Tuesday, January 27, 2015

There's a chill in the air

Dog dances to salsa in its sleep

YouTube link.

Burglary suspect fell into store through ceiling in front of waiting police officer

A man’s plans to break into a Houston store proved to be unsuccessful, after he crashed through the ceiling and landed in front of a police officer.

Police say the man climbed a tree and onto the roof of a Family Dollar store early on Sunday morning, then managed to break a hole in the roof and enter the building.

But after making his way into the store, the man fell through the ceiling just as a police officer arrived in response to a call about a potential burglary.

The officer immediately ordered the suspect to stay on the floor, where he was taken into custody. Police believe the man, who was working on his own, was attempting to break in to steal cigarettes.

Naked violinist sues over what he claims was unlawful arrest

A man is seeking at least $1.1 million in a lawsuit against the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Portland Police Bureau and others after he claims he was dragged, injured and taunted by police when he was arrested in 2014 during a nude demonstration outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon. Matthew T. Mglej, 25, of Hillsboro, is alleging unlawful arrest and detention, use of excessive force, malicious prosecution, First Amendment rights violation, cruel and unusual punishment, battery, assault and negligence by authorities in a lawsuit filed in US District Court on Jan. 20.

Portland police said Mglej was the source of several complaints when he was playing a violin and making signs while naked outside the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse last May. He was arrested after being told his nudity violated city code and was carried into a patrol car when he refused to walk on his own, police said. A section of Portland's City Code declares it "unlawful for any person to expose his or her genitalia while in a public place or place visible from a public place, if the public place is open or available to persons of the opposite sex."

Mglej claims he arrived at the courthouse in a "designer suit" with his service dog, Belle, an iPad, violin and other items, and soon stripped off his clothes for a demonstration, according to the lawsuit. Mglej played his violin and wrote messages quoting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as passers-by "took pictures, chanted, cheered and endorsed" the display. Four Portland police officers told Mglej to stop, but he claims he cited a section of the Oregon Constitution and court verdicts on his iPad that he believed made his demonstration legal. The officers left after more than an hour, according to the lawsuit, leading to cheers and gifts from the crowd. Officers came back as Mglej was meditating, arrested him and put his dog in the back of a patrol car.

He was picked up and dropped several times and then dragged on the ground on the way to the patrol car, according to the lawsuit. While at the Multnomah County Detection Center, he claims jail deputies cut his wrists and hands by twisting and jerking on his handcuffs and called him a "cry baby" and hurled other insults at him when he cried from the pain and for his service dog. Mglej claims he was held for around 24 hours in an isolated cell without food, water, medical attention from a doctor or a phone call with a lawyer. Mglej pleaded not guilty to indecent exposure four days after his arrest. He is next scheduled to next appear in Multnomah County Circuit Court for a hearing in that matter on Feb. 17.

Man says he beat woman with a stick because he loved her

A Florida woman said she was attacked by a man who claimed he hit her because he loved her, Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies said.

The 63-year-old victim said she was inside her apartment at Islamorada early on Sunday morning when a man identified as William Roberts, 66, of Tennessee, knocked on her back door. When she opened the door, she noticed Roberts was wearing only his underwear and a sweater he had taken from her car, which was parked outside.

The woman said she had never seen Roberts before and had no idea who he was. Sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin said Roberts beat the woman with a stick he had in his hands. When she asked him why he was beating her, he told her it was because he loved her. Herrin said the woman tore his sweater during the struggle.

Roberts then backed away from her and allowed her to run back into her apartment. At that point, she called 911. Roberts was arrested a short distance away from the apartment building. He faces charges of aggravated battery and burglary of a vehicle.

Bus driver helped catch thieves after victim’s husband clung to bonnet of car during chase

A Chinese bus driver help chase down a couple of thieves with his vehicle after they were caught stealing a passenger’s purse.

The incident that took place in China’s Nantong City in the Jiangsu Province was captured by the city’s traffic surveillance cameras and shows the bus driver and the husband of the victim work together to chase down and eventually apprehend the two thieves.

The driver and husband decided to take action after the thieves were seen sneaking off the bus with the bag of one of the bus’ female passengers. After seeing the two men get into a black car, the victim’s husband gave chase and managed to jump onto the vehicle’s bonnet, clinging onto the car’s wing mirrors as the thieves attempted to flee.

YouTube link.

The bus driver then followed the vehicle with the bus and tried to stop the car by trapping it against the road’s barriers. The thieves' car was eventually cornered by the bus after a short chase and dozens of the bus’ passengers crowded the criminal’s getaway car until police arrived. Police confirmed that the two thieves had been arrested and were being detained at a local police station.

Road worker's dedication to cone alignment amused onlookers

Proving that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing properly, a road worker in Christchurch, New Zealand, provided hospital visitors with a bit of light relief through his dedication to the job.

Paula Rogers was visiting a relative in Christchurch Hospital on Sunday when she glanced out the window and saw one man's commitment to his cones.

"I just thought it was hilarious so took a video - I thought everyone would get a bit of a laugh out of it." Rogers said the man spent "a long time" arranging his cones so they were placed "just so".

"He was just so particular in what he was doing, it just kept us entertained. He was very dedicated to his job," she said.


Courts rule that parents can't name their babies Nutella or Strawberry

Parents in northern France have been refused permission to name their baby Nutella, while another couple was similarly denied the chance to name their daughter "fraise" (strawberry), because "it wasn't in the child's best interests".

The two sets of parents were so enamoured with the foodstuffs usually associated with the French breakfast table that they officially applied to name their children after them. But they were both denied by court rulings.

One set of parents in Valenciennes, northern France, requested permission to name their child Nutella after the hazelnut chocolate spread from Italy, but a judge ruled that it "wasn't in the best interests of the child" and that she would risk "being mocked". The girl will have to settle for the name Ella.

Another set of parents, meanwhile, were refused after applying to name their child Fraise (strawberry). The couple, from Raismes, were told by a judge that the girl could also face mockery, especially by people using the expression "ramène ta fraise" - a slang phrase roughly meaning "get your ass over here". This girl will instead get the moniker "Fraisine", a name that's been around in France since the 19th century.

Councillors posed as roadside prostitutes so that Mayor could promote recycling schemes

Municipal councillors, Anastasia Petrella and Stefania Sangermano, dressed as prostitutes, wearing short skirts and low-cut blouses, by a busy road in Castel Volturno, Italy.

The aim was to trap motorists into being embarrassed by local Mayor Dimitri Russo.

Mayor Russo approached vehicles that had stopped to solicit the councillors and explained that the ladies were not actually prostitutes and that he was running a campaign to promote better recycling schemes in the region.

YouTube link. Alternative video.

Many of the motorists were then stopped by the police around 200 yards (183 metres) down the road and fined due to them violating an anti-prostitution ordinance issued two months ago by Mayor Russo.

Poundstretcher staff lost day’s takings by gambling it all on red at casino

Two “grossly stupid” shop workers headed to the casino with the day’s takings – and lost it in one swoop at the roulette table before calmly ringing their boss to confess. It started as a joke between sales manager Kieron Trott, 19, and his 48-year-old colleague Christopher Cameron, a shopfloor worker, at Poundstretcher in Pallion Retail Park, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, magistrates heard. The pair were cashing up the day’s takings at the end of their shift on October 13, last year, when they started discussing what it would be like to gamble the £3,380 on red at the roulette wheel. But when their bet went badly wrong after a casino visit, the pair went back to the store and calmly rang their boss to admit what they had done.

Trott, of Columbia, Washington, and Cameron, of South Durham Court, Hendon, both admitted theft by an employee when they appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court. Prosecutor Lee Poppett branded the offence “somewhat unusual” and said the pair’s boss had left them at the store at the end of her shift that day. “At 9pm she received a call from Mr Trott stating that she needed to come back to the store because they had gambled away the takings,” Mr Poppett said. “She believed it was a form of joke, but Mr Trott said ‘I’m not joking, call the police’. She could hear Mr Cameron in the background saying ‘he is being honest, you have to come back to the store’. That is, in a nutshell, the case.”

Both Trott and Cameron resigned immediately, the court heard, and are in the process of repaying the money to their former employer. Jason Smith, defending Trott, said: “It was an act of gross stupidity. They were saying ‘let’s go and do this, we might make some money out of it’. How that would work is beyond me. They’ve then come back to the store and he’s rang his manager straight away and told them what they had done. He is paying the money back at a rate of £50 a week because, miraculously, he’s managed to find work at Nissan.” Ian Cassidy, defending Cameron, said, the situation was “almost like something out of a comedy” and that his client has never even been to a casino before.

“Mr Cameron was working his regular shift. It was just the two of them and part of the routine is to check the cash that has been taken that day. They are joking saying ‘what would it be like if we took this money and gambled it’. Unbelievably, they persuaded themselves to do this. He can’t quite believe it. He described being in the casino a matter of minutes. They were seen transferring the cash into chips then go to the table saying ‘red?’ and ‘yes’. Lo and behold it came up on black.” Both defendants were given 12-month community orders and were told to pay £110 each in costs and surcharges. Trott was told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, while Cameron will have to do 66 hours.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Camouflage cat

Cockatiel plays peek-a-boo


YouTube link.

Tiger entertains self by making giant snowballs

Tanya the tiger at Kaliningrad Zoo in Russia plays with a giant snowball that she made herself. Keepers at the zoo were mystified as to how the giant snowballs were appearing in the enclosure, suspecting that youths were heaving them over the fences after the zoo was shut to the public.

Tanya only plays like this when she thinks no-one is around. She rakes up as much snow as she can and then rolls it from one side of the enclosure to another, resulting in multiple snowballs being formed. .

YouTube link. Alternative video.

Council wants to rename Love Shack Route because it’s too rude

For years it’s made locals laugh and tourists titter, but the Streaky Bay Council in South Australia now wants to rename Love Shack Route because it’s just too rude. The sleepy lane runs through a small housing estate just outside the picturesque Eyre Peninsula town and was named by the land’s owners for a bit of fun when the subdivision was approved about eight years back.

The name pays tribute to an old shack on the property that for decades served as an informal party palace, hosting the town’s young people on Friday and Saturday nights after the pub closed. The council signed off on the name, but now thinks Love Shack Court would be more appropriate. A public notice published by the council states: “Notice is hereby given that Council resolved at its December 2014 Council meeting its intention to rename Love Shack Route to Love Shack Court and request community comment on the proposed renaming.”

Just who’s offended by the name is unclear - original landowner Janet Williams ­believes it’s one of the road’s residents, but Deputy Mayor Robert Stephens said he thought it was someone from another part of town - one thing is certain: someone wants the Route retired. Mrs Williams said the land had been owned by the Williams family for 125 years, and she was angry that the Council was looking to change the name against the family’s wishes. “As far as I’m aware it was nothing more than a verbal request put to the Council to change the name,” she said.

“They surveyed the landowners on the road and they voted to keep the name. When they didn’t get their way they said, ‘Oh well, let’s put it out to public consultation’.” Mrs Williams said the sign had been stolen a number of times by souvenir hunters, but she believed a larger, harder-to-steal sign would actually work as tourist attraction. Mr Stephens, who was Mayor of Streaky Bay for a number of years, said he voted against changing the street’s name. “I think the residents are probably 50-50 on it,” Mr Stephens said. “But to be honest, I think most people in Streaky Bay see it as a bit of fun. It’ll go out to the community now for feedback.”

One-year-old baby boarded bus alone in China

A public bus in Changsha City in central China's Hunan Province received a special passenger on Tuesday night, as an unaccompanied one-year old baby climbed onto the bus.

When the bus door opened, both the driver and passengers were surprised to see a baby climb the door steps. A female passenger behind the boy looked around but failed to find any adult taking care of the toddler. The bus driver pulled over the bus with the consent of the passengers, and called police for help.

Some passengers on the bus volunteered to take care of the baby while waiting for the arrival of police officers. After receiving the call, officers of a local police station checked with nearby neighbourhood, and managed to find the baby boy's parents an hour later. "My baby boy was playing outside (my cellphone store) alone.

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"In just two to three minutes, I couldn't find him any more. We looked for him everywhere around, but failed to find him," said Mrs. Zhang, the baby's mother. According to Zhang, she and her husband run a cellphone store near their home, and the baby was playing outside the store alone before wandering away.

Two Chinese men caught by Bulgarian customs officers with 2 million baby eels in their luggage

Customs officials in Bulgaria have seized two million live baby eels hidden in luggage. Two Chinese men arriving from Madrid were detained at Sofia airport for trying to smuggle the eels in eight containers.

Officials said that the tiny eels, known as elvers, had been declared as food items. The European eel is classified as a critically endangered species and cannot be exported outside the region. Their sale is also heavily regulated within the EU.

Elvers are seen by some as a delicacy. Just 1kg (2.2lb) can fetch up to €1,300 (£1000; $1500) in Asia, according to customs officials. The eels had been placed in bags filled with water and are believed to have been worth several thousand euros.

A rescue centre at an aquarium in the coastal city of Varna has taken them in. The European eel is protected by an international agreement and trading in the species without a permit is forbidden worldwide.

Fake bank in China that operated for a year scammed customers out of £20 million

A fake bank in China that looked exactly like a real bank managed to scam people of almost 200 million yuan (£21m, $32m) worth of deposits in just a year.

The “bank”, in Nanjing’s Pukou district in Jiangsu province, promised customers 2 per cent interest a week for their deposits. Almost 200 people were conned.

One businessman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, deposited 12 million dollars from his company, but stopped receiving interest for the money after just four weeks. He went to the police after travelling to Nanjing from Hangzhou and trying in vain to get his money back.

YouTube link.

Police investigations revealed that the “bank”, although designed to look just like a real one, with LED screens and counters manned by people dressed like bank staff, did not have the permits required to operate as a financial institution. Rather, it branded itself as a “cooperative”. Police detained four people involved in the operation.

Massive fish spillage meant free dinner for locals

Locals in Ravenhill Road, East Belfast, Northern Ireland, were gifted a free fish supper on Saturday night.

A fish tanker coming to an abrupt halt at a traffic light caused the huge spillage.

Many local residents then rushed out to gather hundreds of the mackerel in plastic bags

Police later contacted environmental health officers to clean up the road.

There are photo galleries here and here.

Tampered-with fire hydrant created new water feature in city centre

A fire hydrant caused a geyser to erupt on a city centre street when it was switched on, causing amusement for some local people.

The tall column of water on Navigation Street, Birmingham, could be seen for several hours on Saturday morning.

A Severn Trent Water spokesman said the firm believed the hydrant, intended for emergency service use, had been tampered with.

A team of engineers arrived at the scene at 08:00am to switch the hydrant off. There were no supply issues to nearby properties, the firm said.


Woman horrified after finding strange creature in tin of tuna

A woman was horrified when she spotted a pair of beady eyes staring back at her from a tin of tuna. Zoe Butler, of Arnold, Nottingham, had just opened the can of Princes tuna when she noticed the strange creature. The mother-of-two, aged 28, has complained to the company and is keeping the remains in the tin while she waits for a reply. Mrs Butler said the can of tuna chunks preserved in spring water was part of a multi-pack bought from Asda in Arnold.

She said: "I opened the top of the lid and saw a purply thing, a gut sack or intestine – then I turned it round and pushed it with a fork and saw it looking back at me. It's got like a spiny tail along the bottom – it's quite grim. I dropped the fork, jumped back, screamed a bit and shouted for my nan to come and have a look." Mrs Butler has sent photos of the fishy find to Princes. She added: "I haven't shown it to the kids because they might get put off eating tuna.

"I just want to find out what it is and to make sure it doesn't happen to somebody else. I didn't set out to get compensation and I don't a want lifetime's supply of tuna!" Zoe's grandmother Susan Goddard, 69, said: "It's a little red and has eyes, bright black, looking at you. We did manage to ascertain that it was dead." Dr Hany Elsheikha, associate professor of veterinary parasitology at the University of Nottingham, said it could be some form of juvenile crab.

He said: "All I can see from the picture is a body and the eyes are very prominent. The legs have been chopped off during the process." A spokesman for Princes said: "We were contacted by Mrs Butler and immediately responded to apologise. We are arranging for her to send us the product so that we can look into this matter fully." An Asda spokeswoman said they were awaiting the outcome of the investigation.