"LONDON - The Guinness Book of Records has rejected magician David Blaine's most demanding stunt to date, which will kick off high above London's River Thames on Friday.
The American illusionist and "modern-day Houdini" will hang in a glass box over the river for 44 days of starvation and solitary confinement.
He has previously buried himself alive in a glass coffin, been encased in a giant block of ice and thrown himself off a 10-storey pillar onto cardboard boxes -- but says this will be his most dangerous feat yet.
"We have records on our books which are both better and longer," said a Guinness Book of Records spokeswoman.
She said the starvation record was held by Briton Dennis Goodwin, whose hunger strike in Britain's Wakefield Prison ended in July 1973 after 385 days.
She added that they did not encourage starvation record attempts and only recorded them for medical and historical purposes.
The isolation record is held by Texan Bill White, who lay buried in a box of 54 cubic feet for 141 days, two meters underground. Blaine, a slick showman who mixes New Age mysticism with pure commercialism, popularized street magic with his TV specials.
In his first major stunt outside the United States, the 30-year-old New Yorker will eat no food and have one tube for water and another for urinating.
He did not invite the Guinness Book of Records to certify the stunt, but its adjudicators made their rejection when asked to attend by television networks."
"LUDZIDZINI ROYAL VILLAGE, Swaziland - Tens of thousands of bare-breasted young maidens danced in front of King Mswati on Friday -- many hoping to catch his eye and become his next wife.
A record 50,000 young women staged Swaziland's annual "Reed Dance," taking part in a traditional ceremony now seen as an audition to join King Mswati's many wives.
The 35-year-old king, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, now has 10 wives and one fiancee -- a royal luxury that has drawn criticism as his small southern African kingdom battles poverty and a raging AIDS (news - web sites) epidemic.
Lined up in rows, the maidens danced topless before the king for three hours, undeterred by blustery winds or last year's controversy surrounding Mswati's choice of three teenage reed dancers as his latest queens.
"I am tired of being poor. I want to be a queen. I hope the king sees me," said 17-year-old Nomsa Gama, wearing the traditional dance costume of a small piece of beaded fabric around her waist."
And The Ghostbusters:
"SHELBYVILLE, Ky. - Stymied by mysterious sights and sounds in their own headquarters, cops in Shelbyville called in the ghostbusters.
In the still of night, doors rattled and stairwells creaked in the city's police department. In the light of day, a secretary's desk drawer opened on its own. A city worker who toured the building late one night even reported feeling something grab her leg.
So the police took the probe to another dimension.
"The way I treat it is not that there is a ghost, there's just things that I can't explain," said Officer John Wilson, who contacted the Scientific Investigative Ghost Hunting Team, based in Louisville.
The team of professional paranormal investigators gave the brick building a preliminary review and will return this fall for a thorough probe. The group will set up cameras and tape recorders as well as infrared thermometers to capture any temperature variations.
The goal is to try to prove the strange occurrences aren't caused by paranormal forces, said Kay Owen, vice president of the nonprofit ghost hunting team, which doesn't charge for its services.
"We'll go in and try to recreate everything that they are experiencing," she said. "If they can recreate it, it's not paranormal. It can be explained. It's a process of elimination."