Thursday, November 18, 2010


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Parrot annoys cat before making tactical retreat

Deer in the yard

Flying with vultures

Panic strikes Trinidad and Tobago school after 'Devil attack'

A group of female school children who fell mysteriously ill and began rolling on the ground and talking in tongues were ‘possessed by the devil’. Chaos broke out at Moruga Composite School in Trinidad and Tobago when 17 students began complaining of nausea and headaches before collapsing. Two of the students tried to throw themselves over a railing and had to be restrained, the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reported.

Fellow student Kerm Mollineau said: ‘One girl was blabbering as if in a strange language. I would not understand what she was saying. ‘It was sounding like “shebbaberbebeb shhhhee”, they were unusually strong.’ According to Mollineau the devil had possessed the girl.

He said: ‘I asked the devil what he wanted with the girls and the voice said he wanted a life. He kept saying to send the girls in the toilet and to leave them alone.’ Roman Catholic priests and pastors from nearby churches were called to the school and showered the children with holy water while reciting prayers. The students were hospitalised and pupils are set to receive counselling following the incident.

Fire Officer Ramdeo Boodoo, who conducted safety tests in the school, said there was no evidence of anything that would have triggered the nausea or fainting spells. One teacher who did not want to be named, claimed the school had been visited a fortnight earlier by an Orisha woman who had had a dispute with a member of staff. Orisha is an ancient religion with roots in voodoo. Another member of staff claimed the school had been built on burial site – but this was denied by residents living nearby.

Australian twin sisters drew guns on each other at shooting range and fired

They were sharing the experience of a lifetime, a cultural exchange to one of the most picturesque Rocky Mountain towns. But when one Australian twin was due to return home from the Colorado town of Arapahoe, the sisters did not take a taxi to the airport. Instead, the 29-year-old Victorian twins drove to a shooting range, hired two pistols - and shot each other in the head. Just what motivated their desperate pact is unknown. And so horrific were their injuries, US police were yet to determine which sister died and which is critically injured. The sisters, whose names are withheld, had been in the US for less than three months.

According to their cultural exchange visas, which often indicate participation in an educational travel program, the first sister arrived on August 17 and the other on September 19. On Monday, one was to return to her Victoria home. Police said yesterday they took a taxi from La Quinta Inn and Suites, where they stayed, to the Family Shooting Centre in Cherry Creek State Park just 8km away. Gun range owner Doug Hamilton said the women had been to the shooting range before and knew how to use the pistols they had rented. After checking in and being issued pistols, the sisters spent 80 minutes at the range.

What happened next has baffled US investigators and torn a family apart. A surveillance video showed both women falling backwards to the ground almost simultaneously outside the shooting stall at about 2.50pm on Monday, but it did not show what happened inside the stall. No one entered or left the stall other than the two women. Police still don't know whether the shooting was an accident, a suicide or foul play. No suicide note was found. "Every time I get new information there's a new twist," sheriff's Captain Louie Perea said. "We're keeping an open mind." He said they weren't sure who fired the gun or guns, or whether the same bullet hit both sisters, who were in the same shooting lane.

But they ruled out a third person shooting them. The taxi driver who drove the sisters to the range told investigators he had not noticed anything unusual in their behaviour. Neither did other people using the range at the time. "They were interacting with each other and nothing seemed unusual," Captain Perea said. "They were just a couple of gals having fun at the range." Their sisters' family had been notified but the coroner was still trying to identify which sister had died through fingerprint and dental records. "They look very similar," Captain Perea. Investigators had been unable to talk to the surviving twin, who is in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Pilot was snoring before Air India crash

The pilot of an Air India plane that crash-landed in May, killing 158 people, could be heard snoring heavily on the cockpit voice recorder shortly before the incident, an investigators' report has found. The official inquiry into the incident on 22 May, when the Boeing 737-800 overshot a hilltop runway at Mangalore in western India and plunged down a ravine, concluded that the Serbian captain was asleep for more than half of the three-hour flight from Dubai and was "disorientated" when he attempted to land the plane.

Listening to the cockpit voice recorder, investigators heard "heavy nasal snoring and breathing" from Zlatko Glusica, said the Hindustan Times, which obtained a copy of the report from the government-appointed court of inquiry. While Glusica had awoken before the landing, he was believed to have had "sleep inertia", the newspaper said. The crash was India's worst air disaster for more than a decade, with only eight people surviving after leaping from the wreckage before it burst into flames. Most of those on board flight IX-812 were Indian workers returning from Dubai.

The court of inquiry found that Glusica, who had more than 10,000 hours of flying experience, landed the plane 1,500 metres down the 2,400-metre runway at Mangalore's Bajpe airport in heavy rain. He and the co-pilot, HS Ahluwalia, an Indian national, attempted to take off again but failed to gain height and the plane plunged off the edge of the "tabletop" runway into jungle below. Investigators concluded that had Glusica applied emergency braking he could have stopped the plane in time.

The cockpit recorder picked up Ahluwalia repeatedly warning the captain to "abort landing" and "go around", saying there was not sufficient runway to land. Just before the crash both men are heard saying: "Oh my God." The report has been submitted to India's civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, and will be presented to parliament.

The moment military jet is nearly engulfed in 'ball' of birds just feet from runway

This is the heart-in-the-mouth moment a military jet was almost engulfed by a flock of birds seconds before it was due to land. Looking more like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, the U.S. Navy plane miraculously survived unscathed as it neared the runway at Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas.

Fortunately the pilot of the E-6B, which costs more than £88million, was completely unfazed by the feathered threat and managed to land the aircraft safely. Collisions between birds and planes can cause catastrophic engine failure. In the last 20 years, 200 people have been killed as a direct result of aircraft bird strikes.

Photographer Kaia Larsen managed to capture the dramatic images as she was driving past the airport. Ms Larsen said: 'As I got closer they all started to fly towards the plane like a big ball. It was then I realised something strange was going on.I quickly pulled over and climbed up onto the roof of my car to get some pictures.

'I knew it was a special moment and I even climbed up onto the roof of the truck which was parked next to me to get a better view. It was quite sinister to watch but certainly a fantastic sight.'

Woman uses bomb scare to prevent daughter's marriage

A Russian mother has been detained for making phony reports that her daughter was going to blow up a plane in order to prevent her from going abroad and marry a foreigner, a local police spokeswoman said.

Police at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport delayed a Morocco-bound flight after they received an anonymous call claiming that a female suicide bomber was on board, the spokeswoman said.

The 56-year-old female resident of the Russian city of Yaroslavl was detained shortly after the report was made.

"Her daughter recently fell in love with a Moroccan citizen and was planning to get married to him and move to Morocco. The woman was against the marriage and did not want her daughter to move abroad," the spokeswoman said.

Bristol Palin's dancing prompts man to shoot his TV

A rural Dane County man believes Bristol Palin should not be on "Dancing With The Stars." He demanded his wife get his pistols to emphasize his point. The result: A 15-hour standoff on Monday and Tuesday involving hostage negotiators, a dog team and other law enforcement authorities on one side and the Town of Vermont man on the other. The only casualty: The man's television.

Dane County prosecutors have charged Steven N. Cowan with second-degree reckless endangerment in the incident that made his wife worry that he would shoot her, according to a criminal complaint. Cowan, 67, and his wife were in the living room Monday night, watching the dance competition program that has featured the daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin this season as one of the competitors. As Bristol Palin danced on the screen, Cowan raged.

"The (expletive) politics," he yelled, according to the complaint. Cowan was upset that a political figure's daughter was on the show when he didn't consider her a good dancer, his wife told authorities. Cowan went to his bedroom and came back about 20 minutes later, demanding that his wife find his pistols. Cowan's daughter had taken two handguns away for safety reasons, according to the complaint. Cowan had tracked down a single-shot shotgun in the house, he "slapped" bullets down onto a TV tray, loaded a round and took out the TV, the complaint says.

Cowan's face was bright red. He loaded the gun again. His wife put a blanket over her head, thinking that if her husband decided to shoot at her, she didn't want to see it. Cowan then demanded his pistols. His wife grabbed her purse and left the house and went to the local police department and the standoff ensued. Cowan's wife told authorities that he has been taking medication for bipolar disorder and that the family's finances have caused stress. He had been drinking at a bar before he came home, according to the complaint.

Crocodile farm entertains chance of first conjoined croc twins as double egg found

An Australian crocodile farm could have a conjoined crocodile on its hands after the discovery of a rare type of egg inside a croc nest. Wildlife keepers from Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures in Cairns have been busy collecting eggs since their saltwater crocodiles started nesting three weeks ago.

In one of the nests was an extremely rare conjoined egg, which has been placed in an incubator, where it will stay until it hatches in February. When it hatches, wildlife keeper Clay Mitchell said there was a possibility it could hold conjoined twins. "I suppose you could call them twins, but not identical, which would be the case if they came from one egg," Mr Mitchell said.

"However, looking at the egg, it could technically be classed as one egg but with two separate yolks." The croc farm, about 40km north of Cairns, has only had a couple of double eggs in the 76 years it has been in operation, but this is the first time a fertile double egg has been found.

Once crocodile eggs are laid, the yolk settles to the bottom of the egg with the embryo sitting on top drawing its nutrients throughout the incubation process. To enhance the chance of the hatchlings in the egg surviving, the egg was collected in the exact position it was laid. "We’ll hopefully get two healthy crocodiles coming out," Mr Mitchell said.

Koala walks into Australian bar and nods off

A koala has caused a stir at an Australian pub, wandering inside during a stormy evening and taking up a position above the bar before promptly falling asleep. The furry male marsupial stunned drinkers on Saturday night when he entered the Marlin Bar on Queensland's Magnetic Island, approached barman Kevin Martin and ended up climbing up a supporting wooden pole and settling on a beam.

"I asked him for ID and he didn't have any so that's when he got a bit disgruntled and climbed up a pole," joked Martin on Wednesday. "And he just sort of lay over the piece of wood, one of the little rafters, and flopped his arms down and just fell asleep, enjoying the atmosphere."

Although the koala's visit was welcome, Martin said he called wildlife workers to remove the animal out of concern for its own welfare. The koala was later set free elsewhere on the island, which has a healthy population of the animals - unlike elsewhere in Queensland where they are threatened by development.

Martin said he does not know what prompted the koala to enter the bar, but speculated it could have been attempting to escape the rain. "He was sort of hanging outside the pub beforehand," he said. "He looked a little bit out of his element, I think he wasn't expecting to find himself in the pub. But he seemed pretty happy nonetheless."

Monkey crossing sign confuses Chinese pedestrians‎

Town Hall officials have been accused of making a monkey out of pedestrians with this bizarre road crossing sign.

On one side is a picture of a human being crossing the road, but on the other side there's an ape striding out.

"We have heard of zebra crossings but never a monkey crossing. What are we supposed to do, swing over the road?" laughed one local in Hangzhou, eastern China.

Others think it's an update of an old Chinese phrase, to put a hat on a monkey. "It means to put a fool in a powerful position - and we have enough of those running the town," said one resident.

Hannibal the killer swan gets a taste of his own medicine - Update

A swan dubbed Hannibal for killing other birds is recovering after coming out second best in a fight. His wing is bandaged up and he is on pain killing injections at the Tinker's Hill Bird of Prey & Swan Rescue Centre in Pembrokeshire. It has temporarily brought to an end a nine-month reign of terror at the ponds around Pembroke castle.

Hannibal has been blamed for the deaths of at least 15 swans and injuries to another 22. He was rescued by wildlife volunteer Maria Evans who runs the centre. Despite his fearsome reputation she was able to catch him fairly easily. "From the injury I would say he was probably injured in battle - I think he probably outreached himself.

"I was able to catch him fairly easily, he never did have a reputation for attacking people, just other swans. He is fine. The wing is bandaged up to his body to stop it trailing and he is on pain killing injections. He is in isolation in our new swan unit as we have 16 other swans here at the moment."

Mrs Evans was awaiting a licence to remove him from Castle Pond in Pembroke because of the deaths and injuries he was causing to other swans. His injury has sped the process up and once he is up to it Mrs Evans will take him for blood tests to see if there is an explanation for his overly aggressive nature. Since February he has attacked every other swan that has attempted to join him and his family on the pond.


Boy, 3, unearths £2.5m treasure trove on first metal detecting expedition

A three-year-old boy using a metal detector for the first time has unearthed a gold pendant estimated to be worth over £2.5m. James Hyatt made the discovery while out with his father and grandfather in Hockley, Essex. He had only been scanning the soil for a matter of minutes when it started beeping.

The trio, from Billericay, started digging and just eight inches deep, they saw a glint and found what they now know to be a 500-year-old gold pendant. Dad Jason, 34, said: "James got a buzz after just five minutes. We saw a glint eight inches down and gently pulled the object out. Dad was blown away. He'd never found anything like it in 15 years doing his hobby.

"James was so excited to find treasure, though he's too young to realise its significance." Experts believe the rare locket, or reliquary, dates back to the 1500s and was used to hold alleged parts of Christ's crown of thorns or crucifix. James, who is now four, said: "I was holding the detector and it went beep, beep, beep.

"Then we dug into the mud. There was gold there. We didn't have a map - only pirates have treasure maps." An inquest has declared the reliquary treasure trove and it could be bought for millions by an interested institution, including the British Museum. Proceeds will be split with the family and the owner of the field where the pendant was found.