Friday, May 22, 2015


Passing sheep helpfully trim man's hedge

Oddly, he doesn't seem that pleased about it.

YouTube link.

Jealous woman allegedly assaulted 82-year-old boyfriend with hacksaw and model plane

A woman from Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, is accused of attacking her 82-year-old boyfriend. State police at Rockview were called to Mount Nittany Medical Center on Friday morning after getting a report of a man receiving treatment after an assault. They arrived and interviewed the man and Bonnie Treaster, 46, who told troopers that an unknown person entered the man’s home and assaulted him, according to police.

But on Monday, the man was released from the hospital and met with state police at his Potter Township home, where he told them a different story. According to court documents, the man told police that Treaster assaulted him in “an outrage of jealousy.” The man reported that Treaster first slapped him in the face, began throwing things through the house and punched him in the eye, according to police. The man said he then ran from the house to a detached garage, and Treaster followed, threw him on the ground and was on top of him “to the point he could hardly breathe,” according to police.

He also reported that she struck him on the head with an exhaust clamp, grabbed a hacksaw and tried to pull down his pants. He said he ran from the garage in the hopes someone would see him when he noticed a badly bleeding groin wound, police said. Treaster followed him in a pick-up truck and he got in and they went back to the home. He reported that once they got back in the house, she began yelling again and struck him in the mouth with a wing tip of a model airplane, according to police.

The man said he and Treaster fabricated the story about the unknown assailant on the way to the hospital. He sustained lacerations that needed stitches on his head and finger, a black and blue left eye, an injury to his genitals and a minor brain bleed, according to court documents. A bloody hacksaw was found in the garage Treaster is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault and a summary harassment charge. She was arraigned on Tuesday morning before District Judge Carmine Prestia, who set bail at $75,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 27.

Man's enlistment of stuffed owl as defence attorney proved to be unsuccessful

Charles Abbott arrived at court in Aspen, Colorado, on Tuesday with a stuffed owl and placed it on the defence table in front of him. “He’s a very sensitive guy, has law degrees from Yale, Harvard and Stanford,” Abbott told Pitkin County Court Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely. “I think he’ll be able to represent me before a public defender comes online.” But the fluffy horned owl that Abbott called “Solomon,” had no influence on the hearing’s outcome. Fernandez-Ely casually ignored its presence when Abbott introduced it, and she moved along with the court’s business. Abbott’s court appearance was to address a protection order that took effect after he was accused of assaulting his former roommate, Michael Stranahan, at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on May 9. Authorities again arrested Abbott, 67, on Saturday on suspicion of violating the court order by going to Stranahan’s home to collect some belongings.

Stranahan said he had previously thrown Abbott out of his place. Abbott told Fernandez-Ely it was a misunderstanding; Stranahan said Abbott took some of Stranahan’s possessions. “I was pretty clear that Mr. Abbott was not to go there,” the judge said. Fernandez-Ely asked Stranahan, 75, if he wanted to modify the protection order so that the two can undergo mediation to patch up their differences. Stranahan declined. “I want it to remain in place because I don’t feel safe about being in close proximity to Charles Abbott,” Stranahan said. Stranahan said he was out of town on Saturday when Abbott’s friend, Eric Nilan, called to ask if he could collect some of Abbott’s possessions. Nilan, who recently was released from jail after being sentenced to four years of supervision for felony stalking, asked Stranahan if Abbott could join him, Stranahan told the judge.

“I said Mr. Abbott cannot go to my house because of a little piece of paper (the protection order),” Stranahan said. But at 8:30 that night, Stranahan received a call from Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Crider, who said Abbott was in his house. “He asked if that was OK, and I said it was not OK,” Stranahan said. He added, “I think it would have been OK if Eric had gone by and got what he needed, but he didn’t do that, and I feel a violation of trust. So there you have it - I don’t know what to do.” Stranahan also said he doesn’t want Nilan to be involved as a conduit between him and Abbott anymore. “I think it puts undue pressure on Mr. Nilan,” he said. Abbott had hoped the Rev. Nicholas Vesey of Aspen Chapel could bring the two estranged friends together. Vesey told the judge he knows both men and that they attend his church.

YouTube link.

“To me, it’s tragic to see them at odds with each other,” he said. Vesey said he normally doesn’t get involved in domestic disputes but that Abbott had asked for his help. Even though a protection order is in place, Abbott can still attend church when Stranahan is there. But he isn’t allowed to have any contact with him, the judge said. After Abbott learned that Stranahan didn’t want to make up, he accused his ex-friend of numerous misdealings. He also alleged Stranahan was wearing his L.L. Bean flannel shirt. “I’d like to point out that Mr. Stranahan is wearing one of my shirts, the blue one,” he told the judge. “That is not his shirt; that is mine.” Fernandez-Ely told Abbott his remarks were out of scope with the hearing and that if Abbott wants to retrieve his belongings from Stranahan’s home, he needs to make sure there’s a deputy on the scene.

Unhappiness about overbooked flight led to man stripping naked in airport

A man reportedly stripped naked in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina early on Wednesday morning after he became angry about a flight being overbooked. Police say he will not be facing charges. According to witnesses, the man was attempting to get on board a US Airways flight to Jamaica.

"I seen some people running and I was wondering what they was running from and people were standing there snickering, so I walked over and [an airport employee] told me the man was angry over the Jamaican flight," Sherry Ketchie said. Ketchie says the man sounded very angry and was yelling.

"He had his clothes on, at that point, and then he started standing there with his arms crossed and hollering at the lady at the desk," she added. "He stood there for a moment and then started taking off his clothes. I ain't never seen nothing [like that] in my life." She says the man didn't say anything as he was taking his clothes off. "More people started getting back because that's when security started surrounding him, waiting for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to come in," she said.

"I was not expecting to see nothing like that, I've never seen nothing like that at Charlotte Douglas airport. Never," she said. "And that's when I got out my phone and started taking pictures." She says the man was standing in the concourse naked for about an hour. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police confirmed they responded to a "disturbance call where a male was suffering from a medical issue." They said the man was taken for treatment and will not be facing charges.

Cat rescued from Volkswagen Beetle drive shaft

A stuck cat named Baby was rescued in Los Angeles last week.

Upon arrival, the rescuers were surprised that the animal was inside the floor an old Volkswagen Beetle.

El Gato and Mr Fox from Los Angeles Animal Services used an electric saw to cut open the drive shaft chamber.

YouTube link.

After some delicate and precise cutting they were eventually able to pull out the frightened feline.

Man faces charges for allegedly trying to shoot raccoon that had been stealing his dog's food

A Florida man faces weapons charges for reportedly trying to gun down a sticky-fingered raccoon on his property.

Joseph Perugia, 55, of Palm Coast, was charged with two counts of reckless or negligent discharge of a firearm on residential property, use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was released from custody on Tuesday morning after posting $4,000 bail.

According to a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office incident report, deputies responded to Perugia’s home just after 9pm on Monday following reports of gunfire. Perugia appeared to be armed when deputies arrived and he initially refused to drop his gun and come out from behind his gate.

When he did, officers noted he slurred his speech and appeared unstable on his feet as if he was drunk. Perugia said he used a .357 Magnum to shoot at a raccoon that had been stealing his dog’s food. Officers recovered the weapon from his property and determined he had fired two shots.

Sign language interpreter left little doubt about unparliamentary language from sweary politician

New Zealand Member of Parliament Ron Mark uttered a barely audible swear word in the House, but viewers watching Parliament TV's sign language interpreter were left in no doubt about what was said.

The NZ First MP appears to have momentarily forgotten the cameras were pointed his way when he decided to tell the jeering Government benches to "shut the f*ck up".

Anyone who could lip read could easily catch what Mark muttered, but for those left wondering they need only watch the interpreter making a guest appearance as part of Sign Language Awareness Week.

Full YouTube video.

The faux pas went unnoticed by Speaker David Carter at the time, but Mark voluntarily apologised at the end of Question Time, later saying he did not know it was audible.

Many thanks to Daniil, whose friend is the sign language lady.

War of words over whether animals can suffer verbal abuse

A case of alleged animal abuse in the far west of New South Wales, Australia, has led to debate about whether sheep can comprehend human speech. It began in September last year, when the New South Wales branch of the RSPCA received a tip-off about the alleged mistreatment of sheep, including verbal abuse, that were being shorn at Boorungie Station, 130 kilometres from Broken Hill. The complaint was lodged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had apparently obtained footage and testimony from an undercover operative working at the station. For Ken Turner, who operates Boorungie Station, the complaint itself suggests the sheep could at least understand English. "The basis for the concerns was the rights of the animals, that they might have been harassed by viewing things they shouldn't have seen or verbal abuse by people using bad language," he said. "To my knowledge, there was no actual cruelty on the job.

"The allegation was that bad language was used by an employee on the property in front of the sheep, and that they could have been offended by the use of bad language." Steve Coleman, CEO of NSW RSPCA, said the war over the words began when it was decided, for reasons that remain unclear, that the video footage was not legally usable. "We felt the footage was inadmissible and therefore we relied on what oral evidence came from both parties," he said. "It was conflicting and on that basis we were unable to continue. The evidence that was available basically came down to one person's word against another." While Mr Coleman did not deny that verbal abuse was a factor, he insisted the complaint contained more concerning issues than just bad language. "Certainly there were other concerns well beyond yelling at sheep," he said. While describing claims about verbal abuse of animals as "rare", Mr Coleman said the RSPCA took such allegations seriously.

"If there is an allegation that puts at risk an animal that would cause it unnecessary suffering and distress, we would investigate it," he said. "I don't know if it matters what language is used. An animal is not going to understand it." But Nicolah Donovan, president of Lawyers for Animals, said animals did understand. "I think it is conceivable that verbal abuse of an extreme nature against an animal, whether it be human, sheep or otherwise, could constitute an act of violence," she said. "We have accepted that domestic violence can certainly be constituted by acts of extreme verbal abuse, particularly when the victim of the abuse is especially vulnerable - if they have a low fear threshold or they lack understanding that the verbal abuse isn't going to proceed to a physical threat against them. This might be the case with children or farm animals, and the level of abuse needn't be that extreme to cause that kind of fear in an animal."

Lynda Stoner, CEO at Animal Liberation NSW, agreed. She said animals did not need to understand language in order to comprehend that a human speaker was frustrated or angry. "I'm not sure all animals can understand different dialects," she said. "I don't think they're getting the nuances someone is using. What they will be getting though is the threat inherent in the way that voice is used. I believe they can absolutely comprehend emotion. We all know that animals feel pain and suffering, we know animals remember what's been done to them, and we know they can anticipate brutality if it's come before. I don't think that's placing human emotions on animals. It's simply that all animals, all species, are capable of feeling pleasure, pain, suffering and all those feelings we feel." As for Ken Turner at Boorungie Station, the experience has been an eye opener, but he is not about to watch his words in future. "It made me ask a lot of questions of myself about what we're allowed to do and not allowed to do," he said. "I believe we do things properly. We'll continue as normal."

There's an audio interview with Ken Turner here.

Sex-obsessed seal sent to girls-only park as she keeps falling pregnant despite being on the pill

A "sex-obsessed" seal has been removed from her home in Cornwall to stop "further illicit breeding". Common seal Sija, originally from Belgium, has been transferred to Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park where there are no male seals.

The decision was made after Sija gave birth to a second pup despite being given the contraceptive pill. She has been joined at the sanctuary by her visually impaired surrogate mother Luna.

While living at the Cornwall Seal Sanctuary in Gweek Sija mated with ageing lothario Babyface. One-eyed Babyface, 37, is one of the oldest seals in captivity and was thought to be infertile but fathered two pups with Sija. The Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park agreed to take Sija, who they described as "sex obsessed" and "randy", to stop her breeding.

On the seals' arrival this week, the park's Fiona Smith said they would be getting "lots of extra love, attention and feeding activities to keep them occupied". Tamara Cooper, animal care supervisor at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, said: "Both seals were thoroughly prepared and were not distressed in any way."

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Kittens suffer from contagious yawning


YouTube link.

Bearded man dressed as woman robbed pharmacy

A bearded man dressed as a woman robbed a Walgreens pharmacy at gunpoint on the west side of Detroit, police said.

The armed robbery took place at around 10:50am on Monday. The man was wearing a black curly wig, a purple dress, white shoes and was carrying a brown purse and cane.

Police release surveillance footage on Tuesday of the man as he stood at the pharmacy counter. An employee filled the suspect's purse with an undisclosed amount of US currency before the suspect fled on foot.

YouTube link. Alternative news video.

The suspect is described by police as a black male, 30- to 40-years-old, approximately 6-foot and weighing 250-280 pounds. He has a full beard and moustache. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detroit police.

Man allegedly assaulted cousin in disagreement over way she was cooking hard boiled eggs

A Florida man is facing a felony charge after allegedly assaulting a female relative because he “did not agree with the way she was cooking hard boiled eggs,” police report.

Cory Lee Shinkman, 23, was arrested last week following a confrontation in the St. Petersburg home he shares with the victim and other family members.

According to police, after Shinkman argued with his cousin about the boiled eggs, he followed her out the back door “and pushed her against a dresser and scratched her.”

When questioned by police, Shinkman reportedly “admitted the offence,” but said that his cousin “pushed him inside the house first.” A witness, however, contradicted Shinkman’s claim that the woman was responsible for escalating the incident. Shinkman, whose has a prior battery conviction, was freed from the Pinellas County jail after posting $1500 bond.

12-year-old boy in trouble after being enlisted by his drunk father to drive him home

A drunk father in France has landed his 12-year-old son in trouble with the law after he enlisted him to drive him home following a boozy fishing trip.

Realising he was too drunk to drive, the 41-year-old father thought the next best option to getting behind the wheel himself would be to ask his 12-year-old son to drive him home. The police pulled over his vehicle on Saturday night in the Loiret departement in central France.

Inside, they found a 12-year-old boy behind the wheel accompanied by his worse-for-wear father slumped in the passenger seat. The father admitted that he had called in the family favour after realising he had had too much to drink, with police measuring his blood/alcohol content at almost 0.2 percent - meaning he was almost four times over the legal driving limit. France's legal blood alcohol content for driving is 0.05 percent.

Exactly why he asked his pre-teen son to do the favour and not someone a little older, like a taxi driver for example, remains unclear. But his request has landed his son in trouble with the law. The son is under investigation on the suspicion of driving without a licence and his father for various driving offences. The police noted, on the plus side, that the boy appeared to have mastered the finer points of driving, and had even indicated correctly when pulling over to the side of the road.

Tourist jailed after patting Dubai policewoman's shoulder while asking for directions

A holidaymaker, who denied molesting a policewoman when he patted her shoulder to ask her for directions to Dubai Mall, has been jailed for three months. The 49-year-old Kazakh tourist, K.B., molested the policewoman by touching her arm and assaulting two policemen at Burj Khalifa Metro station in December. “That is not true. I did not molest her. I only patted her on her shoulder as I wanted to ask her for directions to Dubai Mall … I had no criminal intention at all,” said the defendant when he entered an innocent plea.

On Sunday, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed K.B. for three months after he was convicted of molestation. Presiding judge Mohammad Jamal also fined the defendant Dh2,000 (£350, $550) over the assault charge. The accused will be deported following the completion of his punishment, according to Sunday’s ruling that remains subject to appeal within 15 days. When asked if he assaulted the two policemen, the defendant said: “I did not assault them.”

Prosecutors said the Kazakh molested the policewoman and assaulted two other policemen when they tried to arrest him. The 21-year-old policewoman testified that the defendant touched her arm while she was guiding the crowds of commuters at the Metro station. “Someone touched my shoulder. When I turned back, the defendant asked me for directions to the mall. I guided him and then asked him why he had touched me. I couldn’t understand his language.

“He touched my hand again. I pulled my hand away, then I asked him to escort me to the police office. He refused. My two colleagues presented their police IDs. He refused to go with them to the police office and, when they tried to take him, he assaulted them,” claimed the policewoman. The two policemen said the accused pushed them and did not want to be taken to the police office at Dubai Mall. The suspect told prosecutors that he patted the policewoman’s shoulder to ask her for directions to the mall as he is a tourist.

Eight people injured by gun-toting elderly man in dispute over gate not being closed properly

A pensioner in Italy has wounded eight neighbours including three children, after shooting at them during a row over the gate to their apartment building.

Former security guard Marco Castiello, 76, opened fire with a hunting gun after discovering that the gate to the building in Afragola, near Naples, had been left ajar - despite years of pleas for it to be closed properly.

Three children aged seven, 11 and 16 were lightly wounded, as were two men aged 19 and 21 and three women between 26 and 55 years old.

"I'm in the right," Castiello told police who arrested him, while his nephew, who has the same name, said the shooting was "the result of exasperation after seven years of misunderstandings and arguments."

There's a news video in Italian here.

Plane steward who smuggled fake passports in his underpants jailed

An air steward who tried to smuggle fake passports into the UK by hiding them in his underpants has been jailed for five years. Shaukat Ali Cheema, a senior steward with Pakistan International Airlines, was arrested at Birmingham Airport in March.

Dozens of passports and driving licences were found in his underpants. The 59-year-old admitted seven counts of possessing false identity documents at Birmingham Crown Court.

Border Force officers found the documents, which also included passport bio-data pages, in specially constructed pockets sewn into the lining of the underpants.

Dawn Cartwright, from the National Crime Agency, said they were intended for people based in Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Pakistan. She said fake passports and driving licences were a serious concern, as they could be used by criminals to avoid detection.

Distraught man appeals for return of his father's ashes left in back of taxi following day in pub

A grieving son has issued a plea for help after he left his dad’s ashes in the back of a taxi after spending a day in the pub. James Rice was collecting his dad’s ashes from his aunt, who came up from London three weeks ago. The 23-year-old, from Craigie in Dundee, and his family were collecting the ashes in order to honour his father’s wishes to bury him with his mother at Balgay Cemetery. But, after getting a taxi home having spent a day in town with his family, James left his father’s ashes in the back of the cab, only to realise what he had done the next day.

He said: “When it happened I felt absolutely gutted, it completely slipped my mind when I stepped out of the taxi. I only realised I had left them behind the next morning after I had got up. I’m now desperate to get them back. We were collecting his ashes from all our family members so we could honour his last wishes and bury him with his mum in Balgay Cemetery. The ashes were in four little containers inside a purple floral bag and were left in a silver cab. The cab must have been private hire, as it didn’t have any logos on it.”

Brian Rice died aged 67 on February 16 and was cremated at the crematorium in Ardler the week after. His ashes were then shared between his family.Brian’s sister, Pearl, took the ashes in her possession back to London for a time before returning with them to Dundee so he could be buried with his mother, Catherine at Balgay Cemetery. On Friday April 24, James and members of his family collected his aunt Pearl from the train station, where she had arrived carrying some of his father’s ashes. On her return, the Rice family thought it would be right to celebrate Brian’s memory and went to the pub. At around 11pm, James admits his memory went a “bit blank”.

James said: “I was out with my aunt Pearl, my mum Alison and my two uncles, Rab and Ally. We met at the train station, then went to the Market Bar to celebrate the memory of my dad. He was a lovely father and was the type of person who would help anybody. After coming out of the pub, we went to a takeaway on the Nethergate, then over to the taxi rank in front
of the Steeple Church next to the Overgate. We just jumped into the first taxi at the front of the queue and went back home to Craigie. My mind must have gone blank after that because I just don’t know how I could have forgotten something like that. If anyone could help find my dad’s ashes and hand them in to the police station or to the taxi rank, it would be appreciated so much.”

Hostage negotiator called in to talk two men down from single storey roof

Police chiefs called in a trained hostage negotiator to talk two men down from a rooftop just eight feet off the ground. A bemused passer-by captured the moment the hostage negotiator, more often seen at armed sieges, stood within touching distance of the men sitting on a porch roof. The two men, aged 27 and 21, spent 90 minutes on the tiles with their feet in the guttering during the stand-off at a community centre on Anglesey, North Wales.

Police were called to a disturbance in the area at 7pm last Thursday after they climbed on the roof. North Wales Police officers called in a trained hostage negotiator after failing to get the men to climb down. The men were brought down after 90 minutes and arrested for using threatening language and causing a public nuisance. But Cllr Peter Rogers, of Isle of Anglesey County Council, questioned whether the response from the police was over the top.

He said there was some suggestion the men would only talk to a negotiator who could speak Welsh. Coun Rogers said: "I have full sympathy with the police and what they do. But I would question the need for a police negotiator for people on a relatively low roof." North Wales Police did not respond to the question of whether the negotiator was necessary. A spokeswoman said: "A trained negotiator was called and shortly after 8.30pm the men were brought to safety."

The 21-year-old man from Caernarfon, North Wales, has been charged with common assault, using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence. The 27-year-old man from Newborough, North Wales, has been charged with criminal damage, using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence and causing a public nuisance. Both are due to appear before Caernarfon Magistrates.