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Odd News Archive - January 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.

January 31, 2011

Man claims drug made him a 'gay sex addict': NANTES, France - A French father-of-two is to take GlaxoSmithKline to court on Tuesday, alleging the British firm's drug to treat Parkinson's disease turned him into a gay sex and gambling addict.

The 51-year-old's lawyers say their client's behaviour changed radically after he was first administered the drug in 2003 for the illness, which causes tremors, slows movement and disrupts speech.

Didier Jambart, a married father-of-two who says he has attempted suicide three times, claims he became addicted to Internet gambling, losing the family's savings and stealing to feed his habit....full story from CNews

Sushi on modelsSouth Africa's ANC deplores 'sushi on models' after scandal: South Africa's governing party has pronounced that eating sushi off the body of a model in a bikini is politically incorrect.

A statement on Monday from the African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe is unequivocal: "This act is anti-ANC and antirevolutionary. This act is defamatory, insensitive and undermining of woman's integrity."

The fish-on-flesh question has raged in South African media in recent months following reports of the practice at parties of wealthy businessmen and socialites....full story from The Daily Telegraph

January 30, 2011

China tries to pass Top Gun footage as military drill: China's state broadcaster is facing questions after internet users spotted that footage in a report on air force manoeuvres in a national newscast was taken from the 1980s Hollywood film Top Gun.

China Central Television, or CCTV, aired the footage in a January 23 report on a People's Liberation Army Air Force training exercise, showing a plane firing a missile at another.

The second aircraft plane was destroyed in a fiery explosion and the dramatic footage was shown in between interviews with air force officers.

However, some Internet users recognised the explosion from the dogfight in the final scene of the 1986 film Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise....full story from ABC News (AU)


Idaho condiment criminal caught: An Idaho library has closed the book on a string of condiment attacks against its book-drop now that the ketchup-wielding criminal has been jailed, a Boise librarian said on Saturday.

"We're relieved it's resolved; it's been going on for a while," Ann Costello, reference librarian at Ada County Community Library, said of a caper that began in 2009 when library books in a drive-up drop-box were smothered with substances like corn syrup.

Joy Cassidy, 75, Boise, pleaded guilty on Friday to malicious injury to property stemming from what police said were more than 10 assaults on the book-drop totaling more than $1,000 in damages....full story from

January 29, 2011

Adam PotterClimber found standing after 1,000ft plunge: Rescuers said a climber was lucky to be alive after he survived a 1,000ft (305m) plunge down a mountain.

A rescue helicopter crew found the man standing up, reading a map, when they flew to the scene to search for him.

The 35-year-old had just reached the summit of the 3,589ft (1,094m) Sgurr Choinnich Mor around five miles (8km) east of Ben Nevis [highest mountain in the British Isles], when he lost his footing and fell down the extremely steep and craggy eastern slope of the mountain at around 2pm on Saturday.

A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet in Prestwick, Ayrshire, was already airborne for training and flew to the scene, arriving at 2.35pm....full story from The Daily Telegaph (UK)

UPDATE: Telegraph: Man survives 1,000ft plunge off a Scottish mountain

Pakistan-made Toxic Waste candy 'unsafe': The US government says candy imported from Pakistan called Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge is not safe to eat.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that the US distributor of Nuclear Sludge chew bars is recalling the candy because of lead contamination. No one has been sickened, but the FDA said elevated lead content could be harmful to small children, infants and pregnant women.

The candies were manufactured in Pakistan. Indianapolis-based Candy Dynamics said it would stop selling all Nuclear Sludge candy in the US....full story w/pic from

January 28, 2011

U.S. town demolished over lead contamination: Most of its residents left, the school closed, the city government was disbanded and starting this week nearly every commercial building in Picher, Oklahoma, will be demolished.

But the owner of the last-remaining open business in Picher, which has been vacated over the years because of lead contamination, is not ready to go.

"It's not time for me to leave yet," said Gary Linderman, owner of Old Miner's Pharmacy in what is left of central Picher, located in the northeast corner of the state....full story from Reuters UK

Malawi poised to outlaw farting: Malawi [landlocked country in southeast Africa] is determined to “mould responsible and disciplined citizens” with a law banning the breaking of wind.

The Local Courts Bill of 2010 is set to be presented before a forthcoming parliamentary session by Justice Minister George Chaponda.

The legislation also targets ne'er-do-wells "disturbing religious assemblies", "trespassing on burial places", "insulting the modesty of a woman" or "challenging to fight a duel", as well as those who pass the time by pretending to be a fortune teller....full story from The Register

Zombie game concerns school faculty: SEATTLE - Some administrators and faculty members at Seattle's University of Washington said they are seeking to ban "Humans Vs. Zombies Tag" on campus.

Professor Mary Callahan said the game came to her attention after she spotted a student "dressed in combat fatigues, carrying a dark (toy) rifle strapped over his shoulder, and perched in the window of the fourth floor stairwell of Thomson Hall," KING-TV, Seattle, reported Thursday.

"I don't doubt that this game has its social, sporting and strategic appeal, but I believe it should be played elsewhere ... I don't like walking around campus amongst make-believe assassins sneaking around with toy guns, looking to take out targets," Callahan said....full story w/video from UPI

Monk faces jail under smoking ban: THIMPHU - A Buddhist monk could face five years in prison after becoming the first casualty of a stringent anti-smoking law in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which vows to become the first smoke-free nation.

The monk has been charged with consuming and smuggling contraband tobacco under a law that came into force this month, the newspaper Kuensel reported Friday, having been caught in possession of 72 packets of chewing tobacco.

Bhutan, where smoking is considered bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. But with a thriving smuggling operation from neighboring India, the ban failed to make much of an impact....full story from CNews

January 27, 2011

Mexican army interdicts dope-slinging catapult: The Mexican army has seized a dope-slinging catapult capable of projecting 4.4lb (2kg) bundles of marijuana into Arizona.

US National Guard operatives at the Naco Border Patrol Station alerted the authorities south of the border last Friday after spotting "several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence".

Soldiers moved in and discovered a "three-yard tall catapult ... about 20 yards from the US border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle"....full story from The Register

Happy New Year text prematurely blows up suicide bomber: A suicide bomber's plan to detonate explosives in Central Moscow on New Year's Eve was foiled when she received an unexpected text message that caused her deadly payload to blow up too early, according to news reports.

The message wishing her a happy new year came hours before the unnamed woman was to set off her suicide belt near Red Square, an act of terrorism that could have killed hundreds of people, The Leader-Post reported. She ended up dying at a safe house instead....full story from The Register

January 26, 2011

Piano on beachPiano on beach sparks mystery: A grand piano has mysteriously appeared on a sandbar in Florida.

The appearance of the instrument near Biscayne Bay has prompted speculation that it may have been placed there for a music video, as a romantic date or a marketing stunt.

The stretch of coast is just north of the upmarket South Beach area known for its glitzy clubs and restaurants.

A local resident, Karla Murray, says she was so intrigued by the mystery that she swam about 200 yards out to the sandbar to investigate....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

UPDATE: BBC News reports 'Florida teenager 'put piano on Miami sand bar'

University awards first Beatles degree: A Canadian woman has become the first person in the world to graduate with a Masters degree in Beatles studies.

Former Miss Canada finalist, Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy was one of the first 12 students to sign up for the Liverpool Hope University course on the Fab Four when it began in 2009 and was the first to graduate, the university said on Wednesday.

"I am so proud of my achievement," Zahalan-Kennedy said. "The course was challenging, enjoyable and it provided a great insight into the impact the Beatles had and still have to this day across all aspects of life."....full story from Reuters UK

Hitler's last bodyguard gives up on fan mail: More than 65 years after World War Two, Adolf Hitler's last surviving bodyguard says that he can no longer respond to the continuous deluge of fan mail he receives from around the world because of his advanced age.

Rochus Misch is 93 and uses a walking frame to move around his apartment. He told the Berliner Kurier tabloid that, with most of the letters he receives asking for autographs, it was "no longer possible" to reply because of his age.

"They (letters) come from Korea, from Knoxville, Tennessee, from Finland and Iceland -- and not one has a bad word to say," said Misch, who is believed to be the last man alive to have seen Hitler and other top-ranking Nazis in the flesh....full story from Reuters UK

New Dress CodeDress codes imposed by shops and businesses in Britain: (by Laura Roberts) McDonalds is not the first outlet to give customers a dress code. Here are examples of other businesses who have told customers how to dress.

In January last year a Tesco store banned customers from wearing pyjamas, nightgowns and slippers.

Elaine Carmody, 24, became one of the first casualties of the ban when she was asked to leave a branch in Cardiff, Wales. She said: "I walked in with my trolley and the security guard came over and told me to leave.

"I've got lovely pairs of pyjamas, with bears and penguins on them. I've worn my best ones today, just so I look tidy."....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 25, 2011

Body of Italian TV game show host snatched from grave: The body of Mike Bongiorno, who was Italy's top quiz show host for more than 50 years and a close friend of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was stolen from his grave, officials said on Tuesday.

Bongiorno, who died in Sept 2009 at the age of 85, was buried in Arona near Milan. A pensioner who regularly visits the cemetery alerted police that the grave had been violated and emptied. Italian media said no ransom had been demanded so far....full story from Reuters UK

Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say: The Scottish legal authorities have no time for criminals who – unsportingly – try to change their behaviour in order to avoid committing criminal acts and ending up in court.

That is the strange conclusion that follows from a reply we received last week from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, which is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland. Following queries from our readers, we put a series of questions over the soon-to-be-commenced Scottish extreme porn law. We asked whether the Crown Office intended issuing guidelines, as has happened south of the border, to enable those unclear over the precise scope of the law to delete any images that might get them in trouble.

A spokesman told us: "We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold."....full story from The Register

Crematorium heats swimming pool: A cash-strapped council has revealed plans to heat a swimming pool using furnaces at a nearby crematorium.

Town hall chiefs want to use excess heat generated by the incinerator to warm the water for swimmers - and save £14,500-a-year on heating bills.

If approved, Redditch Borough Council will be the first authority in the country to use a crematorium to heat a swimming pool.

The council has outlined plans to heat Abbey Stadium Sports Centre from the cremators at neighbouring Borough Of Redditch Cemeteries & Crematorium....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Tuesday at 10am is most stressful time of week: Half of British employees pin-pointed mid-morning on Tuesday as their 'stress peak' - when their workload becomes 'too much' and they start to crumble under the pressure.

The majority of workers said they coast through Monday getting their brain in gear and catch up with gossip from the weekend and discussing TV shows they've watched.

But on Tuesday reality sets in and staff spend the very first part of the day going through emails they ignored on Monday before planning the week ahead....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Corruption song proves a hit for Indonesian ex-con: (by Olivia Rondonuwu) A corrupt Indonesian tax official whose exploits in and out of court both shocked and entertained the nation before he was jailed last week has inspired a hit song by an ex-convict.

"If only I were Gayus Tambunan" is being played on radio and TV stations across the archipelago and tells of the eponymous subject's exotic and well-travelled life while supposedly in custody awaiting sentencing.

Gayus, jailed for seven years last week and fined around $34,000 (21,300 pounds) for corruption and abuse of official position, has freely admitted receiving millions in backhanders for helping some of Indonesia's biggest companies avoid paying tax....full story from Reuters UK

January 24, 2011

Bombshell study: Sexy news anchors distract male viewers: (by Tom Jacobs) Scholars, critics and viewers have noted that some TV newscasts can be momentarily mistaken for Victoria's Secret specials. In an apparent attempt to capture channel-surfing male viewers, stations have hired attractive female anchors, often outfitting them in attire that emphasizes their sexuality.

This strategy may boost the ratings, but in terms of the programs’ purported purpose — informing the public — recent research suggests it has a definite down side. Males may be drawn to those alluring anchors, but they may not remember what they were talking about....full story from Miller-McCune
-Who'd a thought?

Argentine woman survives fall from 23rd floor: An Argentine woman survived after jumping from the 23rd floor of a downtown Buenos Aires hotel Monday, landing on a taxi moments after the driver dashed to safety, the state news agency reported.

The 33-year-old woman was in the intensive care ward of a Buenos Aires hospital after the suicide attempt, the Telam agency said....full story from Reuters UK

Following GPS directions, car crashes into church: BERLIN - Two British seniors landed in hospital in southern Germany after their car’s global positioning system directed them to drive into a church.

While driving their Renault in the evening on a back road near the Austrian border, the navigation system instructed the couple to turn right where there was no road.

“They were confused and didn’t notice that the navigation system was faulty,” a police spokeswoman said....full story from CNews

Burglars accidentally snort man's ashes: Burglars snorted the cremated remains of a man and two dogs in the mistaken belief that they had stolen illegal drugs, Florida sheriff's deputies said.

The ashes were taken from a woman's home in the central Florida town of Silver Springs Shores on December 15.

The thieves took an urn containing the ashes of her father and another container with the ashes of her two Great Danes, along with electronic equipment and jewelery, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators learned what happened to the ashes after they arrested five teens in connection with another burglary attempt at a nearby home last week....full story from

January 23, 2011

Rubbish hotel fully booked: Celebrating a tourism fair staged this week to promote Spain's biggest industry is a new hotel in central Madrid whose maker freely admits is rubbish.

German sculptor H. A. Shult used 12 tonnes of recycled junk to build the hotel in central Madrid's Callao Square and draw attention to the amount of flotsam spoiling Europe's beaches.

"We must know and we must understand that the oceans are the biggest garbage dumps of the world," Schult said....full story from

Karma visits alleged robbers: KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Three alleged crooks preying on motorists trapped in snow in the Kansas City, Mo., area were apprehended when their own vehicle became stuck, police said.

The robberies began Wednesday, when a preacher got stuck on Kansas City's Prospect Avenue, The Kansas City Star reported.

A man stopped to help and while they were digging the vehicle out, a Chevrolet Suburban pulled up. But instead of offering the help they expected, two men jumped out, one carrying a semiautomatic handgun and demanding money....full story from UPI

January 22, 2011

Betelgeuse 'not likely to explode in 2012': The super-giant red star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion is destined to explode, but maybe not next year as some recent news reports have suggested and will not be as bright as some predicted. reported Betelgeuse has already become a red giant, which indicates it will explode and become a supernova.

But experts say it is not likely to happen soon and it will happen far enough away that it will not hurt Earth....full story from

Anna ChapmanRussian spy Anna Chapman fronts mystery TV show: Anna Chapman, the red-headed Russian spy famously expelled from the US last summer, has made her debut on a mystery show for Russian TV.

But the first edition of "Mysteries of the World With Anna Chapman" suggested the CIA's secrets were safe, at least for now.

Ms Chapman reported on a baby in Dagestan with skin marks said to resemble Koranic verses.

Since her expulsion, the agent has enjoyed celebrity status in Russia....full story from BBC News

Police: Business cards led to drug bust: NEW YORK - New York police said they arrested two men accused of running a high-end cocaine and marijuana business they advertised with business cards.

Investigators said an informant found the business cards advertising the drug-dealing services of Thomas Zenon and Miguel Guzman in a New York University dorm, and undercover officers made 12 buys during a three-month period, the New York Daily News reported Friday....full story from UPI

Women more likely to take sick days: Women are more likely than men to take sick days and are happier to give an embarrassing excuse for taking unplanned leave, according to a new survey.

Research carried out for Sovereign Health Care found employees were more likely to take an unwarranted day off this month than at any other time of year.

And women were less likely than men to believe a colleague who phoned in sick was genuinely ill.

Sovereign Health Care polled 1,360 people and found more than half (56%) of the female participants admitted to pulling a sickie when not really ill, compared with just a third of men....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 21, 2011

Austria hunts 'bank robber with Barack Obama mask': Police in Austria are hunting a gunman who robs banks wearing a rubber mask of US President Barack Obama - but speaks very much like a local.

The "Obama Robber" struck in the town of Handenberg on Thursday, robbing his sixth bank in the River Inn region since 2008, police say.

His stick-up technique does not change - only his getaway cars....full story from BBC News

Crocodile swallows mobile phone: The crocodile in Peter Pan happily went "tick-tock" after swallowing an alarm clock but a crocodile in Ukraine has been a little less fortunate after swallowing in a mobile phone.

Gena, a 14-year-old crocodile at an aquarium in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, has been refusing food and acting listless after eating a phone dropped by a woman as she tried to photograph him.

Aquarium workers initially did not believe Rimma Golovk when she complained that the crocodile had swallowed her phone....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 20, 2011

Swedish patient swallows dentist's drill: A Swedish man suffered a nightmare ordeal when he accidentally swallowed part of a dentist's drill, The Local reported today.

The patient was having a routine procedure on his teeth when the drill bit suddenly came loose in his mouth.

Before either the dentist or his assistant could reach in to pluck it out, the unsuspecting patient had accidentally swallowed the metal attachment, the Swedish news website said....full story from

US Surgeon-General issues a 'Call to Action' on breastfeeding – to reduce health care costs: Americans don't hear much from U.S. Surgeon-General Regina Benjamin, but on Thursday, she issued a news release urging "everyone" to "help make breastfeeding easier." She also cited the "health benefits" of breastfeeding for baby and mother.

The surgeon-general's 'call to action' identifies ways that families, communities, employers and health care professionals can improve breastfeeding rates and increase support for breastfeeding....full story from CNS News

Heavy metal saves Norwegian boy from wolves: A 13-year-old Norwegian boy avoided being attacked by wolves by playing a heavy metal song on his mobile phone, the music web portal reported on Thursday.

The incident took place in the central Norwegian municipality of Rakkestad. Four wolves, who appeared before the boy when he was returning home from school, were scared away by the noise coming from the boy's mobile phone, the Russian website said....full story from RIA Novosty (RU)

PeggyPostmen fear pint-sized Yorkie: (by Nick Britten) It is the Beast of Dorset Gardens: an animal of such aggression and ferocity that Royal Mail has banned deliveries to the entire street.

Postmen and residents have spoken of being terrorised by the brute, while the local council has threatened the dog's owners with eviction unless they rehouse it.

The terrifying canine in question is not a rottweiler or a pit bull but a six-inch Yorkshire terrier named Peggy.

Those living in the cul-de-sac in Northampton have been denied postal deliveries for six weeks after a postman complained of being attacked repeatedly by the nine-year-old bitch, described as "good natured and loved by everyone" by its owners, the Joyce family....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)
-Perhaps the postmen should arm themselves with the weapon described below....

January 19, 2011

New Taser made to take down angry bears, moose: (by Lewis Page) Electric stungun manufacturer Taser International has brought out yet another new weapon, one which could perhaps eclipse even its existing technologies in terms of controversy and media brouhaha.

The new Taser X3W (Wildlife) model is intended to take down, comparatively harmlessly, such adversaries as charging bears or moose as opposed to humans.

"Just as our Taser technology is a safer and more effective option to stop dangerous individuals, the Taser Wildlife ECD [Electronic Control Device] is an extension of Taser's technology to save animal lives," says Rick Smith, Taser CEO....full story from The Register

German guilty of US spider smuggling: A German man has admitted to smuggling live tarantulas into the US.

Prosecutors said Sven Koppler of Wachtberg posted hundreds of spiders to buyers in the US and across the world, earning more than $295,000 (£184,548).

Among the spiders he sold were Mexican red-kneed tarantulas, a protected species whose export is tightly restricted.

US wildlife investigators arrested him after posing as a buyer. Koppler, 37, faces up to 20 years in US prison....full story from BBC News

New Bolivian Energy DrinkCoca puts fizz in new Bolivian energy drink: A pale green energy drink made from coca leaves has given Bolivian President Evo Morales a boost as he tries to persuade the United Nations to scrap a ban on the traditional Andean practice of chewing the leaves.

Coca is the raw material for making cocaine, but Bolivians have chewed the leaves for centuries for it mild stimulant that reduces hunger and altitude sickness.

The coca leaf was declared an illegal narcotic in the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, along with cocaine, heroin, opium and morphine and a host of chemical drugs....full story from Reuters UK

January 18, 2011

Iran bans production of Valentine's Day gifts: Iran has banned the production of Valentine's Day gifts and any promotion of the day celebrating romantic love to combat what it sees as a spread of Western culture, Iranian media reported.

The February 14 celebration named after a Christian saint is not officially banned but hardliners have repeatedly warned about the corruptive spread of Western values. Under Iran's Islamic law, unmarried couples are not allowed to mingle.

The printing works owners' union issued an instruction on the ban, imposed by Iranian authorities, covering gifts such as cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts and red roses....full story from Reuters UK

Strange naked drunk woman wakes man: Forget asking for a cup of sugar -- this is one way to meet your neighbours and ensure they'll remember you.

A single man in Victoria, B.C., woke up early Saturday morning when he heard someone open the door to his apartment, police said.

"A few minutes later a woman came into his bedroom, promptly disrobed, slid into the bed next to him and fell asleep," Victoria police said on the force's operations blog....full story from CNews

Mmmm...bugs and wormsSave the planet: Swap your steak for bugs and worms: All you need to do to save the rainforest, improve your diet, better your health, cut global carbon emissions and slash your food budget is eat bugs.

Mealworm quiche, grasshopper springrolls and cuisine made from other creepy crawlies is the answer to the global food crisis, shrinking land and water resources and climate-changing carbon emissions, Dutch scientist Arnold van Huis says.

The professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands said insects have more protein than cattle per bite, cost less to raise, consume less water and don't have much of a carbon footprint. He even has plans for a cookbook to make bug food a more appetising prospect for mature palates....full story from Reuters UK

January 17, 2011

Austalian pair in blow-up sex doll whitewater ride: 'Not recognised flotation devices', police warn

(by Lester Haines) Police Down Under are less than impressed with a couple of jokers who decided it would be a wizard wheeze to ride inflatable sex dolls down a swollen Yarra River, prompting emergency service intervention to haul them from the torrent.

The male and female joyriders, both 19, mounted their blow-up transportation in the Melbourne suburb of Warrandyte North yesterday, The Age explains.

The woman's rubbery companion quickly gave her the slip, and she "clung to a floating tree, calling for help while the man stayed with her"....full story from The Register

Cat JurorCat ordered to do jury service: A cat has been summoned to do jury service, even after his owners told the court he was "unable to speak and understand English".

Anna Esposito, wrote to Suffolk Superior Crown Court in Boston, US, to explain that a mistake had been made, but a jury commissioner replied saying the cat, named Tabby Sal, "must attend" on March 23.

Mrs Esposito had included a letter from her vet confirming that the cat was "a domestic short-haired neutered feline".

Tabby Sal had been entered by Mrs Esposito under the 'pets' section of the last census....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 16, 2011

'Save time and money' with Moscow jail online shop: Inmates jailed in Moscow can now have chocolates, games and other gifts delivered straight to their cells with purchases made by family or friends via a new online store, the head of the city's prisons said Sunday.

In an interview with Russian state news agency Itar-tass, Viktor Dezhurov said the new Internet shop had proved highly popular in a month since opening, averaging 180 orders per day.

"Inmates' relatives go to our website... Our employees then fill out the order and deliver it to the jail cells within three days," Dezhurov, who heads the Moscow branch of the Federal Prison Service, said....full story from Reuters UK

Accused robber charged in own shooting: JUPITER, Fla. - An alleged lookout shot in a Florida robbery attempt has been charged with shooting himself, authorities say.

Tavian Canady, 20, of Riviera Beach, charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and five counts of attempted armed robbery, was ordered held without bond by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Ted Booras, The Palm Beach Post reported....full story from UPI

People power empties threatened library: The residents of a small town in Britain have borrowed every single book from their local library in an attempt to stop it from being closed.

Until this week, the town of Stony Stratford, a constituent town of Milton Keynes in north Buckinghamshire, was notable only because its two pubs, The Cock and The Bull, were the likely origin of the phrase "a cock and bull story".

But when the Milton Keynes Council decided to close Stony Stratford's library as part of budget cuts, 6,000 of the town's residents decided they had another story to tell....full story from ABC News (AU)

January 15, 2011

Former British Prime Minister's wife wore pendant to ward off evil spirits: Cherie Blair wore a special charm to "ward off evil spirits" because she needed to be "slightly mad" to cope with life at No 10, according to Tony Blair's former communications chief Alastair Campbell.

The revelation emerged from the latest instalment of diaries by Mr Campbell, which covers the first two years of Mr Blair's premiership.

In the volume, which will be published later this month, Mr Campbell tells how he warned the ex-prime minister about Cherie's 'madder stuff', such as her support for alternative therapies....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Venezuela furious at 'Little Hugo' dog in Colombian soap opera: Venezuela has told a private TV company to stop showing a Colombian soap opera it says is insulting to the country.

Chepe Fortuna stars a character called Colombia and her sister Venezuela, who owns a dog called Little Hugo, the same name as Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

In one episode Venezuela loses Little Hugo, prompting Colombia to tell her she is better off without him....full story from BBC News

January 14, 2011

Man mows down 41 mailboxes: BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. - Police in the Chicago suburbs said a man who ran over 41 mailboxes told officers the first few were accidental and he kept going because he was "frustrated."

Buffalo Grove Cmdr. Steve Husak said the license plate fell off the car being driven by Jordan Weiman, 20, during his early morning rampage Tuesday and the plate was traced to the vehicle's owner, Weiman's sister, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday....full story from UPI

Russian police tell Internet provider to remove controversial interactive ad: Police in Russia's Far East requested Internet provider Alyans-Telekom in Vladivostok on Friday to remove from its site a banner that would allow visitors to shoot at the Kremlin as well as at an animated character similar in appearance to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Regional investigators on Thursday requested the local police check the advertisement "for signs of extremism."....full story from RIA Novosty (RU)

January 13, 2011

Nesting dove prevents removal of town's Christmas tree: A village's Christmas tree remains standing after a dove was spotted nesting in its branches.

Mallaig [Scotland] Community Council chairman John MacMillan said the bird was seen in the evergreen on Christmas Day.

Collared doves are resident in Scotland, while turtle doves of the 12 Days of Christmas song are not.

Mr MacMillan said it was unclear at this stage how long the tree in the Lochaber village would remain in its spot....full story from BBC News

Fox shoots man: A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region....full story from Reuters UK

January 12, 2011

British cops swoop in drug raid, find only guinea pigs: COPS have been forced to apologise to a British mum after they swooped on the family home in Bradford searching for a cannabis factory and instead found an electric heater keeping two pet guinea pigs warm, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported yesterday.

Pam Hardcastle, 42, said officers from West Yorkshire Police obtained a search warrant and mounted a raid on her family's home when they thought they had uncovered a specialist heating system designed to grow cannabis.

Elevated heat levels recorded at the property by a police surveillance helicopter sparked the raid....full story from

Skaters discover WWII bomb under ice: Skaters on the Danube River in Austria thought they saw something strange beneath the ice. It turned out to be a 250 kg bomb dropped from an airplane during the Second World War.

The Austrian Times reports explosives experts had to drill two holes into the 30 cm-thick ice to defuse the bomb and remove it from the river....full story from CNews

ATMs dirtier than public toilets: British scientists have found that public banking machines are actually dirtier than public washrooms, containing bacteria that can cause diarrhea and other unfortunate illnesses.

'We were surprised by our results because the ATM machines were shown to be heavily contaminated with bacteria; to the same level as nearby public lavatories," Richard Hastings, a microbiologist for BioCote, which sponsored the study, told the Telegraph newspaper. "In addition, the bacteria we detected on ATMs were similar to those from the toilet, which are well-known as causes of common human illnesses."....full story from CNews

January 11, 2011

Italian bloke sneezes out .22 bullet: (by Lester Haines) New Year's Eve head shot ends in 'amazing' ejection.

An Italian labourer seriously impressed doctors by sneezing out a .22 bullet he'd accidentally picked up during lively New Year's Eve celebrations in Naples.

Darco Sangermano, 28, copped a stray round in the right side of his head while enjoying the traditional trigger-happy knees-up with his girlfriend.

Cue a dash to hospital, but before the sawbones had a chance to move in, Sangermano ejected the offending projectile from his more from The Register

Unluckiest house number is 243: (by Nick Collins) People living at number 243 have unwittingly chosen the unluckiest house on the street, according to a survey.

Superstitious home owners may balk at the idea of taking up residence at number 13, but an analysis of home insurance claimed someone living at number 243 would be more than twice as likely to make a claim.

Some 45 per cent of people living at number 243 have made a claim in the past four years, while ahead of number 201 with 36 per cent and number one with 34 per cent....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 5, 2011

Taiwan wants pigs potty-trained to curb pollution: TAIPEI: Taiwan's environmental authorities said Wednesday they are planning to promote potty training for pigs to help curb water and waste pollution.

The Environmental Protection Administration made the pledge following the success of a pig farm in southern Taiwan, where the breeder started to potty-train his 10,000 pigs in late 2009, it said in a statement.

To keep his animals from defecating in nearby rivers, the breeder has established special "toilets" smeared with faces and urine to attract the pigs, it said....full story from The Times of India

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