In this text, people tell about their experiences with winning the lottery. It is being told by people how have either won the lottery, or people how work at Camelot, the lottery organisation. For example Tony Dykes, who’s wife won the lottery on the 1e of May, 2005. His day began just like any other Sunday morning. While he was reading the paper, his wife suddenly started shaking like a leaf, and said: “Oh my god”. “I asked her what was happening, and she answered me that we had just won the lottery. I told her to put her glasses on.” They won the lottery indeed. His wife Jennie had won more than £3 million.
More than 1,800 millionaires have been created by the National Lottery since the first live draw, hosted by Noel Edmonds, was watched by 22 million people, in November 1994. Some of them have become micro-celebrities, such as Sarah Cockings, the 21-year-old woman from Whitley Bay, north Tyneside. She also scooped more than £3 million in the same draw as Jennie. She made headlines when she promised to spend a part of her money buying boob jobs for her two poorer, less attractive sisters.
For everybody who wins a lottery, the first contact with Camelot, is a call to its headquarters in Watford, Hertfordshire.
Most people who call the headquarters, are totally not in a state of hysteria, but they are usually pretty calm and controlled. They first have to check and double-check the most information, like the kind of game and the date of draw. They also have to read out the numbers on the ticket, and sometimes people then discover that they have made a mistake: “then the line goes click!”.
When all the calls are over, there is another person who enters the new millionaire family. It is an adviser, who guides the winning people through the whole process of collecting the money. Some people don’t ever understand the amount of money they won: then a banker is available, to express the numbers in terms that relate people’s everyday life.
Camelot also offers practical help and advice to winners. In the days and weeks after a big win, accountants and solicitors are available to explain the practical consequences. For example, (especially older) people need to make a will, or they need to know the possible options for investing the money.
Although there is a thought, that tells us that money can’t buy happiness, Camelot claims that 98 percent of their winners are as happy, or even happier, then they were before their winning.
Shakira looks good these days, with her curly blond hair. Vampish, but also easy going. Her first language is not English (English is not even her second language), that’s Spanish, followed by Portuguese. Shakira is promoting her new album Oral Fixation, her first since the album of 2002 turned her into a global superstar. This new album comes in two parts: an English version and a Spanish version. The album has made Shakira, at just 28, the biggest-selling Latin female artist in the world: at the last count she had sold 29 million albums.
When people look at her videos, they may think she is a very sexually aggressive person, but she appears to be the opposite in real life. At 20, she set up a charitable foundation called Pies Descalzos (“Bare Feet”), which has built schools in remote areas of Colombia. In 2003 she became a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, its youngest ever appointee.
She thinks her passion for everything she does is very important. “passion is important, obviously. Colombians are very exaggerated, and I’m exaggerated too. I think it’s a part of my romantic personality.” Does failure worry her? “We live in a predatory society, in an animal city. One day you’re here and you are desirable for people, but that’s not going to last forever. Everything has its own time, and at some point I know I'm going to fall as well. I just wonder how painful it is going to be when I touch the floor.”
-Does it really make any difference?-
When did jeans become an ethical issue? And does it really make any difference, if products are organic or not? That’s what this text is about.
The cotton of the jeans in the shop (the place where the interview has started) is grown by Turkish farmers who don’t use pesticides or fake fertilisers (manures), and so avoid contaminating (polluting) drinking water or killing local wildlife. Then they are stitched in Tunisia before being shipped to the UK via Ireland.
That they travel by boat is important to know. When they travel through the air, the airplanes make the air dirty, says the sales assistant. The price of the pants is a little high: £160. And, how much do these workers in Tunisia and Turkey get, for making these pants…?
However, a very popular car this moment is the Toyota Prius, the car that generates its own energy. Thousands of them have been sold in the UK. As with the jeans, the price of a clear conscience on the road is high: The Prius costs a hefty £17,795. So no surprise that the Co-operative Bank reports that Britons spend nearly £26 billion on ‘’ethical’ goods in 2004 (up to 15% from 2003).
All these things make people feel good about themselves. But, just how ethical are we? How do we know what's ethical and what isn’t?
Julian Hunt, editor of The Grocer, is sceptical. According to him, the ethical consumer does not exist. “We’re value shoppers who want the best deal on everything. We’ll buy a new Honda hybrid one week, then hop on an easyJet flight for a minibreak. If the price is right, we don’t need to question the origin of a product”.
And, it turns out that some of our own ethical practices aren’t quite as guilt-free as they appear to be. Take hybrid cars. Though loved by Hollywood stars, some are less fuel efficient than a diesel hatchback. More crucially, up to 20% of a car’s carbon dioxide toll is emitted during production. Also problematic is the recycling. A trip to a dump in a car is said to use more energy than is saved by whatever it is being recycled to. Bono, the famous singer of U2, has his own ways to help. He has the American Express Red Card, which has been marketed in a celebrity advertising campaign. But there is a catch here, too. The card is part of Project Red, Bono’s scheme to donate funds to help fight against AIDS in Africa. Cardholders are told that 1% of whatever they spend, is donated to Bono’s Global Fund. As this percentage rises to 1,25% if they spend more than £5,000 a year, the card is an incentive to spend more. That is fine for commerce and Third World AIDS victims; but what about the climate change if shopping is the path to environmental destruction? So the Red Card, like so much else, becomes yet another Catch 22 of ethical living.
“The last thing I though he’d give me was HIV.” This text is about a girl who got HIV from her boyfriend on the age of 28. “He was the man I'd happily seat beside my mother at thanksgiving”. But, it went wrong. “We’d known each other for just over a year when I found out that I was HIV positive.”
In the beginning she told no one except a therapist and the group of gay HIV positive men she sent me to for emotional support. In 1996 it was hard to find other heterosexual HIV positive women, but now 50% of all the people around the world with HIV/AIDS are women. 60 to 70 percent of all new infections among American women are the results of unprotected heterosexual sex. A reason that so many women keep getting infected, is that AIDS has fallen “of the radar”: we are no longer talking about the disease.
When she contracted HIV, they said she had 2 years to live, and having a child was certainly not an option (the risk of transmission was too high). But soon after her diagnosis, medical progress allowed people with HIV to plan for a future. New medicines meant there was no reason she couldn’t reach the age of 75, or even 100. Today she has a 98 percent chance of having an HIV negative baby.
She met another man, once. She met him on a weekend trip to a friend’s farm. She was so in love with him, that she thought he was worth the risk of rejection. She shared the fact that she was HIV positive with that man after a few very intense conversations. “At first he seemed OK, but three weeks later his nightly phone call didn’t come, and when I finally got him on the phone, he told me he was back with his ex-girlfriend.”
In January of this year, she decided to tell the world she has HIV. She took the editor-in-chief position in Poz, a monthly American magazine for those who have the disease, and those who support them. She put her face on the cover of the April issue, above the words I HAVE HIV. “It wasn’t the magazine cover I dreamt of gracing when I was a little girl, but I am glad none the less. I am tired of living behind a veil of shame and secrecy. And I am not Alone”.
-China’s little emperors-
Hao Yi is one of the plump, spoiled kids who live at the Golden Dream Summer camp: a camp for kids who are “very naughty”. Hoa Yi is climbing a pole, strapped into a safety harness, at the Dream Summer camp, on the outskirts of Beijing. The strap of his hard hat is pinching his double chin, while he is in frozen fear.
His teacher, or instructor, is Mr Jing Huang. The boy is wetting himself to his toes, and the instructor keeps yelling to him: “Come on meatball, you can do it!”. His parents have paid the camp 2000 yen (£132), to inflict a ten day short, sharp shock upon their spoilt, domineering children.
There are 60 children, aged 8 to 13, mostly boys, at this summer boot camp, which enjoys full use of the facilities of the Armoured Engineering Academy, where China trains tank crews. It is one of the scores of other camps that have sprung up across the country.
At this camp there are many strict rules: the children are woken at dawn, fed a meagre breakfast of rice, and lights are out at 9:30 pm. They have received too much love from their parents, says camp director Song Hao, 30. “They lack discipline, are lazy, selfish and expect to be waited upon.”
Mr Song believes that is not only the children who lack discipline. During one camp, a girl who managed to hide her mobile phone, summoned her parents to rescue her. The following day, four mothers arrived in a BMW and began complaining to Mr Song over the rough treatment being meted out to their children. ”I couldn’t tell the difference between the behaviour of some parents and their children. When you see a mother argue with her son or daughter, it’s like watching six-year-olds.”
Last year, he started a day camp for parents. “They come to learn how to discipline their kids, and learn how to say NO to them.”