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Odd News Archive - December 2008

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.

December 31, 2008

Naples sex strike over fireworks: New Year's Eve could prove to be something of a damp squib for some men in the Italian city of Naples.

Hundreds of Neapolitan women have pledged to go without sex unless their men promise to refrain from setting off dangerous illegal fireworks.

Local authorities are backing the women and have sent out text messages urging the men to "make love, not explosions....full story from the BBC

December 30, 2008

Beer lake freezes in German city after truck mishap: A busy intersection in the German city of Kassel turned into a lake of frozen beer on Tuesday when some 1,600 bottles smashed after poorly secured crates flew off a delivery truck, police said.

The truck, carrying 12 tonnes of freshly brewed beer, lost most of its load on a sharp left-hand turn at the bottom of a hill, according to Kassel police inspector Wolfgang Jungnitsch....full story from Reuters UK

US alligator found far from home: Wildlife officials in Australia are investigating how an alligator native to North America was found wandering around a campsite in New South Wales.

Campers at the site in Pambula managed to snare the beast in a volleyball net and held its jaws shut.

Police first issued a press statement saying it was an indigenous crocodile but later corrected their error....full story w/video from the BBC

December 29, 2008

MP3 player guides rescuers to lost tourists: The light from an MP3 player saved two lost tourists from a chilly night stuck out in the snowy Swiss mountains, rescue authorities said Saturday.

The two -- a skier and snowboarder, both from France -- had got lost late in the day Friday outside marked runs near the resort of Savognin in southeast Switzerland, said Gery Baumann, spokesman for mountain rescue service Rega....full story from Reuters UK

December 28, 2008

Smash your stress away in Tokyo: It's a smashing sort of therapy for the stressed: a Japanese entrepreneur is offering those strained by the financial crisis a chance to vent by hurling crockery against a wall, and then paying for it.

In a corner of Tokyo's bustling electronic gadget shopping district, a group of chiropractors, led by Katsuya Hara, dish out plate-smashing therapy from a truck named "The Venting Place." ....full story from

December 27, 2008

Stupid is as stupid does in criminal world: From peeing on parking meters to drunk drivers who called the police for help. Kate Chapman looks back at criminals who made us wonder at their intelligence.

Napier chef Sarron John Malot led the way when he was dubbed "the Piddler on the Roof" after being caught on a security camera urinating into a parking meter on July 5....full story from

December 26, 2008

CIA using Viagra to bribe Afghan warlords: The CIA has developed a novel incentive to gain cooperation and support in Taliban-plagued Afghanistan - handing out libido-enhancing Viagra pills to targeted village patriarchs, according to a report in the Washington Post.

"Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people - whether it's building a school or handing out Viagra," said one agency operative with multiple tours in that war torn country....full story from Newsmax

December 25, 2008

Chinese man detained for 3 days for smoking on train: A man was given three days in detention for breaking a non-smoking rule on a new high-speed rail line, Chinese state media said, an unusually severe punishment in a country where smoking bans are routinely ignored.

He was caught smoking in the toilet just after the train had left Tianjin for Beijing, triggering an alarm and causing the train to stop, the official Xinhua news agency said....full story from Reuters UK

December 24, 2008

Police use tobacco spit to nab burglary suspect: A trail of tobacco spit has led investigators to a suspect in at least five burglaries across eastern Oklahoma, police said.

Randy Lee Shoopman Jr., 33, was charged with 11 counts of second-degree burglary after a sample of his DNA matched that taken from expectorant left behind at the scene of several burglaries in Oklahoma, said officer Brad Robertson, a spokesman for the Tahlequah police department....full story from CBS News

December 23, 2008

Indulge your fecal fantasies with a doll that craps: Technology has brought many transcendent benefits to our culture, but possibly none have been as consummate in its exquisite magnificence as this holiday season's nonpareil of elegance, Baby Alive Learns to Potty, a child's doll that craps.

Surely this darling $60 dumper is the apotheosis of a dream first dreamed by Charles Babbage as he painstakingly constructed his pioneering Difference Engine in the 1830s. "Today a machine can calculate," he may have dared imagine, "Tomorrow it may think. And some day - we can only hope! - mankind will create a machine that can poop!"

And so it has....full story w/pic from The Register

Trapped passengers evacuate Singapore ferris wheel: More than 100 passengers stranded for six hours on the world's largest ferris wheel were being evacuated and given medical treatment in Singapore after the attraction ground to a halt Tuesday.

The Singapore Flyer stopped working after a short circuit in one of the wheel's motor drivers cut its power supply, a company spokeswoman said....full story w/pics from Reuters UK

December 22, 2008

700 lb. couple has weight-loss surgery together: An Indiana couple who topped the scales at more than 700 pounds combined have undergone weight-loss surgery - on the same day.

Lorie and Todd Richmond both had surgery last week at the University of Chicago Medical Center. They made the decision after years of failed diets and 10 months of preparation....full story from CNews

December 21, 2008

Milan's homeless get caviar for Christmas: Down-and-outs and hard up pensioners in Milan will enjoy a rare Christmas treat this year: choice beluga caviar confiscated from traffickers.

Italian police seized over 40 kg (88 lb) of the delicacy, worth some 400,000 euros (373,000 pounds), from two men who last month smuggled it into the country from Poland for sale in the shops of Milan and the rest of the wealthy Lombardy region....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

December 20, 2008

Edmonton cop directs traffic to the beat: The mall parking lot is packed with Christmas shoppers, cars are backed up four deep at the entrance and the temperatures are all the way down to -30.

But none of the drivers are scowling. For there, directing traffic to the beat of some soulful Christmas tunes playing behind him, is Constable Ron Smithman, Edmonton's dancing cop....full story from CNews

December 19, 2008

Boom in 'Bush attack shoes': The Turkish shoe company making the brand of footwear used by an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush has seen a surge in orders.

Ramazan Baydan, owner of the shoe factory in Istanbul of the same name, told DPA that he had received orders in the past week for some 300,000 pairs of the model that was thrown at the US president....full story from

'I'm not qualified to land,' pilot tells passengers: A British passenger plane was forced to turn back minutes before landing in Paris because the pilot was not qualified to land in fog.

Speaking over the address system as the Flybe flight approached Charles de Gaulle airport, the pilot announced to startled passengers "I am not qualified to land the plane" and turned back to Cardiff....full story from

December 18, 2008

NASA will give away old Shuttles for free: NASA has announced plans for disposal of the Space Shuttle fleet and spare main engines. The space agency intends to donate one orbiter to the Smithsonian museum, and give the others to "educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations".

The proud new owners will need to stump up an estimated $42m in decommissioning and delivery charges for a shuttle and $400-$800k for a main engine, exclusive of shipping....full story from The Register

World's first flying car on the road next year: It's been a pipe dream for 30 years but now the world's first fully available flying car is set to hit the roads next year.

Ever since the Back to the Future movies lit up our screens in the 80s, designers have dreamt of an automobile that could take to the skies at the push of a button.

And now qualified pilots can order their very own Terrafugia Transition 'roadable' plane for just £127,000 (US$195,632), with delivery planned for late next year....full story w/pics from the Daily Mail

Drunken passengers sue airline for serving booze: Can you get drunk on a flight and then sue the airline for giving you the booze?

A Florida couple is suing United Airlines for "negligently" over-serving alcohol during a flight from Osaka, Japan, to San Francisco.

They say the carrier's drinks fuelled the domestic violence that enmeshed the two soon after their plane landed....full story from

December 17, 2008

Iraq shoe-thrower inspires Web games: A shoe-throwing incident at an Iraqi news conference with George W. Bush has inspired a spate of Internet games where the players hurl footwear at moving targets of the U.S. president.

The games, which have mushroomed online and spread by email, range from animations to cut-up footage of the now-infamous news briefing on Sunday when an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at the president who ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq....full story from Reuters UK

Related Story: Egyptian offers daughter to Iraqi shoe-thrower from Reuters UK

1,500 Parakeets rescued from 2-room apartment: Officials in Berlin, Germany, said they have rescued 1,500 parakeets from a two-room apartment. City veterinarian Margit Platzer said the birds were flying freely around the apartment, which was "littered with feces, feathers and leftover food." Platzer said it took her team more than seven hours on Tuesday to catch all the birds with nets.

The birds were taken Wednesday to animal shelters in Berlin and elsewhere because there was not enough room for them at facilities in the capital....full story from CBS News

December 16, 2008

Sole-searching in China after shoe attack on Bush: China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said he would be watching out for journalists taking off their shoes in news conferences after an Iraqi reporter threw a pair at outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad.

"Maybe I need to watch out not just for who is raising their hands but who is taking off their shoes," said Liu, who then faced a volley of tough questions, but no hurtling objects....full story from Reuters UK

December 15, 2008

Man flunks drug test, steals fridge full of urine: A Gainesville, Florida man has been accused of stealing a small refrigerator from a probation office to destroy one of his own urine samples.

Devin Anthony Perry, 26, was arrested and charged with arson, destroying evidence, burglary and larceny. The charges are connected with a break-in at the Department of Corrections Probation and Parole office between 2 a.m and 5 a.m. Sunday....full story from The Gainesville Sun

Sleeping woman 'zzz-mails' friends: A woman in a deep sleep sent emails to friends asking them over for wine and caviar in what doctors believe is the first reported case of 'zzz-mailing' - using the Internet while asleep.

The case of the 44-year-old woman is reported by researchers from the University of Toledo in the latest edition of the medical journal Sleep Medicine.

They said the woman went to bed about 10pm but got up two hours later and walked to her computer in the next room, Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reports....full story from

RELATED STORY from the Telegraph: Zzz-mail: What happens when sleepwalkers go online

Dubai Versace hotel to refrigerate beach: A luxury hotel in Dubai is to create the first refrigerated beach so hotel guests can walk comfortably across the sand on scorching days.

The Palazzo Versace fashion house will have a network of pipes beneath the sand containing a coolant that will absorb heat from the surface, reports The Australian....full story from

Weekend of drunken mayhem: 1000 calls to police: Drunken mayhem sparked more than 1000 calls to Wellington, New Zealand police over the weekend, 650 to the police communications centre and 414 triple-one calls.

Most of them related to booze-fuelled fights, disorder, domestic disputes and driving complaints.

Inspector Steve Darroch said Wellington police were flat out dealing with alcohol-related incidents from Saturday afternoon, when people headed out to enjoy the good weather and kept drinking through the night....full story from The Dominion Post

December 14, 2008

Jellyfish gone wild ruin tourist spots: Huge swarms of stinging jellyfish and similar slimy animals are ruining beaches in Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, Australia and elsewhere.

The report says 150 million people are exposed to jellyfish globally every year, with 500,000 people stung in the Chesapeake Bay, off the U.S. Atlantic Coast, alone....full story from The Dominion Post

December 13, 2008

Santa Claus helper alleges caroling attack: A 72-year-old Briton taking part in a Santa Claus holiday gift-delivering event alleges he was attacked for caroling too loudly.

Glen MacDonald alleged he and several other Tunbridge Wells Lions Club carolers were approached by an unidentified man, who suddenly attacked the senior citizen and broke his chest bone, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday....full story from UPI

December 12, 2008

Police free woman from amorous handcuffs: Police in Dearborn, Michigan, said they got a call early Friday morning to free a woman whose husband couldn't find the key to their sexy handcuffs.

Dearborn Police Sgt. Ray Patrick said police used a universal key to free the woman at about 7:15 a.m. Friday, The Detroit Free Press reported....full story from UPI

Woman burns ex-beau's clothes, damages top $100K: A woman set fire to her ex-boyfriend's clothing at a self-storage center and walked away, causing more than $100,000 in damages, police said. Officers arrested Donna J. Duell, 26, on suspicion of arson in connection with the fire Wednesday night at Community Storage Lockers on the north side of Anderson, Indiana.

Duell at first denied any involvement but then admitted she took her ex-boyfriend's clothing to an empty storage unit, set it ablaze and walked away, Anderson Police Detective Randy Tracy said....full story from CBS News

December 11, 2008

VISA CEO loses his credit cards: Imagine running the world's largest credit card network, and not having your own plastic.

That's what happened to Visa Chief Executive Joseph Saunders.

He spoke Thursday morning at a Goldman Sachs financial services conference in New York, and had come from San Francisco, Visa's headquarters.

Unfortunately, his credit cards didn't make the trip....full story from Reuters UK

Police in Victoria, Australia, told to respect prisoners, make them a nice cup of tea: Police have been told to show more respect to their prisoners: dim the lights at night, don't slam cell doors and serve tea, coffee or milk at least three times a day.

New "soft cell" human rights guidelines from Victoria's Office of Police Integrity say cell blocks should be calm and relaxing, with light-shaded wall colours....full story from

December 10, 2008

Police station robbed in Oklahoma: Officials in the northeastern Oklahoma town of Okay, which recently fired its two-man police force, say the town's police station has now been robbed.

City Clerk Sherry Cox says a witness called the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office about 3:00 a.m. Monday after seeing someone carrying a shotgun and a bag out of the station....full story from KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City)

Venice hotels offer flood package with free boots: Hoteliers in Venice, trying to lure tourists to the canal city despite floods caused by the highest sea levels in over two decades, are offering special "High Water" packages complete with free rubber boots.

The Venice Hoteliers Association website is offering "Venice and the High Water" promotions at 190 euros for one night's stay plus "free use of rubber boots" and a map with "alternative pedestrian routes during the high water....full story from Reuters UK

December 9, 2008

Woman pretends to be pregnant with smuggled monkey: A Washington state woman who hid a sedated monkey under her blouse on a flight from Thailand to Los Angeles - pretending she was pregnant - has been convicted of smuggling charges.

Twenty-nine-year-old Gypsy Lawson of Spokane successfully passed through U.S. Customs in Los Angeles with the rhesus monkey hidden in her shirt during a November 2007 trip....full story from CNews

Wine bottles filled with water recalled: Ontario's Liquor Control Board is recalling an Italian wine, but not for the usual reasons.

Some of the 1,500 ml bottles of 2007 D'Aquino Pinot Grigio delle Venezie are nothing but water....full story from CNews

Deer crashes into classroom through window: A West Michigan teacher and her young students said a large buck brought the day's lesson to a halt when it leaped into the classroom through a closed window.

Teacher Leslie Venlet said it was near the end of the day at Coopersville East Elementary School when the 6-point buck crashed into her 4th grade classroom, sending glass flying, WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids, Mich., reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

Caterpillars overtake Australian town: Residents of a central Australian town say millions of caterpillars have invaded their homes and yards, plaguing them the past 18 months.

Yandaran residents said the black processionary -- a description of the way they travel -- caterpillars are everywhere in the town and can cause skin irritations, The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

December 8, 2008

Bull storms Dhaka mall: A bull bought for the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival charged through a posh shopping mall in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka Monday, causing panic and damaging several shops.

No one was hurt in the incident which took place in the city's Gulshan diplomatic area....full story from Reuters UK

December 5, 2008

Belgian car dealer offers second car for free: Buy one, get one free: it's a familiar sales pitch for happy-hour cocktails or last season's fashions, but now a Belgian car dealer is luring customers with just that line.

Antwerp-based Cardoen, which sells about 10,000 new and nearly new cars per year, started the promotion at the end of November and said it would run until December 15....full story from Reuters UK

December 4, 2008

130,000 "falsies" missing at sea: An Australian men's mag has asked beachcombers to keep a sharp eye out for inflatable breasts after 130,000 pneumatic chesticles went awol en route from Beijing to Sydney.

Ralph magazine had intended to to distribute the tits free with its January issue, but while the AU$200,000 cargo apparently left China a couple of weeks back, when the container turned up in Sydney the jubs had done a vanishing act....full story from The Register

UPDATE (10 December 2008): Oz men's mag recovers inflatable jubs

Aussies mull breath-test before voting: Politicians in Australia's most populous state could be breath-tested for alcohol before voting on laws after a series of late-night incidents that have embarrassed the centre-left government.

New South Wales state lawmaker Andrew Fraser resigned from his conservative opposition frontbench role after shoving a female colleague in the wake of Christmas party celebrations....full story from Reuters UK

Mexican sits in truck 14 hours as refuses cop bribe: A Mexican motorist staged a 14-hour sit-in protest in his truck after police tried to make him pay a huge bribe for driving through a red traffic light, rather than impose a smaller official fine.

Jesus Martinez said police tried to extort 8,000 pesos (400 pounds) from him after he ran a red light in the early hours of Wednesday in the northern city of Monterrey, Mexican media reported. The official fine for failing to stop at a red light in Monterrey is about $30 (20 pounds)....full story from Reuters UK

Florida woman allegedly battered by burger: Florida authorities say a cheeseburger was the weapon of choice for a man who allegedly assaulted his girlfriend.

Vincent Gonzalez, 22, Vero Beach, Fla., was arrested this week after he allegedly smashed a burger into the victim's face twice during a domestic dust-up in their driveway....full story from UPI

December 2, 2008

Bad back may stop cane toad invasion: It seems a bad back might be the only thing that can stop the relentless spread of Australia's poisonous cane toads, which are killing native animals as they hop across the nation, researchers say.

Australia's army couldn't stop the cane toads, which number around 200 million. Residents swinging golf clubs failed and so did a campaign to freeze them to death in refrigerators....full story from Reuters UK

December 1, 2008

Britons 'saving money with sex' : As the credit crunch bites, Britons may be turning to sex as a cheap way to pass the time, a charity says.

A YouGov survey of 2,000 adults found sex was the most popular free activity, ahead of window shopping and gossiping....full story from the BBC

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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.

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