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Saturday, December 27, 2014 - 3
Spectators watch a member of the Quorn Hunt fall from her mount during the traditional Boxing Day meet at Prestwold Hall near Loughborough, England.
Dutch scientists are recreating
the deaths of some of the world’s
most famous personalities by
reconstructing their last moments
using scents and sounds.
From the sweet smell of Jacqueline
Kennedy’s perfume, mingled with
the scent of John F Kennedy’s
blood to Whitney Houston’s last
drug-fuelled moments in a Beverly
Hills bathtub, scientists at Breda
University say they offer visitors
a unique, if somewhat macabre,
“ We all have seen the images
of JFK’s assassination, but what
did it smell like?” asks Frederik
Duerinck, from the communication
and multimedia design faculty of
Breda’s Avans university of applied
To fi nd out, visitors to the
Museum of the Image in the
Netherlands with a sense of the
morbid are invited to lie in a series
of four silver metal boxes similar to
those found in a morgue.
The boxes, which are pitch-dark
inside, are rigged with pipes leading
to bottles containing pressurised
A soundtrack is played and
different scents are released into
the box to recreate a specific “final
For about five minutes, visitors
can relive the smells and sounds
believed to have surrounded four
people whose deaths are etched
into the world’s collective memory:
Kennedy (1963); Diana, Princess of
Wales (1997); Muammar Gaddafi
(2011) and Houston (2012).
For instance, those wanting to
experience Houston’s final moments
are transported to a bathtub at the
upmarket Beverly Hills hotel where
the diva died in February 2012.
A coroner ruled the singer died
of accidental drowning, with
cocaine and heart disease listed as
To the sounds of splashing water
and Houston’s voice, a visitor first
gets a whiff of generic cleaner,
used in hotels around the world,
followed by the olive oil the singer
used in her tub.
Then a strong chemical odour,
similar to that of cocaine fills the
box, grabbing its occupant by the
throat, followed by the sound of
rushing water and then silence.
“Smell is rarely used in
communication and we wanted to
explore its uses,” said Duerinck.
“It’s a very powerful means of
Scientists have proved smells are
linked to the part of the brain that
regulates emotion and memory.
Odours are often used in the retail
industry to trigger a buying mood
31, said after he experienced
a recreation of Gaddafi’s last
moments as the former Libyan
strongman was hunted and killed
by rebels in October 2011.
“ You can watch the pictures as
many times as you want — it’s
just not the same thing,” he said
of the attack on Gaddafi’s convoy,
forcing the long-ser ving leader to
hide in a drainage pipe before being
“ I almost felt myself being
hunted.” In coming months, the
installation will be taken across
smell to recreate
JFK’s last moments
Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Live
was back up yesterday while Sony
Corp’s Play Station Network
remained off-line for a second
day after a hacker group claimed
responsibility for attacking the two
Internet gaming ser vices.
Gamers on Xbox Live and
PlayStation Network experienced
connection problems and delays on
Christmas Day, one of the busiest
times of the year for the video game
industry. The majority of game and
console sales are generated during
the end-year holiday shopping
A message on Play Station
Network’s website yesterday read:
“ Under Scheduled Maintenance.
We should be back on-line shortly.
Apologies for any inconvenience.”
It directed users to the Play
Station blog and other related
websites. A Microsoft website
that keeps track of the status of
Xbox ser vices listed Xbox Live’s
“core ser vices” as up and running
yesterday. Several third-party apps
on the platform were experiencing
limited ser vices, however.
A hacking group called ‘Lizard
Squad’ took credit for the disruption
to both Xbox Live and Play Station
Network. The group appeared
unrelated to the ‘Guardians of
Peace’ hackers who broke into Sony
Pictures’ network to try to stop the
release of the film ‘The Inter view ’,
which depicts the assassination
of North Korean leader Kim Jong
‘The Inter view ’ was released on-
line on Wednesday on the Xbox
network and other digital platforms.
Lizard Squad could not be
reached for comment.
Xbox and Play Station
immediately available for comment.
Xbox back up after hack attack
More than 30 people came
down with food poisoning after
Christmas party in Victoria.
One man was taken to hospital
from the gathering in Portsea,
while another 33 others suffered
nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Paramedics say only a few of the
44 party guests, which included six
children, were unaffected.
Some 22 people made their way
home before Ambulance Victoria
officers arrived to treat 12 other at
the Percy Cerutty Oval about 8pm
“Some of the others who made
their way home later called triple
paramedic team leader
Brendan Keane said yesterday.
“ With lots of barbecues and
parties over the holidays it’s
important for people to take some
simple food handling precautions
and reduce the chances of food
Thirty poisoned at Christmas party
A Chinese city banned schools from
holding Christmas events, State media
reports, highlighting official suspicions
about the increasingly popular festival
because of its foreign origins.
China’s Christian population, currently
estimated at about 60 million, is rapidly
growing and Christmas is increasingly
marked in the country ruled by the
officially atheist Communist Party.
But the government education bureau
in Wenzhou, an eastern Chinese
coastal city sometimes called ‘China’s
Jerusalem’ because of its large Christian
population, has banned schools from
holding “Christmas-related” events, the
Global Times reports.
Local officials “hope schools can pay
more attention to Chinese traditional
festivals instead of Western traditions”,
said the tabloid, which has close ties to
the Communist Party.
Interest in Christmas has grown in
China as an occasion for shopping,
with marketeers using everything from
saxophones and Smurfs to steam trains
to get consumers to open their wallets.
But authorities in Wenzhou this year
launched a demolition campaign aimed
at local churches, with more than 400
forced to remove visible crosses and
some completely destroyed.
The ban came as a university in
central China required students to
watch a documentary about Chinese
sage Confucius instead of celebrating
“Be good sons and daughters of your
country, stand against kitsch Western
holidays,” a banner on the campus of
North-west University in the ancient city
of Xi’an said, according to photographs
Christmas banned in Chinese city schools
Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Thousands of Indonesians gathered
to pray at a mosque that was one of the
few buildings left standing in Banda
Aceh, the city flattened by the Boxing
Day tsunami that killed at least 226,000
people 10 years ago.
Pictures of the 135-year-old mosque
left isolated in a plain of desolation after
almost everything around it was wiped
away were among the most memorable
from the disaster, caused by a freak wave
triggered by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake
off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra
island in 2004.
“Allah kept his house unscathed, that ’s
what we Muslims believe,” Azman
Ismail, great imam of the Baiturrahman
Grand Mosque, told Reuters. About
5000 men, women and children crowded
inside for its largest mass prayer since
Aceh province bore the brunt of the
devastation with at least 168,000 people
dead from the tsunami which also killed
thousands in Sri Lanka, India and
Syahirizal Abbas, a local government
official, said he was attending “to pray
that the dead will be welcome to Allah’s
side”. Although the tsunami brought
devastation, Ismail said it had also led
to peace in the province, which had
suffered years of conflict between rebels
and the military.
“The tsunami should be seen as a
blessing instead of punishment by
Allah,” Syeikh Ali Jaber, an imam
from Saudi Arabia, told worshippers.
Thousands remember Boxing Day tsunami
Significantly fewer Britons went out
to shop on Boxing Day this year, initial
data showed, suggesting pre-Christmas
on-line discounts led many to spurn
what is traditionally a bumper day for
Retail data company Springboard
said footfall for the first three hours of
December 26 was down 10.5% year-on -
year. Many large retailers launch sales
offering big discounts on Boxing Day
to try to entice domestic and foreign
consumers to engage in a second wave
of buying after Christmas.
But Springboard said many shoppers
would be making their purchases on-
line. Seventy-two percent of traffic had
come from mobile and tablet devices, it
On-line sales keep shoppers at home
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