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Odd News Archive - January 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.

January 31, 2008

Minister says no drugs for off-duty Dutch police: The Dutch interior minister wants police officials to stop using soft drugs when they are off-duty as it tarnishes the image of the force.

The use of some soft drugs is tolerated in the Netherlands and the sale of cannabis in small quantities for recreational use is permitted in government-regulated coffee shops....full story from Reuters UK

January 30, 2008

Turns out it wasn't just false labor...: A Cincinnati woman who had been told that her pains were false labor pains gave birth in the driveway of her home. Charryse Brooks, 25, had gone to a hospital about 2 a.m. Sunday because she thought she might be in the early stages of labor. She wasn't due with her first child until Feb. 22.

Hospital workers told her she was experiencing false labor and told her to go home. She tried to sleep, but the pain increased and her contractions got stronger....full story from TCV

Chinese police stop student trying to ski home: As unusually cold weather blankets much of central and southern China in snow and closes roads, one student had a bright idea about how to get home for the Lunar New Year holiday -- he would ski.

The university student from Jingzhou in the central province of Hubei wanted to get back to his home city of Wuhan, 200 km (124 miles) to the east, the Changjiang Daily said.

"Who knew that the highways would have been closed by snow and that there would be no buses?....full story from Reuters UK

January 29, 2008

California deploys dope-vending machines: California residents with a genuine need to skin up can now avail themselves of marijuana vending machines, the BBC reports.

While whacky baccy is illegal under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act and the US federal government "does not currently recognise any legitimate medical use", 11 states do allow it to be used medically, primarily for pain relief.

Accordingly, anyone with a prescription and willing to be fingerprinted and photographed can make their way to either of two mechanical outlets which became operational yesterday....full story from The Register

Getting rid of liquor stash "a nightmare": During his 30 years in banking, Hunter Padgett has never had a bigger challenge: how to shut down the largest liquor store in the Forida Keys.

The repossessed inventory of the failed Kraus' Supermarket Liquors & Deli includes nearly 70,000 bottles of spirits and wines -- and a life-size plastic Captain Morgan pirate.

"This has been a nightmare," said Padgett, CEO and president of Marathon-based Marine Bank, which financed the venture that failed last July after only about a year of operation....full story w/pic from the Miami Herald

Fly naked on Germany's first nudist holiday flight: German nudists will be able to start their holidays early by stripping off on the plane if they take up a new offer from an eastern German travel firm.

Travel agency said it would start taking bookings from Friday for a trial nudist day trip from the eastern German town of Erfurt to the popular Baltic Sea resort of Usedom, planned for July 5 and costing 499 euros (370 pounds)....full story from Reuters UK

Drunk takes mower to store in snow: A Michigan man was charged with drunken driving after going through two bottles of wine, cutting through a snowstorm on his lawn mower and riding down the center of the street to reach a liquor store, authorities said.

Police found Frank Kozumplik, 49, homeward bound on a John Deere tractor Saturday night, toting four bottles of wine in a paper bag, officials said....full story from CBS News

January 28, 2008

West Virginia mayor uses magazine to prove ID at airport: Charleston Mayor Danny Jones had a problem as he tried to get through the security gate at a California airport: He had misplaced his driver's license, and the expired one in his wallet wouldn't do.

The guards at John Wayne Airport in Orange County searched his bag, he told the Charleston Daily Mail for a story published Monday....full story from TCV

January 27, 2008

Five-legged cat to lose two paws: A five-legged cat is to undergo surgery to remove a superfluous paw growing from the left side of her body.

The stray was found by a US family in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, and taken to a local animal shelter, where she was named Baby Girl....full story w/pic from the BBC

January 26, 2008

Dallas man accidently shoots self in head: A Dallas man who accidently shot himself in the head while "showing off his pistol to friends" at a party last Saturday looks certain to make the 2008 Darwin Awards nominations.

According to the Dallas Morning News Andreous Robinson, 20, had been partying with chums in West Dallas when he decided to pop outside at around 1am and fire off a few rounds skywards....full story from The Register

January 25, 2008

Mob of wallabies grounds RAAF fighters: A Mob of wallabies has grounded RAAF fighter-bomber jets after dark at a Northern Territory, Australia, airfield.

And medical rescue planes have been moved to another airstrip after being unable to take off at night.

The Northern Territory News understands the problem started when a fence was built around the military-controlled Tindal airport at Katherine....full story from

January 24, 2008

Man on the moon. Now, woman on Mars?: Images have emerged showing a mystery figure perched on a rock on Mars.

The photo of what looks remarkably like a female figure with her arm outstretched was among several taken on the red planet and sent back to Earth by NASA's Mars explorer Spirit, Britain's Daily Mail reported yesterday.

Though no official confirmation has come from NASA on whether the figure is an alien or an optical illusion caused by landscape on Mars, it has set the Internet abuzz that there really is life on Mars....full story w/pic from the Peoples Daily Online (China)

US couple protests jet noise with obscene rooftop sign: A couple angry at the noise from jets flying over their house expressed their anger at U.S. aviation officials by painting an obscene message on the roof of their home.

The 7-foot (2.13-meter) tall signs is directed at the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, which recently altered the plane routes around Philadelphia International Airport. It reads "F - U F.A.A.," referring to a four-letter expletive.,,,full story from AOL News

Russian woman's home vanishes: Returning home after an absence can mean unpleasant surprises - a leaky roof, a pet's mess, even a break-in. But a Russian woman got a nastier surprise when she returned from her country house: her home was gone, torn down mistakenly by construction workers clearing a site, according to a report Thursday on NTV television.

"There was nothing left, not even a log," Lyudmila Martemyanova said, bundled against the cold and standing on a snow-covered lot in the center of the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod....full story from TCV

Fox Network shuts down Super Bowl parties: If you planned on partying while you watch Super Bowl XLII -- and possibly a piece of National Football League history -- at your favorite hotel, watering hole or restaurant -- scratch it.

There's a strong possibility that your "spot" won't be airing the game, replete with food, fun and all the fixins synonymous with a Super Bowl shindig.

That's because the U.S. mainland-based FOX Network, which owns broadcast rights to this year's Super Bowl, released a set of rules that prohibit almost everyone from holding a "Super Bowl party....full story from the Pacific Daily News (Guam)

January 23, 2008

Ferrari-totalling ex-Gizmondo boss out of jail: Stefan 'Fat Steffe' Eriksson, the former boss of bankrupt videogame gadget outfit Gizmondo, is set to be booted out of the US having served his time in the Big House.

Swedish newspapers say Eriksson has been released early and is waiting at a deportation centre outside Los Angeles to be put on a flight home. The US Swedish embassy has smoothed over some passport issues, it's reported....full story w/pic from The Register

January 22, 2008

Missing cat found in airline luggage: The last time cat-owner Kelly Levy saw her tiger-striped feline was before she took her husband to the airport. The 24-year-old came back to her house late Friday to find the bottom step, where Gracie Mae would usually be waiting, empty.

Levy tore the house apart looking for the 10-month-old tabby who had been spayed just days before. She and her dad took out bathroom tiles and part of a cabinet to check a crawl space and papered the neighborhood with "lost cat" signs.

Then she got a phone call....full story w/pics from TCV

Longer skirts and fewer fights for Thai airline soap: The producer of a sexy Thai soap opera about young air hostesses promised longer skirts and fewer catfights on Tuesday after real flight attendants complained the show was sexist and should be yanked from the airwaves.

The makers of "The War of Angels", which portrays stewardesses fighting for the attention of male pilots at a fictional airline, apologised to staff at national carrier Thai Airways who said the show was demeaning.

"There won't be any more catfight scenes between flight attendants while they are on duty or in uniform in public," Takonkiet Viravan, managing director of production house Exact, told a packed news conference....full story form Reuters UK

January 21, 2008

Lightsaber voted top movie weapon: A Jedi knight's lightsaber has been voted the top movie weapon, pipping Dirty Harry's Magnum .44 to the post in a 20th Century Fox poll of 2,000 film buffs.

The Star Wars illuminated sword heads a mixed bag of offensive items, including the Hattori Hanzo katana from Kill Bill, Oddjob's unfriendly bowler hat* and Indy's bullwhip....full story from The Register

January 17, 2008

Burglar finds corpse and calls police: A Berlin burglar's break-in took an unexpected turn when he stumbled upon a corpse and felt compelled to call the police.

"He called to say he'd just broken into a flat and found a dead body," said a spokeswoman for Berlin police on Thursday. "He gave the address of the place and then hung up....full story from Reuters UK

January 16, 2008

Hungarians unleash dog bark translator: Hungarian scientists are apparently working on computer software which analyses dog barks and potentially offers people the chance to "better recognise" their mutts' emotions, Reuters reports.

Csaba Molnar and colleagues at Budapest's ELTE University have tested the software on 14 dogs of the Hungarian Mudi herding breed in six situations: when the dog is alone, when it sees a ball, fights, plays, encounters a stranger, or goes for a walk....full story from The Register

January 14, 2008

Hurt yachtsman calls pub for help: British people are known for not making a fuss, so when a yachtsman had to be rescued in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he rang his local pub rather than calling the coastguard.

Suffering a suspected fractured pelvis after a fall on the deck of his boat, Alan Thompson, 61, managed to reach a satellite phone and called Roger Pocock, landlord of the Bull's Head pub in Fishbourne, West Sussex....full story from

Never, never spit gasoline while smoking: A German man in the northeastern town of Gross Godems was being treated for serious burns Monday after accidentally setting his apartment ablaze when he mixed up a bottle of gasoline with alcohol, police said.

The 56-year-old apparently grabbed the wrong bottle and took a swig from the gasoline flask, then spat it out when he realized his mistake....full story from TCV

German man throws Christmas tree and self out window: A German man threw himself out of a third storey window along with a Christmas tree during a late-night attempt to dispose of his festive decorations.

The man fell 7 metres (22 feet) from his flat after he lost his balance throwing the tree onto the street on Saturday, police in the western city of Moenchengladbach said. The tree did not break the victim's fall....full story from Reuters UK

Stranded, angry travellers destroy Buenos Aires airport: Stranded travellers attacked ticketing counters at Buenos Aires' international airport on Saturday after Aerolineas Argentinas suspended most of its flights at the international airport Ezeiza in Buenos Aires.

Local television broadcasts showed passengers overrunning the ticketing counters, throwing computers, and wrestling with airport personnel, even as an airline spokesman attempted to explain the cause of delays....full story from

January 11, 2008

Junkie sues pusher over heart attack: A Canadian former drug addict has successfully sued the dealer who supplied the crystal methamphetamine that triggered a heart attack and put her in a coma for 11 days, The Times reports.

Sandra Bergen, 23, of Biggar, Saskatchewan, alleged that "her nursery-school classmate Clinton Davey got her addicted to crystal methamphetamine by offering her a free dose when she was only 13 years old". She subsequently kicked the habit and had been drug-free for eight months until she met Davey at a friend's house in 2004, shortly before her 20th birthday....full story from The Register

Sleeping Australian run over by train and lives: A drunken Australian man who took a nap between railway tracks has had a miraculous escape after he was run over by a freight train and received only minor injuries and a bump on the head.

The 20-year-old, whose name was not released, fell asleep at a level crossing at Port Augusta, in South Australia state, when the train approached about 3.40 a.m., newspapers said on Friday....full story from Reuters UK

January 10, 2008

NYC police find 'cashback' corpse: Two men face trial after wheeling their dead friend down a Manhattan street in an alleged attempt to cash his Social Security cheque.

The sight of two men pushing a partially-dressed, pale, stiff body on an office chair raised the suspicions of a passing policeman....full story from the BBC

Phone company cuts off FBI wiretap for unpaid bill: A telephone company cut off an FBI international wiretap after the agency failed to pay its bill on time, according to a U.S. government audit released on Thursday.

The audit by the Justice Department's inspector general faulted the FBI for poor handling of money used in undercover investigations, which it said made the agency vulnerable to theft and mishandled invoices....full story from Reuters UK

Polish man finds wife working in brothel: A Polish bloke got a bit of a shock when he decided to nip out to a brothel - his missus was among the establishment's employees.

According to tabloid Super Express, the woman had been earning extra cash on the side while hubby thought she was working in a store in a nearby town. He told the paper: "I was dumbfounded. I thought I was dreaming....full story from The Register

January 9, 2008

German boss fires staff for not smoking: The owner of a small German computer company has fired three non-smoking workers because they were threatening to disturb the peace after they requested a smoke-free environment.

The manager of the 10-person IT company in Buesum, named Thomas J., told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions....full story from Reuters UK

Christmas fun in Antarctica gets out of hand: A groping Santa, a drunken car chase, a bloody punchout. Festivities in Antarctica got a little out of hand this Christmas.

Complaints of "inappropriate touching" were made against a Santa who had posed for photographs on a decorated snowmobile at the U.S. McMurdo station, on the edge of the continent, a New Zealand newspaper reported on Wednesday....full story from Reuters UK

January 8, 2008

Czechs trapped by billiard table call rescue squad: Two Czechs stuck in a billiard table while searching for a ball had to call the fire squad and were freed only when rescuers took the table apart, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

At first, the two players in the western Czech city of Karlovy Vary thought it was funny when both of their hands became trapped inside the table. But panic struck when they could not free themselves, daily Lidove Noviny reported....full story from Reuters UK

January 7, 2008

Why do women get plastered at fancy dress parties?: US researchers have admitted they cannot explain why women are more likely than men to get legless at sexually-themed fancy dress parties - a shock finding which is the only known exception to the rule that chaps will invariably sink more alcohol at social gatherings than the ladies.

Yes indeed, in the great tradition of ground-breaking investigations into bovine lesbianism, scientists from the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Studies at San Diego State University breathalysed 1,304 people who'd enjoyed 66 student parties in southern California.

They confirmed the drunk(er) bloke rule "except when [the parties] involved guests wearing fancy dress - especially with a sexual theme", as the Telegraph puts it....full story from The Register

January 4, 2008

Network down? Must be New Year's Eve gunfire: Gun-touting buffoons and a pesky raccoon were among some of the more bizarre reasons why a number of Americans suffered power and comms outages during the New Year period.

American revellers who were presumably not content with simply opening a bottle of bubbly moonshine to toast the New Year, decided to fire random gunshots instead....full story from The Register

January 3, 2008

Australian crematorium menaced by exploding dog: We're very much obliged to Oz's ABC News this morning for clarifying something which has been bothering us for some time: do frozen dogs present an explosion risk?

The answer is a chilling yes, as proved by the case of the Darwin pet crematorium which last night got an unscheduled visit from three fire trucks and police after "a passing motorist reported the premises were on fire....full story from The Register

Chinese shun sex for a good, old-fashioned bank: The Chinese appear to have dismally failed to grasp the primary use of Google, with searches on the word "sex" ranking way down the list of most-Googled terms in the country last year.

Leading the overall searches list was "QQ", apparently an "instant message service and a brand of car", according to Reuters. Next up was the China Merchants Bank, closely followed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Fourth place went to "stock" (as in "and shares", etc)....full story from The Register

January 2, 2008

Portugal's anti-smoking chief breaks ban on Day 1: The head of the Portuguese agency responsible for enforcing a new ban on smoking in public was seen lighting up at a New Year party, breaking the law on the first day it came into effect.

Antonio Nunes, president of Portugal's food standards agency, was photographed by the daily Diario de Noticias smoking a cigar at a casino on the outskirts of Lisbon....full story from Reuters UK

January 1, 2008

Beating Times Square toilet woes on New Year's Eve: Giddy New Year's celebrants cheered as the crystal ball dropped in Times Square, signaling the start of 2008 - and the first chance in hours for a bathroom break.

For just about everyone but Hirouyuki Tani and his friends, that is.

"I wear a diaper," the 30-year-old musician from Tokyo proudly declared, adding that his traveling pals, brothers Taro and Shinsuke Koyama, used the same strategy....full story from the New York Post

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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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