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Odd News Archive - January 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.

January 31, 2010

Man keeps 24 crocodiles in back garden: Shaun Foggett is Britain's answer to Steve Irwin after assembling the largest collection of crocodiles in the country in his back garden.

Shaun, 30, keeps 24 crocodiles and alligators in the semi-detached home in Oxford he shares with fiancée Lisa Green, 29, and children Billy, six, Louie, four, and eight-month-old Shania.

Joiner Shaun has even erected a purpose-built enclosure for his unique pets which include endangered Black Caymans, Cuban crocodiles and a Chinese alligator to keep the reptiles at a constant 25 degrees....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Buffalo and pig fine for couple who had illicit sex: KOTA KINABALU - Malaysia: Four buffaloes, a pig and RM2,000 – this was the fine a court imposed on a man and his wife’s colleague for having an illicit affair.

The two were convicted by the Penampang Native Court here on Friday under customary native laws, after the man’s wife filed a complaint against them last year.

During the hearing, the woman claimed her husband had become indifferent to her after he enrolled for a degree course at a university here in 2006. She claimed she later found him and her colleague living together in a house in the city, and that when she confronted them there, her husband was clad in shorts while his lover was in a sarong....full story from The Star (Malaysia)

Eateries at odds over heart attack theme: DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - A restaurant owner in Arizona alleges the owners of an eatery in Delray Beach, Fla., stole the theme behind his Heart Attack Grill.

Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso alleges in a federal lawsuit the owners of the Heart Stoppers Sports Grill in Delray Beach copied his theme of having a restaurant with a medical theme and unhealthy foods, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said Friday.

"Heart Attack Grill is the originator of the medically themed hamburger grill and restaurant," Basso's attorney, Robert Kain, alleges....full story from UPI

****Video of "Original" Heart Attack Grill previously posted on Humor Etc****

January 30, 2010

Taxi drivers offered their licence forms in Braille in UK: Taxi drivers applying for their Hackney Carriage licence are being offered the forms in Braille by a council.

The document, issued by Portsmouth City Council, makes clear that it is also available in large print or audio format for those with sight problems.

A notice at the end reads: "You can get this Portsmouth City Council information in large print, Braille, audio or in another language....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Injured skiers force to pay up in Austrian ambulances: Austrian emergency services have defended a police that requires ambulance crews to demand that injured skiers pay before treatment.

A German tourist who injured himself while skiing in the Tyrolean Alps this month said he was asked to swipe his bank card before he could be treated, local radio ORF reported on Friday.

"During the ambulance ride, the crew started pushing buttons and then they said: 'Sorry but we have to charge you 230 euros (£200) now,'" said the 45-year-old holidaymaker from Berlin. "They were obviously very embarrassed."....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 29, 2010

Bear chases man after being shot with tranquilliser dart: A man who shot a marauding bear with a tranquilliser gun had an almighty scare when the beast awoke as he approached, and proceeded to attack him.

The female bear had been injected with a sleep-inducing drug after it appeared near the village of Chorzow in Poland.

Unfortunately for the rangers tasked with capturing the animal, it woke up from its apparent slumber as they came near and gave chase to the man who had shot it....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Sir Richard Branson plans 'underwater plane': A £415,000 carbon-fibre winged prototype, called the Necker Nymph, is already being developed that can submerge to depths of 130ft (40m).

Sir Richard told The Sun: "It is very similar to an airplane flying in the sea. You can literally do a loop-the-loop."

But it is only the first step to his greater ambition to take one to the dark depths of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, which is 36,000ft (11,000m) deep....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Student auctions off her virginity: A 19-year-old female university student is offering up her virginity "by tender to the highest bidder" on a Hamilton [New Zealand] based auction website.

Virginity auctions are becoming increasingly prevalent overseas.

German authorities levied an unexpected "virginity tax" on an 18-year-old Romanian girl who sold the right to become her first sex partner through a German website.

They treated it as a case of selling sex for money, which is taxable in the country....full story from the Waikato Times (New Zealand)

January 28, 2010

Man fights ticket for blowing nose: PRESTWICK, Scotland - A Scottish motorist who was ticketed for blowing his nose while his car was stopped in clogged traffic said he will take the charge to court.

Michael Mancini, 39, of Prestwick, said he was in stationary traffic with his parking brake on when he reached for a handkerchief to wipe his runny nose, leading police Constable Stuart Gray to issue him a $97 fine because he was "not in control of his vehicle" while blowing his nose, the Daily Mail reported Thursday....full story from UPI

Pork better for sex than Viagra - Argentine leader: BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's president recommended pork as an alternative to Viagra on Wednesday, saying she spent a satisfying weekend with her husband after eating barbecued pork.

"I've just been told something I didn't know; that eating pork improves your sex life ... I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," President Cristina Fernandez said to leaders of the pig farming industry....full story from Reuters UK

January 27, 2010

Spanish town to reward good drivers: The Spanish town of Puigcerdà has come up with a novel way of rewarding those drivers who behave themselves: give them the cash which was collected in fines from those who don't.

The objective of the cunning plan is, according to mayor Joan Planella, "to get people to drive better and to show residents that respecting the law has its rewards".

Planella added: "The idea came to us when we were wondering what we could do to promote responsible behaviour."....full story from The Register

Indonesian group wants Obama statue torn down: JAKARTA - Indonesians, who welcomed Barack Obama as one of their own two years ago, now want a statue commemorating his Jakarta school years to be removed, a sign the U.S. president's global appeal may be waning.

The statue of Obama as a 10-year-old was installed in Menteng park in central Jakarta in December 2009 to mark the four years he attended a local primary school there while living in Jakarta....full story from Reuters UK

January 26, 2010

Ad for 'reliable' workers said biased: HERTFORD, England - Bosses at a British recruitment firm said they were shocked when a government job center rejected an ad for discriminating against people who aren't "reliable."

Nicole Mamo, 48, director of Devonwood Recruitment in Hertfordshire, said she was shocked when the government-run Job Center rejected her ad for applicants who "must be very reliable and hard-working," the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

Mamo said she called the center to find out why her advertisement was rejected....full story from UPI

Satellite TV 'making humans invisible to aliens on other planets': Satellite television and the digital revolution is making humanity more and more invisible to inquisitive aliens on other planets, the world's leading ET hunter has said.

That might be good news for anyone who fears an ''Independence Day'' – style invasion by little green men. But it is also likely to make the search for extraterrestrial intelligence by Earthly scientists harder, Dr Frank Drake believes.

Dr Drake, who founded the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) organisation in the US 50 years ago, said the digital age was effectively gagging the Earth by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Mona Lisa mystery: Da Vinci to be exhumed: Leonardo Da Vinci's remains are to be exhumed to allow scientists to establish whether the Mona Lisa is a disguised self-portrait.

Scientists and historians from Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage have sought permission to open the artist's tomb in France's Loire Valley.

They hope to find his skull which they can use to reconstruct his face to discover whether his famed masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, is in fact a self-portrait in disguise....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 25, 2010

New Zealand police pursue cuffed and naked fugitive: New Zealand police were last Friday led a merry dance by a prisoner who gave them the slip while en route to court in Whakatane, on the country's north island.

According to the New Zealand Herald, cops twice cornered 34-year-old Werimu Rangi Hauraki following his escape, but on both occasions the dreadlocked, six-foot fugitive managed to break free.

Inspector Tony Jeurissen explained on Friday: "At one stage he was apprehended and handcuffed by police, and whilst being escorted he managed to dive from a balcony over a steep cliff head first....full story from The Register

Search for aliens should start on Earth, says scientist: Professor Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona University will tell a meeting at the Royal Society that the best way of proving that extra-terrestrial life exists elsewhere in the universe is to use evidence from earth.

The meeting at the Royal Society, which will include representatives from Nasa, the European Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer space Affairs marks the 5th anniversary of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme. Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society will also lead one of the sessions....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Man 'coughs up diamond ring he tried to steal': A man accused of stealing a ring in a Missouri town coughed up the evidence while officers were questioning him, police said.

Rebecca Moore's two-carat diamond ring, worth about $20,000, was stolen from inside her handbag, which she had left in a car parked at the Northpark mall in Joplin.

As she mourned the loss of the family heirloom, police sent photographs of the ring to jewellers in the Joplin area after it was reported stolen on Thursday....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 24, 2010

Man says he will use leopard to save home: MOSCOW - A Russian man said he will employ the assistance of his pet leopard in defending his Moscow home from demolition.

Sergie Bobyshev, of the Rechnik settlement, a rural area of the Russian capital, said the residents of the area were granted the land during the era of Soviet rule, RIA Novosti reported Sunday.

"We will fight to the bitter end," Bobyshev said....full story from UPI

Britain's oddest laws revealed: Walking home from a DIY shop with a ladder, dressing as a sailor or disturbing people by flying a kite, could all be illegal in Britain under antique laws, it has emerged.

These are just a handful of strange offences still on the statue book, which were found by Reader's Digest magazine.

Under the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 it is illegal to walk the streets with building materials and tools, the magazine found....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 23, 2010

Suspect found playing 'Grand Theft Auto': HAINES CITY, Fla - A suspected Florida car thief was arrested while playing the video game "Grand Theft Auto," authorities say.

Polk County, Fla., Sheriff Grady Judd said detectives had tracked a car stolen in Sebring to an address in Haines City where they found suspect Michael Ray Ekes, 30, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Judd said they arrested Ekes while he was playing the popular video game about stealing cars....full story from UPI

A coco nutty arrest: Two Bronx men were locked up and left to rot in a filthy jail cell for nearly a week after a pair of bumbling cops mistook their candy for a bag of crack.

The "drugs" were finally tested five days later and determined to be popular Coco (coconut) Candy. The charges were dropped -- but there were no apologies from the NYPD.

"Sweet happens," a police source glibly said of the boondoggle.

The NYPD had no official comment....full story from the New York Post

January 22, 2010

Burger King adding beer to combo: MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Burger King is opening a restaurant in Miami Beach that will serve beer along with burgers and fries, the chain’s first U.S. location with alcohol.

At the Whopper Bar South Beach, guests can pair a Whopper sandwich with Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors brews. With fries, the combo will run $7.99.

The restaurant will offer outdoor dining, a walk-up window and delivery service....full story from CNews

Elephants trained to play basketball: Elephants in Thailand are being trained to play basketball, as part of an innovative regime introduced by their carers.

The Island Safari Centre on Koh Samui is teaching six-year old Malie, and nine-year old Toktak to use their trunks to perform basketball skills, in an effort to improve their health and vitality.

Organisers at the centre, which cares for the animals, say that they undergo rigorous training in order to learn the basics of the game....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 21, 2010

Driver parked in front of speed camera gets tickets: A driver was twice sent speeding tickets after parking in front of a camera because police officers failed to notice his vehicle was stationary, it has emerged.

Jeff Buck parks in front of the camera outside his home on Watnall Road, Nottingham [UK], because he does not have a drive or a garage.

But he has been sent two speeding fines by Nottinghamshire Police....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

'Antiquities Theft in Israel' exhibition robbed: An Israeli exhibition celebrating antiquities which have been recovered from thieves has been robbed of artefacts including a silver ring once worn by Alexander the Great.

Organisers of the "Antiquities Theft in Israel" in Jerusalem could not have chosen a more fitting name for their exhibition.

On Wednesday burglars broke into the a museum in Ashdod where hundreds of artefacts recovered from the black market were on show and snatched several valuable items, including a silver ring belonging to Alexander the Great....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 20, 2010

South Koreans told to make babies: South Korean government workers are being given an unusual instruction - go home and multiply.

At 1900 on Wednesday, officials at the Ministry of Health will turn off all the lights in the building.

They want to encourage staff to go home to their families and, well, make bigger ones. They plan to repeat the experiment every month....full story from the BBC

Indian inmates take yoga classes to reduce jail time: Yoga, the Indian art of exercise and meditation, can strengthen muscles, improve concentration and increase a sense of spiritual well-being, its practitioners claim. Now it can also get you out of jail.

Prison officials in Madhya Pradesh, in central India, have launched a new scheme which will grant inmates reductions on their sentences if they complete a three-month course.

For every three months each prisoner spends performing sun salutations, down dog stretches, pranayam heavy breathing exercises and chanting "Om", his or her release date will be brought forward by 36 days....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 19, 2010

Singapore nightclub offers booze for boobs: A Singapore nightclub has launched an initiative which rewards gals with free booze depending on the size of their chesticles, the China Times reports.

The OverEasy club decided to launch its "Fill My Cups" promotion to punt events featuring Oz DJ DCUP. Cheryl Ho, spokeswoman for the venue's owner, explained: "It was really a play on the guest DJ's name. When we heard that it was DCUP, we decided to give the event an added spin."....full story from The Register

U.S. group sends solar-powered Bibles to Haiti: MIAMI - As international aid agencies rush food, water and medicine to Haiti's earthquake victims, a U.S. faith-based group is sending Bibles to Haitians in their hour of need.

Not any Bible. These are solar-powered audible Bibles that can broadcast the holy scriptures in Haitian Creole to 300 people at a time.

Called the "Proclaimer," the audio Bible delivers "digital quality" and is designed for "poor and illiterate people," the Faith Comes By Hearing group said....full story from Reuters UK

Cat famed for catching the bus killed in 'hit and run': A cat who earned worldwide fame for taking free bus rides in Plymouth, Devon, [UK] has died after being struck by a car.

Casper, who was a familiar figure on public transport in the city is thought to have been the victim of a hit and run incident.

The pet, from Barne Barton, queued up with fellow passengers in order to get around the city....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 18, 2010

DJ plays 'Jump' as suicidal woman holds up traffic: LONDON - A British radio DJ is being criticized for playing Van Halen's "Jump" as police tried to talk a suicidal woman down from a highway bridge last week.

A British mental health charity said it was horrified by the incident Thursday morning, and would bring it up with Britain's media regulator....full story from CNews

Hospital emergency room shockers revealed online: We're very much obliged to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has produced a handy online guide detailing just what kind of damage our accident-prone American cousins managed to sustain between 1991 and 2008.

The data is gathered by the "National Electronic Injury Surveillance System" (NEISS) and represents a "sample of 100 hospital emergency rooms in the United States and its territories".

Florida's Sun Sentinel has posted a searchable full list of the more than 274,000 injuries reported in 2008, which immediately reveals that Americans really are nailgunning themselves towards extinction....full story from The Register

Hotel chain offers human bed warmers: A hotel chain is employing human bed warmers to help guests get a good night's sleep.

The walking electric blankets are dressed in special all-in-one sleeper suits and are sent to warm the beds of guests staying at the Holiday Inn before they get under the covers.

Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh [UK] Sleep Centre, said the idea could help people get off to sleep....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 17, 2010

Winston Churchill's cigar for sale: LONDON - A half-smoked cigar British Prime Minister Winston Churchill put down before a Cabinet meeting in 1941 is up for auction.

Andrew Bullock, from the auction firm Keys in Aylsham in Norfolk, England, said he expects the 4-inch cigar butt to go for about 300 pounds (almost $500), the Daily Mail reported. The auction is scheduled at Keys on Jan. 29.

Churchill smoked the cigar at one of the most difficult times in World War II for Britain....full story from UPI

Islamic Solidarity Games cancelled over name dispute: The Islamic Solidarity Games, designed to strengthen ties among Muslim nations, have been cancelled after a dispute between Arab countries and Iran over the name of the waterway dividing them.

The Saudi-based Islamic Solidarity Games Federation says they cancelled the sporting event, which were meant to be held in Tehran in the spring, after Iran put "Persian Gulf" on the logo.

Arabs call the waterway the Arabian Gulf and many were offended by references to its other common name....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 16, 2010

Suspect shocked and handcuffed himself: TAVARES, Fla. - A bumbling burglary suspect shocked himself with a stun gun and locked himself in handcuffs stolen from a police cruiser, Lake County, Fla. authorities allege.

Shane Williams-Allen, 19, of Orlando was charged this week with multiple counts of burglary and theft, the Orlando Sentinel reported more from UPI

Governor in hot water over prisoner massage: The governor of the US-administered Northern Mariana Islands is feeling the heat after ordering the temporary release of a jailed suspect to give him a massage.

Benigno R Fitial, the most senior politician in the western Pacific territory, demanded Chinese masseuse, Qing Mei Cheng, be set free on January 8 to treat him for back pain.

The masseuse was taken from the local prison, where she was being held on people smuggling charges, to the governor's mansion before being returned to jail....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 15, 2010

Woman stuck in elevator for 8 days: MADRID — Police say they rescued a woman who was trapped for eight days in an elevator in her house in northeastern Spain.

Police said Friday they were alerted by relatives of the 45-year-old woman who said they had not been able to contact her for five days.

Officers on Tuesday heard the woman’s cries for help as soon as they opened the door of her three-floor house....full story from CNews

Skin flick shown on Moscow motorway billboard: Moscow drivers squinted in disbelief as an electronic motorway billboard ran a two-minute pornographic video instead of its regular advertising clips.

Late-night traffic on one of the Russian capital’s busiest roads slowed on Thursday as a couple’s explicit escapades appeared on the 9-by-6-yard display.

Some people took pictures of the sight with their mobile phones and posted them on the internet....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Texas nuclear weapons plant shut down by duck hunters: A pair of duck hunters prompted a lock-down in Texas at America's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant, officials said on Friday. but there was no security threat, officials said.

The plant was locked down after two people in green camouflage carrying rifles were spotted on property adjacent to it, said Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry.

"Somebody saw some armed individuals dressed in camouflage clothing exiting the vicinity of the plant," the sheriff said....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 14, 2010

Wild boar raids anger residents of forest: London - Some of the first wild boar to roam free in England for 300 years have been raiding rubbish bins, attacking dogs and digging up green spaces in villages scattered around England's first national forest park.

Recent snow and icy weather has interrupted rubbish collection service in the Forest of Dean leaving tempting treats in local bins that have attracted the boar, which ordinarily forage for shoots, leaves, bulbs, worms and carrion.

Some areas in the forest, which is in the west of England close to the border with Wales, have not seen garbage collection since before the Christmas holidays....full story from Reuters UK

Cocaine found at NASA hangar: NASA is investigating how a bag of cocaine got into the hangar that houses the space shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said on Thursday that the bag contained a tiny amount of the illegal drug.

It was found by a worker in a secure part of the hangar that is accessible by about 200 NASA employees and contractors, the spokesman said....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Weight Watchers clinic floor collapses under dieters: The floor of a Weight Watchers clinic in Sweden collapsed beneath a group of 20 members of the weight loss programme who were gathered for a meeting.

As the dieters queued to see how many pounds they had shed, the floor beneath them in the clinic in Växjö, in south-central Sweden, began to rumble, according to a report in The Local, Sweden's English-language newspaper.

"We suddenly heard a huge thud; we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 13, 2010

Fem-rage shocker: Woman zaps ex-boyf with pink taser: The debate over the appropriateness of Taser flying-cattleprod stun weapons took a new turn this week. Those fearing that the crippling electric weapons might be used inappropriately will be alarmed, but it's possible that the jitter-jolt blasters may become more popular in some quarters.

The latest development - perhaps a predictable one following Taser International's 2007 decision to market pink, handbag-sized zap pistols to women under the slogan "I will control my own destiny" - has seen a woman in Florida allegedly confront and tase her love-rat former boyfriend, leaving him twitching in the dirt with his skeleton flashing on and off through his skin....full story from The Register

Scammer sends $4K check to police in Washington: RICHLAND, Wash. - Not even the police are immune from those offers of free money from African countries that are really scams.

Richland police could use another $4,000, but the department wasn't tempted by the cashier’s check it received Friday in the mail from the country of Benin....full story from CNews

The Beaver is history as magazine changes name: Canada's second-oldest magazine is changing its name because its unintended sexual connotation has caused the history journal to become snagged in internet filters and has turned off potential readers.

The Beaver was founded in 1920 as a publication of the Hudson's Bay Company, then a fur trader and now a department store chain.

It has since become a broader magazine about Canadian history and will change its name to Canada's History with its April issue, editor in chief Mark Reid said on Tuesday....full story from ABC News (AU)
Related article from Quoted: Digital age forces The Beaver to evolve

January 12, 2010

Prostitutes see gold at Olympics: EDMONTON -- Olympic athletes won’t be the only people going for gold in Vancouver next month.

Thousands of prostitutes - including scores from Edmonton - are expected to descend on the West Coast city to cash in on the swelling numbers of fans, media and Olympic employees.

"Cha-ching!" one local escort, who spoke on condition of anonymity....full story from CNews

Church holds blessing for mobile phones: A British church held an unusual ceremony on Monday when a vicar blessed the mobile phones of workers in the City of London financial district.

The special service at the St. Lawrence Jewry church, which dates back to 1136, was attended by around 80 people who held their phones and other gadgets in the air while vicar David Parrott blessed them.

The idea came from a historic tradition where workers would bring the tools of their trade such as ploughs to be blessed on the first Monday after people return to work following Christmas....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 11, 2010

Australian firm seeks talented IT developer: 'SQL server experience, DD cup breasts': One of Oz's "leading privately owned Transport companies" last Friday posted an ad on the country's "#1 job site" looking for an IT operative with a pretty specific range of talents.

Interestingly, the firm has now lowered the bar somewhat, and has removed the requirement for SQL server/TSQL experience. It also appears applicants won't have to undergo the "pre-employment strip search" either....full story w/copy of full ad from The Register

McDonalds begins three year study of cow flatulence: McDonalds is to conduct a three-year study into methane emissions from cattle on 350 farms across Britain.

Flatulent livestock accounts for 4 per cent of Britain's carbon emissions.

Now the fast food company has agreed to look into ways of lessoning the problem and will being to study cows in the US....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 10, 2010

Hundreds Strip in NYC for No-Pants Subway Ride: NEW YORK - Hundreds of New Yorkers have been riding the city's subway trains in their underwear.

They stripped down to their undies on Sunday for the ninth annual No Pants Subway Ride.

The idea is to act like nothing unusual is going on....full story from The New York Times

Glasgow: Parents take teens to washroom: GLASGOW, Scotland - A Scotland city council regulation says a parent must escort children under 16 years old to the washroom in places such as restaurants.

The Glasgow rule requires parents to accompany their children everywhere within a licensed establishment, which arguably would mean that, for example, a teenage boy would have to go to the women's restroom with his mother, The Sunday Times of London said....full story from UPI

January 9, 2010

Man steals noodles to return to prison: KASHIHARA, Japan - A man in Japan told police he stole a cup of noodles and didn't pay for a cab ride in what they say may have been a bid to get tossed back in prison.

Police said the 41-year-old man, whose identity was not provided, arrived at a police station in in Kashihara, Japan, Friday and asked to be arrested for stealing a cup of instant noodles, worth little more than $1, The Mainichi Daily News reported Saturday....full story from UPI

UK Health and safety experts warn: don't clear icy pavements, you could get sued: Heavy snow, low temperatures and a lack of gritting mean pavements throughout the country are too slippery to walk on safely. Hospitals have been struggling to cope with rising numbers of patients who have broken bones after falling on icy paths.

Yet the professional body that represents health and safety experts has issued a warning to businesses not to grit public paths – despite the fact that Britain is in the grip of its coldest winter for nearly half a century....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 8, 2010

Bookie refuses to pay out £7 million on snow bet: LONDON - Bookmaker Ladbrokes is refusing to pay out more than 7 million pounds [US$11 million] to a man who gambled on a white Christmas across the UK, as the bet was accepted by mistake.

Cliff Bryant, 52, had placed two 5-pound accumulator bets that snow would fall on 24 towns and cities across the north of England on Christmas Day.

"We have apologised to the customer for any confusion and for mistakenly accepting an accumulator bet when our own rules state that only single bets are available on a market of this nature," said a Ladbrokes spokesman....full story from Reuters UK

Rare self-rolling giant snow balls found in UK: They may look like winter's answer to crop circles, but these mysterious snow rolls are in fact a rare natural phenomenon usually found only in the world's most remote and frozen regions.

Also known as snowrollers, snow bales and snow doughnuts, they form mostly in unusual conditions created by a precise combination of snow, ice, wind, temperature and moisture on the prairies of North America.

But this week's frozen weather has allowed the snow cylinders to make a freak appearance in the UK....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Swedish cops liberate jealous wife from treehouse: A Swedish wife who reckoned her son's treehouse was the best place to check hubby's mobe for evidence he'd been playing away had to be freed by police from the elevated bolt-hole, The Local reports.

The unnamed woman from Skåne, southern Sweden, apparently got a visit from the green-eyed monster early this morning, and snuck out of the house to scour her other half's text messages.

The availability of the phone proved handy when she got trapped in the structure, and she called for law enforcement assistance....full story from The Register

Suit: Neighbor's electronics cause illness: SANTA FE, N.M - A New Mexico man's lawsuit against his neighbor claims her refusal to switch off her cellphone makes him ill due to electromagnetic sensitivity.

Arthur Firstenberg filed a lawsuit Monday in Santa Fe District Court alleging neighbor Raphaela Monribot, whose house is only 25 feet from Firstenberg's, refused his requests to turn off her cellphone, wireless computer network and other electronic devices he said aggravate his electromagnetic sensitivity, or EMS, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday....full story from UPI

Cops: Man too drunk for snowblower: BARRIE, Ont. - A man who decided to help clear the street with his own push snowblower ended up with a public intoxication ticket.

Police in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto, say it was for the man's own protection as he was too intoxicated to operate the machine and was almost struck twice by passing vehicles Tuesday evening....full story from CNews

January 7, 2010

Man's penis removed from pipe: Medics at Southampton [UK] General Hospital could not get the man's penis out of the stainless steel pipe because the restricted blood flow had caused it to become aroused.

So they called in Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

They turned up with a special equipment unit from St Mary's station in Southampton and seven firefighters to help in what a spokesman said was a "delicate operation"....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Australian city of Darwin named 'broken jaw capital of the world': A doctor at the Royal Darwin Hospital said the emergency room dealt with 350 cases of broken jaws and noses each year.

"(This) puts us at about 17 per 10,000 population, which is well above anywhere else in the world," Dr Mahiban Thomas told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Dr Thomas said the shockingly high rate of broken bones could be attributed to alcohol-related violence in Darwin....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 6, 2010

'Peeping Tom' caught on own camera: Police have issued a fetching self-portrait of a man who was caught on the miniature camera he put in the ladies changing room of a Cheshire [UK] supermarket.

A police statement explains: "Police in Warrington are keen to trace a man who placed a small camera in a fitting room at Asda in the Westbrook centre in Warrington on December 19 at around 5pm. The device was placed in the light fitting and was in place for 30 minutes before it was discovered....full story w/pic from The Register

Honey, I closed the airport: A California airport was shut down earlier today after a passenger carrying honey in five sports drink bottles triggered a security alert.

Flights in and out of Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, about 180 kilometres north of Los Angeles, were suspended for several hours following the scare.

However the airport was reopened after it was determined that no hazardous materials were involved....full story from ABC News (AU)

Six arrested in Indonesia for 'sexy dancing': Indonesian police arrested six people for the alleged performance of a "sexy dance" at a cafe in the early hours of New Year's Day, a police official said Tuesday.

Police arrested six people - four female dancers, the dance group's leader and the cafe owner, local police chief detective Arman Achdiat said.

"We're charging them for preparing the dance and performing it in public, which is against morality," he added....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 5, 2010

Mouse nest found in London cop's paperwork: A South London copper has been described as "a little embarrassed" after discovering mice had taken up residence in paperwork on his Kennington desk.

The rodent hideaway was exposed when pest control operatives were called in after staff "came across a number of mice at a police building", as an internal police report explains.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "Some of the desks were so messy it was a wonder anyone could find anything....full story from The Register

Trainee hynostist puts himself in trance using mirror: A newly trained hypnotist accidentally put himself into a trance for five hours after practising in front of a mirror.

Helmut Kichmeier, 27, was found by his wife, Joanna, staring into thin air after the bungle in their north London home as they prepared for a tour.

Mr Kichmeier, whose stage name is Hannibal Helmurto, had learned the skill to put himself into a somnabulistic trance to help him swallow multiple swords on stage....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 4, 2010

25kg of cocaine hits Spanish supermarket shelves: Drug smugglers in Spain are at least 25 kilos of cocaine short after boxes of bananas in which they'd hidden the Bolivian marching powder ended up on supermarket shelves.

The alarm was raised on Saturday morning when several one kilo packets were found in a box of "enormous green tropical bananas" in a Madrid branch of supermarket chain Lidl.

According to El Mundo, the bananas came from Mercamadrid, Madrid's central wholesale market....full story from The Register axes 5,000 members for gaining weight:, which claims to have a strict ban on "ugly people", said "vigilant members" called for drastic action after users posted photos of themselves celebrating Christmas and the New Year - revealing they had "let themselves go".

"We responded to complaints by moving the newly chubby members back to the rating stage. This is the same as having them re-apply," said Greg Hodge, the managing director....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Iranian soccer redfaced by Israel New Year gaffe: A senior official from the Iranian football federation has offered to resign after he accidentally sent a New Year's greeting to Israel's football team.

The Iranians have found it difficult to explain how they ended up sending an email wishing their Israeli counterparts a happy New Year.

One official has taken responsibility for the gaffe, saying it was quite inadvertent....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 3, 2010

D.C. to AT&T: All your unused minutes belong to us: Washington, D.C. is suing AT&T because some customers who buy its prepaid calling cards don't always use up all the minutes. The city isn't suing on behalf of the customers, of course (though even that would be sort of silly). It's suing on the notion that when a customer doesn't use up all of a product or service they purchase, the remainder belongs to the government....full story from Reason Magazine

Missing cat back with owner years later: OLDSMAR, Fla. - A Florida woman said her decision to remain hopeful for the return of her missing cat after two years was rewarded when she was reunited with the feline.

Deitra Jones of Oldsmar, Fla., said while her Himalayan named Fluff disappeared during the holiday season two years ago, she never gave up hope that one day she and her furry pet would be back together, WFTS-TV, Tampa, Fla., reported Saturday....full story from UPI

Mysterious G-spot just a myth - study: A Sexual quest that has for years baffled millions of women, and men, may have been in vain.

A study by British scientists has found that the mysterious G-spot, the sexual pleasure zone said to be possessed by some women but denied to others, may not exist at all.

The scientists at King’s College London who carried out the study claim there is no evidence for the existence of the G-spot, supposedly a cluster of internal nerve endings, outside the imagination of women influenced by magazines and sex therapists....full story from

January 2, 2010

Jeweller designs rings with plants growing inside them: A jewellery designer has come up with the ultimate 'green' collection - rings with live plants growing inside them instead of precious stones.

Featuring tiny Icelandic moss plants sprouting in their stainless steel bases, the pieces are said to be a 'clash of jewellery and gardening'.

They need watering like any other plant and if looked after, designer Hafsteinn Juliusson claims they can last up to six months....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Pedal-powered submarine to go on the market: A pedal-powered submarine capable of diving up to 30 metres has been developed by a Russian company.

The craft can be powered by two people with no specialist training and moves at about walking pace.

The pedallers sit side by side in the craft, most of which is made from a special acrylic glass....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

New Year's Eve party over Antarctica: A Qantas A380 Airbus has become the first of the giant airliners to fly passengers over Antarctica, taking 450 revellers out of Melbourne [Australia] to see in the new year, partying and sightseeing above the icy continent.

An onboard jazz band and the singing of Auld Lang Syne saw in 2010 on the chartered jet that flew over ice floes, giant glaciers and craggy, snow-covered mountains as passengers crowded to the windows for the views.

The Airbus, with 24 crew aboard, left Melbourne on Thursday afternoon for the party flight over the land of the midnight sun and returned to the city on Friday morning without flying through more from

Man begged for jail over New Year with wife: A Sicilian man stole sweets and a packet of chewing gum so he could get arrested and spend New Year's Eve in a jail cell rather than be with his wife and relatives, Italian media reported.

The 35-year-old Sicilian first showed up at a police station on Thursday (local time) asking to be arrested because he preferred spending the night in prison rather than with his family, but was rebuffed because he had not committed a crime, the Agi news agency said on Friday....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 1, 2010

Date's 'surprise' allegedly car theft: EVERETT, Wash. - A young Washington state man says a woman he met on MySpace had a nasty surprise for him -- she took in his car with his laptop and other possessions.

Ashley Dawson, 19, was arrested after she allegedly stole Andrew Scarborough's car a second time, KOMO-TV, Seattle, reported. She was formally charged Wednesday.

Scarborough, an Everett resident, said he agreed to meet Dawson in person after getting to know her on MySpace....full story from UPI

Road sweeper given parking ticket for picking up broken bottle: Justin Wickett, 22, stopped to pick up the jagged glass thinking someone could step on it and hurt themselves.

In doing so, he parked his electric road sweeper for some 60 seconds in a vacant disabled parking bay in St Austell, Cornwall.

But in that time a council parking attendant spotted the vehicle and wrote out a £70 [US$113] parking ticket....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

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