Odd News Archive - July 2011

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July 31, 2011

Don't try this at home -- or elsewhere! [July 31st edition]: (by Anthony Hall) Spelunking, anyone?

When it comes to dropping down wells or skittering down manhole covers or otherwise visiting deep, dark, dank, dismal places, what would be on the list of things you would not want to do?

Getting into cold water that is deeper than you are tall might be on the list -- as might getting into a hole with snakes, going down head first, doing this while drunk, or following up a crime by getting stuck in a vent....read more from UPI

July 30, 2011

US Marines counter nudist beach invasion: CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The Marines say the beach at Camp Pendleton in San Diego is off limits to civilians whether they are wearing clothes or not.

The Los Angeles Times said the Corps has found itself in the middle of a beef between civilian nude sunbathers who say California state park rangers have crossed on to federal land to order them to cover up....read more from UPI


The 40-year mystery of America’s greatest skyjacking: (by Alex Hannaford) After hijacking an aeroplane and extorting $200,000 from the FBI, DB Cooper coolly made his escape via parachute. Forty years on, is America’s most elusive fugitive finally in sight?

The night before Thanksgiving, 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper, wearing a suit and raincoat, walked up to the Northwest Orient desk at Portland airport in the United State’s Pacific Northwest and spent $20 on a one-way ticket to Seattle.

On the plane, he donned a pair of dark sunglasses, ordered a whiskey, lit up a cigarette and coolly handed the stewardess a note. In capital letters, it read: I HAVE A BOMB IN MY BRIEFCASE. I WILL USE IT IF NECESSARY. I WANT YOU TO SIT NEXT TO ME. YOU ARE BEING HIJACKED....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Schwarzenegger museum opens its doors: The world's first museum dedicated to former "Governator" and Mr Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger has opened its doors in his birthplace of Thal in southern Austria.

The "Styrian Oak" himself was absent for the event, timed to coincide with Arnie's 64th birthday, but will attend a grander opening at a later date, according to organisers.

Visitors, mostly locals, gathered for a first look at the two-storey light yellow house in Thal in southern Styria, restored to look as it did when Schwarzenegger first came into the world on July 30, 1947....read more from ABC News (AU)


Internet Explorer users are dumber, study shows: An old geek adage has become much more believable as a new study has found evidence that Internet Explorer users are generally dumber than Chrome and Firefox users.

A company called AptiQuant, a self-proclaimed "world leader in the field of online psychometric testing," published the results of an online study that tested the IQs of users and grouped the results according to which browser respondents used.

The study found that users of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera were all slightly above average in IQ test results, but Microsoft Internet Explorer users tended to be lower on the IQ scale....read more from Fox News

July 29, 2011

Hitler cat fails to find home: AStaff at an animal charity have named an abandoned kitten "Kitler" - because she bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nazi leader.

The six-week-old cat - which was abandoned at the roadside - earned the moniker because of her distinctive black moustache.

Staff at Wood Green animal shelter in Godmanchester, Cambs., say they are struggling to find her a loving home because of her unusual markings....read more w/pics from The Telegraph (UK)

Followup: Kitten who looks like Hitler a U.K. hit....from CNews


GeepIt's not a sheep, not a goat - it's a geep: When is a lamb not a lamb? When it’s a geep, obviously, and Follyfoot Farm at Fountaindale can prove it.

The farm is the proud carer of the unusual animal born earlier this month. The cuddly bundle of joy was born to a ewe but is a throw back from his father, a ram that has goat genes.

It sounds bizarre but this unusual animal is officially known as a geep. Farm supervisor Tracey Yeomans says the hybrid animal is quite rare and it’s birth took everyone by surprise....read more from the Express Advocate (AU)

July 28, 2011

Hordes of bats delight Texas city residents: A drought in the state of Texas, where 1.5 million bats are living under a bridge in the city of Austin, has fuelled a bat frenzy with locals gathering each night to view the nocturnal creatures.

The drought has destroyed crops in Texas and killed delicious pests that the Mexican free-tailed bats eat.

The lack of food means the bats leave home earlier than usual each night to find nourishment -- giving the locals more time to watch the normally-nocturnal critters fly before the sun goes down....read more w/pic from Reuters UK


Business employs hound to sniff out bedbugs: Two Norman, Oklahoma residents have started a business based around their dog that sniffs out bedbugs.

Liberty Belle, a 2-year-old Beagle, is trained to sniff out bedbugs. Husband-and-wife team Christen and Glen Collymore adopted Liberty Belle from the J & K Canine Academy in High Springs, Florida.

The Collymores created their business, K9 Special Forces, in February. Although the company is young, the trio already have worked in five states....read more w/pic from The Oklahoma Daily


High-rise daredevilsHeight-loving daredevils offered new thrills: Daredevils in red jumpsuits can teeter around the outside edge of Canada's tallest structure next month as the CN Tower opens a new attraction for thrill-seekers and those wanting to overcome fear.

Modelled onB similar attractions in Auckland and Macau, the C$3.5 million (NZ$4.1m) EdgeWalk is an adrenaline filled excursion around an open-mesh metal walkway almost a quarter of a mile above the ground.

There's no guard rail and no hand holds, just an uninterrupted view of the Toronto skyline and a through-the-mesh view of the ground, 356 metres beneath your feet....read more from Stuff.co.nz


Wallaby won't leave family alone: A Kooralbyn [Australia] family say they are prisoners in their own home ever since a rampaging wallaby moved into the neighbourhood.

Julie Bambrick said an unusually aggressive pretty-faced wallaby - dubbed Wacker by the family - had terrorised her 11-year-old grandson Reece, bowled over her husband Virgil and bit him on the face, and hissed, snarled and scratched at her whenever she ventured into her garden.

She said the family had been attacked while putting the rubbish out, going to the car and even just stepping out the front door....read more from NEWS.com.au

July 27, 2011

South Korean scientists create glowing dog: SEOUL - South Korean scientists said on Wednesday they have created a glowing dog using a cloning technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Yonhap news agency reported.

A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon and born in 2009, has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic, the report said.

The researchers, who completed a two-year test, said the ability to glow can be turned on or off by adding a drug to the dog’s food....read more from CNews


Goldfish survive 134 days without food after NZ earthquake: Two goldfish have become the smallest and hardiest survivors of the devastating February earthquake in Christchurch that killed 181 people.

The fish, named Shaggy and Daphne after characters from the animated television show Scooby Doo, spent four and a half months - 134 days - trapped in their tank in the city's off-limits downtown without anyone to feed them or even any electricity to power their tank filter before they were discovered this month and rescued.

Luckily for the fish, they lived in a large 26-gallon tank and may have gleaned some nutrition from eating algae growing on the tank's rocks and walls....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


It's dim up North, so people need bigger brains: People from northern parts of the world have evolved bigger brains and larger eyes to help them to cope with long, dark winters and dim skies, scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers from Oxford University studied the eye sockets and brain capacity of 55 human skulls from 12 different populations across the world and found that the further human populations live from the equator, the bigger their brains.

It's not because they are smarter, however, but because they need bigger vision areas in the brain to cope with the low light levels at high latitudes, the scientists said in a report of their findings in the journal Biology Letters....read more from Reuters UK


'Jeopardy' host Alex Trebek suffers injury while chasing down burglar: "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek suffered an agonizing injury Wednesday while chasing after a burglar at a San Francisco hotel, KGO-TV reported.

The TV veteran sprang into action after a female crook entered his room and tried to swipe cash and other items including a treasured bracelet given to him by his mother.

He gave chase along a hallway but collapsed in pain after his Achilles tendon suddenly snapped, hurting his other leg as he fell....read more from Fox News


Public servant sues over work trip sex injury: A Federal Government employee is suing for compensation after being injured while having sex on a work trip.

The woman, who cannot be named, was injured when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above a bed in 2007.

The Federal Court in Sydney has heard she suffered facial injuries after the light hit her....read more from ABC News (AU)


Remains of man missing for 27 years discovered in bank chimney: (by Jon Swaine) The remains of a man who has been missing for 27 years have been discovered lodged in the chimney of a bank in Louisiana.

Joseph Schexnider, who was 22, disappeared from the town of Abbeville in January 1984, after missing a court hearing over charges of possessing a stolen vehicle.

It is thought his family did not report him missing because police officers had arrived at their home searching for him following the missed court appearance....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

July 26, 2011

Utah cops baffled in case of mysterious anonymous cuffee: Utah cops are attempting to identify a man who's unnecessarily spent over three weeks in jail on three minor misdemeanor charges because he refuses to reveal his name.

The 60-something, "fairly well spoken and educated" John Doe was cuffed on 1 July for "trespassing in a parking garage", Reuters explains. He could have secured bail by simply telling police who he is, but so far he's declined to do so.

The mystery perp has restricted himself to a few comments about how well he's being treated, and hasn't yet used a supplied phone card to call friends or relatives....read more from The Register


Father of cryonics Robert Ettinger dies, body starts freezing process: The man known as a father of the cryonics movement has died at 92 and his body is currently undergoing a five-day process to cool it for storage at a very low temperature.

The Detroit News reported Robert Ettinger, who died Saturday, will become the 106th patient at the organisation he founded, the Cryonics Institute, in Clinton Township, Michigan.

Once there, he will join his mother, who was the first cryo-preserved corpse at the institute in 1977, and his first and second wives, who were numbers two and 34 respectively....read more from NEWS.com.au


Man wakes after 21 hours in morgue fridge: A South African man awoke to find himself in a morgue fridge - nearly a day after his family thought he had died, a health official has said.

Health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the man awoke Sunday afternoon, 21 hours after his family called in an undertaker who sent him to the morgue after an asthma attack.

Morgue owner Ayanda Maqolo said he sent his driver to collect the body shortly after the family reported the death. Maqolo said he thought the man was around 80 years old....read more from Stuff.co.nz

July 25, 2011

Mafia mobsters banned from wearing designer label clothes: A newly-appointed prison governor in Italy has cracked down on convicted mafia mobsters wearing designer label clothes to flaunt their wealth and status.

Rita Barbera, the new governor of Ucciardone jail in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, has said the practise of prisoners wearing Gucci, Armani and other designer clothes, as well as flashy jewellery, must stop.

Unlike many countries, prisoners in Italian jails are not required to wear uniforms....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Chinese lecturer demands his students acquire iPads: A Chinese lecturer has raised a storm by demanding students get an iPad, and that anyone unable to raise the funds over the summer shouldn't bother studying the financial industry.

Liang Zhenyu teaches at the Shanghai Maritime University and sent out a tweet (over the Weibo service) explaining that he would be using an iPad for all lessons, handouts and exam material, and that next term's students should get themselves busy over the summer and earn the requisite cash.

His strongly-worded recommendation, translated by MIC Gadget, explains that if you can't raise the money then you should consider an alternative career as financial services might not be the best subject for you....read more from The Register


Man declared dead 25 years ago discovered working as Las Vegas bookmaker: (by Jon Swaine) A man from Chicago who was declared dead 25 years ago, after disappearing amid heavy debts and alleged links to the mob, has been discovered working as a bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Arthur Gerald Jones, a father of three, went missing in May 1979 after losing his job as a commodities broker and struggling to pay gambling losses, including $30,000 from a single basketball match.

Mr Jones, then 40, “was not himself” in the weeks before his disappearance, his wife Joanne told local reporters at the time, and was particularly “jittery” after a friend and former colleague was murdered....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

July 24, 2011

Don't try this at home -- or elsewhere!: (by Anthony Hall) Among other things, don't try cremating your dog in your home or near your home ... or at least check the direction of the wind before you do.

In Dale City, Va., this week, a man tried cremating the remains of his pet dog at his home and ended up setting fire to the house, causing $70,000 worth of damage, the Manassas, Va., News & Messenger reported.

To answer some of the most obvious questions: Rottweiler, wood and gasoline, 9:10 in the morning. Two-story home....read more from UPI

July 23, 2011

Hairless monkey mistaken for 'alien': GEZHAI, China - Residents of a Chinese village said a creature initially thought to be a visitor from an alien world was found to be a hairless, starving monkey.

Mao Xiping said the creature was first spotted eating cucumbers in her Gezhai village apartment and she initially thought it was a rabbit, Sky News reported Friday.

"At first I thought it was a rabbit, then I was shocked to see it had an alien face," Mao said....read more from UPI


Lawyer: 'Felony stupidity' not a crime: TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida lawyer for a man who lowered an anchor on a cruise ship while drunk says his client committed "felony stupidity."

Daniel Castillo, who practices in Tampa, Fla., asked a court Thursday to dismiss a federal indictment against Rick Ehlert, the Tampa Tribune reported. He suggested charging Ehlert under a federal law designed to go after terrorists is overkill.

"He's guilty of felony stupidity -- that he is," Castillo said. "But I don't think it should be a federal crime."....read more from UPI

July 22, 2011

Police sorry for wedding blunder: A Castlederg [Northern Ireland] man has rejected an apology from the police after they interrupted his wedding on suspicion it was "a sham marriage".

The police wrongly arrested Neil McElwee and his pregnant fiancee, Yanan Sun, moments before the ceremony at the Guildhall in Londonderry on Tuesday.

Chief Inspector John Burrows said the police had acted in good faith, but sometimes they got things wrong....read more from BBC News


Woman attempts to break bra-chain record: The main street of an outback Queensland town is being transformed by a bra chain.

Mother-of-two Leanne Martel is collecting bras and creating a chain in Wyandra, south-east of Longreach, to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.

The existing world record, set in Bundaberg in the state's south, is 166,000 bras in a chain, spanning 163 kilometres....read more from ABC News (AU)


Police officer issued tickets to the dead: NEW YORK - The New York Police Department said investigators discovered an officer had written 36 fraudulent tickets, including some issued to dead people.

Police said Officer Paul Pizzuto, 40, a 17-year veteran, wrote tickets for drivers who had committed no offenses, including some motorists who were deceased, between March and June of 2010, the New York Post reported Thursday....read more from UPI


Granny's sink holeDeep Sleep - Hole Nearly Swallows Gran's Bed: A grandmother in Guatemala City has had a lucky escape after a huge sinkhole suddenly opened up under her bed as she slept.

Inocenta Hernandez woke up on July 18 to discover she was lying just inches above a 12m (40ft) deep sinkhole.

Mrs Hernandez was startled by a large booming sound which she thought was a gas explosion outside.

The sound was actually the earth under her bed imploding to create a deep and almost perfectly circular hole....read more w/video from Sky News

July 21, 2011

Lions 'more likely to eat people after a full moon': A lion is most likely to eat you just after a full moon, research has shown.

Other predators, such as wolves, may also be at their most dangerous when the moon starts to wane.

The discovery, from an African study of 500 lion attacks, could explain the full moon's place in folklore as a harbinger of evil or disaster, and its association with werewolves and vampires....read more from The Telgrrraph (UK)


On counterfeits, fakes and Apple stores: (by Andrew Orlowski) Some stories are so unusual, you immediately wonder if they're too good to be true. On Tuesday, a Western NGO in China posted a remarkable tale, reporting that ingenious Chinese retailers in a medium-sized provincial city called Kunming had cloned an Apple Retail Store, faithfully reproducing the staff T-shirts, furniture, display material, and name tags.

And they hadn't just cloned one Apple store, but several, she insisted. And cloned them so successfully, the staff there believed they were working for Apple. A quick check with the Apple website confirms there are only five official Apple Stores in the PRC: three in Beijing and two in Shanghai. Kunming doesn't even make the Top 20 of the most populous Chinese cities....read more from The Register

July 20, 2011

Uproar after toga party in Russian jail: Russia's prison service has launched an inquiry after photos emerged of toga-clad prisoners holding a lavish party complete with caviar and fast-food deliveries, local media said overnight.

The photographs, now published across the Russian-language internet, show prisoners at the Serpukhov jail outside Moscow naked except for Roman-style togas and a table piled high with a feast fit for an emperor.

The grinning group of a dozen prisoners brandish cardboard tridents and swords, while one is even dressed up as a lion. Another image shows a prisoner gleefully spreading a large helping of red caviar on a piece of bread....read more form ABC News (AU)


Boxing boomers bounced building in Seoul: (by Richard Chirgwin) Middle-aged fitness fanatics don't mix with skyscrapers, according to the "tentative" conclusions of an investigation into the strange shaking that brought about the evacuation of the 39-story Techno Mart in northeastern Seoul on July 5.

After the original panic, the building’s owner, Prime Development, had speculated that “loud music” from the 12th-floor exercise club, or perhaps from the building’s multi-screen cinema complex, caused the shaking.

The Architectural Institute of Korea has now lined up with the “health club” hypothesis. The The Korea Times reports that the investigation is blaming boomer practitioners of “tae bo” at the exercise club for the building’s bad vibe....read more from The Register


Nepal to re-measure Mount Everest to end China row: Nepal has ordered a new survey of Mount Everest to end the "confusion" over the exact height of the world's highest mountain, a government spokesman has said.

The official overall height of Everest is designated as 8,848m (29,029ft).

But China and Nepal have had a long-running disagreement over the height....read more from BBC News


Python sex romp sparks snake search: An orgy of snakes is in danger of bringing the house down upon a Cairns sporting club.

About six scrub pythons, all at least 3.5m long, have been getting busy in a boatshed roof of the Yorkeys Knob-based Hekili Outrigger Canoe Club, The Cairns Post said.

The pythons, which may also include a 7m female nicknamed "Nigini", have been making such a romantic ruckus, sections of the roof have started breaking away....read more from NEWS.com.au


Forklift thief crashes, then distracts police: Police allege a man made up a story about a shooting to distract them from investigating a stolen forklift he had crashed into a river footbridge in Adelaide [Australia].

They said the 22-year-old Underdale man stole the forklift from a food distribution business at suburban West Hindmarsh.

Just after 11:00pm on Tuesday he was doing burn-outs on the River Torrens bike track at Flinders Park, crashed into a footbridge and the forklift got stuck....read more from ABC News (AU)

July 19, 2011

Fox snags golf balls at country club: ORRINGTON, Maine - Workers at a Maine country club said a red fox that has been living in the area for about two years has recently taken to stealing balls from golfers.

Tom Bryant, operations manager of the Rocky Knoll Country Club in Orrington, said the fox was first spotted on the golf course about two years ago, but he only got into the habit of stealing golf balls during "the last three or four months," WABI-TV, Bangor, reported Tuesday....read more from UPI


Murder fugitive caught on dating show: A fugitive sought as a suspect in a 1998 murder case was looking for love when he appeared on a Chinese dating game show earlier this year. But he likely was not looking to be recognized by a viewer and arrested by police after a month-long investigation.

"Liu Hao," 39, won the attention of a woman on a televised dating show, Xinhua news agency reported Sunday....read more from CNews


Alligator sighting puts Ontario town on edge: STIRLING, Ont. -- Ron Main isn’t afraid to hunt down a local urban legend.

The resident of this eastern Ontario community northwest of Belleville set out last Thursday to find the village’s very own Lochness Monster — an alligator rumoured to have made its home in the Mill Pond.

Main said he first heard the gator tale from a relative....read more from CNews

July 18, 2011

Energy scavenger eats leftover wireless signals: No, it’s not another cute-but-useless contactless charger: a group of researchers led by Manos Tentzeris at Georgia Tech are working on antennae that could scavenge stray wireless signals to power small sensors or microprocessors.

If you’re close enough to a large radio transmitter, harvesting stray energy is pretty straightforward: an old-fashioned long fluorescent tube will at least glow if it’s close enough to a high-power radio transmitter (or, as demonstrated in an art installation, near power transmission lines)....read more from The Register


Two men locked selves inside police van: RADNOR, Pa. - Police in Pennsylvania said they arrested two men who broke into a police van to take gag pictures and accidentally locked themselves inside the vehicle.

Radnor police said Marlton, N.J., residents Ryan Letchford, 21, and Jeffrey Olsen, 22, left a party early Saturday and entered Constable Mike Connor's van, which had been in the parking lot of the condominium where the party was located, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Monday....read more from UPI

July 17, 2011

Woman fined $1,000 for littering: BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. - A Kansas woman was fined $1,000 for throwing tea bottles in her neighbor's yard every day for two years, officials say.

Carole Green of Bonner Springs pleaded guilty in court Friday to four counts of misdemeanor littering, The Lawrence Journal World reported. Judge Gunnar Sundby set the fine at $250 on each count.

Green was ticketed after Gary Bukaty, who lives about 2 miles away from Green, submitted photographs of Green throwing empty tea bottles in his yard to Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office....read more from UPI


Russian girls urged to strip to support Putin as president: An online campaign has been launched in Russia urging young women to support Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a presidential vote by taking off their clothes, a lawmaker’s site showed on Sunday.

Called “Putin’s Army”, it features a video of a blonde student called Diana who struts along Moscow’s streets in high heels and a black suit before scrawling “I will tear my clothes off for Putin” on a white top in red lipstick and starting to undo her clothes.

Inviting girls to strip off for Putin for the chance of winning an iPad2, the campaign comes ahead of the March 2012 presidential vote. Putin was president between 2000-2008 before handing the reins to his protege Dmitry Medvedev....read more from CNews


Stormtrooper JacobMan trekking across Australia in full Imperial Stormtrooper garb: There are many obvious disadvantages to walking across Australia wearing full Imperial Stormtrooper garb. But on the bright side, at least Jacob French is unlikely to suffer sunburn as he treks solo across the Nullarbor from Perth to Sydney to raise A$50,000 for the Starlight Children's Foundation.

"I have always had this dream to walk across Australia and I thought if I was going to put that much effort into something which would make me happy, I might as well make other people happy on the way,'' the Perth sales assistant said. ''I thought I might as well give people a bit of a chuckle at the same time by doing it in a Stormtrooper suit....read more from Stuff.co.nz


New Zealand inmate wins payout for 'hurt feelings': A prisoner who took offence when he found a government department had incorrectly listed him as having a domestic violence conviction has won a compensation payout for breach of privacy and hurt feelings.

The man, who has convictions for attacking a police officer, unlawful possession of firearms, aggravated robbery, theft, burglary and trying to escape from custody, complained to the Privacy Commissioner and then to the Human Rights Review Tribunal about a Ministry of Social Development's (MSD) file note, the New Zealand Herald reported.

"I have never been convicted of domestic violence," he told MSD officials. "Indeed, the only violent offense I have ever been convicted of was for aggravated assault on a police constable."....read more from NEWS.com.au

July 16, 2011

Sears accidentally advertises iPads at $69: CHICAGO - Sears.com accidentally priced Apple's IPad at $69, much to the dismay of many online shoppers.

IPads are regularly priced at $744.99, so when Sears.com customers caught wind of the unbelievable deal, it went viral, CNN reported.

Unfortunately, Sears posted a statement online saying it would not honor the deal, as it was an error made by a third-party vendor....read more from UPI


Cat gets snatched up by hawk, but dropped due to weight: NEW YORK - It was dawn on the upper West Side the other day when a young woman heard a screech usually heard in the countryside: the raspy kreeing of a red-tailed hawk capturing its prey.

It got louder and more horrible as it suddenly mixed with the mews of a terrified cat. Her beloved cat, Eddie.

She ran out to her fifth-floor terrace where Eddie had been stretched out on a bench and saw nothing but "fur, broken nails, and feathers."....read more w/pics from the New York Daily News


Groom arrested for having contact with bride: As a couple waited in an Illinois courthouse for their civil marriage ceremony, police moved in and arrested the groom.

The groom, police said, was violating terms of his bail on Wednesday, which prohibited him from contacting the alleged victim of a domestic battery, the Decatur Herald and Review reported.

The alleged victim was the bride....read more from CNews

July 15, 2011

Marilyn Monroe statueMarilyn Monroe sculpture finally unveiled: [Chicago] (by Lauren Viera) Her makers had hoped to keep her identity a mystery.

But from the moment those giant gams stepped onto Michigan Avenue in the heat of the night Monday, that telltale white skirt blown askew, there was little doubt that the 26-foot-tall headless sculpture in Pioneer Court (400 block of North Michigan Avenue, east side) would transpire as anyone other than Marilyn Monroe.

The plastic covering that all week shrouded the sculpture’s head was ceremoniously removed early Friday morning prior to the commuter rush, at last revealing the big picture of what downtown residents and commuters — and tourists — will be looking at for months to come....read more from the Chicago Tribune

-Great photo opportunity here catching people looking up her dress....


Argentine leader courts voters with 'TVs for All': When Argentina's president revealed last month on live television she would run for re-election, her accompanying announcement offered "TVs for All".

The initiative, which aims to help thousands of Argentines buy flat-screen TVs with low-cost loans, is part of President Cristina Fernandez's plan to maintain brisk consumer spending and court lower-income voters before an October 23 election.

"TVs for All" accompanies sister initiatives "Beef for All" and "Fish for All," in which food trucks supply reasonably priced steaks and hake to poorer parts of the capital where high inflation is eroding purchasing power....read more from Reuters UK


Balloon boy's balloon sold: A silver, UFO-like helium balloon that gripped Americans' attention when a couple said their son had floated away in it is back in Colorado after an online auction.

An attorney for Richard and Mayumi Heene told the Coloradoan in Fort Collins Thursday that an Aurora man paid US$2502 (NZ$2975) earlier this month for the balloon.

Perry Rausher says the man didn't want his name released because he plans a news conference....read more from Stuff.co.nz

July 14, 2011

County eliminates ban on forest juggling: CHICAGO - Forest preserve commissioners in Cook County Illinois have gotten rid of old ordinances including those banning juggling, acrobatics and fortune telling.

Cook County commissioners voted Wednesday to eliminate the ordinances, which also stated people known to be robbers, burglars, pickpockets and con men could be charged with disorderly conduct if they were seen loitering around buildings in the forest preserves without being able to give a good reason, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday....read more from UPI


'Carmageddon' set to bring chaos to Los Angeles: (by Nick Allen) A temporary closure of America's busiest road intersection, for 53 painful hours this weekend, is expected to bring unprecedented gridlock to a city already renowned for its epic bumper to bumper traffic jams.

Despite the impending, horn-blaring chaos few in the notoriously pavement shy City of Angels plan to walk, and many are taking to the skies instead.

Cut price $150 helicopter taxis are being frantically booked to get commuters to downtown and Los Angeles International Airport, and airlines are running "planepool" flights for the 40-mile hop between airports in the north and south of the city. Hundreds of plane tickets were offered at just $4 and sold out in hours....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Mystery of 200ft crop circle within yards of Stonehenge: Who built Stonehenge has long been the subject of debate among scholars. But now the ancient site has offered up another conundrum - in the form of a giant crop circle. This impressive 200ft design appeared within sight of the ancient monument yesterday. And as ever the debate will rise as to who is responsible.

Some believe they are manmade, others that they are caused by earth's magnetic field. And there are a number who are convinced they are the work of extra-terrestrials.

The ancient site is widely considered the most important prehistoric monument in Britain and is proving to be a hot spot for the phenomena this season....read more w/pics from the Daily Mail

July 13, 2011

No-tokingDutch to ban 'no toking' signs: After an only-in-the-Netherlands legal reverse, the city of Amsterdam says it will likely have to stub out the "no toking" signs it introduced in a crackdown on marijuana-smoking youth.

The Dutch government's top legal adviser has ruled that the city had no right to establish official zones where smoking weed is banned, since it's already theoretically illegal in the Netherlands.

In practice possession of small amounts is allowed and the drug is sold openly in designated shops....read more from NEWS.com.au


ATM stolen from Australian brothel: Thieves have been caught trying to shove an ATM into the back of a car after they stole it from what is believed to be a Sydney brothel.

Police responded to reports of a robbery at a business in George Street, Burwood, about 4am today (6am NZ time).

"Police arrived and we'll be alleging one man was in a car while a second man was trying to push an ATM into the back of a car," a NSW Police spokeswoman said....read more from Stuff.co.nz

July 12, 2011

Bee-hauling truck crash creates a buzz: ISLAND PARK, Idaho - A semi-trailer truck tipped over along a highway in Idaho, spilling more than 14 million bees and a quantity of honey across the pavement, authorities say.

The truck, transporting honeybees to North Dakota from Bakersfield, Calif., crashed just north of Last Chance in Island Park, Idaho, about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Idaho Falls' KPVI-TV reported.

The Fremont County Sheriff's office received many 911 calls alerting it to the accident, saying everyone at the scene was stung more than once, though none were seriously injured....read more from UPI


German police nab runaway elephants at bus stop: Two runaway circus elephants in Germany surprised passersby and police by showing up at a bus stop during a brief bid for freedom, officials in Hanover said Tuesday.

Dunia, a 40-year-old Indian elephant, and her counterpart Daela, a 25-year-old African elephant, were apprehended by police near the western city of Hanover over the weekend nonchalantly munching on tree leaves and looking for all the world as if they were waiting for the bus.

The pair had escaped from their enclosure at a nearby travelling circus and walked some 50 metres (165 feet) to the stop, police said....read more from Reuters UK

July 11, 2011

Free New Zealand online shopping briefly delights customers: New Zealand customers at an online shopping site were happily shocked when they got expensive televisions and iPods for free Monday after a computer glitch charged them only postage and handling.

News of the error by Australia-based electronics retailer Dick Smith's New Zealand website, which failed to register the main items, quickly spread through the Twitter community.

"My order just went through. 27 inch iMac. Total price: $4.95'," @Steffen_, tweeted....read more from Reuters UK


Borat mankiniFirst Borat, now ENRC – Kazakhstan has much to answer for: (by Damian Reese) Recent events at Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), a FTSE 100 mining company from Kazakhstan, will come as no surprise to that country's more famous cultural 'export', Borat Sagdiyev.

When not posing in his lime green mankini, Borat has professed an admiration for the politics of Joseph Stalin. And in a move described as "more Soviet than City" on Wednesday by Ken Olisa, one of ENRC's own directors, its annual meeting descended into a corporate governance firing squad.

It won't surprise readers to learn that Olisa started the day as an ENRC non-executive but did not enjoy that status by the end of it. He was voted off the board along with Sir Richard Sykes, the company's senior non-executive director and deputy chairman....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

July 10, 2011

Canadian uses forklift to remove squad car: ST. ANDREWS, Prince Edward Island - A Canadian man was charged with assault after he allegedly shoved a sheriff's car off his property with a forklift, police said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Wilfred Doyle, 45, of St. Andrews was charged with mischief and obstructing a police officer, as well as assault with a deadly weapon, after the run-in at his home last week....read more from UPI


NOTW crossword message for 'catastrophe' Brooks: (by Raf Sanchez) Departing staff at the News of the World appear to have sent a parting message of disgust to former editor Rebekah Brooks in the crossword of the paper's final edition.

Despite orders allegedly given from the top of News International to ensure to "ensure there were no libels or any hidden mocking messages of the chief executive", staff appear to have found a way of mocking Mrs Brooks one last time. Among the clues in the paper's Quickie puzzle were: "Brook", "stink", "catastrope" and "digital protection"....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


US frequent flyer reaches 10 million miles: It took Thomas Stuker 29 years to reach the milestone with United Airlines.

A US businessman has been rewarded for his loyalty to one single airline company after accumulating 10 million air miles.

Thomas Stuker, a sales consultant, reached the milestone after a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago.

He has boarded 5,962 United Airlines flights and flown the equivalent of 400 times around the globe.

As a reward he will never have to queue at airports, always get upgraded and has even had a plane named after him....read more from BBC News


New Dallas series given go-ahead: A full series update of classic 1980s US soap opera Dallas has been given the go ahead, it has been announced.

US network TNT said it had ordered 10 episodes of the programme, after it commissioned a pilot earlier this year.

Original stars Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray reprise their roles in the new show, which will focus on the Ewing family offspring....read more from BBC News

July 9, 2011

CBS used fake footage for July 4 fireworks: BOSTON - The CBS broadcast of Boston's Fourth of July fireworks showed rockets bursting over Boston landmarks that viewers say were clearly faked.

The fireworks were set off from a barge in the Charles River after the traditional Boston Pops outdoor concert. One viewer e-mailed The Boston Globe, pointing out that footage of fireworks with the Quincy Market in the foreground would be impossible in real life since Beacon Hill is in the way.

Other shots used the State House and Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox....read more from UPI


PhonehengeJudge jails housing oddity's creator: The eccentric creator of a Mojave Desert compound of whimsical buildings known as Phonehenge West has been jailed for failing to obey an order to cut electricity and keep guests out of the illegal structures.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daviann Mitchell put off Kim Fahey's sentencing for code violations, but ordered him held in lieu of US$75,000 (NZ$89,000) bail for disobeying a previous order.

Mitchell said Fahey's "blatant refusal" to demolish the structures and disconnect electricity put his family, the community and first-responders at risk because the buildings pose a significant fire hazard. The judge had allowed Fahey to remain free pending sentencing on the condition that he follow the order....read more from Stuff.co.nz.....Facebook: Save Phonehenge West

July 8, 2011

One-armed man fined $200 in Belarus for clapping at unsanctioned rally: A court in Belarus fined a one-armed man for taking part in unsanctioned "clapping" protests in Minsk earlier in the week, Belarusian information website Khartiya-97 reported on Friday.

"The court ruled that the disabled man by the name of Konstantin will have to pay a fine of 1.05 million Belarusian rubles [some $200]," the website said.

The man was found guilty by the court of clapping in a public place....read more from RIA Novosti (RU)


French train robbers revive Wild West tactics: In a scene taken straight out of an American Wild West movie, masked men robbed a freight train in southern France Thursday night after blocking the railway tracks with shopping carts and metal beams.

The daring attack on the northern outskirts of the southern French city of Marseille saw a passenger train hurtling into the blockade forcing it, and a cargo locomotive behind it, to stop.

"Attacks on trains aren't new, but it is a pretty rare phenomenon," David-Olivier Reverdy, a police union official in the area said....read more from Reuters UK


Canadian ultralight pilot drops in on strip club: (by Lester Haines) A Canadian microlight pilot is set to go down in aviation history after landing in the parking lot of a strip joint in Carignan, southeast of Montreal, popping in for a quick break and then flying off.

Local cops got a 911 call from a concerned citizen who thought the aircraft had crashed outside the Le Rendez-Vous last Saturday night. In fact, it was just a pit-stop by the 43-year-old pilot, who was later tracked down by cops but not charged....read more from The Register

July 7, 2011

Wet sponge throwing event 'unsafe': Carnival organisers banned a wet sponge throwing event - for health and safety reasons. They feared they sponges might get dirty and someone could end up with grit in their eye.

The event had been a traditional favourite as carnival-goers aimed sponges at unfortunate volunteers in the stocks in the Lake District town of Ulverston [UK].

But Saturday’s spectacular went ahead with water pistols, not sponges....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Romance novels pose sex threat: It's all innocent stuff: square-jawed boy meets doe-eyed girl, they fall in love, encounter a few rocky moments but ultimately seal their union with a kiss or a vague hint of sex.

Wholesome yarns like this form the heartbeat of romantic fiction, a genre that has been in existence since the mid-18th century and today sells by the bucketload.

But, according to a debate launched on Thursday by a medical journal in Britain, romantic novels are an invisible yet potent threat to women's sexual and emotional health....read more from NEWS.com.au

July 6, 2011

Car thief leaves licence at dealership: A man has stolen a car while taking it for a test drive - after leaving his drivers licence details with the Sydney [Australia] car yard.

The man visited a car yard at Warwick Farm, in Sydney's southwest and asked to test drive a 2007 model Mitsubishi Lancer.

He agreed to have his licence photocopied before he and a salesman left the dealership in the car shortly after 2pm (AEST) yesterday....read more from NEWS.com.au


Mystery of David Attenborough's garden skull cracked: Cops in southwest London have identified a skull found in the Richmond garden of TV star Sir David Attenborough as that of an 1879 murder victim.

The skull was discovered last year during excavations at the rear of the former Hole in the Wall pub in Park Road, close to where Julia Martha Thomas was killed by her Irish-born maid Kate Webster (pictured) in what became known as the "Barnes mystery".

Webster, who had a history of drunkeness and a long criminal record, murdered the widowed Thomas at No 2 Vine Cottages, Park Road, on 22 March 1879, following an argument....read more w/pics from The Register


Phoenix dust stormMassive dust storm engulfs Phoenix: A MASSIVE dust storm has engulfed the southwestern US city of Phoenix, blotting out the sun and knocking down electricity poles, local media reported.

The ABC 15 news outlet said the billowing cloud stretched 96km wide and packed winds of 96km/h. There were no immediate reports of casualties or of damage to homes or businesses.

The US National Weather Service confirmed that a "very large and historic dust storm" had moved through the area, without providing further details....read more w/large pics from NEWS.com.au

July 5, 2011

Guards crack the case of missing prisoner: A woman has been caught trying to sneak her common-law-husband out of a Mexican prison in a suitcase following a conjugal visit.

Staff at the prison in Chetumal yesterday noticed that the woman seemed nervous and was pulling a black, wheeled suitcase that looked bulky, police say.

Prison guards checked the bag of 19-year-old Maria del Mar Arjona and found inmate Juan Ramirez Tijerina curled up inside in the foetal position....read more w/pic from NEWS.com.au


Killer PlantNY DEC warns that giant hogweed plant could cause blisters, blindness: New York State environmental officials are trying to nip a huge, dangerous plant in the bud.

The giant hogweed, a monster plant with flowers the size of umbrellas and sap that causes blisters and blindness, is spreading across New York. The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for help locating outbreaks.

The agency has set up a hotline at 845-256-3111 for people to call and report sightings of the invasive species. Callers are asked to provide photos and site information, but should avoid touching the plant....read more from WCBS-TV (New York)

July 4, 2011

Toddler caught after 10-story fall: (by Malcolm Moore) A two-year old girl in the Chinese city of Hangzhou survived a 100ft fall after she climbed out of a tenth-floor window and was caught by a passer-by.

The toddler, who has been named as Zhang Fangyu, was sleeping at midday on Saturday when her grandmother decided to leave her unwatched and climb a couple of flights of stairs to collect the laundry from the roof of their 12-floor apartment building.

A few moments afterwards, however, eyewitnesses saw her clambering through an open window in their tenth-floor flat and teetering on a ledge for “around two minutes” before falling....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Prisoner sues jail for calling him 'inmate': THE family of a cold-blooded killer serving 25 years to life in state prison for shooting a man in the head complained he was being stigmatised by the use of the term "inmate".

The label "implies that our brother is locked up for the purpose of mating with other men," Marie Domond claimed in a lawsuit against New York State Correctional Services Department.

At Brooklyn federal court the Domond family filed demands that officials immediately stop calling Gerard Domond "an inmate", along with a $50 million claim for damages for "mental anguish....read more from NEWS.com.au

July 3, 2011

Bees buzz San Diego beach boardwalk: SAN DIEGO - Lifeguards said it looked like only one person was stung by a swarm of bees that descended on a crowded San Diego beach.

An estimated 4,000 bees buzzed the South Mission Beach boardwalk Saturday before settling on a wooden buoy rack outside the lifeguard tower overlooking the popular beach.

Lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma told The San Diego Union-Tribune the area was cordoned off two hours and it appeared only one sting was reported....read more from UPI


Indian rickshaws fitted with sat nav systems to beat cheats: (by Dean Nelson) Rickshaws in the Indian capital are to be fitted with satellite navigation devices to stamp out the notorious abuses perpetrated on customers by wayward drivers.

Transport chiefs hope the electronic mapping display will reduce disputes between commuters who complain of dishonesty and the drivers who claim they work long hours for poverty wages.

From next week GPS devices will be installed in 25 three-wheelers in the city but by the end of July they are expected to be mandatory for the rest of the city's 55,000 rickshaws....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

July 2, 2011

Fires blamed on 'drunk cooking': (by Emily Gosden) Drinking too much alcohol has long been blamed for poor health and a declining bank balance.

Now it is also being held responsible for thousands of house fires started by young professionals who return home drunk and desperate for a snack.

They are believed to have caused a quarter of all London house fires by falling asleep with food on the stove or in the oven....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

July 1, 2011

'Get sterilised, win a car' in Indian state: Health officials in the Indian state of Rajasthan are launching a new campaign to try reduce the high population growth in the area.

They are encouraging men and women to volunteer for sterilisation, and in return are offering a car and other prizes for those who come forward.

Among the rewards on offer is the Indian-made Tata Nano - the world's cheapest car....read more from BBC News


Women with size five feet are most attractive to men: Women with size five feet - such as Sophia Loren - are most attractive to men, research shows.

The formula for a perfect woman's foot is a size five, wearing three inch heels and red toe nail varnish, according to the study.

A study discovered men find size five feet, such as those belonging to Loren, Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian and Sophia Loren, are the most alluring....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

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