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Odd News Archive - February 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.

February 29, 2008

Dead or alive, Malaysia voters among world's oldest: Malaysia has found nearly 9,000 people aged more than 100 on its electoral rolls as it heads for general elections next month, raising suspicions that the books are "contaminated" with dead voters.

The Election Commission has found the names of 8,666 registered voters with birth dates from a century or more ago, the New Straits Times said on Friday, quoting commission secretary Kamaruzaman Mohd Noor....full story from Reuters UK

February 28, 2008

Biker surprise for Sydney robbers: Two armed robbers who targeted a Sydney, Austailia, bar that was hosting a bikers' meeting must have "failed robber school", said the club's chairman.

The men stormed the bar brandishing machetes and wearing balaclavas - unaware that 50 bikers were holding a meeting in an adjoining room....full story from the BBC

Want to buy a fake Ferrari? In Sicily you can: Italians are used to buying bogus Gucci bags or Rolex watches to look stylish but police found a new height of craftsmanship and cunning when they broke up a ring selling fake Ferrari cars for a fraction of the real price.

Police accused 15 people of building the blood red sports cars and selling them to car fanatics on a budget, most of whom knew they were buying a counterfeit classic....full story from Reuters UK

Pregnant woman uses train toilet and baby slips out: A newborn baby girl survived an ignoble birth after slipping down the toilet bowl of a moving Indian train onto the tracks when a pregnant woman unexpectedly gave birth while relieving herself on Tuesday.

"My delivery was so sudden," said the Bhuri Kalbi, the mother of the infant, born two months prematurely. "I did not even realise that my child had slipped from the hole in the toilet....full story from Reuters UK

February 27, 2008

Finnish minister says men should do more at home: Stefan Wallin has a message for men -- do more housework, help with the children and spend more time at home.

"Equality starts at home," Wallin, Finland's minister for culture and sports, told Reuters on Tuesday in an interview on the sidelines of an annual gathering of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women....full story from Reuters UK

Is this the last shout for Australian pubs?: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's historic ideas summit will look at slashing the number of bars in Australia and reducing their opening hours to break the binge drinking culture gripping the nation.

One of the summit's hand-picked leaders, Tim Costello, said yesterday access to alcohol in Australia was too easy and tackling the problem would be high on his agenda at the April summit in Canberra.

"There are far too many outlets," he said....full story from

February 25, 2008

Airline pilot sacked for 777 Top Gun stunt: A senior pilot with Cathay Pacific Airways has been sacked for an "unauthorised low-level flypast" of a new Boeing 777-300ER in Seattle last month, Flight International reports.

Ian Wilkinson had just taken delivery of the aircraft on 30 January and, after take-off from Everett Airport en route to Hong Kong with about 50 to 60 passengers on board, including Cathay Pacific chairman Christopher Pratt, returned to the airfield for "a low-level flypast with the landing gear up....full story w/pic from The Register
UPDATE:01Mar2008: Naked old pilot executes unauthorised barrel roll

Professor caught stealing panties from dorm: A Singaporean professor who nicked bras and panties has pleaded guilty to stealing women's underwear from a university dormitory, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.

The 39-year old man -- an associate professor in a Chinese university -- was charged for taking women's underwear from a university hostel's clothes-line last December, the Straits Times reported....full story from Reuters UK

February 24, 2008

Mannequins a change for Amsterdam sex district: Some of the most visited brothels in Amsterdam's red-light district have gained unexpected new neighbors.

For years, the brothels' large street-side windows have showcased women of all races, wearing minute bits of clothing as they preened and beckoned customers. But in some windows, women have recently been replaced by plastic mannequins in designer clothes.

What may appear to be a new form of street theater is, instead, the most visible sign of an ambitious new gentrification plan that may take years to complete....full story from IHT

February 23, 2008

Beijing strengthens measures to ward off marriage fraud: Marriage fraudsters suspected of using fake ID cards and other documentation to make a marriage registration will be detained and punished in conformity to the law, according to the Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau.

Last year, the bureau detected 386 cases of marriage registration with fake ID cards or other documents, the Beijing News reported on Saturday....full story from the Peoples Daily Online

February 22, 2008

Earthquakes are caused by gays, says MP: An Israeli politician has blamed a spate of recent earthquakes in the Middle East on gays.

Shlomo Benizri of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party said the only way to prevent the earthquakes was for parliament to stop liberalising laws concerning homosexuals, AP reported....full story from

February 21, 2008

World's first wooden sports car unveiled: A U.S. design company has created the world's first wooden supercar, which would put both Porsche and Lamborghini in the shade with a staggering top speed of 240 mph, media reported Thursday.

The 4.6 meter-long, two-seater "Splinter" car, made from maple, plywood and MDF, has a 4.6 liter V8 petrol engine and a six-speed gearbox....full story from the Peoples Daily Online

NY man charged after bank error lets him take millions: A New York man who discovered that millions of dollars had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, and withdrew more than $2 million (1 million pounds), has been arrested on charges of grand larceny, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Benjamin Lovell, 48, pleaded innocent on Tuesday to charges that he withdrew money from a Commerce Bank account that had been opened by someone with the same name, prosecutors said....full story from Reuters UK
UPDATE:23Feb2008: Man 'didn't intend' theft in bank error

Drunk Canadian driver parks at police station: Police in the western Canadian town of Wetaskiwin didn't have to do much work when they arrested a drunk driver at the weekend -- he had parked his car next to their offices and wandered inside.

Police discovered the man as they drove by early on Saturday morning to respond to an unrelated call. Although the police office was locked, the lobby was open....full story from Reuters UK

Cat travels inside POD from Pompano to Phoenix: Three weeks inside a sealed container -- no food, water or fresh air -- but except for losing a few pounds, Meatloaf appeared none the worse for wear.

Last month, the gray kitten sneaked into the PODS storage container in Pompano Beach bound for Arizona. But it wasn't until Tuesday his meows in a Phoenix storage facility caught the attention of a company driver....full story w/pic from the Miami Herald

Australian footballers learn the rules about sex: Should you pretend to be your best mate so you can have sex with his girlfriend?

The answer might be self-evident but the AFL believes its players need to be instructed on how to handle this and other scenarios, and is producing an interactive DVD designed to improve player attitudes to women.

In one scenario, a player is called by his mate's girlfriend into her bedroom, as she thinks the player is her boyfriend. The player is asked: "Do you: (a) go and hop into bed and pretend to be him or (b) do you walk away?"....full story from

February 20, 2008

South Carolina man drives stolen car to police station: Authorities say a man drove a stolen car to the Anderson County Sheriff's Office to demand the return of nearly $2,000 officers seized from him during a drug arrest last June.

Deputies said after they told Charles Chambers, 36, to leave Tuesday afternoon, an officer noticed he got into a car that matched the description of a vehicle stolen about three hours earlier....full story from TCV

Ban booze in supermarkets, says UK health adviser: A health adviser to the government has formulated a cunning plan to tackle the UK's binge drinking epidemic which some claim has seen this green and pleasant land converted into a booze-fuelled version of a bad Saturday night in the Democratic Republic of Congo - simply ban the sale of alcohol in supermarkets.

According to the Telegraph, professor Julian le Grand, the chairman of Health England, insisted consumers should be obliged to make a "conscious decision" to buy a drop of the hard stuff "by going into a different shop" rather than having cut-price "adult candy" temptingly presented to them as they trudge round the aisles....full story from The Register

Drunken Korean attempts to cook landlady's Chihuahua: A South Korean man suffering from a bad case of the booze-fuelled munchies decided his landlady's Chihuahua would do nicely as a post-session snack, but ended up part-flambéd and cuffed for his trouble.

The 52-year-old canine chef, named only as Park, kidnapped said mutt while his 69-year-old landlady was in the bathroom of the boarding house in Jongno, Seoul, the Korean Times reports....full story from The Register

February 19, 2008

Fire extinguisher resolves German smoking dispute: An anti-smoking German man earned himself a light cuffing last Sunday after his girlfriend declined a request to stop smoking in his flat, and he responded by emptying a fire extinguisher over her and the Bielefeld domicile.

According to Spiegel, the 42-year-old reacted angrily to his missus lighting up, gave her a bit of a mouthful and then, "not completely satisfied with his tirade... grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed the entire apartment with the fine, white powder inside....full story from The Register

DVD protects South Carolina man from being shot: A South Carolina man is thankful for a DVD that ended up taking a bullet for him.

Barry McRoy says he was leaving a Waffle House restaurant in Walterboro on Saturday morning when two men ran in fighting over a gun. Police say a bullet hit one of the struggling men, shattered a window and then hit McRoy, a fire and rescue director for the local county....full story from CNews

British study: Bottled water 'bad as smoking': Drinking bottled water is so anti-environment that it should be made as unfashionable as smoking.

A British study has found that drinking a bottle of water has the same impact on the environment as driving a car a kilometre.

Its production generated up to 600 times more CO2 than tap water....full story from

February 18, 2008

Painting of UK bridge to end after 100 years: Painting on the Forth Rail Bridge is scheduled to end in 2012, concluding over 100 years of relentless brushwork which inspired the phrase "like painting the Forth Bridge", the BBC reports.

Network Rail is set to end the century of endless slog by stumping £74m for a three-coat paint job similar to that used on oil rigs and which will last for up to 40 years....full story from The Register

February 17, 2008

Couple married on Amtrak train: A Michigan woman who has loved trains since she was a child now has had one of the most important moments of her life take place inside one.

Lynn Kuczajda, 48, of Pontiac married Robert Steil of Milwaukee on an Amtrak train traveling from Pontiac to Dearborn, Mich., Pontiac's Oakland Press reported....full story from UPI

February 16, 2008

301 pennies auctioned off for $10.7 million: A penny saved is not necessarily just a penny earned: One man's collection of rare American cents has turned into a $10.7 million auction windfall.

The collection of 301 cents featured some of the rarest and earliest examples of the American penny, including a cent that was minted for two weeks in 1793 but was abandoned because Congress thought Lady Liberty looked frightened....full story from TCV

February 15, 2008

Vancouver sex trade group wins co-op status: A group of Canadian sex trade workers hoping to set up a legal "co-op" brothel in time for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver said on Friday they have won approval to incorporate themselves.

The provincial government's designation of the group as a business co-operative is the first step in what organizers say will create a safer working environment for sex trade workers in the Pacific Coast city....full story from Reuters UK

World's first submersible car: Forget James Bond. A Swiss company says it has created the world's first truly submersible car - and it's a convertible.

The Associated Press, which has released amazing underwater shots of the vehicle, says it will be unveiled at next month's Geneva Auto Show....full story w/pics from

February 14, 2008

Gambler sues bookmaker for lost £2 million: A gambling addict who says he told bookmakers to stop taking his bets is suing William Hill for allowing him to lose 2 million pounds.

Graham Calvert, a greyhound trainer from Tyne & Wear in northeast England, wants William Hill to pay back his losses, saying the company should have stopped taking bets from him after he told them he was an addict in 2006....full story from Reuters UK

Chinese regulators now spooked by ghost stories: China has added ghosts, monsters and other things that go bump in the night to its list of banned video and audio content in an intensified crackdown ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Producers have around three weeks to look through their tapes for "horror" and report it to authorities, the General Administration of Press and Publications said in a statement posted on the government Web site....full story from Reuters UK

February 13, 2008

Boston man receives postcard from 1929: The message on the postcard to a "Miss Margaret McDonald" was short. Its path to the intended address was much longer. Nearly 79 years after it was sent, a postcard of Yellowstone National Park's Tower Falls arrived in a Boston mailbox recently with the one-word message, "Greetings."

Its intended recipient had long since left the Victorian on Sparhawk Street, and the sender was not identified by name....full story from TCV

No sex on Valentine's, Thai police warn teens: Alarmed by polls showing one in four Thai teens will celebrate St. Valentine's Day by having sex, police plan to swoop on motels, malls and parks to ensure youths behave themselves on the "Day of Love".

The annual campaign to ensure good behavior on February 14 will see city officials turn on all lights at public parks in the capital Bangkok, while parents are urged to make sure their teenagers come home early....full story from Reuters UK

February 12, 2008

UK stores use sonic devices to chase kids: England's commissioner for children and a civil liberties group joined in on a campaign Tuesday to ban high-frequency devices intended to drive misbehaving children away from shops and other areas.

The so-called "Mosquito" device emits high-frequency noise which is audible - and annoying - to young ears, but generally not heard by people over 20.

"This device is a quick fix that does not tackle the root cause of the problem and it is indiscriminate," English Children's Commissioner Al Aynsley-Green said....full story from TCV

February 9, 2008

Malaysia starts Lunar New Year with bounty on rats: Authorities in Malaysia's capital have ushered in the Year of the Rat by offering a bounty on rats to help fight the city's age-old rodent problem, a newspaper said on Saturday.

"There's no incentive like money," Yew Teong Look, a member of parliament for a Kuala Lumpur precinct, was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying.

Dead or alive, the rats are worth 2 ringgit (31 pence) each, he said....full story from Reuters UK

February 8, 2008

Mexican city mulls paying police to lose weight: The central Mexican city of Aguascalientes is considering paying a cash bonus to local police who slim down, amid the increasingly common sight of overweight officers in Mexico.

Aguascalientes city hall plans to decide next week on whether to pay 100 pesos (5 pounds) for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) that officers lose, a police spokesman said on Thursday....full story from Reuters UK

February 7, 2008

Drunken Australian threatened city with TV remote: A drunken man's threat to blow up half a city with his television remote control forced Australian police to declare a state of emergency at a luxury golf resort, a local court heard on Thursday.

Geoffrey Martin Fryatt, 57, a resident of the Fairways Golf and Lifestyle Retreat in Brisbane, was arrested by elite paramilitary police after terrifying neighbours with a knife and threatening to detonate a store of chemicals with the TV remote....full story from Reuters UK

Scottish government drafts Cat Welfare Code: The Scottish government has tackled the thorny issue of cat welfare by issuing a Draft Cat Welfare Code of Practice aimed at providing "basic information and guidance to those responsible for cats on how to care for them".

This exhaustive document contains essential info for those Scots who aren't feline-savvy, such as the revelations that "different cats will have different needs", inquisitive moggies may end up in tumble dryers and that nine lives won't save your pet from if it falls from your sixth-floor balcony....full story from The Register

February 6, 2008

Fishermen rescued after 3 months at sea: Three Myanmar fishermen who say they spent nearly three months adrift at sea in a raft after their boat was destroyed in a cyclone were rescued off the east Indian coast on Wednesday, police said.

Local fishermen spotted the trio drifting aimlessly near the resort town of Gopalpur in a bamboo raft, Siba Sankar Mohapatra, a senior police officer said.

"They lived on turtles and fishes for food after they were separated from three other groups in the sea," Mohapatra said after questioning the trio....full story from Reuters UK

February 5, 2008

Beer gets seatbelt. Child doesn't: Police have arrested a motorist they say had a 24-pack of beer strapped in with a seat belt but had a 16-month-old girl unrestrained in the back seat with the toddler's mother.

Tina D. Williams was pulled over in St. Augustine, Florida, on Sunday for allegedly running a red light....full story from TCV

February 4, 2008

Mississippi law would ban serving obese diners: A state lawmaker wants to ban restaurants from serving food to obese customers - but please, don't be offended. He says he never even expected his plan to become law.

"I was trying to shed a little light on the number one problem in Mississippi," said Republican Rep. John Read of Gautier, who acknowledges that at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, he'd probably have a tough time under his own bill....full story from TCV

Malaysian burglar caught napping: Malaysian police have arrested a thief who fell asleep after snacking on cookies in the home of his victim and was discovered curled up in bed clutching a stolen purse, a newspaper said on Monday.

V. Sathya, an insurance manager in the northern Malaysian state of Terengganu, said his nine-year old son was startled to find the intruder sleeping in his bed, with a blanket pulled over his head, after the family returned from a shopping trip....full story from Reuters UK

February 1, 2008

Scientists create 'no-tears' onion: Scientists have created an onion that won't cause you to cry using Australian-developed biotechnology to switch off the gene behind the enzyme that brings on the waterworks.

Using gene-silencing technology, the New Zealand-based research institute Crop and Food pioneered the breakthrough and hopes could lead to a prototype onion hitting the market in a decade's time....full story from The Register

NASA to beam Beatles song into deep space: NASA will on 4 February beam Beatles' ditty Across the Universe into deep space to mark the 40th anniversary of the day the Fab Four recorded the song, as well as the launch 50 years ago this week of Explorer 1 and the 45th birthday of its Deep Space Network (DSN).

According to the press release, the transmission is being directed towards the North Star, Polaris, and will travel at 186,000 miles per second towards its 431 light year-distant target....full story from The Register

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