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Odd News Archive - September 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.

September 30, 2008

UK Secret Service camera bought on eBay: Today's government data loss shenanigan is a repeat performance of that old favourite - flogging off old kit containing secret information to a random punter through online tat bazaar eBay.

An unnamed 28-year-old delivery man from Hemel Hempstead bought a Nikon Coolpix camera for £17 on eBay. But when he returned from his holiday and downloaded the contents of the camera he found pictures of rocket launchers, log-in details for the Secret Service's encrypted remote computer network marked Top Secret and a hand-drawn diagram linking different, named al-Qaeda cells including individual names and occupations....full story from The Register

September 29, 2008

Planes circle Greek isle after controller overslept: Two airplanes due to land on the Greek island of Lesbos had to circle above the Aegean sea for more than half an hour because an air traffic controller overslept, police said on Monday.

An Olympic Airlines aircraft, arriving from the Greek capital Athens, and a Slovakian Airlines plane made several failed attempts to contact control tower personnel....full story from Reuters UK

September 28, 2008

Prisoners allowed to order out restaurant food: Egyptian prisoners are set to be allowed to order meals from any restaurant they choose after a trial run during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan was deemed a success, a senior security official said on Saturday.

The state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported that prison authorities have been placing orders with restaurants and then handing them to prisoners about to break their fast....full story from Reuters UK

September 27, 2008

Anti-bear spray discharge closes Alaska's Juneau International Airport: The airport serving Alaska's capital city doesn't have to worry about bears coming around anytime soon.

Juneau International Airport had to be evacuated Friday afternoon because of an accidental discharge of anti-bear spray....full story from CNews

Australian woman blind three days out of six: A Melbourne woman whose eyes clamp shut for three days at a time - then open up for the next three - has baffled specialists.

Natalie Adler, 21, has been locked in the extraordinary routine for four years.

Doctors believe Ms Adler may be the only person in the world with her condition....full story from

September 26, 2008

Homeowner, friends tie suspect Old West-style: A homeowner and his friends tied up a suspected burglar Old West-style until Memphis, Tennessee police arrived. Antonio Perez and the others used rope to tie up the man after overpowering him in the driveway at the Perez home early Thursday.

Police found him lying there and were told by Perez the suspect had been trying to steal a lawnmower....full story from CBS News

Hospital tells grandfather, 71, that he's pregnant: A patient treated for agonizing abdominal pain received this surprising news in the hospital's paperwork: "Based on your visit today, we know you are pregnant." Surprising indeed for 71-year-old John Grady Pippen.

The staff at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach gave the retired mechanic and logger the ridiculously happy news this month, along with some pain pills....full story from CBS News

September 25, 2008

Driver with $2 million in fines nabbed: Transport authorities in Brazil have caught up with a speed-loving Brazilian driver who clocked up nearly $2 million (1.1 million pounds) in fines, local media reported.

Police intercepted the driver of a 12-year-old car in Sao Paulo at the spot he most frequently committed infractions, the O Globo daily said on Thursday....full story from Reuters UK

Sri Lanka government wants to grow its own marijuana: Sri Lanka's government wants to grow its own marijuana.

Facing a lack of the fresh weed for use in traditional Ayurvedic medical preparations, the government ministry responsible wants to be excepted from laws that have made marijuana illegal on the Indian Ocean island since the 1890s....full story from Reuters UK

September 24, 2008

Scientist brews up 'Jurassic Park' beer: A scientist at California Polytechnic State University has answered that most pressing of questions for would-be time travellers - assuming you survive the journey through the wormhole vortex back to the Eocene epoch, what's the beer going to be like when you get there?

The answer is "smooth and spicy" with "a weird spiciness at the finish", according to beer critics who've been able to sample a "Jurassic Park" concoction brewed with yeast that's a venerable 45 million years old.

It's cheers, then, to Raul Cano who drilled into a Lebanese weevil trapped in Burmese amber to tap a dormant colony of bacteria and yeast, and subsequently activated the latter for deployment by the Fossil Fuels Brewing Company....full story from The Register

Australian woman held hostage by pig: An animal-loving New South Wales vegetarian has been shown why the only good porker is one sliced into rashers and shoved between two thick slices of bread after being held hostage in her home by an 80kg bald pig, the BBC reports.

Caroline Hayes, 63, recounted to Oz media: "It started knocking on my door at 4am, head-butting the door, [after] some food....full story from The Register

September 23, 2008

Passenger jet slams into brick wall: A passenger jet in Ecuador attempted to take off from Quito's Mariscal Sucre airport when it hit a metal antenna at the end of the runway, skidding some 400m and smashing through a brick wall. No one was injured....full story w/pic from

September 22, 2008

Nebraska college town legislators ban the porch couch: Relaxing on the porch in a ratty recliner might not be allowed in Lincoln any longer.

The city council voted 5-2 Monday to ban porch couches and other indoor furniture used outside.

No one testified against the proposal during the council's public hearing last week....full story from The Philadelphia Inquirer

MI-6 agent's moustache falls off during TV interview: The first ever British spy to purposely appear as such on TV had his false moustache fall off during filming, it has been revealed.

The Telegraph reports today on the embarrassing disguise failure, which took place during the recording of an interview for BBC TV's The One Show.

Beeb journo Justin Rowlatt was questioning the spook, identified only as "John", when it became clear that all was not well with the government-issue fake face fungus sported by the incognito intelligence officer....full story from The Register

Human-powered car to debut at tech fest: A car that relies on human power and robotic butlers are just two of the items on display for Wired Magazine's NextFest in Chicago.

The fifth annual peak into the future begins Friday in Millennium Park and runs through Oct. 12, The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday....full story from UPI

September 20, 2008

MySpace boast nets partiers $320K Oklahoma tax bill: Be careful when you boast. Oklahoma college students who bragged on MySpace that their party business had served thousands of revelers have been hit with a state tax bill of $320,000.

The Oklahoman reported Sunday that 2007 tax documents indicate that the party business Kegheadz hosted more than 100 events over nearly five years....full story from CBS News

California officials to pave over music-making asphalt: Residents of northern Los Angeles County are not grooving to this music.

Lancaster city officials said this week that they're paving over a quarter-mile strip of asphalt grooved to play the William Tell Overture when auto tires speed over it....full story from CBS News

September 19, 2008

Ike uncovers mystery Civil War-era shipwreck: When the waves from Hurricane Ike receded, they left behind a mystery - a ragged shipwreck that archeologists say could be a two-masted Civil War schooner that ran aground in 1862 or another ship from some 70 years later.

The wreck, about six miles from Fort Morgan, Alabama, had already been partially uncovered when Hurricane Camille cleared away sand in 1969....full story from Fox News

Bull leads NYC cops on 13-hour chase: A bull that led Queens cops on a 14-hour chase during a mad dash for freedom died less than an hour after being guaranteed a reprieve from the butcher.

Cops corraled the bull at 116th and Bessemer streets in Richmond Hill at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday and handed him over to the city's Center for Animal Care and Control, which relocates farm animals upstate. But it keeled over 45 minutes later....full story from the New York Post

September 18, 2008

Norway sends entire citizenry's ID info to media: Norway's national tax office erroneously sent CD-ROMs crammed with the 2006 tax returns of nearly four million people living in Norway to national newspapers, radios and tv stations, news agency AFP reports.

Although tax statements have been open to public scrutiny in Norway since 1863, the social security number of each citizen remains highly confidential....full story from The Register

New Jersey Democrats get sex chat line instead of County HQ: A misprint in a telephone book has led to some callers dialing a phone sex service while trying to reach a New Jersey political organization.

A listing for the Sussex County Democratic Committee in Embarq's white pages sent people to a sultry female voice inviting them to pay for sex chat....full story from CBS News

Aussie pub dares patrons to bare all down under: An Australian pub offering free drinks to women who remove their underwear and display it to patrons and staff will be investigated by alcohol licencing regulators, authorities said on Thursday.

The Saint Hotel in Melbourne has promised a "No Undie Sundie" event over the coming weekend, where woman who remove their underwear and hang it above the bar will receive A$50 ($39) worth of free drinks....full story from Reuters UK

Internet latest: now we'll all be 3D surfers: Internet surfers will be able to walk through their favourite websites as if they are characters in a computer game with the launch of the world's first 3D browser in Australia today.

Melbourne-based software developer ExitReality has created software that can be quickly downloaded to computers and that converts standard two-dimensional web pages into virtual rooms.

Individual web users are then shown as avatars (virtual people) in the same way as people are featured in virtual games....full story from The Australian

September 17, 2008

Green leader apologises for not smoking pot: The leader of Canada's Green Party, unveiling an election platform that includes a proposal to legalize marijuana, apologised on Wednesday for not having smoked pot.

"I am not a fan of marijuana use. I have to confess this -- I know all politicians are asked. I've never used marijuana. I apologise," said Elizabeth May, who won extra attention this year by being allowed to join the televised national leaders' debates....full story from Reuters UK

Man fined for ramming tree to get koala: A young Australian man has been heavily fined for trying to dislodge a koala by ramming a tree with his Toyota Landcruiser.

Brett Grant Seabrook, 19, of Echuca, pleaded guilty Tuesday to possessing wildlife and endangering an animal, The Age reported. He was ordered to pay $2,800 Australian ($2,237 U.S.)....full story from UPI

September 16, 2008

Toilet-paper researchers create 3-ply tissue: If two-ply toilet paper is good, then three-ply tissue must be better. At least that's what toilet-paper researchers in northeastern Wisconsin hope.

Yes, there is such a thing as a toilet-paper researcher. And a team of them at Georgia Pacific's Innovation Institute in Neenah has come up with a three-ply version of its Quilted Northern product....full story from CBS News

City uses DNA to fight dog poop: An Israeli city is using DNA analysis of dog droppings to reward and punish pet owners.

Under a six-month trial programme launched this week, the city of Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv, is asking dog owners to take their animal to a municipal veterinarian, who then swabs its mouth and collects DNA....full story from Reuters UK

September 15, 2008

Hundreds protest Nepal crackdown on "nude" discos: Hundreds of disco workers protested in Kathmandu on Monday against a government crackdown on "nude dancing" in its bid to improve the deteriorating law and order.

Police have raided scores of discos, nightclubs and dance bars in the past two weeks and detained 1,500 people saying many were running bars where "nude dances" were performed, not allowed by law in the Hindu majority society....full story from Reuters UK

September 14, 2008

Rover, call me an ambulance - Dog calls 911: "Man's best friend" doesn't go far enough for Buddy - a German shepherd who remembered his training and saved his owner's life by calling 911 when the man had a seizure.

And it's not the first time Buddy has been there for owner Joe Stalnaker, a police officer said Sunday.

On a recording of the 911 call Wednesday, Buddy is heard whimpering and barking after the dispatcher answers and repeatedly asks if the caller needs help....full story from CBS News

September 13, 2008

It's sport, not sex say pole dancer champs: It was a busy time for pole dancers in Amsterdam at the weekend.

While the red light district's troupe were gyrating as usual on Friday night, a host of girls from Albania to Spain flew in to compete for the European pole dance championship title....full story from Reuters UK

September 12, 2008

University offers one-day Jedi course: Queen's University Belfast (N. Ireland) will in November open its doors to 30-40 wannabe Jedi knights with a one-day course entitled "Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way."

The blurb explains that the training on offer "teaches the real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks*, and examines the wider issues behind the Star Wars universe, like balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood and fascism". It adds: "This course is a must for all Star Wars enthusiasts, although light sabres are not provided!...full story from The Register

Mom allegedly uses daughter's ID to be cheerleader: A 33-year-old woman was charged with stealing her daughter's identity to attend high school and join the cheerleading team.

Wendy Brown, of Green Bay, is charged with felony identity theft after enrolling in Ashwaubenon High School as her daughter, who lives in Nevada with Brown's mother....full story from CBS News

Hallucinogenic chocolates doom Berlin sweet shop: Police closed down a Berlin sweet shop after discovering the owner was selling chocolates and lollipops laced with hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

The 23-year old owner of the shop in the trendy east Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, an area known for its vibrant night life, was taken into custody on suspicion of drug-dealing....full story from Reuters UK

September 11, 2008

Email promises video starring Obama, delivers trouble: Cyber crooks are trying to cash in on fascination with the US presidential race by sending trick email promising a sex video starring candidate Barack Obama, according to Sophos computer security firm.

Email recipients gullible enough to click on an enclosed link get to see a seemingly homemade sex video that doesn't feature the presidential contender but does secretly install malicious software on people's computers....full story from France 24

Robbers raid ancestral Obama home in Kenya: Burglars broke into the home of U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama's grandmother in a Kenyan village but were quickly caught, police said on Thursday.

"These are just people ... who think that Obama has been sending me a lot of money," said Sarah Obama, the Illinois senator's 85-year-old step-grandmother.

Nothing was stolen during the raid on Wednesday, but police arrested four suspects after a chase by local residents in Kogelo village, west Kenya....full story from Reuters UK

September 10, 2008

Teacher OK after crashing into a bear while riding bike: A middle school teacher suffered some bruising and a big scratch on his back after he struck a bear while riding his bicycle to school.

Jim Litz said he was traveling about 25 mph Monday morning when he came upon a rise and spotted a black bear about 10 feet in front of him. He didn't have time to stop and T-boned the bruin....full story from CBS News

New Zealand airline seeks bald volunteers as walking billboards: New Zealand's national airline is offering to pay bald travelers to use their heads - literally - in a new advertising campaign.

Air New Zealand said it wants 70 recruits to stand in lines in three airports - while wearing temporary tattoos on the back of their heads so the displays can be seen by people lining up behind them.

The airline would pay 1,000 New Zealand dollars (US$660) for each walking billboard, a company official said....full story from Oklahoma City

KFC increases security for top secret recipe: Colonel Harland Sanders' handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices was removed Tuesday from safekeeping at KFC's corporate offices for the first time in decades. The temporary relocation is allowing KFC to revamp security around a yellowing sheet of paper that contains one of the country's most famous corporate secrets.

The brand's top executive admitted his nerves were aflutter despite the tight security he lined up for the operation....full story from The Leaf Chronicle

Getting to the emergency room in style: Emergency patients in the German city of Stuttgart will be rushed to hospital with extra speed and style after the fire brigade added two custom-made luxury Porsche cars to its fleet.

Each Cayenne model, a SUV worth about 70,000 euros, is equipped with a siren which Porsche says can be better heard by drivers and pedestrians and clears the roads faster....full story from Reuters UK

September 9, 2008

Nigerian preacher with 86 wives gets court reprieve: A Nigerian court has granted temporary reprieve to an 84-year-old Muslim preacher with 86 wives after local leaders threatened to force him to leave the area unless he divorced all but four of them.

Mohammed Bello launched a legal challenge after local chiefs and Muslim leaders in Bida, a town in central Niger state where he lives with his wives and some 170 children, gave him until Sept 7 to comply with Islamic sharia law, which allows a man to have no more than four wives at a time....full story from Reuters UK

Clueless uranium smugglers spared jail: Three Chinese men have been spared jail after they smuggled a ball of depleted uranium into the country, ignorant the 274-kg (604 lb) shiny lump was a health threat, local media reported.

"They were surprised that at night when the lights went out the treasure sparkled and glittered, and Wang chipped a piece from it and kept it beside his bed, sometimes playing with it," the report said of one of the men....full story from Reuters UK

September 8, 2008

Son gets same dorm room as Dad Following in his father's footsteps at Michigan State University is one thing. But moving into in the same dorm room his dad did three decades ago has been a coincidence like no other for Mike Robell.

The Dearborn Heights freshman has moved into B310 Emmons Hall - the same room occupied by 50-year-old Rich Robell in 1978. What are the odds? The East Lansing university has about 8,000 rooms....full story from CBS News

Fish flies out of lake, breaks Arkansas teen's jaw: It's a fishing tale that packs a wallop so strong it broke the jaw of a southeastern Arkansas teen and covered him in fish blood and guts.

Seth Russell, 15, of Crossett, was cruising Lake Chicot on a large inner tube towed by a boat when a Silver Asian carp leaped from the water and smacked him in the face. Seth was knocked unconscious....full story from CBS News

Brighter road signs for Baby Boomers: If this doesn't make baby boomers feel older, nothing will. The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered all road and highway signs nationwide to be replaced with a fluorescent, reflective material that is more visible to mature motorists, especially at night.

The changes must be made by 2015 and 2018, depending on sign type....full story from The Leaf Chronicle

September 6, 2008

Antarctic scientists seek plumber: The British Antarctic Survey is looking for a plumber at Bird Island research station off South Georgia.

While there will be no call-out charge, frozen pipes and maintaining heating in temperatures of -20C will certainly keep the successful applicant busy....full story from the BBC

Patrols help curb drunken hospital abuse: Police in Christchurch, New Zealand, are patrolling Christchurch Hospital's emergency department (ED) to prevent drunken patients abusing and assaulting medical staff.

The patrols on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are a bid to combat abuse from drunken patients taken to the emergency department after fights or accidents....full story from The Press (NZ)

September 5, 2008

West Virginia man accused of drunk driving on a tractor: A Charleston man faces drunken driving charges after police spotted him riding a farm tractor on a highway without lights or proper warning signs. Kanawha County sheriff's deputies arrested 22-year-old Joshua David Postalwait early Friday morning....full story from CBS News

September 4, 2008

"Cremated" father reunited with family: A father mistakenly declared dead after going missing eight years ago has been reunited with his family after his son spotted him on television, police said on Thursday.

The family of John Delaney thought he had died when he disappeared in April 2000. They held a funeral and cremation after police found what they thought was his body three years later....full story from Reuters UK

Cop leaves gun in Starbucks: A specialist armed police officer is facing investigation after leaving a loaded gun in a Starbucks cafe in central London, police said on Thursday.

The unnamed officer, who the Sun newspaper said provided personal protection for Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair, forgot the weapon after she visited the coffee house last week....full story from Reuters UK

September 3, 2008

German police hunt high-speed skateboard outlaw: Police are trying to track down a man filmed riding a skateboard down a steep stretch of south German motorway at 100 km an hour (62 mph), far above the speed limit.

They believe the man who raced down the Ulm-Stuttgart motorway for three km (two miles) before he stopped and fled was a professional stuntman, Goeppingen police spokesman Uli Stoeckle said....full story from Reuters UK

September 2, 2008

Marriage problems? Husband's genes may be to blame: The same gene that affects a rodent's ability to mate for life may affect human marriages, Swedish and U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Men carrying a common variation of a gene involved in brain signalling were more likely to be in unhappy marriages than men with the other version, the team at the Karolinska Institute found....full story from Reuters UK

NYC man charged with selling stolen bras on web: A New York man has been charged with selling $80,000 worth of stolen Victoria's Secret bras online.

Prosecutors say 41-year-old George Tutaya was arraigned Tuesday on charges of possessing stolen property. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted....full story from CBS News

FCC blames car alarm plague on radio tower: Federal authorities say a radio tower may be causing a mysterious plague of car alarms going off or not working at all in downtown Tampa, Florida.

The Federal Communication Commission said a radio antennae atop the Colonial Bank building that broadcasts oldies station WRBQ-FM 104.7 uses a radio frequency that emits a harmonic that could sync up with the frequency used by some car alarms, The Tampa Tribune reported Tuesday....full story from UPI

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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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