dailymail - As the long black limousine pulled up unannounced outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, the guardsmen were surprised to see one of the most famous and beautiful women of the day reclining elegantly in the back seat.
Marlene Dietrich, then the world's highest-paid film star, was the epitome of husky-voiced sexual allure.
At the height of her fame, she seduced many of Hollywood's best-known actors, including John Wayne and James Stewart. But on that summer's evening in 1936 she had a very different conquest in mind.
Dietrich was in England to make a film called Knight Without Armour at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire.
Her boyfriend, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, was friendly with the Royal Family and through him she had learned of King Edward VIII's plans to abdicate so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Shocked at the idea he might renounce everything for what she described as 'that homely, flat-chested woman,' the 35-year-old screen goddess had decided to intervene.
'She was prepared to seduce him and show him that Wallis wasn't the only woman in the world,' Fairbanks said.
Dietrich's audacious plan was concocted in her suite at Claridge's, he claimed. 'She told me: "I'll make him forget her. I must have a bath and the right perfume."
'She began taking her clothes off as she went.'
Since they were in the midst of their own affair, Fairbanks — not surprisingly — expressed his reservations about the scheme.
'Oh darling, don't be so old-fashioned,' she replied.
'We're doing it for England, which we both love. Some sacrifices must be made.'
Fairbanks said: 'She went off in her limousine but she'd dallied a bit too long enhancing her charms, which hadn't needed any enhancing, and the King was out when she arrived — or so she was told.'
According to a colourful new biography, it was not the last time Dietrich would consider using her charms to change the course of history.
Her prolific love life would involve the seduction of both President John F. Kennedy and his father Joe — not to mention a bizarre plot to assassinate Hitler.
Underlying all this was a free and frank enjoyment of sex — startling for a woman of her generation.
'Darling, the legs aren't so beautiful,' she once said of her most celebrated attributes.
'It's just that I know what to do with them.'
Born in Berlin in 1901, she was the daughter of Louis Dietrich, a lieutenant in the Royal Prussian Police, and his wife Josephine, whose family ran one of the city's best-known department stores.
Among the first people to fall for Dietrich's allure was an older girl at her school.
'I was allowed to overnight with her and she was the initiator,' she remembered.
'She didn't seem to know much about what she was doing, but she seemed to enjoy her fumbling.'
Working as a stage and film actress in decadent Twenties Berlin, she went on to conduct affairs with both sexes. But her strangest and most enduring relationship was with a man, a handsome assistant director named Rudi Sieber.
She would later describe him as 'the love of my life, my soul mate'.
Yet after they married in May 1923, and she gave birth to their daughter Maria the following year, they agreed to enjoy an open relationship and Dietrich gave her stamp of approval to Sieber's affair with Russian actress Tamara Matul.
In part, this was a practical arrangement. In 1930, her success in the film The Blue Angel took the new international sex symbol to Hollywood and she left her daughter in the care of her husband and Tamara — an agreement that was repeated throughout her career.
Although they continued to live apart in the coming years, Dietrich wrote to Rudi whenever she had an affair and told him the details.
'I never loved anyone else the way I loved Rudi, so Rudi didn't need to be jealous,' she explained.
There must have been many such letters. Her Hollywood romances included affairs with two of Greta Garbo's former lovers.
One was a dalliance with Mercedes de Acosta, a society lesbian renowned for her habit of wearing mannish trousers, along with a naval-style tricorn hat and cape. The other was with actor John Gilbert, known as 'the great lover' of the silent screen.
Her two-year relationship with Gilbert ended when he died of a heart attack in January 1936, but she quickly moved on, meeting Douglas Fairbanks Jr at a party in London, shortly before her abortive role in the abdication crisis.
That night, she asked him to give her a lift back to Claridge's and invited him in for a nightcap.
Doing her duty: Dietrich considered walking naked into a room with Hitler armed only with a poisoned hairpin
'It's very nice of you to have me up for a drink,' he said as he settled on the sofa in her suite.
'That wasn't what I had in mind,' she replied.
Dietrich was eight years older than Fairbanks, but he recalled: 'She was unconventional in her lovemaking as she was unconventional in everything.
'She was totally uninhibited about her nudity which was easy to understand when you gazed upon that body.'
Their relationship coincided with Dietrich's growing concerns about the rise of Nazism in her homeland. She was deemed a traitor for refusing to return to Germany and make films at the state-run UFA studios, which would have been great propaganda for the Third Reich.
One day, according to Fairbanks, she asked for his help in an extraordinary plan. She would agree to make one film in Germany, on condition that she could be alone with the Fuhrer.
This would give her an opportunity to kill him.
She told Fairbanks: 'I would gush over how I feel about him, intimating that I am desperately in love with him. I've heard Hitler likes me and I'm certain he would agree.'
Realising she would be searched, she was prepared to go into Hitler's bedroom naked if necessary, but the only detail she could not resolve was how to smuggle in a murder weapon.
She considered a poisoned hairpin, but asked for Fairbanks' suggestions, too.
'I never thought of anything,' he said.
'Fortunately, her idea didn't go any further because she didn't figure out how to complete the assassination, but she was a very brave girl and I know she would have gambled her life if she thought she had a chance of success.'
When Dietrich ended her affair with Fairbanks in 1938, he suspected she had simply tired of him.
The following year she began an affair with James Stewart, her co-star in the Western film Destry Rides Again. She revealed a very different side to 'Gentleman Jimmy', as he was known to fans.
'He never said "I love you" or anything like that,' she recalled.
'One rather expects that kind of thing, those words, even if delivered in perfect insincerity.
'Then I discovered I was pregnant. It was his baby too, so I told him. He looked shocked.
'He said: "Jeez, what are you gonna do about it?" I noticed he said "you", not "we".'
Some accounts suggest Dietrich had an abortion with Stewart's endorsement, while others say she claimed it turned out to be a phantom pregnancy.
Whatever the truth, their relationship did not survive the end of filming, and Dietrich was soon in pursuit of Joseph Kennedy, father of the famous brothers John, Robert and Edward.
Kennedy was then the U.S. ambassador to Britain and he and Dietrich met in the summer of 1939 when both were holidaying at Cap d'Antibes in the South of France.
She was there with Rudi, Tamara and Maria, while Kennedy was accompanied by his wife and children, but this did not deter them from a dalliance which proved disappointing in several respects.
'He was a very rich man but he never gave me even a simple token, like a scarf,' said Dietrich.
'I think he wanted to be sure you really liked him, just for himself alone. He wasn't very comfortable when it came to women.'
Their fling ended that summer, but it appeared she had made a lasting impression on the young John F. Kennedy, then only 21.
In later years her popularity as a film star began to wane and she turned to a career as a cabaret artist.
Touring the country with such memorable songs as Falling In Love Again and Lili Marleen, she arrived in Washington in the early Sixties and invited President John F. Kennedy to her show.
Word came back the president could not accept but would like her to visit him at the White House.
She was escorted to his private quarters where they were left alone together.
'He clearly remembered those days in the South of France,' she said.
'Most of him was relaxed, but not all of him and he didn't leave any doubt as to what he had in mind.
'I can't say I was caught completely by surprise. He was, after all, his father's son and I wanted to see if he made love like his father.
'I don't remember most of what happened because it was all so quick. Afterwards I remembered saying: "Please don't muss my hair." I kept my professional focus and I knew I had a show to do later that night.
'I think he was even faster than his father. He had an even busier schedule I suppose. They both kept their watches on.'
Before she left, Kennedy asked if she had really gone to bed with his father. She said: 'I hesitated a moment and thought about what he wanted to hear. "No, your father tried but I didn't agree," I told him.
'The president smiled, so I suppose what I said was right for him. "The old fox," he said. "I knew he was lying".'
Dietrich was then in her early 60s and admitted to feeling relieved that Kennedy, some 16 years her junior, had found her attractive.
'I felt too old for the young president,' she said.
'I wished I could have been younger and more beautiful for the occasion.'
Ageing came hard for a woman whose sex appeal had once enabled her to pick and choose which of her leading men she would invite into her bed, and choosy she could be.
She had been enamoured of John Wayne, her co-star in The Spoilers, filmed in 1942. When she first saw him, she was struck by his 'broad shoulders and flat behind', but what most appealed to her was that he wasn't vain or arrogant.
'Far from it, he was insecure as an actor,' she said.
'I don't think it's what a man his size would like to have said about him but he brought out the maternal side in me.'
Aware she could not depend on her looks for ever, she had long had a pact with her husband Rudi that they would spend their old age together.
In this, there was never any question in Dietrich's mind that he would ultimately choose her over long-term mistress Tamara.
'She could never be the love of his life because that place had been taken by me,' she said.
Dietrich believed this realisation may have contributed to Tamara's increasingly fragile mental health.
In 1965, she was committed to a lunatic asylum, where she was later stabbed to death by another inmate.
The path was clear for her and Rudi to enter their twilight years together — but the great tragedy of her life was that he died in 1976, leaving her to live out her last years on her own in a Paris apartment.
When she died in May 1992, it was as a virtual recluse.
There was a simple reason for her refusal to leave her flat. The woman who had once entranced millions was terrified photographers might take snaps of her, revealing the beauty which could have changed the course of world events was itself now part of history.
Suicide by Crocodile
dailymail - A distressed farm worker may have committed suicide by wading into a crocodile-infested river, police in South Africa said today.
Detectives believe labourer David Lubisi, 40, was eaten alive after he entered the Lepelle river following an argument with his girlfriend.
The father-of-three has not been seen for more than a week after apparently telling a colleague about his painful plan on April 7.
Sergeant Malesela Makgopa today said officers believed Mr Lubisi had died in a bizarre case of suicide.
He said: 'The man has not been seen since the incident and his body has not been found.
'Our investigations have revealed that at around 7pm on April 7 he told a co-worker he wanted to walk into the river, which he knew to be infested with crocodiles.
'He was last seen heading towards the water and never turned up after that.
'We believe he may have been having domestic problems with his girlfriend and that he wanted to commit suicide.
'If that is true then it was a particularly horrible and painful way to die.' Police said the local community had been shattered by the apparent tragedy, which happened near the town of Bushbuckbridge close to the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa's eastern Mpumalanga province.
Before his disappearance Mr Lubisi had worked in the area for five years as a labourer at a game farm.
The country's Sowetan newspaper today reported that the owner of a neighbouring property reported seeing a crocodile with a human leg protruding from its mouth four days after the incident.
The publication also published claims from relatives of the victim that he may have been forced into the water.
Mr Lubisi's sister Esther told the newspaper she believed her brother would never have committed suicide and must have been pushed into the river.
Today Sergeant Makgopa said detectives had so far been unable to rule out foul play as the missing man's body had not been found.
But the officer added that detectives currently had no reason to suspect anyone else was involved.
He said: 'We are aware of claims that the man was forced into the water or pushed into the river.
'So far we have not ruled out foul play for certain, but neither do we have any reason to believe anyone else was involved.
'An inquest has been opened and we will continue to investigate the circumstances of what happened.'
Officials said the missing man was a devout Christian who had been a member of the Zion Christian Church whose adherents usually refrain from drinking alcohol.
However Sergeant Makgopa said officers were investigating reports he could have been drunk on the night of his disappearance.
Mr Lubisi's employer Jesper Kehlet contacted police after being informed of the apparent tragedy.
The investigation was continuing today.
The Lepelle river is one of the major waterways of South Africa's Kruger National Park game reserve.
It was officially renamed recently and was formerly known as the Olifants, named by Afrikaner farmers after the elephants which can commonly be seen drinking from its banks.
The river rises on South Africa's highveld plateau and runs eastwards, crossing Mozambique before joining the Indian Ocean.
Although the Lepelle is responsible for supplying millions of people with water it is feared among most locals for the presence of crocodiles.
The deadly reptiles are known to live in many African rivers, streams and lakes.
They can lurk unseen beneath the waters before striking suddenly to claim their prey.
Scientists Teleport Light
discovery - Researchers from Australia and Japan have successfully teleported wave packets of light, potentially revolutionizing quantum communications and computing.
The team, led by researchers at the University of Tokyo, say this is the first-ever teleportation, or transfer, of a particular complex set of quantum information from one point to another.
They say it will make possible high-speed, high-fidelity transmission of large volumes of information, such as quantum encryption keys, via communications networks.
The research appears today in the journal Science.
Professor Elanor Huntington, of the School of Engineering and Information Technology at UNSW's Canberra campus, explains that teleportation -- the transfer of quantum information from one location to another using normal, "classical" communications -- is a fundamental quantum communication technique.
"It relies on having two things," she said.
"One is the normal fiber optic internet or even copper cables, and the other is a shared resource between the sender and the receiver, that could have been shared at any time in the past: we call that entanglement."
Huntington says the idea of quantum teleportation has been around for about ten years, but has been difficult to put into practice.
"There used to be two ways of doing teleportation and both had their limitations," she said.
"One was quite fast, but had a limited probability of succeeding. The other way of doing it was quite slow, but had a very good probability of working."
"What we've done is managed to get it both fast and good quality," she said.
They did it by teleporting the wave packets of light in a 'Schrödinger's cat' state.
In Schrödinger's famous thought experiment of the 1930s, a cat would be placed in a sealed box with a device containing atomic material. A Geiger counter was included to measure radiation if at some point an atom decayed. Should that happen, the Geiger counter would trigger the release of cyanide gas, which would kill the cat.
The idea was that it was impossible to know whether or not the cat was alive or dead without opening the box and observing it, and that until that happened, both realities existed. This became known as superposition.
Schrödinger's is said to have devised the experiment to ridicule the emerging theories of quantum physics; but since then physicists have found many examples of superposition in the quantum world.
"What was funky about Schrödinger's idea was that you could take a normal macroscopic object, which we all think we know and understand fairly well, and you could put it into a quantum superposition -- and that's kind of weird," said Huntington.
"Nowadays any kind of system where you do that is known as a Schrödinger's cat."
"So in our case what we've done is take a macroscopic beam of light and put it into a quantum superposition, which is extremely fragile, and teleported that from one place to another."
"One of the ways that we encode digital information is by its phase," Huntington said, "so what we've done is created a wave packet that's simultaneously a one and a zero in its phase."
"Superposition is exactly what underlies the power of things like quantum computers. You enable parallel processing because at the same time it's a one and a zero. The point is, we've managed to teleport it from A to B without the one and the zero getting confused," she said.
Huntington says being able to demonstrate this will enable researchers to take the next step in quantum computing.
"[Being able to transfer data packets like this] is a necessary thing to do in order to build a proper quantum computer or a quantum communications device," she said.
Hundreds of Dogs Saved From the Cooking Pot in China
AP - Hundreds of dogs being trucked to Chinese restaurants were spared a culinary fate after about 200 animal lovers mobilised to stop them ending up on dinner tables. A truck crammed with between 430 and 520 dogs was forced to stop on Friday on a highway in eastern Beijing by a motorist who swerved his car in front of the truck and then used his microblog to alert animal-rights activists. The dogs, many apparently stolen from their owners, were being transported from the central Chinese province of Henan to restaurants in Jilin province in the northeast.
Eventually, about 200 animal lovers and activists gathered around the truck in eastern Beijing and after a 15-hour standoff that jammed traffic the dogs were freed early on Saturday when an animal-protection group purchased them for 115,000 yuan ($17,600). The interception of the dogs was the latest bold action by pet-lovers in China, where growing awareness of animal rights is colliding with centuries-old culinary practices.
There have been regular reports in recent years of citizens attempting to block trucks carrying hundreds or even thousands of cats to meat markets in southern China, where cat meat is particularly popular. The activists said many of the dogs still had collars with bells and name tags, indicating they had been stolen from their owners and that the trucking company transported a load of dogs to Jilin each week. The consumption of dog and cat meat, both of which are believed to promote bodily warmth and are thus popular in winter, remains widespread in China despite a surge in popularity as pets.
However, press reports say authorities are looking into drafting a law that could outlaw the practice. The reports on the dog rescue suggested the truck company was unlikely to face legal action as it had all the necessary permits to transport the animals. The healthy dogs will be made available for adoption in one month while the sick ones, suffering variously from dehydration and infectious diseases, were sent to pet hospitals in Beijing.
Orang Pendek Declared New Primate Species
EdgeScience Magazine - A New Primate Species in Sumatra - A free download is available at the website