Odd News - April 2011 Archive


Odd News Archive - April 2011

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.


April 30, 2011

South Korea bans youngsters from playing online games after midnight: Young South Koreans will be banned from playing online video games later than midnight after lawmakers passed a new curfew law.

Yonhap news agency reported the new law - which bans anyone under 16 from playing online into the early hours - was passed by lawmakers worried about growing levels of addiction to gaming among youngsters.

Gaming companies fiercely contested the legislation but the Youth Protection bill passed late Friday....read more from NEWS.com.au


Daredevil driver squeezes convertible underneath moving 18-wheeler: This is the terrifying moment a reckless motorist risks his life by driving underneath - a moving truck.

The daredevil driver shows no regard for his fellow motorists by calmly manoeuvring his Mazda MX-5 beneath the 18-wheel juggernaut in a scene similar to a stunt movie.

But this wasn't a clip from the latest Fast and Furious flick but a jaw-dropping moment captured on camera by shocked motorist Ben Ellis....read more w/pics from the Daily Mail


Inmate breaks up fight between guards: A prisoner at a New York State jail reportedly lost a tooth as he tried to break up a scrap between two veteran guards fighting over a bag of chips, reports say.

Erie County Correctional Facility staff in Alden told The Buffalo News that the two officers have been suspended over the April 21 incident a jail supervisor called "an embarrassment."

"The incident may have been between two officers, but it is an embarrassment to everyone in the sheriff's office who takes pride in their job and uniform," Undersheriff Mark N. Wipperman told the newspaper....read more from CNews


Milwaukee kicks off Beer Week 2011: MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Beer Week, a celebration of the city's most famous product, got off to a hoppy start Friday with tastings and craft events, organizers said.

The second annual Milwaukee's Taste of Great Brewers kicked off when the first keg of Belgian Pale Ale made by Sprecher and Milwaukee Brewing Co. was tapped at a public beer sampling event at the Harley-Davidson Museum, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The festivities run through May 8, showcasing the wares of more than 50 breweries and more than 200 beers both locally produced and imported, the newspaper said....read more from UPI

April 29, 2011

Student wins 'beach tester' job: STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A Swedish women's lifestyle magazine said a law student has been awarded the position of "beach tester," being required to blog about beaches around the world.

Amelia magazine said Asa Dejus was chosen from hundreds of applicants to take on the position with the Swedish National Public Employment Service, which requires the student to spend four weeks visiting beaches around the world and blogging about them, The Local reported Friday.

"Included in the job assignment is going on outings, lying on beach chairs, drinking wine in local taverns and other ordinary assignments found in a commercial beach and tourist environment," read a March ad for the position in Amelia....read more from UPI


Leaking house dials 911 for help: MARBLEHEAD, Mass. – (AP) After months of enduring a leaking pipe that buckled its floors and sagged its ceilings, an empty Massachusetts house somehow called police for help.

The Salem News reports the 911 call went out to police from a house in Marblehead on Wednesday after water short-circuited the phone system, apparently sparking the emergency call.

Officers were sent to the address after the call was recorded as a hang up and a return call got static....read more from Yahoo News


Nude Olympians take crack at 'best bum' title: (by Jo Skinner) Sunburn cream will be at a premium at the Nude Olympics this weekend on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, with about 500 people expected to compete.

The annual event at Alexandria Bay Beach in the Noosa National Park was due to be held in March but had to be postponed due to floodwaters damaging the walking tracks to the beach.

Organiser Dean says the emphasis on Sunday's event is having fun rather than winning gold medals....read more from ABC News (AU)

April 28, 2011

Man in cow suit steals milk: GARRISONVILLE, Va. - Authorities in Virginia said a man in a cow suit stole 26 gallons of milk from a Walmart and handed the jugs to passersby outside.

Stafford County sheriff's spokesman Bill Kennedy said the man stole the milk from the Walmart in Garrisonville about 10:35 p.m. Tuesday, the Manassas News and Messenger reported Thursday.

Kennedy said witnesses reported seeing the man distributing the milk to passersby outside the store....read more from UPI


Revealed: Secret security plan should Kate leave Wills at the altar: (by Marmaduke LaHussy) Police and spooks in charge of security for tomorrow's royal wedding have planned for every possible eventuality - including that of Kate leaving Wills at the altar.

The top-secret contingency plan for a "runaway bride" scenario has been dubbed "Operation Pumpkin", and if put into effect would see hundreds of operatives switch tasks in a desperate attempt to generate a moving security cordon around the escaping future Queen - while simultaneously attempting to preserve Prince William's option to pursue and dramatically win her back.

"Frankly, it's a nightmare scenario," one highly-placed MI5 source confessed to the Reg yesterday. "But you have to plan for every possible contingency, and let's face it, this one's hardly that unlikely, is it? Obviously we had to get together with Clarence House and work something out....read more from The Register


Calling animals 'pets' is insulting, academics claim: (by John Bingham) Animal lovers should stop calling their furry or feathered friends “pets" because the term is insulting, leading academics claim.

Domestic dogs, cats, hamsters or budgerigars should be rebranded as “companion animals" while owners should be known as “human carers", they insist.

Even terms such as wildlife are dismissed as insulting to the animals concerned – who should instead be known as “free-living", the academics including an Oxford professor suggest.

The call comes from the editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics, a new academic publication devoted to the issue....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

April 27, 2011

Spanish man sues parents over allowance: MALAGA, Spain - A judge ordered a 25-year-old Spanish man who sued his parents for ending his allowance to quit freeloading, officials said.

Judge Jose Luis Utrera, who presides over the Family Court of Malaga, ordered a man from Andalusia in southern Spain to leave his parents' home within 30 days, Think Spain reported.

The son, who has not been named in court documents, sued his parents after they cut his monthly allowance of $587....read more from UPI


San Francisco may ban male circumcision: SAN FRANCISCO - A U.S. group opposed to male circumcision said they have collected more than enough signatures for a proposal to ban the practice in San Francisco as a ballot measure for November elections.

But legal experts said that even if the move was approved by a majority of the city’s voters, such a measure would almost certainly face a legal challenge as an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of religion.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys, and is also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide....read more from CNews


Man lives after 'driving car over Grand Canyon rim': A man survived a 200ft (61m) drop in the US state of Arizona after apparently driving his car off the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, authorities have said.

The 21-year-old told park rangers he freed himself from the car after the accidental crash on Monday and climbed to the rim of the canyon to seek help.

The driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries, officials said....read more from BBC News


Fryer grease rustling rises due to oil price hikes: Rises in fuel prices have led to an increase in the number of used fryer grease rustlers roaming restaurant alleys in the United States.

Grease thefts have spiked whenever fuel prices climbed during the last four years and this spring is no different, according to Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association.

"It's on the rise and it's because of higher oil prices," Cook told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I have one member who told me it's costing his business $1 million a year."....read more from Reuters UK


Turkish police dress up as doctors to test citizens: Turkish police donned white coats and stethoscopes to disguise themselves as doctors, then knocked on people's doors to see how easily they would fall for a confidence scam.

The undercover police officers told residents of the southeastern city of Gaziantep they were screening for high blood pressure and handed out pills, according to Turkish media.

They were alarmed when residents at 86 out of 100 households visited on Tuesday swallowed the pills immediately....read more from Reuters UK

April 26, 2011

Computer glitch opens un-staffed supermarket to happy shoppers in New Zealand: (by Joe Fay) Canny Kiwis were given a Good Friday bonus when a computer system automatically opened a supermarket to all comers.

The Mill St Pak 'n Save in Hamilton, New Zealand should have been shut for Good Friday, but the godless computer system overrode a manual command to shutter up, and flicked on the lights and threw open the automatic doors at 8am despite a complete absence of any staff.

Records show the first customer wandered in at 8.03am, with a trickle of punters between then and 9.20am, at which point police arrived to stop what was threatening to become a free-for-all, stuff.co.nz reports....read more from The Register


Argentina: bus drivers sought, no men need apply: A town near Buenos Aires, wary of the screeching stops and careening turns it says typifies male drivers, has hired exclusively women to shuttle its passengers around.

"With women driving, the bus line is more family oriented, more friendly," said Rafaela Nuyl, 34, one of 28 newly hired drivers for the new bus service in Vicente Lopez.

The bus line in the town of 270,000, which has been operating since the beginning of the month, makes frequent stops at local primary schools, elder day care centres and a maternity hospital, said officials in Vicente Lopez....read more w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Champagne from Baltic Sea shipwreck up for grabs: Two bottles of champagne, thought to be about 200 years old and part of a cache of 150 salvaged from a 19th century shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, will be auctioned in Finland in June.

The cache, which belongs to the government of Aland, an archipelago in the Baltic, includes a bottle from the house of Veuve Clicquot and another from Juglar, which closed its doors in the early 19th century.

Acker Merrall & Condit, of New York, will auction the two bottles on June 3....read more from Reuters UK

April 25, 2011

Woman finds 7-foot gator in bathroom: PALMETTO, Fla. - A Palmetto, Fla., woman who discovered a 7-foot-long alligator in her guest bedroom said the reptile apparently crawled into her house through a doggie door.

Alexis Dunbar, who found the gator when she returned to the house Saturday, said she believes it came from a nearby pond, crawled under a chain-link fence and wiggled through the door used by her two cats, WFLA-TV, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, reported Monday.

"He must look at [the cats] as food every day," she said. "He finally got bold and came up on the bank."....read more from UPI


Kids flip bulldozer at strip mining site: DILLNET, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Police said two children ages 12 and 9 caused about $150,000 in damage when they used an excavator to flip a bulldozer.

Police said the children arrived at the strip mining site in Dillnet between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday and drove a large excavator about 400 to 500 yards, WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, reported Monday.

Investigators said the children used the excavator to flip a bulldozer, causing about $150,000 in damage, and threw rocks to smash out the windows of another bulldozer....read more from UPI


Fool's gold for failed vault thieves in Venezuela: Like a scene from a movie, 20 heavily armed robbers broke into the vault of a Russian gold company in eastern Venezuela yesterday but made off with no booty after they failed to open the safe.

"Twenty armed assailants broke in, seized control of workers in the mine and processing facility, and later cut open doors to the smelting area," Rusoro security chief Coronel Emilio Quesada told Globovision television.

"They did get into the storage area but they were unable to open the armoured security safes."....read more from ABC News (AU)

April 24, 2011

Mice put three training jets of Slovenian Air Force out of order: Mice have seriously damaged three Pilatus PC-9 training jets of the Slovenian Air Foce, a spokesman for the Slovenian armed forces Simon Korez told the POP TV.

The rodents seriously damaged wiring of the aircraft, inflicting losses of 5,000 euro (over $7,000).

The three aircraft have been removed outdoors last year to clear hangar space for a governmental jet....from RIA Novosti


Melbourne drunk driver on way to 'test teeth' at KFC: A Woman caught drink-driving has told Melbourne police she was on her way to try her new teeth on fried chicken.

The 55-year-old from St Kilda East was caught outside the Prahran Police Station on Friday night and recorded a reading of 0.052.

It was her second offence in 10 years and she received an automatic loss of licence....read more from NEWS.com.au


Brits say being drunk abroad is national trait: More than a quarter of Britons think getting drunk abroad is a national characteristic, according to a survey released to mark England's national day.

An Opinium Research poll of 2,012 British adults found that 60 per cent thought drinking tea was a national trait, closely followed by talking about the weather.

Forty per cent associated a "stiff upper lip" mentality - stoicism in the face of adversity - with being British....read more from ABC News (AU)

April 23, 2011

New York cabbie picks up $5,000 fare to California: New York taxi driver Mohammed Alam has picked up the fare of a lifetime - $5,000 (£3,000) to drive across the US to Los Angeles.

Investment banker John Belitsky said he and friend Dan Wuebben wanted to do something "magical".

They decided on a cab ride to LA and struck the deal with Mr Alam after finding him at LaGuardia Airport....read more from BBC News


Home Depot Canada bans pets: GLOUCESTER, Ontario - Home Depot announced domestic pets will no longer be allowed in its Canadian stores after a customer's dog bit off the tip of a greeter's nose.

Home Depot Canada said Thursday the policy change, which will not affect U.S. stores, was "the best decision for the shopping enjoyment and safety of all customers," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.

The store chain said certified assistance dogs will still be allowed in the stores....read more from UPI

April 22, 2011

Man negotiated with police from bar: OAK FOREST, Ill. - Police in Illinois said a man who was believed to be barricaded in his home for several hours was actually talking to police from a bar.

Oak Forest police said a call about a man with a gun led them to respond to the 5500 block of Babbette Court at about 4 p.m. Thursday and witnesses identified the suspect as a neighbor, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday.

Police said they negotiated with the man over the phone for several hours while waiting outside of his house and finally fired pepper spray into the windows and broke into the home at about 9:15 p.m. to find the residence was unoccupied....read more from UPI


French riot police face beer and wine meal ban: French riot police are outraged over plans to end a long-cherished tradition of drinking alcohol with their meals.

Under the terms of an interior ministry decree, riot police will no longer be allowed to wash down their lunch with a glass or two of beer or wine.

Officials were angered in 2010 when photos emerged of riot police drinking beer while policing a demonstration....read more from BBC News


Termites 'eat $215,000 in notes from Indian bank': Police in India are investigating claims by bank staff that termites had ‘eaten’ more than £130,000 [US$215,000] in rupee notes from a strong room in a State Bank of India branch.

Local officials initially sought to cover up the loss, but the disappearance of more than ten million rupees – known in India as a ‘crore’ – was discovered following the arrival of a new manager.

The notes had been kept in a ‘currency chest’ at the branch in Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh, and officials were reported to be ‘horrified’ to have found most of them reduced to dust by termites when they inspected the contents....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Penguins find love with keeper's boots: It's spring in Germany, love is in the air and a young penguin's fancy turns to thoughts of… rubber boots.

And not just any boots - black and white ones that apparently look like a lady penguin lying on her stomach.

In fact, so many of the male penguins at Sea Life Konstanz became infatuated with their keeper's boots that he was forced to switch footwear to blue ones, Germany's The Local reported overnight....read more from NEWS.com.au


Sex in space? No way, says Russia: Russian or Soviet cosmonauts never had sex in space in the 50 years of human exploration of the cosmos. And that's official, according to a Russian expert. As for Americans, well, you'd better ask them.

"There's no official or unofficial evidence that there were instances of sexual intercourse or the carrying out of sexual experiments in space," Valery Bogomolov, deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute of Biomedical Problems told the Interfax news agency.

"At least, in the history of Russian or Soviet space exploration this most certainly was not the case," said Mr Bogomolov....read more from ABC News (AU)


Lucasfilm puts stop to Oklahoma City man's life-sized AT-AT idea (by Kristi Eaton/AP) OKLAHOMA CITY — The force has not been with an Oklahoma City man who wants to build a 50-foot-tall and fully functional "Star Wars" AT-AT.

Mike Koehler said his dream is to make "America awesome again" with the replica of the huge machine used by the Empire in "Star Wars" films.

But "Star Wars" rights owner Lucasfilm objects....read more from the Tulsa World

UPDATE: Or actually a backdate, this apparently came to a head a few days ago....Statement from Mike Koehler

April 21, 2011

Viagra beer created for royal wedding: LONDON - A British brewery said it has created the world's first beer laced with Viagra in honor of the upcoming royal wedding.

The Brewdog brewery said the beer, called Royal Virility Performance, contains the same amount of Viagra in three bottles as one erectile dysfunction pill to cut back on the sexually stunting side effects of alcohol consumption, The Sun reported Thursday.

The brewery said several bottles of the beer, which bear labels reading "Arise Prince Willy" and "Celebrate Big Willy Style" have been sent to Prince William as gifts for the night of his wedding to Kate Middleton....read more from UPI


Chinese writer to undergo plastic surgery to become Shakespeare: A Chinese writer is planning to spend $153,000 on plastic surgery to look like British playwright William Shakespeare, Shanghai Daily reported on its website on Thursday.

Zhang Yiyi will undergo 10 facelifts over a period of 10 months to look like the playwright so that "people across the world mourn" one of world's greatest writers and dramatists.

Experts say that a resemblance is possible to create as Zhang has a sculpted face with a sharp nose and deep inset eyes....read more from RIA Novosti


Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars': Famous upstart startup rocket company SpaceX, bankrolled and helmed by renowned internet nerdwealth hecamillionaire Elon Musk, has once again sent its goalposts racing ahead of its rapidly-advancing corporate reality.

The plucky challenger has stated that its "Dragon" capsule is not merely capable of delivering supplies to the International Space Station: it is - potentially - also capable of carrying astronauts to the space station and back down to Earth again.

In a statement released yesterday, Musk and SpaceX also make the bold claim that the Dragon, once fitted with modifications that the company is now developing under NASA contract, would also be able to land "almost anywhere on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy, overcoming the limitation of a winged architecture that works only in Earth’s atmosphere" (our emphasis)....read more from The Register


ChurkeyFeathers in flap over weird barking turkey rooster hybrid bird: It would be something to crow about except this bird can't even manage a gobble.

Meet "Churkey", a quirky chick believed to have been born to a turkey mother and a rooster dad.

The peculiar looking bird has a white body, pink head, long legs and huge feet. But he neither crows like a rooster nor gobbles like a turkey. Instead he barks....read more from NEWS.com.au


Sewage testing checks illicit drug use: A university study has used sewage to measure illicit drug use in South Australia.

The research was based on a European model and aimed to find out if checking excrement could turn up useful information.

Samples were taken from 15 sewage treatment plants across South Australia and tested for traces of ecstasy, methamphetamines and cocaine....read more from ABC News (AU)


Rival wines vie in U.S. court for "mommy" label: Rival wine sellers targeting overworked mothers are fighting over use of the word "Mommy" on their wine labels, according to a lawsuit filed in San San Francisco federal court.

In the suit, filed on Monday, California-based winery Clos Lachance Wines asked the court to declare that its "Mommyjuice" does not violate the trademark of "Mommy's Time Out," which is marketed by a New Jersey distributor.

"'Mommy' is a generic word that they don't have a monopoly on," said KC Branch, an attorney who represents Clos Lachance....read more from Reuters UK

April 20, 2011

iPhone app works to block drunk texts: DESTIN, Fla. - A Florida woman said the iPhone app she created uses games to prevent people from sending drunk text messages they would later regret.

Samantha Deeter of Destin said she contacted an app development company with her idea and they made her a partner in the creation of the Textalyzer app, the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., reported Wednesday.

"This is to prevent people from doing the ultimate no-no," Deeter said....read more from UPI


German circus families in shootout over tent space: A DUST-UP between two warring circus clans left six people wounded, police said overnight, after confiscating guns and other weapons from the performers.

Police said it was unclear what sparked the melee yesterday between the two families, who were each camped on the eastern fringe of southern German city of Regensburg.

Neighbours reported hearing shots and police arrived to find a 48-year-old with a bullet wound in his leg and another five people between the ages of 17 and 55 with minor to moderate injuries....read more from NEWS.com.au


CIA reveals invisible ink recipes used by WWI spies: World War I spies engraved messages on toe-nails and used lemon juice to write invisible letters, classified documents released by the CIA reveal.

The six documents, amongst the oldest secret papers to be held by the agency, disclose a number of spying techniques.

The nearly century-old records include instructions "to suspect and examine every possible thing"....read more from BBC News


Sat-nav: Prehistoric man 'used crude sat nav': Prehistoric man navigated his way across England using a crude version of sat nav based on stone circle markers, historians have claimed.

They were able to travel between settlements with pinpoint accuracy thanks to a complex network of hilltop monuments.

These covered much of southern England and Wales and included now famous landmarks such as Stonehenge and The Mount.

New research suggests that they were built on a connecting grid of isosceles triangles that 'point' to the next site....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 19, 2011

Labor officials probe superhero capes for unemployed: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida labor officials say they have called for an investigation into a regional agency's spending of public money to give super hero capes to the unemployed.

The Labor Department said it has asked its inspector general to look into Workforce Central Florida's "Cape-A-Bility Challenge," a $73,000 campaign to give red super hero capes to people who are out of work, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.

The agency is spending spend more than $14,200 on capes and $2,300 on foam cutouts of a cartoon character named "Dr. Evil Unemployment."....read more from UPI


Man checks in with police, gets arrested: SUDBURY, Ontario – A 24-year-old man who checked in with Greater Sudbury Police on Monday afternoon as part as part of his bail conditions was not only late for his appointment, but he parked in a disabled parking spot and was not supposed to be driving.

Police say that when the man, who hails from Wahnapitae, Ontario, checked in about 5:22 p.m. to sign in, he was already 20 minutes late, thereby breaching a condition of his bail.

Then it was discovered he had parked in a disabled parking spot at the station....read more from CNews


Modern-day ninja in epic battle with riot police, robot: (by Lewis Page) A man who was plainly an invincible ninja warrior or similar tangled with police in Maryland recently. The sword-wielding scofflaw successfully resisted ordinary meatbag cops, a police robot, gassing with a "chemical agent" and a volley of low-velocity cosh projectiles from a SWAT team before finally succumbing to the crippling electric current of a Taser stun weapon.

The Washington Post reports on the remarkable eight-hour standoff between local lawmen and Michael R Beach, 44, of Edgewater in Maryland. Apparently a sheriff's deputy attempting to serve a court order on Beach was "lunged at" with a sword on arrival, after which Beach retreated into his home.

The traditional gathering of specialist units and SWAT teams ensued, and in due course the plods tried the standard next move....read more from The Register

April 18, 2011

Man proposes with crossword puzzle: ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Virginia man said he enlisted the help of a crossword writer for The Washington Post to propose to his girlfriend with a bonus Style section puzzle.

Corey Newman, 28, of Alexandria said he contacted the Post with his idea and editors put him in touch with crossword writer Bob Klahn, who concealed the first and last names of Marlowe Epstein, 31, as well as the phrase "will you marry me," The Washington Post reported Monday.

Epstein said she looked up from the puzzle to see Newman holding a ring....read more from UPI


Pay $650,000 to shave Richard Branson's legs: KUALA LUMPUR: Billionaire Richard Branson's next cutting-edge risk will expose him like never before: he'll have his legs shaved by a potential stranger who'll pay at least $650,000 for the honor.

Branson will hand the razor to one of 160 passengers on a special flight from London to Kuala Lumpur that he will personally serve on May 1 while wearing a female flight attendant's uniform....read more from The Times of India


Half-naked woman with bird in car arrested: Police in Kitchener, Ontario, say officers arrested a woman Sunday who was driving while only partially dressed and with a pet bird flying loose in her car.

At 3:16 p.m., Waterloo Regional Police said the 58-year-old woman was driving down a street while continuously blowing her horn. Concerned for the driver's well-being, police tried to pull the car over. But police say the car didn't stop and hit a city bus and then another vehicle before officers were able to arrest the driver.

No one was injured. Police said the driver wasn't going at an excessive speed and alcohol wasn't a factor....read more from CNews


'Bubble wrap' could boost' skiing says UHI professor: A scientist has suggested covering snow in 'bubble wrap' to help prolong the ski season in Scotland.

Prof John McClatchey said it would slow down the melting of snow by protecting it against rain and sunshine.

Marian Austin, of the Nevis Range ski resort in Lochaber, said the method could be useful in leaner seasons....read more from BBC News

April 17, 2011

Smelly plant to bloom at Ohio State: COLUMBUS, Ohio - A plant described by one botanist as smelling like "several-days-old bloated roadkill" is getting ready to bloom at Ohio State University.

The 8-foot-tall rainforest plant's blossoms are commonly known as "corpse flowers."

"It's awful. (The smell) reaches out into the parking lot. It can be overwhelming," Debroah Wiley, a greenhouse curator at Virginia Tech University told The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio on Saturday....read more from UPI


Hotel towel thieves targeted in hi-tech clampdown: (by David Barrett) Hotels are deploying new technology to combat one of the menaces of the hospitality industry - the towel thief.

The anti-theft system, which could soon be arriving in Britain, uses washable radio-frequency tags stitched into towels, bathrobes and other linen which can trigger an alarm if removed from the premises.

The US company which patented the technology said one hotel in Hawaii which introduced the tags last summer had seen towel theft tumble from 4,000 a month to just 750, saving more than £9,000 a month....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 16, 2011

Topless pools topping Vegas attractions: LAS VEGAS, April 16 (UPI) -- Topless swimming holes continue to be popular on and off the Las Vegas Strip.

With "Beer Goggle Monday" and "Wasted Wednesday" events planned, Naked Pool opens Saturday at the Artisan Boutique Hotel, with admissions around $10.

That's far cheaper than some of the similar hotel pools allowing women to go topless with men present, dotting the strip's better-known venues, USA Today reported Friday....read more from UPI


Soldier wins lottery, heads to Afghanistan: FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. A U.S. Army sergeant says he'll use the Georgia Lottery jackpot he won to take a vacation, just as soon as he gets back from Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Gregg Curry won $250,000 this week, but he won't have much time to enjoy it since he flies back to Afghanistan Monday for the remaining five months of his tour.

Curry, 47, was in Fayetteville for two weeks after spending seven months at Bagram Airfield. He told lottery officials he and his wife, Mary, planned to take a trip after he returns....read more from UPI

April 15, 2011

Statue of Liberty postage stamp shows Las Vegas: NEW YORK - After printing 3 billion copies of a new postage stamp bearing an image of the Statue of Liberty, the United States Postal Service received a strange question from a stamp collector.

Did postal officials realize the photograph was not of the famed statue in New York Harbor, but of a less-feted fiberglass and Styrofoam replica outside a Las Vegas casino?

They did not....read more from CNews


Chinese censors attack 'frivolous' time travel dramas: (by Andew Hough) Television dramas with plots involving time travel could be banned by the Chinese government under a fresh censorship drive, it has emerged.

China’s regulators have imposed tough new conditions on television production because such plots are “frivolous" and do not respect history.

Officials say that many dramas that feature time travel “lack positive thoughts and meaning" and feature fabricated plots....read more from The Daily Telegraph


'Italian? It's all Greek to me' says amnesiac swimmer: Police have uncovered the true identity of a man with amnesia found swimming off a Dubai beach eight months ago and treated in a psychiatric hospital.

Italian Andrea Pecora, 31 and single, believed for months that he was a 25-year-old Greek footballer called Andreas Kostantinidis, The National newspaper reported on Friday.

It said that Pecora's true identity was finally determined after he remembered the hotel where he had been staying....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 14, 2011

UK police force gives guidance to officers on how to pack lunches: A British police force issued advice to officers on how to keep their sandwich packs fresh.

Lincolnshire Police in central England handed guidance to its 1219 officers and 1162 other staff members warning them to keep "lunch boxes cool" and not to use "out of date food," The (London) Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

"Sandwiches should not be kept in briefcases or warm cars and snacks must be kept separate from lunch items," officers were told....read more from NEWS.com.au


Golden opportunities in Libya: (by Lester Haines) They get about a bit, the Lads from Lagos [Nigerian email hucksters], and evidently couldn't resist a quick jaunt to Libya, where they've stumbled across a vast wad of wonga.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: we do wish the lads would invest a small portion of their riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice on a decent guide to the English language....read more from The Register


School wants Easter eggs called 'spring spheres': A Seattle teen volunteering in a Grade 3 classroom says she wanted to put treats together for the children for Easter, but was told she'd have to call the eggs "spring spheres."

"At the end of the week, I had an idea that I wanted to fill a little plastic egg with treats and jelly beans and other candy," Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio. She was in the classroom as part of a week-long volunteering project through her private school.

She said the Easter eggs were meant as a parting gift after she was done....read more from CNews

April 13, 2011

German politician suspected of stealing 200 rolls of toilet paper: A politician from Stralsund, northern Germany, was caught red-handed stealing toilet paper from the men's bathroom in the local city hall, Ostsee Zeitung newspaper said on its website.

Frank-Michael John, 23, of the socialist Left party, is suspected of taking more than 200 rolls of toilet paper from the bathroom over the past few months.

The city hall's property manager hid in a bathroom stall on Monday evening and caught John with a toilet roll in his backpack and another in his hand....read more from RIA Novosti


Marijuana causes, uh, climate change: (by Andrew Orkowski) Stoners are helping destroy the planet. Not by excessive snacking, but thanks to the high-energy demands of indoor marijuana cultivation. So says a US Government policy analyst with a Puritanical streak and an EYE for a SHOUTY HEADLINE.

Evan Mills, who works at Lawrence Livermore Labs but conducted the study in his own time, estimates that indoor pot growing accounts for 1 per cent of energy usage in the United States, with each spliff representing two pounds of CO2 emission. Heavy.

About 32 per cent of energy in the cultivation process is used by lighting equipment, including motorised lamp rails; 26 per cent by ventilation systems and dehumidifiers; 18 per cent by air conditioning; and the rest... uh, we can't remember....read more from The Register


Man arrested for creating fake Army unit: LOS ANGELES - A Chinese man was arrested for creating a fake U.S. Army unit and convincing immigrants that joining the squad was a path to citizenship, authorities said.

Yupeng Deng, 51, allegedly gave his recruits military uniforms, had them parade in a Los Angeles suburb and took them to the decommissioned USS Midway aircraft carrier, which is a museum in San Diego.

Deng charged more than 100 fellow Chinese nationals a fee of between $300 and $450 to join the fake Army unit, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office....read more from The Register


Mystery of huge Canadian chicken-shed explosion: (by Lewis Page) The Mounties have confessed themselves baffled after a Canadian chicken shed blew up in a huge, devastating explosion whose shockwaves were "felt across southern Manitoba", according to reports.

The Red River Valley Echo has the story, reporting that a "large chicken barn which used to be part of the landscape" exploded in a "massive cloud of smoke" last week.

"It was like somebody chopped it up into little pieces and just flung it everywhere," local resident Joyce Penner told the paper, adding that the detonating 5,000 foot2 building had caused the "loudest boom" she had ever heard in her life....read more from The Register


Israeli minister flushes toilet in interview: Israel's outspoken foreign minister has chosen a novel way of making a point in a radio interview - apparently flushing the toilet live on the air.

Avigdor Lieberman was referring to the Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas, at the time.

Mr Lieberman, who leads the right-wing Israel Our Home Party, is no stranger to controversy....read more from BBC News


Dead cow and a car engine amongst strangest items checked-in to fly: A car engine, a dead cow and bag of sand and sea water are among the strangest items that air passengers have tried to check in on flights.

One lady even turned up at a JFK airport check-in desk with family members carrying her bath. It wasn’t even wrapped or packaged.

Check-in staff at Virgin Atlantic were also presented with a giant wheel of cheese and a tarantula hidden in a lady’s coat, according to a survey by the airline from its 32 flying locations....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 12, 2011

Police sniff out millions buried in garlic fields: South Korean police have sniffed out a total of 11 billion won ($9.6 million) in cash buried in remote garlic fields and have confiscated the haul.

TV footage showed plastic containers brimming with jaw-dropping wads of cash being excavated one after another in the south-western city of Gimje.

Media reports said two brothers who had made the money from an illegal internet gambling operation asked their brother-in-law, surnamed Lee, to hide the cash as police began closing in on them....read more from ABC News (AU)


Orange sheepUK farmer paints sheep orange to prevent rustling: A farmer painted his entire flock of sheep orange to discourage thieves, after rise in rustling.

John Heard decided desperate measures were needed to stop the raids that were decimating his flocks.

And his solution to the problem has created an eye-catching sensation on his farm after he turned his sheep orange....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 11, 2011

Chicago school bans home-packed lunches: CHICAGO - A Chicago school's controversial policy of banning pupils from bringing lunches from home is aimed at encouraging healthy eating, the principal said.

Elsa Carmona of the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade Little Village Academy said pupils must eat the lunch served in the cafeteria unless they have a medical reason to bring their own food, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

"Nutrition-wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said....read more from UPI


Federal Judge, 103, still hearing cases in Kansas: Wichita, Kan. - In a courtroom in Wichita, the day begins much as it has for the past 49 years: Court is in session, U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown presiding. But what happens next is no longer routine; it's a testament to one man's sheer determination.

As lawyers and litigants wait in respectful silence, Brown, who is 103, carefully steers his power wheelchair behind the bench, his stooped frame almost disappearing behind its wooden bulk. He adjusts under his nose the plastic tubes from the oxygen tank lying next to the day's case documents. Then his voice rings out loud and firm to his law clerk, "Call your case."...read more from CNS News


Actor 'dies' 5 times in 24 hours: Veteran Hong Kong actor Law Lok-lam had an unusual run of bad luck when he set what could be a record by dying in five different soap operas in a 24-hour period last week.

His character met a bloody end during a fight in the martial arts drama Grace Under Fire, and he vomited blood before expiring in Fate to Fate, the Sunday Morning Post reported.

In Relic of an Emissary, Law played the Ming emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, who died after an illness....read more from ABC News (AU)

April 10, 2011

Postcard arrives late -- minus postage: HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut woman says a postcard managed to reach her from Greece without benefit of postage, zip code or address -- 46 years late.

Vasilia "Vas" Mazzotta of Cromwell, Conn., received the Easter greeting from her grandfather in Greece last month.

The postcard was addressed to "Miss Vassoula Sitara," Mazzotta's maiden name, "Hartford Con."

It was dated, "Athens 20 April 65."....read more from UPI

April 9, 2011

Party crackdown looms in California: NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Newport Beach, Calif., is considering hefty fines and red-tag warnings for raucous and unruly parties.

The City Council plans to discuss the "loud and unruly gathering ordinance" Tuesday, the (Newport Beach) Daily Pilot reports.

The measure would empower police to issue citations to hosts of parties that get out of control, with penalties up to $500 for the first violation and up to $8,000 for the fourth if it occurs within six months of the first....read more from UPI

April 8, 2011

Dornier 17Nazi warplane lying off Kent coast is intact: A rare World War Two German bomber, shot down over the English Channel in 1940 and hidden for years by shifting sands at the bottom of the sea, is so well preserved a museum wants to raise it.

The Dornier 17 -- thought to be world's last known example -- was hit as it took part in the Battle of Britain.

It ditched in the sea just off the Kent coast in an area known as the Goodwin Sands....read more w/pic from Reuters UK


Boston Mayor bans sugary drinks on public property: (by Amanda Carey) City of Boston Mayor Tom Menino signed an executive order, Thursday, banning the sale, promotion and advertising of sugary drinks on government-owned property. The order requires departments under the city government to take steps to comply with the ban within six months.

“I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, worksites, or other places in the community," Menino said in a statement after the ban was announced.

Menino, along with executive director of Boston Public Health Commission Dr. Barbara Ferrer, cited a link between obesity and rising health costs as the reason for the ban....read more from The Daily Caller


One-armed Maine residents can now carry switchblades: In good news for one-armed residents of Maine for whom conventional knives just don't cut it, the state's Senate has agreed to allow them to carry switchblades.

The bold legislative move will "eliminate a need for one-armed people to be forced to open folding knives with their teeth in emergencies", as Reuters nicely puts it.

In case you're wondering just type of situation would require the swift deployment of a flick knife, the bill was requested by amputee lawyer Paul Dumas Jr, who rides horses and explained he "can’t react quickly enough in emergencies when he needs to cut a piece of rope"....read more from The Register


Naked man shoots SWAT robot: A Florida man is facing charges after he shot a SWAT robot while in the nude, police say.

The robot was sent into the man's West Melbourne home last week after someone called police and said the man intended to commit suicide and would harm anyone who tried to stop him, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office said.

So police decided to send in the remotely operated robot, which is mounted with four cameras....read more from CNews


Students set sights on zero-gravity beer: The first space tourist flights may be several years away but a group of thirsty Australian scientists are at work on the critical question - what makes a top zero-gravity beer?

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have been working since November, testing various recipes in their microgravity "drop tower", which simulates space conditions, in search of the perfect brew.

Flavour and fizz are key factors - the tongue swells in space, affecting the tastebuds, while lower carbonation is needed....read more from ABC News (AU)


Student 'addiction' to technology 'similar to drug cravings', study finds: (by Andrew Hough) Withdrawal symptoms experienced by young people deprived of gadgets and technology is compared to those felt by drug addicts or smokers going “cold turkey", a study has concluded.

Researchers found nearly four in five students had significant mental and physical distress, panic, confusion and extreme isolation when forced to unplug from technology for an entire day.

They found college students at campuses across the globe admitted being “addicted" to modern technology such as mobile phones, laptops and television as well as social networking such as Facebook and Twitter....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 7, 2011

Electronic stores in two U.S. states offer free guns: A chain of electronic stores in parts of the states of Idaho and Montana are offering free guns to first-time subscribers of satellite TV services.

The new promotions by combination RadioShack and Dish Network dealerships in western Montana and another in southwest Idaho have attracted crowds that range from the merely curious to the firearm-friendly.

John Marshall, owner of a RadioShack store in Mountain Home, Idaho near Boise, said the flagging economy was behind the program he began advertising this week....read more from Reuters UK


Sweetcorn or onions? New York battles over state vegetable: A political battle is under way in New York – over whether the onion or the sweetcorn should be made the official state vegetable.

While New York counts the apple as its official fruit, the rose as its official flower and even the beaver as its official animal, a vacancy exists for the vegetable that best sums up the empire state.

A bill that would see the onion victorious has been proposed in the state senate by David Carlucci, an independent Democrat from Rockland County....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Kremlin activists pose for lingerie calendar: Pro-Kremlin activists have posed in lingerie for an erotic calendar under the slogan "sex against corruption".

A spokesman for youth movement Nashi said the project was not commercial but was designed to carry an anti-graft message.

One woman poses in a white corset and bridal veil and raises her middle finger in a rude gesture, with the slogan "I won't marry a corrupt official."....read more w/pics from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 6, 2011

Swedish couple have honeymoon from hell: A newly-wed couple on a four-month honeymoon were hit by six natural disasters, including the Australian floods, Christchurch earthquake and Japanese tsunami.

Stefan and Erika Svanstrom left Stockholm, Sweden, on December 6 and were immediately stranded in Munich, Germany, due to one of Europe's worst snowstorms.

Travelling with their baby daughter, they flew on to Cairns in Australia which was then struck by one of the most ferocious cyclones in the nation's history....read more from The Daily Telegraph


Elderly woman in Georgia cuts Armenia off from Internet: An elderly woman in Georgia is facing a prison sentence after reportedly causing internet services in neighbouring Armenia to crash.

The country found itself offline for hours on 28 March after cables linking Georgia to Armenia were damaged.

A Georgian interior ministry spokesman said a 75-year-old woman had admitted damaging fibre-optic cables while scavenging for copper....read more from BBC News


Mona Lisa mystery could be solved by woman's remains: Researchers will attempt to identify the woman who sat for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, by digging up the remains of an Italian noblewoman.

Art historian Silvano Vinceti believes that by locating the remains of Lisa Gherardini, he can prove whether or not she was the artist's model.

A recently discovered death certificate suggests she died in 1542 and is interred in a convent in Florence....read more from BBC News

April 5, 2011

Fur flies in chocolate bunny battle: VIENNA - An Austrian chocolate company vowed on Tuesday to appeal a ruling by a Vienna court that stops it from producing Easter bunnies resembling those made by Switzerland’s Lindt & Spruengli.

Austria’s Hauswirth has been locked in a seven-year battle with larger confectioner Lindt over the chocolate figures. Both chocolatiers make the distinctive sitting bunny shapes wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon bow tie....read more from CNews


NY's rat problem damaging tourism - city official: Absolutely no one likes a rat, a city official said on Tuesday, demanding $1.5 million (920 thousand pounds) be restored to the budget to be help control what he called Manhattan's horrific rat problem.

Seeing vermin running amok on city streets and in subway tunnels is a turn-off for tourists, said Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer.

"They don't want to come here and share their vacation with a New York City rat," Stringer told Reuters....read more from Reuters UK

April 4, 2011

Smashbomb beer too violent for Ontario: LONDON, Ontario – The suds cops at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario have stamped out a popular beer made by a Barrie, Ontario, micro-brewery because they deem inappropriate the name and cartoonish label of Smashbomb Atomic IPA.

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery shared the news with angry fans on Facebook and on bartowel.com, a forum that bills itself as Ontario's premier beer resource.

"It's things like this that makes me sad to live in Ontario. Especially when I travel to the U.S. and am faced with an entire wall of unique, reasonably priced craft-brewed beer," one fan wrote on Facebook....read w/pic more from CNews


MI5 files reveal bungled Nazi mission to US: A Nazi submarine mission to the United States during World War II ended in farce after being hit by a series of disasters, newly-released files show.

The Germans planned to bomb roads, railways and factories during Operation Pastorius in June 1942, according to the files from Britain's MI5 domestic intelligence agency.

But even before it got under way the plot descended into a farce worthy of a comedy film....read more from ABC News (AU)


Wanted: Nude female web coders: (by Lester Haines) A Buckinghamshire [UK] company is looking to recruit "a number of female web coders" who are prepared to work as nature intended in a "warm and private" naturist office environment.

Nude House provides software which creates "hot-spots" on website photos, as explained here.

As well as naked sales people tempting customers to buy, the company needs nudists to provide free technical support....read more w/pic from The Register


1936 Marconi TVBritain's oldest working TV set expected to be auctioned: Britain's oldest working television set, which was manufactured by Marconi in 1936, is expected to sell for more than £5,000 [US$8,067] at auction.

The machine was bought for almost £100 three weeks after television transmissions began. But Mr GB Davis of Dulwich, south–east London would have only been able to able to watch it for a few hours.

The nearby Crystal Palace and its transmitter burned down three days after Mr Davis bought the Marconi type–702 set on November 26. The area could not receive pictures again until 1946....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 3, 2011

Pastor defends billboard message: TAVARES, Fla. - The pastor of a Florida house of worship called Saturday Night Live Church says its billboard reading "Scumbags Welcome!" is in keeping with Jesus' preaching.

Pastor Moses Robbins said his church's message isn't intended as a put down for a societal fringe that includes addicts, thieves and others who don't feel at home in a traditional church setting, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

"Our hope was that we would fill up the building, bring new people to the cross and Jesus," Robbins, 42, said....read more from UPI


Genetically modified cows produce 'human' milk: (by Richard Grey) Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce "human" milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious.

The scientists have successfully introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with the same properties as human breast milk.

Human milk contains high quantities of key nutrients that can help to boost the immune system of babies and reduce the risk of infections....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 2, 2011

International Pillow Fight DayHundreds stage pillow fight in central London: On International Pillow Fight Day, hundreds flocked to Trafalgar Square in central London to bop one another over the head.

Tom Nizio had come equipped for a fight – with starry pyjama trousers on his legs and a pillow in his rucksack.

"I love this kind of fun," said Mr Nizio, 29, from Acton, west London, surveying the gathering crowd in Trafalgar Square yesterday. "I heard about it on Facebook, and just thought, I've got to have some of this."....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Plane makes emergency landing after roof falls in: A plane has made an emergency landing after the roof fell in on the passengers.

Southwest Flight 812 from Phoenix to Sacramento, California, with 118 passengers on board, landed safely at a military base in Arizona.

There were no passenger injuries reported, despite the sudden drop in cabin pressure.

The airline said one flight attendant was slightly injured....read more w/pics from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 1, 2011

Geologist finds rich mineral deposit while sitting on camp toilet: A geologist sitting on a bush toilet in a remote part of the Northern Territory [Australia] has discovered a potentially lucrative mineral deposit.

Rum Jungle Resources chief executive David Muller said the company was already looking for phosphate on a site near Barrow Creek, north of Alice Springs, but it was not expecting to find anything of value where it had set up its camp toilet.

"One observant geologist was sitting on it one day and kicking the rocks around and he suddenly identified some nodules and he thought, 'Oh we better assay this'," he said....read more w/pic from ABC News (AU)


French mayor 'removes statue because its breasts are too big': The mayor of a town in France has thrown a patriotic female statue out of his town hall because its breasts were too big.

The terracotta bust of Marianne - the traditional female embodiment of the French Republic in a Phrygian cap - was an original work by a local artist, installed in 2007 at the town hall in Neuville-en-Ferrain, population 10,000.

"It was making people gossip," said one town hall employee. "Remarks were made, during weddings for example."....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Police arrest man who escaped by fax: Spanish police say they have arrested a man who twice escaped from custody by having his wife send fake faxes ordering his release.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jose Carlos Serna was taken into custody at his home in San Lorenzo del Escorial, a suburb north of Madrid, on Friday, while hiding in a hollowed-out sofa, police said.

In December, he was in a cell at Arganda del Rey courthouse awaiting trial when officers got a fax purportedly from a regional court. It was followed by a phone call purportedly from a court official, corroborating the release order....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

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