Surprise coming up

February 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

The happy whistle that’s a dolphin saying hello: “Dolphins use signature whistles, or name calls, to introduce themselves, research shows. One member of a pod will emit its unique high-pitched ‘greeting’ while hundreds of feet away from another group. The activity is likened to people introducing themselves by name – further proof of the marine mammals’ intelligence. Researcher Vincent Janik said the second group of dolphins will respond to this greeting, and the pods merge before swimming off together. Dr Janik believes the whistles were used as a greeting, rather than as a warning, as dolphins are not territorial and any merging of pods was friendly, rather than aggressive. Also, when no whistling occurred, the two pods would simply swim past, without any attempt to join together. Normally, just one creature made the introductions.”

A swimming cat in Russia: “They will normally do anything to avoid the water. However, not only has this cat learned how to swim, it seems to have perfected the doggy paddle. Far from being afraid of the water, the cat voluntarily walks into it. The footage shows the black and white moggie taking tentative steps from the shore into the water. Encouraged by its owner, it starts to paddle, its tail trailing behind it on the water’s surface. It is then joined by the woman, who swims alongside her pet cat as the pair make their way toward some rocks. The moggie shows no signs of distress throughout the short clip and seems relaxed after its dip. Little is known about the cat, except that the footage was filmed in Russia.”

Another idiotic production of a classical opera: “It can often be dangerous ground for writers and artists when they dramatically alter traditional stories to give them a more modern touch. But few could have predicted the level of displeasure shown by the audience of the Royal Opera House on the opening night of a new production based on The Little Mermaid. Not only did some audience members walk out of Rusalka – a opera by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak – but the conclusion of the adaptation was greeted with a chorus of boos. Clearly, the Royal Opera House audience was not prepared for the ‘seedy backstreet world’ in which the controversial re-telling was cast. In the new adaptation, The Little Mermaid is cast as a prostitute in a brothel. Instead of the wicked witch, there is a brothel madam. And, according to The Daily Telegraph, members of the audience were not too pleased with the costumes either. The newspaper’s critic, Rupert Christiansen, said the outfits consisted of ‘girls running around in their scanties.’ He also described the reworking as an act of ‘vandalism.'”

You definitely can’t park here! British workmen paint double yellow lines ACROSS middle of road: “Council workers have driven residents around the bend with their new road markings. The yellow-line painters, under orders from council bosses in Headington, Oxfordshire, appear to have invented a new type of double yellow line – one that stretches across the road. Neighbours said that they could not understand what the double yellow lines painted across their roads meant – other than not to park in the middle of the road, which presumably most drivers manage to avoid anyway. Council staff said that the bizarre lines were intended to make streets feel more ‘residential’ although it was admitted they had no basis in law enforcement. The double yellow lines have only one meaning in the Highways Act – no parking or waiting at any time.”

France’s McDonald’s introduces new burger-filled baguettes to lure Gallic customers: “Fast-food giant McDonald’s has taken ownership of France’s signature bread and decided to start dishing up burgers in baguettes. McDo, as the French call it, is trying to appeal to more upscale diners by mixing their famous beef burgers with French-made Emmental cheese and mustard. Starting in April, the 1,228 McDonald’s restaurants across France will feature the limited edition McBaguette. McDonald’s is trying to appeal to national culinary tastes and have come up with around 20 locally tailored menu items in 14 European countries. In France, McCafés already are serving slices of baguette for breakfast, as well as macarons, sweet meringue-based confections that are riding a popularity wave of their own during the day. It will replace the fast-food chain’s current special menu in the country, which is three limited-edition burgers featuring locally produced cheeses, reports the Wall Street Journal.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

The power of prayer?

February 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Bottle finds its way home: “A MESSAGE in a sparkling wine bottle thrown into the sea three years ago by Russian sailors has landed in Australia, only four hours from the winery where the wine was produced. Beachport diver Mick Jordan, 83, found the bottle off the South Australian coast, according to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti. The Jacob’s Creek bottle had travelled more than 17,000km across the Atlantic and Indian oceans in the three years since a crew of eight Russian sailors threw it overboard. The sailors had cracked the bottle of sparkling to celebrate a successful navigation of Cape Horn, in South America, and replaced the liquid contents with a letter detailing their journey and their email addresses. Sailor Oskar Konyukhov told RIA Novosti they were surprised to get emails from Mr Jordan’s daughter, Maryanne Jordan Clifford, after the bottle was found, just a four-hour dive from the Jacob’s Creek winery that produced it. “It’s a small world,” Mr Konyukhov said.”

American Ninja turtle unwelcome in Australia: “A specimen of the world’s most invasive turtle species has been handed over to NSW authorities after a group of children was found playing with it in a street in south-western Sydney. The Primary Industries Department says a member of the public recognised it as a red-eared slider turtle, declared by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s 100 worst invaders. DPI Invasive Species Strategy Officer Nathan Cutter said the native US turtle was a pest in Australia on par with foxes, myna birds and cane toads. “The turtle is very aggressive and can quickly out-compete native species for food and space in our waterways.” The red-eared slider turtle can also carry diseases and competes with native turtles for nesting sites, as well as having an appetite for their hatchlings. The turtles are not only illegal to have as pets but are bad tempered and can inflict painful bites, he added.”

Police in northern Norway find five reindeer in car: “SANTA may use a sleigh but a driver in the far north of Norway found a more inventive way to transport his reindeer. He packed three in the back seat of his car and two in the boot [trunk] and drove off. None was wearing a seatbelt. The Local said police were astonished to spot the antlered heads in the back seat of the Subaru Forester and then find the other two in the luggage compartment. The unidentified driver claimed he had received clearance from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to transport five of his reindeer from Karasjok to Børselv, a journey of some 62 miles (100 km). “There are no limits to what people will get up to in traffic. I’ve stopped being surprised,” Frank Ove Eidem, an inspector for the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, told the newspaper VG.”

Tooth Fairy payout takes a hit: “The economic slump has been hard on everyone – even the Tooth Fairy. An annual poll conducted by the nonprofit Delta Dental Plans Association showed that on average, kids are finding $US2.10 under their pillows the morning after leaving a lost tooth there. That number is down 42c from the $2.52 they received per tooth in 2010. “It appears that the Tooth Fairy may be instituting some austerity measures,” Chris Pyle, public relations director for Delta Dental, told The Daily of the 16.6 per cent cut. But Shannan Boyer, a 36-year-old Cincinnati mother of two and author of the blog Mommy Bits, told The Daily that she keeps her sons’ Tooth Fairy payout steady, regardless of the economy. “We do $5 for the first tooth because it’s a big deal and it’s a celebration,” she said. “And for any teeth after that, it’s a dollar.”

Cash left under doormat at German hospice part of anonymous spree: “A MYSTERY donor left euro 10,000 ($12,000) under the doormat of a hospice in northern Germany – the latest in a string of such gifts in the area. Since November euro 190,000 has been anonymously given to good causes in Braunschweig, 194km west of Berlin, The Local reported. The latest donation of 20 euro 500 notes was discovered last Wednesday (local time) by an intern at Am Hohen Tore Hospice, a spokeswoman told DPA news agency. “We couldn’t believe it at first,” the spokeswoman said. “We had just been talking about how great these donations are.” A number of donations have been made via a local newspaper, as a result of stories it has run. Recipients include a kindergarten, a church and soup kitchens.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

A frightening threat

February 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

A good brain gone wrong: Gunman convicted after his coded message from jail was deciphered: “When a prisoner sent his sister a letter from his cell with a strange sequence of numbers on the back, police were naturally suspicious. They feared Kieron Bryan, 23, was trying to get secret messages to those on the outside. And, after hiring one of the world’s leading codebreakers to decipher the message, their hunch proved correct. It helped expose Bryan as being responsible for shooting a strip club doorman. Bryan, an aspiring rapper nicknamed Gunz, is now beginning a 25-year jail sentence after being convicted of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Police enlisted the help of forensic linguist Dr John Olsson, who, using a computer programme, managed to crack the code. Dr Olsson, who has worked on hundreds of cases for police around the world, told the trial: ‘The thought process behind the code shows someone who is very able, very intelligent, very skilful.’”

Robber beaten with his own shotgun: “This is the drunken robber who was left badly bruised after he was beaten with his own shotgun by passers-by. John Columbus Beane, 58, appeared in a West Virginia county courtroom Friday admitting to two charges of first-degree robbery in November that ended with the butt of his own shotgun clubbed repeatedly into his face and head. While police were still responding to the Husson’s burglary, they got the second call to Linda’s. At their entrance they found bar patrons had apprehended his weapon before breaking it to pieces on his face and head. They repeatedly clubbed him until police arrived. ‘I knew if it went off it was either me or the bartender who gets shot,’ Gary Hall who helped aid local Steven Thaxton wrestle away Beane’s gun, according to the Gazette. ‘I didn’t have any choice but to help,’ he said.”

FL: Failed robber (above) offers to buy back gun from victims: “According to police reports, two men staying at the Royal Motel told officers Mitchell approached them outside asking for drugs. They say they told Mitchell they did not have any and returned to their room. Minutes later, Mitchell knocked on their door, walked in, again asking for drugs, they claimed. This time, they reported, he had a pistol. According to police, a fight ensued, during which one of the victims rushed Mitchell, who struck the victim several times on the head with the pistol, causing cuts and bleeding. Mitchell dropped the pistol during the fight and took off south on 14th Street. Minutes later, Mitchell returned to the motel room, asking if he could buy his weapon back from his victims, who called police instead. Armed with his description, police found Mitchell nearby”

The hand of horror: “At first glance, the model on the right looks picture-perfect — until you notice her six-fingered ‘mutant’ hand. She has fallen victim to the retouchers’ art, which in her case has gone horribly wrong. This ghastly blunder became an internet sensation last week when it was published on the website of plus-fashion company Simply Be. Before it realised its mistake and took the picture down, the image was added to a rogues’ gallery of retouching on one website. One man who knows all too well what went wrong with Simply Be’s picture is Patrice Jameson, a freelance retoucher who digitally enhances images for a number of well-known brands. To make the orange kimono more attractive, the picture was altered. ‘Retouchers have to cut out the hand in order to slim the body behind it, and then digitally placed it back on top of the slimmed-down body. But they haven’t put it back on correctly,’ he explains.”

Where ships no longer sail: “These are the desert wrecks – great hulking ships scattered across a wide expanse of sand in Central Asia. The rusting vessels once sailed proudly across the 26,000 sq mile Aral Sea between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Now they lie in a vast, arid plain that provides no hint of the fact it was once a lake the size of Scotland. The dried-up stretch was once a popular spot for fishermen, but they have long since abandoned its shores, leaving their boats behind. Now an incredible variety of majestic ships stand desolate in the baking sun, as camels wander languidly around their corroded hulls. The lake has shrunk by 90 per cent in the past 50 years in what has been called one of the planet’s ‘most shocking environmental disasters.’ It began to disappear back in the 1960s, when Russia diverted the rivers that fed the lake to assist irrigation at their cotton plants.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Indian ingenuity

February 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Rescued treasure lands back in Spain: “Tons of gold and silver from the wreck of a 19th-century Spanish warship finally arrived in Spain on Saturday, more than 200 years after a British fleet sank it. The arrival of the cargo from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes sealed the end of a five-year legal battle between Spain and the US treasure hunters who hauled up the trove – worth at least 350 million euros ($US470 million). British warships sunk the Spanish frigate off the coast of Portugal near the Straits of Gibraltar during the Battle of Cape Santa Maria in October 1804. Florida-based company Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered the wreck in May 2007 and fought in the US courts for the rights to the find. Spain was allowed to take the treasure when a judge in Florida this month denied Odyssey’s claim for the Spanish government to pay the costs of storing and preserving it, in the last court case in the saga.”

Some women are born difficult: “If a relationship is filled with rows or a marriage comes to an end, men may wonder what went wrong. But scientists say the answer could lie in a woman’s genes. For the first time, they have identified a female ‘divorce gene’ that can predict a rocky marriage and identify women who may struggle to commit to their partner. Women who inherit the variation of a common gene are less likely to get married in the first place as they find it harder to bond with other people. But if they do marry, they are 50 per cent more likely to report a troubled relationship filled with marital strife. Perhaps unsurprisingly, partners of women with the gene are also more likely to report being unhappy. Scientists believe the gene affects how women process the ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin, which is known to promote feelings of love and maternal affection.”

An exercise machine that moves: “The easiest way to get a workout is to simply lace up your trainers and go for a run. But, despite its health benefits, running is a high-impact exercise that can take a serious toll on your body and lead to long-term joint problems. But now a pair of U.S. entrepreneurs have invented a gym-style elliptical machine that can take to the streets like a bicycle. The ElliptiGO gives the safe, no-impact exercise that runners with joint problems prefer while allowing the rider to take their workouts out of the gym. The concept for the machine was devised by Bryan Pate, a former Ironman triathlete who became so plagued with injuries that he could no longer run for fitness, or pleasure. He found indoor elliptical trainers too confining, so he convinced his friend Brent Teal, a mechanical engineer to build a prototype for an outdoor version of the gym favourite.”

‘Dead’ grandmother comes back to life after 45 minutes when grieving husband tells heart attack victim ‘I love you’: “A woman declared dead after she suffered a massive heart attack astonished doctors and her grieving family when she suddenly came back to life. Relatives of Lorna Baillie were devastated when a team of medics withdrew treatment after spending three hours trying to revive her. It was then, 45 minutes later, that Mrs Baillie’s disabled husband John, 58, whispered ‘I love you’ to his wife. As John, his son and three daughters sat beside Mrs Baillie, they were surprised to see her colour gradually improve. ‘We are so close as a family and we are not the kind of people to just give up. We were telling my mum to be strong. I kept saying to her, “Come back, Mum, come back”.’ ‘At one point my dad said, “Lorna come back, I love you,” and then –just like that – she was there again.’ Two weeks later, the former auxiliary nurse from Prestonpans, East Lothian, has even managed some ‘high-fives’ after sitting up in bed and communicating with her family.”

5′ 6″ man underwent agonising leg-lengthening procedure because he wanted to be six foot tall: “Standing five foot six inches tall he was was well within the boundaries of normal. But, in his mind’s eye, the New Yorker, who wants to be known only as Apotheosis, saw himself in a different light- as a statuesque six foot. Desperate to become the man he believed he should be, the determined 37-year-old turned to drastic measures- undergoing agonising, expensive surgery. The procedure, in which both legs are broken and then slowly stretched, bears more than a little resemblance to medieval torture. But the brave patient has now achieved a remarkable six inches of extra height. ‘Apotheosis’ explained: ‘I realized that the world looked at me a certain way that I didn’t look at myself in that certain way. ‘I wanted the way I felt about myself and the way the world felt about me to be similar.’ Meanwhile a ‘growing’ number of men are pursuing limb-lengthening operations in the US. Florida based orthopaedic surgeon Dr Dror Paley is one of few US medics to have completed the cosmetic procedure.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Some Indian English

February 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

U.S. Marine turns millionaire as he strikes it rich on first visit to Las Vegas: “Corporal Alexander Degenhart was in Las Vegas for the first time when he decided to visit the world famous strip’s iconic Bellagio Casino. The 26-year-old put $100 – around £60 – in a slot machine and after roughly 10 minutes, was up by just $90. But he then had a twist of amazing luck – scooping the jackpot, with his $90 total rocketing to a life changing $2,882,808.32. Corp Degenhart is said to have not understood what had happened until a fellow squaddie broke the news to him that he was now a millionaire. The marine was reportedly on a break from his training at Nellis Air Force Base, which lies around seven miles north east of the Nevada city. Incredibly, Corp Degenhart has revealed he will continue to serve in the armed forces despite his new found millions – having recently re-enlisted for another four years. The staggering win last Sunday came on Bally Technologies’ Money Vault machine”

Unusual obituary: “When 93-year-old Josie Annello died at home, her son put a obituary in the local paper, alongside a happy, smiling photo of his mother. Describing her as supportive and compassionate,Tampa Tribune readers thought it seemed like a loving public tribute, until they reached the third line, which read: ‘She is survived by her Son, ‘A.J.’, who loved and cared for her; Daughter ‘Ninfa’, who betrayed her trust, and Son ‘Peter’, who broke her heart.’ The death notice, published on February 14, publicly revealed an ugly spat between Angelo ‘A.J.’ Anello, who wrote and placed the obituary, and his brother and sister. The Tampa Bay Times have revealed the family quarrel was over money with Angelo Anello, 63, and his sister, Ninfa Simpson, 65, both accusing each other of stealing from their elderly mother. But Mr Angelo alleged ‘They are so riddled with guilt, what they are doing is pointing fingers at me.’ The both agreed that the eldest brother Peter Anello, has not spoke to the family for 25 years.”

Cat massages dog: “Who else but a cat could give a four-footed back massage without breaking bones or striking a terribly awkward-looking pose? In an adorable video posted to YouTube a gray kitten is caught carefully kneading the back of a slumbering, albeit audibly snoring, pug.Not the couple’s first YouTube debut, the kitten and pug – who’s identified as Toby – have a history of back massages where the gray puff ball climbs on his back for some intense kneading. Toby snores and the cat gets to work, sometimes gripping with all four paws in and out below his collar line. Kneading, a common behaviour seen among kittens and adult cats, is described by some as being both a juvenile habit recalled from their earlier days nursing as well a later sexual behaviour. It’s believed by some to also be a sign of affection and shown when the cat’s not under stress and in good spirits.”

Better waiters coming? “According to the Wall Street Journal, restaurants are pouring resources into training their staff to move from a textbook manner to something more nuanced and situational, depending on who is eating, what the tables’ dynamics are and the diners’ moods. The key to the individualised approach is to be able to ‘read’ a table within just seconds. If children are at the table, don’t make a fanfare of bringing a dessert menu, if one diner seems tearful and upset, spread the word among staff to give that table space. Rather than interrupting a conversation with a word, some are trained to place a hand on the table to lift diners’ eyes to theirs, writes the Journal. According to a study by market research firm NPD, restaurant numbers are more or less flat-lining and will grow by just one per cent – slower than population growth – by 2019. That worrying prospect, combined with increasing customer awareness of just what goes on in kitchens and beyond the walls of the dining room thanks to TV reality chef shows and food channels, is making diners more powerful than ever, says the Journal.”

‘Sex bomb’ cafe-owner leaves wives seething: “A SULTRY barmaid’s desire to serve coffee and beer in risque attire has left the womenfolk of a small Italian town frothing. Laura Maggi, 34, emerged as a national celebrity after shots of her in skimpy white lace and figure-hugging PVC mushroomed on the internet, prompting the Italian press to describe her as a sex bomb. Maggi now has a dedicated Facebook page with more than 5000 fans and men arriving in their droves to her bar, which she has owned for eight years, in the town of Bagnolo Mella in the northern region of Lombardy. But her choice of work outfits has left wives and girlfriends fuming, led by the female major of the town. “I wouldn’t allow my husband to go there,” Cristina Almici laughed, bemoaning Maggi’s growing fame for casting the area in an unflattering light. The stampede to see Maggi is causing traffic problems in the town, with cars parked illegally as lusting patrons rush to be served by the seductive barista — or at least buy her glamor calendar.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Some practical religion

February 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Zimbabwe: A dramatic way to lose some very personal possessions: “Jonah Maturure told the Sunday News that he’d taken off his trousers and put them in a tomato box above his head before he crossed the river. He’d crossed the same spot in the same river several times before, but this time, a giant croc was waiting for him. “I was not suspecting anything … But when I was almost in the middle of the river I was attacked,” he told the news website. “It mauled a chunk of my buttocks before attacking my manhood, tearing my testicles into shreds. The skin covering my manhood was partly torn but I quickly put my thumb in its mouth … It then grabbed my hand and I could hear my bones cracking.” Realizing that he wasn’t going to save his personal possessions, he threw his tomato box in the river, The Sun reported. That move may have saved his life. The beast loosened its death grip and swam straight for the tomato box. Maturure escaped, bleeding profusely from his nethers, and ran to a nearby house for help.”

Why divorced men are suddenly such a catch: “When Sabine Gruchet arrived for her first date with Steve Allen he was waiting in the restaurant car park, with an umbrella to shield her from the rain and a pre-paid parking ticket for her Jaguar XF. Sabine, a model, knew instantly her years of dating toyboys had been a mistake. What she needed was a divorcee, like Steve, who had lived, loved, lost — and learnt some important lessons about how to treat a woman. ‘I realise now someone like Steve who has suffered his fair share of heartache, going through divorces and not seeing as much of his children as he would like, is what I really need.’”

World’s hairiest girl: “She may be known as ‘monkey face’ or ‘wolf girl’, but remarkably being the world’s hairiest girl hasn’t got 12-year-old Supatra Sasuphan down. The schoolgirl, whose face is covered in hair through a rare genetic condition which afflicts just 50 people worldwide, initially faced merciless teasing at school in Bangkok. But rather than let the condition ruin her life, Supatra says she enjoys being a world record holder and is even one of the most popular girls at her school. She works hard and is one of the better students in her school, and even has ambitions to become a doctor – so she can ‘look after the sick and her own family’. Likewise her parents, who found out about her condition when she was born, say she is just ‘a normal little girl’. Supatra is one of just 50 known sufferers of Ambras Syndrome – caused by a faulty chromosome – to be documented since the Middle Ages. Before the disease was understood, sufferers were branded ‘werewolves.'”

Thieves who stole ice sculpture could go free thanks to bungling police after station freezer MELTS evidence: “A pair of cold-hearted thieves who allegedly cut the head off a dragon ice sculpture in downtown Salem, Massachusetts, may be off the hook after the evidence of their crime melted when a police freezer malfunctioned. William B. Hare, 47, and Rajendra John Srivastava, 30, were busted twice by officers February 12 for stealing the piece of the sculpture. The first time, the officer simply told the men to put the head back on the sculpture and leave. But when she came back later, the pair had removed the head once again. When officers arrested Hare and Srivastava, they sent the icy dragon’s head to the department’s freezer to save as evidence for a potential trial, Salem Patch reported. But Tuesday morning, when an officer checked the freezer, it had apparently malfunctioned. The dragon head, evidence of the icy theft, was 75 percent melted, Patch reported.”

‘Voice of God’ to scare church roof raiders in Britain: “Hundreds of churches are to have “voice of God” alarms fitted to their roofs deter thieves from stripping off lead and copper. Special movement sensors are to be hidden in spires and finials triggering a booming voice to take intruders by surprise warning that they have been detected and that security guards are on their way. The initiative, backed by the Church of England, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office, comes after the rate of metal thefts reached “catastrophic” proportions in some dioceses with an average of seven churches targeted every day. The soaring cost of metal during the global economic crisis has helped fuel a surge in metal thefts, triggering chaos on the rail network when copper signalling cables are taken.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Old Chinese Proverb

February 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Confucius say: “If you are in a book store and cannot find the book for which you search, you are obviously in the…..

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Germany castrates sex criminals: “Germany is rejecting demands from an EU body that it should stop surgically castrating sex criminals – a practice that dates back to the Nazis – because it is ‘degrading’. Defying Brussels, the German government said it intends to carry on with the practice citing low re-offending rates among sex criminals who had opted to have the procedure. It pointed out the results of a 1997 study that tracked the history of 104 sexual offenders ‘who subjected themselves to castration in the decade between 1970 and 1980. Their reoffending rate was three per cent,’ the German authorities explained, ‘as opposed to 46 per cent for a control group.’ The scheme is voluntary. Against the backdrop of such results, Germany is not thought likely to buckle under EU pressure anytime soon – particularly as the country’s worst child serial killer and rapist, due to be sentenced next week, has evoked strong public support for the policy. On average there have been five such castrations every year over the past decade.”

Tunneling thieves in Britain: “A group of robbers dubbed the ‘mole-in-the-wall gang’ is believed to have struck again and dug a third tunnel in a bid to steal a cashpoint machine. In the latest in a hat-trick of similar crimes, the gang dug down behind a railway station platform and burrowed underground towards an ATM on the wall of a corner shop. But they were foiled after the vibrations from their late-night digging triggered a security alarm at the East and West Convenience store near Burnage train station in Manchester. It is the third time that such an audacious attempt had been made on the outskirts of Manchester in the last five years, leading detectives to suspect it is the work of the same gang.”

Bungling British council spends £320,000 on cycle path – with tunnel that’s too low to ride under: “When a council spent £320,000 on a cycle path, it seemed like a large sum to take from the public purse. And taxpayers in Axminster were even more appalled when they learned the route includes a tunnel that is too low to ride through. The pricey 1km-long path built by the bungling authority passes under a main road and runs alongside the River Yarty in Devon. But one tunnel section is only 5ft 9ins tall – the height of the average British man. The perilous path has also been found to flood with a slimy mixture of mud, straw and slurry during heavy rainfall. Town councillor Paul Hayward said he was ‘staggered’ to learn that the route cost £320,000 after making a freedom of information request. ‘This is money thrown down the drain on some novelty project – it is not a practical route,’ he added. ‘You have to walk through two or three inches of mud.”

Strange parrot: “Pandas, white rhinos and mountain gorillas all have a hard time maintaining their own species through reproduction. But no creature is quite as incompetent as the kakapo. The chubby, land-bound parrot is so uninterested – and hopeless – at mating that the native New Zealanders now number just 124. Aside from female apathy to sex, the bungling male is unable to distinguish a suitable partner from an angry possum or other killers. And when faced with a threat, the dim-witted creature often forgets it can’t fly and routinely ends up falling flat on its face. Unfortunately for the kakapo, natural selection has contrived to make it difficult for them to breed. They often live until 90 and so had to keep their population down because they only eat one thing, the fruit of the rimu tree, which comes into season only once every four years. It is very friendly and will – if you’re lucky enough to spot one – come right up to you. Often, when alarmed, it has a habit of freezing and simply not moving. Other times it may run up into a tree as it is an excellent climber.

A fifth of flights from London Heathrow were delayed last year… and that’s an IMPROVEMENT: “More than one in five flights departing from Heathrow Airport were delayed last year, its owner BAA reported today. And 15 bags in every 1,000 went missing. But the airport operator said this was an improvement on 2010, when hundreds of aircraft were grounded and cancelled because of heavy snow and a volcanic ash cloud, leading to thousands of stranded passengers, and when 18 in every 1,000 bags got lost. BAA said that in 2011 some 21 per cent of flights left Heathrow 15 minutes or longer after their scheduled departure time. This compared to nearly a third (29 per cent) the previous year – when volcanic ash and severe winter weather meant the airport ‘lost’ 2.4million passengers. Heathrow bosses were criticised at the time for being unprepared and ordered by aviation watchdogs and the Government to improve their ‘resilience’ for this Winter. The delays came as Heathrow – Europe’s busiest airport and the third largest in the world – handled 69.4million passengers in 2011, smashing a four-year-old record.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

This man had what he thought was the best tattoo in the world….

February 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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Until he went to prison.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Chuggers banned in English town: “Charities have been told they can only collect on Tuesday and Thursdays in a town centre following complaints from shoppers and traders. The collectors, dubbed ‘charity muggers’ or ‘chuggers’ because of their aggressive tactics have been banned from Burnley, Lancashire, on all other days. Some shoppers had stopped using St James Street, the main town centre street, because they were being repeatedly hassled by chuggers, traders claimed. The ban has been welcomed by councillors and the Chamber of Trade, but one charity worker in the town said they should be banned completely. Coun Charlie Briggs, the leader of Burnley Council, said: “Our first concern has been for shoppers and others using the town centre. “We’ve tried to find a balance between allowing charities to raise cash for worthy causes while at the same time preventing collectors being seen as a nuisance.”

Huge pink diamond found: “The biggest pink diamond ever found by mining giant Rio Tinto is expected to fetch at least $10 million when put up for sale. The 12.76 carat gem, to be known as the Argyle Pink Jubilee, was found at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia. Rio Tinto said diamonds in its special collection regularly sold for $1 million a carat. “This diamond is one of a kind, so the market will determine its true value,” Rio Tinto Diamonds communications manager Robyn Ellison said. “It’s taken 26 years to find one of these, so most likely we’ll never find another one.” The gem is being cut and polished into a single stone in a painstaking 10-day process by Richard How Kim Kam, who has worked for the company for 25 years.”

Desperate bid to get screaming kid off plane: “SITTING next to a screaming child on a packed flight is an air traveller’s worst nightmare. One passenger decided to take action and pulled open the emergency exit in an attempt to offload the offending child from the plane faster, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. Le Van Thuan, 29, pulled open the window exit of the Vietnam Airlines plane once it landed at Ho Chi Minh City Airport, releasing the emergency slide. His impatience was a costly mistake – Thuan has reportedly been fined 15 million Vietnamese dong ($676) for opening the door. It cost the airline $9400 to refit the slide into the plane. The mother and child exited the plane in the normal fashion.”

Swedish hospital seeks sexy staff: “Bosses at Stockholm’s South General Hospital say on an internet advert they are looking for ‘TV series-hot’ staff to work during the summer holidays. The advert reads: ‘You will be motivated, professional, and have a sense of humour. And of course, you will be TV series-hot or a Söder hipster. ‘Throw in a nurse’s education and you are welcome to seek a summer job at Södersjukhuset’s emergency department.’ Nursing manager Jörgen Andersson fended off criticism of the ‘sexist’ advert and told The Local: ‘We’re looking to recruit competent nurses above all. ‘But we wanted to stick out a bit with our advertising campaign. We managed to do that. We think that people understand that it was written to catch people’s attention.”

US cat eater out on parole: “A CALIFORNIAN man has been released from jail after admitting to cooking and eating cats at his home in a case that has shocked investigators. Jason Louis Wilmert, 36, pleaded no contest to eating animals commonly kept as pets. In exchange, prosecutors dropped an additional animal cruelty charge. Wilmert was ordered to serve three years’ probation, perform community service and seek mental health treatment. Neighbours called sheriff’s deputies when they heard cats wailing and screeching at Wilmert’s house in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale. They said Wilmert cooked outside over a makeshift grill every day. One woman even reported seeing Wilmert skinning a cat alive. People who live near Wilmert were not happy with the plea deal, and said he should be locked up to keep their neighbourhood – and pets – safe.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Motivation makes a difference

February 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Do not pee on transformers: “A man was sentenced to a year in prison for attempting to rob a UK power substation that exploded when he urinated against a transformer. Michael Harper, 36, was permanently disfigured after suffering serious burns in the blast at the electricity substation under a railway arch in Leicester, central England, The Leicester Mercury said today. The father of two was left burning on the floor by his accomplice, 50-year-old Richard Boyce, who tried to drive off but later was found by police with blistered hands. The incident last March also left 2000 homes and businesses without power and caused £26,500 ($42,000) damage as the two men tried to take metal from the station last March. Harper was jailed for a year after pleading guilty to burglary and criminal damage at Leicester Crown Court, while Boyce was sentenced to four years in jail.”

‘Secret Slimming’ pants? “The underwear, responsible for flattening stomachs and shaving inches from hips and thighs, has traditionally been made of thick and rather unattractive material. Yet sales of the pants, favoured by Bridget Jones, have jumped 12 per cent in just two years at M&S, with stores such as Debenhams seeing even bigger rises. So Marks & Spencer have overhauled the design – and claim their ‘secret slimming’ range is so flattering that women will now be proud to show it off to the men in their lives. “Garments have become less functional, no longer just for special occasions, and instead have evolved into smoother, flattering shape wear that women can feel attractive wearing.” The M&S underwear range is made of lightweight micro-fibre material, which claims to banish VPL and boost comfort.”

A bill of rights for dolphins? “Dolphins are so intelligent that they should be thought of as ‘non-human persons’ and given their own bill of rights, it is claimed. A coalition of scientists, philosophers and animal welfare groups have come up with a declaration of dolphin rights which they hope will one day be enshrined in law. This would stop them being kept in zoos and waterparks, and being attacked by fishermen. Whales would also be elevated above other animals by the list of rules, leading to whalers being classed as murderers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference heard in Vancouver. Philosopher Thomas White said: ‘Scientific evidence is now strong enough to support the claim that dolphins are, like humans, self-aware, intelligent beings with emotions and personalities. ‘Accordingly, dolphins should be regarded as “non-human persons” and valued as individuals. From an ethical perspective, the injury, deaths and captivity of dolphins are wrong.’”

London rioter identified by his crosseyes: “A cross-eyed arsonist who set fire to a shop and post office during the August riots has been jailed for eight years, after police spotted his unusual eyes on CCTV. Andrew Burls, 23, started blazes at Regen’s Lingerie boutique in Rye Lane, Peckham, south London, which spread through neighbouring Greggs bakery and a post office in the same street, during riots that spread across the capital last year. The damage cost more than £1 million and left six people homeless. Despite covering his face with a bandana, officers combed through hours of CCTV footage and spotted Burls, of Peckham, because of his distinctive crossed eyes. The 23-year-old originally denied the offence, but was jailed for a total of eight years at Inner London Crown Court today after pleading guilty on January 30 to two counts of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, and one of burglary with intent to steal”

Do Brits ENJOY being in freeway traffic jams? “For most of us, four hours on the M25 would be enough to send our mood plunging and our blood pressure soaring. Yet some visitors are so keen to see the motorway’s sights – and service stations – that a tour of the 117-mile road has sold out. The bus company running the £15-per-head trip announced yesterday that it was adding extra dates to meet ‘huge’ demand. Highlights of the coach tour include visits to Heathrow Airport’s Terminal Five, Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex and the Dartford River Crossing bridge. But Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company said one of the biggest attractions for visitors is the chance to see the new services being built at Cobham in Surrey. The services, which will include a McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Shell garage, are due to be completed at the end of the summer.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Is this how you feel after a heavy night out?

February 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s actually a scale worm from the ocean deeps

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Pix, pix, pix

As usual, I have picked out a selection of past pictures off this blog that I consider to be the most fun. I have just now done the selection for November/December of last year. There were such a lot of good ones that it was a difficult choice but you can access the result here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Man pulled out of snowed-in car after being stuck ‘for months’: “A man who police claimed had been snowed in ‘for months’ has been pulled alive from a car northern Sweden. The man, aged in his 40s, was rescued after a passer-by on a snowscooter noticed the top of the car on the deserted and snowfilled forest road, not far from the northern town of Umeaa, just south of the Arctic Circle. Mr Nyberg said the man was “in really bad shape,” starving and barely able to move or speak. The man, who had not been reported missing and who has yet to say how he got stuck, appeared to have survived on nothing but snow since mid-December.”

Nomophobia: “Do you feel anxious if your cellphone isn’t nearby? Does just the thought of losing your phone make your heart pound? Do you keep an extra phone on hand, just in case your primary phone breaks? Do you sometimes take it to bed with you? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may be a nomophobe, and you are not alone. Nomophobia – the fear of being without your mobile phone – is on the rise, according to a new report sponsored by SecurEnvoy, a company that specialises in digital passwords. Just four years ago a similar survey found that only 53 per cent of people suffered from nomophobia (no-mobile-phobia). Back then, men were more likely to fear being without their phones, but today women are more concerned about being disconnected. SecurEnvoy’s study found that 70 per cent of female respondents fear losing their phones, compared with 61 per cent of male respondants. People 18-24 tend to be the most nomophobic (77 per cent), followed by people aged 25-34 (68 per cent). The third most nomophobic group is 55 and older.”

Test tube burgers?: “The world’s first test-tube burger will be ready to eat within months. It will look, feel and, it is hoped, taste, like a regular quarter-pounder, its creator Mark Post told the world’s premier science conference. The ‘ethical meat’ will would be kinder to the environment than the real thing, reduce animal suffering and help feed the world’s burgeoning population. The Maastricht Univeristy professor has spent the last six years trying to turn stem cells – ‘master cells’ with the power to turn into all other cell types – into meat. A four-step technique is used to turn stem cells from animal flesh into a burger”

The secret to long life? Starve yourself on alternate days: “Starving yourself on alternate days can make you live longer, according to scientists. The National Institutes for Aging said their research was based on giving animals the bare minimum of calories required to keep them alive and results showed they lived up to twice as long. The diet has since been tested on humans and appears to protect the heart, circulatory system and brain against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. ‘Dietery energy restriction extends lifespan and protects the brain and cardiovascular system against age-related disease,’ said Mark Mattson, head of the laboratory of neurosciences at the NIA and professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. ‘We have found that dietary energy restriction, particularly when administered in intermittent bouts of major caloric restriction, such as alternative day fasting, activates cellular stress response pathways in neurones,'”

Batty British bureaucracy again: “Ambulances carrying the sick and vulnerable will be left stranded in traffic jams during the Olympics while dignitaries beat congestion with ‘Games lanes’ reserved for VIPs. Organisers for the London Games rejected a request from NHS London to let ambulances use the new fast lanes and have now been accused of risking patients’ lives. The lanes, which will be implemented across 39 miles of road in central London, will allow 80,000 accredited members of the ‘Olympic family’, including athletes, officials and sponsors to by-pass congestion on the busy roads. Meanwhile ambulances will only be allowed in the lanes if they have their blue lights on. Blue lights can only be switched on by those specifically trained to do so and are only used in genuine emergencies and Leah Bevington, head of communications at Medical Services said this was totally unacceptable. Speaking to The Observer she said ‘This means that sick people, often elderly and frail, urgent blood supplies and oxygen will all be made to wait in traffic with the rest of us.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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