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Odd News Archive - February 2010

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.

February 28, 2010

Supergraphic ad in LALA City Attorney jails man over giant advertisement: LOS ANGELES - A man alleged to have put up a large, "supergraphic" advertisement in violation of Los Angeles city law was arrested and held on $1 million bail over the weekend.

Authorities arrested 49-year-old Kayvan Setareh, co-owner of the building that hosts the ad, at his home in Pacific Palisades. The City Attorney's office has charged him with alleged, misdemeanor city code violations in connection with the sign's posting.

The arrest and the bail amount were unusual for a misdemeanor case, but City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has been in an ongoing battle with advertisers over such signage....full story from KTLA-TV (Los Angeles)

UK UFO unit to shred ex-X files: LONDON - Britain’s defense ministry says it will shred records of UFO sightings after a huge rise in the number of reports submitted by the public.

The Ministry of Defense said Sunday that new reports will be thrown out after 30 days, rather than kept on file.

It means details of the sightings will be exempt from freedom of information laws that have allowed campaigners to force Britain’s government to disclose details of apparent UFO encounters....full story from CNews

February 27, 2010

Russians find forest of snow-covered tanks: Some Russians were amazed to discover dozens of T-80 battle tanks seemingly abandoned in a forest, but army officials insisted there was nothing unusual about it.

The tanks - nearly 100 in all - were found near the Elanovskaya railroad station about 100 kilometres outside the Urals Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, the Kommersant Daily reported on Saturday (local time).

Their presence was revealed after a local news website posted a video of the tanks, covered in a deep layer of snow and resting peacefully between the railroad and the woods with no military personnel in sight....full story from ABC News (AU)

Woman driver caught flossing teeth at 70mph: Traffic police spotted the driver, 36, on the M4 motorway [UK highway] using dental floss to clean her teeth in her rear view mirror.

She was pulled over, lectured about careless driving and given a fixed penalty notice of £60 [US$91].

Police say it is the latest example of people risking lives for a moment of high-speed vanity....full story from The Daily Telegaph (UK)

UK auto club to fix pipes and hang pictures: Britain's biggest breakdown organisation the Automobile Association, is to send patrols where they have never gone before - into its members homes.

In a radical departure for the 'fourth emergency service', the AA is planning to launch a nationwide fleet of 'handy men' and women, specially trained for domestic duties.

As well as continuing to rescue stricken motorists, the AA will answer SOS calls from householders with broken-down boilers, leaking pipes, dripping taps or faulty wiring. Its fully-trained home patrolmen and women will even erect garden fences, install showers and bathrooms – or just hang a picture....full story from The Daily Telegaph (UK)

February 26, 2010

Implant saves US woman's life, absorbs semi-automatic rifle round: A California woman caught up in a fatal shooting may have been saved by her D-cup breast implants, one of which took a round from a semi-automatic assault rifle, the Los Angeles Times reports.

On 1 July last year, Lydia Carranza was working at the front desk of a dentist's office in Simi Valley, north west of Los Angeles. Jaime Paredes, the estranged husband of one of her co-workers "marched into the office" with the rifle, first shooting his wife's brother in the stomach, then killing his wife, before turning the weapon on the other workers....full story from The Register

Belgium offers chickens to waste-cutting households: Residents of a Belgian town are to be offered chickens as part of a campaign to reduce household waste.

The town of Mouscron has 50 pairs of chickens that it will distribute to families with sufficient space to keep the birds in their gardens.

Those who take part in the scheme must agree not to eat the chickens for at least two years, or to give them away....full story from the BBC

Zombies' lawsuit comes back from the dead: An appeals court in the northern United States has allowed a group of zombie-dressed protesters to press ahead with their lawsuit against police who arrested them for disorderly conduct.

The Minneapolis appeals court in Minnesota overturned a lower court in finding the group of seven zombies had been wrongfully detained during a 2006 shopping mall protest against consumerism.

The three-judge panel ruled Minneapolis police lacked probable cause to arrest the demonstrators for disorderly conduct....full story from ABC News (AU)

February 25, 2010

Two Priority Mail bags go missing out of airplane hatch: Search crews are scouring parts of the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana today for two Priority Mail bags.

Alpine Air regularly delivers mail from Billings to Kalispell, but an airplane hatch opened Saturday somewhere over the Bob Marshall. The plane carried about 3,000 pounds of mail....full story w/video from KCFW-TV (Kalispel, MT)

Paris Hilton Beer AdParis Hilton advert 'too hot for Brazil' says government: Paris Hilton's sultry appearance in a beer commercial is too hot for television, according to Brazil's Secretariat for Women's Affairs, who wants the spot removed.

The advert features the blonde hotel heiress in a short black dress preening and rubbing a can of Devassa beer on herself, to the delight of onlookers watching through her window.

In the land of the postage-stamp-sized bikini, the spot may not initially appear very explicit. But Brazil's regulations say beer commercials cannot treat women as overtly sensual objects....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Frogs and toads need road crossings, French say: An animal protection group is urging French authorities to build special crossings to save millions of frogs and toads from being squashed on the country's roads.

"For frogs, toads and newts, the most visible cause of death is undoubtedly road traffic: the animals try to reach the damp areas they need to reproduce and are flattened by the million," the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals said on its website....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 24, 2010

Golf course water hazardNew Zealand company to make personal jet packs: A company in New Zealand is to begin production of a commercial jet pack.

Martin Aircraft Company, in Christchurch, New Zealand, aims to make 500 packs a year which will sell for around £50,000 [US$77,142].

The 200 horsepower dual-propeller packs are the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin who unveiled his machine for the first time in July last year....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Women only: Japan airline to have female toilets: TOKYO - Women flying Japan's All Nippon Airways will have a toilet all to themselves from next month, with the airline designating one restroom on most international routes as female-only.

An airline official told Kyodo news agency that ANA decided to designate women-only lavatories based on a 2007 online survey in which 90 percent of the women polled said they found the idea attractive.

The official also said women do not like using shared toilets as men sometimes leave the seat up....full story from Reuters UK

February 23, 2010

US must redesign killer hot dogs: The American Academy of Pediatrics is determined to tackle a major threat to the wellbeing of US kiddies: killer hot dogs which present a clear and present choking hazard.

According to a report in the academy's journal Pediatrics, choking is "a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children, especially those aged 3 years or younger".

Specifically, choking kills 77 US children annually, while up to 15,000 more require emergency treatment. Of the total food-related chokings, roughly 17 per cent are caused by hot dogs....full story from The Register

Aircraft 'Boneyard' on Google Earth: The world’s most expensive military cemetery, a £22.6 [US$34.9] billion centre dubbed “The Boneyard”, has been pictured in a spectacular series of new high-resolution Google Earth satellite images.

The 2,600 acre facility, officially known Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, is home to thousands of outdated aeroplanes and helicopters mothballed by the United States Air Force and other allied forces.

The 60 year-old facility, the size of 1,300 football pitches and sprawled across the desert in Tucson, Arizona, houses the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) and is America's only storehouse for out-of-service aircraft....full story w/pics from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 22, 2010

Golf course water hazardGolf's scariest water hazard: An Australian golf course boasts the world's most dangerous water hazard: a 6ft-long crocodile.

The crocodile, known as Steve, has been lurking at Willows Golf Resort for more than a week, attracting near-daily sightings but a conspicuous lack of panic.

"It's not scaring anyone - it's par for the course in North Queensland," said Adrian Lawson, the club's manager. "North Queenslanders are used to seeing this kind of thing."....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph

More senior citizens using marijuana: Miami (AP) - In her 88 years, Florence Siegel has learned how to relax: A glass of red wine. A crisp copy of The New York Times, if she can wrest it from her husband. Some classical music, preferably Bach. And every night like clockwork, she lifts a pipe to her lips and smokes marijuana.

Long a fixture among young people, use of the country's most popular illicit drug is now growing among the AARP set, as the massive generation of baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and '70s grows older....full story from CNS News

February 21, 2010

German luger breaks tooth on medal: Germany's silver medallist in the Olympic luge David Moeller took an embarrassing trip to the dentist after breaking his front tooth biting into his prize, according to mass circulation daily Bild.

A sheepish Moeller, 28, explained: "The photographers wanted us to bite into our medals at the presentation ceremony. And a corner of my front tooth broke off".

"It wasn't too bad and it didn't hurt," added Moeller, saying that it had happened before to him at home....full story from ABC News (AU)

22 inch man seeks world record: KATMANDU, Nepal — A man who is only 22 inches (56 centimetres) tall left his home country of Nepal on Sunday in a quest to be recognized as the world’s shortest man.

Khagendra Thapa Magar is travelling to Europe to campaign for the Guinness World Record title. He applied to London-based group for a place in the record book in October, soon after turning 18, but said he has not received any response....full story w/pic from CNews

February 20, 2010

Family, foundation battle over woman's head: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado family and an Arizona nonprofit are fighting in court over who gets the head of a woman who died this month, along with a $50,000 annuity she left behind.

At issue is whether 71-year-old Mary Robbins’ head and brain will be preserved by cryonics — extremely cold temperatures — in the expectation that future technology may be able to bring her back to life and restore her health.

Lawyers for both sides appeared in probate court Friday but the case hasn’t been resolved....full story from CNews

iDo: the first Apple wedding: An American couple, Josh and Ting Li, who are obsessed with Apple products, have become the first to marry inside one of the technology giant’s stores.

The couple, from New York, said “iDo” at the city’s Apple store on Fifth Avenue, at 12.01 on Valentine’s Day in a ceremony dominated with the company's products and references to them.

The pair, who met in the Apple store, had their priest dressed as Steve Jobs, the company’s chief executive, read their vows from their iPhones, while the rings were tied to a ribbon wrapped around a first generation iPod....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 19, 2010

Escaped zebra captured on Atlanta highway: ATLANTA - An Atlanta highway turned into a circus Thursday afternoon when an escaped zebra galloped along a busy section of interstate with police in hot pursuit.

The 12-year-old animal named Lima was exercising outside a downtown arena in preparation for an evening show when something spooked him, said Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus spokeswoman Crystal Drake. The zebra broke away from his trainers and bumped up against a fence, then wriggled through an opening....full story w/pic from CNews

Man-sized crab shellshocks UK crustacean fans: A MONSTER crustacean as big as a man has been christened "Crabzilla" upon his arrival in Britain.

The two-metre-long Japanese Spider Crab arrived this week at Birmingham’s National Sea Life centre en route to his final destination in a specially adapted Belgian display tank.

“It is rumoured these crabs can grow as big as four metres,” curator Graham Burrows said, “big enough to straddle a car"....full story w/pic from

Cat food latest weapon against Australia's cane toads: SYDNEY (Reuters) - A tin of cat food may be the solution to reducing the number of toxic cane toads in Australia, one of the country's major pests which environmentalists have tried for years to stop from killing off the native wildlife.

"In one spot we tested, 98 percent of the baby toads were attacked within the first two minutes," researcher Rick Shine told Reuters. "It was a bit like a massacre."....full story from Reuters UK

February 18, 2010

Swiss prostitutes trained to use defibrillators in brothels to prevent clients dying: Swiss prostitutes are being trained to use defibrillators to prevent clients with heart problems from dying on them, it has emerged.

Brothel owners in the Lugano area say electric shock treatment to restart customer's hearts is needed because so many elderly customers are using their services.

The most recent victim was a pensioner, thought to be having fun with the help of anti-impotence medication....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Tickle Cock Bridge returned to original name after row: A Victorian landmark has been recognised by its traditional risqué name after locals were offended by a council’s politically correct alternative.

The railway underpass has been known as Tickle Cock bridge to generations of courting couples in Castleford, West Yorkshire [UK].

But it proved a source of embarrassment for civic leaders before a regeneration scheme which was filmed as part of a Channel 4 television series....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 17, 2010

'McDonalds' burger-lers making millions: Greater Manchester Police are warning that scammers claiming to be ordering computer kit for burger chain McDonalds have already tricked £2m [US$3.148m] in hardware from sales departments at "high-profile electronic companies across the UK."

GMP say the fraudsters use various 0845 phone numbers and email addresses to persuade gullible sales staff that they're ordering hardware, on 30 or 90 day credit, for the US pattie purveyor.

The goods are then delivered to an address in Manchester where they are collected but not paid for....full story from The Register

Hacker arrested for Moscow billboard 'raw video': Russian police have arrested the hacker who last month projected some adult entertainment on an enormous video screen in Moscow, giving locals around two minutes unexpurgated coverage of "a white male and a black female having sex".

According to Pravda, the grumble flick appeared at 11pm on 14 January on an giant display on the city's Garden Ring Road. Some gobsmacked Muscovites grabbed the action on their mobile phones, but shaken passer-by Alyona Prokulatova told AP she was "so shocked that I couldn't even shoot video or take a picture of it"....full story from The Register

Mother fined for dropping banana: A mother claims she was issued with a £50 [US$78] fine when her toddler dropped the end of a banana out of his pram [baby carriage].

Kirsty Allen, 29, of Oxford Street, Grimsby, said she was appalled by the fine issued by North East Lincolnshire Council.

The mother claimed she was hit with the fine after she was stopped by a council warden while walking with 16-month-old Lennon....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 16, 2010

Company puts ads on cars: GOODYEAR, Ariz. - An Arizona advertising company said it has deployed the first batch in a fleet of advertisements attached to the sides of commuter cars.

AllTran Media, a Goodyear-based company founded in 2007, pays the commuters $100 per month to drive around with advertisements, including displays for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, while a GPS device tracks their movements, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

'Eye in the sky' arrest of a teenage thief could land police in court: An "eye in the sky" arrest of a teenager fleeing from a stolen car using a surveillance drone could land police in court after it emerged it did not have permission to be in the air.

The arrest, by Merseyside [UK] Police, was hailed as a landmark success in policing history in a statement released to the media last week.

But it emerged that by using its newly-acquired Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the force may have committed a criminal offence since it did not have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly the device....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 15, 2010

Squirrel banned from riding rollercoaster: Alton Towers theme park has been forced to ban a daredevil squirrel from one of its rides as its antics pose a health and safety risk.

The rodent was said to be causing headaches for operators at Alton Towers by getting in the way of improvement work on an attraction at the resort.

Workers noticed it riding the revamped Sonic Spinball roller coaster as it was tested in the mornings and joining visitors who were offered an early go on it before the official opening....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Baltic the sea dog swimming through fan mail: WARSAW, Poland - The incredible story of Baltic, the Polish pooch rescued from an ice sheet at sea, has struck a chord worldwide.

The seagoing mutt is being bombarded with e-mail, will likely soon have a Facebook page and one family drove more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) from the Czech Republic in the false hope he was theirs.

Calls and e-mails have come in from as far as Australia and Canada praising the crew of a ship that rescued Baltic and pleading for updates and photos too, Ewa Baradziej-Krzyzankowska, the dog's de facto spokeswoman, told The Associated Press on Monday....full story w/pics from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Mud carnival in Rio: Near one of Brazil's most traditional colonial towns, a bizarre Carnival craze erupts each year - a "parade" in which the only costume required is layers of thick, dark, sticky mud.

"I feel very primitive. You feel like running through the woods and doing war chants," said 23-year-old Chris White, a tree surgeon from New Zealand who was covered in the earth-scented goo from head to toe.

He was one of hundreds of foreign tourists and Brazilians who flocked to a beach near the picturesque town of Paraty on Saturday to frolic in the soft blue-black mud which is said to have been used by indigenous Indians for medicinal purposes....full story w/pics from

February 14, 2010

Texas college has course on finding love: DENTON, Texas - A University of North Texas professor says she is trying to help young people learn about love and romance through her Romantic Relationships course.

Professor Jennifer Acker said her course at the college in Denton, Texas, focuses on educating students in areas such as dating, attraction and friendship outside of keg parties and casual hook-ups, the Dallas Morning News said Sunday....full story from UPI

Las Vegas police officer saved as badge takes bullet: A Las Vegas police officer who became involved in a shootout on Saturday night may be thanking his badge for saving his life.

The 31-year-old officer, who has not yet been named, was struck by a bullet in an exchange of fire with a suspect.

However, the bullet struck the badge and the officer suffered only minor injuries....full story from the BBC

February 13, 2010

Witchcraft 'spell' lands man in jail: A court in drought-plagued Malawi [landlocked country in southeast Africa] has jailed a man accused of casting a spell that blocked rain from falling on his neighbour's field, police say.

The court sentenced Chikumbeni Mwanatheu, 35, to two months in prison with hard labour after he admitted a charge of witchcraft, police spokesman Augustus Nkhwazi said.

Mwanatheu had pleaded guilty to a charge of "conduct likely to cause a breach of peace" after he boasted that he had prevented rain from falling on his neighbour's field, the spokesman said....full story from ABC News (AU)

Britain's sexiest female farmer crowned: Blonde Anna Simpson has been voted Britain's sexiest female farmer.

Miss Simpson, 25, beat hundreds of rivals to be crowned the most attractive female farmer in the country.

Miss Simpson, of Hutton Rudby, Yorkshire, spends her working life on Windy Hill Farm training sheep dogs, driving tractors and encouraging animals to mate....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 12, 2010

Man convicted over landmine garden: A Russian man has been convicted on weapons charges after he planted landmines around his garden to defend it from intruders, prosecutors said.

Alexander Skopintsev, a resident of the far eastern Primorye region which borders China, built three explosive traps in his garage and planted them around his garden, local prosecutors said in a statement.

"During the court hearings, Skopintsev testified that he had prepared the explosive devices to protect his garden against thieves," they said....full story from ABC News (AU)

Ancient Estonian drug store offers cure for broken hearts and unicorn powder: A pharmacy in the Estonian capital promises a cure for broken hearts: an almond-based concoction that's been around since medieval times.

"Since the Middle Ages a special marzipan prescription has been prepared and sold here for the heart to relieve the pain of love," said Ulle Noodapera, a pharmacist at the Raeapteek drug store which first opened for business in Tallinn's old town square in 1422.

It is believed to be Europe's oldest pharmacy, and has been in operation for 588 years....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Chilean mint spells country's name wrong on coins: The general manager of the Chilean mint has been fired after thousands of coins were issued bearing a howling error.

On the 2008 batch of 50 peso coins, which are worth about 6p, the country's name was misspelt.

Instead of C-H-I-L-E, the coins had C-H-I-I-E stamped on them, the BBC reports....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 11, 2010

Police to play burglar for safety lesson: CHESTER, England - Police in Britain said officers posing as burglars will soon be prowling the streets to inspire people to be more safety-conscious.

Cheshire Police said Operation Golden involves officers walking the streets under cover of night and trying doors and windows to see if any homes have been left unlocked, the Daily Mail reported Thursday....full story from UPI

Missing cat poster brings graffiti fine: A teacher who put up "missing" posters in a bid to find her beloved cat Fluffy was astonished to be hit with a £75 for graffiti by her local council.

Lynda Dyson was overjoyed when the A4 computer print-outs she taped to trees and lamposts near her home in east London helped to reunited her with the three year-old, black Persian cat.

But her delight was short-lived after a demand for £75 [US$117] from the local council's enforcement department landed on her doormat.

The fine was issued under Section 43 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act, which polices fly-posting and graffiti....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 10, 2010

School bans Valentines Day cards: A primary school has banned Valentine's Day cards from the premises because of concerns that young pupils spend too much time talking about boyfriends and girlfriends.

Ashcombe Primary School in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset [UK], has told parents that cards declaring love can be “confusing” for children under the age of 11, who are still emotionally and socially developing.

In his February newsletter, Peter Turner, the head teacher, warned that any cards found in school would be confiscated....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Cheap goods see burglars move to muggings: LONDON - An influx of cheap electronic goods from China and the Far East has prompted burglars to turn to other crimes such as robberies and muggings, according to research published on Wednesday.

Criminology lecturer James Treadwell from the University of Leicester in central England said the fall in the cost of traditional household goods had made burglars "redundant."

In the last decade, domestic burglaries have fallen by more than 50 percent according to the British Crime Survey, which estimates the number of offences based on interviews with the public....full story from Reuters UK

February 9, 2010

Street View spymobile snowmobile prowls Winter Olympics: Google has unveiled some fetching views of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics sites, courtesy of a snowmobile equipped with Street View's all-seeing eye.

The games kick off on Friday, but those of you who prefer to experience snow from the comfort of your PC can enjoy the sights including the snowmobile's sinister shadow caught stalking a snowboarder in the hills above the town of Whistler....full story w/pics from The Register

German thief robs arcade with cup of coffee: BERLIN - A thief in the German town of Hamelin robbed an amusement arcade by threatening the attendant with a cup of coffee, authorities said Tuesday.

"He wasn't going to pour coffee over her, he was going to hit her with the cup," a spokesman for local police said.

Brandishing the steaming cup he had just ordered, the thief forced the 26-year-old to open the till and fled with cash....full story from Reuters UK

February 8, 2010

Colonel Sanders statue stolen from KFC: BEREA, Ky. - A Kentucky KFC is offing free chicken for the return of a $1,200 bronze bust of KFC founder Colonel Sanders stolen from in front of the fast-food eatery.

Rhonda Hall, manager of the KFC in Berea, said authorities told them four young men were spotted fleeing the scene in a silver passenger car, WLKY-TV, Louisville, Ky., reported Monday....full story from UPI

Bill for broadband setup: $70,427.98: CUMBRIA, England - A British couple said a broadband service quoted them a US$70,427.98 [£45,133.7] installation price because all of the company's equipment is being used.

Ray and Frei Walker of Cumbira, said they used their dial-up service for nine and years and was finally told by broadband company BT it would cost them $70,427.98 to upgrade because their current network is filled to its capacity and needs new components to add new customers, the Daily Mail reported Monday....full story from UPI

UK's first 'floating bus' gears up to ferry commuters: It was not a sinking feeling exactly. But Stagecoach's [National bus company linking all the British major cities] hopes that its trials of a new amphibious bus would go off without a hitch were dampened on Monday when the vehicle had to be dry-docked for repairs.

The "amfibus", seen here testing the water between Renfrew and Yoker on the River Clyde, developed a minor technical glitch after its second crossing – forcing the trial to be suspended while the vehicle was repaired.

"The driver noticed an issue with the suspension," said a Stagecoach spokesman. "An air-bag became disengaged." He stressed that the air-bag was "not a buoyancy aid"....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 7, 2010

Shoplifting suspect flees into police station: RIVERTON, Wyoming — Police say a man suspected of stealing a bottle of Schnapps from a Wyoming grocery store didn’t have the best escape route planned.

Riverton police say the 26-year-old ran out of the store after grabbing the bottle of liquor and a package of cough drops Wednesday and hid in a nearby building, which happened to be the police station....full story from CNews

'Manhattan Madam' enters N.Y. gov. race: NEW YORK - Former sex worker Kristin Davis, dubbed the "Manhattan Madam," said she intends to run as a Libertarian in the race for governor of New York.

Davis has help from a well known Republican operative, Roger Stone, who worked with former presidents including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes.

"This is not a hoax, a prank or a publicity stunt. I want to get her a half-million votes," Stone said....full story from UPI

February 6, 2010

Thieves steal truck load of Legos: NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, England - Thieves stole a lorry-load of Lego after tying up and gagging the driver, cops said today.

The gang made off with the toy building bricks after breaking into the truck parked up in services in the middle of the night.

They bound and gagged the driver and bundled him into another vehicle before making off with their loot....full story from The Sun (UK)

Cat owners 'more educated than dog owners': Cats have long been thought to be cleverer than dogs - and now it seems the same is true of their owners.

People with cats are more likely to have university degrees than those with dogs, according to a scientific survey of pet ownership.

The study also revealed that the combined cat and dog population of Britain is more than 20.8 million - 50 per cent higher than previously thought....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 5, 2010

Man 'operated on his own dog because vet too expensive': A man who claimed he could not afford medical care for his dog has been charged with illegally operating on the pet.

Alan MacQuattie, from Barrington, in the north-eastern state of Rhode Island, removed a cyst from the leg of his 14-year-old yellow labrador-mix.

But professional veterinarians had to operate again after an infection developed following the first surgery....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Whisky recovered from South Pole ice after more than 100 years: Five crates of Scotch whisky and brandy belonging to the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton have been recovered after more than 100 years in the ice.

They were buried beneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut, built in 1908 for a failed expedition to the South Pole.

Some of the crates have cracked and ice has formed inside, which means experts will face a delicate task in trying to extract the contents....full story w/pic from the BBC

Live in mountains to lose weight: Obese people should try living in the mountains if they want to lose weight, according to scientists.

Fat is much easier to burn off where the air is thin, researchers said, a phenomenon that could lead to tents that mimic the atmosphere of countries like Tibet and Argentina.

A study of twenty men with an average BMI (body mass index) of almost 34 found they kept off the pounds they had shed for at least a month after finishing the experiment....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 4, 2010

Farmer hid secret castle behind hay bales: A British farmer who built a castle and then kept it hidden behind straw bales for four years while he lived there has been told to demolish it because he had not received planning permission.

Robert Fidler, 60, spent two years building his dream home - complete with cannon, ramparts and stained glass - in Redhill, Surrey, south of London, before moving in with his wife and eight-year-old son.

But he had not been given the green light for construction by local officials....full story from ABC News (AU)

Amorous Cambridge students told to keep the noise down: Students at a historic all women college at Cambridge University [UK] have been asked to tone down their late night amorous "activities" after complaints they were being too noisy.

All 400 undergraduates at Newnham College were sent a polite email asking them to be more "discreet" after the student union received 30 complaints about noise in the student halls.

The plea reminded them that the corridors "funnelled sound" through "thin college walls".

Lizzy Cole, the Newnham College undergraduate president, sent the message asking them to quell their passion so others could get a good night's sleep....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 3, 2010

Aggressive pheasant 'terrorizing' town: NEWSHAM, England - Residents of a British town said they have been left afraid to leave their homes by the threat of a pecking attack from an aggressive pheasant.

Locals in Newsham, England, said the bird has been known to attack people of all ages as well as dogs, cars, strollers and bikes, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

Michigan man in DIY [do-it-yourself] rocket sled explosion: A Michigan man required hospital treatment when a rocket sled stunt went explosively wrong, ClickOnDetroit reports.

The unnamed 62-year-old was holding a "sledding party" at his Independence Township home last Saturday night, and after a few liveners decided it was a really bright idea to assemble an improvised go-faster machine "using a motorcycle muffler, a piece of pipe, gunpowder, match heads and gasoline".

Witnesses explained that the drunken rocket man "strapped the device on his back, donned a makeshift helmet and got on a sled, asking someone to light a wick attached to the device"....full story from The Register

February 2, 2010

Indonesian man loses six teeth when cigarette explodes in his mouth: Andi Susanto, a 31-year-old security guard, said PT Nojorono Tobacco Indonesia, the maker of the brand of cigarette he was smoking, had offered to pay for his medical treatment, which reportedly cost 5 million rupiah (£335-US$534).

"The company's officials have talked to my family and we agreed to settle it amicably, as an out-of-court settlement. They will pay all the medical expenses," he said through bandaged lips in an interview with local media.

The cause of the explosion remains unknown....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Swordfish attack Angolan oil pipeline: LONDON - Swordfish punctured part of an oil loading pipe in Angola, causing a three-day delay to tanker shipments of Girassol crude, traders said on Tuesday.

French oil company Total, which operates the crude stream declared force majeure on shipments, but lifted it on Monday.

In general, force majeure frees an operator from supply obligations due to extraordinary circumstances....full story from Reuters UK

February 1, 2010

Without groundhogs, Alaska to celebrate Marmot Day: JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska now has its own version of Groundhog Day.

Then-Gov. Sarah Palin signed a bill last year to make every Feb. 2 Marmot Day in Alaska.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Linda Menard, a Wasilla Republican....full story from CNews

Cat predicts 50 deaths: A cat with an uncanny ability to detect when nursing home patients are about to die has proven itself in around 50 cases by curling up with them in their final hours, according to a new book.

Dr David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, said that five years of records showed Oscar rarely erring, sometimes proving medical staff at the New England nursing home wrong in their predictions over which patients were close to death.

The cat, now five and generally unsociable, was adopted as a kitten at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Providence, Rhode Island, which specialises in caring for people with severe dementia....full story from The Daily Telegaph (UK)

Sex-crazed parrot given government role in New Zealand: The parrot that became famous for trying to mate with the head of Mark Carwardine, the wildlife presenter, during the shooting of a series with Stephen Fry, has become "spokesbird for conservation" in New Zealand.

The New Zealand prime minister has given the country’s most famous parrot a job in his government, it has emerged.

An endangered kakapo parrot, named Sirocco, which rose to fame last year after it attempted to mate with the head of Mark Carwardine, the wildlife presenter, during the BBC’s 'Last Chance to See' series, has been appointed by John Key as the world’s first “spokesbird for conservation”....full story w/video from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

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