Friday, March 27, 2015

King of the castle

Here's a monkey with his new puppies

This little monkey meets a litter of puppies for the first time.

YouTube link.

Couple arrested for theft of car, shrimp and underpants

Police in Arlington, Virginia, arrested two people for stealing a car and said that they had also stolen a significant quantity of shrimp and gentlemen’s underwear. Dustin Sternbeck, a police spokesman, said that Terry Walker, 53, and Alonda Hoe, 41, confessed to the thefts.

They said they had taken the merchandise, at least 10 packages of frozen shrimp, some fresh shrimp, and at least four packages each containing five pairs of men's underwear, from a Walmart in Fairfax County. They had stolen shrimp from Walmart before, the suspects claimed when interviewed by police, and then resold it to Chinese restaurants in the area, authorities said.

They said they planned to do so again, Sternbeck said. Instead, they were stopped by police at 4:36 p.m. on Tuesday. Police had noticed that their licence plate matched that of a car that had been reported stolen, Sternbeck said. That is when police saw the shrimp and underpants inside the 2006 Chrysler Pacifica.

Police said that Walker and Hoe were both under the influence of crack cocaine and alcohol at the time they were arrested. Hoe, of Indian Head, Maryland, was charged with habitual petit larceny. Walker of Arlington was charged with crimes including grand auto larceny, possession of cocaine and driving while intoxicated.

Police officers that warn someone could be killed after plastic wrap stretched across road

Deputies are searching for those responsible for stretching plastic wrap across Interstate 90 near Wallace, Idaho.

Authorities say a group of people apparently thought it would be fun to take plastic wrap, attach it to overpass columns along the I-90 exit to Kingston, and then tightly stretch it across the road. Shoshone County Deputy Jeremy Ross said several cars were damaged, including one that had its windshield shattered.

Authorities say the plastic is actually comparable to water, because if it’s hit at close range, it won't do much damage, but the results could be disastrous if struck at a high speed. Deputies said the prank could have fatal results. The group of people ran away from the scene by the time deputies arrived.

No one was hurt, but if a sheet of plastic could do significant damage to a car, it could be fatal for a motorcyclist. "It's warming up, people are starting to ride their bikes again, and that could be a serious, serious issue,” said Ross. Should someone be killed by the pranksters’ actions, they could face manslaughter charges.

With news video.

New Zealanders gear up for teapot racing

They may be short and stout, with a handle and a spout, but a bunch of New Zealand teapots now also lay claim to wheels. Splendid Teapot Racing will feature at the CubaDupa festival on Saturday, the first racing of its kind to be held in Wellington.

Teapot racing originated in Dunedin and had its first public outing at the 2014 Steampunk NZ Festival in Oamaru. A new favourite sport for Steampunk enthusiasts, it consists of radio-controlled vehicles with teapots attached being timed while individually navigating an obstacle course.

Capital! Steampunk founder Leslie Craven (aka Colonel Julius Hawthorne) says teapot racing is harder than it sounds. "You really have to take it slowly and gently and it's quite tense because you're against the clock." Craven, a business analyst from Hataitai, describes Steampunk as Victorian-influenced science fiction.

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"It encompasses a lot of things, but is inspired by some of the first Steampunk authors who used Edwardian settings with technology they didn't have at the time." Ten converted teapots from various Steampunk groups around New Zealand will tackle the obstacle course at Thistle Hall on Saturday. Racing is from 10am to midday and is free for spectators.

Psychotic Samurai sword-wielding man dressed as Shaolin monk injured six police officers

Six police officers in Vienna, Austria, were injured by a psychotic man dressed as a Shaolin monk and wielding a Samurai sword on Monday.

Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said that the drama started when a woman in an apartment in Kudlichgasse, in the Favoriten district, heard a loud knocking on her door at 2:00am. She opened the door to find a bald-headed man she had never met before dressed in an orange monk’s robe, and armed with a large sword. He pushed his way into her home, and she ran out and called the police.

Three police officers arrived at the building shortly afterwards and found the 39-year-old man in the stairwell. They surprised him with pepper spray and managed to knock the sword out of his hand but all three officers were seriously injured in the scuffle. As the man seemed to be suffering from mental illness they took him to the Rufolfstiftung psychiatric hospital.

However, he managed to escape from the hospital just hours later and was spotted in Meidling cemetery wearing a white hospital gown. When three police officers arrived he karate kicked and punched them. Again, they had to use pepper spray to subdue him and then took him back to hospital.

Deaf man who called police officer ‘pig’ in sign language given conditional discharge

A man with a hearing disability from Kendal, Cumbria, was arrested after saying 'pig' in sign language to a police officer, a court heard.

South Cumbria Magistrates Court was told that police were called to McDonalds on Stricklandgate after reports of a man 'causing difficulties'. Linley Hassan, 25, of no fixed address, refused to leave the restaurant and became 'confrontational' with the police.

Peter Kelly, prosecuting, said: "He was making a sign that the officer, who understood sign language, knew to mean 'pig'." In mitigation, John Batty said Hassan had had a volatile existence of late and had been going to great lengths to reduce his alcohol intake.

Hassan pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly. He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and a £30 contribution towards court costs.

Police called to school by residents concerned that work on its new football pitch could kill bats

Police were called to a school over fears that bats could be killed. Residents living near Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton, Sussex, called the police accusing the school of potentially destroying bat habitats as part of work to build a new artificial football pitch. Neighbours have been calling for environmental surveys into two species of endangered bat believed to live at the school.

But when diggers arrived on the school fields on Tuesday morning tempers flared. Council planners have told the school they are not allowed to start work until ecological surveys have been approved. But workers appeared to have starting work removing trees. David Alderton, chairman of the Preston Park and Fiveways Local Action Team, said: “Many people – including the parents of pupils at Stringer – are very upset by what is going on.

“There are at least two species of bat there, and birds’ nests are potentially being destroyed illegally as well, as a result of this unauthorised development work. I think this sets an appalling example for the pupils at this school – it sends a message that wildlife is completely expendable and you do not need to consider it seriously when undertaking large-scale development work. Bats are strictly protected in this country.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “At 11.50am on Tuesday we received a call from a local resident that bats were being endangered in woodland next to Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton. A PCSO attended, confirmed that the issue had nothing to do with the police and advised the caller to speak to the council planning department.” A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “The school has actively approached us regarding their obligations about bats under the planning consent. As the planning authority, we’ll be making sure that all planning conditions for this project are met.”

Man who tried to hold up bookmakers while armed with tin of John West pilchards spared jail

A man has escaped jail after trying to hold up his local bookmakers with a tin of pilchards. Rory Seager, 18, owed a friend £1,800 and spent the day ploughing his last pennies into roulette machines hoping to win the money until he was down to his last pound. The 6ft 4in teenager then hit upon plan to rob the bookies - where he was a regular customer. He bought a 99p tin of John West pilchards and burst into William Hill in Ilford, nort heast London, last December, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard. Seager demanded cash and claimed the tin of fish in tomato sauce in his black bag was a lethal explosive device. "I've got a bomb," he told cashier Adeyemi Awomudu who simply walked off into a secure room at the back of the shop.

Realising he had not thought his plan through, Seager hurled the tin across the shop in frustration and left. Mr Awomudu had recognised him and Seager was arrested shortly afterwards, confessing to his bungled plan immediately at the police station. He admitted attempted robbery and one count of communicating false information about a bomb hoax. Edward Franklin, prosecuting, said: "This wasn't a classic bomb hoax in that the security services weren't alerted and there's no evidence that any action was taken by the authorities. This is beat dealt with as an attempted robbery - you can say you have a knife or a gun, in this case it was a tin of pilchards masquerading as a bomb."

Caroline Carberry, defending, said Seager had been suffering from depression at the time of the incident and has Tourette's Syndrome. These are serious offences and I accept that normally these types of offences would merit an immediate sentence of imprisonment," she said. "He's far from someone who fits the profile of a robber of a small business, it's a great irony that Rory Seager went into a bookmaker somewhere he was known - he knew the man behind the counter." She added that Seager's own mother also works at a bookmakers and choosing to rob a similar premises indicated he 'hadn't given it much thought.' "This was entirely out of character, this was an aberration in this young man's life," she went on.

Passing down a two-year suspended sentence, two year's supervision by the probation service and ordering him to undergo mental health treatment, Judge Karl King said: "There can be absolutely no doubt that what you did was to commit a very serious offence. You secreted this item in a black bag, no doubt to give it a more convincing air to what you were doing. I'm satisfied that the custody threshold has been passed but what I am about to do is exceptional and does not reduce the gravity of your offence you committed. I am persuaded that I can suspend the sentence." Judge King also barred him from any betting shop for the next 12 months and ordered him to pay a £100 surcharge. Seager, of Ilford, wiped away tears as his sentence was read out. One of his family shouted "You are a just and a fair man, your honour" as the judge left the bench.

Call for return of top inch of England's highest mountain that was 'stolen' by artist

Cumbrians are demanding the return of a crucial piece of England’s highest mountain, which an artist has admitted taking. Tourism bosses said they want Ecuadorian artist Oscar Santillan to give back the small stone taken from Scafell Pike. The rock features in an exhibition at the London gallery Copperfields, and is described by the exhibition organisers as the uppermost inch of the highest mountain in England.

It forms part of Santillan’s The Intruder, which has the stone embedded in a pedestal. A description of the exhibition says: “The exhibition ultimately draws out the obscure. Unexpected events occur: the dance of a dead philosopher is unveiled, a piece of land is taken, nature and culture collide. Departing from the tradition of land art in making often major modifications to the natural landscape, The Intruder presents an inch of stone carefully removed from the English countryside.

“At a glance it is seemingly insignificant and yet the material is carefully presented. Scaling the 3,028ft Scafell Pike in the Lake District, the artist has taken the uppermost inch of the highest mountain in England. An entire nation’s height is modified and its landscape redefined by means of a single precise action. The artist explores the way in which human categories are imposed on nature: the largest, the tallest, the most powerful.”

Ian Stephens, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “We are all aware that Cumbria’s landscape has long inspired generations of artists. These include international greats like JMW Turner, Ruskin, Schwitters and Li Yyan-chia, considered to be one of the founding fathers of Chinese abstract painting. These individuals have all taken a piece of this landscape away in the figurative sense. This is taking the mickey and we want the top of our mountain back. At the very least we would like to see the piece returned to the county it has been removed from.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015



Baby elephant takes its first faltering steps

Filmed at the Londolozi Game Reserve, situated on the western border of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, this newborn elephant is tenderly greeted by the rest of its herd, whilst they protect it from the dangers of the outside world.

YouTube link.

Ducklings share a bath with capybara

JoeJoe the capybara has a soak with some little chirping friends.

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Driver used some of his cargo to stop stuck truck from overturning

On Tuesday morning at approximately 7:03am, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Deputies received a call requesting assistance with a stranded eighteen wheeler truck on Interstate 49 in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.

Deputies were dispatched to assist with traffic. When officers arrived at the scene, they were astounded to find two elephants keeping the truck from overturning.

Three elephants were being transported on the truck from New Orleans to a circus in Dallas, Texas. The truck became stuck after the driver pulled off the edge of the soft shoulder.

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Recent rains caused the ground off of the shoulder to be soft. A local wrecker service was contacted to assist in the removal of the truck. No citations were issued.

Angler surprised to reel in fish with attached huge crocodile

Angler Ben Stack from Cooktown in Queensland, Australia, thought the threadfin he caught had run under a log when he was no longer able to reel it in, during a recent Cape York fishing trip. “Us fishermen and women know that fish run for cover under snags all the time, so I began slowly winching in the heavy dead weight to the boat,’’ he says.

“My 60lb (27kg) leader surfaced and I leant over the boat and grabbed the leader with both hands. Leaning over the side of the boat, hand over hand, I began pulling the leader in. But this stage, I was expecting to see a large branch or log come to the surface from under my boat. The water was a bit murky, so I was really hanging over the side to get a good look.

“What took place in the next few seconds felt like a lifetime.” He said he first saw a bit of silver, then its lure with the fish’s mouth wide open. “I lifted the leader some more and leaned over further to see what the fish was hooked up on,’’ he said. “It was at this moment, I realised I was staring eye to eye with a solid saltwater crocodile.

“We were no more than 20 inches (51cm) apart.” When fright kicked in, he said he released the leader and flew backwards into his boat. “I couldn’t believe what I had just experienced and I didn’t think anybody was going to believe me,’’ he said. He warned those fishing in creeks and rivers with crocodiles to be careful of crocodiles, as the predators may be hiding under boats.

Driver found asleep in car in middle of motorway

Truck driver Mark Nicholas was on his regular overnight run from Sydney to Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, when he found a man sound asleep in his car in the middle of the M1 motorway in a 110km/h (70mph) zone. Mr Nicholas spotted the car just before the Gosford on-ramp at about 1.55am on Tuesday.

“I was halfway up the hill and at first thought the car was just going slowly. As I got closer I realised the car was stopped, so I quickly pulled in front of the vehicle on the shoulder,” said Mr Nicholas, who caught all the action on his dash-cam. After grabbing his torch, Mr Nicholas approached the car which had its engine still running and windscreen wipers on and tried to rouse the man from his impromptu snooze without luck.

“I checked to see the driver was breathing and had a pulse and called Triple-0 then tried to wake him up. But despite the noise, the windows being down and me pushing, prodding and yelling at the man for at least three minutes he was out for the count,” he said. When emergency services arrived at the scene, they eventually revived the man using pressure point techniques, according to Mr Nicholas. “It was then the man seemed to lash out a bit and, according to the paramedics, when he opened his eyes briefly his pupils were the size of dinner plates.

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“At one point they thought the driver was going to run out into the road and then he just then went straight back off to sleep,” he said. “Someone suggested the driver, who had his phone in his lap, may have been coming down off some drugs. I don’t know about that but what is strange is that he obviously had enough wits about him to put the car in neutral and put the handbrake on before nodding off,” Mr Nicholas said. Police said the man was subjected to a breathtest and the test came back clear. The car driver was arrested in order for police to take him to hospital to obtain a urine sample. He has been released without charge, pending the result of the test.

Man ordered to repaint house after officials ruled that the colour scheme wasn't Swedish enough

An man from southern Sweden has been ordered to repaint his home after local officials ruled the new colour scheme for his home in Skänninge wasn't Swedish enough.

Bernth Uhno recently bought and repainted a house that had been empty since 1981.

He swapped the old, flaking yellow paintwork that the house had been covered in for decades, for a more vibrant shade of orange at the top of the building, which turns gradually lighter and more yellow towards the bottom.

However his taste proved too radical for local councillors who argued his colour scheme was too outlandish and ordered him to repaint it in a more suitable shade. "The colour scheme is not Swedish," Anders Steen, a Centre Party politician who is chair of the town's building committee said, adding that in Sweden people tended to stick to one colour for their homes.

Woman caught trying to sneak into Turkey inside small suitcase

Turkish police detained two Georgians on the border between the two countries, after one hid herself inside a suitcase in order to be smuggled into Turkey.

Suspicions of customs police were aroused by the behaviour of a 25-year-old Georgian man who had entered Turkey via the Sarp Border Crossing.

The man was forced to open his luggage, and a 22-year-old Georgian woman was found inside, crouched silently in the foetal position.

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Both were briefly detained for illegally crossing the border, before being deported. The woman had reportedly attempted to smuggle herself into Turkey following a previous ban on her entry.

Shoppers not thrilled about CCTV cameras in public toilets

Members of the public are being filmed in a public toilet in Lewisham, south east London. CCTV cameras are in place next to the urinals and cubicles in the toilets of Lewisham Shopping Centre on Molesworth Street. Orpington man Simon Barnshaw, 50, who works in Catford was using the toilets next to Poundland on March 17 when he made the discovery. He said: "I've washed my hands, looked up, then I saw a camera behind me, right next to the door, watching me. It might be for drug dealers but these are public toilets. I don't think you should have a camera in the toilet, I don't mind the one by the basin or by the door but not in the facility. It's embarrassing for people, you can't even have any privacy in a toilet."

Mr Barnshaw has now lodged an official complaint with Lewisham Council about the cameras. Installing CCTV cameras is legal but should only be used to deal with very serious concerns and positioned in places to cause as little intrusion as possible. Cameras must also be clearly signposted, which they are at the shopping centre. Big Brother Watch chief executive Renate Sampson said: "Putting CCTV cameras in public toilets is a gross invasion into the public's privacy. The public have an expectation of privacy in toilets and in changing rooms. That expectation is highlighted in the data protection act which is very clear that CCTV cameras in toilets should only be used in exceptional circumstances and to deal with very serious concerns."

A spokeswoman for Land Securities said the cameras were installed to prevent anti-social behaviour and only film the tops of cubicles. Gordon Collins, 58, of Eltham said: "It's only a bad thing if you're up to no good, I've just used them now. I've got nothing to hide but I know a few people that don't like it." But Jody Painter, 32, of Catford did not share Mr Collins' feelings. She said: "That's bad, you can't do that. I'm sorry but if a young kid was going to the toilet and you've got a sick person who's watching that then that's wrong. You might as well have a camera in your bathroom, that's disgusting." Meshea Bailey, 35, of Lewisham shared these views. She said: "I think it's a bit over the top. You wouldn't want that in the toilet, you've got your kids in there and even yourself."

And Georgia Provok, 39, of Surrey Quays was appalled to learn about the cameras. She said: "That's invading my privacy, I've used those toilets very occasionally but I would never use them now. I can't understand, that's a place where I show my private parts. It should be made clear exactly where the cameras are, it's okay if they're just by the door or by the basins but that should be made clear, the signs aren't big enough. I know they're there to prevent crime but why not have a barrier where people pay to use the toilets instead? If I'd just used those toilets now then I'd be making an official complaint, more people need to know about this."

Man says he was victim of drive-by potato attack

A potato was thrown at a man in an alleged 'drive-by' attack in a Gloucestershire town.

Maurice Wilby was using a cash machine in Tewkesbury when he said was struck on the shoulder with what was described as a 'large' spud. Mr Wilby said: "It hit the cash machine and then hit me on the shoulder.

"It was quite a large potato. If that had hit me square on, I would have really felt it." He said he saw people laughing in a car that was playing music moments after the potato struck him but had not managed to note down its registration number.

Mr Wilby said he believed the police should go back to having officers on foot patrols in the town centre more often, in order to prevent such behaviour.