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Odd News Archive - August 2010

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, 2010

Blazing fairwaysErrant golf swing sets course on fire: So you think that you're the world's worst golfer? With all due respect, your swing -- crappy as it may be -- has never set off a raging inferno like the one to the left. The golfer who did this has asked that his name be withheld, and with good reason. He'd never hear the end of it ("You're really on fire today, Larry!") But we do know these facts: It happened at the Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine on Saturday, when the guy hit a ball into the rough. On his second swing, he hit a rock, causing a spark that lit the dry grass. Eventually, 150 firefighters were called to the scene....full story w/pics from NBC Sports

Deep-fried beer invented in Texas: A chef in Texas has created what he claims is the world's first recipe for deep-fried beer.

The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic.

When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation....full story from The Daily Telegraph

Man blows himself up trying to kill a spider: A man suffered flash burns after he accidentally blew himself up trying to kill a spider.

The 28 year-old suffered severe burns after attacking the arachnid with an aerosol can at his home in Clacton in Essex, England.

The man was summoned by his wife to deal with a spider she had seen scuttling behind the lavatory on Bank Holiday Monday. Not being able to reach it, the man decided to kill it by spraying it with the can....full story from The Daily Telegraph

August 30, 2010

'Invisible' gang leader escapes from Venezuela jail: One of Venezuela's most notorious criminals lived up to his gang's name "The Invisibles" by fleeing jail in an embarrassing turn for the government, which is under fire because of crime as an election nears.

Fraiber Velazco, who ran "The Invisibles" and was imprisoned for various murders and kidnappings, walked out the main gate of the high-security Tocuyito prison in central Carabobo state on Sunday, authorities said.

"This happened due to corruption and a mafia which still exists in certain parts of the public administration," Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami said, explaining that Velazco was able to leave the prison during visiting hours....full story from Reuters UK

Trampoline banned in case children bounce off: Housing bosses have ordered a childminder to take down a trampoline - telling her children could 'injure themselves' if they bounce off it and onto the grass.

Sharon Farmer has put up the 14ft trampoline in communal gardens in Lewisham, south London, for the past decade, but has now been told she must remove it for health and safety reasons.

Mum-of-one Mrs Farmer, 44, said she was devastated after being ordered to take down the trampoline - which has a safety net around the sides - by London and Quadrant Housing Association (L&Q)....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 29, 2010

Nuns host surfing contest in New Jersey: Surf's up, Sister!

Sister James Dolores, 73, gives her best surfer-girl pose in Stone Harbor, NJ, where her Pennsylvania convent owns a beachfront retreat called Villa Maria by the Sea.

"I'm really getting the hang of this," said the spritely, no-nonsense nun. "No one ever thought they'd see me on a board."

Though Sister James, of Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, doesn't actually hang 10, the nun has a special relationship with local surfers, and her mother house will host its 15th annual Nun's Beach Surf Invitational on Sept. 11. The proceeds go to the maintenance of the breathtaking, 6½-acre, 150-bedroom waterfront complex....full story from the New York Post

Government to sell White House replica: LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Federal regulators are selling a 13,000-square-foot replica of the White House in Lawrenceville, Georgia, that includes a drive-through window.

The southern White House wannabe, formerly a bank, is being sold by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which takes over failed banks, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.

Real estate agent David Walmsley of Robert S. Jordan Co., said, "It's probably not for everyone....full story from UPI

August 28, 2010

Ghost train hunter run over by actual train: A ghost hunter in North Carolina was walking along the supposedly haunted train tracks on a 100-metre long trestle when an oncoming train struck and killed him.

Twenty-nine-year-old Christopher Kaiser and a dozen other amateur ghost hunters were on the tracks early Friday morning hoping to have ghostly sightings of a train that derailed at the site 119 years ago. Instead a real train with three engines and one car turned the corner towards them....full story from CNews

John Lennon's toilet sells for $14,750: The porcelain lavatory was used by the Beatle for three years when he lived at Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire between 1969 and 1972.

It was expected to sell for just £1,000 [US$1,550] but an overseas investor paid £9,500 [US$14,750] for it at the 33rd annual Beatles Convention in Liverpool.

Stephen Bailey, a "Fab Four" expert and the auction's organiser, said: "It is unbelievable....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 27, 2010

Kayaker hit in the head by 30lb carp: Brad Pennington, from Houston, was considered one of the favourites among men’s solo racers in the Missouri River 340, a canoe and kayak race that began Tuesday morning in Kansas City, Kansas.

However the Asian silver carp hit him “like a brick”. The fish are known to panic and jump in response to passing vessels.

The 43-year-old lawyer already was having trouble steering his boat, a streamlined model built for speed but not necessarily sturdy enough to withstand a river known for commercial transport....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Lap dancerOne in four lap dancers has a degree: LEEDS, England - An study of the industry showed that the majority of dancers were attracted into the profession by the money, with all the women interviewed having finished school and gained some qualifications.

The average dancer took home £232 [US$360] per shift after paying commission and fees to the nightclub where they worked.

Most dancers worked two to four shifts a week – giving them annual incomes of between £24,000 [US$37,215] and £48,000 [US$74,430] a year....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 26, 2010

Drunken employee pops cap in server: An employee of a Salt Lake City mortgage company allegedly got drunk and popped a cap in the firm's $100k server, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Joshua Lee Campbell, 23, had apparently been enjoying a few liveners with a fellow worker at the Twilight Concert in Pioneer Park, and later nipped back to work to shoot the server with a .45-calibre automatic....full story from The Register

Internet, China and Russia destroying US, rock and roll: An ageing and increasingly cantankerous rock aristocracy is pointing its arthritic fingers at the internet, blaming it for destroying America, and even more worryingly, rock and roll.

Fleetwood Mac songstress Stevie Nicks told the New York Daily News this week that the net "has destroyed rock. Children no longer develop social graces. They don't hang out anymore."....full story from The Register

Robot kill-chopperRobot kill-chopper goes rogue above Washington DC!: A software error, combined with an unfortunate user action, led to a US military robot helicopter - developed from a manned version and capable of carrying a fearsome arsenal of weapons - straying into restricted airspace near Washington DC, according to reports.

US Navy captain Tim Dunigan told Aviation Week that an MQ-8 "Fire Scout" robochopper, carrying out a test flight from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, “lost link and proceeded 23 miles north/northwest into restricted airspace,” on August 2....full story from The Register

August 25, 2010

Urine could be energy source of the future: It's a renewable resource, and approximately 10 billion litres are flushed away every single day around the world. But scientists say everyday urine should be conserved and used to heat buildings or even run cars.

If only we could find a way to harness it.

Gerardine Botte, an engineer at Ohio University, said in an interview with New Scientist magazine that harnessing the power of urine could mean that an office building of 200-300 people would produce about 2Kw of power....full story from CNews

Stockholm schoolgirls fined for bugging staff room: Two Stockholm schoolgirls have been slapped with a fine for bugging the staff room at their seat of learning.

According to The Local, the mid-teens pair intended to listen in to a meeting convened to decide pupils' grades in the hope they might "glean information that would enable them to get their grades improved".

Handily, they managed to get their hands on a key to the room....full story from The Register

August 24, 2010

Ball player gets Beaver ban after drunken naked tasering: Tyler Patrick Thomas, a 19-year-old lineman for the Beavers, as the OSU team is known, was found by cops responding to reports of "a naked intruder" at a home in Corvallis, the AP reports.

When cops arrived at the house, they told the six foot two, 301 pound, Thomas to get on the ground.

Instead, the AP reports, the "absolutely... intoxicated" and naked Thomas dropped into a "three point stance" and lunged at the cops....full story from The Register

Man unaware he had been shot in head five years ago: A Polish man living in Germany was unaware he had been shot in the head for five years, because he was drunk when it happened.

Police in the western city of Bochum said doctors found a .22 calibre bullet in the back of his head after the 35-year-old went to have what he thought was a cyst removed.

Presented with the 5.6mm projectile, the man recalled he had received a blow to the head around midnight at a New Year’s party “in 2004 or 2005”, but had forgotten about it because he had been “very drunk”, a police spokesman said....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 23, 2010

Chinese traffic jam lasts nine days: A massive traffic jam in China has slowed vehicles to a crawl for nine days near Beijing, local media say.

Vehicles, mostly lorries [trucks] bound for Beijing, are in a queue for about 100km (62 miles) because of heavy traffic, road works and breakdowns.

The drivers have complained that locals were over-charging them for food and drink while they were stuck....full story from BBC News

Electrified PatatoesZapping spuds 'is healthier': Potatoes can be made healthier, simply by zapping them with ultrasound or electricity, say scientists who say they could one day become a new "superfood".

Researchers found that by simply giving spuds an electronic shock makes them more nutritious by generating more antioxidants, which have been shown to combat heart disease and cancer.

Scientists from Obihiro University, in Japan, believe the technique, which created enough stress to trick the vegetable into producing antioxidants, could one day turn spuds into one of nature's ''superfoods''....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 22, 2010

Man run over by own parked car: WARWICK TOWNSHIP, Ontario — A strange three-way crash caused one man to be run over by his own parked car and six people to be sent to hospital.

"It was bizarre. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said OPP Const. John Reurink.

About 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, a Volkswagen driven by Sarah Cook, 49, of Wyoming stopped at an intersection....full story from CNews

Mafia using sports show to send messages to jailed bosses: Italian gangsters are using a football [soccer] TV show’s text ticker to send coded messages to their jailed bosses.

The Italian programme, which is hosted by a former showgirl, allows football fans to send SMS text messages which then run along a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen when the show is being broadcast.

Anti-mafia prosecutors believe that members of organised crime gangs have caught onto the interactive feature, sending seemingly innocuous comments and remarks which in fact contain important messages for imprisoned mafia godfathers, many of whom continue to run their criminal empires despite being behind bars....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 21, 2010

Crocodile sighted in English channel turns out to be driftwood: Beaches along the English Channel have been reopened to swimmers amid reports that a suspected crocodile sighted close to busy beaches was in fact a piece of wood.

The alarm was raised after French authorities received reports of a 12 foot long reptile apparently seen swimming around sailing boats in the French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer by two local men on Thursday.

A local newspaper said further warnings were later received from other eye witnesses....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

British woman passes driving test after 22 years: LONDON: A woman in Britain passed her driving test at the 21st attempt after learning from 12 instructors over 22 years. Her effort, however, is nowhere close to an Indian-origin woman who set the world record by taking 48 driving tests.

The Guinness World Record for the most tests taken in the country is 48 and the record was set by Git Kaur Randhawa of Hayes, Middlesex....full story from The Times of India

August 20, 2010

Battle of Graveney Marsh remembered 70 years on: Most history books have Bonny Prince Charlie's 1746 defeat at Culloden as the final battle to occur in this country.

But the virtually unheard of Battle of Graveney Marsh in the Kent countryside 194 years later was actually the last action involving a foreign enemy.

The battle took place on September 27 1940 between the crew of a downed German bomber and a company of British soldiers who had been holed up in a pub....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

The Most Isolated Man on the Planet: The most isolated man on the planet will spend tonight inside a leafy palm-thatch hut in the Brazilian Amazon. As always, insects will darn the air. Spider monkeys will patrol the treetops. Wild pigs will root in the undergrowth. And the man will remain a quietly anonymous fixture of the landscape, camouflaged to the point of near invisibility.

[snip] He's an Indian, and Brazilian officials have concluded that he's the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe. They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him....full story from Slate Magazine

August 19, 2010

Police catch thieves who flash victims their breasts: Police in France have arrested two teenage girls who allegedly stole hundreds of euros from cash machine users after distracting them by baring their breasts.

The 14-year old girls were taken to the Paris prosecutor’s office to face charges while a 12 year-old accomplice was placed in a home, police said.

The girls first struck last week when they approached a man withdrawing cash from an automated teller machine (ATM) in the sixth district of Paris....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)
Hmmm....Wonder how they were identified....

August 18, 2010

Trapped by beesPolice officer trapped in car by 50,000 bees: A police officer was trapped in his patrol car for three hours after 50,000 angry honeybees descended on his vehicle.

Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Jenkins, 31, had been called to the scene of a broken down truck in North Carolina. The truck was pulling a trailer loaded with 60 boxes of bees and the insects had escaped.

Officer Jenkins arrived at day break just as the bees were waking up and they swarmed him, forcing him to retreat to his car and radio for assistance....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Canadian police find bears guarding pot crop: A pair of marijuana growers in Western Canada appear to have been using bears to protect their illegal crop, but the well-fed animals proved to be a bit lax in their guard duties, police said on Wednesday.

Officers were dismantling two large outdoor plots of marijuana near Christina Lake, British Columbia, when they realized there were 10 large black bears wandering around the farm property, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Officers were initially worried the bears might be dangerous, but quickly realized the animals were actually very docile and content just to sit around as the marijuana was seized, police said in a news release....full story from Reuters UK

Booze makes you clever, having none makes you stupid: Drinking wine makes you brainier, according to the latest research - and going on the wagon makes you stupider, at least in the case of women.

The news comes in a new study carried out by boffins [scientists/researchers] in Scandinavia. Some 5,033 Norwegians were followed over some seven years in which both their alcohol consumption and cognitive function were measured....full story from The Register

British newspaper blows lid on 'sinister' brothel: Fails to probe own small ads, however.

The Croydon Advertiser has done a bit of a Hull Daily Mail in an exposé of a "sinister" brothel "operating in the same building as a charity for the elderly".

The quality piece of investigative journalism recounts how a fearless undercover reporter was "offered sex with a prostitute for £50 [US$78] at the seedy enterprise in London Road, West Croydon".

Having made absolutely certain he was being offered sex in return for cash, the hack "made his excuses and left", as journalistic tradition requires....full story from The Register

Milan-bound night train ends up in Zurich: Passengers bound for the northern Italian city of Milan on an overnight train from Barcelona had a surprise when they woke up the following day.

More than 100 passengers who boarded a night-train destined for Milan had a surprise in the morning, when they woke up in the Swiss city of Zurich.

The overnight Salvador Dalí train, which departed from Barcelona in Spain on Sunday, was scheduled to arrive in the Italian city early the following day – but it ended up almost 150 miles away in the Swiss financial centre due to a points switch more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 17, 2010

Mysterious sonic booms near Seattle caused after violation of Obama airspace: Mysterious sonic booms that startled residents around Seattle were caused when a float plane violated the airspace around Air Force One while President Barack Obama was visiting Washington.

The military scrambled fighter jets, and the two sonic booms from the Air National Guard F-15s startled many people throughout the Puget Sound area.

The Cessna 180 float plane was flying to a seaplane base on Lake Washington, next to Seattle, from Lake Chelan, in eastern Washington, said Laura Joseph, a passenger on the plane from Normandy Park. She told The Associated Press that neither she nor the pilot, Lee Daily, knew about Mr Obama's visit or the air restrictions that accompany such a high-profile trip....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

God SquadBest Buy slaps 'God Squad' priest with cease-and-desist order: Best Buy is pursuing an American god botherer who ripped off the company’s Geek Squad logo.

Father Luke Strand at the Holy Family Parish in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, had his collar felt after he slapped a sticker carrying the name “God Squad” on his black Volkswagen Beetle.

Best Buy sent a cease-and-desist letter to Strand earlier this month demanding that he remove the sticker as the logo on it bears a strong resemblance to the company’s Geek Squad badge....full story from The Register

August 16, 2010

Elderly widow threatened with $3,900 fine for dropping cigarette ash: OLDBURY, England - An elderly widow has been threatened with a £2,500 [US$3,900] fine for dropping cigarette ash on the pavement.

Sheila Martin, 70, was smoking at a bus stop when a warden pounced and handed her the £75 [US$117] fixed penalty for littering.

However she has refused to pay – and could now face a £2,500 [US$3,900] penalty....full story from The Daily Telegaph (UK)

Underground credit card clearing house hacked: An underground credit card clearing house has itself been hacked, an investigation by Trend Micro has confirmed.

The operation - a holding firm for anonymous payment service Fethard - processes credit card payments for a rogue's gallery of fake anti-virus (scareware) suppliers, spam-promoted unlicensed pharmaceutical and extreme pornography sites.

Hackers claimed to have breached a server behind its website on 23 July, publishing information online including employee emails and recorded phone calls, one discussing techniques to defraud credit card firms....full story from The Register

August 15, 2010

Customers' gas bills smelling like ... gas: PUGET SOUND, Wash. - The gas bill of some Washington residents stinks -- literally -- making the gas company happy, because that's what they say they intended as a safety reminder.

When Puget Sound Energy sent out their August bills to more than 1.5 million homes, they included a scratch-and-sniff pamphlet with a sample of the odorant they use in natural gas to help identify leaks, a company release said.

One scratch on the pamphlet and the resident will get a sulfur-like whiff of something akin to rotten eggs, which is the odorant mercaptan added to the odorless and colorless natural gas....full story from UPI

Women expose breasts to steal from ATM customer in Paris: PARIS: Two women, described by police as attractive, exposed their breasts to a man inside an ATM in Paris and took off with his money.

The women in their 20s exposed themselves to distract the man as he punched his pin code into an ATM machine in Paris. As he stared at one of them, the other withdrew 300 euros from his account and fled with the money, the Telegraph reported....full story from The Times of India

August 14, 2010

Jarhead Bear'Jarhead' bear gets out of a jam in Florida: A bear cub in Florida, which had a plastic jar stuck on its head for at least 10 days, has now been freed.

The cub, affectionately nicknamed "Jarhead", got its head stuck in the container while rooting through rubbish around the town of Weirsdale.

The cub was days away from death as he had not been able to eat or drink, biologists who rescued the bear said....full story from BBC News

Boy, 13, struck by lightning on Friday 13th at 13.13: Friday the 13th is often thought of as an unlucky day - and it lived up to its reputation for one youngster.

At precisely 13:13, a boy aged 13 was seen by the St John Ambulance team at Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in Suffolk, England after he was struck by lightning, a spokesman said.

The boy suffered a minor burn and was taken to James Paget Hospital, where he is expected to make a full more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 13, 2010

16-year-old makes £1m selling ads: A 16-year-old kid from Northants, England has made his first million [US$1.6m]selling discount software and embedding ads in mobile applications, and aims to be making a hundred times that.

While most of us were experimenting with recreational drugs* and getting shot down in flames by the opposite sex, Christian Owens was negotiating limited-time discounts on Mac software, enabling him to sell bundles at hugely-discounted prices and bringing in £700,000 [US$1,091,170] over the last two years. The South West News Service brought us the story with pictures....full story from The Register

'Kiss-in' to commemorate WWII: Americans will gather for a group "kiss-in" in Times Square and buglers across the country will play the military funeral tune Taps in the first national day of remembrance for the World War Two generation.

This year's event comes on the 65th anniversary of what Americans call V-J Day, marking the victory over Japan that ended the war in 1945.

The celebration was immortalized in Alfred Eisenstaedt's photograph of an unidentified sailor kissing nurse Edith Shain in Times more from see

NY store hires bedbug-hunting beagle, just in case: NEW YORK - High-end New York city retailer Bergdorf Goodman has hired a beagle to hunt for bedbugs - just in case.

Store spokeswoman Ginger Reeder says there have been no reported cases of the pesky bugs at the Fifth Avenue department store. She says it seemed prudent to go the extra mile, though.

The beagle has been on the prowl for several weeks, working at night after the store closes....full story from CBS News

Rome's chariot racers wealthier than today's sport stars: Roman charioteers earned far more than even the best-paid footballers and international sports stars of today, according to academic research.

While golfer Tiger Woods was heralded last year as the first athlete to earn over $1 billion, the figure would apparently have been small beer for the fearless entertainers of the Circus Maximus.

One charioteer, named Gaius Appuleius Diocles, amassed a fortune 35,863,120 sesterces in prize money – the equivalent of $15 billion (£9.6 billion), claims Peter Struck, a professor of classical more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 12, 2010

North Korea to pay off debt with roots: The Czech Republic may allow North Korea to repay its debt with ginseng roots.

North Korea owes more than $11 million to the Czech Republic for trams and heavy machinery it received during the Soviet era.

The offer of ginseng, which is said to combat lethargy, arthritis and impotence, will reduce Pyongyang's debt by about five per cent....full story from ABC News (AU)

Swede faces world-record $1m speeding penalty: A Swedish driver who was caught driving at 290km/h (180mph) in Switzerland could be given a world-record speeding fine of SFr1,080m ($1m; £656,000), prosecutors say.

The 37-year-old, who has not been named, was clocked driving his Mercedes sports car at 170km/h [106mph] over the limit.

Under Swiss law, the level of fine is determined by the wealth of the driver and the speed recorded....full story from BBC News

August 11, 2010

Pea plant grows inside man's lung: A Massachusetts man who was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung came home with an unusual diagnosis: a pea plant was growing in his lung.

Ron Sveden had been battling emphysema for months when his condition deteriorated.

He was steeling himself for a cancer diagnosis when X-rays revealed the growth in his lung....full story from BBC News

Shcool CrossingUS road painters write 'SHCOOL' outside North Carolina high school: American road painters were left red-faced after they painstakingly inked the word "SHCOOL" outside a high school in North Carolina.

The road outside the Guilford county school had recently been re-paved, and road crews were ordered to mark the school zones last week.

A spokesman for Traffic Markings, the contractor that painted the faulty sign, admitted that workers had "made a mistake" and said the sign would be more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Asia overtakes Europe as biggest producer of beer: Asia has overtaken Europe as the world's biggest beer producer for the first time in 35 years, according to industry figures.

Asian beer manufacturers produced 103 billion pints of beer in 2009, marking an increase of 5.5 per cent compared to the previous year.

At the same time, European beer companies experienced a production drop of 5.1 per cent to 97 billion pints during the same period, according to a study by the research department of Kirin Holdings Co, the Japanese beer more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 10, 2010

Controversial lemonade stand makes $1,800: PORTLAND, Ore. - A 7-year-old Oregon girl whose lemonade stand was shut down by health authorities and reopened with the help of sponsors said she has now made $1,838.31.

Julie Murphy of Oregon City, whose Portland lemonade stand was shut down last month for not having a food safety license and reopened a short time later with the help of radio station KRSK 105.1 and Les Schwab Tire Centers, said she plans to use her profits to bankroll a trip to Disneyland with mother Maria Fife, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

$1.1 billion of dollar coins in storage: A stockpile of dollar coins worth more than $1.1 billion that if stacked would reach seven times higher than the International Space Station is languishing in storage because Americans prefer dollar bills.

Inventory is expected to grow to $2 billion (£1.3bn) in the next six years, despite calculations that the US Federal Reserve, which is running out of storage space, has enough dollar coins to last another decade.

Only an act of Congress can slow the stockpile, either by phasing out the dollar bill or by stopping the minting....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 9, 2010

BoratKazakhstan plans Borat sequel: A director in Kazakhstan is set to shoot an unofficial sequel to Sacha Baron Cohen's unflattering 2006 send-up of the ex-Soviet state.

Filmmaker Erkin Rakishev will direct My Brother, Borat as a follow-up to Baron Cohen's hugely successful mockumentary Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America To Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan....full story from ABC News (AU)

Hanging baskets 'a safety hazard': A pensioner has been ordered to remove a set of hanging baskets from her local market square after council bosses warned that people could bump their heads on them.

Linda Martin, 68, had hung the floral displays around the centre of Wilton, Wiltshire [UK}, in an attempt to brighten up the area.

But she was told they must be removed as they breached health and safety rules....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Airline steward at JFK pulls emergency chute, flies coop: A flight attendant ran out of patience on a plane that just landed at JFK on Monday afternoon, so he allegedly cursed a blue streak over the p.a. system, grabbed some beers, pulled the emergency chute, slid down and ran from the plane, sources said.

Jet Blue employee Steven Slater, 38, was working on Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh to Kennedy Airport, which landed at around 12 p.m., when he got into a verbal altercation with a passenger, law-enforcement sources said....full story w/video from NBC New York

August 8, 2010

Naked Rollercoaster riding recordNaked rollercoaster record smashed: More than 100 people have broken the record for the most naked people on a rollercoaster.

The 102 enthusiasts bared all to take their seats on the Green Scream rollercoaster at Southend-on-Sea, Essex [UK].

They smasked the previous record by 70 people after 32 attempted the same feat in 2004 at Alton Towers, in Staffordshire....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Painting fence leads to 'criminal damage' fine: A British couple who painted their side of a garden fence have been handed an £80 fine by police for "criminal damage", after a neighbour complained.

Officers turned up at the home of Kay Balsdon and her partner Chris Bates and threatened them with prosecution if they refused to accept the on-the-spot fine.

A next-door neighbour had claimed that Mr Bates' paint job, in a shade called "Forest Green", had ruined the finish on her side of the 6ft fence which was painted a different colour....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 7, 2010

Man in wheelchair pulled over on highway: TORONTO - A man driving a motorized wheelchair was pulled over by the cops Saturday afternoon — in a live lane of Hwy. 407.

Brian Armstrong couldn't help but laugh while describing the sequence of events he witnessed in the westbound lanes of the toll road.

"He didn't look confused. I think he was trying to do a shortcut actually," Armstrong said of the man on the motorized wheelchair that was pulled over near Jane St. around 12:45 p.m....full story from CNews

Premature baby saved by makeshift incubator built from plastic bag: A paramedic saved the life of a baby girl born 14 weeks ahead of schedule by building a makeshift incubator out of a rubbish bag.

Sophie Thomlinson weighed just 1lb 15oz when she was born in the back of an ambulance as her mother Emily, 29, was driven to hospital during a blizzard earlier this year.

The premature baby was in need of an incubator but the equipment is too large to be installed in most ambulances....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 6, 2010

Hospital-suing vendor hospitalized: NEW YORK - A New York hot dog and coffee vendor engaged in a legal battle with a hospital about the location of his cart woke up in the same hospital after collapsing.

Waleed Ramadan, 37, said he woke up in the Queens Hospital Center after passing out Wednesday while talking to a reporter about his lawsuit against the facility, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

"I blacked out and I just woke up in the emergency room," he said. "I don't feel comfortable being here."....full story from UPI

London taxis ranked world's best, NY/Paris the rudest: London taxis, with their friendly drivers who actually know where they are going, are ranked best in the world, according to an annual taxi poll.

The survey by travel website found London taxis, despite being the most expensive, beat rivals across the globe to head the list for the third consecutive years, scoring a total of 59 percent in votes on several categories by travellers....full story from Reuters UK

August 5, 2010

Man accused of break-in, then garage sale: SARNIA, Ont. — Police have identified a suspect who is alleged to have broken into a home in June and then held a garage sale on the front yard.

Greg Kemmis, 62, was out of town on June 17 when someone broke into the rental home and garage and sold thousands of dollars worth of woodworking machinery and tools in broad daylight....full story from CNews

Terrafugia Transition'Flying car' Terrafugia Transition redesigned and delayed: The Terrafugia Transition, the vehicle billed as the first road-legal flying car, has been redesigned, and its delivery date put back.

The car, which flew for the first time last year, has lost 90lb of useful payload, down from 550lb to 460lb. This means that with a full tank of fuel (120lb) it can carry just 330lb - 23 stone - including pilot, passenger and luggage. It has, however, gained an emergency parachute, meaning that it can land safely even if its wings were to fall off....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 4, 2010

Forgotten Eurotunnel passengers taken back to England: Eurotunnel is investigating after passengers were taken from Folkestone to France and back again without being able to get off the train.

Seven vehicles were left on the train on Saturday because staff forgot to unload one of the wagons.

The error occurred after a fuel spill meant one of the wagons was left empty....full story from BBC News

Indonesian parliament gets smut eyeful: There were red faces at the Indonesian parliament this week after miscreants somehow managed to stream a porn video through an internal TV channel.

Officials apparently struggled to turn off the smut stream from an adult website for 15 minutes before finally restoring control. The incident came in the run-up to the proposed application of a net filter designed to block porn downloads in the majority Muslim country, the BBC reports....full story from The Register

August 3, 2010

Copper thieves up the ante with chainsaws: Thieves are used to taking a few risks to steal lead off church roofs.

However, the soaring price of copper has seen them amping up the danger level as they steal power lines humming with thousands of volts.

According to E.ON, the electricity supplier, criminals armed with chainsaws have cut down 14 wooden poles that carry the copper wires in the past week, leaving thousands of customers across the Midlands without power....full story from The Daily Telegraph

Breath test required for vending machine wine sales: Pennsylvania residents can buy wine from vending machines but first they must pass a breath test to prove they haven't been drinking.

The state, which already controls sales of wines and spirits through a network of 620 state-run retail stores, is testing out two wine kiosks at supermarkets in Harrisburg and in nearby Mechanicsburg.

If it is successful another 98 will be rolled out across the state this autumn....full story from Reuters UK

August 2, 2010

Lawnmower race trimmed by economic woes: Hampshire, England - An annual lawnmower race has become a sporting victim of recession-hit Britain this summer, trimmed down to four hours from its usual 12 hours.

Organisers struggled with entries for the annual race with only 21 teams signing up which is half the amount as last year. They were forced to reorganise and shorten the event.

"When we consulted all the teams, they just didn't have the money in order to do a full 12 hours this year but they wanted to do a race of some description," Mark Constanduros, chairman of the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, told Reuters Television....full story from Reuters UK

Taiwanese woman catches 4 million mosquitoes: A Taiwanese woman has set a world record for mosquito catchers, winning a £1,900 [US$3,000] cash prize for killing 4 million of the insects in a month.

Huang Yuyen, from Yunlin county in southern Taiwan, beat 72 rivals with a catch weighing in at more than 1.5 kilogrammes (3lbs 5oz), according to Imbictus International, the insect trap-making company that organised the contest.

The haul was more than double that of her nearest rival....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

'Solar tsunami' may hit earth: The earth could be hit by a wave of violent space weather as early as Tuesday after a massive explosion of the sun, scientists have warned.

The solar fireworks at the weekend were recorded by several satellites, including Nasa’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory which watched its shock wave rippling outwards.

Astronomers from all over the world witnessed the huge flare above a giant sunspot the size of the Earth, which they linked to an even larger eruption across the surface of Sun....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 1, 2010

Baseball season may have gone up in flames: ST. ALBERT, Alberta - Setting fire to a Canadian town's rain-soaked baseball field to dry it out faster seemed like a good idea at the time but now teams are banned from using it.

Gerry Peterson said his ground crew spread diesel fuel on the ball field in St. Albert, Alberta, and ignited it last week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.

"What usually takes a day, day and a half for Mother Nature to take care of, we did in half an hour," Peterson said....full story from UPI

Prehistoric whale stranded at Cairo airport: The fossilised remains of a 37-million-year-old whale are stuck at Cairo airport because of a row over customs duties.

The whale is being returned to Egypt, where it was discovered several years ago in an inland desert known as the Valley of the Whales.

The whale is coming into the country from the United States, where it was sent to be painstakingly restored and reassembled.

But its return to Egypt has been complicated by a demand from customs for an import duty of more than $40,000....full story from ABC News (AU)

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