Odd News - March 2008 Archive


Odd News Archive - March 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.


March 30, 2008

Rain threatens Russian doomsday cult's bunker: Russian authorities urged 28 members of a doomsday cult on Sunday to leave the mud bunker in which they are awaiting the end of the world, saying spring rain may trigger its collapse at any time.

The doomsday cult members have been barricaded in an underground shelter dug out of a muddy hillside gully in the Penza region of central Russia since October....full story from Reuters UK


Horn-happy drivers targeted in New York: Community leaders in New York have asked city officials to install lights on all taxis that would light up when their drivers use their car horns.

Driven by complaints about horn-happy drivers, members of the Lower East Side's Community Board 3 proposed the idea to the Taxi and Limousine Commission last week, the New York Post reported Sunday....full story from UPI

March 28, 2008

Man wakes up inside a garbage truck: A man nearly crushed inside a garbage truck told police he can't recall how he ended up inside a trash bin - and then the truck - after a night of drinking with friends in Muncie, Indiana..

William M. Bowen, 27, awoke about 6:30 a.m. Thursday to find that he was inside a commercial trash-collection truck filled with waste....full story from TCV


First computers and DVD players, now Cuba lifts ban on cell phones: air conditioners and toasters next: President Raul Castro's government said Friday it is allowing cell phones for ordinary Cubans, a luxury previously reserved for those who worked for foreign firms or held key posts with the communist-run state....full story from Yahoo News

This follows the announcement a couple of weeks ago authorizing the unrestricted sale of computers and DVD and video players in the first sign that its new president, Raul Castro, is moving to improve Cubans' access to consumer goods.

An internal government memo seen by Reuters on Thursday (13 March) said the appliances long desired by Cubans can go on sale immediately, although air conditioners will not be available until next year and toasters until 2010 due to limited power supplies....full story from Reuters UK


Woman says nipple rings fell foul of airport check: A woman who claims she was ordered by federal airport screeners to remove her nipple rings with pliers demanded an apology from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration on Thursday.

Mandi Hamlin, 37, also called for an investigation into the February 24 incident in Lubbock, Texas, saying that snickering male agents violated TSA policy by forcing her to remove the jewellery....full story from Reuters UK


Mystery metal ball an Australian outback space oddity: An outback farmer is on a mission to identify a strange ball of twisted metal - purported to be fallen space junk - which mysteriously turned up on his remote property.

James Stirton of Cheepie, 130km from Charleville in southwestern Queensland, was heading out to feed cattle on his 40,500-hectare property when he came upon the bizarre-looking blackened ball....full story w/pics from NEWS.com.au

March 27, 2008

Runaway SUV knocks man off his toilet: A New Zealand man got the fright of his life when a runaway SUV crashed into his house and knocked him off the toilet, a newspaper reported Friday.

The vehicle had been parked with its emergency brake only half on, and rolled backward down a 32 foot bank into the house Thursday in the southern city of Christchurch, The Press newspaper reported....full story from CBS News

March 26, 2008

Texan faces charges over snake vodka: A Texas man is facing charges for selling liquor without a license after he was found peddling bottles of vodka containing dead baby rattlesnakes.

Bob Popplewell, who runs "Bayou Bob's Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch" tourist attraction west of Fort Worth, was believed to be selling the vodka in the Asian community, where snakes are seen having aphrodisiac properties, state authorities said....full story from Reuters UK

March 25, 2008

'Manners police' hit Japanese public transit: Badly behaved commuters riding on Yokohama's public transport will soon be risking a dressing-down.

Newly appointed "etiquette police" will be asking travellers to turn down their headphones and give up their seats for their elders and betters....full story from the BBC


Oregon man stripped by Craigslist looters: An Oregon man is attempting to regain possession of his worldly goods after fake Craigslist ads provoked a stampede of looters who stripped his property of pretty much eveything that wasn't nailed down, local news channel Kgw.com reports.

According to Jackson County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan, the fake adverts popped up on Saturday claiming Robert Salisbury of Jacksonville "was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking....full story from The Register
UPDATE:02Apr2008: Oregon Craigslist looting was burglary cover-up

March 24, 2008

Oklahoma man who was declared dead says he feels 'pretty good': Four months after being declared brain dead and doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant Zach Dunlap says he feels "pretty good."

Dunlap was pronounced dead November 19th at United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas, after he was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident....full story from KFOR.com


Canadian gophers notch a win in man-rodent battle: A war on gophers waged by two Canadian men went awry this weekend when a device used to blast the rodents in their holes sparked a massive grass fire in a rural area near Calgary, Alberta, causing more than C$200,000 ($197,000) in damages.

Despite a ban on fires in the tinder-dry area of Springbank, just northeast of Calgary's city limits, two men went into a field to kill gophers using a device called a Rodenator....full story from Reuters UK


Policeman drunk while breath-testing: A police officer who admitted to drinking at least 18 beers before going on duty to carry out a breath test has not been disciplined.

Senior Constable Alan Reedy has been promoted, despite telling a court last month about a wild night in the town of Cunnamulla, Queensland, Australia, that ended with him knocked unconscious after trying to arrest a woman....full story from NEWS.com.au

March 23, 2008

1986 message in bottle drifts 1,735 miles: Merle Brandell and his black lab Slapsey were beachcombing along the Bering Sea when he spied a plastic bottle among the Japanese glass floats he often finds along the shore of his tiny Alaskan fishing village.

He walked over and saw an envelope tucked inside. After slicing the bottle open, Brandell found a message from an elementary school student in a suburb of Seattle. The fact that the letter traveled 1,735 miles without any help from the U.S. postal service is unusual, but that's only the beginning of the mystery....full story from TCV

March 22, 2008

'Hypnotist' thief hunted in Italy: Police in Italy have issued footage of a man who is suspected of hypnotising supermarket checkout staff to hand over money from their cash registers.

In every case, the last thing staff reportedly remember is the thief leaning over and saying: "Look into my eyes", before finding the till empty....full story w/pic from the BBC

March 21, 2008

Parents fined $200 if kids run wild: In an Australian first, courts in Western Australia will soon be able to order chronically negligent parents to attend parenting classes or face a $200 fine, in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour by children.

Despite anger over gangs of children creating havoc in some suburbs, the controversial legislation took almost three years to get through parliament due to Opposition concerns about its punitive approach to parenting....full story from NEWS.com.au


Thai health ministry battles rats: Health officials in Thailand have launched a national campaign against rats - starting with their own offices.

In the past two days, nearly 50 rats were caught inside the Health Ministry compound in Bangkok, prompting Friday's announcement of a national anti-rodent campaign....full story from TCV


Man reports marijuana theft, gets busted: An Australian man's complaint of an break-in at his home went to pot Friday when police arrested him for growing marijuana.

The 35-year-old man in the central Australian city of Adelaide called police to report that six men had broken into his house through a window and stolen parts of his cannabis plants, South Australia Police said....full story from TCV

March 20, 2008

ATM gives shoppers double-money windfall: A cash machine became a big hit this week after it started paying out twice as much money as it should.

The ATM, outside a supermarket in Hull, England, began spewing out double the money on Tuesday afternoon and continued doing so for several hours, drawing a crowd of hundreds eager to cash in on the mistake....full story from Reuters UK


Man Gets 30 Days' Jail For Taco Theft: A man who pretended to be a CEO complaining about his fast-food order in a taco scam was sentenced to 30 days in jail after authorities saw the prank in an online video.

Rialto police said it was an easy case to crack because the video, called "How to Scam Del Taco" and posted on YouTube.com, shows Robert Echeverria, 32, calling the restaurant about 50 miles east of Los Angeles on Feb. 19....full story from CBS News

March 19, 2008

Beijing to add more sit-down toilets for Olympics: Beijing organizers are refitting the toilets at three main Olympic venues after complaints from foreign athletes about having to squat, an official said on Wednesday.

Most toilets in China are still of the squat rather than sit-down variety, as spectators and competitors at recent test events in otherwise state of the art venues like the "Water Cube" aquatics centre discovered....full story from Reuters UK


Tuscany, Italy goes to the dogs: Tuscany, a region of Italy which includes Florence, is about to become a dog-owners' paradise, with a new law allowing pets into art galleries, theatres, restaurants, cinemas, post offices, museums and beaches.

The law, which is due to come into force by June and reverses a longstanding ban, was drawn up by the Greens on the centre-left Tuscan regional council....full story from The Times

March 18, 2008

Lloyd's insures winemaker's nose: The Lloyd's of London insurance market has insured the nose of a leading wine maker and taster for 5 million euros (3.9 million pounds), covering the Bordeaux producer against the loss of his nose and sense of smell.

Lloyd's is famous for creating policies for giant corporations but also for insuring celebrity limbs, from Fred Astaire's legs to the hands of Rolling Stones' Keith Richards....full story from Reuters UK

March 17, 2008

Price for flying-saucer house fails to take flight: The sale price for a Chattanooga, Tenn., house shaped like a flying saucer is nothing to phone home about.

The Space House sold at auction Saturday for a down-to-earth bid of $135,000. Auctioneer Terry Posey says he's surprised bidding didn't go higher....full story w/pic from msnbc


Exploding turnip threat menaces Indiana town: Terror came to Fort Wayne, Indiana, late last week as a suspicious package arrived at the offices of a local law firm in a move that seemed to presage a deadly bomb outrage slaughter campaign.

After a tense operation by robot and human bomb-disposal operatives, however, it was discovered that the infernal device was in fact - in the judgement of the local bomb squad - a potentially exploding turnip....full story from The Register


Millions of bees loose on California highway: Millions of swarming honey bees are on the loose after a truck carrying crates of the insects flipped over on a California highway.

The California Highway Patrol says 8-to-12 million bees escaped Sunday from the crates in which they were stored and swarmed over an area of Highway 99 and stung officers, firefighters and tow truck drivers trying to clear the accident....full story from TCV


Broken-hearted man puts everything up for sale on eBay: After splitting up from his wife, Ian Usher realised that life had lost some of its charm.

So he decided to sell it on eBay.

All of it. His entire life. Not just the airy, open-plan three-bedroomed house and the ageing Mazda 929, but the motorbike and the jetski and the bicycle and the furniture and the bed linen. And the friends....full story w/pics from The Times....also see www.alife4sale.com
Final Update 29 June 2008: Man auctions off his life, sale price disappoints

March 15, 2008

728-pound man buried in England: A 728-pound man was buried in Taunton, England, Saturday with the help of a mechanical digger, a report said.

It took four hours to lower the body of Christian Jeffrey, 29, the Daily Mail reported....full story from UPI


Tiny Iowa town rescinds $5 cat bounty: Cat haters, nevermind: The tiny town of Randolph has rescinded a $5 bounty on feral felines.

Instead, the southwest Iowa town of 200 people has agreed to work with animal rescue groups on a catch, neuter and release program.

"We've told them to get it lined up to do it," Mayor Vince Trively said Friday....full story from TCV

March 14, 2008

US Army funds $10m bat-droid: The University of Michigan (UM) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $10m by the US Army to carry out research leading to a "six-inch robotic spy plane modelled after a bat", which would "gather data from sights, sounds and" - worryingly - "smells".

The university has used the army cash to found a Centre for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology, or COM-BAT - a clear case of Media Targeted Acronym Related Titling, or Media-TART syndrome....full story from The Register

March 13, 2008

China-bound copper thefts stop Australian trains: With stopped trains, stolen phone lines and pilfered power cables, Australians are paying a hefty price for China's pre-Olympic building boom, police said on Thursday.

Organised gangs are being blamed by authorities for stealing copper cabling worth millions of dollars, selling it to China to help construction of buildings possibly including Beijing's "Bird's Nest" National Stadium, site of Olympic ceremonies and track events....full story Reuters UK


Kansas woman stuck on toilet for two years: An American woman's body had became attached to her boyfriend's toilet after she sat on it for two years, police in Kansas said.

"She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body," said Bryan Whipple, the sheriff of Ness County....full story from the Telegraph

March 12, 2008

Honey drips out of California family's walls: The situation at the Stathatos house on Virginia Road is getting sticky. So many bees live in the walls of the stately Tudor home that honey drips out of the walls, discoloring the wallpaper in the dining room.

The bees had been good tenants, peacefully coexisting for years with the home's human residents, Helen and Jerry Stathatos....full story from TCV


Japanese sisters stash $56 million in boxes: Two sisters hid $56 million (£28 million) cash in cardboard boxes in what may be Japan's biggest-ever tax dodge, media said.

Hatsue Shimizu, 64, and Yoshiko Ishii, 55, were arrested on suspicion of hiding a stash of yen they inherited from their father, a real estate investor from the western Japanese city of Osaka, the English-language Daily Yomiuri said on Wednesday....full story from Reuters UK

March 11, 2008

Girl sends grandma's car into pool: An 11-year-old girl is in some hot water after she sent her grandmother's car plunging into a swimming pool at Kingston Village apartments in southwest Shreveport, Louisiana.

Margaret Gober said she was in her apartment when she heard a commotion outside. Her grandson screamed, Gober went to the door and saw her car in the pool, with her granddaughter Dineshia inside....full story from TCV


Missing Australian couple gatecrash police murder investigation: An elderly Australian couple who took a spur-of-the-moment holiday without telling their family returned home to find police about to hold a news conference on their possible murder, media reported on Tuesday.

Police in Victoria state had feared the worst after searching for the couple, Roy and Heather Ostell, who had not been heard of for three days and who had failed to turn up for a planned gold prospecting trip....full story from Reuters UK

March 10, 2008

Fleeing Australian man steals police truck: Officers patrolling Parramatta Rd just before 11pm (AEDT) yesterday spotted a stolen silver Toyota suspected of being used in a robbery at Strathfield (near Sydney), police said.

The male passenger got out of the car during the chase and stole a police truck parked at the station, police said....full story from NEWS.com.au

March 9, 2008

Man called 'Free' back in jail for '70s crime: He fled Florida in 1976, leaving behind all signs of a life gone wrong after Vietnam: his crime, his conviction, his incomplete prison sentence. Even his name.

He became Charles Danny Free, culled from a student ID found in a Jacksonville motel during his first days on the run. The ID led to a driver's license and Social Security card. He married, had a family and settled in Las Vegas, where the construction business boomed....full story from the Miami Herald


Nicaraguans celebrate mass for dogs: Hundreds of dogs, many dressed as babies or clowns, were taken to celebrate mass in Masaya, Nicaragua, on Sunday, an annual ritual where the owners pray for their pets to be cured or avoid falling ill....full story from Reuters UK


Clinic: have vasectomy, watch NCAA hoops: For guys who park in front of the TV during college basketball's March Madness, the Oregon Urology Institute has a suggestion: Why not use that time to recover from a vasectomy?

"When March Madness approaches you need an excuse ... to stay at home in front of the big screen," the clinic's radio ad says. "Get your vasectomy at Oregon Urology Institute the day before the tournament starts. It's snip city....full story from TCV

March 7, 2008

Licence to lie for Italian women: Italy's highest appeal court has ruled that married Italian women who commit adultery are entitled to lie about it to protect their honour.

The court gave its landmark ruling after hearing the case of a 48-year-old woman, convicted of giving false testimony to police by denying she had lent her mobile phone to her lover....full story from the BBC


Cell phone abuse: A desperate Chinese wife set fire to more than 400 brand new mobile phones in an attempt to win her estranged husband's heart back -- only to be arrested for arson.

The 37-year-old woman, identified only by her surname Wang, and her husband ran a successful phone retail business in Weifang city, in the eastern province of Shandong, the Qilu Evening News reported on Friday....full story from the People's Daily


Dead rat stops surgery: A patient was told there was no reason why he couldn't have surgery in a hospital, despite the smell caused by a dead rodent trapped in the building's ceiling.

Andrew Cowper was due to have an operation at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Hertfordshire, England, when staff "were made aware of a dead rodent in the single storey unit's roof space", the hospital said in a statement....full story from Reuters UK

March 6, 2008

"Girls Gone Wild" founder stays in jail: A federal judge in Reno, Nevada, has rejected a motion by Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis that would have allowed his release from a Nevada jail without fear of being sent to Florida, where he faces charges on filming underage girls during spring break.

U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval, in a ruling filed late Wednesday, denied arguments by Francis' lawyers, who said a previous ruling by a federal judge in Florida gave the Nevada court jurisdiction over him until after his trial here on tax evasion charges....full story from the Miami Herald


UK man cuffed for lamppost sex outrage: The suspicion that sexual assaults against inanimate objects, including bicycles and hoovers, are on the rise is confirmed by the disturbing news that a man was last month cuffed for "allegedly simulating a sex act with a lamppost", as the Wiltshire Times puts it.

The incident apparently took place at about 4.45pm on 16 February, when police received reports of a man "being indecent" in the Queens Road area of Westbury....full story from The Regiser


Man took car on 3852 mile "test drive": A Melbourne, Australia, man with an eye for a new car has been arrested after what may be Australia's longest test drive - 6200km to the Top End.

The 30-year-old was arrested near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, 3700km from the Melbourne car yard from which he borrowed it last Friday....full story from NEWS.com.au

March 5, 2008

Malaysian woman jailed for worshipping teapot: A Malaysian woman has been jailed for two years for hooking up with the "teapot worshipping" Sky Kingdom cult, contrary to Sharia law which prohibits born Muslims converting to other religions.

Former teacher Kamariah Ali, 57, was cuffed in 2005 when the powers that be clamped down on the cult and demolished its two-storey sacred teapot symbolising the "purity of water" and "love pouring from heaven"....full story from The Register

March 4, 2008

Man flies son to tennis to beat traffic: When Robert Kadera's teenage son was running late for a tennis date near their northern Illinois home, Kadera came up with a novel way to avoid 45 minutes' worth of traffic - fly. There was just one problem - he had to land, without permission, at a golf course.

Now the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, and local authorities are considering charges....full story from TCV

March 3, 2008

GP surgery opens in a supermarket: Patients who cannot make it to a GP surgery during the day will be able to visit an out-of-hours doctor in Sainsbury's under a new pilot project.

The supermarket giant opened a surgery at one of its Manchester, England, stores on Monday, allowing local residents to combine a shopping trip with a late doctor's appointment....full story from Reuters UK


Jagger 'escaped gang murder plot': Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger escaped an assassination attempt at the hands of Hells Angels in 1969, a BBC Radio 4 documentary has claimed.

A former FBI agent told The FBI at 100 series the gang tried to reach Jagger's home in Long Island, New York, by sea, but a storm almost sank their boat....full story from the BBC


Will Lindsay Lohan be Playboy's next Marilyn Monroe?: Hugh Hefner has reportedly offered Lindsay Lohan the chance to pose naked as Marilyn Monroe for Playboy magazine.

The 81-year-old lothario was so impressed by the actress' tribute to Marilyn's last photo shoot, he has asked Lindsay to recreate the screen icon's infamous nude swimming scene from her unfinished film Something's Got To Give....full story from NEW.com.au

March 2, 2008

Arkansas cat down to 7 lives: Charlie Brown is down to seven lives.

Donna and Danny Pistole's black-and-white cat survived a February tornado that destroyed the family's mobile home, coming out of nearby woods skittish but no worse for wear. However, the cat took up refuge in a large pile of debris from the storm that the Pistoles set afire last Sunday while cleaning up their property....full story from TCV


Report: Women Are World Class Fibbers: Most females lie "more cleverly and successfully than men" about everything from infidelity and facelifts to barhopping and shopping binges, according to a new book.

"Women lie as a survival technique, but also to get what they want," said Susan Shapiro Barash, author of "Little White Lies, Deep Dark Secrets: The Truth About Why Women Lie," published by St. Martin's Press this week....full story from the New York Post

March 1, 2008

Woman donates 70-year-old shoes: A woman in England is donating to a museum the pair of shoes she has had for nearly 70 years.

Kathleen Dodd of Hartlepool was issued the pair of brown dress shoes as a member of the Land Army during World War II, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

"They are my Land Army shoes, which I was given as part of my uniform. We had to hand everything back after the war, apart from the shoes," Dodd, 87, was quoted as saying....full story from UPI


Alleged store robber leaves his W-2 form: The robber of a convenience store left behind an unusual clue - a W-2 form. The man robbed a Git-N-Go store in Des Moines, Iowa, early Friday after telling a clerk he had a gun. He left the store with about $115 but at some point took off his hat and jacket.

When police responded, they found the tax form in the coat pocket....full story from the Des Moines Register

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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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