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Odd News Archive - January 2009

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

January 30, 2009

Japanese sewage yields more gold than top mines: Resource-poor Japan just discovered a new source of mineral wealth -- sewage.

A sewage treatment facility in central Japan has recorded a higher gold yield from sludge than can be found at some of the world's best mines....full story from Reuters UK

Swiss cops sniff out dope plantation on Google Earth: Swiss police reported yesterday they "stumbled across" a sizeable dope plantation which had helpfully been captured on Google Earth, AP reports.

The happy find came last year during an investigation into an alleged drug ring. Officers were using Google Earth to find the addresses of a couple of farmers suspected of involvement in the operation, and "quickly spotted" the large illicit horticultural site in the northeastern canton of Thurgau....full story from The Register

Travel tips: Don't forget to flush (and other quirky laws): (by Chris Pritchard/AAP) "Enjoy this wine back home in Australia," said a friend, pressing a well-regarded Lebanese red into my hands before I left Beirut.

I put the bottle in my hand luggage and forgot about it.

My next stop was Qatar, a country that doesn't ban alcohol -- as do stricter Muslim nations -- but has tough rules controlling its importation and use.

Incoming bags are X-rayed at the Doha airport....full story from

Gluttony and strippers reign at Wing Bowl: In a gut-busting display of championship eating, a man nicknamed Super Squibb has won Philadelphia's Wing Bowl by downing 203 chicken wings in about 20 minutes.

For his efforts, 23-year-old John Squibb of Berlin, N.J., gets a car, a $7,500 diamond ring and a crown of miniature chickens. And maybe a case of indigestion....full story w/pic from CNews

Cops stop man driving construction lift at 3:00 AM: Mountlake Terrace, Washington police knew something wasn't quite right after they spotted a man driving a piece of construction lift equipment down a street at 3 a.m. on Thursday. The man, who appparently had been drinking, was in the lift bucket of the Genie Boom with an unopened six-pack of beer and a bag of beef jerky when police pulled the vehicle over. He was clocked at 2 mph....full story from CBS News

When you watch these ads, the ads check you out: Watch an advertisement on a video screen in a mall, health club or grocery store and there's a slim -- but growing -- chance the ad is watching you too.

Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer's gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity -- and can change the ads accordingly....full story from USA Today

Virgin complaint passenger offered food tasting job: A Virgin Atlantic passenger who sent a hilarious complaint letter to Sir Richard Branson has been offered a job as the airline's food tester.

The anonymous author, who described his Virgin flight from Mumbai to Heathrow as a "culinary journey of hell", has been invited to select the food and wines for future flights....full story from

Row erupts after South Devon College stages pole dancing act: It was a packed lunch for children at an English school who were treated to a pole dancing lesson as part of their Be Healthy Week.

The Sun reports around 1000 students aged between 14 and 19 from South Devon College in Paignton, on England's east coast, watched as Sam Remmer, 32, of pole dancing company The Art of Dance performed in one of the public areas of the campus....full story w/video from

January 29, 2009

Shoe monument for man who threw footwear at Bush: An Iraqi town has unveiled a giant monument of a shoe in honour of the journalist who threw his footwear at former U.S. President George W. Bush.

The two-metre (six-foot) high statue, unveiled Thursday in former dictator Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit depicts a bronze-coloured shoe, filled with a plastic shrub....full story from Reuters UK

Serbian parliament stops in protest at TV tennis: Serbia's parliament stopped work for two hours Thursday in protest at a decision by state television (RTS) to broadcast a tennis match instead of the latest episode of the legislative session.

Serbia's tennis players have been very successful of late, and Thursday RTS aired the Australian Open semifinal between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer, even though Serbia's defending men's champion Novak Djokovic had exited in the previous round....full story from Reuters UK

Lingerie Bowl canceled after dispute over dress code: The Lingerie Bowl is off. So to speak.

The pay-per-view alternative [Super Bowl] halftime entertainment has been canceled for the second straight year.

The problems started when neighbors complained about it being held at a Tampa vacant lot, so organizers moved it to an area upscale clothing-optional resort....full story from the Detroit Free Press

Fire station burns in Japan after cooking mishap: A blaze broke out at a fire station in Japan this week after a firefighter left a cooking stove burning as crew members left the station to respond to emergency calls.

Most of the duty staffers were out on a call when their colleague, alone at the station and cooking dinner for the crew, was himself called out....full story from Reuters UK

January 28, 2009

Nude couple shock diners with Singapore stroll: A couple treated open air diners to a 15-minute naked parade in Singapore, triggering both embarrassment and applause for a scene almost unheard of in the conservative city-state.

Pub manager Terence Chia told the Straits Times newspaper he saw the couple taking off their clothes on Saturday night at a staircase in a block of flats in Holland Village, known for its popular nightspots....full story from Reuters UK

U.S. retrieves MP3 player with military files: A New Zealand man who bought a second-hand MP3 player that contained U.S. military files on personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq handed it over to U.S. officials on Wednesday, New Zealand media reported.

Chris Ogle, 29, bought the $10 (7 pound) MP3 at a thrift shop in Oklahoma but when he plugged it in discovered it contained 60 U.S. military files, said New Zealand television program One News which broke the story....full story from Reuters UK

Man spends two days trapped under sofa: A British man survived more than two days trapped under his sofa by sipping from a bottle of whisky, it was reported today.

Joe Galliott fell against the sofa during a power cut at his home in Somerset, southwest England, and could not free himself because of back problems, the BBC reported.

He remained stuck for 60 hours in that position - during which time a bottle of whisky rolled close enough for him to open it - until a neighbour became concerned that Mr Galliott's curtains had not been drawn for two days....full story from

January 27, 2009

Gene Roddenberry, wife to spend eternity in space: The creator of Star Trek and his wife will spend eternity together in space. Celestis Inc., a company that specializes in "memorial spaceflights," said Monday that it will ship the remains of Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett Roddenberry into space next year.

The couple's cremated remains will be sealed into specially made capsules designed to withstand the rigors of space travel. A rocket-launched spacecraft will carry the capsules, along with digitized tributes from fans. The Roddenberrys' remains -- and the spacecraft -- will travel ever deeper into space and will not return to earth, company spokeswoman Susan Schonfeld said....full story w/pic from USA Today

Japan group launches "toilet poems" to save paper: Poetry in the loo can cut down on paper use too, says a Japanese group campaigning to save toilet paper as part of the country's battle against global warming.

Simply pasting a "toilet poem" at the eye level of a person seated in the cubicle can help cut toilet paper use by up to 20 percent, a study by the research centre Japan Toilet Labo showed....full story from Reuters UK

14-year-old charged with impersonating Chicago PD: A 14-year-old boy from Chicago has been charged with impersonating a police officer after dressing up in a copper's regulation uniform and reporting for duty at the city's Grand Crossing District station.

The boy identified himself as an officer from another district, and despite not having a badge, he was assigned traffic patrol in a squad car for five hours before the ruse was up.

He managed to sign out a police radio and ticket book, and he was partnered with a female officer while on duty....full story from The Register

January 26, 2009

German crash-lands car on church roof: A German motorist missed a bend in the road, broke through a barrier and hurtled up a bank, crash-landing on a church roof in eastern Germany, police said on Monday.

The bank acted like a springboard, propelling the black Skoda about 35 metres (115 ft) forward and straight into the church's roof frame, where it remained wedged 7 metres off the ground, police said in a statement.

"We've never ever had a case of a car landing in a church before," said Frank Fischer, a spokesman for Chemnitz police in the state of Saxony....full story from Reuters UK

Undies thief not a purr-vert, just a cat burglar: He stalks the night preying on undies left unsuspectingly on clothes lines and in laundry baskets.

Lithe and agile, he leaps fences to get his wily paws on socks, swimmers, shirts, dresses - even dolls.

But it is no pervert at the centre of Mosman's (Australia) missing panties mystery....full story w/pic from

January 25, 2009

Google Maps misplaces NYC neighborhood: A Google glitch is giving drivers trying to reach a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Staten Island directions to the upstate city of Schenectady.

Google has placed the 10308 zip code, the one for the Great Kills section, in Schenectady, which lies a few miles west of Albany about three hours up the Hudson River, the New York Daily News reports. So anyone trying to get to Great Kills and seeking driving directions from Google is being sent north....full story w/map from UPI

Microwave oven working after 40 years: A 78-year-old man in England says his microwave oven is going strong after 40 years and an estimated 150,000 meals.

Frederick Stephens of Cheltenham says he's used his Panasonic microwave several times daily since buying it for about $345 and has only had to replace a light bulb in all those years, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday....full story from UPI

Plumber finds woman's diamond in the rough: So you've just flushed your $70,000 diamond engagement ring down the toilet: who are you going to call.

Well, first the city, but if that doesn't work try a commercial plumber.

Just ask Allison Berry, whose expensive, seven-carat wedding ring slipped from her hand just as she was flushing the toilet in the restroom of the Black Bear Diner in Phoenix, on Jan. 14....full story from CNews

Police seize 'Obama' brand heroin: Police in upstate New York have seized heroin marketed in packages stamped with an "Obama" brand name.

Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Claboty described the misuse of the new president's surname as "an absolute disgrace," the New York Daily News reported.

Claboty said the 80 decks of heroin and a large quantity of marijuana were discovered and five suspects seized following a three-month investigation....full story from UPI

Overdue library book leads to woman's arrest: Iowa -- An Iowa woman has been arrested because she failed to return a library book.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested Thursday night on a fifth-degree theft charge....full story from CNews

January 24, 2009

Nigerian police detain goat over armed robbery: Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.

Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323....full story from

January 23, 2009

Obama musicians were recorded to beat the cold: Millions watching the US presidential inauguration heard a recording made in advance by four famous musicians - amid fears the cold could ruin the concert.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinettist Anthony McGill did play along - but without being amplified....full story from the BBC

January 22, 2009

Thief caught out giving policeman's address: A German teenager caught shoplifting tried to dupe police by lying about where he lived -- but ended up in even more trouble when the address he gave turned out to be the home of an investigating officer.

The 18-year-old from Achim, a town of 30,000 in northern Germany, admitted he had lied when the officer explained that the address belonged to him, said police in nearby Verden....full story from Reuters UK

Chicken wing shortage ahead of Super Bowl: A poultry producer's reorganization has contributed to a chicken wing crisis ahead of Super Bowl XLIII, suppliers in chicken wing capital Buffalo, N.Y., say.

The Dec. 1 Chapter 11 reorganization filing of Pilgrim's Pride Corp. of Pittsburgh, Texas, has reduced the nation's wing supply, Buffalo suppliers say.

Add to this the fact that national wing demand this time of year far exceeds that of other times, like chocolates around Valentine's Day....full story from UPI

Russia says no more space tourists: Space tourists hoping to boldly go had better hurry as Russia has announced it will stop its space trips after 2009.

The lucrative Russian space tours to the international space station will be put on hold because the nation plans to double the station's crew from three to six people....full story from

January 21, 2009

Goat hangs self in Canadian zoo: Calgary Zoo is one exotic goat short of an Arkful after a Turkmenian markhor "accidentally hanged itself" over the weekend.

According to Reuters, local television carried a shock report into the incident, featuring amateur video showing the caprine corpse "hanging lifeless from a rope in its enclosure".

The zoo claims the victim "became entangled in an enrichment toy that had been in the exhibit for several years", specfically a "a ball on the end of a rope", as Reuters puts it....full story from The Register

Toddler's 911 call gets dad arrested: An 11-month-old Canadian boy playing with a cell phone made a 911 emergency call in British Columbia that resulted in his father's arrest on drug charges.

The incident occurred Friday morning in the town of White Rock, several miles north of the U.S. border, The Province newspaper in Vancouver reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

January 19, 2009

Two Burmese survive month at sea in an ice box: Two Myanmar fishermen have survived for almost a month in shark-infested waters by floating in a large ice box after their boat sank, rescue officials said.

The men, both aged in their 20s, were on a 12-metre Thai fishing boat with 18 others when it sank in heavy seas off Australia's north coast on December 23, said Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Tracy Jiggins....full story from Reuters UK

January 18, 2009

New Zealand PM breaks arm and then hands out awards: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key broke his right arm at the weekend after falling down some steps, but he did not see the doctor until after he had shaken hands with more than 100 burly rugby players.

"I went to give the awards at Touch Rugby NZ: that was about 120 handshakes with rather large rugby players," Key said in a radio interview on Monday, his broken limb now in a plaster cast....full story from Reuters UK

January 17, 2009

Drunk tourist too busy for court: A Malaysian tourist caught drink-driving in New Zealand skipped his court appearance because he was having a "lovely time" seeing the country and a brush with justice would interfere with his trip.

Instead he wrote the judge a letter asking to be pardoned and promising not to do it again....full story from The Dominion Post (NZ)

January 16, 2009

Boy licks light pole, gets tongue stuck: In a scene straight out of the movie "A Christmas Story," a 10-year-old Indiana boy got his tongue stuck to a metal light pole.

Hammond police say the unidentified fourth-grader was able to tell them that a friend dared him to lick the pole Wednesday night....full story from CNews

January 15, 2009

Outrage in Chile at busty Virgin Mary models: A prominent fashion designer has sparked outrage in Chile by dressing up models like the Virgin Mary -- in some cases with ample, near-naked breasts.

The Roman Catholic Church condemned Ricardo Oyarzun's plans for a show featuring the models, and a conservative group tried unsuccessfully to block it in court....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

Australian commander lashed over bikini gaffe: An Australian navy submarine skipper who suggested female sailors wear bikinis to help reverse a recruitment crisis has been criticised by lawmakers but supported by superiors, local media said on Thursday.

Commander Tom Phillips, appointed to the Australian navy's HMAS Farncomb last year, also joked in a men's magazine interview that the submariner equivalent of the notorious "mile-high club" for people having sex in aircraft was the "going down club....full story from Reuters UK

Collection agency resorts to witchcraft: In these difficult times for creditors, a Lithuanian debt collector is offering an unconventional service to retrieve arrears: witchcraft.

The Vilnius-based firm has hired Vilija Lobaciuviene, the Baltic nation's most famous self-styled witch, to hunt down companies and individuals who are failing to pay their debts amid the credit crunch.

"There are certain people, who are using this crisis situation and refuse to pay back banks or other companies," said Amantas Celkonas, director of the Skolu Isieskojimo Biuras, or debt collecting bureau....full story from CNews

January 14, 2009

Japanese website maps out smells: Japanese are taking their noses global with a Web site that describes different odors around the world and pinpoints where they can be found on a map.

Launched in December, the "Nioi-bu," or Smell Club, has registered more than 160 scents around the world, ranging from "steam coming out of a rice cooker" to "used socks in the summer," and pinpointed their locations on a Google map....full story from CNews

January 13, 2009

Study finds size matters for financial trading success: In the testosterone-fuelled world of financial trading, it appears that hormones do rule and size really does matter, British researchers said on Monday.

Their study found that experienced traders with the longest ring fingers made more than three times the amount of money as did their less well endowed colleagues....full story from Reuters UK

January 12, 2009

UFO wind turbine crash site sealed: Security operatives backed by snarling dogs have sealed off the Conisholme wind farm in Lincolnshire, England, to prevent alien hunters making off with the remains of the UFO which earlier this month seriously damaged one of the turbines, the Sun reports.

Ufologists are pretty well convinced there is an extraterrestrial explanation for the incident which saw one turbine blade ripped off and another seriously damaged by a vessel "about 170ft long" following numerous reports of mystery "low-flying aircraft", lights in the sky and, finally, a "big bang"....full story from The Register

January 11, 2009

Drunk worker reportedly starts fire in Moscow museum: A drunk electrician started a fire at a world-famous Moscow art museum after he fell asleep while smoking a cigarette, a police source told RIA news agency Sunday.

The blaze at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery started in an engineering building next to the main gallery Saturday and damaged technical equipment but not any of the museum's valuable art works....full story from Reuters UK

January 10, 2009

NY eatery frees ancient lobster: A lobster believed to be some 140 years old is to be freed from the confines of a tank at a New York restaurant.

George the giant lobster, weighing 9kg (20lb), will be returned to the ocean, from where he was caught two weeks ago.

The crustacean was bought for $100 (£66) by the City Crab and Seafood and quickly adopted as its mascot, posing for pictures with restaurant patrons....full story from the BBC

January 9, 2009

Masked man waited in line to rob bank: An Ohio man may have tipped off his intentions when he stood in line at a bank wearing a ski mask before staging a holdup.

Police in Stow say Feliks Goldshtein was arrested following a brief car chase. Police say the teller asked the man to take off the mask before being served....full story from CNews

January 8, 2009

Yachtsman has to be rescued again: Less than 36 hours after a dramatic rescue after capsizing in treacherous waters off Cape Horn, French round-the-world yachtsman Jean Le Cam had to be rescued again.

Le Cam was sailing to Ushuaia in southern Argentina on Wednesday aboard the yacht of fellow-Frenchman Vincent Riou, who rescued him after he was trapped in his upturned hull for hours, when the mast snapped and the engine failed....full story from Reuters UK

January 7, 2009

Nigerian bikers wear fruit shells to avoid helmet law: Police in Nigeria have arrested scores of motorcycle taxi riders with dried fruit shells, paint pots or pieces of rubber tyre tied to their heads with string to avoid a new law requiring them to wear helmets.

The regulations have caused chaos around Africa's most populous nation, with motorcyclists complaining helmets are too expensive and some passengers refusing to wear them fearing they will catch skin disease or be put under a black magic spell....full story from Reuters UK

Man smashes into Cairns adult shop for sex with dolls: A man has smashed his way into an adult shop and had sex with blow-up dolls before abandoning the sex toys in a nearby lane.

Business owners in Cairns (Australia) believe the same culprit is responsible for break-ins and till thefts at the Sapphire Bar on Lake St and three break-ins at the Laneway Adult Shop off Spence St in recent days....full story from

January 6, 2009

Finger-flicking competitor handed ban in China: A leading Chinese speed skater has been banned for one year after he made obscene gestures towards spectators during a national tournament, local media reported Tuesday, citing sport authorities.

Song Xingyu became so frustrated by jeering aimed at him from the stands that he raised his middle finger to the crowd both during and after the 10,000 metre final at the winter session of China's National Games in Shenyang Sunday....full story from Reuters UK

January 5, 2009

Council to crack down on Cracknuts Lane: Lewes (East Sussex, England) District Council has attracted the attention of the Daily Mail with a proposed new street naming and numbering policy which, if agreed tomorrow, could see the end of "names which encourage defacing name plates", such as Cockshut Road, Cracknuts Lane and Juggs Road.

Also for the chop are 'names capable of deliberate misinterpretation like Hoare Road, Typple Avenue, Quare Street, Corfe Close (4 Corfe Close) etc', as the council helpfully explains....full story The Register

January 3, 2009

"Flying Doctor" needs bigger planes for obese Aussies: Increasing obesity has prompted an Australian state to seek larger planes for the country's famous "Flying Doctor" service, ambulance and government officials said Saturday.

New South Wales state has just put out a tender to assess the cost of obtaining two larger new planes for its air ambulance fleet, which is flown under contract by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to service remote and rural areas....full story from Reuters UK

January 2, 2009

Kamikaze ballooning Brazilian soars to Darwin Award: The voting has not yet closed, but kamikaze ballooning Brazilian priest Antonio de Carli looks a dead cert to secure the 2008 Darwin Awards crown for the most impressive contribution to improving the gene pool by removing himself from it.

The Roman Catholic daredevil decided back in April it was a really bright idea to attempt to break the record for the most time spent dangling under a load of helium balloons (19 hours), to "raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers" in the coastal city of Paranagua....full story from The Register

Scared cat causes jail stabbing: A convicted rapist and murderer nearing the end of his prison sentence stabbed a fellow inmate six times in the neck for scaring his cat.

The Boxing Day attack was sparked after a prisoner entered the living room he shared with another man in Wellington's Rimutaka Prison, startling a feral cat the pair had befriended.

The two men were minimum-security prisoners in a self-care unit used to prepare long-term inmates for release....full story from The Dominion Post

January 1, 2008

Arrested for confiscating ball, 89-year-old sues: An 89-year-old Cincinnati-area woman arrested for confiscating the neighbour kid's football is now suing the boy's parents.

Edna Jester filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court claiming she has suffered emotional distress because footballs and other playthings belonging to her next-door neighbours keep landing in her yard....full story from CNEWS

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