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Odd News Archive - April 2008

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.

April 30, 2008

Chilean town giving free Viagra to senior citizens: A working class suburb of Chile's capital began handing out free Viagra to senior citizens on Wednesday. Lo Prado Mayor Gonzalo Navarrete said he launched the program because "an active sexuality improves the overall quality of life."

About 1,500 residents of the working-class area are eligible to receive as many as four pills of the erectile dysfunction drug each month, the mayor said. They have to be at least 60 and be registered with the municipality's health service....full story from Newsweek

Man tries to cash $360 billion check: A man has been accused of attempting to pass a $360 billion check, which he claims was given to him by his girlfriend's mother to start a record business, Fort Worth police said.

Charles Ray Fuller, 21, of Crowley, Texas, was arrested on April 22 on an accusation of forgery, police said....full story from The Dallas Morning News

Jimi Hendrix pops up in 'sex video': A US pornography company said it is releasing a 40-year-old amateur sex video allegedly starring legendary musician Jimi Hendrix and two women.

"Jimi Hendrix, the iconic rock-n-roll guitarist, will be seen in a new role - as an adult film star - in Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape," said Vivid Entertainment, the world's biggest producer of adult films....full story from

April 28, 2008

Inmate sues over prison crash diet: A US prisoner awaiting trial on a murder rap has filed suit against the county after losing more than 99 pounds (45kg) in eight months on an Arkansas prison "starvation" diet, AP reports.

Broderick Lloyd Laswell now tips the scales at 308 pounds (140kg), having weighed 412 pounds (187kg) when he was incarcerated in Benton County jail last September. His suit, filed in US District Court in Fayetteville, claims the facility "doesn't provide inmates with enough food....full story from The Register

Iran official sees "destructive" Barbie influence: Imports of Barbie dolls and other Western toys will have destructive cultural and social consequences in Iran, the Islamic Republic's top prosecutor was quoted as saying on Monday.

Iran's conservative clerical establishment often rails against the perceived dangers of U.S.-inspired culture and consumerism, branding it "Westoxication....full story from Reuters UK

April 25, 2008

Carjacker stops to ask TV news crew for directions: A carjacking suspect stopped during the crime to ask an Ohio television news crew for directions, police said.

The 19-year-old was arraigned Thursday on a charge of aggravated robbery and ordered held on $50,000 (€31,700) bond....full story from IHT

Prank callers crash Dublin Zoo phone system: Dublin Zoo was forced to shut down its switchboard yesterday after thousands of Irish mobile users fell for a new take on one of the oldest phone tricks in the book.

Text messages have been doing the rounds in Ireland telling unwitting recipients to call a number and ask for one of a number of named contacts....full story from The Register

April 24, 2008

Canadian man in Taser trouser inferno shocker: Taser-wielding Canadian police inadvertently caused a horrific underpant conflagration at the weekend, according to reports.

In the course of subduing a non-compliant Ontario citizen, the officers - as is nowadays routine practice - fired a miniaturised flying cattleprod module into his body and passed a high voltage current through it. Typically this leaves even the most obstreperous miscreant jittering on the floor, easily braceleted.

Unfortunately, in this case, tragedy struck....full story from The Register

Bill: Stop selling Playboy, Penthouse on military bases: Concerned that the military is selling pornography in exchange stores in spite of a ban, one lawmaker has introduced a bill to clean up the matter.

"Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit," said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., unveiling his House bill April 16....full story from the ArmyTimes

April 23, 2008

Robotic vigilante: Bar owner's homemade 'Bum Bot' patrols Atlanta's downtown: Cars passing O'Terrill's pub screech to a halt at the sight of a 300-pound (136-kilogram), waist-high robot marked "SECURITY" rolling through downtown long after dark.

The regulars hardly glance outside. They have seen bar owner Rufus Terrill's invention on patrol before - its bright red lights and even brighter spot light blazing, infrared video camera filming and water cannon at the ready in the spinning turret on top....full story from IHT

Judge issues arrest warrant for Darth Vader: A judge has demanded a Darth Vader impersonator be dragged before him after he succumbed to the Dark Side, attacked two Jedi with a metal crutch, and failed to show up for the resulting court appearance on an assault rap.

According to the Telegraph, Arwel Wynne Jones interrupted an outdoors TV interview with brothers Barney and Michael Jones - the former aka Jedi Master Jonba Heho and founder of the UK's Jedi Church - by jumping over a garden fence in Holyhead dressed in a black bin liner and "shiny black helmet" while shouting "Darth Vader" and quickly getting busy with the aforementioned crutch....full story from The Register

Police officer sacked for sex on the job: A police officer was forced to resign on Wednesday for having sex with a prostitute at a building he had been sent to investigate to see if it was a brothel.

The police sergeant, who was not named, had "engaged in sexual activity with a sex worker" while on duty in east London in December 2005, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said....full story from Reuters UK

April 22, 2008

Bush seeks game show help on federal budget: President George W. Bush, making a highly unusual appearance on U.S. television game show "Deal or No Deal," sought show host Howie Mandel's help to deal with the federal budget in upcoming talks with Congress.

"Howie, I don't know if you're free to come to Washington anytime soon but I have to reach an agreement with Congress on the federal budget. How'd you like to host a $3 trillion dollar 'Deal or No Deal,'" Bush joked....full story from Reuters UK

Indian man held for stealing frozen sperm: Indian police said on Tuesday they arrested a man for stealing dozens of frozen sperm samples from a laboratory in western India.

The arrest surprised officials at the sperm bank who say more samples could have been stolen over a period of time....full story from Reuters UK

Lynchings in Congo as penis theft panic hits capital: Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur....full story from Reuters UK

April 21, 2008

Aussie gov to treat laser pointers like knives and guns: An Australian regional government has moved to crack down on laser pointers following widely-reported incidents in which the devices have been used to distract and dazzle pilots on commercial flights.

New South Wales (NSW) will class the most powerful types of pointer as if they were firearms, with sentences of up to 14 years for those carrying such devices without a permit....full story from The Register

April 20, 2008

Brits blame stench on German swine: It wafted in on the morning wind, setting off a spate of panic calls to emergency services.

Police, fire and water services were at a loss to explain the manure-scented cloud that afflicted great swathes of southern England last week....full story from

April 17, 2008

Russian sleeps it off, with knife in back: A Russian electrician slept off a night's drinking with a long knife stuck in his back and didn't notice until his wife spotted it in the kitchen the next day, Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda paper reported on Thursday.

Yury Lyalin, 53, was rushed to hospital in the northern city of Vologda, but the 15-centimetre (six-inch) knife had not damaged any vital organs....full story from Reuters UK

April 16, 2008

Homemade boat trapped in backyard: A British man who spent five years constructing a 30-foot yacht in his backyard said he now faces a more perplexing challenge: getting it out of his garden.

John Melling, an engineer, said he always knew removing the 26-foot-wide Trimaran yacht from the back garden of his Tywardreath, Cornwall, home would be difficult, but he had initially counted on employing the Royal Air Force to airlift the vessel -- a service they no longer provide, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

Schoolboy's asteroid-strike math wrong: Widespread media reports claim that a German schoolboy has recalculated the likelihood of a deadly planet-smasher asteroid hitting the Earth, and found the catastrophe is enormously more likely than NASA thought. The boy's sums were said to have been checked by both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), and found to be correct.

There's only one problem with the story: the kid's sums are in fact wrong, NASA's are right, and the ESA swear blind they never said any different. An ESA spokesman in Germany told the Reg this morning: "A small boy did do these calculations, but he made a mistake....full story from The Register

April 15, 2008

Australian burglary suspect escapes in police car: Australian police were left red-faced by a handcuffed man who escaped in a patrol car on Tuesday while two officers were inspecting evidence outside.

The man, wanted over a series of break-ins, escaped custody in Brisbane, in the northern state of Queensland, just minutes after he was handcuffed and placed in the back of the unmarked police car....full story from Reuters UK

April 14, 2008

New Yankee stadium de'Sox'ified in Jersey dig: The Yankees officially reversed the jersey curse yesterday - extracting from the new stadium's concrete a David Ortiz shirt planted by a Red Sox-obsessed hardhat hoping to hex his team's arch rivals.

Then they warned the traitorous construction worker, Gino Castignoli, to watch his back, saying criminal and civil charges could be on deck....full story w/pics from the New York Post

Pro-smoking website redirected to 'baccy free zone: Hackers attacked the websites of two organisations campaigning against the smoking ban last week, redirecting UK users to the NHS Smokefree site.

The attack, which targeted British organisation Freedom2Choose and Forces International, lasted 11 hours. Freedom2Choose webmaster Steven Cross said the redirect appeared to have been caused by a DNS poisoning attack....full story from The Register

Uruguay grills 12 tons of beef, sets Guinness record: More than a thousand barbecue fanatics in Uruguay grilled up 12 metric tonnes of beef on Sunday, setting a new Guinness world record while promoting the country's succulent top export.

Army personnel set up a grill nearly 1.5 kilometres long and fire-fighters lit six tonnes of charcoal to kick off the gargantuan cookout....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

April 10, 2008

Beer-sipping clients have taxes done in a bar: The sounds of the Rolling Stones pour from the speakers while beer glasses are filled and a jovial game of darts takes place 10 feet away at a bar in Hoboken, New Jersey.

It's just another night at the office for Carmine Sodora, certified public accountant....full story from Reuters UK

April 9, 2008

Venezuela axes "The Simpsons": Venezuela has forced U.S. cartoon "The Simpsons" off its airwaves, calling the show a potentially bad influence on children, and filled its morning slot with reruns of the beach-and-bikini show "Baywatch."

"The Simpsons" satirical take on a dysfunctional American family had been shown, dubbed into Spanish, on the Televen network at an 11 am slot....full story from Reuters UK

April 8, 2008

Ringo Starr statue beheaded in Liverpool: Liverpudlian vigilantes have taken the pruning shears to a topiary representation of Beatles skin-worrier Ringo Starr - apparently in retaliation to his comment that he didn't much miss his native town.

According to the Liverpool Daily Post, a green sculpture of the Fab Four outside Liverpool South Parkway station was commissioned to celebrate the city's status as 2008 European Capital of Culture. However, persons unknown over the weekend chopped off Ringo's head, while leaving John, Paul and George untouched....full story from The Register

April 7, 2008

Wisconsin postal workers attacked by wild turkeys: Rather than rain or snow, or even dogs, postal workers in a Madison West Side neighborhood near Owen Conservation Park are being pestered by wild turkeys this spring.

Mara Wilhite, manager of the Hilldale Station Post Office, said she expected to deal with all manner of issues when she went to work for the U.S. Post Office. But that was not one of them....full story from Fox News

April 5, 2008

Pennsylvania man falls from roof of his moving minivan, runs naked along bypass: A Reading man climbed atop a moving minivan Friday on the West Shore Bypass, stood on the roof and rode the vehicle until it crashed and catapulted him into the woods, West Reading police reported.

Witnesses told police that the man then climbed up an embankment, stripped naked and ran several hundred yards down the busy highway bleeding from a foot-long gash in his side....full story w/pics from the Reading Eagle

Man gets $2.6 million for domain name: A US man has sold the domain name for $2.6m (£1.3m) - after maintaining the site for just $20 a year since 1994.

Chris Clark, 43, accepted the offer from an anonymous bidder after a week-long online auction....full story from the BBC

April 4, 2008

Illinois legislator proposes bill to ban cell phone use while crossing street: Republican politician Kenneth Dunkin hopes his bizarre bill will make it illegal to use a mobile phone whilst crossing the street. If the bill makes it into Illinois state law then those caught dicing with death could be fined, in much the same way that jaywalking carries a legal penalty.

Jesse White, Illinois' Secretary of State, backs Dunkin's bill. But White told the Chicago Sun-Times that the law should only apply to people talking into mobile phones whilst simultaneously jaywalking....full story from The Register

2010 US Census to use pencils, not computers: If you have a spare abacus or slide rule hanging around, you might send it to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The feds are gearing up for the 2010 census, and they can't seem to get the hang of those newfangled things called computers....full story from

New off-the-shelf DNA paternity test: Stores already are putting up their gift displays for Mother's Day. And consumers have turned their fashion attention to the latest in spring and summer wear.

Now you can add a highly personal item to the list of products generating retail buzz: the first off-the-shelf paternity testing kit from Identigene....full story from

April 3, 2008

Thailand cracks down on cut-price castrations: Thailand yesterday imposed a countrywide temporary ban on castrations "for cosmetic purposes" which are advertised on the internet and promise to relieve ladyboys of their testicles for as little as 4,000 baht (£65).

According to the Times, the health ministry has written to 16,000 hospitals amid concerns that boys below the age of 18 have been "submitting to the surgery in the mistaken belief that it represents a cheap alternative to a full sex-change operation....full story from The Register

James Bond menaced by red hot Chilean: The mayor of a small Chilean town has expressed his displeasure at the hoisting of the Bolivian flag over his home by mounting a motorised disruption of filming of next Bond outing Quantum of Solace.

Carlos Lopez drove a small saloon car straight onto the set at the railway station in Baquedano, in the process reportedly nearly running over a couple of people, and parked his wheels between the camera "and a vehicle in which Craig and his co-star, Olga Kurylenko, were sitting", according to an Eon Productions spokeswoman....full story from The Register

Japan e-crypt offers a tomb with a view: Teruo and Miyoko Oba of Kofu, Japan, say there's nothing eerie about their new family grave site, equipped with a mobile phone bar code to offer connectivity long after their own bells have tolled.

The family plot in this rural city near the Japan Alps boasts a high-tech, "QR" black-and-white square, linking the Oba's pictures and history to phone-carrying visitors who can enter virtually to pay their respects....full story from Reuters UK

April 2, 2008

UAE stages camel beauty contest: Ten thousand camels will be fluttering their long eyelashes in a unique international beauty pageant being held in the United Arab Emirates.

The contest in Abu Dhabi is one of the richest and biggest events of its kind, with more than $9m (£4.5m; 5.8m euros) and 100 cars in prizes up for grabs....full story from the BBC

April 1, 2008

Crocodile stolen from zoo in Norway: A thief has walked unnoticed out of a Norwegian aquarium carrying a crocodile and now risks losing a finger or two, the head of the aquarium said.

"I think whoever did this knew what they were doing," Bergen aquarium director Kees Oscar Ekeli tsaid, suggesting the young crocodile was smuggled out in a bag during the busiest hours on Saturday....full story from

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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.

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