa's may be the most extensive such case on record. (The "dark night" of the 18th century mystic St. Paul of the Cross lasted 45 years; he ultimately recovered.) Yet Kolodiejchuk sees it in St. John's context, as darkness within faith. Teresa found ways, starting in the early 1960s, to live with it and abandoned neither her belief nor her work. Kolodiejchuk produced the book as proof of the faith-filled perseverance that he sees as her most spiritually heroic act.

Two very different Catholics predict that the book will be a landmark. The Rev. Matthew Lamb, chairman of the theology department at the conservative Ave Maria University in Florida, thinks Come Be My Light will eventually rank with St. Augustine's Confessions and Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain as an autobiography of spiritual ascent. Martin of America, a much more liberal institution, calls the book "a new ministry for Mother Teresa, a written ministry of her interior life," and says, "It may be remembered as just as important as her ministry to the poor. It would be a ministry to people who had experienced some doubt, some absence of God in their lives. And you know who that is? Everybody. Atheists, doubters, seekers, believers, everyone."

Not all atheists and doubters will agree. Both Kolodiejchuk and Martin assume that Teresa's inability to perceive Christ in her life did not mean he wasn't there. In fact, they see his absence as part of the divine gift that enabled her to do great work. But to the U.S.'s increasingly assertive cadre of atheists, that argument will seem absurd. They will see the book's Teresa more like the woman in the archetypal country-and-western song who holds a torch for her husband 30 years after he left to buy a pack of cigarettes and never returned. Says Christopher Hitchens, author of The Missionary Position, a scathing polemic on Teresa, and more recently of the atheist manifesto God Is Not Great: "She was no more exempt from the realization that religion is a human fabrication than any other person, and that her attempted cure was more and more professions of faith could only have deepened the pit that she had dug for herself." Meanwhile, some familiar with the smiling mother's extraordinary drive may diagnose her condition less as a gift of God than as a subconscious attempt at the most radical kind of humility: she punished herself with a crippling failure to counterbalance her great successes.

Come Be My Light is that rare thing, a posthumous autobiography that could cause a wholesale reconsideration of a major public figure — one way or another. It raises questions about God and faith, the engine behind great achievement, and the persistence of love, divine and human. That it does so not in any organized, intentional form but as a hodgepodge of desperate notes not intended for daylight should leave readers only more convinced that it is authentic — and that they are, somewhat shockingly, touching the true inner life of a modern saint.

Prequel: Near Ecstatic Communion

[Jesus:] Wilt thou refuse to do this for me? ... You have become my Spouse for my love — you have come to India for Me. The thirst you had for souls brought you so far — Are you afraid to take one more step for Your Spouse — for me — for souls? Is your generosity grown cold? Am I a second to you?
[Teresa:] Jesus, my own Jesus — I am only Thine — I am so stupid — I do not know what to say but do with me whatever You wish — as You wish — as long as you wish. [But] why can't I be a perfect Loreto Nun — here — why can't I be like everybody else.
[Jesus:] I want Indian Nuns, Missionaries of Charity, who would be my fire of love amongst the poor, the sick, the dying and the little children ... You are I know the most incapable person — weak and sinful but just because you are that — I want to use You for My glory. Wilt thou refuse?

— in a prayer dialogue recounted to Archbishop Ferdinand Perier, January 1947

On Sept. 10, 1946, after 17 years as a teacher in Calcutta with the Loreto Sisters (an uncloistered, education-oriented community based in Ireland), Mother Mary Teresa, 36, took the 400-mile (645-km) train trip to Darjeeling. She had been working herself sick, and her superiors ordered her to relax during her annual retreat in the Himalayan foothills. On the ride out, she reported, Christ spoke to her. He called her to abandon teaching and work instead in "the slums" of the city, dealing directly with "the poorest of the poor" — the sick, the dying, beggars and street children. "Come, Come, carry Me into the holes of the poor," he told her. "Come be My light." The goal was to be both material and evangelistic — as Kolodiejchuk puts it, "to help them live their lives with dignity [and so] encounter God's infinite love, and having come to know Him, to love and serve Him in return."

It was wildly audacious — an unfunded, single-handed crusade (Teresa stipulated that she and her nuns would share their beneficiaries' poverty and started out alone) to provide individualized service to the poorest in a poor city made desperate by riots. The local Archbishop, Ferdinand Périer, was initially skeptical. But her letters to him, preserved, illustrate two linked characteristics — extreme tenacity and a profound personal bond to Christ. When Périer hesitated, Teresa, while calling herself a "little nothing," bombarded him with notes suggesting that he refer the question to an escalating list of authorities — the local apostolic delegation, her Mother General, the Pope. And when she felt all else had failed, she revealed the spiritual topper: a dramatic (melodramatic, really) dialogue with a "Voice" she eventually revealed to be Christ's. It ended with Jesus' emphatic reiteration of his call to her: "You are I know the most incapable person — weak and sinful but just because you are that — I want to use You for My glory. Wilt thou refuse?"

Mother Teresa had visions, including one of herself conversing with Christ on the Cross. Her confessor, Father Celeste Van Exem, was convinced that her mystical experiences were genuine. "[Her] union with Our Lord has been continual and so deep and violent that rapture does not seem very far," he commented. Teresa later wrote simply, "Jesus gave Himself to me."

Then on Jan. 6, 1948, Périer, after consulting the Vatican, finally gave permission for Teresa to embark on her second calling. And Jesus took himself away again.

The Onset

Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love — and now become as the most hated one — the one — You have thrown away as unwanted — unloved. I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone ... Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.

So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them — because of the blasphemy — If there be God — please forgive me — When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?
— addressed to Jesus, at the suggestion of a confessor, undated

In the first half of 1948, Teresa took a basic medical course before launching herself alone onto the streets of Calcutta. She wrote, "My soul at present is in perfect peace and joy." Kolodiejchuk includes her moving description of her first day on the job: "The old man lying on the street — not wanted — all alone just sick and dying — I gave him carborsone and water to drink and the old Man — was so strangely grateful ... Then we went to Taltala Bazaar, and there was a very poor woman dying I think of starvation more than TB ... I gave her something which will help her to sleep. — I wonder how long she will last." But two months later, shortly after her major triumph of locating a space for her headquarters, Kolodiejchuk's files find her troubled. "What tortures of loneliness," she wrote. "I wonder how long will my heart suffer this?" This complaint could be understood as an initial response to solitude and hardship were it not for subsequent letters. The more success Teresa had — and half a year later so many young women had joined her society that she needed to move again — the worse she felt. In March 1953, she wrote Périer, "Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself — for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. It has been like this more or less from the time I started 'the work.'"

Périer may have missed the note of desperation. "God guides you, dear Mother," he answered avuncularly. "You are not so much in the dark as you think ... You have exterior facts enough to see that God blesses your work ... Feelings are not required and often may be misleading." And yet feelings — or rather, their lack — became her life's secret torment. How can you assume the lover's ardor when he no longer grants you his voice, his touch, his very presence? The problem was exacerbated by an inhibition to even describe it. Teresa reported on several occasions inviting a confessor to visit and then being unable to speak. Eventually, one thought to ask her to write the problem down, and she complied. "The more I want him — the less I am wanted," she wrote Périer in 1955. A year later she sounded desolate: "Such deep longing for God — and ... repulsed — empty — no faith — no love — no zeal. — [The saving of] Souls holds no attraction — Heaven means nothing — pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything."

At the suggestion of a confessor, she wrote the agonized plea that begins this section, in which she explored the theological worst-possible-case implications of her dilemma. That letter and another one from 1959 ("What do I labour for? If there be no God — there can be no soul — if there is no Soul then Jesus — You also are not true") are the only two that sound any note of doubt of God's existence. But she frequently bemoaned an inability to pray: "I utter words of Community prayers — and try my utmost to get out of every word the sweetness it has to give — But my prayer of union is not there any longer — I no longer pray."

As the Missionaries of Charity flourished and gradually gained the attention of her church and the world at large, Teresa progressed from confessor to confessor the way some patients move through their psychoanalysts. Van Exem gave way to Périer, who gave way in 1959 to the Rev. (later Cardinal) Lawrence Picachy, who was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph Neuner in 1961. By the 1980s the chain included figures such as Bishop William Curlin of Charlotte, N.C. For these confessors, she developed a kind of shorthand of pain, referring almost casually to "my darkness" and to Jesus as "the Absent One." There was one respite. In October 1958, Pope Pius XII died, and requiem Masses were celebrated around the Catholic world. Teresa prayed to the deceased Pope for a "proof that God is pleased with the Society." And "then and there," she rejoiced, "disappeared the long darkness ... that strange suffering of 10 years." Unfortunately, five weeks later she reported being "in the tunnel" once more. And although, as we shall see, she found a way to accept the absence, it never lifted again. Five years after her Nobel, a Jesuit priest in the Calcutta province noted that "Mother came ... to speak about the excruciating night in her soul. It was not a passing phase but had gone on for years." A 1995 letter discussed her "spiritual dryness." She died in 1997.


Tell me, Father, why is there so much pain and darkness in my soul?
— to the Rev. Lawrence Picachy, August 1959

Why did Teresa's communication with Jesus, so vivid and nourishing in the months before the founding of the Missionaries, evaporate so suddenly? Interestingly, secular and religious explanations travel for a while on parallel tracks. Both understand (although only one celebrates) that identification with Christ's extended suffering on the Cross, undertaken to redeem humanity, is a key aspect of Catholic spirituality. Teresa told her nuns that physical poverty ensured empathy in "giving themselves" to the suffering poor and established a stronger bond with Christ's redemptive agony. She wrote in 1951 that the Passion was the only aspect of Jesus' life that she was interested in sharing: "I want to ... drink ONLY [her emphasis] from His chalice of pain." And so she did, although by all indications not in a way she had expected.

Kolodiejchuk finds divine purpose in the fact that Teresa's spiritual spigot went dry just as she prevailed over her church's perceived hesitations and saw a successful way to realize Jesus' call for her. "She was a very strong personality," he suggests. "And a strong personality needs stronger purification" as an antidote to pride. As proof that it worked, he cites her written comment after receiving an important prize in the Philippines in the 1960s: "This means nothing to me, because I don't have Him."

And yet "the question is, Who determined the abandonment she experienced?" says Dr. Richard Gottlieb, a teacher at the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute who has written about the church and who was provided a copy of the book by TIME. "Could she have imposed it on herself?" Psychologists have long recognized that people of a certain personality type are conflicted about their high achievement and find ways to punish themselves. Gottlieb notes that Teresa's ambitions for her ministry were tremendous. Both he and Kolodiejchuk are fascinated by her statement, "I want to love Jesus as he has never been loved before." Remarks the priest: "That's a kind of daring thing to say." Yet her letters are full of inner conflict about her accomplishments. Rather than simply giving all credit to God, Gottlieb observes, she agonizes incessantly that "any taking credit for her accomplishments — if only internally — is sinful" and hence, perhaps, requires a price to be paid. A mild secular analog, he says, might be an executive who commits a horrific social gaffe at the instant of a crucial promotion. For Teresa, "an occasion for a modicum of joy initiated a significant quantity of misery," and her subsequent successes led her to perpetuate it.

Gottlieb also suggests that starting her ministry "may have marked a turning point in her relationship with Jesus," whose urgent claims she was finally in a position to fulfill. Being the active party, he speculates, might have scared her, and in the end, the only way to accomplish great things might have been in the permanent and less risky role of the spurned yet faithful lover.

The atheist position is simpler. In 1948, Hitchens ventures, Teresa finally woke up, although she could not admit it. He likens her to die-hard Western communists late in the cold war: "There was a huge amount of cognitive dissonance," he says. "They thought, 'Jesus, the Soviet Union is a failure, [but] I'm not supposed to think that. It means my life is meaningless.' They carried on somehow, but the mainspring was gone. And I think once the mainspring is gone, it cannot be repaired." That, he says, was Teresa.

Most religious readers will reject that explanation, along with any that makes her the author of her own misery — or even defines it as true misery. Martin, responding to the torch-song image of Teresa, counterproposes her as the heroically constant spouse. "Let's say you're married and you fall in love and you believe with all your heart that marriage is a sacrament. And your wife, God forbid, gets a stroke and she's comatose. And you will never experience her love again. It's like loving and caring for a person for 50 years and once in a while you complain to your spiritual director, but you know on the deepest level that she loves you even though she's silent and that what you're doing makes sense. Mother Teresa knew that what she was doing made sense."


I can't express in words — the gratitude I owe you for your kindness to me — for the first time in ... years — I have come to love the darkness — for I believe now that it is part of a very, very small part of Jesus' darkness & pain on earth. You have taught me to accept it [as] a 'spiritual side of your work' as you wrote — Today really I felt a deep joy — that Jesus can't go anymore through the agony — but that He wants to go through it in me.
— to Neuner, Circa 1961

There are two responses to trauma: to hold onto it in all its vividness and remain its captive, or without necessarily "conquering" it, to gradually integrate it into the day-by-day. After more than a decade of open-wound agony, Teresa seems to have begun regaining her spiritual equilibrium with the help of a particularly perceptive adviser. The Rev. Joseph Neuner, whom she met in the late 1950s and confided in somewhat later, was already a well-known theologian, and when she turned to him with her "darkness," he seems to have told her the three things she needed to hear: that there was no human remedy for it (that is, she should not feel responsible for affecting it); that feeling Jesus is not the only proof of his being there, and her very craving for God was a "sure sign" of his "hidden presence" in her life; and that the absence was in fact part of the "spiritual side" of her work for Jesus.

This counsel clearly granted Teresa a tremendous sense of release. For all that she had expected and even craved to share in Christ's Passion, she had not anticipated that she might recapitulate the particular moment on the Cross when he asks, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" The idea that rather than a nihilistic vacuum, his felt absence might be the ordeal she had prayed for, that her perseverance in its face might echo his faith unto death on the Cross, that it might indeed be a grace, enhancing the efficacy of her calling, made sense of her pain. Neuner would later write, "It was the redeeming experience of her life when she realized that the night of her heart was the special share she had in Jesus' passion." And she thanked Neuner profusely: "I can't express in words — the gratitude I owe you for your kindness to me — for the first time in ... years — I have come to love the darkness. "

Not that it didn't continue to torment her. Years later, describing the joy in Jesus experienced by some of her nuns, she observed dryly to Neuner, "I just have the joy of having nothing — not even the reality of the Presence of God [in the Eucharist]." She described her soul as like an "ice block." Yet she recognized Neuner's key distinction, writing, "I accept not in my feelings — but with my will, the Will of God — I accept His will." Although she still occasionally worried that she might "turn a Judas to Jesus in this painful darkness," with the passage of years the absence morphed from a potential wrecking ball into a kind of ragged cornerstone. Says Gottlieb, the psychoanalyst: "What is remarkable is that she integrated it in a way that enabled her to make it the organizing center of her personality, the beacon for her ongoing spiritual life." Certainly, she understood it as essential enough to project it into her afterlife. "If I ever become a Saint — I will surely be one of 'darkness.' I will continually be absent from Heaven — to [light] the light of those in darkness on earth," she wrote in 1962. Theologically, this is a bit odd since most orthodox Christianity defines heaven as God's eternal presence and doesn't really provide for regular no-shows at the heavenly feast. But it is, Kolodiejchuk suggests, her most moving statement, since the sacrifice involved is infinite. "When she wrote, 'I am willing to suffer ... for all eternity, if this [is] possible,'" he says, "I said, Wow."

He contends that the letters reveal her as holier than anyone knew. However formidable her efforts on Christ's behalf, it is even more astounding to realize that she achieved them when he was not available to her — a bit like a person who believes she can't walk winning the Olympic 100 meters. Kolodiejchuk goes even further. Catholic theologians recognize two types of "dark night": the first is purgative, cleansing the contemplative for a "final union" with Christ; the second is "reparative," and continues after such a union, so that he or she may participate in a state of purity even closer to that of Jesus and Mary, who suffered for human salvation despite being without sin. By the end, writes Kolodiejchuk, "by all indications this was the case with Mother Teresa." That puts her in rarefied company.

A New Ministry

If this brings You glory — if souls are brought to you — with joy I accept all to the end of my life.
— to Jesus, undated

But for most people, Teresa's ranking among Catholic saints may be less important than a more general implication of Come Be My Light: that if she could carry on for a half-century without God in her head or heart, then perhaps people not quite as saintly can cope with less extreme versions of the same problem. One powerful instance of this may have occurred very early on. In 1968, British writer-turned-filmmaker Malcolm Muggeridge visited Teresa. Muggeridge had been an outspoken agnostic, but by the time he arrived with a film crew in Calcutta he was in full spiritual-search mode. Beyond impressing him with her work and her holiness, she wrote a letter to him in 1970 that addressed his doubts full-bore. "Your longing for God is so deep and yet He keeps Himself away from you," she wrote. "He must be forcing Himself to do so — because he loves you so much — the personal love Christ has for you is infinite — The Small difficulty you have re His Church is finite — Overcome the finite with the infinite." Muggeridge apparently did. He became an outspoken Christian apologist and converted to Catholicism in 1982. His 1969 film, Something Beautiful for God, supported by a 1971 book of the same title, made Teresa an international sensation.

At the time, Muggeridge was something of a unique case. A child of privilege who became a minor celebrity, he was hardly Teresa's target audience. Now, with the publication of Come Be My Light, we can all play Muggeridge. Kolodiejchuk thinks the book may act as an antidote to a cultural problem. "The tendency in our spiritual life but also in our more general attitude toward love is that our feelings are all that is going on," he says. "And so to us the totality of love is what we feel. But to really love someone requires commitment, fidelity and vulnerability. Mother Teresa wasn't 'feeling' Christ's love, and she could have shut down. But she was up at 4:30 every morning for Jesus, and still writing to him, 'Your happiness is all I want.' That's a powerful example even if you are not talking in exclusively religious terms."

America's Martin wants to talk precisely in religious terms. "Everything she's experiencing," he says, "is what average believers experience in their spiritual lives writ large. I have known scores of people who have felt abandoned by God and had doubts about God's existence. And this book expresses that in such a stunning way but shows her full of complete trust at the same time." He takes a breath. "Who would have thought that the person who was considered the most faithful woman in the world struggled like that with her faith?" he asks. "And who would have thought that the one thought to be the most ardent of believers could be a saint to the skeptics?" Martin has long used Teresa as an example to parishioners of self-emptying love. Now, he says, he will use her extraordinary faith in the face of overwhelming silence to illustrate how doubt is a natural part of everyone's life, be it an average believer's or a world-famous saint's.

Into the Light of Day

Please destroy any letters or anything I have written.
— to Picachy, April 1959

Consistent with her ongoing fight against pride, Teresa's rationale for suppressing her personal correspondence was "I want the work to remain only His." If the letters became public, she explained to Picachy, "people will think more of me — less of Jesus."

The particularly holy are no less prone than the rest of us to misjudge the workings of history — or, if you will, of God's providence. Teresa considered the perceived absence of God in her life as her most shameful secret but eventually learned that it could be seen as a gift abetting her calling. If her worries about publicizing it also turn out to be misplaced — if a book of hasty, troubled notes turns out to ease the spiritual road of thousands of fellow believers, there would be no shame in having been wrong — but happily, even wonderfully wrong — twice.

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Televangelist Juanita Bynum Assaulted By Husband

The husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum will be charged with aggravated assault and terroristic threats following a confrontation in which he left her badly bruised, Atlanta police said.
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Officer Ronald Campbell said Bynum met with authorities Thursday at an undisclosed location to press the charges against preacher Thomas W. Weeks III, founder of Global Destiny churches.

The struggle happened early Wednesday in a hotel parking lot near Atlanta's airport, and a hotel bellman pulled Weeks off Bynum, Campbell said.

"They were talking about a reconciliation. They got into an argument. In the process of the argument, her husband walked out to the parking lot area, turned back around and started to choke Miss Bynum," Campbell said.

"As he choked her, he pushed her down to the ground and started to kick her and also stomp on her," he said. "There was a bellman at the location who witnessed the whole assault, intervened, and pulled Mr. Weeks off of Miss Bynum."

Weeks did not return a phone message or an e-mail request for comment Thursday by The Associated Press. A call to Global Destiny was answered only by a recorded message with information about the ministry.

Campbell told the AP on Thursday he was unsure if investigators had spoken with Weeks.

Amy Malone, a publicist for Bynum, said, "She was not in a fight with her husband; she was attacked by her husband."

Malone said Bynum did not wish to add anything further.

"Basically she is recovering," Malone said. "The appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that this does not happen again. She just asks that everyone respect her privacy."

Bynum is a former homemaker, hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist. She got a break when Bishop T.D. Jakes invited her to speak at one of his conferences several years ago.

Her ministry blossomed after her "No More Sheets" sermon about breaking free of sexual promiscuity at a singles event. She writes books, records inspirational CDs and preaches to millions through televised sermons.

She married Weeks in 2002 in a televised wedding.

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US Evangelist Billy Graham Sick & Hospitalised

US evangelist Billy Graham is in a fair condition and resting comfortably in hospital after he was admitted for evaluation and treatment of an intestinal bleed, hospital officials say.
Graham, 88, was fully alert, and his doctors do not think his condition is life-threatening, said his spokesman, Larry Ross.
"The priority right now is rest," Ross said.
Graham's blood pressure was good and there were no signs of new bleeding, according to a statement released by Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville on Saturday.
He was expected to sleep well overnight, the hospital said.
"It stopped as quickly as it began," Ross said.
Ross estimated the ailing preacher could be released from the hospital in a couple of days.
Graham, who suffers from a variety of ailments including Parkinson's disease and age-related macular degeneration, has been largely confined to his western North Carolina home in recent years.
His wife of 64 years, Ruth Bell Graham, died in June. She had been bedridden for months with degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck.
The ailing Graham surprised mourners at her funeral by rising to talk about his wife, who was his closest confidant during a six-decade career that took him around the world to preach to more than 210 million people.
The charismatic Southern Baptist minister has preached in more than 185 countries and territories, and packed arenas in the United States. He is known for his close ties to Richard Nixon, who said Graham helped persuade him to run for president in 1968.

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Arkansas Infants Can Legally Get Married Now

An Arkansas law passed this year allows residents of any age - even infants - to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have to call a special session to fix the mistake.
The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsor Representative Will Bond said.
An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.
"It's clearly not the intent to allow 10-year-olds or 11-year-olds to get married," Bond said.
The bill reads: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage licence, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."
A code revision commission - which fixes typographical and technical errors in laws - had tried to correct the mistake, but a group of legislators said the commission went beyond its powers.
"You're either pregnant or you're not pregnant," state Senator Dave Bisbee said. "Rarely will that be a typographical error."
Several lawmakers said a special session may be necessary.
"We need a special session to fix this," state Senator Sue Madison said.
"I am concerned about paedophiles coming to Arkansas to find parents who are willing to sign a very young child's consent."
Before the new law took effect July 31, girls could get married with parental consent at 16 and boys at 17

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British Tourists Prefer Australia To Eiffel Tower And Egypt

British travellers find Paris' Eiffel Tower and Egypt's pyramids a bore and much prefer to flock to some of Australia's top tourist spots, a survey has found.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory and Broome's Cable Beach have all made it into a top 10 list of the best foreign tourist spots for British tourists.
But while the Brits are impressed with what Australia has to offer, they are left yawning by some of the world's most popular attractions.
Two of Paris' renowned sites - the Eiffel Tower and the display of Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre - were rated the least impressive foreign sightseeing spots for British travellers.
New York's bustling Times Square and Statue of Liberty, the famous street of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the White House in Washington DC, Egypt's historic pyramids and Rome's romantic Spanish Steps also got the thumbs down.
Holidaying on home soil also proved a major disappointment for many Brits, with England's prehistoric Stonehenge named the worst tourist spot in the UK.
Some of London's major attractions - Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain - fared little better, according to the survey of 1,267 British tourists by Virgin Travel Insurance.
Joining the three Australian tourist hotspots in the top 10 foreign attractions was the Grand Canal in Venice, the Treasury monument in Jordan and Kenya's Masai Mara.
Travel writer Felice Hardy said many British travellers felt ripped-off and stressed when they visited some of the world's most popular sites.
The threat of being robbed by pickpockets and having to deal with large crowds and expensive entry prices at places such as the Eiffel Tower were frustrating for many, she said.
"It's easy to be swayed by brochures that opt for the mainstream and focus on clich�d tourist sights around the world, but many of them are overcrowded and disappointing," Ms Hardy said.
"Pick carefully and don't always go for the obvious - natural phenomena are usually more exciting than the man-made, and can be wonderfully free of tourists."

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Harry Potter Accessories, Top Selling Items

With the huge success of the Harry Potter movies around the world, a lot of manufacturers have launched a number of products in the market.
These varieties of products are available for so many occasions but the most significant occasion for such gifts is Halloween that will be observed on Oct 31.

The gifts like these are specially meant to be given on such an occasion. A variety of products is available in the market. Some typical items like Harry Potter Clothes, caps and collectables and other accessories are good options that can be gifted on this Halloween.

The most common problem that arises is that people have no idea as to where should they get the required product range from and what are the options available to them and if at all these products can be bought at an affordable price.

One can visit this site and decide what to choose and also, go through a lot of other useful information about what are the right places one can get the gift from.
If you visit this site, you can come up with something that is original or innovative rather than giving typical gifts to your family members and friends.

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Videotape Yourself While Having Sex

It's about 7 P.M., and I'm engrossed in a video of Katy and Mark, a married 20-something couple, having sex.

I don't like what I see.

Katy energetically climbs on top of Mark and works her way toward orgasm while Mark might as well be lying in a coffin. Katy grabs Mark's shoulders; his hands remain virtually motionless at his sides. Her moans grow more insistent; whatever noise he might be making isn't even loud enough for the microphone to pick up.

No, I'm not watching porn (though if it were porn, it would be disastrous). Mark and Katy, who have been together since they were teenagers, are one of the dozens of couples who come to me seeking help with their love lives. Mark claims he wants "rampant" sex with his wife. But from what I see, he needs to look up the word.

I help couples like Mark and Katy by watching videos of them having sex (and interacting outside of the bedroom), then analyzing what I see. These aren't Paris Hilton-style tapes; they're videos that force couples to take an uncensored look at how they treat each other. The nuances in body language they reveal-a lack of eye contact here, a perfunctory hug there-hint at much deeper issues in the relationship.

For every couple I've seen on tape, the camera illuminates the contradiction between what they think they do and what they actually do. While Mark insisted he wanted his sex life to sizzle, you wouldn't know it. Even his position-flat on his back-reflected his passiveness. When we noted this on the footage, Mark was floored.

For many, the thought of a camera in the bedroom is at best adventurous, at worst perverted. But for those who wonder, What kind of person would agree to have their sex life videotaped and analyzed?, I say, "Well, what would the cameras reveal if they were filming you?"

Think of the camera as the mirror you've never looked into. After Katy viewed a bungled bedroom moment-she flung Mark's arm away when he tried to cuddle with her on the bed-we paused the tape. I told her I had a secret, then whispered, "Men have feelings, too." She started bawling, and we had to give her a few minutes to collect herself. She had no idea she was confusing her husband's attempt at affection with a quest to get in her pants.

This confusion between affection and sex surfaces often, and it's a multilayered issue. First, if someone isn't in the mood for sex and assumes her partner is, she usually chooses the wrong way to reject him (like Katy did). Second, this "all or nothing" mentality reinforces the idea that physical contact must be sexual. On film, these issues become all too clear.

Another couple, Bina and Mark, struggled with a related issue. Bina, whose sex drive outpaced her boyfriend's, constantly pressured him for romps. What she didn't know - until she saw herself clinging all over Mark - is that she was craving simple body-to-body contact as much as a good shag.

Bina's preoccupation with sex highlights a similar line of thought among many couples: that simply being a good lover can carry the rest of the relationship. You can brag all you want about how well you go down on your boyfriend, but if you act like a bitch all the time, he's probably thinking about somebody else while you're doing it.

If you want your sex life to bloom, you have to pay more attention to tilling the soil than planting the flower. That means making your partner feel good about you, himself or herself, and your relationship-the stuff we always hear but don't pay much attention to. Out-of-bed footage and video diaries reinforce that what happens at 8 a.m. clearly affects what happens at 8 p.m.

Paul, a feisty 23-year-old engaged to Sally-Ann, who is 11 years older, was downright embarrassed to watch himself constantly brandishing his penis and begging to be serviced by his fiancée, even if she was wiped out after doing all the housework. Almost as quickly as he could zip up his pants, Paul went about changing his behavior. He signed up for his share of the housework - and actually did it - and stopped acting like a prepubescent. As a result, Sally-Ann stopped using sex as a bartering tool and began to see it as a mutually enjoyable act.

Gone was the sexual power struggle that plagues so many couples. While both partners are the gatekeepers of sex, the one who says no and keeps the gate shut has the power. The danger in amassing that power-and doling out sex like cookies, as one member of a couple often does-is that it inevitably generates a power-resentment loop. The more you say no, the angrier, more frustrated your partner gets-and the angrier, more frustrated your partner gets, the more you want to say no.

Kelly and Sean, married for less than a month, had a different power dynamic. Kelly clearly had the upper hand in the marriage, partying with her friends several nights a week and whining for Sean to do things like bring her a glass of water when they were in bed-generally treating him like a doormat. Not surprisingly, her dominance extended into their sex life.

The solution ended up being several bans for the couple. Kelly wasn't allowed to talk on her cell phone after 9 p.m. (a huge sacrifice, considering she'd brought the damn thing to bed on their honeymoon) or initiate sex. Sean, on the other hand, was banned from doing Kelly any favors unless she reciprocated. The results were phenomenal: Kelly began to respect Sean, and he went from submissive to sure of himself. Their sex life soared, and their follow-up footage-with Kelly looking smitten and Sean confident-was some of the most touching we taped.

Of course, on-the-mark advice doesn't always save couples. Sean and Safia sparked in their sex life but noticed they spent most of their free time watching television. After they turned it off, they discovered they had nearly nothing in common and broke up.

If the thought of a camera watching you in bed makes you cringe, I challenge you to ask yourself why. If it's because you view sex as a private act, that's one thing. But if it's because you're uncomfortable with what the footage might reveal-your selfishness? his passivity? hours of the two of you sleeping?-then perhaps you need to take a harder look at your relationship. With or without a camera.

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How To Carry On Cruising After A Break-Up

Break ups can be hard and there is no disputing that they are very painful. When you are going through a break up you may feel that you won't ever find another person like the one who broke your heart (someday you may be thankful for that) and you may even feel that you will be alone forever. Well, break ups are hard, you will survive, you'll be fine and you will emerge a stronger, smarter, better person because of it. In the meantime, follow these "break up guidelines" to help get you thorough.


Go ahead, it's OK to cry, get mad, throw stuff. Don't hold in your feelings, just let it all out. Yell, scream, do whatever makes you feel better. You may not want to post anything to the world wide web just yet, though, give yourself some time before you start blasting the person who ripped your bloody, beating heart from your body on your blog. Go ahead and put your pain on paper, but don't put it on the web right away. Things may look different in a week or so. Just chill for a while, but feel free to cry, scream and be mad as much as you want.

Take a Weekend to Regroup

Take a weekend, a week, as long as you need to regroup. Eat ice cream/oreos/pizza, cry, watch soppy movies, do whatever makes you feel better. Get some friends to come over and hang with you if that makes you feel better. This is your official time to wallow, feel sorry for yourself and maybe even hate a little. This is an important time to relax and let your feelings rise to the surface. Allow yourself to hurt, allow yourself to be angry. This is your time.

Write a Song

Writing can be very cleansing. Write a song, write a poem, write a bunch of random words, it will make you feel better. But if you are thinking about posting your writing to your blog or online journal, you might want to hold off. The knee-jerk emotional reaction can cause you to post things in public that you may regret later. However, if you are writing on paper, knock yourself out! Write a song about how you feel. The song "I'm Sorry You're Ugly" by Ligeia and similar verses probably started out just this way.

Get Back on the Horse

After you take some time, go ahead and get back on that horse. Go out and have fun. This is really not the best time to start a new relationship, but it is a good time to play the field. If you do meet someone who is interesting to you, someone you think you would like to have a relationship with, take it slow. You do not want to go with someone on the rebound and wind up getting hurt again. Keep your heart to yourself for a while and give it time to heal before you put it out there again.

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