Odd News Archive - May 2008

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May 31, 2008

Ousted Nepal king consults astrologers in house hunt: Nepal's ousted King Gyanendra is looking for a house and consulting astrologers to find out when to quit the palace after a special assembly abolished the monarchy, newspaper reports published on Saturday said.

A historic assembly vote on Wednesday turned Nepal into a republic and gave deposed King Gyanendra two weeks to leave the sprawling Narayanhity palace in the heart of the capital....full story from Reuters UK

Poor get more out of cigarettes than rich: Medical students have grubbed around the streets of Wellington, New Zealand, collecting used fag butts - all in the name of research.

And the conclusion they came to? That smokers in poorer suburbs smoke their cigarettes closer to the butt than those in wealthier suburbs....full story from the Dominion Post

May 30, 2008

Stylish robbers wore women's thongs as masks: Police are looking for two men they say covered their faces with women's thongs to rob a convenience store in Arvada, Colorado. Police released a surveillance video of the two men this week as they roamed inside a gas station during the robbery.

Police say the men were unarmed when they demanded money from a female clerk and left with an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes....full story w/pic from CBS News

May 29, 2008

Boeing starts leak tests on nuke-nobbler raygun jumbo: US aerospace megacorp Boeing has announced that ground tests of its nuke-roasting aerial blaster cannon are imminent. "Activation Tests" of the newly installed Airborne Laser (ABL) ray weapon - the final stage before ground firings - have now begun, according to the company.

The ABL's mighty chemical laser, designed to heat up ascending ICBM rocket stacks to explosion point from 400km away, has now been fitted inside the back half of the 747 cargo plane which will carry it. The battle computers, beam-control and aiming gear in the front end were successfully flight tested last year, using a low-powered beam in place of the full power photon arse-kicker....full story from The Register

Long Island town's ban on clotheslines gets hung out to dry: A Long Island, New York, town has lifted a ban on clotheslines.

The ban was originally imposed in Southampton in 2002 after some homeowners in complained the laundry on their neighbors' lawns was making the town look shabby....full story from IHT

Chinese smugglers busted over zip wire border racket: Sixteen members of a smuggling gang in China and Hong Kong have been arrested for rigging a 300-metre long cable to send contraband goods across the heavily-policed border, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The gang had initially used a crossbow to shoot the cable across the fenced-off border between the two sides, before stringing it from the top of a Chinese highrise down to a village house in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported....full story from Reuters UK

May 28, 2008

ISS toilet fails to suck: The Russian ASU (Ассенизационно-Санитарная Установка, or "Waste Management System") aboard the ISS has pretty well clapped out following the failure on 21 May of the unit's air/water separator heralded by a "loud noise", according to NASA.

The agency explained last week: "The crew then replaced the separator with a spare unit but reported afterwards that the ASU lacked suction. The crew next replaced the F-V filter insert, which provided good suction for a while but again exhibited weak suction. TsUP/Moscow instructed the crew to deactivate the ASU and use the toilet facility in the Soyuz spacecraft....full story from The Register

May 27, 2008

Spanish man plans to raffle off flat to escape mortgage: An unemployed Spanish real estate agent is selling raffle tickets in a bid to get rid of his 320,000-euro (£255,000 - US$504,000) apartment near Madrid because he is unable to keep up with his mortgage payments and cannot sell it.

Miguel Marina said he hopes to be able to pay off his mortgage, worth 80 percent of the value of his property, by selling 64,000 tickets at 5 euros each, promising his home as the single prize to the winner of a draw....full story from Reuters UK

Balloon blows skydiver's record bid: A skydiver's hope to set a new free-fall record might have come to an end Tuesday when his ride to the sky left without him at the airport in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

The helium balloon Michel Fournier was going to use to soar to the stratosphere detached from the capsule he was going to use to jump from 130,000 feet....full story from USA Today

New York art dealer busted for serving wine at her posh gallery: The East Hampton, New York, art dealer busted for serving wine at her posh gallery has found an unlikely ally just one ritzy ZIP code away - the cops in Southampton.

Southampton Police Sgt. Darren Gagnon said yesterday that his East Hampton counterparts went way overboard when they hauled off 67-year-old Ruth Kalb in handcuffs Saturday night because she was serving her 300 well-heeled guests liquor at the opening of a photo exhibit....full story from the New York Post

May 26, 2008

Louisiana barber ticketed for Monday work: Police in this town wouldn't cut a break for a barber who ran afoul of an obscure law barring him from working Sundays and Mondays.

Clyde Scott had opened his shop May 19 just to trim up a few students getting ready for their graduation ceremony when an officer gave him a citation....full story from CBS News

Japanese customs lose hidden drugs in dog training: One of the travellers who arrived at Tokyo's Narita airport over the weekend may have picked up an unusual souvenir from customs -- a package of cannabis.

A customs official hid the package in a suitcase belonging to a passenger arriving from Hong Kong as a training exercise for sniffer dogs on Sunday, but lost track of both drugs and suitcase during the practice session, a spokeswoman for Tokyo customs said....full story from ReutersUK
UPDATE: 28May2008: Japanese customs reunited with lost dope

Saved at sea, now pay up: A couple who spent 19 hours drifting at sea off Queensland and sold their survival story for up to a reported $1.1 million have agreed to help cover the cost of the rescue.

Richard Neely, 38, from the UK, and his American partner Allyson Dalton, 40, were diving on the Great Barrier Reef on Friday when they surfaced too far from their chartered boat for those aboard to see them or hear their cries for help....full story from NEWS.com.au

Dad says crop of dope 'to help my kids': A father busted for growing cannabis in New Zealand said he did it because he feared his children would be reeled back into hard-drug use by shady dealers.

Self-employed Featherston man Mark Ingrey begins four months under curfew on community detention this week, after admitting a charge of cultivating cannabis....full story from the Dominion Post

May 23, 2008

Locksmith cracks Oregon safe that baffled MIT expert: A locksmith has managed to open a 159-year-old safe from Oregon that baffled other professional safecrackers and an expert from MIT.

In 2 1/2 hours, Tom Gorham of Longview got the safe open by spinning the dial and feeling for grooves to get the combination, a technique called manipulation....full story from CBS News

Frenchman poised for 'Great Leap,' a 40-kilometer (25mile) high adventure: He has spent two decades, and nearly $20 million, in a quest to fly up 40 kilometers to the upper reaches of the atmosphere using a helium balloon, just so he can jump back to Earth again. Now Michel Fournier says he's ready at last to make his "Great Leap".

Depending on weather conditions, Fournier, a 64-year-old retired French Army officer, will attempt what he has dubbed Le Grand Saut (The Great Leap) on Sunday over the plains of northern Saskatchewan, Canada. He will climb into the gondola of a helium balloon that when inflated resembles a giant jellyfish. A two-hour journey will take him to 130,000 feet - higher than any balloonist has been before....full story from IHT

Owners of New Zealand brothel 'threatened neighbour': Owners of a controversial Mt Victoria brothel allegedly threatened to burn down the house of a neighbour who opposed their plans to employ more working girls.

Kent Duston told Wellington City Council's strategy and policy committee, which was reviewing its commercial sex premises bylaws yesterday, about alleged intimidation he and his wife faced from the owners of the Lovely Lilly....full story from the Dominion Post

May 22, 2008

Nudist German flights scrapped: The July 5 flight was due to be the first of many and was aimed at east Germans nostalgic for the naturism that was authorised and extremely popular under communist rule.

But OssiUrlaub.de, the firm organising the service to a picturesque Baltic Sea island, said it has had second thoughts after "moral objections'' in the media and from visitors to its Internet portal, a spokesman said....full story from NEWS.com.au

Silicon Valley janitors strike: Tension flared on picket lines Wednesday as a Silicon Valley janitors strike moved into its second day with about 800 janitors off the job at about 20 South Bay sites, including Applied Materials, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo.

Service Employees International Union Local 1877, which represents about 6,000 Bay Area janitors whose contract with cleaning firms expired April 30, said it expected the strike to widen Wednesday night to include work sites in Oakland....full story from SiliconValley.com

LifeLock ID theft ads come back to bite pitchman: Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug.

Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him....full story from Newsmax.com

New Irish PM Cowen's use of "F" word draws fire: New Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's use of an expletive after a stormy parliamentary session has drawn protests raising questions over his style of leadership just weeks after he was appointed as premier.

Cowen, who took over as prime minister earlier this month, had ended a heated question time session with opposition parties on Wednesday when a microphone in the lower Dail chamber picked up a conversation with deputy prime minister Mary Coughlan....full story from Reuters UK

Woman strips at ATM after wolf whistles: Road workers in a small New Zealand town got their wish granted when a woman stripped saying she was fed up with their wolf-whistles.

The Israeli tourist was about to use an ATM in the main street of Kerikeri, in the far north of the country, when the men whistled, the New Zealand Press Association reported....full story from Reuters UK

May 21, 2008

Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address: When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught - recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said....full story from CBS News

May 20, 2008

Cash-strapped New Zealander offers to pay for munchie items with pot: A New Zealand man had a novel idea when he found himself in a queue at a service station counter with no money, could he pay with marijuana instead?

Unfortunately he didn't get a chance to discover whether the attendant would accept his offer, as the person behind him in the queue was a police officer, the Dominion Post newspaper reported....full story from Reuters UK
UPDATE 4 July 2008: Dopey cannabis deal gets to court

Guests give top marks to Italian gourmet jail: In what might be Italy's most exclusive restaurant, security is understandably tight.

On reservation, guests are subjected to a background check. They are admitted in groups, their mobile phones and bags confiscated, and they then submit to metal detector tests....full story from Reuters UK

Japanese whisky wins world's best single malt award: A Japanese whisky has recently been voted the best single malt at the World Whiskies Awards, beating off stiff competition from Scotland and Ireland, and raising Japan's profile in the whisky world. The "Yoichi 20 Years Old" single malt, which is produced by Nikka Whisky Distilling Co, in Hokkaido, won plaudits from a panel of judges from Europe, the United States and Japan.

In addition, Japan's "Suntory Hibiki" was voted the world's best blended whisky, a title it won last year as well. Rob Allanson, from Whisky Magazine, which organized the awards, said, "I think this year we have seen some of the best the Japanese market has to offer in the competition. They performed magnificently and are starting to make waves on the international market....full story from Japan Today

May 19, 2008

Bull storms through German home, devastates lounge: A German family were stunned when a rampaging bull burst through the back door of their house, charged around the living room, and then left by the front door.

"The animal basically did a tour of the hall, the kitchen and the living room before leaving the building," said Paul Kemen, a spokesman for police in the western city of Aachen on Monday. "It came in the back and went out the front....full story from Reuters UK

Belgian beer fans unveil urinal video game: Two Belgian beer fans have launched a video game named 'Place to pee', which allows players to slalom down ski slopes or kill aliens while relieving themselves at urinals.

Werner Dupont, a software developer, and Bart Geraets, an electrical engineer, got the idea while drinking Belgian trappist beers, they told Reuters Television at a local festival on Sunday....full story from Reuters UK

Stungun shootout in Colorado leaves slowest man standing: The Taser electric stun-gun's image as a possibly deadly incapacitating weapon took something of a knock this weekend, as it emerged that a man in Colorado - having himself been Tased - was then able to respond using his own Taser to deliver a retaliatory zapping.

News reports indicate that the kilovolt shootout took place in Boulder, Colorado, in the alley behind a Mexican restaurant named "Mamacitas". One of the electric gunslingers was Harvey Epstein, owner of Mamacitas, who squared up to a pair of private security guards named Robert Streiff and Casey Dane....full story from The Register

Mozambique cops 'too fat to run': Interior Ministry advisor Pana Chande told the BBC that the poor lifestyle of many police officers was to blame.

Many of them have very large bellies and drink too much alcohol and smoke cigarettes, he said....full story from the BBC

May 16, 2008

'Crazy rasberry ants' target Texan tech: Texans in the Houston area are battling rampaging hordes of "voracious swarming ants" which have inexplicably developed a taste for electronic equipment, Chicago Tribune reports.

The "crazy rasberry ants" - which apparently arrived aboard a cargo ship in the port of Houston back in 2002 - got their common name "because they wander erratically instead of marching in regimented lines" added to the surname of Tom Rasberry, an exterminator who crossed swords with the invaders early in their attempted conquest of Texas....full story from The Register

Cat and mouse black out Albania's capital: A cat chasing a mouse in Tirana's main power station caused a 72-hour blackout across parts of the Albanian capital, the electricity company said on Friday.

"A cat and a mouse ran into the high-voltage cables," a company spokeswoman said, showing pictures of the electrocuted animals. "We took pictures because we've never had anything like this....full story from Reuters UK

May 15, 2008

Rocket man flies to 8,200ft: Swooping and diving above the mountainous town of Bex in western Switzerland, the self-styled "Rocket Man", Yves Rossy, flew at 8,200ft for more than five minutes thanks to an 8ft jet-powered wing strapped to his back.

It has always been Mr Rossy's ambition to fly freely, but it has taken four years of working on his jet design for that dream to become reality....full story w/pic from theTelegraph

May 14, 2008

Green aliens and UFOs said to visit UK: Aliens from outer space have been visiting Britain for years and UFO sightings doubled after the film Close Encounters was released in 1977, according to secret files collating reports by members of the public.

The alien craft come in all shapes, sizes and colours but their occupants are uniformly green, the Ministry of Defence files show....full story from Reuters UK. Get the files yourself from UK National Archives

British judges abandon wigs for 'Star Trek' look British judges have abandoned a 300-year-old tradition of wearing horsehair wigs to a chorus of mockery from fashion critics and traditionalists, who say the new robes have turned them into Star Trek look-a-likes.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, felt the old-style wig and gown look was out of touch with the 21st century and thought it was time to go bare-headed....full story from NEWS.com.au

May 13, 2008

Breathalyzer may replace the after dinner drink in French restaurants: Barely recovered from a smoking ban imposed this year, the French are bracing for the next novelty in their favorite bistros: an electronic Breathalyzer test.

On Tuesday, the government submitted a decree to the top legal authority, the Council of State, that would require as many as 44,000 cafés, bars, restaurants and nightclubs to install the testing devices by Jan. 1....full story from IHT

A whole lot of beef: 6 foot 6inch one-ton cow: Chard CHARD Chilli, a Friesian bullock who puts the rest of his herd in the shade, is expected to be recognised officially as Britain's tallest bovine.

He is 6ft 6in (198cm) tall at the shoulder and weighs well over a tonne (1016kg). A typical adult Friesian weighs 0.65 tonnes and is 5ft high....full story w/pic from The Times

May 12, 2008

Skimpy prom dress lands teen in cuffs: Marche Taylor's prom night experience wasn't quite the norm. That's because a night of dancing and hanging out with friends ended in a confrontation with school officials over her choice of apparel.

The Madison High School (Houston, TX) senior was escorted out in handcuffs because school officials said her revealing gold dress was inappropriate for the school prom....full story w/video from The Dallas Morning News
....School must have the same dress code as Southwest Airlines

Advertising with clouds: A US entrepreneur has developed a way to make foam clouds shaped like corporate logos that float up to 20,000 feet (6000m) into the air.

The 4 foot (1.2m) shapes, made from tiny soapy bubbles filled with helium, can travel for 30 miles (48km) before evaporating into thin air....full story w/pic from NEWS.com.au - More info from Flogos

May 11, 2008

Woman pays off 1976 parking ticket: Police in Calumet, Michigan had forgotten about the $1 parking ticket written on Sept. 1, 1976. But the woman who had found it on her windshield hadn't.

The ticket, a $20 bill and a note arrived at police headquarters last month in a plain white envelope with no return address....full story from ABC News

May 10, 2008

Real "Night of the Iguana" for some Florida residents: A giant lizard knocked out power for 20,000 people in Pompano Beach when it came in contact with high-voltage equipment.

Electricity was out for roughly half an hour.

According to a Florida Power & Light spokesman, the iguana has "gone to another place" for good....story from the New York Post

May 9, 2008

Man crashes at driveway, sees home catch fire, gets ticket: A Rock Island, Tennessee man whose car was hit as he tried to make a left turn into his driveway saw his home going up in flames as he was airlifted to the hospital. Tennessee Highway Patrol officer Monte Terry said Justin Hill, 42, was hit by an oncoming car when he pulled into its path on Tuesday evening.

Hill's wife heard the crash and ran outside, leaving the kitchen stove, where she had been cooking, unattended....full story from CBS News

May 8, 2008

Wisconsin man finds out lying to cops can really backfire: A Wisconsin man found out the hard way that lying to cops only gets you into deeper trouble.

When police pulled over the man's car, he gave them a fake name - unfortunately, it was the name of someone wanted for vehicular homicide....full story from the New York Post

May 7, 2008

Swiss government takes steps to avert French fry shortage: The Swiss government has agreed to ease restrictions on the importation of potatoes following fears that Euro 2008 football fans could face a shortage of French fries next month.

A spokesman for the country's department of agriculture told national radio on Wednesday that the government would allow an additional 5,000 tonnes of potatoes to be brought in....full story from Reuters UK

May 6, 2008

U.S. to return stolen dinosaur eggs to Argentina: A senior U.S. Homeland Security official is in Argentina to discuss money laundering, human trafficking - and dinosaur eggs.

Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Monday that she plans to hand over to Argentina's government a cache of more than 8,100 pounds (3,675 kilograms) of fossils seized two years ago by ICE agents at a gem and mineral show in Tucson, Arizona....full story from USA Today

New Zealand cafe serves dishwashing liquid instead of wine: Two women were hospitalized after a New Zealand cafe mistakenly served dishwashing liquid as mulled wine, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Chico's Restaurant Ltd. in the mountain resort of Queenstown on South Island pleaded guilty to a charge of selling food containing extraneous matter - the chemical sodium hydroxide - that caused injury, the Southland Times newspaper said....full story from Fox News

May 5, 2008

Soldier accidentally calls home during battle: An Oregon couple said their son, a soldier serving in Afghanistan, accidentally called home and left a three-minute recording on their machine during a battle.

Jeff and Sandie Petee, parents of Stephen Phillips, said the message contained shooting, shouted profanity and calls for more ammunition, KPTV in Portland, Ore., reported Monday....full story from UPI

Los Angeles man wins right to use wife's last name: All Michael Buday wanted to do was take the last name of his wife, Diana Bijon, when they married.

But it took two years, a lawsuit alleging sex discrimination and a change in California law before he picked up his new drivers license in the name of Michael Bijon on Monday....full story from Reuters UK

Illinois man orders custom beer-can coffin: Bill Bramanti will love Pabst Blue Ribbon beer eternally, and he's got the custom-made beer-can casket to prove it.

Bramanti ordered the casket from Panozzo Bros. Funeral Home in Chicago Heights, and Scott Sign Co. of Chicago Heights designed the outside to look like a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer label in the company's signature colors of red, white and blue....full story from IHT

Radical laws in Australia to ban drinking at home: Drinking a glass of wine in your own home could be illegal under extreme new liquor laws that rubber-stamp the use of no-go alcohol zones in New South Wales, Australia.

Stirring up images of 1930s' prohibition in the US, the Iemma Government is using the total ban on alcohol in some Aboriginal communities as a blueprint.

Under the plan, drinking hotspots across the state can be labelled as "restricted alcohol areas" for up to three years under new laws that are just 10 weeks away....full story from NEWS.com.au

May 4, 2008

Teen gives birth in shower, walks to hospital: A 17-year-old girl gave birth secretly at home in Long Beach, California, then walked four blocks to a hospital with the baby still attached by its umbilical cord.

"I was just a little nervous" when the labor began, Xochitl Parra said Friday from St. Mary Medical Center as she cradled her 8-pound, 3-ounce son, Alejandro....full story from Fox News

May 2, 2008

140-year-old cannonball kills collector: Sam White's hobby cost him his life: A cannonball he was restoring exploded, killing him in his driveway. More than 140 years after the end of the Civil War, the cannonball was still powerful enough to send a chunk of shrapnel through the front porch of a house a quarter-mile from White's home in the Richmond suburb of Chester, Virginia.

After White's death, about two dozen homes were evacuated for two days while explosives experts collected pieces from his collection and detonated them....full story from CBS News

May 1, 2008

Kentucky Derby champion loses his libido: The Japanese owners of former Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem are struggling to explain why the American thoroughbred has lost his libido.

Even a private harem and a limitless supply of Viagra have failed to pep up the love life of a stallion his handlers freely admit has some personal issues....full story from Reuters UK

Hawaiian sovereignty activists seize palace: When Native Hawaiian sovereignty advocates chained shut the gates of historic Iolani Palace, they said they were reclaiming land of the Hawaiian monarchy that was stolen during the overthrow of the kingdom more than 100 years ago.

Unarmed security guards from the Hawaiian Kingdom Government group allowed only Hawaiians, media and students to enter. Tourists, employees and the general public were kept out for hours until the conflict was peacefully resolved and the palace grounds opened....full story from Fox News

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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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