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Odd News Archive - May 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.

May 30, 2009

Flight delayed by search for ashtray: LONDON - A British Airways flight was delayed for 25 minutes at London's Heathrow Airport as crews searched for a replacement bathroom ashtray, officials said.

After passengers were told the crew needed to find a "vital" part before taking off, it turned out the important piece was an ashtray to replace one that was missing, even though smoking on the aircraft was banned, the Daily Mail reported Saturday....full story from UPI

Pease pudding sparks airport security alert: The traditional northern snack - made from boiled split peas and ham fat - was confiscated from hand luggage at Newcastle [England] International Airport.

It was part of the 450 litres of banned liquids seized by staff each day, including bottles of water, fizzy pop and suntan lotion, vintage champagne and spirits, jars of Marmite and bottles of tomato ketchup.

Head of operations Chris Davis said it was costing the airport a fortune in recycling and waste disposal....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Taiwan confiscates cocaine-laced energy drinks: Taiwanese authorities say they have confiscated nearly 18,000 cases of Red Bull energy drinks containing slight traces of cocaine and imported from Austria.

The goods worth around 25 million Taiwan dollars (about $10 million) were taken from the local importer's warehouses, the Investigation Bureau said in a statement.

They were part of a shipment that arrived from Austria in April, of which some were available from retailers and department stores for 50-65 Taiwan dollars a can, the bureau said....full story from ABC News (AU)

May 29, 2009

Krispy Kreme accused of clogging sewers: FAIRFAX, Va. - Officials in northern Virginia are blaming Krispy Kreme doughnuts for clogging the sewers.

Fairfax County says the company has damaged its sewer system by dumping yeast and grease from a plant in Lorton.

County officials filed a lawsuit this month after the company refused to pay a US$1.9 million bill for repairs to the system....full story from CNews

'Glass hold' reveals personality: The way you hold your glass can reveal much more than you might realise, a psychologist has warned.

Dr Glenn Wilson, a consultant psychologist, observed the body language of 500 drinkers and divided them into eight personality types.

These were the flirt, the gossip, fun lover, wallflower, the ice-queen, the playboy, Jack-the-lad and browbeater....full story w/illustrations from the BBC

BBC radio announces nuclear tests in North Yorkshire: A news presenter mistakenly announced on national radio that North Yorkshire had launched a programme of illegal underground nuclear tests.

A newsreader made the error on Monday at the start of a bulletin on Radio Five Live.

The top story was a report about the worldwide disapproval of North Korea's recent tests but the unidentified newsreader instead declared: "There has been widespread condemnation of North Yorkshire's decision to carry out an underground nuclear test....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

'See through' swimsuit to eliminate tan lines: A "see-through" swimsuit that will eliminate tan lines has been developed by British designers.

The Tan Through range from Kiniki - launched earlier this month is transparent when held up to the light.

Thousands of microscopic holes in the mesh fabric allow 80 per cent of sunlight to penetrate through to the skin. However the garment is covered in 'magic eye'-style animal prints and abstract patterns which confuse the eye so onlookers can only see a solid block of fabric....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

British tourist's passport stolen by parrot in New Zealand: A British tourist has had his passport stolen in New Zealand by a brazen thief with a reputation for violence -- a large wild parrot known as the kea.

Police said the Scottish visitor reported the theft from a tour bus on its way to Milford Sound, a coastal beauty spot in South Island's rugged Fiordland region.

A police spokesman in Te Anau, the nearest town, said the kea had swooped on a brightly coloured courier bag containing the man's passport when the coach made a stop and the driver opened the luggage compartment....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Man on a mission to visit every Starbucks in the world: A software engineer from California is on a mission to visit every single Starbucks coffee shop on the planet.

Winter, 37, has spent 12 years drinking coffee in 9,100 chain stores. He estimates he has 3,000 left.

This week he arrived in London to tackle 400 shops in England, Scotland and Wales, reports the Times....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 28, 2009

Irish politico in Facebook jub-rub outrage: Those of you eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections for Newbridge Town Council in County Kildare might want to consider the impressive political credentials of Fine Gael candidate Emma Kiernan.

Ms Kiernan, 27, seen here on the Fine Gael website, was recently out celebrating a chum's 30th birthday, and took time to strike this "playful pose", as a shocked Leinster Leader puts it....full story w/pic from The Register

Green-glowing monkeys have green-glowing babies: Japanese researchers have genetically engineered monkeys whose hair roots, skin and blood glow green under a special light, and who have passed on their traits to their offspring, the first time this has been achieved in a primate.

They spliced a jellyfish gene into common marmosets, and said on Wednesday they hope to use their colony of glowing animals to study human Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS....full story from Reuters UK

May 27, 2009

Chinese woman had bullet lodged in face for 42 years: Huo Guoying complained to doctors about an on-going agonising headache and was taken into a local hospital for an X-ray.

The images revealed a 3.3cm long bullet had become lodged in the side of her face next to her ear.

When doctors showed the 65-year-old the pictures she told them she had no idea how the bullet could have got there....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Dog trapped for 25 days until losing enough weight to crawl out: A pet dog was trapped underground in a rabbit warren for 25 days - until he lost so much weight that he was able to crawl out.

The well-fed Jack Russell called Jake was feared dead after disappearing into the tunnel chasing a rabbit in West Wales, UK.

Six-year-old Jake was just too big to scamper out of the narrow warren - and as the days went by he got thinner and thinner....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 26, 2009

Wisconsinites miss million-mile Harley: EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Harley-Davidson has upset some Wisconsinites by moving to South Dakota a motorcycle that carried a former state lawmaker for more than 1 million miles.

Former state Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, traded his 1991 FXRT to the company last week in exchange for a new bike after his became the first Harley known to have been ridden for 1 million miles, the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

Its official, mother-in-laws behind divorces: KUALA LUMPUR: Its official, 'interference' by mother-in-laws in family life is the top reason for divorce among ethnic Indian couples here.

Mother-in-law syndrome also haunts ethnic Chinese and Malays who have also cited it as the main cause behind their separation and disruption in their life, a study by the National Population and Family Development Board shows....full story from The Times of India

May 25, 2009

Cycling jailbirds get their own Tour de France: NANTES, France - Close to 200 prisoners will cycle around France next month, watched by scores of guards on bicycles, in the first penal version of the Tour de France, authorities said on Monday.

The 196 prisoners will cycle in a pack and breakaway sprints will not be allowed. They will be accompanied by 124 guards and prison sports instructors. There will be no ranking, the idea being to foster values like teamwork and effort....full story from the Reuters UK

Leopard roams Pakistani prime minister's garden: ISLAMABAD - Pakistani hunters are trying to catch a wild leopard roaming the grounds of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's official residence, an official said on Monday.

The animal, first spotted on a closed-circuit television camera, slipped into the garden of the well-guarded Islamabad compound late last week, perhaps in search of prey such as wild boar that also roam the area....full story from Reuters UK

May 24, 2009

Drinkers told to form a queue: Drinkers in Oldham [England] will have to queue at bars and buy no more than two beers at a time in an attempt to curb violence and binge-drinking.

Customers will be encouraged to stand behind rope barriers similar to those used in banks and post offices as they wait to be served, while drinking in the queue will also be discouraged, under new proposals.

The new rules have been put in place by Oldham Council in all 22 pubs in the town centre....full story from The Sunday Telegraph

'Stop eating lamb and drinking beer if you want to save the planet': Diners are being encouraged to eat more pork and chicken instead, as they produce fewer carbon emissions.

A Government-sponsored study into greenhouse gases has found that producing 2.2lbs of lamb was the equivalent of releasing 37lbs of carbon dioxide.

Other foods such as tomatoes only produce 20lbs of CO2 while potatoes release about 1lb of CO2 for each 2.2lbs of food....full story from The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Businessman hunts down thief in his helicopter: Millionaire businessman Jeremy Taylor used his helicopter to hunt down a thief who broke into his yard, tracking him relentlessly for more than two hours across "half of north Norfolk [England]".

Mr Taylor, 38, was taking off in his £1.9 million (US$3m) aircraft for a business trip when he noticed his gates were open and a white van was speeding away from his home in Binham.

Having had other break-ins in the past, Mr Taylor was determined not to let this thief get away....full story from The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

May 23, 2009

City's chicken ordinance ruffling feathers: NORWALK, Iowa - At least one resident of Norwalk, Iowa, says a new ordinance that allows residents to keep chickens in residential areas is ill-advised.

Norwalk resident Bev Frideres said she is completely against the ordinance passed by the Norwalk City Council Thursday, saying chickens are not advisable residents for an urban area, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register said Saturday....full story from UPI

New service allows final Tweet from grave: STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A new service by a Swedish design student will allow people to have a final Tweet or Facebook status update made after they die.

Lisa Granberg told The Local her service will allow friends and family members to have the information necessary to access social networking accounts belonging to people who have died.

"We live a lot of our life online these days," she said....full story from UPI

Growth of unwanted underwear: Bras, briefs and boxer shorts were donated to this year's Chelsea Flower Show [in London, England] to be used in display of how to grow your own fruit and vegetables in unwanted underwear.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) asked visitors to Chelsea Flower Show to donate clean unwanted bras, boxer shorts and jockey pants for its summer Grow Your Own campaign.

Dozens handed in old underwear which will now be used, alongside stock contributed by Marks and Spencer, in a 'good life' display at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show , from 7 - 12 July 2009....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 22, 2009

Oz man fined for drink-drive rumpy-pumpy: A Darwin man's wallet is AU$1,400 lighter after police collared him "engaged in a sexual romp with his female passenger" while under the influence, ABC News reports.

Builder Bradley Dean Milne, 33, was last month spotted in his ute (pick-up truck) "veering onto the wrong side of a busy Darwin road". A concerned motorist witnessed the reason for Milne's distraction when both pulled up at a red light....full story from The Register

DHS to field Star Trek 'Tricorder' medscanner: 'They're dead, Jim! DEAD! No, wait... flat battery'

US federal boffins [scientists] say they are well on the way to developing a Star Trek style "tricorder", able to monitor a person's medical condition from 40 feet away.

The so-called Standoff Patient Triage Tool (SPTT) is described in glowing terms by the inhouse journal of the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, S&T Snapshots....full story from The Register

Fast food 'harms children's test scores': Eating too much fast food damages children's performance at school, according to research.

Pupils achieve lower scores in tests after eating takeaway meals such as burgers and chips more than three times a week, it is claimed.

The findings - in a study of more than 5,500 primary school children - even apply when parental income, race and pupils' weight is taken into account....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

UK town refuses to fix whole pothole 'because it only owned part': Baffled traders watched in amazement as Walsall [England] highways workers started filling in problem potholes outside their shops in Bloxwich, only to stop half way through the job.

Council chiefs said the small patch of land next to the pavement belongs to Walsall Housing Group (WHG) and that their maintenance workers are not allowed to carry out work on private land....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 21, 2009

Toddler snaps up mechanical digger online: A New Zealand three-year-old was temporarily the proud owner of a mechanical digger after successfully bidding online for the earth-moving kit.

Pipi Quinlan, of Stanmore Bay north of Auckland, got up while her family were still akip and managed to find her way to the TradeMe homepage where her mother was already logged in.

According to The Age, she then quickly won the most recent auction listed, stumping $NZ20,000 ($US12,137, £7,700) for the Kobelco heavy metal....full story from The Register

Man drives Rolls-Royce into Tesco over missing mattress: ANDOVER, England - A motorist drove his Rolls-Royce through a window and into a Tesco superstore after receiving a bed from the firm which was delivered without a mattress, his wife claimed.

Robert Caton, 50, went to the supermarket to remonstrate with managers after he ordered the bed from Tesco Direct, his wife Deborah, 43, said.

She claimed he was unhappy with their response and that he then drove his car through the store's window, forcing shoppers and staff to dive for cover....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph

No worries about a 2010 "Olympic Toke": VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are taking the mellow approach to suggestions that their planned Olympic torch looks like a marijuana cigarette.

"We're not worried about it at all," Dave Cobb, the executive vice-president of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) told reporters on Wednesday, in response to a newspaper article that dubbed the torch "The Olympic Toke."

Vancouver is a major production area for illegal marijuana....full story from Reuters UK

Prostitutes get media training for the Olympics: Athletes, coaches and organizers aren't the only people getting ready for next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, with training also underway for the city's prostitutes.

A Canadian agency that provides support services for the city's sex workers is preparing a brochure and training to inform prostitutes about their rights and how to deal with the international media when they descend on the city to cover the Winter Olympic Games from February 12-28.

"It is a supportive tool that we are offering," said Natasia Wright, of the Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE)....full story from

May 20, 2009

Household drill saves boy's life: A doctor in Australia used a household drill to bore into a boy's skull and drain it of blood clots as his local hospital lacked the required tools.

Dr Rob Carson performed the procedure on Nicholas Rossi, 13, after the boy fell off his bike and hit his head.

The doctor had never attempted the surgery before, and had to be talked through the operation by a Melbourne neurosurgeon....full story w/video from the BBC

Group seeks ban on music as torture: Human rights activists seeking a ban on the use of loud music to exert psychological pressure on detainees in US custody are appealing to Bruce Springsteen and Eminem to join their campaign against music as torture.

The campaign called the Zero dB project, standing for zero decibels, was launched at the end of last year by British legal charity Reprieve, which represents dozens of prisoners held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba....full story from

May 19, 2009

Gardener unearths treasure trove of antiques: Gardener Jan Long has collected hundreds of antiques which she discovered buried under the soil in her Herefordshire garden while planting vegetables, digging up weeds, and moving bushes.

Mrs Long's haul has included a diamond ring, a gold Victorian watch, and an Edwardian chain-mail bag.

"Nearly every time I am out in the garden I make a new find," said Mrs Long, 57, a retired regional director of the British Council....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Japanese astronaut tests 'flying carpet' in space: Koichi Wakata also showed how difficult it is to do something as simple as folding laundry and using eye drops as part of a series of zero-gravity challenges submitted by the public.

To test his magic carpet, he stood on a white sheet before gliding smoothly through a cabin of the International Space Station, as if snowboarding, which can be seen in a video clip posted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa)....full story w/video from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 18, 2009

Airlines could charge to use toilet, fine overweight passengers: The UK's Ryanair last week announced its intention to eliminate check-in desks and possibly baggage handlers. It has also asked Boeing to design credit card-operated toilets.

"Most people would go to the loo before they get on the plane, or they hold it until they land. You would only have to deal with the people who absolutely have to go," Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said of the toilet fee.

Ryanair also considered a "fat tax" - a policy already implemented by United Airlines; charging extra for toilet paper and fees for smoking in a converted toilet cubicle....full story from

Showering during the day helps productivity: Showering during the working day helps employees become more productive and more creative, according to a new study.

Four businesses - a restaurant, an architect firm, an advertising agency and a lingerie company - took part in the eight-week study, conducted by PR firm Lucre.

Staff took a shower break in addition to their usual daily wash - and results showed improvement across a range of areas, from mood to productivity....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Carwash kids surprised by road train: A Few sudsy Northern Territory [Australia] teens found their sponges and buckets weren't quite up to the challenge during what was supposed to be a stock-standard car wash this weekend.

Jessica Capes, 17, and about 15 other Year 12 entrepreneurs were looking to raise funds for an end-of-year formal when a bloke called 'Boof' rocked up to ask if they'd wash his motor.

The motor turned out to be a road train with three trays....full story w/pic from

Human hamsters lead green revolution: A growing number of American gyms are connecting their exercise machines to the power grid.

University campuses and exercise clubs are making use of new green technology which allows the momentum from running and walking machines to be converted into voltage.

The amount of power produced by these human hamsters is small but supporters say it is a valuable educational device....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 17, 2009

At troubled Preakness, a sobering attendance drop: The future of Maryland's storied horse racing industry might be a matter of debate, but one thing was clear yesterday at the yearly race that has been the state's biggest sports event for more than a century: The Freakness is gone.

The usually crammed infield at the Preakness Stakes, which earned that nickname because of drunken fighting and other forms of debauchery, was far from full as post time neared. Gone were the topless women, and the teens who raced and stumbled across the tops of portable toilets, pelted with beer cans as they went.

To restore civility to what had become little more than an all-day party, officials at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore banned spectators this year from bringing their own beverages, including beer, onto the infield. The move contributed to a 30 percent drop in attendance, and it drew plenty of complaints....full story from The Washington Post

Nude cyclists take over Cannes: Crowds hoping to glimpse the stars on the Cannes film festival's red carpet got an eye-popping surprise as a team of nude Belgian cyclists paraded down the Riviera seafront.

Director Felix van Groeningen and four of his actors straddled bicycles and careened down the croisette and back under warm spring sunshine, in a remake of a scene from La Merditude des Choses (The Misfortunates)....full story w/pic from

Awkward Family Photos blog becomes web sensation: Awkward Family Photos, a new website that allows readers to share embarrassing family images, has become an overnight success.

The blog was only established this month ago but is already attracting more than two million visitors a day, with major publishers lining up to offer book deals.

The premise of the site -- gauche family photos, wittily captioned -- has hit a nerve with people delighted to discover that the eccentricities of their own relatives are far from unique....full story from The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

May 16, 2009

North Carolina teen accused of using banana in robbery attempt: Authorities say a North Carolina teen who was thwarted as he tried to rob a store with a banana ate it before they could arrive.

Winston-Salem authorities say 17-year-old John Szwalla held the banana under his shirt when he entered the store Thursday, saying he had a gun and demanded money.

Owner Bobby Ray Mabe says he and a customer jumped Szwalla, holding him until deputies arrived. While they waited, Mabe says the teen ate the banana....full story from CBS News

66-year-old to become Britain's oldest mother: Elizabeth Adeney, who is four years older than the current record holder, is around eight months pregnant with what is thought to be her first child.

The divorcee travelled abroad to undergo IVF treatment because most British fertility clinics will not offer their services to women over 50.

Mrs Adeney, a wealthy businesswoman, is said to have been "desperate" for a baby, and was "over the moon" when she discovered that she had fallen pregnant....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 15, 2009

Man lets son pick prostitute: She's a cop: NOTTINGHAM, England: A father tried to hire a prostitute to initiate his 14-year-old son in the "ways of sex" but ended up propositioning an undercover police officer, a court heard.

The Polish man took the boy out in his car and allowed him to pick the prostitute, who was standing at the side of the road of a red-light district.

But the teenager chose an undercover police officer and the 42-year-old father was arrested, the court was told....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Sex park under construction in China: The developer of China's first sex theme park promises that Loveland will be educational, helping adults enjoy a safe and happy love life.

But neighbors of the park now under construction in Chongquing in southwest China are not happy with what they see, The Guardian reports.

"These things are too exposed," said Liu Daiwei, a woman who works as a police officer....full story from UPI

Park workers fired after urinating in Old Faithful geyser: CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Two seasonal Yellowstone National Park concession workers have been fired after a live webcam caught them urinating into the Old Faithful geyser.

Park spokesman Al Nash says a 23-year-old man was fined $750 and placed on three years of unsupervised probation for urinating, being off-trail in a restricted area and taking items from the area. The man also was banned from Yellowstone for two years....full story from CNews

May 14, 2009

Cash flies out of convertible on German motorway: A man lost 23,000 euros (£20,594 - US$31,051) to the wind when an envelope with the money he had stuck in the passenger seat pocket of his convertible blew away during a test drive in northern Germany.

The cash -- in 500, 200, and 100 euro notes -- fluttered across the motorway in the midst of speeding traffic near the city of Hanover, police said.

The man, 23, contacted police immediately, who then blocked the motorway in both directions for nearly half an hour....full story from Reuters UK

Cocaine and LSD found in air of Spanish cities: Air pollution has long been a fact of life in Spanish cities, but scientists now say that it is not just smog that chokes people as they walk to work or stroll through the park.

A new study has found the air in Madrid and Barcelona is also laced with at least five drugs - most prominently cocaine.

The Superior Council of Scientific Investigations, a government institute, said on its website that in addition to cocaine, it found trace amounts of amphetamines, opiates, cannabinoids and lysergic acid -a relative of LSD - in air-quality control stations in the cities....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Outrage as crematorium replaces organist with karaoke machine: Tony Edwards, 49, has played at thousands of funerals over the last 13 years, and believes grieving families appreciate the human touch of a live performance as they commemorate the death of loved-ones.

However, managers at the Counties Crematorium in Milton Malsor, Northampton, have told him he is going to have to make way for an automated music machine....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 13, 2009

Suspect makes Taco Bell stop before jail: FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Officials say a suspected drug dealer who led police on a 144-kilometre-per-hour chase in Indiana was arrested after he stopped suddenly at a Taco Bell parking lot.

Fort Wayne police Sgt. Mark Walters says 36-year-old Jermaine Askia Cooper told officers he "knew he was going to jail for a while" and wanted to get one last burrito....full story from CNews

Fridge odor empties office, 7 hospitalized: SAN JOSE, Calif. - A refrigerator stench at a California AT&T call center caused the building to be evacuated and seven people to be hospitalized with nausea, authorities said.

The San Jose Fire Department said a hazmat team was sent to the office complex just before lunchtime Tuesday and determined the odor was coming from an office mini-fridge, the San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

May 12, 2009

Motorist: 500-pound Moose 'fell out of the sky': Police said a 500-pound moose fell 18 feet to its death when it apparently leaped a guardrail on Interstate 95 and landed on Hinckley Road. Officials learned of the incident when a motorist called the [Clinton, Maine] town office shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday and told assistant town clerk Shirley Bailey that "a moose just fell out of the sky."

Bailey said the driver, who was under the bridge when he spotted the falling moose, was "pretty excited about it."....full story from CBS News

Amish teen ticketed for having beer in buggy: Police cracking down on rowdy Amish youths ticketed a teenager for having beer in his horse-drawn buggy when they pulled him over on a western New York road. They said the 17-year-old was charged with underage possession of alcohol after he was stopped by deputies late Monday night in the town of Leon, 40 miles south of Buffalo.

Detective Nathan Root said the teen admitted drinking beer, but passed a field sobriety test....full story from CBS News

May 11, 2009

Basketballs launching on space shuttle mission: CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA: The Harlem Globetrotters will soon have a presence way above the globe.

Space shuttle Atlantis will carry a pair of basketballs when it rockets away on a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Liftoff is scheduled for Monday afternoon....full story from The Times of India

UK gardener banned from trimming grass because of health and safety: Graham Alexander, a gardener from Wiltshire, has been banned from trimming a communal patch of grass after 43 years - for health and safety reasons.

Mr Alexander, 64, a retired electrician, has selflessly tended the 40ft x 30ft verge outside his home since 1966.

He regularly mows, weeds, rakes and clears the verge of other people's litter daily.

However, Wiltshire Council has accused him of encroaching on its property and endangering public health claiming he or a neighbour could be injured by the mower or flying debris....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Spock actor in new Star Trek used glue for Vulcan salute: It's probably the most famous greeting in the universe, but the simple Vulcan salute left makers of the new Star Trek film with a galactic-sized headache.

But the simple Vulcan salute left makers of the new Star Trek film with a galactic-sized headache - because Mr Spock just couldn't do it....full story w/video from

May 10, 2009

NY Bus driver no bomb disposal expert: A Long Island school-bus driver found two apparent pipe bombs in her driveway Friday and tried to drive them to a police station -- in her empty bus, sources said.

The unidentified woman made the unsettling discovery outside her Hempstead home just after 2 p.m. while on a break Friday.

She wrapped the suspicious devices in blankets, tossed them in the bus and took off for the Baldwin station house, the sources said....full story from the New York Post

Orang-utan short-circuits electric fence in Zoo 'escape': An "ingenious" 137-pound (62-kilogram) orang-utan used a branch to short-circuit an electric fence and escape from an Australian zoo only to change her mind and return to her enclosure.

The ape, a 27-year-old female named Karta, jammed a stick into wires connected to the fence and then piled up debris to climb a concrete and glass wall at the Adelaide Zoo.

Peter Whitehead, the zoo's curator, said: "You're talking about an animal that's highly intelligent....full story from The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

May 9, 2009

Prison cuisine - review: The Clink is Britain's first cordon bleu restaurant to be set up behind bars and here it gets its first review.

This is easily the most dramatic entrance I've ever encountered, which makes me sad for all the other restaurants - how they labour, with their fairy lights and bay trees, when what you really need is a high security compound, baled with barbed wire, with an unmarked door.

It opens into a credibly, even lavishly upholstered dining room - leather seats (since you ask, themselves made by prisoners from HMP Frankland), plentiful glassware and - somewhat illogically - plastic cutlery. Think of the restaurant in an upmarket conference-hotel, and you're there....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Britons urged to take EU pub quiz: European Union officials have enlisted one of Britain's most popular pastimes, the pub quiz, in their battle to win over the public.

The office of the European Parliament in London has devised a special quiz to celebrate Europe Day, an annual celebration which was marked across the continent on Saturday.

Questions include: How many staff does the European Commission employ? How many time zones are there in the European Union? What is EU's guiding principle which means decisions should be taken as close to the citizen as possible?....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Jet-pack stuntman makes speed bid: An American stuntman claims to have completed the fastest ever jet-pack flight, at Knockhill racing circuit.

Eric Scott, 46, from Denver, managed about 43mph on Friday and has now been clocked by adjudicators from Fife police doing 54mph, in strong winds.

Mr Scott hopes his latest flight will be recognised as a record but officials at Guinness World Records are still considering his application....full story w/video from the BBC

May 8, 2009

Mystery worms turn on northwest China herdsmen: BEIJING - An invasion of unidentified worms has forced 50 herdsmen and their families from their grassland homes, taking 20,000 head of livestock with them, in northwest China's Xinjiang region, state news agency Xinhua said on Friday.

The worms are packed up to 3,000 per square metre and chew through the grasslands like lawnmowers, leaving only brown soil in their wake, Xinhua said....full story from Reuters UK

Woman sues Wal-mart, says employees named rodent: NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana woman is suing a Wal-Mart store over what she claims was a much-too-close encounter of the furry kind.

Rebecca White says in her lawsuit that employees at a Wal-Mart in Abbeville let a rat-tailed rodent known as a nutria run loose and scare her. She says that not only did employees know it was in their store, but gave it a pet name, Norman, and failed to warn shoppers....full story from CNews

May 7, 2009

Honest taxi driver reaps rewards: Hundreds of Argentines have been donating to a taxi driver who found a bag with $32,500 (£21,600) in cash in his taxi and returned it to its owners.

The donations started after a website was set up in his honour calling for gestures of gratitude for what is seen as an extraordinary act of honesty.

So far the equivalent of $14,580 has been donated, according to the site....full story from the BBC

Crikey, Mate! It's A 'roo! Kangaroo Loose In NY: A wayward 'roo named Bandit is wandering around an upstate New York community. State police said motorists reported seeing a kangaroo early Wednesday afternoon along the Thruway near Exit 34 in Canastota, 20 miles east of Syracuse. Troopers who searched the area saw the 3-foot-tall animal and contacted the owner, but the 'roo got away.

Owner Jeff Taylor said Bandit is a 1-year-old wallaroo, a large species of kangaroo. He bought the animal last month for a wildlife education program he intends to start next year....full story from CBS News

Justice or bust: Brits protest bra prices: Busty women have banded together to battle Britain's largest clothing retailer over a surcharge for extra-large brassieres.

Frustrated with failed attempts to convince Marks & Spencer to drop a 2 pound ($3) extra charge for sizes DD and larger, the women plan to take their fight to the company's annual meeting....full story from CBS News

May 6, 2009

Couples could marry in mid-air under new easyJet plans: Couples could marry in mid-air after the budget airline easyJet took the first steps towards on board weddings.

The company has asked authorities if pilots could be authorised to officiate weddings in the air.

A spokesman said they had written to Luton Borough Council - the body responsible for registration in the area where easyJet's London Luton Airport headquarters lie - to make preliminary inquiries about the feasibility of marrying people on board....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Cat gets head stuck in tyre: A cat who poked its head into a car tyre needed to be cut out by firefighters after becoming stuck.

Casper was trapped for an hour with only his head peeping through the tiny hole in the middle of the wheel before he was spotted by passers-by.

They contacted the RSPCA who took the tyre and cat to a nearby fire station. Firfighters spent an hour using specialist small cutting gear to free him....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Afghanistan's only pig quarantined in flu fear: KABUL - Afghanistan's only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo where it normally grazes beside deer and goats, because people are worried it could infect them with the virus popularly known as swine flu.

The pig is a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan, where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, and has been in quarantine since Sunday after visitors expressed alarm it could spread the new flu strain....full story from Reuters UK

Search for lost Chinese tourist uncovers seven corpses: BEIJING - A rescue team which failed to find a missing visitor at a tourist hotspot in northern China got a nasty surprise when it stumbled upon seven corpses instead.

The team had been scouring the peaks around Taishan Mountain in Shandong province for the Beijing tourist who vanished on April 28, the Qilu Evening Post said.

"We accidently found seven corpses during our search over the past few days," the newspaper quoted one of the rescuers as saying....full stories from Reuters UK

May 5, 2009

Man allegedly steals 'prisoner' t-shirt from jail: A 20-year-old man was locked up once again after being charged with stealing his prisoner T-shirt from a previous stint at the Fresno County Jail. The man was arrested last week on suspicion of child abuse and possession of marijuana. After he was released from jail last Thursday, police said he nearly caused a collision while riding his bike.

Deputies then noticed that he was wearing a T-shirt with "prisoner" printed on the back. Police said the shirt was from the jail and he had concealed it under his clothing when he was released....full story from CBS News

Kebabs pose 'no danger whatsoever', Russians claim: We're not quite sure what Pravda has got against vegetarians, but having last year slammed meat-dodgers as a "perversion of nature", it's now declared them limitlessly insane.

Fair enough, but in debunking six veggie myths - including that salad-fanciers are slimmer, healthier and live longer than those for whom the bacon sarnie represents the greatest culinary delight since God bade animals hang their heads over the farm gate - Pravda has made what could be its most reckless claim ever: That kebabs pose "no danger whatsoever" to human health....full story w/nude pic of Alicia Silverstone from The Register

Baffling BNE WAS HERE craze hits streets of Melbourne: A PLAGUE of cryptic stickers plastered across the city has sparked fears Melbourne [Australia] is the latest victim of a baffling international graffiti craze.

The rash of rectangular white stickers with "BNE WAS HERE" in bold, black letters appeared across the CBD and inner suburbs in recent weeks.

Parking meters, bins, walls, windows and bus stops are among the targets, the Herald Sun reports....full story w/pic from

May 4, 2009

Quebec rejects 'Avalanche' as name for baby: MONTREAL - A government challenge to a Montreal couple's decision to give their baby the middle name "Avalanche" has created a bit of a rumble.

William Azeff was originally told in a letter from the province's Registrar of Civil Status that he and his wife couldn't dub their baby boy with the popular first name "Logan....full story from CNews

Doh! Pirates captured after attacking the wrong ship: From a distance the large ship on the horizon looked like the perfect target, ripe for a successful spot of piracy.

But as the Somali pirates sped toward the vessel sailing near the Seychelles, they were horrified to see two boats and a helicopter set off from their target and launch their own counter-attack.

They had failed to spot, in the dazzling sun, that the 'merchant ship' they thought they were intercepting was, in fact, a French naval ship bristling with cannons, radar technology and armed commandos....full story from The Times (UK)....| -Thanks GaryC!

French excel at eating and sleeping, survey finds: True to their reputation as leisure-loving gourmets, the French spend more time sleeping and eating than anyone else among the world's wealthiest nations, according to a study published on Monday.

The average French person sleeps almost nine hours every night, more than an hour longer than the average Japanese or Korean, who recorded the least amount of sleep in a survey of 18 of the 30 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Despite their siesta habit, Spaniards rank only third in the poll after Americans, who sleep more than 8.5 hours....full story from The Daily Telegraph

Intruder caught by camera hidden in cereal box: An audacious criminal who set up home in a Sydney [Australia] office block, returning every night after staff left to eat, sleep and shower, has been caught with the aid of a tiny camera hidden in a box of cereal.

Employees at The Marketing Store became suspicious when they were greeted at work each morning by small signs left by the nocturnal visitor.

One senior employee noticed his office sofa was a bit crumpled, there was evidence that the staff showers had been used overnight, and up to six bowls a night of cereal was disappearing from the kitchen....full story from The Daily Telegraph

May 3, 2009

First Waffle House becomes historic site: ATLANTA - The DeKalb (Ga.) County Commission has made the nation's first Waffle House a historic property.

The company plans to turn the location in Decatur, Ga., into a museum, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday....full story from UPI

Portable toilets cushion pilot's landing in plane crash: A pilot was able to walk away after his small aeroplane crash landed on a cushioning group of portable lavatories.

The Cessna 182 suffered apparent engine failure about 150 feet in the air after taking off from Thun Field airfield south-east of Tacoma in Washington state on Friday afternoon.

The pilot, who was the only person on board, tried to turn the aeroplane around to land, but was unable to do so....full story from The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Suspected burglar rescued from rooftop by police in Sydney: Emergency services mounted a three-hour operation involving a helicopter and a fire truck on Sunday to retrieve a man who got stuck on the roof of a factory in Sydney, Australia that he was allegedly trying to rob, police said.

New South Wales state police said they were called early Sunday to the joinery factory where the 53-year-old man was stuck on the roof, apparently unable to move because of the wet weather and steep angle.

Numerous rescue attempts were made, and emergency crews eventually used a fire truck with a tall ladder to retrieve the man while a helicopter hovered above, illuminating the rooftop....full story from The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

May 2, 2009

Nuclear bomb tests help to identify fake whisky: Radioactive material flung into the atmosphere by nuclear bomb tests is helping scientists to fight the multi-million pound trade in counterfeit antique malt whisky.

Bottles of vintage whisky can sell for thousands of pounds each, but industry experts claim the market has been flooded with fakes that purport to be several hundred years old but instead contain worthless spirit that was made just a few years ago.

Scientists have found, however, that minute levels of radioactive carbon absorbed by the barley as it grew before it was harvested to make the whisky can betray how old it is....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Artist creates invisible car: Art student Sara Watson has found the ultimate way of avoiding traffic wardens - by making her car invisible.

The 22-year-old student at the University of Central Lancashire [England] spray painted a battered Skoda Fabia to match the car park and entrance to her art studio.

Her work, created as part of her drawing and image making course at the university, creates the illusion that the car is see through....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Colorado man fined for 'joyriding' horse while drunk: A man in a cowboy hat who rode a horse through a Denver suburb was arrested for riding an animal while drunk.

Police said Brian Drone was given a $25 (£17) fine in a shopping mall car park.

Drone told KUSA-TV that he was out for a "joyride" in Arvada with his horse, Cricket....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 1, 2009

California attorney general's tires stolen: SACRAMENTO - The attorney general of California said being the state's "top cop" did not deter thieves from swiping two of the tires from his car.

Attorney General Jerry Brown said someone took the passenger-side tires from his Toyota Camry Hybrid while it was parked in front of his home April 24, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday....full story from UPI

Couple arrested for sex on queen's lawn: WINDSOR, England - British police said a couple was arrested for having sex out in the open on the lawn of Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II's primary residences.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said the couple was issued a warning after their arrest, the Daily Mirror reported Friday.

"We can confirm that two people were arrested for outraging public decency and were subsequently cautioned for the said offense," the spokesman said....full story from UPI

Dinosaurs 'survived in a remote 'lost world' for half a million years before extinction': New evidence suggests an "isolated community" escaped annihilation and lived on a rocky, desert plateau in North America.

Until now, palaeontologists widely believed the creatures were wiped out 65 million years ago when an asteroid collided with Earth.

But now experts say a "pocket" of dinosaurs survived and roamed a remote area of what is now New Mexico and Colorado....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Farmers fear pigs may get swine flu from people: KANSAS CITY - Humans have it. Pigs don't. At least not yet, and U.S. pork producers are doing everything they can to make sure that the new H1N1 virus, known around the world as the "swine flu," stays out of their herds.

"That is the biggest concern, that your herd could somehow contract this illness from an infected person," said Kansas hog farmer Ron Suther, who is banning visitors from his sow barns and requiring maintenance workers, delivery men and other strangers to report on recent travels and any illness before they step foot on his property....full story from Reuters UK

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