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.
September 29, 2010
Las Vegas death ray roasts hotel guests: Poolside guests at a newly-opened Las Vegas hotel have been enjoying the complex's quick-tan facility - a solar "death ray" with the power to burn flesh and melt plastic.
The architects responsible for the MGM Mirage Vdara underestimated the converging power of the building's concave facade, which concentrates a roasting beam onto the pool area.
Barbecued guest Bill Pintas recounted to ABC his midday experience of the ray, as he exited the pool and settled into his lounge chair....full story from The Register
September 28, 2010
UN denies naming 'point of contact' for aliens: The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on Tuesday dismissed as "nonsense" a newspaper report which said it had appointed a new ambassador as a point of contact for extra-terrestrials.
"The article in the Sunday Times is nonsense," UNOOSA said in a statement, referring to a report this weekend which said the UN was to appoint Malaysian astrophysicist, Mazlan Othman, to be the first contact for any aliens....full story from Space Daily
Iowa police mugshot exposes world's worst tattoo: Spare a thought if you will today for David Jonathan Winkelman, a 48-year-old Iowa man whose arrest last week for failing to appear in court to answer a minor misdemeanor charge prompted his rapid elevation to net celebrity.
The reason for Winkelman's fifteen minutes of fame is pretty clear, because the silly sod's mugshot shows an unmissable tattoo for radio station KORB.
The poor bloke has been promoting KORB since 2000, when he and his stepson Richard Goddard responded to a disc jockey's offer of a six-figure sum for anyone who tattooed the station’s ident on their forehead....full story w/pic from The Register
September 27, 2010
U.S. apologises for flying Philippine flag upside down: The United States government apologized for displaying the Philippine flag upside down at an event in New York attended by President Barack Obama on Friday, calling it an "honest mistake."
The red-white-and-blue Philippine flag adorned with yellow stars was hanging upside down, with red on top instead of blue, when Obama met his counterpart Philippine President Benigno Aquino during a gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)....full story w/pic from Reuters UK
Pumpkin pilots brave cold waters: PEMBROKE, Ontario, Canada - Piloting a giant pumpkin boat is a tricky business at the best of times. Riding a hollowed-out gourd across a chilly pond on a cool, wet September day, however, takes a special kind of dumb courage.
Nine brave souls gave it their best on the muddy waters at Hugli's Blueberry Ranch in Pembroke, Ont., west of Ottawa, during Sunday's fifth annual Giant Pumpkin Boat Races, a tradition in which the entries of the farm's giant pumpkin weigh-off from the day before are hollowed out to become boats....full story w/pic from CNews
Halloween spending expected to hit $5.8 billion in U.S.: Whether it's ghosts or goblins or candy and costumes, Americans are ready to spend far more on Halloween this year than last, an estimated $5.8 billion (3.6 billion pounds), and they aren't leaving their pets out of the fun.
A survey by National Retail Federation (NRF) showed the single largest expense will be on costumes for children, adults and pets.
"This year, people are expected to embrace Halloween with even more enthusiasm," Matt Shay, the chief executive of the NRF said in a statement, noting that the pagan holiday has given Americans a welcome mental break from the stress of the economic doldrums....read more from Reuters UK
September 26, 2010
Man loses fingers in tug-of-war: DIGBY, N.S. – A former municipal warden is recovering in Halifax [Canada] on Sunday following surgery to reattach fingers severed during a tug-of-war contest at a fall festival.
Fifty-nine-year-old Jim Thurber was taking part in the friendly Saturday afternoon game in Bear River, N.S., some 20 kilometres from Digby, when somehow his fingers were caught and sliced off.
The Chronicle Herald newspaper reported Sunday the man was rushed to hospital with serious hand injuries....full story from CNews
September 25, 2010
Octomom's undies up for grabs at yard sale: Times are tough for the mom made famous by her octuplet children. Nadya Suleman, dubbed Octomom by many, is holding a yard sale to try and avoid foreclosure on her house.
But just like Octomom, the sale is nothing ordinary. Hosted by comedian Tattoo, the sale will also be hosted live on eBay and streamed over the Internet on UStream.tv....full story from CNews
Man removes knife from head after 3 years: A 29-year-old tire repairman from northeastern Brazil is recovering after doctors removed a 10-centimetre blade that has been stuck in the front of his head for three years after a bar fight.
Edeilson Nascimento told the local Terra news agency that doctors previously told him not to take the knife out because it could cause further damage including lesions in the brain stem which could result in death....full story from CNews
September 24, 2010
Belgium experiments with mystical 'full moon' beer: Full moons are often associated with tides, insanity and creatures like werewolves, but it turns out they're also good for brewing beer.
In Peruwelz, a small, sleepy town in southern Belgium, a family-owned brewery has produced its first batch of specialist beer brewed by the light of a full autumnal moon.
Deodorant sought to save New Zealand's smelly birds: Scientists are hoping to develop a deodorant for New Zealand's native birds to stop them falling prey to introduced predators.
New Zealand has an abundance of native bird species, including the famous kiwi, but no native land mammals, meaning introduced animals such as cats and stoats have had a devastating impact on bird numbers.
Canterbury University researcher Jim Briskie said it appeared that New Zealand birds suffered from body odour, making them an easy target for predators....full story from The Daily Telegraph
September 23, 2010
Yoga instructions added to parking tickets to calm recipients: A US city is handing out parking tickets with pictures of yoga positions on them in a bid to calm down angry recipients.
Parking control officers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have been issued with 40,000 of the placatory citations. They are the brainchild of one Daniel Peltz, an "artist in residence" with the Cambridge Traffic and Parking Department. The tickets have an image of a yoga position on the front of the envelope, with instructions on the reverse on how to implement various moves....full story from The Daily Telegraph
Campaign encourages naked voting: Voters in Illinois will be able to make their mark in next month's general election without even leaving their homes.
In fact, they could do it naked.
That's the message of a new campaign that is encouraging voters to take advantage of a new system that allows them to vote by mail, using an absentee ballot, for the state's general election on Nov. 2....full story from CNews
September 22, 2010
Australian schoolboy sparked Twitter meltdown: A 17-year-old Australian schoolboy said he unwittingly caused a massive hacker attack on Twitter which sent users to Japanese porn sites and took out the White House press secretary's feed.
Pearce Delphin, whose Twitter name is @zzap, admitted exposing a security flaw which was then pounced upon by hackers, affecting thousands of users and causing havoc on the microblogging site for about five hours....full story from ABC News (AU)
Bikini women in cruiser sink police officer A South Carolina police officer lost his job after a photo of women in bikinis posing on his cop cruiser appeared on Facebook.
The Moncks Corner officer, whom Chief Chad Cladwell didn't identify, took his car to a charity event called Tits n Tats on Sunday, the Post and Courier newspaper reported. Caldwell wouldn't say if the officer was fired or if he resigned....full story from CNews
September 21, 2010
Lovestruck cop set up fake crime scene: A Florida cop's plan to fake a crime scene to get his ex-girlfriend and fellow officer to talk to him got him and two dispatchers fired instead.
Fort Myers officer Jason Moore and dispatchers Joeleen Jeffery and Michael Grimmett were fired after an internal investigation proved they faked a call about a suspicious person peeking in cars at a mall, CBS affiliate WINK reported....full story from CNews
Woman addicted to Red Bull drank 20 a day: MONTREAL – As the commercials say, Red Bull doesn't really give you wings, but it can give you quite a monkey on your back.
Joannie Charbonneau, 26, of Montreal says her “addiction" to the energy drink was so powerful, at one point she was spending $1,500 a month for her daily overdose.
Man fends off thief with air freshener: CANNOCK, England - A 70-year-old British man says his trusty can of air freshener once again came in handy in warding off a would-be thief.
Arthur Whitehouse of Cannock, England, who said he fended off a burglar last year by spraying air freshener in the perpetrator's eyes, said a man wearing a ski mask knocked on his door recently and threatened him with a knife, The Mirror reported Monday....full story from UPI
Cops go after roosters: A Katherine [Northern Territory, Australia] woman got the fright of her life when two policemen came knocking - to arrest her roosters.
Dorothy Morris, 83, said the two large roosters had been visiting her Katherine yard for the past four months.
Oktoberfest drinks to 200th birthday: The Munich beer festival has kicked off with millions of visitors from around the world expected to raise a glass or two to celebrate the event's 200th birthday over the next 17 days.
Munich's mayor Christian Ude was to launch the German extravaganza that is Oktoberfest by "tapping", or opening up, the first beer barrel on the stroke of midday, following a tradition begun in 1810.
As a nod to the historic nature of this year's event, billed as the world's biggest people's party, the festival has been extended by two days and expanded to include special grounds for horse races and exhibitions....full story from ABC News (AU)
Gardener grows ‘world’s longest cucumber’: A British grandmother may be entering the record books after growing what she thinks is the world’s longest cucumber.
Clare Pearce’s record breaking cucumber reached at least 47in in a straight line from top to bottom, and was about four inches longer if its curve was included in the measurement.
Ice cream goes to pot in California: Three flavours of marijuana-laced ice cream went on sale in California last week.
Dubbed High Scream, the dopey dessert was introduced at a medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Cruz as an alternative to smoking pot.
Only medical patients who have prescriptions allowing them to use marijuana for pain control and other treatments can buy the new product....full story from CNews
September 17, 2010
British convicts pedal to freedom: Two teenage convicts pedalled to freedom after they were let out of jail for the day to take a cycling test.
Connor Dewhurst, 14, and Sam Thomas, 13, were allowed to sit their cycling proficiency test - an exam British children must take to prove they can safely ride bicycles on the road.
However, the pair proved rather more proficient than supervisors were expecting as they sped away from a juvenile detention centre in Manchester in northwestern England.....full story from NEWS.com.au
Some seek vacation of tornado thrills: COLUMBIA, Mo. - Instead of finding a beach or a mountain cabin for vacation, some people are traveling Tornado Alley to experience a tornado, U.S. researchers say.
Sonja Wilhelm Stanis and Carla Barbieri, associate professors at the University of Missouri, find most of these "tornado tourists" aren't just looking for risk; they are seeking a unique and unconventional opportunity to enjoy nature's power and beauty.
"With the help of movies like 'Twister,' storm-chasing has become an international phenomenon," Barbieri says in a statement....full story from UPI
Police seize alcohol wrapped in diapers: Police in Newfoundland and Labrador seized bottles of alcohol wrapped in baby diapers before they could be delivered to a dry community.
Thursday, RCMP in the community of Natuashish searched a chartered plane from Goose Bay after receiving reports it contained rye whiskey and beer.
[snip] "The RCMP continue their efforts to keep the residents safe from alcohol consumption that has been determined by law to have detrimental effect on this community," a police release said....full story from CNews
September 16, 2010
Tourists to Australia told not to fear spiders but surf: Tourists visiting Australia often worry about deadly spiders and sharks but a new campaign on flights coming into the country hopes to warn them about a greater danger -- the surf.
Overseas tourists entering Australia are to be given safety instructions after a sharp rise in the number of drownings involving foreigners on the country's famed beaches, surf life saving officials said on Thursday.
Eighty-two people drowned on Australia's beaches last year, and more than a quarter of these, 26, were foreigners, ill equipped to deal with the strong currents and surf....full story from Reuters UK
Devil manifests in Hungarian bathroom: A Hungarian couple have been reduced to washing in the downstairs sink after the Lord of the Flies' terrifying visage appeared in their bathroom.
Poor old Laszlo Csrefko, 52, blew a "fortune" doing up the room, but no sooner had he slapped in a new bath, shower and ceramics then Satan decided to pay a visit.
According to the Sun, his missus Andrea was enjoying her first shower in the renovated facility when she spotted Old Nick's face peering out from a tile....full story from The Register
September 15, 2010
Naked woman demands cab ride to Michigan: A 29-year-old woman who was refused a cab ride from Louisiana to Michigan responded by whipping off her kit on the back seat and then stealing the taxi, the [New Oreans] Times-Picayune reports.
Jennifer Gille, 29, caught a cab from a motel in Covington at around 1am on Sunday. The driver duly delivered her to a spot south of the city, but his passenger "refused to get out of the cab and began behaving erratically"....full story from The Register
Dynamite sticks from Denzel Washington film spark bomb alert: Sticks of dynamite that sparked an alert on an Ohio railway line were later found to be props from a Denzel Washington movie.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said the device, resembling two sticks of dynamite with wires, was detonated by a bomb squad on Tuesday and turned out to be harmless.
'Fake' Togo football team at Bahrain match being investigated: Togo's football authorities are investigating allegations that a fake national team played a match against Bahrain earlier this month.
Bahrain won the friendly match 3-0, but said they were surprised by the poor quality of the Togolese team.
Togo later said it had never sent its national team to play in the game, staged at the national stadium in Riffa on 7 September....full story from BBC News
Steve Jobs carried 'ninja throwing stars' in hand luggage: Updated Steve Jobs has vowed never to visit Japan again after being prevented from leaving the country with a set of ninja throwing stars, according to a local magazine.
The Apple CEO apparently had a set of shuriken in his carry-on luggage when he was returning from a family vacation by private jet in July, according to SPA magazine via a Bloomberg report. They were picked up by a security scan and officials insisted he give them up.
Jobs apparently took umbrage at the request, arguing, quite logically, that it was hardly a security risk as he was unlikely to hijack his own plane....full story from The Register
September 13, 2010
Children need training to help drunks: Red Cross: Children as young as 11 need to learn about the dangers of binge drinking and what to do to help a friend who has had too much, the British Red Cross says.
A study by the organization found one in seven children between 11 and 16 has been in an emergency situation because a friend drank too much alcohol. As well, one in 10 11-16 year olds have been left to cope with a drunken friend who was sick, injured or unconscious. In half of these cases, the children were left with a friend who has passed out, while one quarter of them helped a friend who had been in a drunken fight....full story from CNews
Naturist club objects to erection of five storey tower block: Members of a Surrey [England] naturist club have reacted with fury to plans to build a tower block which would overlook their clothes-free sanctuary.
The 70-year-old White House Club, which has 300 members on its books, is objecting in the strong possible terms to the proposed erection of a five story block which would overlook its property.
Habitués fear the possibility of "undesirable elements" moving into the proposed 167-flat development, who might be tempted to spy on White House's nude ping pong tournaments, boules court and early morning skinny dipping sessions, the Mirror reports....full story from The Register
September 12, 2010
New Zealand police dig up large dog: New Zealand police spent many man hours locating and digging up an unmarked grave in a cemetery only to discover it contained the remains of a large dog.
"It's unfortunate, given it was such a busy weekend, that a significant amount of Police time and resource went into the investigation, but Police were left with no option but to complete it thoroughly," Det. Senior Sgt. Donna Howard said in a release.
Police received a call Friday afternoon about the unmarked grave, which was found along the treeline at the Karori Cemetery, located in the west end of the city of Wellington....full story from CNews
Curses! Romanian witch tax foiled: Romania's Senate has rejected a proposed law that would have taxed witches and fortune tellers.
And the politician who pushed the plan said his colleagues caved because many of them feared being cursed.
Senator Alin Popoviciu of Romania's ruling Democratic Liberal Party drafted the legislation that also would have forced the country's thousands of witches and fortune tellers to produce receipts and would have held them responsible for wrong predictions....full story from CNews
September 11, 2010
House stolen by Internet scammers: Internet scammers conned an Australian real estate agent into selling a Perth house for $485,000 without the owner's knowledge.
Police have told Roger Mildenhall, 64, the money is gone and he may not see a cent of it, Australia's Sunday Times reported in its Sept. 12 edition. In a bitter twist, the building contractor may still have to pay thousands of dollars in capital gains tax, the newspaper said....full story from CNews
September 10, 2010
Texas woman has world's largest breast implants removed: Sheyla Hersheys fight to save her M cup breast implants came to an end yesterday, as she underwent surgery in Richmond, Texas, to have them removed.
Hershey - who was trying to achieve fame for having the largest breasts in the world and has had over 30 plastic surgeries - was plagued by severe infections and high fevers after her most recent implant surgery in Brazil in June 2010, reported myFOXhouston.com.
Because implants as large as Hershey’s are illegal in the US, the Brazilian-born Houston, resident went to her home country earlier this year for the surgery....full story from NEWS.com.au
US government recruits Paris Hilton: In what is evidently an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by Koran-burning pastors, the US government will attempt to dissuade outraged citizens of the Middle East from joining al-Qaeda by beaming Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears across the Voice of America's airwaves.
According to Press Gazette, Splash News and Pictures will provide a half-hour weekly show packed with meaty celebutardiness, aimed at winning the hearts and minds of those still undecided whether Holy War or Hollywood is the way to go....full story from The Register
'Father' of 55 suspected in benefits scam: PARIS - A Paris man who registered 55 children by 55 different mothers faces up to 10 years in jail and fines for suspected paternity fraud and for helping to obtain residency under false pretences, police said on Friday.
The 54 year-old of African origin, who authorities did not identify, was arrested in his two-room flat in Paris during a police raid which yielded documents showing more than 50 people were registered as living at that address.
Police suspect the man was involved in a social benefits scam which could have been costing the state over 1 million euros ($1.27 million) annually in claims by the mothers....full story from CNews
September 9, 2010
Help! Police! Stop that man giving away free money: German police called to investigate a suspected scam in a Bavarian town found a man handing out money to passersby as a retirement celebration.
Standing in the aptly chosen "Frohsinnstrasse" ("Cheerfulness Street") in the town of Aschaffenburg, the unnamed pensioner wore a sign around his neck explaining his philanthropy: "I am not unemployed or homeless. I have a wife. I am well. That's why I'd like to give you a euro."....full story from Reuters UK
Rioting prisoners demand women's tennis: Prison inmates deprived of the viewing pleasure of watching Vera Zvonareva and Kim Clijsters mixing it up at Wimbledon earlier this year responded with a quick riot, the Telegraph reports.
Thirty-two lags at Cookham Wood Young Offenders Institution in Rochester, Kent, were none too pleased when screws declared their recreation time over and pulled the plug on the TV just as the women's quarter final kicked off on 29 June.
In an attempt to force a rethink of the prison's Wimbledon coverage policy, the group of malcontents took one of their own members "hostage", and to chants of "We want TV, we want TV", threw his bound body at the feet of warders....full story from The Register
September 8, 2010
Chess masters seek to oust Russian 'alien spotter': LONDON - The stepping down of a remote Russian regional leader who once claimed to have been abducted by aliens has set off an unexpected battle for the world’s most important chess job.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the impoverished Buddhist region of Kalmykia, is better known outside Russia as head of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), one of the world’s largest sports organizations....full story from CNews
German farmer's 24 hour milk filling station a hit: A German dairy farmer has come up with a novel way to drum up new business -- he opened a "milk filling station."
The "Milchtankstelle" near Cologne in the town of Neunkirchen-Seelscheid dispenses the output of 78 cows from a stainless steel vending machine. Customers can either bring their own empty containers or buy milk bottles to fill up.
"I only had a few customers before I opened the station because they had to come at set milking times, which was a problem," dairy farmer Bruno Stauf told Reuters....full story from Reuters UK
September 7, 2010
Happiness: Yours for $75k a year: US researchers have found that happiness can be yours for an income of $75k a year (or £48,814.44 as of this morning), although trousering more than that won't necessarily increase your joie de vivre.
Professor Angus Deaton, an economist at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University, and Nobel Prize winning psychologist Professor Daniel Kahneman looked at surveys of 450,000 Americans carried out in 2008 and 2009 for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which quizzed respondents on their day-to-day happiness and overall life satisfaction....full story from The Register
Foam bear nominated for Latvian parliamentary elections: Latvia's Last Party that intends to run in the country's parliamentary elections on October 2 has put forward a foam bear as its candidate, the party's chairman said Tuesday.
"The Last Party has nominated the Bear of Happiness, a character from [Latvian writer] Andrejs Upits' play, for the post of prime minister," Gints Knoks told journalists....full story from RIA Novosti (RU)
September 6, 2010
Inventor sets world record for 'fastest piece of furniture': Perry Watkins, an inventor from Buckinghamshire, England, is thought to have set a world record for the fastest piece of furniture after driving his dining table down a racetrack at more than 113mph.
The 47-year-old piloted the Queen Anne table, set for a silver service dinner, twice down a 500m track at Santa Pod, Nottinghamshire, last weekend.
The table, named "Fast Food", reached a top speed of 130mph and averaged 113.8mph, comfortably eclipsing the 92mph set by a sofa in 2007....full story from The Daily Telegraph
Gold nugget found in hotel fireplace: Tracey Berry owns the Cool Country Tavern in Trentham, Australia was cleaning a fireplace grate when she made the find.
She says it has been confirmed as a 148-gram gold nugget and believes it is worth about $5,000.
Street names that reached the end of the road: Dozens of councils across Britain have reported cases of residents changing the names of their street because they are embarrassed by or dislike the one it had been given.
For the residents of Bladder Lane, Bent Street or Butt Hole Road, just providing their address could be fraught with potential embarrassment.
No charges for 'dead body' women: Two women who allegedly tried to smuggle their elderly dead relative on a flight to Germany will not be prosecuted because he may have only been dead for 12 hours, authorities said.
Gitta Jarant, 66, and her step-daughter Anke Anusic, 41, were arrested at John Lennon Airport, Liverpool, in April as they tried to board an easyJet flight with Curt Willi Jarant.
Ryanair boss wants stewardesses to be 'co-pilots': The boss of the budget airline Ryanair has called for co-pilots to be removed from the flight deck to save money and suggested that air stewardesses could land planes in an emergency.
In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine, Mr O’Leary, who has previously suggested that planes could fly with “standing-only" areas for passengers, said: “Why does every plane have two pilots?
Police officers suspended after totaling suspect's sports car: HALE, England - Two police officers have been suspended from driving duties after they stopped a suspected drink driver then wrote-off his sports car by crashing through a garden wall.
The high-powered Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was driven across a grass verge, then across the garden of one luxury home and through the neighbour's garden fence before ending up on its side.
Smoking baby reportedly has quit: The tubby Indonesian toddler who caused a sensation last spring by enthusiastically puffing on cigarettes in a widely viewed video has quit smoking, according to media reports.
Two-year-old Ardi Rizal of South Sumatra, who reportedly smoked 40 cigarettes a day, has broken his nicotine addiction through a 30-day rehabilitation program, the Jakarta Globe reported Thursday.
"He has stopped smoking and doesn't ask for cigarettes anymore," Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of Indonesia's National Commission on Child Protection, said, according to another publication, Earth Times....full story w/pic from CNN
September 1, 2010
Ontario town cancels outhouse races: COCHRANE, Ont. — The annual outhouse races in this northern Ontario community have been cancelled.
Organizer Karrie Peace said there weren't enough entries this year in order to have the Great Western Outhouse Races. This would have been the 11th year that teams, dressed in costume, raced their home-made outhouses down the street....full story from CNews
Big bill for world's slowest pub crawl: A New Zealand pub has been painstakingly moved 40 metres up an Auckland hill to make way for a road tunnel.
The 124-year-old Birdcage Tavern lies in the path of a major motorway expansion in New Zealand's largest city.
Rather than demolish the heritage-listed pub, the owners, New Zealand's Transport Authority, decided to move the entire structure until the construction work is completed in six months....full story from ABC News (AU)
Man falls 40 stories and survives: NEW YORK - A suicidal man jumped to a seemingly certain death from a 40-story Upper West Side rooftop yesterday -- but miraculously survived when he landed on a sports car, police said.
Tom Magill, 22, suffered just a broken leg, a shattered ankle and a collapsed lung after his 10:44 a.m. leap from atop the West End Towers on West End Avenue at 63rd Street.
"I can't believe this. My car saved his life," said Guy McCormack, 40, a worker at a nearby construction site who had borrowed the 2008 red Dodge Charger from his wife....full story w/pics from the New York Post
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.