Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ring a ring o' roses

Rescued baby flying fox plays peekaboo

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Controversy over giant statue of naked lady

A naked woman made of steel who's 55 feet tall now towers over the entrance of a tech campus in the San Leandro neighbourhood of San Francisco.

At the base of the 13,000-pound statue, named Truth Is Beauty, is a message in 10 languages that says: "What would the world be like if women were safe?"

"As someone who is a survivor of rape and sexual abuse myself, I realised that this represented my story," said Deborah Acosta, San Leandro's Chief Innovation Officer. Acosta wanted to make a home for the sculpture, made by artist Marco Cochrane, after it was displayed at Burning Man in the Nevada desert in 2013.

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"The messaging is to look past the skin, the inner strength and the beauty that all of us have," she said. But not everyone sees it that way. "I think it's very inappropriate to have like a naked body just like that. And it's huge, you can't miss it," said one resident.

Emu lassoed after being found wandering along Arizona highway

Authorities received reports of an emu on the loose on Interstate 10 near Phoenix, Arizona, at around 10am on Friday.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr says a responding trooper found the bird in the median.

Mehr says a second trooper arrived and both officers drove alongside the animal to keep it from entering traffic lanes.

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An officer from the Arizona Department of Agriculture then used a lasso to wrangle the emu into a trailer. Authorities say it is still unclear how the emu came to be in the area.

Teenage goalkeeper awoke from coma speaking fluent Spanish after being kicked in the head

A student from Gwinnett County, Georgia, suffered a head injury on the football pitch and woke up speaking fluent Spanish. Last month 16-year-old Reuben Nsemoh, a sophomore at Brookwood High School, was kicked in a head playing goalkeeper for his team. It was the worst concussion his coach Bruno Kalonji has ever seen in one of his players.

“The ambulance came and they said he was having seizures because he might have bleeding in his brain,” he says. Nsemoh was in a coma for three days. When he awoke, he was unable to speak English. But found he could communicate in Spanish. “My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he said. Even though he never really spoke the language before, Nsemoh could do so fluently.

He figures his subconscious remembered the words that now seemingly come naturally to him. “I wasn’t perfect, but my brother is a really fluent Spanish speaker. So he kind of inspired me with that too.” It is the third concussion for the teen. But once he fully recovers, he hopes to get back on the pitch again. “It’s my passion. It’s the one thing I want to do for my career,” says Nsemoh. But Kalonji says he won’t do so on his team without a helmet.

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He believes all goalkeepers should be required to wear one. “This can happen even at practice. And if kids already have two concussions or three, it’s recommended that they wear one,” he says. Nsemoh’s parents are thankful he is recovering. “He’s a fighter. He tells me, ‘Mom I’ll do well. I’m okay’,” says Dorah Nsemoh. The family says the medical bills so far have topped $200,000. Both his mother and father are grateful to the Brookwood community for rallying around.

Bog mummy's missing toe returned after more than 60 years

The missing toe of Tollund Man, one of Denmark’s best-preserved Iron Age mummy's, has been returned after more than 60 years. The toe, still complete and intact with its mummified toenail, was returned by the daughter of the man responsible for restoring the body, who took it home when it was cut off in the 1950s as part of an experiment in perservation techniques. Birte Brorson said the toe had been part of her childhood. "I brought the toe with me to school once to show my classmates," Birte Brorson said. "We read about the Tollund Man, and I said, 'I’ve got his toe at home'. No one believed me, so I brought it there to show them."

Tollund Man was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland peninsular. Although he lived and died in the 4th century BC, his features had been so well preserved by the acid in the bog that the people who discovered him at first thought he was a recent murder victim. Brorson stressed that her father, who ended his career as a museum inspector, had been a serious scientist and was not the sort of person who would keep a toe as a joke. The family found the toe when they emptied their parents' house when her mother was moving into an old people's home.

"We found it in a box where my father kept his tools and things like that," she said. "We thought, 'that's the toe', and put it in a basket to take to my mother’s house, and for the last 11 years it was with my mother’s belongings." When they discussed returning it, their mother stopped them. "My mother said to me ‘don’t give it back to them, they’ll just throw it away’," she said. The father's keeping of the toe is perhaps not as bad as might be supposed, as conservation techniques in the 1950s were not good enough to preserve the whole body, so the forensic examiners decided to only preserve the head and did not keep the rest of the body intact, although some other body parts were preserved.

"That was the feeling we had. 'This is nothing'. At the time we had it bits of the Tollund man was scattered all over Europe." The Silkeborg Museum created a reconstruction of the body in 1987, which is what visitors can see today together with the original head. Brorson said she had been surprised by the reaction when she contacted the museum a week ago. "They were very, very enthusiastic and I didn’t expect that. I’m very happy it is a very big deal. I’m very, very happy that this toe is precious, because I always thought it was." “We are ecstatic here at the Silkeborg Museum. It's fantastic,” Ole Nielsen, the museum’s director said.

Young lady found to be clear after breathalyser test despite having had "a couple of bottles"

An underage motorist who was stopped by police for her erratic driving was let off, even though she had consumed "a couple of bottles" and had no licence, insurance or MOT.

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said the officers were in Runcorn to seize a vehicle for having no insurance when the underage driver rolled up to them in her little pink plastic car, veering from side to side.

When officers asked her parents if she had been drinking, they said she had had "a couple of bottles" that morning. The officers played along and pretended to take a breath test.

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "We’re here to support communities and we pride ourselves on our community engagement. Thankfully, the tot’s reading was clear and she was free to go."

Elderly donkey rescued by firefighters after falling and becoming stranded on kitchen floor

A fire crew from Yeovil, a specialist rescue team from Bridgwater and an officer attended a domestic property in Tintinhull, Somerset, after a rare call reporting that the occupier's donkey had followed her in to the kitchen and then fallen.

The owner, unable to help the donkey up, called her vet who advised her to call the fire service. After liaising with an animal rescue tactical advisor they attended due to the potential risk to the owner and the donkey if he got too distressed.

On arrival crews confirmed the donkey, known as Troy, had fallen on his side in the kitchen and was trapped causing him distress. Crews asked for the vet to be contacted and attend the scene.

Fire crews used salvage sheets and a small length of hose to slide Troy, who is 38-years-old, from the kitchen to a place of safety where once being checked by the vet, he was able to return to his companion, 32-year-old Rosie in the garden.

Lonely snail is hoping to find a 'lefty'mate

Scientists at The University of Nottingham hoping to study the genetics of an ultra-rare garden snail are asking the public for its help in finding the lonely mollusc a mate. The snail’s unique qualities make it a one in a million find - but also impossible for it to mate with its more common counterparts. At first glance, the brown garden snail may look like any other but closer inspection of the snail’s shell reveals exactly why this creature is so special. While the shells of this common species spiral in a right-handed, clockwise direction, known as dextral, the Nottingham snail is a sinistral, with a left-handed anti-clockwise spiralling shell.

In essence, the ‘lefty’ snail is a mirror image of its other shell-dwelling friends. Dr Angus Davison, associate professor and reader in evolutionary genetics in the University’s School of Life Sciences, said: “This really is an exciting find – I have been studying snails for more than 20 years and I have never seen one of these before. We are very keen to study the snail’s genetics to find out whether this is a result of a developmental glitch or whether this is a genuine inherited genetic trait.” However, for Nottingham’s ‘lefty’ snail, dubbed Jeremy, being special comes with a unique set of problems.

In addition to its mirror-image shell, the snail’s genitals are also on the opposite side to the more common dextral snails – making it very difficult for the two types of snails to mate. Dr Davison added: “Snails are hermaphrodites meaning that if they want to they can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate. However, they don’t really like doing this and from our perspective, the genetic data from offspring of two lefty snails would be far richer and more valuable to us.” Jeremy the snail was originally found around a compost heap in Rayne’s Park, South West London by a retired scientist from the Natural History Museum, who spotted its unique traits.

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Having heard about Dr Davison’s interest in snail genetics, he contacted the Nottingham scientist before sending it on – by snail mail. Now the hunt is on for a second sinistral brown garden snail to mate with Jeremy and Dr Davison is appealing to the public to get involved by searching hedgerows, borders and plant pots for this rare variety of the common snail. “This is something which everyone can get involved with and which you can easily do on your own doorstep. It is an example of citizen science at its best. There is a chance, because it is such a rare thing, that anyone who can find and identify another of these sinistral snails may even find themselves named as a contributor on a research paper we publish in the future as a result of this,” he said

Woman unhappy after receiving fine for filling in parking permit with pencil she thought was a pen

A woman from Scunthorpe in Humberside has hit out at a parking firm after being slapped with an “unfair fine" – for using a pencil that she thought was a pen. Liz Clarke, 55, was fined £60 for filling in a parking booklet with pencil instead of pen when visiting her 84-year-old mother at Sutton House flats in Scunthorpe, where there is limited parking. She said that she rushed over to her mother's home, who was in a “state" because of a flooding toilet, and grabbed what she thought was a pen, but it was in fact a plastic-covered multi-ink pen, which also had pencil lead inside.

Vehicle Control polices the parking at the residential development for housing association Ongo. Drivers are supposed to fill out the booklets in pen so that they don't re-use them. She said: “They must realise it is a mistake. I think they could be lenient given the circumstances." Mrs Clarke had planned to appeal the fine but said she has reluctantly decided to pay, if the company disagreed with her appeal, she would have found out after her fine was due, and would have to pay £100. She said: “I was in a rush to get up to my 84-year-old mum because she was in a right state.

“I have even told them that I used to be a special constable. I have appealed but if they say no, the fine will be £100. It was a nightmare day to be honest. I don't want the worry." She added that she contacted Ongo for advice, but was told there was nothing they could do. A spokesman for Ongo said: “I can confirm that in February 2016 we put out a tender and Vehicle Control Services were successful in being awarded the contract. This is something Ongo doesn't pay them for and the contract is for 2 years. When the parking permit scheme was introduced in 2009, customers living in the area were consulted with and in agreement that a permit system was needed.

“A number of residents had been to Ongo staff and said that some people were abusing the permit system which was why we looked to tender out for a new company. All residents living in the area were made aware of the change in provider and our reasons why. I can also confirm that the lady did get in touch with someone in our Housing Management who did say that at Ongo we can't do anything about the fine – as the contract is with Vehicle Control Services to carry out this service on behalf of Ongo, and as stated on the permit – it is to their terms and conditions." Vehicle Control have not responded to requests for a comment.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's the weekend

Eric the cockatoo has a drinking problem

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Honey badger joins campers for apple crumble

This bold honey badger strolled into a campsite in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana on the hunt for an easy meal.

Unperturbed by the group of onlookers, the thieving badger climbed onto a table and helped itself to a sizeable serving of apple crumble.

Safari guide Kenny Tshoganyetso then used a shovel to see off the growling visitor.

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The badger was not harmed in any way, the shovel was only used to create a noise that scared off the dessert thief.

Police issue sketch of would-be child kidnapper

An 11-year-old girl was riding her scooter in Imperial Beach, San Diego, on Wednesday when two men in a royal blue Ford F250 pulled over and tried to get her in the vehicle.

While she wasn't able to recall the license plate of the vehicle, she was able to provide a detailed description of the suspect who exited the vehicle. In that description are two distinctly visible tattoos. The first is an eye in the middle of the man's forehead. The second is a skull in the middle of his throat.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department said the attempted kidnapping happened at around 5:15pm. The girl told police that the man in the sketch was the passenger. She described him as a white man with slicked back salt and pepper hair and a large salt and pepper mustache. He is around 5'11" and approximately 180 pounds.

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She said he exited the truck and attempted to grab the child but she was able to escape to a nearby relative's home, uninjured. There is no description of the driver available at this time. Sheriff's are unsure of where the suspect's fled to after the attempted kidnapping. The suspect in the sketch is not known to the child. If you recognise the man in this sketch, call the Sheriff's Department.

Road sign thief was looking to add excitement to his life

A 21-year-old man from Warren County, New Jersey, was allegedly looking for a thrill when he took a road sign from a construction site.

Manuel J. Leon, of Hardwick Township, is accused of snatching a "men working" sign on Oct. 11, putting it in his vehicle and driving off.

"While being questioned," the complaint says: "Manuel admitted to taking the sign to add excitement to his life."

Leon was charged by New Jersey State Police with theft by unlawful taking. He was later released after posting 10 percent of $2,500 bail.

Man caught in police sting had arranged to pay prostitute with cheeseburger and fries

Police in Casper, Wyoming, arrested four women suspected of prostitution and one man suspected of soliciting prostitutes in an undercover operation on Thursday evening.

Police arrested Bailey Bruce, of Evansville; Cassandra Combs, of St. Paul, Minnesota; Canisha Martinez, of Casper; and Alexandra Tyler, who was homeless, on suspicion of prostitution. Officers also arrested 22-year-old David Mangus, of Casper, on suspicion of soliciting prostitution.

Undercover police officers contacted the women through online advertisements and the women agreed to perform sex acts in exchange for payment ranging from $150 to $350, according to arrest affidavits. Police arrested the women when they arrived at the location where they previously agreed to meet.

Mangus responded to an online ad posted by officers and agreed to pay an undercover officer posing as a prostitute a quarter-pound cheeseburger and medium fries from McDonald’s for sex, according to an arrest affidavit. Officers arrested Mangus when he arrived at the predetermined location with the bag of food. “Hookin’ for cheeseburgers isn’t normal,” Detective Dan Dundas said. Mangus was booked into the Natrona County jail and later released.

Man arrested for shoplifting was trying to raise money to pay his wife's bail for shoplifting

A man charged with shoplifting in Florida told police he was trying to raise money to pay his wife’s bond.

Brian Crume, 48, of Wisconsin is accused of stealing from Walmart in Winter Haven on Wednesday, according to officials.

Police say he took three packs of electronic wire. Crume told an officer that he was hoping to sell the wire on the street.

The Winter Have Police Department said: “He needed to raise money to bond his wife out who was arrested earlier in the day in Lake Wales for, you guessed it, shoplifting.”

Police remind residents to lock their doors after man entered home, stripped and cooked eggs

Police are reminding residents of Vancouver, Canada, to lock their doors and windows after a man was arrested in connection with an unusual home invasion.

Investigators said a 35-year-old walked into a home on Tuesday night, through a closed but unlocked door. He removed all of his clothing, took eggs out of the fridge and began making a meal in the kitchen, police said.

He managed to damage the stove and microwave during his meal preparation. A resident of the home was in another room watching TV, but when he heard the intruder he assumed it was his roommate.

He decided to investigate anyway, and found a naked stranger in his kitchen. The resident chased the man out of the house and then called police, who arrested a suspect a few blocks away. Police have recommended that the Crown lay charges of mischief and break-and-enter.

Inquest heard that eccentric elderly man died in unusual accident after 'swaddling himself'

An eccentric pensioner was found dead in his home in Dawlish, Devon, ’swaddled’ in bed linen and numerous home-made dresses with his face covered in a number of stockings with eye holes, an inquest heard. Retired shop worker Nigel Hobbs, 71, also had his face wrapped in polythene and his mouth taped over. Cotton wool was stuffed in his ears and possibly his mouth, the hearing in Torquay was told. South Devon coroner Ian Arrow, recording that the unsuspicious death by asphyxiation was accidental, said there was no evidence that Mr Hobbs was trying to hurt himself.

The inquest heard that two women neighbours found a lifeless and bizarrely wrapped up Mr Hobbs in the back bedroom of his Stonelands Terrace on April 15. They had wanted to invite him around for a cup of tea, as they had done on previous occasions. They popped into his home after failing to make contact with him. One of them, Heather Ellor, revealed in a statement that she’d heard a loud bang in Mr Hobbs’ next door property at 10pm two days before the curious discovery. She assumed the noise was made by her neighbour during a session of yoga which he enjoyed.

Alan Mould, a neighbour for more than 20 years, said in his statement that Mr Hobbs was ’a little eccentric.’ He revealed that Mr Hobbs had lived with his mother until her death at the turn of the century. He had last seen Mr Hobbs in the late afternoon of April 14, the day after Heather Ellor heard the suspected yoga noise. Mr Mould revealed that Mr Hobbs had osteoporosis and liked to move around a lot, otherwise he feared he would ’seize up.’ He described his neighbour as a happy-go-lucky character who was ’very friendly’ and often with a smile on his face.

’He was a very pleasant man,’ he observed, adding that he was always willing to help his neighbours. Det Sgt Andy Turner, of Newton Abbot CID, said Mr Hobbs had been wrapped in bedding material and numerous layers of home-made dresses. His face was covered in a number of stockings with eye-holes. Underneath these was polythene together with tape over his mouth. He added that cotton wool was found in his ears and, it was suspected, in his mouth as well. DS Turner said Mr Hobbs still had room to breathe through his nose. He said there was no evidence of any third party involvement in his death. It appeared to be accidental, a finding endorsed by the coroner.

Hedgehog with no prickles is treated to daily massages to help combat his dry skin

Nelson the hedgehog is unusual in the fact that he is more or less spineless, with only a few on the lower half of his body.

He is a resident at Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue in Hemsby, Norfolk, where each day a volunteer gives him a massage with lotion to help combat his dry skin.

Nelson is just one of the needy animals at the rescue centre which also homes a blind fox, deer and kittens. It is run by Tonia and John Garner.

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They met 10 years ago and soon discovered they shared the same dream - to set up a wildlife sanctuary. Since then, they have rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of animals and birds each year, and expect the figure for 2016 alone to exceed 1,000.