Odd News - May 2011 Archive


Odd News Archive - May 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.


May 31, 2011

Obama condomsMan arrested for selling Obama condoms: NEW YORK - New York police arrested a man for a third time for selling condoms bearing President Obama's image despite a court ruling in his favor.

Jose Andujar, 43, was arrested Friday in Times Square for selling the Obama condoms, and police said it was his third arrest for unlicensed peddling in the past year, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

A State Supreme Court justice previously ruled Andujar does not need a vending license to sell the condoms, and his products are protected under his First Amendment right to free speech....read more from UPI


Stealth hovercraft armada poised to invade South Korea: (by Lewis Page) North Korea is assembling a powerful fleet of hovercraft to menace the South's northwestern islands, according to the Seoul government.

The Chosun Ilbo reports that government sources have said that a large Nork base with berths for 60 "hovercraft and stealth air-cushion warships", under construction at Koampo in Hwanghae province, is almost complete. A hover fleet based there would be in position to mount an attack on Southern islands before the South's military could respond.

Hovercraft would be favoured in such a mission as they could travel across extensive coastal mudflats in the region that would be impassable to ordinary vessels or land units alike....read more from The Register

May 30, 2011

Truck swallowedTruck swallowed by hole in Chinese bridge: An investigation is under way in northeast China after a giant hole opened up in a road bridge, swallowing a passing lorry.

Two men who were inside the lorry were injured when the road collapsed beneath their vehicle, causing them to plunge into the river below.

The hole in the bridge measured approximately 14 metres [46ft] by five metres [15ft], and developed in a section of the bridge that was built as an extension in 1995....read more from Sky News


Bee swarm shuts down portion of Ottawa: OTTAWA — A portion of downtown Ottawa had to be cordoned off for a short time during the lunch hour Monday due to a bee swarm.

The bees landed on several bikes owned by customers at the Black Thorn restaurant sometime just before 1 p.m.

Ottawa police arrived on scene first and taped off the sidewalk around the bees, who appear to be re-hiving, according to restaurant bartender James Gallant....read more from CNews


£80 [US$132] fine for swearing in public: (by Andy Bloxham) Swearing in public could result in boisterous people being fined £80 in a new police initiative to combat anti-social behaviour.

Officers in Barnsley, in south Yorkshire [England], have been told to monitor the language of people out shopping, eating or merely relaxing in the town centre.

If the member of the public is heard to swear and the profanity is judged to be potentially causing offence or intimidation, the officers have been told to intervene....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Personal jetpacks and solar-powered ships: (by Richard Chirgwin) In a weekend of contradictions, New Zealanders have demonstrated technologies showing off the best and worst in fuel efficiency: a petrol powered personal jetpack joined the mile-high club, while a solar-powered ship made an unassisted trip from Monaco to Brisbane.

A crash test dummy has returned unharmed after riding a Martin Aircraft Company personal jetpack to a claimed 5,000 feet. At the end of the test flight for the New Zealand-built Jetsons device, a parachute brought the dummy back to the ground without damage.

Martin Aircraft, basking in the turnaround from ridicule and skepticism to more favourable coverage, now says it is seeking investors for further development of the device towards commercialization, which the company optimistically hopes could be within 18 months....read more from The Register


Attackers floored by kung-fu waitress: A KIWI [New Zealand] waitress put years of karate training to the ultimate test when she floored two male attackers twice her age with a set of cleverly-placed punches.

The 18-year-old was walking home from a night shift in central Wellington on Saturday morning when she was set upon from behind by an unsuspecting older man.

"She's been doing karate for about seven years, so she elbowed him in the chest and stomped on his foot," Detective Sergeant Shane Dye told the Dominion Post....read more from NEWS.com.au


Rat burglar victim to get new false teeth: It looks like there will be a happy ending to the story of an outback Queensland woman who lost her false teeth to a cunning native rat.

Last week, Margaret Pidgeon, from Stonehenge in the state's west, revealed a long-haired rat had taken her teeth from a bedside shelf.

Residents in the region are coping with a rat plague due to lush conditions....read more from ABC News (AU)

May 29, 2011

Marine proposes on Great White Way: NEW YORK - Cast members say a love-struck Marine was the star performer when he proposed to his girlfriend onstage at the close of a Broadway musical in New York.

Minutes after the curtain dropped at a Saturday matinee performance of "Anything Goes," cast members summoned Ensign Amy Sullivan and Capt. Zubah Koweh up to the stage to honor them for Fleet Week, the New York Daily News reported.

Koweh, showing a flair for improvisation before an audience of 1,050 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, grabbed the microphone, dropped to one knee and went to work in front of God and a tough New York crowd....read more from UPI


99 people locked in airport terminal: DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - Having your flight delayed is a hassle, but being locked inside the airport terminal is worse, a Florida man said of the Daytona Beach International Airport.

Robert Rega, having sat out a three-hour weather delay in Atlanta, was one of 99 people locked inside the Daytona airport when their flight arrived after hours because of the delay in Atlanta, the Daytona (Fla.) Beach reported.

The frazzled travelers were locked in the terminal Thursday just before 1 a.m....read more from UPI

May 28, 2011

Couple caught in high dive tryst: GAINESVILLE - Police in Florida said an officer interrupted a couple having late-night sex on a diving board located more than 30 feet above a public pool.

The Gainesville Police Department said an officer on patrol near the H. Spurgeon Cherry/Westside Pool at about 12:10 a.m. Thursday heard noises coming from inside the facility, which was surrounded by a locked fence, and used his flashlight to illuminate the couple having intimate relations atop the high dive, the Gainesville Sun reported Friday.

Officers said the 24-year-old man and 21-year-old woman, who ceased their sexual activities when they were spotted, were issued notices to appear on trespassing charges and released....read more from UPI


Royal Protection Squad cars booted: PORTSMOUTH, England - A private security company worker in England has been charged with interfering with police for clamping the wheels on two Royal Protection Squad cars.

To make matters worse, police officers responsible for guarding Queen Elizabeth II on an unscheduled visit to Portsmouth were inside their vehicles when the wheels were clamped, the Southern Daily Echo reports. The queen was in Portsmouth to have lunch on board a yacht owned by Sir Donald Gosling, a parking entrepreneur.

Gareth Andrews is also charged with failing to display his permit on his own dashboard while he was wielding his wheel clamps on Gunwarth Quays. He has a court date next week....read more from UPI

May 27, 2011

Bar owners ticketed for mouse races: DANVILLE, Iowa - Authorities in Iowa said the owners of a bar were ticketed for knowingly allowing criminal activity at the facility -- gambling on mouse races.

The Des Moines County Sheriff Department said Jan and Scott Beach, owners of the Bucktail Lodge in Danville, were ticketed for knowingly allowing criminal activity at the bar following a May 19 raid, WQAD-TV, Moline, Illinois, reported Friday....read more from UPI


Submarine seized by pirates turns up in Vegas pawnshop: A stolen submarine has been returned to its wealthy Californian owner after it was pawned in Las Vegas, according to reports. Investigating plods are baffled and the seagoing freebooters who originally pirated the sub remain at large.

The submarine, an unidentified personal model suitable for wealthy supervillains wishing to escape from doomed underwater lair complexes or similar roles, was brought in to the Gold and Silver pawnshop in Las Vegas, hundreds of miles from the ocean, by a woman named "Lynette" earlier this year. Lynette said that she had obtained the sub from an unnamed person who had it "sitting in their yard" and had asked her to take it away.

Pawnshop proprietor Rick Harrison paid her only $3,000 for the sub, pointing out that it was plainly in "rough condition" and would need extensive maintenance to render it serviceable....read more from The Register


Flooded-out farmer needs permit to remove fish: SABREVOIS, Quebec - Bureaucrats have added insult to injury for a corn farmer south of Montreal whose fields have been damaged by near-record flooding.

Martin Reid says he's been forced to buy a fishing licence to remove carp that are swimming in a metre of water on his flooded-out fields.

He says he bought the permit to avoid the problems he faced the last time he was forced to remove fish from his flooded farmland. In 1993, Reid was fined $1,000 for illegal fishing....read more from CNews


India bans 'overtly sexual' deodorant ads: (by Dean Nelson) India has banned "overtly sexual"deodorant advertisements from its television channels.

The Indian government's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a statement warning television channels not to broadcast the television commercials following a rash of ads featuring voracious women and "libidinous" men.

Plot lines for deodorant ads aimed at young men have become increasingly racy in recent months, posing a challenge to India's traditionally chaste culture....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

May 26, 2011

USDA fines Missouri family $90k for selling rabbits without a license: It started out as a hobby, a way for the Dollarhite family in Dixa, Mo., to teach a teenage son responsibility. Like a lemonade stand.

But now, selling a few hundred rabbits over two years has provoked the heavy hand of the federal government to the tune of a $90,643 fine. The fine was levied more than a year after authorities contacted family members, prompting them to immediately halt their part-time business and liquidate their equipment.

The Dollarhite’s story, originally picked up by local Missouri blogger Bob McCarthy, has turned into a call to arms for critics of the government’s reach and now has both Democratic and Republican lawmakers vowing to intervene....read more from InvestmentWatch


Man breaks leg driving into tree while being attacked by goose: A retired dentist suffered a broken leg after driving his quad bike into a tree while being attacked by a goose.

Jan Pieniazek was chased around a lake by an over-protective male Canadian goose as he tried to collect some grain from a neighbour's garden for his chickens.

He jumped on to his quad bike to escape but the hissing bird flew at him, landed on his head and knocked him off course....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Communist dictator's plane becomes Black Sea reef: The airplane of former Bulgarian Communist ruler Todor Zhivkov was submerged in the Black Sea waters near the city of Varna to attract scuba divers and tourists to the sunny coasts of northeastern Bulgaria.

The Soviet-made Tupolev-154, ordered specially for the needs of Zhivkov, eastern Europe's longest-serving communist leader, was grounded in 1999 but once flew with famous passengers such as former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The machine was placed at about 22 metres (24 yards) deep in the bay of Varna and 700 metres from the coast to form an artificial reef, Orlin Tsanev, chairman of Black Sea Dive Odesos association, which ran the project, told Reuters....read more from Reuters UK


Pope closes 'nun-dancing monastery': Pope Benedict XVI has shut down a famous monastery in Rome, Italian media reports say.

The Santa Croce in Gerusalemme church is being closed because of rumours of a lack of liturgical, financial and moral discipline, La Stampa reports.

The few remaining Cistercian monks at the church said to be being transferred to other communities in Italy....read more from BBC News

May 25, 2011

Indoor shooting takes out washing machine: FORT PIERCE, Florida - Authorities in Florida said a man told them his house flooded when his wife shot an AR-15 rifle at an indoor target and missed, hitting the washing machine.

St. Lucie County sheriff's deputies said a 21-year-old woman called them to the home of her 33-year-old estranged husband Sunday and they arrived to find "a lot of water on the floor covering most of the residence," TCPalm.com reported Wednesday.

The woman, who admitted to being drunk, told deputies her husband had called to ask if they could "get together" but he became angry after a "good evening" when she told him they could not get back together....read more from UPI


Trucker's buttock blown up in freak accident: A Bay of Plenty [New Zealand] truck driver says he felt like a human balloon when compressed air was forced into his body after he fell onto a brass fitting that pierced his buttock.

Despite the freak accident, Opotiki's Steven McCormack, 48, was cheerful in Whakatane Hospital's intensive care unit yesterday, saying he felt "lucky to be alive".

On Saturday he was standing on the plate between the cab of his truck and semi-trailer at Waiotahi Contractors.

His foot slipped and, as he fell, he broke the hose off a brass nipple connected to the compressed air reservoir powering the truck's brakes....read more from Stuff.co.nz


Breaking up's hard to do (but profitable): It's one of the age-old relationship dilemmas: What to do with your partner's stuff after you break up with them.

For some, dumping the items at the nearest tip is the best option, while others choose to cram the mementos into a shoebox at the foot of the closet.

When Prescilla Sagar, 28, was on the rocks with her partner, she had an idea....read more from The Daily Telegraph (AU)

May 24, 2011

Irish tow drivers win battle with 'Beast': DUBLIN, Ireland - An Irish tow truck driver says President Obama's custom limo made quite a mess when it bottomed out leaving the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.

Kelly's Towing Services was called in immediately after the armor-plated vehicle got stuck on the parking garage ramp and needed about three hours to free it.

"There was no problem with the weight, but the lifting points on an American car are slightly different than those on a European car," observed owner Eamonn Kelly. "The suspensions collapsed with the smack and the wheel had gone right up into the car."....read more from UPI


Man who dropped ring down toilet 73 years ago reunited with it: (by Nick Allen) A 90-year-old man who accidentally dropped his commemorative high school ring down a lavatory in 1938 has been reunited with it after 73 years.

The ring was found 200 miles away in a sewer by a sanitation worker who happened to have gone to the same school and recognised it.

Jesse Mattos had dropped the ring, which bore his initials JTM and the year of his graduation, into a toilet in a butcher's shop where he was working when a high school student in Mount Shasta, California....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Nazis 'tried to train dogs to talk': The Nazis tried to train dogs to talk, read and spell to help them win World War II, it has been revealed.

The Germans viewed canines as being almost as intelligent as humans and attempted to build an army of fearsome 'speaking' dogs, extraordinary new research shows.

Hitler hoped the clever creatures would learn to communicate with their SS masters - and he even had a special dog school set up to teach them to talk....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Tripoli's M&S Store still open for business: Marks & Spencer is known for its versatility through difficult times - a reputation that appears to be sticking in the unlikely location of Libya.

Hard as it may be to believe, Britain's best known retailer has a branch in the war-torn country's capital, Tripoli.

The UK embassy here is shut, the ambassador's residence has been destroyed, but the British stalwart of the high street is still open....read more from Sky News


Casino staff forced to wear flea collars: Workers at a casino in New Zealand's largest city have been forced to wear flea collars to work in a bid to ward off fleas.

The alarming report follows news of similar infestations forcing nurses at some Auckland hospitals to adopt a similar course of action in December - sparking a warning from health authorities against humans wearing the pet collars, which emit toxins, the New Zealand Herald reported today.

Employees at SkyCity Casino were spraying themselves with insect repellent and wearing pet flea collars around their ankles to ward off fleas, according to Unite Union national director Mike Treen....read more from NEWS.com.au


Reward offered to rat out false teeth thief: An outback Queensland [Australia] town is offering a reward for a native rat that has stolen a woman's set of false teeth.

Native rat numbers have exploded in parts of western Queensland due to the exceptional wet season.

Stonehenge resident Margaret Pidgeon, south-west of Longreach, says her teeth disappeared from her bedside table and she is certain a rat is to blame....read more from ABC News (AU)

May 23, 2011

Sentenced to kiddie poolTwo sentenced to stand in kiddie pool: PAINESVILLE, Ohio - A pair of Ohio thrill seekers were sentenced to stand in a kiddie pool and pass out fliers for lying about their excursion down a river.

Grace Nash, 20, and Bruce Crawford, 22, stood in the ankle-deep water at the Painesville festival for two hours during the weekend and spent four more hours walking around the festival and distributing the fliers, WJW-TV, Cleveland, reported Monday.

"We went down the (Grand) river without life jackets and when questioned if we were on the river, we said 'no,' which was a lie," Nash said, "and we are here from Judge (Michael) Cicconetti to pay the price."....read more w/video from UPI


Lock up your lungs, here comes Grimsvotn: (by Lester Haines) Experts are warning those of a delicate pulmonary disposition to brace for the fallout from Icelandic volcano Grimsvotn, due to descend on Blighty tomorrow.

The BBC says the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK have issued a lung Defcon 4, or thereabouts, ahead of the anticipated alien ash invasion.

The British Lung Foundation's Dr Keith Prowse cautioned: "In light of the latest news that ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland could reach the UK by Tuesday, we would advise people living with a lung condition in affected areas to carry their medication as a precaution."....read more from The Register

May 22, 2011

Alleged thief survives 200-foot fall: ELIZABETH, N.J. - A Staten Island, N.Y., man out on bail for allegedly stealing an expensive handbag survived a 200-foot jump after allegedly stealing another one, police say.

New York Port Authority police were chasing Darin Hickman, 46, after he allegedly shoplifted a tony Louis Vuitton purse from a mall in New Jersey. Just as Hickman got close to the Goethals Bridge in Elizabeth, N.J., he rammed a police car, causing his Mitsubishi Diamante to catch fire, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Hickman jumped out of the car and bolted down the highway and then he made a totally unexpected move, police said....read more from UPI


Man remodels his house -- for his Ferrari: SHEFFIELD, England - A British Ferrari enthusiast says he has converted his garage into a den -- not for himself but for his car, a $56,000 Ferrari F355 Spyder.

John Ryder, 28, worked for month and spent about $1,500 to convert the garage into a den and TV room but kept the garage door in place so he can park the bright yellow 1996 Spyder in the middle of the room, The Sun reported Saturday.

Ryder said he got the idea when he and his wife moved into their home last year....read more from UPI


UK Council warns of dangers of angry ponies and flying balls at fetes: (by Jonathan Wynne-Jones) A council has created a 20-page “risk assessment form" for putting on fetes.

You might think that putting on a public fete just requires a little bit of care and common sense. But not if one council has its way.

Not only do organisers have to read through a 20-page “risk assessment form", but they must to sign it to vouch that they have taken precautions against 78 potential hazards....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Escaped tiger turns out to be toy: HAMPSHIRE, England - Zoo workers prepared tranquilizer darts and a thermal imaging helicopter was dispatched amid reports of a white tiger on the loose near an English golf course.

But there was just one problem -- it turned out to be a stuffed animal.

Police have launched an investigation into the potential hoax that sent golfers and cricket players scrambling in Hampshire Saturday afternoon....read more from CNews


Apocalypse not: doomsday prediction falls flat: The prophecy of the end of the world has ended with a whimper, not a bang, as life went on as usual despite warnings of Judgment Day by a US preacher which provoked panic in some quarters and parties in others.

Televangelist Harold Camping had insisted the so-called rapture would begin with powerful earthquakes at 6.00 pm local time in each of the world's regions, with worthy souls transported to heaven.

According to the 89-year-old and his religious broadcasting network Family Radio, the not-so-good were to suffer hell on Earth until October 21, when God pulls the plug on the planet once and for all....read more from ABC News (AU)

May 21, 2011

Florida man wants nude beach vote: DELRAY BEACH, Florida - A Florida nude beach proponent said he wants residents of his city to vote on the issue of creating a clothing-optional area on a portion of the city's beach.

Dave Armstrong of Delray Beach said he has been trying for eight years to convince city officials a clothing-optional beach would bring additional tourism revenue to the area and he now wants a public vote on the issue, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Friday.

Armstrong asked city commissioners about the process during Tuesday's meeting....read more from UPI


Proposed Wellywood signOutrage over Wellywood sign in New Zealand: (by Dave Burgess) A Wellington City councillor has criticised council staff over their decision to approve a controversial Wellywood sign on a Miramar hillside.

Andy Foster said he only found out about the decision when he read the Dominion Post this morning.

"I'm disappointed that the airport company has decided to go ahead with this despite knowing that so many people don't want it."....read more from The Dominion Post (NZ)

May 20, 2011

Woman held in California for 'trying to sell moon rock': An American woman is being questioned in California for allegedly trying to sell a moon rock for $1.7m (£1.05m).

The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, was held in a sting operation when she showed the rock to a Nasa investigator in Lake Elsinore.

Moon rocks are considered national treasure in the United States and their sale is illegal....read more from BBC News


Hotels shift away from bathtubs: BETHESDA, Maryland - An official with Maryland-based hotel chain Marriott said the industry is phasing out bathtubs in favor of showers to meet the desires of business travelers.

The chain said 75 percent of rooms in new structures will have only showers while Holiday Inn said it has gone from 95 percent of its new rooms having bathtubs 10 years ago to only 55 percent of current rooms in new structures, USA Today reported Friday.

Bill Barrie, senior vice president of design and project management for Marriott, said the past three to five years have seen a shift in the industry from bathtubs to showers....read more from UPI


Family finds $45,000 in new home – then returns it: A man in Utah discovered $45,000 (£28,000) stuffed into tins and boxes in the attic of the new home he had just bought – and gave the money back to the previous owner's six children.

Josh Ferrin was exploring the house he had just bought when he made the discovery.

"I freaked out, locked it my car, and called my wife to tell her she wouldn't believe what I had found," said Mr Ferrin, who works as an artist for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Authorities: Inmate collected unemployment: BUFFALO, N.Y. - Authorities in New York state said a man serving a prison sentence is facing charges for collecting 31 unemployment checks while behind bars.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said the prisoner, who was not identified, made false statements on his unemployment application when he claimed he was out looking for work, The Buffalo News reported Thursday.

"Needless to say, you cannot receive unemployment pay while you're serving time in a state prison," Sedita said....read more from UPI

May 19, 2011

US admiral reveals safety plan for Zombie Apocalypse: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a report on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

In a blog post, Rear Admiral Ali S Khan, assistant surgeon general and director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, provides a brief history of the zombie and explains the dos and don'ts of coping with the phenomenon, which has morphed from its origins in Haiti and New Orleans voodoo culture – where innocent people were hypnotized by sorcerers – into a recurring movie plot where reanimated corpses serve the undead.

The former is not that much of a big deal – those zombies are just like Apple fanbois, which are harmless – but Khan insists that the latter is a cause for concern. "The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen," he says....read more from The Register


First driver’s license suspension in Venezuela: CARACAS - Car-friendly Venezuela, where gasoline is almost free and troublesome highway rules rarely imposed, has suspended a bus driver from the roads for a year in the first case of a suspended license in the OPEC nation.

Police stopped Ramon Parra, 41, for driving at excessive speed in a large, overladen passenger bus that was missing one of its rear wheels.

The bus was packed with more passengers than legally permitted and one of its six wheels was wedged in an aisle inside, national police chief Luis Fernandez told reporters....read more from CNews


Quebec police seize 3,000 counterfeit hubcaps: QUEBEC CITY -- Police in Quebec City have seized more than 3,000 counterfeit hubcaps.

The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] announced Wednesday officers searched an auto parts business and two warehouses to find the fake hubcaps, which had well-known trademarks on them such as Cadillac, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and GM.

Four men were arrested and charges are pending, police said....read more from CNews


Titanic captain's cigar boxTitanic captain's cigar box sells for £25,000: A cigar box once owned by the captain of the Titanic has been sold for £25,000 [US$40,512] at an auction in Liverpool.

The walnut humidor was discovered gathering dust on a bedroom cabinet in the Merseyside home of Hilary Mee.

It was spotted by auctioneer John Crane when he was invited to value a number of antiques....read more from BBC News


German firm held orgy for staff: One of the biggest insurance companies in the world held a party for salesmen where they were rewarded with the services of prostitutes.

Munich Re is the world's biggest re-insurer - in other words, the company acts as an insurance company for other insurance companies.

One of its divisions, Ergo, told the BBC that the party had taken place to reward salesmen in 2007....read more from BBC News


Man fakes violent attack over Oprah tickets: A Canadian man who told police he was robbed of final Oprah show tickets faces a felony charge after admitting he made up the story so he would not disappoint his wife.

Robert Spearing told police he was beaten and robbed of the tickets by two men.

But he has admitted he was never attacked, and police say he cut his own forehead with a rock and scraped his hands on the sidewalk to mimic injuries....read more from ABC News (AU)


Atheists offer pet help after Judgment Day: When Judgment Day comes - which some US Christian fundamentalists insist will happen on Saturday - have you thought about what you're going to do with the family dog and cat?

In 26 US states, you could have them rescued and adopted by enterprising atheists who have set up a business to care for the animal companions of any Christians who are selected to go to heaven when Jesus Christ comes back.

"You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes, what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind?" Eternal Earth-Bound Pets says on its website, offering to "take that burden off your mind"....read more from NEWS.com.au

May 18, 2011

Ohio governor doesn't like pink licenses: COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Gov. John Kasich said his recent comments about doing away with the state's pink driver's licenses were made "sort of tongue in cheek."

Kasich said Tuesday during a speech at the "Dayton's Legislation Day in Columbus" event he is planning to "eliminate the pink driver's license," The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday.

"I just got mine the other day, and it's going," the governor said....read more from UPI


Crash vaults woman onto garage roof: TWO RIVERS, Wisconsin - A woman who was thrown onto a garage roof when she crashed her car was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, authorities in Wisconsin said.

Two Rivers police said they responded to a report of a vehicle swerving in and out of traffic at high speed, and arrived to find the car had struck a Memorial Drive median, left the ground and touched down in the southbound lanes before rolling four times and landing in a home's front yard,the Manitowoc (Wis.) Herald-Times reported Wednesday....read more from UPI


Family defies skip blockade: A British landlord has barricaded his £1million property to stop an American family leaving without paying thousands of dollars he claims he is owed.

On Tuesday, scuffles broke out as the family and up to 20 friends created a human chain to move property over a fence to avoid the blockade of a dozen skips, farm machinery, stones and an old mattress.

They carried drawers, a dressing table, dining room table and even a piano, into the neighbouring field and on to waiting removal vans.

The police and fire service were called and at one stage two grappling women fell into a hedge....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Gold treasure unearthed in parking lot: An excavation contractor in Western Australia has confirmed it has handed a large quantity of historic gold coins to the owner of a building they were working on.

Workers say they found about 300 gold sovereigns, dated 1800, buried under concrete in a car park next to a building in Albany on the south coast.

Coin experts estimate their value at more than $500,000....read more from ABC News (AU)

May 17, 2011

Wacky warnings contest picks finalists: ROSWELL, Georgia - A Georgia non-profit announced the finalists for the Wacky Warning Labels Contest, including a warning to keep pen caps out of users' mouths.

The Center for America of Roswell non-profit promoting legal reform, listed the top five finalists for the 14th year of the contest, which will award cash prizes to those who submitted the top three warnings.

Alex Saenz of Dallas submitted a warning from a dust mask, "Does not supply oxygen," while Archer Leupp of Peshtigo, Wis., submitted a warning from a hot tub cover reading, "Warning: Avoid Drowning. Remove safety cover from spa when in use."....read more from UPI


American man eats 25,000th Big Mac: A retired prison guard ate his 25,000th Big Mac on Tuesday, 39 years to the day after eating his first nine.

Don Gorske was honoured after reaching the meaty milestone during a ceremony at a McDonald's in his hometown of Fond du Lac [Wisconsin].

Guinness World Records recognised Mr Gorske's feat three years and 2,000 Big Macs ago, and the 59-year-old says he has no desire to stop.

"I plan on eating Big Macs until I die," he said....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Chinese farmers face 'exploding' watermelon problem: Farmers in eastern China have been left perplexed after their watermelons began to explode one by one.

An investigation by state media found farms in Jiangsu province were losing acres of fruit because of the problem.

The overuse of a chemical that helps fruit grow faster was blamed in one report by China Central Television....read more from BBC News


Tobacco boss: We'll flood country with cheap cigs: The tobacco industry is threatening to flood Australia with half-price cigarettes and force the government to cough up billions of dollars in compensation if it is forced to remove branding from cigarette packets.

British American Tobacco chief executive David Crow, the man behind the Winfield and Benson & Hedges brands, yesterday said cigarette prices could be slashed in half as tobacco giants try to compete with black-market imports.

About 22 billion cigarettes are sold in total in Australia each year, BAT said....read more from NEWS.com.au

May 16, 2011

Poodle survives drop from sky: VANCOUVER – A group of nurses at an old folks home north of Vancouver were shocked last week when a tiny white toy poodle dropped from the sky.

The miracle dog was named May because she was turned in to the SPCA on May 2, after she fell from the sky, released from the talons of a bird of prey.

Officials said the dog was likely a stray before her unlikely “rescue."....read more from CNews


The crazy things I’d do if I knew my sell-by date: (by Michael Deaton) I’ve always been puzzled by people who urge us to “live each day as if it’s your last". If I were to take that advice literally, I suspect I would spend my day in drunken delirium, trying to have sex with strangers and telling important people what I really thought of them. This behaviour might have unwelcome consequences if it turned out that the day I did these things wasn’t my last after all.

None the less, I’m delighted to read that a new blood test will supposedly be able to tell each of us how long we have left to live. I know it will be only a rough estimate, and in any case the test fails to factor in the possibility that we’ll die in an accident or be murdered. Even so, I think it would be wonderful if we knew, from childhood, the date of our death. It would revolutionise the way we live....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Neighbor from HellBritain's 'original neighbour from hell' dies in her sleep, aged 84: (by Andrew Hough) A grandmother once described by a judge as the "original neighbour from hell" has died at the age of 84.

Dorothy Evans, one of the oldest people in Britain to ever be handed an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), died peacefully in her sleep.

Despite living in a smart £300,000 [US$485,787] house in a tree-lined street, in Abergavenny, South Wales, she is said to have ruined her neighbours' lives for years.

The widow swore at them, dropped her underpants, and terrified their children saying she was a witch and would cast a spell on them....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Police foil naked fugitive's cheeky escape: A New Zealand man who tried to escape from police by clambering naked into the ceiling of an Auckland hospital has been recaptured.

The 25-year-old man sparked a seven-hour manhunt before he was caught, police said.

The man was arrested early Monday for driving offences and taken to hospital to receive treatment for an ankle injury, but fled into the building's labyrinthine ceiling space while taking a shower....read more from ABC News (AU)

May 15, 2011

Everyone lucky but the cow: A Kaponga [New Zealand] farmer is wiping his brow after a potential cowshed disaster was averted after a string of events which began with a late-night car crash.

The drama began when the driver of a car travelling along a dark, wet Manaia Rd about 10pm Friday failed to see the black friesian cow. The impact killed the beast which was thrown over the top of the car, peeling back the bonnet and shattering the windscreen.

The car continued up the road before smashing into a pole which caused a power surge to race along the wires into the farmer's house....read more from Stuff.co.nz


Ham slice dispute lands four in hospital: Four people were hospitalised in Italy after a dispute over the thickness of a supermarket's ham slices turned violent.

The row broke out when a 50-year-old woman shopping in the Tuscany town of Livorno yesterday protested that the ham slices being cut by a counter assistant were too thick, ANSA news agency said in a report.

A scuffle unfolded involving the shop assistant's father as well as the woman's husband and two sons....read more from NEWS.com.au

May 14, 2011

Prank turns costly for school district: TROY, Missouri - It was a prank, but school officials in Troy, Mo., say the swimming pool students built in a high school commons area will cost taxpayers $15,000.

Officials at Troy Buchanan High School said at least three students, dressed in camouflage clothing, constructed a swimming pool in the commons area earlier this month.

The pool was made from plastic sheeting and plastic pipes. The culprits painted the year 2011 on the pool bottom, then filled it up with a hose. They left the hose running, causing about $15,000 in damages, the St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch reported....read more from UPI


You may run naked, but not drunk: SAN FRANCISCO - Organizers of Sunday's annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco say it's alright to run nude, but don't do it drunk.

Sunday's race is the 100th year the event has been held and organizers said they are serious about banning inebriated and unregistered runners, as well as any wheeled objects. The race has become known as a moving party, with runners drinking their alcoholic beverage of choice during the event.

"Drinking alcohol on the racecourse while running is the foundation of this race's popularity," Joe Kukura, a freelance marketing writer said in a Wall Street Journal report Saturday. "I am going to uphold the tradition."....read more from UPI


One family, one dog policy for Shanghai: Shanghai is setting a limit of one dog per family in an effort to control the soaring pet population and curb rabies.

New pet ownership rules will also see registration fees slashed and will require people walking dogs to keep them on leads.

China's largest city is following Beijing and the southern city of Guangzhou, which have imposed similar regulations....read more from Sky News

May 13, 2011

NZ ourists faced with cocaine ad: Visitors to New Zealand have been greeted to the country by a tourism magazine that advertised a man snorting cocaine.

The ad inadvertently made it to print in the Arrival magazine, given to international travellers, after publishing company People Media failed to notice it, 3News reported.

The ad was for campervan company Wicked Campers - known for testing the boundaries with its controversial slogans....read more w/pic from Stuff.co.nz


Travelers in U.S. warned not to rely only on GPS: Travelers in the western United States should not rely solely on technology such as GPS for navigation, authorities said, after a Canadian couple were lost in the Nevada wilderness for 48 days.

Albert Chretien, 59, and his wife Rita Chretien, 56, sought a shorter route between Boise, Idaho and Jackpot, Nevada during a road trip from British Columbia to Las Vegas.

Rita Chretien drank water from a stream and rationed meagre supplies until hunters found her on Friday. Albert Chretien has been missing since March 22, when he went to seek help....read more from Reuters UK


Missing: Gumball machine. And motive: MARTINS FERRY, W.Va. - West Virginia police are trying to figure out why a thief walked out of a store with an empty gumball machine.

In a surveillance video, a man is seen throwing a brick or rock through the window of a Convenient Mart in Martins Ferry around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

"We can't figure out a motive as of yet. The gumball machine was empty of gumballs and money," Detective Bob Walton told WTOV-TV, Steubenville, Ohio....read more from UPI


NYC speed warnings will get ghoulish: NEW YORK - New York City is resorting to images of skeletons to scare drivers into obeying its 30 mph speed limit.

The city Transportation Department announced Thursday it will put up speed boards -- the radar-equipped signs that tell drivers their speed -- this summer that will flash LED skeletons when they spot cars going over the limit, The New York Times reported.

The skeleton is a bony incarnation of the pedestrian stick figure that flashes on crosswalk lights....read more from UPI


Brazilians slap health warnings on knickers: Brazil's Congress has decreed that in future underwear must come with warnings of the perils of cancer, a healthy 12 years after the idea was first proposed by former congressman Barbosa Neto.

According to the Telegraph, packaging for bras will advise women to examine their assets regularly, while chaps unwrapping pants will be told to get their prostate probed.

Knicker wrappings, meanwhile, will bear a message on the importance of cervical cancer screening and the use of condoms....read more from The Register


Breaching whale lands on boat called L'Orca: A whale with bad timing leaped out of the sea in the middle of a yacht race off Oregon overnight - and landed on a sailboat called L'Orca.

The mammal surged out of the water just inches from the 38-foot (11.6m) boat - named with the commonly used term for killer whales - KVAL reported.

As it fell back into the sea, the whale smashed the mast and rigging, forcing the boat to drop out of the Oregon International Offshore Race to Victoria, in British Columbia....read more from NEWS.com.au


Cost-cutting U.K. government to sell its best wines: Britain’s cost-cutting government plans to sell off some of its stock of fine wines to pay for cheaper bottles that will be offered to visiting dignitaries.

The move would save the taxpayer nearly 500,000 pounds ($812,700) by 2015, the foreign office said, defending its decision to maintain a wine cellar in these straitened times.

The wine in the cellar, located in the basement of the Lancaster House mansion in central London, has an estimated total value of around 2 million pounds [US$3.25m]....read more from CNews


Teachers caught in the act in school classroom: SAINT-JOSEPH-DE-BEAUCE, Quebec -- Two high school teachers face disciplinary action after a student caught them in a compromising position on school premises.

School-board officials are being tight-lipped about exactly what the teachers were doing when they were surprised by the student and a colleague at Veilleux High School in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, south of Quebec City.

Officials say the student and teacher were looking for a missing USB key in a schoolroom. When they opened the door, they caught the two teachers in what the board describes as an "inappropriate situation."....read more from CNews

May 12, 2011

City bans nudity at sexy cafes: Bare-breasted baristas will have to cover up after police officers discovered nudity and illegal gambling going on at so-called lingerie cafes in a Southern California suburb.

More than three dozen of the coffeehouses are operating in the Orange County city of Garden Grove, and some waitresses have been slipping out of teddies to serve customers in the nude.

Additionally, arcade machines have been rigged to be gambling machines....read more from Stuff.co.nz


Florida police go undercover in high schools: WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - South Florida police have launched "Operation D Minus," featuring new police recruits going undercover as high school students.

Palm Beach County school police have announced about 30 arrests, The Palm Beach Post reported. Most of those arrested last week are students suspected of drug dealing.

One female officer told the newspaper she had to do homework and take the FCAT, the Florida achievement test....read more from UPI


Rail worker fired for unblocking line: LYMINGTON, England - A veteran English railway employee has lost his job as a station master for what he says was an effort to prevent a crash.

South West Trains says Ian Faletto committed a serious safety violation when he pulled a shopping cart off the tracks at the Lymington station in Hampshire, the Bournemouth Echo reported Thursday. Employees generally are supposed to stay off the tracks.

Faletto has had a good record with South West Trains, including a Lifetime Achievement award....read more from UPI


American tycoon's fortune to be divided up after 92 years: NEW YORK - (by John Swaine) The $100 million (£60 million) fortune of an American timber and iron tycoon, which has been out of reach for the past 92 years due to the terms of his will, is finally to be divided between his descendants.

When Wellington Burt died in 1919 at the age of 87, in Saginaw, Michigan, he ordered that the majority of his fortune not be distributed until 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild.

The unusual arrangement has been attributed to family feuds and to the eccentricity of Mr Burt, who was once among America's 10 richest men, but no one has been able to say conclusively why he chose it....read more from The Telegraph (UK)

May 11, 2011

Bikini-clad 'Burger King Brawler' jailed: A US woman who became a YouTube sensation after a video of her rampaging through a Florida Burger King in her bikini went viral has been jailed and banned from visiting the fast food chain.

Nekiva Hardy, 30, dubbed the "BK Brawler" after her hysterical fight with Burger King staff on March 19 was uploaded on the video sharing site, pleaded no contest to a variety of charges and was sentenced to 45 days' jail.

She is also barred from visiting Burger King outlets in the area. ...read more w/video from Stuff.co.nz


Plague of US preachers falsely claim to be Navy SEALs: (by Lewis Page) Yet another curious effect of the modern internet media world became apparent this week: the syndrome – particularly common among American clergymen – of falsely claiming to be a former US Navy SEAL has risen to prominence, as the risk of being exposed as such a liar has risen severely.

We refer specifically to the case of Pennsylvania preacher Jim Moats, recently humiliated after embellishing his 1970s naval service with a fictional stint in the already famous SEALs - who have now catapulted to global celebrity status following the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The phenomenon of falsely claiming to be a SEAL (or other special or elite-force member) is a common one, of course. Apparently the SEALs are unusual in this as in other ways: it seems that American clergymen are particularly prone to claiming that they have won the right to wear the famous "Budweiser badge" of the US Navy's elite when in fact they haven't....read more from The Register


English cops blow up suspicious school play prop: (by Lester Haines) Northamptonshire Police have advised anyone disposing of school play props to do so "responsibly", after a discarded piece of theatrical material caused a major bomb alert.

According to the plods' own report, a "suspicious package" found this morning in Kingsthorpe was later downgraded to unsuspicious status, but not before it had provoked "an evacuation of the immediate area", a traffic diversion and the intervention of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal squad.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Blatchly explained: "These steps were taken as a precautionary measure and following a small controlled explosion, we can confirm that the device found was not a bomb....read more from The Register


'Batman' arrested for hanging off roof: Police were called to a hardware store in downtown Pekoskey, Michigan, early Wednesday after a passerby spotted Batman on the roof.

Officers were called shortly before 1 a.m., and found a man dressed in a Batman costume hanging off the side of the building, holding on to the roof with his hands, said Chief John Calabrese of the community's public safety department.

Officers went onto the roof and brought the man up with them....read more from CNews


South Korea row over short school skirts: A row over how to respond to ever-shortening school skirts is brewing in South Korea.

A local education board in Gangwon Province has announced plans to place boards in front of all school desks, to make students more "comfortable".

The local assembly in Gangwon is beginning a session on Wednesday during which they will decide whether to approve funding for the refurbishment.

The move will cost around $700,000 (£427,000)....read more from BBC News


Man wades across peanut butter art exhibit: A Dutch museum-goer got into a sticky situation when he waded into a carpet of creamy peanut butter not realising it was a modern art installation.

The hapless visitor somehow failed to spot the 14m expanse of edible goo at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, Algemeen Dagblad reported overnight.

Bemused tourists watched as the man sank into the 1100 litres of peanut butter - enough to fill more than 2000 regular-sized jars. He has been asked to pay for the damage after leaving a trail of footprints....read more from NEWS.com.au


'JetMan' completes Grand Canyon flight: Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy has completed a flight over the Grand Canyon in his custom-built jet suit - his first such flight in the US.

Rossy performed the stunt at the weekend with little fanfare, before a small group of team members. He was airborne for about eight minutes, soaring 60 metres above the canyon rim on the Hualapai Reservation.

A planned Saturday (NZ time) flight before reporters was cancelled after Rossy determined it would be too challenging without any practice runs. The Federal Aviation Administration had given him the green light less than an hour before the scheduled stunt....read more w/pics from Stuff.co.nz

May 10, 2011

Police: Woman danced nude in cemetery: MESA, Arizona - Police in Arizona said a woman spotted dancing naked in a cemetery was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure.

Mesa police said Kara Mitchell was seen removing her top and dancing Friday morning at the Mesa Cemetery, and she removed her pants after a few minutes and continued to dance, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Mitchell was seen dancing by cemetery employees and visitors....read more from UPI


Skateboarding dogSkateboarding dog owner fined: The owner of a skateboarding dog has been fined £80 [US$131] and threatened with legal action for not keeping his Lakeland terrier on a lead.

Jonathan Fell, 51, has already been threatened with an Asbo by killjoy council officials in Brighton, East Sussex [UK], where his dog Bodhi is a familiar sight as he performs kerbside stunts.

The talented terrier has become a YouTube sensation with more than 20,000 followers, and has even appeared in a brief clip on ITV show Britain's Got Talent last month....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


University of Cambridge recruits students to babysit drunken partygoers: (by Murray Wardrop) A University of Cambridge [UK] college is offering its members hundreds of pounds to babysit fellow students found staggering home drunk from post-exam celebrations.

St John’s College is recruiting students to become on-call “carer volunteers" to look after peers who have had one too many at this summer’s balls and garden parties.

The college, whose alumni include Prime Ministers and Nobel Prize winners, says the scheme has been oversubscribed with volunteers willing to stay sober in return for cash....read more from The Telegraph (UK)


Buried alive! How not to have fun on a Florida beach: Burying yourself in the sand is a fun sport for many beach-goers, but one teenage Austrian Olympic swimmer managed to bury himself alive in Florida.

It took 60 rescuers including cave-in specialists nearly two hours to dig out 19-year-old Jakub Maly. They used boards to shore up the sides of the seven-foot (two-metre) trench he had dug and which collapsed over his head after he jumped in.

Maly, who competed in the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore and is now on the Austrian Olympic swimming squad, was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe during the dramatic rescue on Sunday evening at Pompano Beach, Florida....read more from Reuters UK


Queen Mary 2 ship used in alleged smuggling case: A Malaysian man faces charges of attempting to smuggle nine Chinese illegal immigrants into the United States as passengers on board the luxury RMS Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, officials said on Monday.

The group, carrying forged Japanese passports but speaking scarcely any Japanese, was caught by immigration officials after disembarking in New York City on April 26, said John Saleh, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

Officials said it was unusual for illegal immigrants to arrive in such grand style....read more from Reuters UK

May 9, 2011

'Switched-on' Queen Elizabeth wants iPad: LONDON - Britain's Queen Elizabeth reportedly is expanding her gadget collection, telling her staff to order an Apple iPad for her.

The Sun reported Monday the queen learned how to use the device from her grandsons, Princes William and Harry and "was particularly taken with how easy it was to use."

"For a woman of her age [85], she is very switched on. It was only a matter of time before she asked someone to go and get her one," The Sun's royal insider said....read more from UPI


Nude gardener's arse hauled into court: (by Lester Haines) A 62-year-old Gloucestershire [UK] naturist with a penchant for pruning in the buff was cuffed for indecent exposure and now faces three charges of outraging public decency.

Donald Sprigg was hauled before Cheltenham Magistrates Court accused of causing his Cirencester neighbours 'harassment, alarm or distress', the Daily Mail reports.

The aptly named Sprigg denied the charges, while his solicitor Mohammed Iqbal insisted that the neighbours who'd protested actually lived 150 metres away and had captured the allegedly indecent horticultural action "from their balcony using a long-distance lens"....read more from The Register


Man plummets after forgetting keys: STRATFORD, Ontario - Kids, don't try this at home – not even in an attempt to get home.

A 19-year-old Ontario man survived a seven-metre fall after trying to jump from the roof of an apartment building to his own building next door after he realized he had forgotten his keys....read more from CNews


Samoa plans to jump time zones: Samoa looks set to try to change its time zone and move the country's clocks forward by a day to be in line with Australia and New Zealand.

Two years ago, the government switched the side of the road on which Samoans drive and this year it reportedly plans to change the side of the dateline the country is on.

Samoan prime minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi is quoted in online media as saying he wants to make it easier for Samoa to do business with Australasia....read more from ABC News (AU)


Maori visit France to retrieve shrunken head: The tattooed, shrunken head of a Maori warrior starts a long voyage home to New Zealand today when France hands the mystic relic back more than a century after explorers took it away.

At the town hall in Rouen, north-west of Paris, Maori elders will perform chants, prayers and other rituals to honour the dead man, a relic of the ancient practice of mummification of Maori killed in battle.

The head, which tribal custom forbids from being photographed or filmed, will be handed over to the Maori in a box by officials from the town and the Museum of Rouen, which has housed it since 1875, organisers said....read more w/pic from ABC News (AU)


Convict disguised as woman recaptured in Egypt: An escaped Egyptian prisoner was recaptured as he fled a police ambush disguised as a woman in the Suez canal city of Ismailia, security sources said on Saturday.

Adel Mohammed Dasouqi, 35, escaped from Cairo's Abu Zaabal prison earlier this year while serving a three-year sentence for robbery and extortion.

He was accused of using fierce dogs to force shopkeepers and other people to pay him protection money....read more from Reuters UK

May 8, 2011

Armed intruder steals toy gun: PASADENA, Calif. - A robber armed with a handgun broke into a Pasadena, California, residence, pepper-sprayed the homeowner and stole his toy BB gun, police said.

The intruder entered the home about 11:30 p.m. Thursday sprayed the man with an irritant and took an Airsoft gun before fleeing, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, reported.

Although Airsoft handguns and rifles shoot small plastic pellets and are sold in toy stores, they resemble actual deadly weapons....read more from UPI


Apple store riot in Beijing: The Apple store in Beijing reopened Sunday after a riot sent four people to hospital.

The fracas began after a "foreign" Apple employee tried to intervene when there were reports of people jumping the line for the iPad 2 and he may have grabbed some people, the Beijing News reported. People had been waiting in line for hours at the store to buy the tablet Saturday morning.

After the employee left the area, a front door was smashed. Once the crowd was cleared, police officers stood guard until it was fixed, the newspaper reported....read more from CNews

May 7, 2011

'Mad hatters' gang of middle-aged women blamed for Detroit crime spree: Police in Detroit are hunting a gang of middle-aged women, nicknamed the "Mad Hatters", who they blame for a string of robberies, purse snatching and fraud.

The suspects typically steal a woman's wallet or purse, police said in a statement. Shortly afterward, the credit cards and checks are used at stores to buy merchandise or at banks to get cash.

Surveillance photographs supplied by police show the middle-aged to elderly women wear hats, usually of the floppy, fisherman variety, at the time of the incidents.

Purse-snatching crimes are not uncommon, but what is unusual is the organised nature of the crimes. ...read more w/pics from The Telegraph (UK)


Costumed man attempts bank robbery: GOTHENBURG, Sweden - A man in a monkey suit eluded police in a foot chase after he attempted to rob a bank in Gothenburg, Sweden, officials said.

The armed man, dressed in either a monkey or bear costume, attempted to rob a branch office of Swedbank about 6 p.m. Friday, Swedish news agency TT reported Saturday.

"A man in a monkey outfit, or similar, may have been a bear, too, came running with security guards behind him," a witness said. "I thought it was a joke at first, a stunt, but then I walked past the bank and saw the shattered glass."....read more from UPI


Elderly NZ crimefighter told to stay home: A 91-year-old New Zealand war veteran says he has been forced to put his new career as a modern-day Batman on hold because he is not allowed to be out fighting crime alone at night.

John Bray says he is more than qualified to deal with evildoers in the North Island town of Waipawa, having served with the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and raiding unit in north Africa during World War II.

He enlisted as a member of the local community patrol, an organisation which acts as "the eyes and ears" of the police, cruising the streets at night and reporting any suspicious activity....read more from ABC News (AU)


Romans gripped by fear of quake forecast for May 11: If tourists find Rome unusually quiet next Wednesday, the reason will probably be that thousands of locals have left town in fear of a devastating earthquake allegedly forecast for that day by a long-dead seismologist.

For months Italian internet sites, blogs and social networks have been debating the work of Raffaele Bendandi, who claimed to have forecast numerous earthquakes and, according to internet rumours, predicted a "big one" in Rome on May 11.

The national television network RAI has run programs aimed at calming rising panic among Romans. The civil protection agency has issued statements reiterating the official scientific view that earthquakes can't be predicted.

Yet many residents of the Eternal City aren't listening....read more from Reuters UK

May 6, 2011

Spanish students cause havoc with mass party: A massive party organised by students using social networking sites brought university classes to a standstill on Thursday in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

The law and economics faculties at the city's university had to close their doors as drunken students began to run amok after more than a thousand people had gathered for an outdoor bring-a-bottle party at the campus.

The party was organised as a protest against the university's failure to put on a traditional student paella party this year....read more from The Guardian


Chinese regulators suspend TV crime and spy dramas: China has ordered TV stations across the country not to air any detective shows, spy thrillers or dramas about time-travel for the next three months.

All have been ordered off-air with immediate effect.

An official at China's state TV regulator confirmed to the BBC that the verbal order had been made....read more from BBC News


EU approves kids' use of Viagra: Drugmaker Pfizer said overnight that the European commission has approved treating children with its medicine for a rare, deadly lung condition - a drug better known as Viagra.

The drug, Revatio, was approved in Europe about six years ago for treating adults with what's called pulmonary arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure in lung arteries. Now it can be given to children aged 1 to 17.

The medicine is better known as Viagra, the erectile dysfunction drug that quickly became a blockbuster for New York-based Pfizer after it was approved in 1998....read more from NEWS.com.au


'JetMan' awaits ruling on Grand Canyon flight: A Swiss daredevil planning to fly above the Grand Canyon in a jet-propelled wingsuit won't know if he's allowed to do so until the day of his scheduled flight.

The US Federal Aviation Administration says it's still reviewing adventurer Yves Rossy's proposal to ensure it meets safety standards.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says a decision won't be made until tomorrow (NZ time), the planned day of the flight....read more w/pic from Stuff.co.nz

May 5, 2011

DARPA, NASA look to spawn STARSHIP enterprise: (by Lewis Page) More details have emerged on the US government's plan to build a spacecraft capable of "a journey between the stars". Astoundingly, it is expected that this can be achieved with no more than "several hundred thousand dollars" of government funding.

This is because the idea is that the starship will not, in fact, be built or funded by the US government – nor any other. Even the mighty USA, goes the reasoning, could never muster the necessary levels of investment and focus over many decades which would be required by such a project.

Rather, the idea is to set up some new kind of organisation, potentially far wealthier, more powerful and more focused on the goal of interstellar flight than any national government could possibly be. The envisioned sub-$1m from the US treasury would be no more than seed money for this mighty organisation, whose structure and methods remain unknown as yet....read more from The Register


'Home Alone' house for sale for $2.4 million: The stately Georgian home where actor Macaulay Culkin outwitted a pair of bumbling thieves in the 1990 hit film "Home Alone" is for sale for $2.4 million (1.46 million pounds).

John and Cynthia Abendshien, the owners of the four-bedroom, red brick home north of Chicago, said they are ready to downsize, now that their daughter -- who became Culkin's playmate -- during the six-month long shoot is grown up.

"We got to know him, and eventually called him by his nickname, 'Mac,'" said John Abendshien, adding he was "a nice, but quiet young boy."....read more from Reuters UK

May 4, 2011

Camel race organizers hoping for dry weather: The organisers of a famous camel race in Alice Springs [Australia] have signed up new sponsors after the event was hit hard by heavy rain last year.

The Camel Cup has been running since the 1970s and will be held on July 9 this year.

Former winning jockey Ian Rowan says the organisers are hoping for a more usual dry season day.

"Money is always a big problem," he said....read more from ABC News (AU)


German mayor rescues man trapped in women's prison: A mayor in Germany helped rescue a man who became trapped in a women's prison after mistaking it for a shortcut to a nearby park, police in the northern city of Hildesheim said on Wednesday.

Hildesheim Mayor Henning Blum heard the man's cries for help while passing by the prison near the city centre and notified police who came and freed the 24-year-old.

The man told police he was strolling through town and did not immediately notice he had walked into a prison....read more from Reuters UK

May 3, 2011

Pot stolen while police look other way: MERTHYR TYDFIL, Wales - Thieves came through the back door of a nightclub in Wales that had been converted to a marijuana farm while police were guarding the front, authorities said.

Investigators said Monday the 1,000 plants in the building in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, were worth about $500,000, the Daily Mirror reported.

However, about 5 percent of the contents was removed by a people who stuffed plants into trash bags. A neighbor who spotted the group loading plants into a van called the emergency number but the thieves were able to get away....read more from UPI


Medieval treasure trove dug up in Austrian man's backyard: A TROVE of medieval jewellery and other precious objects found by a man working in his backyard includes pieces made for a royal court and may be worth as much as $136,817.

The officials from Austria's department of national antiquities and the Academy of Sciences said they were only at the beginning of their investigation into the provenance and other details of the find.

"We have in front of us high-end products (made) for the highest consumer class of Central Europe" of the Middle Ages, academy member Thomas Kuehtreiber told reporters....read more from NEWS.com.au


Twitter users ignore ban on posting Canada results: Using a mixture of humour and bravado, Twitter users flouted a ban on reporting early Canadian election results on Monday, running the risk of a C$25,000 fine (15,900 pounds) and mocking an outdated law.

Canada has six time zones and voting is staggered, which means polls in the west are still open when results in the east starting coming in. To prevent the west from being influenced by earlier voting, the law bans any results being announced until the final poll has closed.

The prohibition dates back to the 1930s, when radio was the medium to broadcast results. Critics say it makes no sense in the age of the Internet and social media....read more from Reuters UK

May 2, 2011

Tasmanian woman downloads herself into the slammer: Skeptics who think 3G data services can’t be used for volume downloads, think again: a Tasmanian [Australia] woman has been jailed for racking up a bill of nearly A$200,000 [US$219,000] on a SIM stolen from an electricity smart-meter.

According to the Hobart Mercury the woman, Kylie Monks, used a SIM card from an Aurora electricity meter that connected to the Telstra NextG network. She then went on an impressive spree of downloads and calls. Aurora only noticed the theft of the SIM when it received a three-month phone bill of A$193,187.43....read more from The Register


Rafters thought they had made it to France: LITTLEHAMPTON, England - Rescuers said three men in an inflatable raft thought they had made it from England to France when they were rescued only 2 miles from where they departed.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution said the men entered the English Channel in Littlehampton, England, Saturday night without warm clothes or life jackets and were spotted waving for help by a birdwatcher the following morning, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The men, whose names were not released, believed they had made it to France in their 7-foot raft and greeted rescuers by saying "Bonjour."....read more from UPI


Pakistani unknowingly liveblogs Bin Laden raid on Twitter: ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan - A man living in Abbottabad, Pakistan, may have given a real-time account about the U.S. raid in which Osama bin Laden died, his Twitter page indicated.

Sohaib Athar, who uses the Twitter name "ReallyVirtual," first complained of helicopters overhead -- a "rare event" for the upscale community not far from Islamabad, the country's capital, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

"Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter :-/," he messaged before the attack began....read more from UPI
**Full Twitter transcript (.pdf)**
UPDATED story from The Register.....Pakistani IT admin leaks bin Laden raid on Twitter


Texas cops bust cockfighting ring at children's party: POLICE busted a cockfighting ring in Texas that was using a children's party as its front.

Acting on an anonymous tip, deputies from the Liberty County Sheriff's Office showed up at a property in Dayton, Texas - about 65 km northeast of Houston - to investigate a report of a cockfighting operation.

When they arrived, the officers discovered a children's party underway, complete with a waterslide and a picnic table....read more from NEWS.com.au

May 1, 2011

Mini-tornado scatters food, no injuries: GRANTHAM, England - A mini-tornado scattered food when it lifted a back-yard gazebo off its foundation during a cookout, the owner of the gazebo in Britain said.

Martin Clark captured the 20-foot tall storm on his cell phone video camera as it traveled through his backyard barbecue in Grantham Saturday.

"The twister was picking up a load of dust from the building site but by the time I got my phone out it had disappeared," Clark told the Grantham Journal. "Then it came back a couple of seconds later and I caught it on my phone."....read more from UPI

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