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Odd News Archive - August 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.

August 31, 2008

Is Jack the Ripper buried in Australia?: A local official in Australia says he believes the London killer nicknamed Jack the Ripper is buried in Brisbane.

Paul Tully, a member of the local council in Ipswich City in Queensland, has found the image of what appears to be a knife-wielding man on the gravestone of Walter Thomas Porriott in Toowong Cemetery, The Brisbane Times reports....full story from UPI

August 30, 2008

Man finds dead shark in Michigan: Has Jaws come to northern Michigan?

Rich Fasi of Traverse City says he found a dead shark in the water Wednesday while fishing on West Grand Traverse Bay....full story from CNews

August 28, 2008

Disposable diaper breaks fall, saves child's life: A disposable diaper has saved the life of an 18-month-old boy, breaking his fall from a third-floor apartment window, officials said Thursday.

Caua Felipe Massaneiro survived a 30-foot (10-meter) fall because his diaper snagged on a security spike embedded in the concrete wall around his apartment building in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife....full story from CBS News

Bloomberg kills Steve Jobs: Bloomberg yesterday dispatched Apple supremo Steve Jobs to the hereafter with a 17-page obit inadvertently published during an apparent update, Gawker reports.

The short-lived homage - quickly pulled - contained a heartwarming tribute from Bill Gates who described Jobs as the best inspirational leader he'd ever met, while the man himself is quoted as saying: "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me to make the big choices in life....full story from The Register

Shanghai police to shame jaywalkers on TV: Shanghai police will post photos and videos of jaywalkers in newspapers and on TV in a bid to shame them out of breaking traffic rules, local media reported on Thursday.

Offending pedestrians, moped riders and cyclists would be snapped at selected intersections and their images put in regular columns and on special television programmes set up by police, the Shanghai Daily said....full story from Reuters UK

August 27, 2008

Brit firm to demo serious flying robo-saucer in 2009: A small British company developing a unique form of hovering aircraft says it will soon demonstrate a new and much more serious version of its technology.

GFS Projects of Peterborough was registered in 2002, following early efforts by former hovercraft engineer Geoff Hatton to develop a working "flying saucer" aircraft based on the Coanda effect. (GFS stands for Geoff's Flying Saucers.) The Reg spoke to GFS marketing chief Mark Broughton this morning, who gave us a run-through on the "Fenstar 50" autonomous unmanned saucer which the company hopes to have flying in the first half of next year....full story w/pic from The Register

August 26, 2008

One million bank account details found on eBay: A British data processing firm has launched an urgent review after a staff member sold a computer on eBay containing personal details of a million bank customers, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The computer was bought on the online auction site for 35 pounds (44 euros, 64 dollars) by Andrew Chapman, an IT manager from Oxford in central England, who found the information on the computer's hard drive....full story from France 24

August 25, 2008

Raccoon's courthouse crime spree ends with capture: The evidence in his office gave the judge pause: a half-eaten apple and some very distinctive footprints.

Federal bankruptcy Judge Paul W. Bonapfel reported the break-in last week at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta.

The intruder made no effort to cover his tracks across a stack of federal memos in the 14th-floor office. When the judge called in his staff and others to examine the scene, the evidence was conclusive....full story from CBS News

Suicide squirrel knocks out Swiss TV: TV and radio were knocked out for a couple of hours in Switzerland on Sunday - after a squirrel got itself electrocuted. The trams stopped running too for a short time in Zurich, the venue for the squirrel-short circuit action.

Swiss TV's emergency power back-up was too puny to cope with demand - and many Swiss sports fans were left very frustrated. The outage at Switzerland's national broadcaster coincided with the closing ceremony of the Olympics and also the Formula 1 race in Valencia....full story from The Register

Scotland declares war on urban seagulls: The Scottish government has declared war on increasingly aggressive urban seagulls.

The initial battle will be joined in the southwestern town of Dumfries during next spring's breeding season when a special anti-gull "task force" will seek to destroy nests and drive out the birds....full story from Reuters UK

August 24, 2008

Aussie has answer to save Earth from asteroid attack: An PhD student with the University of Queensland's School of Engineering has won top prize in an international competition for her plan to wrap a giant asteroid with reflective sheeting to prevent a collision with the Earth.

The asteroid, Apophis, is estimated to be perhaps 270 metres across and it will pass close to Earth in 2029, well inside the orbit of the Moon and closing in to the same sort of distance as geosynchronous satellites....full story from The Register

Nuns enter beauty pageant to sex up image: The first beauty pageant for nuns debuts next month with the advent of Miss Sister Italy aimed at erasing a stereotype of nuns as being old and sad, a newspaper has reported today.

"Nuns are above all women and beauty is a gift from God," priest Antonio Rungi of the southern Italian diocese of Modragone told the daily Corriere della Sera....full story from

Rocket Man tests for English Channel cross: A Swiss daredevil says he is closer to becoming the first jet-powered "bird man" to cross the English Channel.

Yves Rossy, 48, also known as Rocket Man, recently completed a 10-minute test flight of more than 22 miles with a jet-powered wing strapped to his back, The Sunday Times of London reported. He reportedly jumped out of a small plane over Bex, Switzerland and reached 180 mph in his flight, wearing a heat resistant suit and using parachutes to safely land....full story from UPI

August 23, 2008

Error temporarily gives Oklahoma state worker $850,000 bonus: It was the kind of paycheque error most of us can only dream about.

Officials in Oklahoma recently disclosed that a typographical error back in February added three zeros to state employee Jo Harris' pay statement....full story from CNews

Phone call set drug cook on fire: Darren Jeffries was not behaving like the brightest spark but the one suspected to have come from his cellphone was bright enough - igniting cannabis oil he was cooking up in his bedroom with the door closed.

Police in Wellington, New Zealand said Jeffries, 23, was caught in a fireball and ran "smoking from his head" to alert his partner and two children who were in the house, saying: "I'm sorry babe, I'm sorry." Detective Constable Daniel MacIntosh said police speculate a text message sparked the fire....full story from The Dominion Post

August 22, 2008

North Carolina man uses Barbie fishing rod to make record catch: A Wilkes County man used his granddaughter's Barbie Doll rod-and-reel combo - all 2-1/2 feet of it - to reel in a new state record channel catfish that measured 2 inches longer than the fishing pole.

David Hayes landed the record-breaking fish, which weighed 21 pounds, 1 ounce, on Aug. 5 from a private pond in Wilkes County while fishing with his granddaughter Alyssa, 3....full story from the Winston-Salem Journal

August 20, 2008

US police radios killing trees: The relaxed attitude to spectrum use in the USA has come under pressure as a new police radio system in Dallas is interfering with an automated sprinkler system 30 miles away, resulting in brown lawns and dead trees in Plano.

The sprinkler system was set up 15 years ago at a cost of $5 million, and covers 1,200 acres of parkland and trees alongside roads, reports the Dallas Morning News. Officials first noticed the problem back in June when the trees started dying, but it's taken them a while to trace the problem to police radios 30 miles away....full story from The Register

Oldest man dies, aged either 138 or 129: An Indian reported to be the world's oldest man has died in the western city of Jaipur.

Habib Miyan, who died Monday, claimed to be 138 years old and was listed as the country's oldest man in India's Limca Book of Records.

But without a birth certificate giving formal proof of his age, Habib Miyan, who played clarinet in a maharaja's band before retiring 70 years ago, could not prove his longevity....full story from

Monkey eludes net-wielding police at Tokyo station: A rogue monkey holed up at a Tokyo train station for more than two hours on Wednesday before giving dozens of net-wielding police officers the slip among crowds of excited children and passersby.

"It's a monkey - it's not like it did anything bad," a police spokesman said, adding that the animal was still on the loose....full story from Reuters UK

Blind drunk gets new meaning at Sydney cocktail bar: Order a cocktail at Sydney, Australia's Zeta Bar and you are likely to find yourself whisked away to a secluded area, blindfolded and fitted with headphones as scented mists are sprayed in your face.

Cocktail connoisseurs seeking to unwind can now experience drinking at a New York City bar, a Hawaiian beach, a Caribbean hot spot or a bustling Havana street bar without leaving the comfort of their luxurious barstool....full story from

August 19, 2008

Puerto Rico corpse kept upright for 3-day wake: A Puerto Rican man has been granted his wish to remain standing - even in death.

A funeral home used a special embalming treatment to keep the corpse of 24-year-old Angel Pantoja Medina standing upright for his three-day wake....full story w/pics from CBS News

New Zealand court gives green light to "boobs on bikes" parade: A New Zealand court has allowed a parade of topless porn stars on motor bikes to proceed on the main street of the country's biggest city, local media said on Tuesday.

Auckland City Council had sought a court injunction to stop the "Boobs on Bikes" parade, scheduled for Wednesday, saying it breached a bylaw banning offensive public events....full story from Reuters UK
UPDATE from The Dominion Post: Capital next for Boobs on Bikes

August 18, 2008

Qantas jet forced down by full toilets: Qantas continues to be plagued by a run of misfortune with a plane overnight forced to make an unscheduled stop because its toilets were too full to flush.

The fully laden 737-300 was forced to divert to Adelaide one hour into a flight from Sydney to Perth because staff had forgotten to empy the toilets after the plane's last trip from Honolulu and consequently four of the seven weren't working, Fairfax reported....fulls story from

August 17, 2008

Mining town mayor wants ugly women: The mayor of an Australian mining town says "beauty-disadvantaged" women who see themselves as ugly ducklings could turn into swans in his town.

"May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa," Mayor John Molony of Mount Isa told The Australian....full story from UPI

August 15, 2008

French cough in to filthy restaurants: France's bid to have its cuisine listed as a world treasure has been dealt a blow after it emerged that a quarter of its restaurants break hygiene rules or serve up food unfit for human consumption.

The shocking and frankly rather disgusting news was revealed by the country's own Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier, who said that visits by health inspectors to around 9,400 restaurants showed that more than 2,600 establishments were in breach of at least one hygiene rule....full story from The Register

Sleaze crackdown ordered on race fans in Australia: A sleaze crackdown at this year's Gold Coast Indy 300 in Queensland, Australia, has been ordered by Premier Anna Bligh, who warned revellers they will face arrest if they "cross the line".

Ms Bligh was offended by "lewd" behaviour, including women flashing their breasts on highrise balconies, during her first visit to Indy as Premier last year and has told organisers to clean up their act.

Under a new code of conduct, highrise unit owners will warn guests not to expose themselves, and the Premier has placed revellers on notice that they face arrest over such behaviour....full story from

Stickers appraise mundane objects in downtown Wisconsin town: No one seems to know where the mysterious stickers came from - colorful dots that appeared in Appleton, Wisconsin, apparently placing a value on the most mundane of public objects. An orange dot on a decorative light post is labeled "Art Object, $10,000."

Nearby another sticker declares a green fire hydrant an art object worth $10....full story from CBS News

Pirates of the Colosseum? Rome plans theme park: With the ruins of ancient Rome, the splendor of Vatican City and countless Renaissance art treasures, what does Italy's capital lack to attract tourists?

The answer, according to the mayor's office, is a Disneyland-style theme park....full story from Reuters UK

August 14, 2008

Man banned from girlfriend's home after noisy sex: Adam Hinton, 32, was barred from getting within 100 meters (110 yards) of his 29-year-old girlfriend Kerry Norris' apartment by a British court Wednesday, Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman Mike Taggart said.

Residents of Norris's publicly-owned home had been complaining since 2006 about thumping music, banging headboards, and screamed obscenities, Taggart said. He added that a young child had been traumatized....full story from CBS News

Man buys Chevy with small change: An Ohio man with a hatred of paper money slapped down $8,000 in coins at a car dealership to buy a Chevrolet pick-up - then paid the rest by cheque.

James Jones, 70, produced 16 coffee cans full of coins to buy his new Chevrolet Silverado in Cincinnati and staff spent 90 minutes counting it....full story from the BBC

August 13, 2008

Jilted wife puts adultery evidence up for sale on eBay: An Australian woman has taken revenge on her cheating husband by putting a photograph of his lover's underpants up for sale on the auction site eBay.

In the listing the woman says she is selling a picture of a pair of lacy black knickers and an empty condom wrapper "size small" found in her bed after her husband had an affair with another woman....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

NYC Metrocard machine glitch let trio steal $800,000 in fares: Three pals stumbled on a MetroCard machine in Penn Station that gave them free fares - and they milked it for $800,000 over nearly three years before the MTA caught on, authorities said yesterday.

The thieves - including a former student at the prestigious Wharton School of Business - were finally nabbed only after a routine agency audit uncovered their scheme, which came courtesy of a software glitch in the machine in the Manhattan transit hub, authorities said....full story from the New York Post

Man to sell truck with more than one million miles: The owner of a 1991 Chevrolet Silverado that's traveled more than 1 million miles is parting with what he affectionately calls his "old girl."

Frank Oresnik, of Catawba, Wisconsin said his pickup with 1.03 million miles goes on sale on eBay on Thursday night. The minimum bid is $30,000 and the auction continues for 10 days....full story from CBS News

August 12, 2008

Winnie-the-Pooh held for Tokyo robbery: Japanese police have arrested a 20-year-old man who attacked and robbed two people after they stared at his Winnie-the-Pooh costume, officials said on Tuesday.

Masayuki Ishikawa was hanging out on a Tokyo street corner after midnight last month while wearing the cuddly costume, accompanied by two friends dressed as a mouse and a panther, when he took offence at being stared at, police said....full story from Reuters UK

Police ask: Do you know pay-and-display piddler?: Police are searching for a man with a good aim, a healthy prostate and a fondness for one particular parking meter.

The unidentified male was caught on film last month urinating on a parking meter in Napier city centre. Police placed a hidden camera after fielding complaints from Napier City, New Zealand Council parking staff tired of finding the unit full of urine....full story w/pic & video from The Dominion Post

August 11, 2008

Google maps Russian assault on Savannah: Google may have plans to catalogue all the world's information, but it's found itself a bit confused between the former Soviet republic of Georgia and the southern US state.

An AFP report that Russian tanks were rushing into the south was accompanied on Google News by a map of the Savannah region, raising possible concern about a General Sherman-style march to the sea....full story from The Register

700-pound Mexican man makes rare trip out of house: A 700-pound man once considered the world's most obese person left his home for the first time in five months Sunday with the aid of a forklift and a platform truck.

Manuel Uribe traveled to the shore of a lake in northern Mexico without ever leaving his specially designed bed. A forklift hoisted the bed onto the truck, which then hauled him to the lake, where he snacked on fish and vegetables and joked with a local boat operator....full story from the StarTribune

August 10, 2008

Secret of invisibility unravelled by US researchers: Scientists at the University of California in Berkeley have engineered a material that can bend visible light around objects. This development could soon result in technology that can render tanks, ships and troops invisible to the eye.

Results of the US military-funded research are expected to appear in the scientific journals Science and Nature this week....full story from The Register

August 9, 2008

Family stranded as pilot's license expires: Low-cost air carrier easyJet says it will pay $3,360 to a British family stranded in the Canary Islands after the pilot forgot to renew his license.

The couple, Nicola and Robert Starkie, and their two young daughters were planning to head home from Las Palmas on Grand Canary after a wedding, but when they got to the airport, they found their flight was canceled because the pilot's license had expired, The Times of London reported Saturday....full story from UPI

Baby born on 8-08-08 at 8:08 weighs 8lbs 8ozs: Talk about a memorable birthday: A Fergus Falls, Minnesota family is welcoming a baby girl born at 8:08 a.m. on the eighth day of August, weighing in at eight pounds, eight ounces.

Lindsay Hauer's cesarean section was scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday morning at Lake Region Hospital and began right on the dot. When hospital staff told her the time of her daughter's birth, Hauer thought they were pulling her leg....full story w/pic from The Fergus Falls Daily Journal

French a hit with captive market: Sacre bleu! Rimutaka Prison inmates in New Zealand have been getting French and Spanish language lessons to stop them from becoming bored and disruptive.

About 20 prisoners took part in the three-week lessons, which were included in a range of classes on offer, including money management, creative writing and letter-writing. Art classes and sporting activities were also available....full story from The Dominion Post

August 8, 2008

Spanish shopkeeper finds Homer Simpson euro: A one euro coin has turned up in Spain bearing the face of cartoon couch potato Homer Simpson instead of that of the country's king, a sweetshop owner told Reuters on Friday....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

English Lord puts life up for sale on eBay: An eccentric millionaire has put his entire life up for sale on the Internet -- including his title of Lord of the Manor of Warleigh -- in the hope of converting his assets into cash.

David Piper, a hotelier who made headlines six years ago after advertising for a wife to become his "lady of the manor", wants to sell his west of England existence on the auction site eBay and move to London to be closer to his children....full story from Reuters UK

Zoo to keep party animals out with 7000-volt fence: Wellington Zoo in New Zealand is resorting to a 7000-volt electric fence - not to keep its residents in, but to keep the party animals out.

Zoo staff have arrived to discover its kiosk burgled, a kiwi sculpture destroyed, beer bottles strewn around enclosures and even a picnic table in the lions' den....full story from The Dominion Post

August 7, 2008

Washington letter carrier going full kilt ahead: A 6-foot-tall, 250-pound letter carrier is campaigning for the right to take off his pants. Dean Peterson wants the U.S. Postal Service to add kilts as a uniform option for men.

The idea was soundly defeated in July at a convention of his union, the 220,000-member National Letter Carriers' Association, so Peterson knows convincing management will be an uphill struggle, but at least he'll be comfortable in his kilt, or Male Unbifurcated Garment....full story w/pic from CBS News

August 5, 2008

UK couple wed strapped to wings of 2 airplanes: It was Katie and Darren's wedding day and they were in the clouds - strapped to the top of biplanes reciting vows 1,000 feet above the earth.

Katie Hodgson, 23, took to the skies Tuesday in a full bridal gown on the top wing of red-and-white plane operated by Team Guinot, a group of stunt pilots. Groom Darren McWalters, 24, flew by her side on an identical plane, while Rev. George Bringham - flying ahead of the couple - married them over an airborne communications system....full story w/pic from CBS News
More info from Team Guinot

Blow-up church looks to lure Italian beachgoers: Catholic nuns and priests in Italy are following their flocks to the beach this summer, establishing an inflatable church and a beach-convent in the sands to lure sunbathers.

The 30-metre (98 ft) long blow-up church -- staffed by priests ready to take confession -- will debut on Saturday on the Adriatic coast in the Molise region, an organiser said....full story from Reuters UK

August 4, 2008

Athletes bare all for advertising campaign: Some of Britain's top athletes have decided to bare all ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Triple jumper Phillips Idowu, cyclist Rebecca Romero and swimmer Gregor Tait have all been photographed taking part in their individual sports stark naked as part of an advertising campaign for a sports drink....full story from Reuters UK

August 3, 2008

Man presumed dead in 1976 Colorado flood found alive: A man believed to have died in a Colorado flood in 1976 has been found living in Oklahoma and working as a funeral director.

Sixty-three-year-old Darrell Johnson told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in a story Friday that he didn't know he had been counted among the 144 victims of the Big Thompson Canyon flood until a resident called him last year....full story from CBS News

Turning water into wine: One has an "elegant velvet" character when served at room temperature while another has a "large mouth feel" and is best served as a pre-dinner drink with hors d'oeuvres.

But these beverages don't come from a posh restaurant's wine list - they come from a water menu.

Sydney, Australia's Four Seasons Hotel launched its first water menu at its Kable's restaurant last week, with 20 varieties from countries such as France, Italy and Fiji....full story from The Dominion Post

August 2, 2008

NY girl falls 14 stories, saved by sooty landing: A 12-year-old girl fell into a chimney on the roof of her apartment building, plummeted 14 stories down the flue and landed almost unscathed in a pile of furnace soot.

Grace Bergere, a young rock drummer, remained hospitalized Saturday for treatment of an injured hip....full story from IHT

August 1, 2008

Nude women take to tub in art world stunt: Two naked women cavorting in a bath in a Woolloongabba, Australia shopfront are being used to promote a new Brisbane art gallery in a stunt that has drawn fire from a family group.

Peak-hour motorists on Ipswich Rd have been treated to the nightly spectacle for the past week to advertise an exhibition at the Joshua Levi Galleries titled Naked New York....full story from

Don't streak, get drunk or sleep outside at Olympics: Do not sleep outdoors to save money at the Olympics. It is banned to "maintain public hygiene and the cultured image of cities".

Do not let the stifling summer heat tempt you into streaking, do not get drunk nor set off fireworks nor wave "insulting banners"....full story from Reuters UK

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