Friday, March 30, 2007

West Virgina

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia may have won the National Invitation Tournament, but the Mountaineers' commemorative T-shirts are less than championship material.

They contain a misspelling.

The "West Virginia" printed on the shirts players wore after winning the NIT title with a 78-73 victory over Clemson on Thursday night is missing the last "i" in "Virginia."

WVU sports information director Shelly Poe said the NIT printed the shirts.

Calls to tournament officials were not immediately returned Friday.

West Virginia coach John Beilein also could not be reached for comment. He and the team were on their way back to West Virginia on Friday after winning their first NIT title in 65 years.


HONOLULU - A 16-year-old girl who caught a cold during a school trip to New York was kicked off her flight home because she was coughing.

Rachel Collier was removed from the Continental Airlines plane as it was about to leave Newark, N.J., for Honolulu earlier this week. She had fallen asleep after boarding the plane with about three dozen classmates and woke up coughing and gasping for breath as it was about to take off.

"Everyone was looking at me," she said. "I couldn't talk because I lost my voice coughing so much. I was panicking."

The flight attendants gave her water, and a doctor on the flight said she would be OK to make the 10-hour flight. But the captain returned the aircraft to the gate to drop off the girl and one of her teachers.

Rachel said she started crying when the captain told her to leave. She and the teacher finally made it home the next day.

Teacher Maile Kawamura, a chaperone for the spring break trip to New York and Washington, D.C., said she was shocked. The two didn't know what to do or where to stay, she said. They finally found accommodations in New York and bought clothes and toiletries.

Continental said in a statement that Collier was coughing "uncontrollably" on the plane Tuesday and that "the captain felt he was acting in the best interest of the passenger and other passengers on the flight."

Rachel's mother, Stephanie Collier, said Continental has agreed to reimburse her daughter's expenses incurred during the extra day, including the cost of the hotel.

"I felt it was really extreme for a coughing fit," she said. "We've all had coughing fits."

Fare dodger

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - A taxi driver told police he was stiffed on an $8,200 cross-country fare by a female passenger he shuttled from Beverly Hills, Calif. to North Carolina.

The meter in Levon Mikayelyan's taxi cab hit the staggering fare after a 2,600-mile journey that ended at a Holiday Inn in Chapel Hill. Mikayelyan said the rider's family paid him only $800, Chapel Hill police spokeswoman Jane Cousins said Friday.

"We do get reports of people who are not able to pay cab drivers, but certainly not with this amount," Cousins said.

Mikayelyan filed a police report Tuesday but no charges have been filed. Cousins said police were done with the case and referred Mikayelyan to a magistrate judge.

Leo Mika, a dispatcher for West Coast Yellow Cab, said Friday that the company has been paid another $2,000 toward the fare and plans to get the rest through small claims court. Mikayelyan agreed to give the woman a 25 percent discount off the metered rate, Mika said.

"She told him, 'When we get there we'll pay you,' but when he got there she didn't pay," Mika said, adding that it was the first time one of the company's taxi drivers had made such a long trip.

Mikayelyan was driving back to California on Friday, Mika said.

The company is based outside Los Angeles in Van Nuys, Calif.

Marathon in space

BOSTON -- Talk about a runner's high.

Suni Williams will be out of this world when she runs the Boston Marathon next month.

The U.S. Navy commander is an astronaut who's now aboard the international space station, orbiting more than 200 miles above the Earth.
Click here to find out more!

She is registered to compete in the famed marathon. But instead of pounding Boston's pavement, Williams will run an equivalent distance on the space station's treadmill.

She'll be held down by bungee cords so she doesn't float away in the zero-gravity environment.

It's not the first time the marathon has had far-flung participants. For three years running, organizers have sponsored the Boston Marathon in Iraq for GIs in the war zone.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Anniversay

LUBEC, Maine -- Kathleen and Waldo Tarbell have a big anniversary to celebrate Saturday -- their 80th.

The Maine couple married in 1927, during Calvin Coolidge's presidency.

They will celebrate at an anniversary party at the Oceanview Nursing Home, where they share a large room.

The Tarbells said marriage has changed them. Kathleen said she's been a Democrat her entire adult life. But Waldo, originally a Republican, has turned Democrat.

He added that she "converted" him.

New tallest Brit

Anyone in Worcester who watched Neil Fingleton play basketball at Holy Name or Holy Cross doesn’t need Guinness World Records to tell them the Englishman is tall, but we’ll take their official word for it.

The famous reference book of international extremes last month validated Fingleton, who towers 7 feet, 7.56 inches, as the United Kingdom’s tallest living man. He said he ranks as the fifth tallest living man in the world.

“When you put it in that perspective, it is fascinating,” Fingleton said in a telephone interview from his apartment in central Spain, where he is playing professional basketball.

The Guinness World Records book comes out only once a year — usually right before Christmas — so if his mark prevails, Fingleton will be in the next edition.

Fingleton, 26, is averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds for his Ciudad Real team, and has not given up on his dream of playing in the NBA. Fingleton, who earned a degree in history from Holy Cross, has also played professionally in China, Italy, Greece and England. He was the tallest player in the histories of Holy Name, Holy Cross and the University of North Carolina (he spent two years there).

But while he loves the game, Neil has recently quit the Ciudad Real club to see if he can use his height as a launch pad into acting.

He said: “I remember being fascinated by the actor Richard Keil, who is 7ft 2in and played Jaws in James Bond movies. I guess he was sort of a role model because he was tall but played a great character. Then recently I realised I was actually taller than him. So I thought, ‘Why don’t I do that? I don’t just want to be famous for being tall. Just as I became good at basketball, I’d like to master acting.”

Fat Aussie Ambulances

Australia's obesity crisis has forced health officials to revamp their fleet of ambulances to cope with a sharp rise in overweight patients.

Super-sized vehicles have been introduced and new air ambulances will be remodelled to carry heavier people.

Studies estimate that 67% of Australian men and over half of all women aged over 25 are overweight or obese.

So many Australians are now bulging at the waistline that ambulances are being equipped with heavy-duty stretchers.

These are capable of carrying patients weighing up to 220kg (34 st 9 lbs).

In the country's most populous state, New South Wales, officials have said that more super-sized ambulances may well be needed to cope with this health crisis.

Special vehicles with over-sized wheelchairs and a hydraulic tailgate were introduced a few years ago to transport larger people.

Their workload has doubled since 2004.

Tooth Fairy Sculptor

An artist who carved tooth fairies from her extracted wisdom teeth has been inundated with requests from parents to sculpt their children's molars.

Cordelia Cembrowicz's sculptures represent the pain and relief of losing a tooth and came about when she felt unable to throw away her teeth after a visit to the dentist.

Miss Cembrowicz, 23, from Bristol, said: "When I held [my teeth] I realised what a powerful material they were and decided to work with them - and the first thing that sprang to mind was the Tooth Fairy. She symbolised both sanctuary and reward, arriving as a blessing after a period of pain."

Using a specially adapted drill and a rotary cutter, she spends up to 20 hours sculpting each tooth

Miss Cembrowicz studied art at Central St Martin's in London and has exhibited at the Artonomy Gallery in Truro. Her work is currently on show in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she has her first solo exhibition.

"So many parents want me to carve their children's milk teeth as a treasured keepsake and I'm happy to carve them," she said.

"Their smallness brings its own problems as you can't place them in a clamp so you have to hand hold them and be extraordinarily careful how you carve them.

"I can carve a milk tooth in about seven hours and I charge around £100 pounds. It did take me by surprise just how popular this sort of sculpting is."

Olivia Hill, a mother-of-five, said: "My son Oliver thought they were wonderful. They are stunningly beautiful and look like tiny angels. I think it's a marvellous idea.

"At first you think there is something slightly off about carving human teeth until you see them and then they take your breath away." in pictures

Sperm outrage

An ambitious web campaign to recruit sperm donors has provoked a row over how far to go to address Britain's chronic shortage of stocks. Parents and potential parents say it is offensive and that it risks perpetuating the tacky stereotype of donors they have fought to dispel.

The Give a Toss web adverts (watch the videos lol) use images of young women in We Want Your Sperm T shirts, winking at the camera, a virtual "toss-o-meter" game which encourages would-be donors to practice and improve their wrist action, and a spoof news flash about a national sperm day. Aimed at men aged 18-35, it was set up by a government-funded charity, the National Gamete Donation Trust, to recruit donors.

The number of men who supply fertility clinics has been declining for five years, since government plans to end anonymity for donors were first discussed, and numbers have continued to decline since the law was changed last year.

Critics of the campaign, launched last week, have accused the charity of alienating donor parents, would-be parents and donor-conceived children by perpetuating a "tacky" image.

Olivia Montuschi, of the Donor Conception Network, a group representing 1,000 families, said: "I was very shocked. This campaign appears to promote the image of a sperm donor as someone who is not hugely responsible - the very opposite of the image we would like to see portrayed.

"Many of our supporters find it offensive and some have been quite upset."
The NGDT needs 500 sperm donors annually to supply demand. The latest figures for 2005 show only 150 donors came forward.

Yellow Jacketed Tom

A peeping Tom has been forced to wear a fluorescent jacket on when he ventures out at night.

Stephen Cooper, 24, has been ordered to wear the high-visibility clothing so he can be spotted by potential victims.

The pervert, who has pleaded guilty to voyeurism, received the order after being caught creeping into a woman's garden and staring through a crack in her curtains.

Cooper is awaiting sentence for the offence but in the meantime he has been ordered to don a bright neon coat whenever he ventures out after dark.

Cooper admitted the offence which took place on January 11. He was already on the Sex Offenders Register and the offence was the second time he had breached the conditions imposed on him.

Judge Peter Dedman made the bizarre ban at Southend Crown Court in Essex after adjourning sentencing while psychiatric reports are drawn up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


A Cheddar cheese maturing via a webcam on the internet is expected to attract thousands of cheese lovers on Thursday - when something actually happens.

Cheese makers in Somerset set up a round-the-clock camera on the 44lb (20kg) truckle of Cheddar in January.

In the last three months, over 500,000 cheese fans have clicked on the site.

But about 55,000 are expected to watch expert cheesemaker Tom Calver pull out a core of cheese and sniff and taste it to check if it is maturing properly.

It is the first quality check on the hand-made cheese, which has already grown a faint grey coat of mould. Dom Lane, who is behind the project, said: "It's absolutely bonkers, we thought we might get a few cheese lovers logging on but it has really taken off and seems to have captured people's imaginations.

"We've had people logging on from New Zealand to Iceland. Most people like cheese but this site actually shows the entire process of what goes into making a good cheddar. Despite not a lot happening, I think it rouses people's curiosity about the entire cheese making process."

West Country Farmhouse Cheddar carries the Protected Designation of Origin status ranking it alongside Champagne, Parma Ham and Cognac.

The cheese is expected to take 12 months to mature where it will develop into the colour of an "old gravestone". It will then be auctioned off with all profits going to charity.

"Hopefully it will taste absolutely fantastic - the long maturation process will allow the cheese to develop subtleties and depth of flavour," said Mr Lane.

A spokesperson for the cheese makers said it was going to be tested around 1000 BST.

Watch the fabulous cam HERE

170 mph Youtube biker arrested

A motorcyclist has been charged with reckless and dangerous driving after his high-speed stunts were posted on the YouTube website. Officers were stunned after seeing clips of the 34-year-old Edinburgh man driving at speeds averaging 112 mph.

Police traced the man after detailed study of the clips. A report is being submitted to the procurator fiscal.

Riding a Yamaha R1, he is said to have covered the distance between Longniddry and North Berwick in just seven minutes, at speeds averaging 112 mph in certain sections.

He is also said to have been seen accelerating from rest to high speeds in first gear, performing wheelies and flooring a Honda Fireblade motorbike to its maximum speed of 170 mph along St Germains, the dual carriage running between Prestonpans and Longniddry, on a wet day.

After detailed examination of the YouTube footage, Lothian and Borders Police officers and staff from the force's forensic computer unit were able to trace the man.

Ch Insp Kenny Buchanan of Lothian and Borders Police road policing branch said: "Driving at break-neck speeds along public roads is completely unacceptable and extremely dangerous. He said: "Allowing footage of it to be posted on a public website is a sure-fire way of getting caught. Thanks to the clips on the website, we were able to clearly identify the rider of the bike, and stop him in his tracks.

Unfortunately the video has been removed :(

Smoke that !

Seventy one-year-old Teresita Galanto smokes a hand-rolled one-meter long cigar as part of a tobacco rolling contest in the Phillipines.

The rolling contest, in Candon City, is part of Ilocos Sur province's week-long tobacco festival, which celebrates tobacco in all its forms, and includes tobacco-inspired fancy dress as well as a Miss Tobacco Festival contest.

£100m appartment

The world's most expensive flat has just been sold in London for £100 million ( $197M ) according to reports.

Sheikh Hamad, the foreign minister of the Gulf State of Qatar, is behind the purchase of the penthouse home in the most exclusive block in the world -- One Hyde Park.

The apartment is one of 86 luxury flats being built on the edge of Hyde Park opposite Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge.

The flats have 24-hour room service to the level of the Ritz, bullet-proof windows, eye scanners in lifts and spectacular views over Hyde Park and The Serpentine.

The site comes with underground parking for 115 vehicles and private lifts direct to each flat so residents don't have to accidentally bump into their neighbours.

Huge baths are hewn from wood, marble work surfaces, floor to ceiling fridges, panic rooms and former SAS security.

The £1.5bn block has been designed by Richard Rogers is being developed by brothers Christian and Nicholas Candy and is backed by the Sheikh himself from his personal fortune.

It will not be ready for another two years. Previous estimates for the price of the apartment ranged from £20m to £84m.

Two other penthouses have also been sold sources told The Times.

The previous most expensive flat sold in London was in a Chelsea development for £27m in 2005 also sold by the Candy brothers to a British financier.

At the time that was said to be the most expensive apartment in the world.

The price easily beats the price tag for what is marketed as Britain's most expensive house – Updown Court in Windlesham, Surrey – which is on sale at £70million.

NC sheep man

A North Carolina man has been found to have been sharing his house with a flock of 80 sheep.

Police in Apex were called out after some of the sheep were seen grazing on flowers in the town cemetery.

Officers quickly established they had escaped from a nearby house owned by local man David Watts, reports the News & Observer.

Sgt Robert Towell said: "He lives upstairs, and the sheep were living downstairs. He considered them pets."

The sheep, which Mr Watts occasionally walked around the neighbourhood on a leash, are now in the custody of the local animal rescue centre.

Reporters approached the muddy, fenced backyard where Mr Watts sometimes kept the sheep, but he hurried inside where straw and feed could be seen covering the floor.

Neighbours say they have suffered for years from swarms of flies and the stench.

Angie Fowler, who lives across the street, said: "All I want is to be able to sit on my front porch and not smell sheep poop."

Mr Watts faces criminal charges of neglecting the sheep, some of which were in such poor condition they will have to be put down.

Tall vows

The world's tallest man has got married - to a woman more than two feet shorter than him.

Bao Xishun, who is 7ft 9ins, married 5ft 6ins Xia Shujuan, a 29-year-old saleswoman, after seeking a bride through the personal ads.

"After sending out marriage advertisements across the world and going through a long selection process, the efforts have finally paid off," the Beijing News newspaper reported.

Mr Bao, 56, ended up marrying a woman from his home town Chifeng in Inner Mongolia.

Confirmed last year by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest person, Mr Bao attained international prominence in December by saving two dolphins.

The creatures had become sick after nibbling on plastic from the edge of their pool at an aquarium in Liaoning province.

Attempts to use surgical instruments failed until someone had the idea of calling on Mr Bao to use his 42-inch-long arm to pull out the pieces of plastic, Chinese media reported.

The Guinness Book of Records says Mr Bao was of normal height until 16 but then put on a spurt that doctors were unable to explain, reaching his full height in seven years.

After a stint in the army, where he was recruited for a basketball team, Mr Bao returned to Inner Mongolia. He now herds livestock and performs publicity stunts

Married on the piste

BIG SKY, Mont. -- It's all downhill for newlyweds Matt Dodd and Ashley Hegseth.

The couple tied the knot over the weekend at Montana's Big Sky Resort. She's a snowboard instructor, so her guests rode snowboards. The groom is a ski instructor, and his guests were on skis.

Perhaps the Rev. Mike Boucher had the toughest job. He skied backward to perform the ceremony.

The bride was dressed for the occasion with a white ski suit, skirt and veil. The groom wore a black ski jacket and pants. Hegseth said they plan a more traditional ceremony this summer in California.

Drunk on Marmite

Drunken jailbirds smashed up a prison unit after secretly brewing booze made with Marmite. The crafty lags used the yeasty sandwich spread to ferment fruit juice they had hoarded.

They got off their heads on the intoxicating hooch — then went on an all-night rampage at the Category-C jail.

Warders in anti-riot gear sealed off the area as furniture and bathroom fittings were wrecked. But bosses decided not to confront the sozzled cons for fear of sparking worse violence.
A team of trained negotiators were sent in instead. They waited until the morning when the dozen-strong gang were so hungover they surrendered meekly.

Last night an inquiry was launched into last Thursday’s mayhem at HMP Edmunds Hill, near Stradishall, Suffolk.

A jail insider said: “The prisoners were on an enclosed spur where they were not individually locked in, but were in a secure part of the wing. The hooch had been brewed in secret and hidden before being drunk. Once it kicked off, the governor decided it was better to let them sleep it off rather than confront them. By the time the warders went in the following morning they came as quiet as mice.”

Nobody was hurt in the outrage, which was captured on CCTV.

A Home Office spokesman said: “I can confirm there was a minor incident involving a small number of prisoners at HMP Edmunds Hill. They appear to have been drunk on home-brewed alcohol. Negotiators were called and the incident ended peacefully the next morning.”

Gnome thief

A woman is facing jail after running a racket "kidnapping" garden gnomes.

A court heard Karen Stenhouse took gnomes, flower pots and garden ornaments worth more than £700 from gardens over a 20 mile radius.

She sold them on through car boot sales to boost her dole money. The thefts happened over three weeks in 2005.

On Tuesday, Stenhouse, of The Braes, Tullibody, admitted six charges of stealing ornaments in Alva, Tullibody, Stirling and Bridge of Allan.

Alloa Sheriff Court heard that the mother-of-three was arrested along with friend Ann McCallum, of Delphwood Crescent, also Tullibody, following an 11-day undercover operation involving officers from both Central Scotland CID and the force's tactical crime unit.

The court was told that officers found an "Aladdin's cave" of garden ornaments including a grotto of 30 gnomes as well as dozens of ornamental rabbits, birds and hedgehogs.

A total of 132 garden ornaments were recovered but only a handful were reunited with their rightful owners.

Both Stenhouse and Ms McCallum were originally charged with 42 separate offences of theft.

Ms McCallum said nothing in response to police questioning and her pleas of not guilty were accepted.

Ski nutter

A man who skied down the longest escalator on London Underground has been condemned as "stupid and irresponsible" by transport officials.

He launched himself down the 196ft (60m) escalator at Angel Tube station and filmed the stunt.

The unidentified man then posted it on the YouTube video sharing website where it has received more than 100,000 hits.

Transport for London (TfL) urged police to take the "strongest possible action" against any similar offenders.

A Tfl spokesman said: "This is a dangerous, stupid and irresponsible act that could have resulted in serious injury or death to not only the individual concerned, but other passengers."


A giant cane toad the size of a small dog and nicknamed Toadzilla has been captured in northern Australia. Toadzilla is the biggest cane toad ever found in Australia's Northern Territory and weighs just under two pounds, according to an environmental group.

Environmentalists have been trying to stop the spread of the poisonous creatures across the country's tropics. The toads were introduced from Hawaii in the 1930s in a failed attempt to control native cane beetles.

Toadzilla was caught during a community hunt in Darwin. Residents have been urged to help stop the spread of this most unwelcome of pests. Environmental group FrogWatch, which organises hunts to destroy the toads, said the creature measured 20.5cm (8 inches) and weighed 861g (1.9lb).

"He is huge. I would hate to meet his big sister," said FrogWatch co-ordinator Graeme Sawyer.

Cane toads were first released in Queensland and have since marched in their millions across the country. They are prolific breeders. Some estimates put their number as high as 200 million.

What is beyond doubt is their effect on the environment. They have poisoned countless native animals, including crocodiles which have died after eating them. The population of some snakes, lizards and small marsupials have also suffered greatly.

Change your Russian names and pass me the vodka !

Tajikistan's president has ordered his countrymen to drop Russian-style surnames, in a move to break with the Central Asian nation's Soviet past. Emomali Rakhmon last week removed the Russian suffix "-ov" from his surname, saying this made him sound more Tajik.

Newborn babies must now be registered with Tajik names. Soviet-style school graduation parties are also banned. Tajiks - who speak a dialect of Persian - are Russifying their names after decades of the Soviet rule.

President Rakhmon, as he is now known, told the nation to follow his suit and register babies only under Tajik surnames at a government meeting late on Monday.

He also banned secondary school leaving ceremonies, famous their all-night parties.

A ban on the use of mobile phones and private cars at such schools was also ordered.

Some residents of the capital, Dushanbe, say they do not look forward to the red tape and additional expense that registration of names is likely to entail.

Take down those bloody posters !

Australia's official tourism body has been ordered to take down posters in the UK because they include swearing.

Adverts promoting Australia with the slogan "So where the bloody hell are you?" prompted 32 complaints.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority ruled the posters were in breach of the industry code and should not be seen by children. It has told Tourism Australia to take down the posters and not to use swear words in any future advertising.

A spokesman for the industry watchdog said: "We considered that parents were entitled to expect that poster advertising should not appear to endorse or encourage swearing."

The three posters were ruled to be in breach of advertising rules relating to responsibility and children. Objections have already been made to TV and newspaper adverts promoting Australia using the same slogan.

Last year the ASA imposed a 9pm broadcast restriction on TV commercials using the "So where the bloody hell are you?" phrase.

Tourism Australia said it had not intended to cause offence over its posters.

A spokesman said the campaign adopted the "irreverent" Australian tone which was aimed at an older audience.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Free Hugs award

A Sydney man on a goodwill mission to hug strangers has picked up an inaugural YouTube Video Award.

Juan Mann's Free Hugs, in which he sets out to brighten strangers' lives on Sydney's streets by hugging them, has nabbed the prize for most inspirational video.

The clip is the 13th-most watched YouTube video of all time. It has been watched more than 12 million times after it was uploaded six months ago.

Mr Mann's video is among the winners of seven YouTube awards, the nominees for which the site put forward a week ago. Users could rank the 10 nominees for each award in order of their preference.

Chicago band OK Go has won the award for most creative video with the clip for its song Here it Goes Again, in which the group's four members dance over eight moving treadmills.

More than 13 million people have watched the video, which has propelled the band to international fame.

Another American creation, Ask a Ninja, has picked up the best series award.

The series, created by Los Angeles comedians Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, features a black-clad ninja answering emails in unique ninja lingo with his signature sign-off, "I look forward to killing you soon".

College students Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, better known as Smosh, have won for best comedy video.

Nearly 70,000 fans watch their every move, whether it is a music video or comedy sketch, and theirs is the second-most subscribed channel on YouTube.

Dony Permedi's animated short film, Kiwi, has been named most adorable video.

The film, which began as a master's thesis in animation, is about a flightless kiwi bird who embarks on a fatal mission to achieve his dream of flying.

Best music has gone to Los Angeles-based Terranaomi, who went from struggling singer-songwriter to being signed to Island Records due to exposure on YouTube.

The Winekone has won best commentary. The Canadian offers a random, rambling monologue on a range of topics.
'Changed the landscape'

YouTube, which has dominated the user-generated online video market since it was founded in February last year, says the winners of its 2007 Video Awards have helped foster the online video phenomenon.

"They saw an opportunity for worldwide visibility and through their success have changed the landscape of how a star is defined," spokesman Jamie Byrne said.

"As the masses learned about online video, many of the creators of these videos established themselves as personalities, going from the seemingly unknown to international celebrity overnight."

Mr Byrne says the YouTube pioneers have laid the foundation for a new medium that is influencing how people are entertained and informed, with a new generation of viewers as likely to spend their time in front of computers as television screens.

YouTube was bought by Google Inc for $2.04 billion last year.

The winning videos can be viewed at

Underwear thief

PULLMAN, Washington -- A man was charged with theft and burglary after police said they found 93 pounds of women's panties, brassieres and other underwear at his home.

Investigators believe Garth M. Flaherty, 24, took as many as 1,500 undergarments from apartment complex laundry rooms before he was caught, police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said.
A man was seen taking underwear from two laundry rooms Saturday, a witness recorded his license number, and Flaherty was identified from photographs, Tennant said.

Police found enough underwear in his bedroom to fill five garbage bags, Tennant said.

"He said he had a problem," Tennant said.

Flaherty has been jailed on 12 counts of second-degree burglary and one of first-degree theft.
Police had previously received 12 reports of underwear thefts in the northeast part of town, where Washington State University is located.

"We were kind of concerned about how to match up bras and panties with victims," Tennant said. "Based on the unique descriptions from a couple of women, we can tie him to those thefts."

The underwear will be held as evidence until the case is resolved, after which their disposition is uncertain, Tennant said. "Would you really want them back?" he asked. "I would say not."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Barred for farting

A PUB regular has been barred from his favourite Dunfermline boozer – for indiscriminate wind breaking.

Management at the bar say Stewart Laidlaw “revels” in his bouts of flatulence and other punters have almost been sick after exposure to the foul smells.

Mr Laidlaw (35), who is furious at the ban by Thirsty Kirsty’s, is thought to be the first person in West Fife to be barred for breaking wind.

The James Street pub’s owner says the stench has become unbearable since Scotland’s smoking ban came in last year but suspects drinkers could have been breathing in the waft for years before without noticing it.

Former Woodmill High School pupil Mr Laidlaw, who lives in Edinburgh, admits he may have broken wind in the pub in the past but claims the ban by landlord John Thow is “petty”.

The Harvey Nichols stock assistant told the Press, “I went in and basically he turned round and said, ‘Stewart, that’s the last fart you do in this pub. Get out.’

Nein smoking, perhaps

Germany's states have reached an agreement on banning smoking in public places. Bars and restaurants will soon be smoke-free. But possibly not all bars. Or not all parts of bars. Maybe.

A great wind of fresh air is blowing through Europe as one country after another imposes bans on smoking in public. Now Germany has hopped on the non-smoking bandwagon -- but in its own inimitable half-hearted federal fashion.

Germany has agreed on a ban on smoking in public places -- but with exceptions. Small pubs might still be allowed to allow smoking, or there may be separate rooms for smokers. Perhaps.

The governors of Germany's 16 federal states met in Berlin Thursday to discuss a smoking ban. Contrary to expectations, they managed to hammer out a wide-ranging agreement on a smoking ban in public places. The individual states will be responsible for putting the ban into law -- most say they plan to do so by the end of this year or early in 2008 -- and may decide to include certain exceptions that the agreed ban allows.

New Tolkien book

A new novel by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien is to be released - a full 89 years after he started writing it.

The Children of Hurin, which will be available in hardback next month, was completed by Tolkien's son Christopher, himself now 82.

The book, details of which are being fiercely guarded by publisher Harper-Collins, is described as an "epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism".

The tale featured briefly in Tolkien's last book, The Silmarillion, but the long version was left unfinished when he died in 1971.

Christopher took 30 years to prepare the book for publication using piles of notes left by his father.

It will be the first "new" Tolkien book since The Silmarillion was published posthumously in 1977.

How many BBC staff does it take to change a lightbulb?

Just the one, it seems - but it must be a safety accredited workman called out at £10 a visit.

The corporation's stringent health and safety regulations apparently ban the average employee from performing the simple task themselves.

The ludicrous process was brought to light by a staff member in the BBC's in-house magazine, Ariel.

"I called up to ask for a new lightbulb for my desk lamp and was told this would cost £10," said Louise Wordsworth, a learning project manager.

"On telling them I'd buy and replace the bulb myself (bought for the bargain price of £1 for two bulbs) I was told that it was against health and safety regulations."

The corporation has faced criticism for its complicated internal-market system, first introduced in the 1990s by then-director general John Birt.

Under the system, internal jobs such as changing a lightbulb or fixing a computer are outsourced to separate departments-which then issue invoices accordingly.

Let's give the prisoners keys !

Thousands of prisoners are being given keys to their cells in the latest farce to hit the criminal justice system. They can roam in and out virtually at will under a scheme designed to give them more "respect and decency".

The astonishing measure prompted a furious response from MPs last night, who warned that the human-rights culture was out of control. It will provoke a furious public backlash at a time when prisons are overflowing and dangerous offenders are being tagged and freed into the community.

Official figures revealed that 5,747 of the 9,577 offenders in Yorkshire prisons have keys for 'privacy locks' to protect themselves and their belongings.

Although many of them are at open prisons and youth offenders' institutes, others are in standard closed prisons for those who have committed serious crimes such as muggings, burglary and theft.

It also emerged that some youth prisons now call offenders 'trainees' or 'residents'.

International German Beard Championship

Forget the World Cup. For a group of 100 hairy men, the year's real competition is already over -- Saturday's German Beard World Championship gave them the chance to show off their spectacular whiskers.

About 100 bearded men have been preening, waxing, curling, washing, varnishing, brushing and combing their copious facial hair in a bid for glory at the International German Beard World Championship in the village of Schoemberg in southern Germany, where various categories were judged, including chin beards, full beards, moutaches and whiskers.

The competition allows 16 categories of beards, the most popular one being freestyle because it sets no limits on creativity. One contestant came with a bushy beard shaped like a windmill. Contestants sporting Chinese-style beards -- two long strands drooping down far below the chin, were virtually assured of an award because only a few men showed up with that particular style.

Wedding snaps found after a year

MENASHA, Wisconsin - When their photographer's camera was stolen shortly after they exchanged vows, Karen and Tory Nordlinder figured they'd never have keepsakes of their wedding day.

This week, they got a pleasant surprise when the camera turned up in a vacant lot near a lake, a year after it disappeared.

The lot's owner, Leslie Mason, said that her son was cutting down trees and spotted the camera. Inside was contact information for the photographer, Charles Boesen, Mason said.

When he got it back, Boesen plugged the camera's memory card into his computer and the photos appeared instantly.

"My reaction, I almost cried," Boesen said. "I'm thinking, this bride is going to be so overjoyed when she finds out. There's no telling how long that camera was down here," he said. "What's amazing is how those pictures survived the elements - the rain, the snow, the freezing temperatures, right alongside the lake."

Karen Nordlinder said she couldn't express how happy she was to see the photos.

"We just thought, 'Oh well, we've got our memories,"' she said. "This is just something I never thought we'd see. Ever."

Brazen shoplifters

Three brazen New Jersey shoplifters made off with nearly $US12,000 in women's underwear by stuffing the goods into bags designed to foil anti-theft equipment at a Victoria's Secret store while the shop was open for business.

Surveillance cameras captured two men and one woman jamming undergarments into large bags and walking past customers and staff into the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City.

Police said the thieves took over $US6,900 in panties and more than $US4,900 in bras.

Victoria's Secret bras retail from $US30 to over $US50. Panties cost between $US5 and $US20, according to the company's website.

Lieutenant Edgar Martinez says no arrests have been made since the crime was reported on Tuesday night.

"This isn't something we've seen before. It's a lot of underwear to take," he said.

Greenwich Global Time

As many countries around the world adjust their clocks to mark the beginning or end of daylight saving, one British newspaper has suggested we should ditch the idea - and make it GMT everywhere around the world.

Greenwich Mean Time, taking its name from Greenwich in south-east London, is the local time in Britain during the winter and is used across the globe as the time of reference.

At 0100 GMT Sunday, Britain switched to summer time and advanced the clocks by one hour to 02:00am local time. In Australia, the states and territories that have been on summer time put their clocks back an hour.

But The Daily Telegraph, a staunchly patriotic broadsheet, said the clock-switching lark was plain irritating - and came up with its own cunning plan get the world's clocks ticking to a British beat.

"The imposition is intolerable, and should be met with a more radical proposal than the retention of nature's own Greenwich Mean Time. We demand Global Time," the newspaper said in its editorial.

"In other words, if it is nine o'clock here, now, it should be nine o'clock all round the world," it insisted.

"It is no absurdity, for if we are to depart from natural time in any case, why not choose the neat solution of making the time in London the same as in New York?

"New Yorkers will get as used to the alarm going off at 11 o'clock as Australians have to eating Christmas dinner in high summer. The convenience to stock exchanges and travellers is obvious.

"As a British initiative, let it be known as Greenwich Global Time."

Man breaks into police station

A 25-year-old man will front court next month after allegedly breaking into a police station overnight at Palmwoods, Queensland, Australia.

Police allege the man broke into the Palmwoods' station by climbing through a window sometime between 7:30pm AEST and a 8:45pm. The man is accused of stealing back property that police had seized from him earlier in the day.

The 25-year-old allegedly took the stolen property back to his home where police arrested him about an hour later.

He has been charged with break and enter and stealing offences and is due to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on April 20.

Meanwhile, a 26-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly carrying a replica firearm in Noosa.

Police arrested the man yesterday afternoon in Noosa Parade after a tip-off from a member of the public.

He has been charged with carrying a weapon in a public place.

Tater tyres

Researchers based at a university have created an environmentally-friendly race car with tyres made from potatoes and brake pads from cashew nut shells.

Eco One is the idea of WMG, a provider of innovative solutions to industry based at the University of Warwick.

The car was designed originally with a top speed of 125mph (201km/h).

It will be at the Sexy Green Car Show alongside green offerings from major names in the motor industry at the Eden Project in Cornwall from Friday.
The car also runs entirely on bio-fuels and bio-lubricants.

Project manager Ben Wood said he has tweaked the original engine and claims he can achieve up to 150mph (241km/h) given a long straight and a tailwind.

He said: "Almost everything on the car can be made out of biodegradable or recyclable materials. All the plastic components can be made from plants and, although the chassis has to be made from steel for strength, steel is a very recyclable material. We already have the shell, brake pads, fuel and tyres sorted. My aim is to end up with a race car that's 95 per cent biodegradable or recyclable. If we can build a high-performance car that can virtually be grown from seed, just imagine what's possible for the average family car."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Get Un-knotted !

PUPILS in Bramhall, Stockport, have been told to leave their knotted ties at home or be sent away from school.

Bramhall High bosses have decided the traditional school tie leads to scruffier pupils and poses a significant safety risk.

They have demanded students wear clip-ons.
The new rule has attracted criticism from a campaign group for ‘real education’ which has slammed the move as ‘political correctness gone mad’.

Senior teachers, though, say trailing ties during activities such as science and woodwork could lead to serious injuries around machinery and naked flames.

They also say clip-ons prevent pupils from wearing ties in a casual way – forcing them to keep their top buttons fastened.

Headteacher John Peckham defended the controversial new policy he described as ‘a sensible measure’.

"This is really a story about nothing," he said.

"We are anxious to keep improving Bramhall High School, to help all our students to look good, and to feel proud of themselves and the school.

"We have excellent working relationships with our parents and enjoy tremendous support from them over uniform and other matters."

Mr Peckham added: "Bringing the whole school in line with Years 7 and 8 from September will help to bring about a big improvement in appearance, reduce the need for teachers to be ‘nagging’ students, and will be seen as fair and equitable.

"We have been selling clip-on ties for more than a year in an effort to phase this in. But we are now at the stage where older pupils are wearing old and dirty ties because they don’t want to replace them.

CCTV Bean cans

A local council is to use hidden cameras to catch residents who leave rubbish out on the wrong day.

CCTV devices will be disguised inside objects such as baked bean cans and house bricks to film offenders.

The covert surveillance has been ordered by Ealing council to target "enviro-criminals" - those who leave out black bags when they should not or let the contents spill on to the pavement. Offenders can be issued with onthe-spot fines of up to £1,000.

Cameras will be installed around the London borough before the change in collections from weekly to fortnightly. But today the move was attacked as an invasion of privacy.

The cameras, which cost about £200 each, are triggered by builtin movement sensors. It is understood they are to be used to catch large-scale fly-tippers and graffiti vandals but the council said residents who failed to abide by refuse collection times would also be punished.

Can One have a return please ?

Prince Charles , on Friday "bought" a £15.80 First class return ticket from London's Waterloo station to go to Woking in Surrey.

Prince Charles' spokesman said the trip was part of an effort to use rail and car transport rather than flying by helicopter.

Prince Charles shared the first class carriage from London to Woking with other business travellers.

His spokesman said no special arrangements were made other than to make a seat reservation.

He was on his way to visit Whitely Village in Walton-Upon-Thames to mark the 100th year of the trust that set up the almshouse. Prince Charles met residents, including 105-year-old Hettie Hyndman, at the village as it celebrated the centenary of the formation of The Whiteley Homes Trust.

Normally , when the Royals use the Royal train it costs around £43,000.

Method of travel 2000-01 2001-02
Helicopters £2.002m £1.961m
Fixed wing 32 Squadron £1.793 £459,000
Fixed wing civil aircraft £655,000 £1.483m
Royal Train/other rail £620,000 £703,000
Administration £298,000 £330,000
Total £5.368m £4.936m


It is made of wax, is barely three inches across and comes in any colour you like, as long as it's black. And it could save more greenhouse gas emissions than taxes on gas guzzling cars, low energy light bulbs and wind turbines on houses combined. It is the e-cube, and it is coming soon to a fridge near you.

Invented by British engineers, the £25 gadget significantly reduces the amount of energy used by fridges and freezers, which are estimated to consume about a fifth of all domestic electricity in the UK. If one was fitted to each of the 87 million refrigeration units in Britain, carbon dioxide emissions would fall by more than 2 million tonnes a year.

The patented cube mimics food and is designed to fit around a fridge's temperature sensor, which usually measures the temperature of the circulating air.

Because air heats up much more quickly than yoghurt, milk or whatever else is stored inside, this makes the fridge work harder than necessary. With the cube fitted, the fridge responds only to the temperature of the food, which means it clicks on and off less often as the door is open and closed.

Trials are under way with supermarkets, breweries and hotels. One of the largest, the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London, fitted the device to each of the hotel's 140 major fridges and freezers. David Bell, chief engineer, says energy use decreased by about 30% on average - enough to slash the hotel's annual electricity bill by £17,000. The Park Plaza group plans to fit them throughout its UK hotels, and to recommend them overseas.

Lamb coats

A Yorkshire Dales farmer has come up with a novel way of protecting his lambs from the cold weather - cagoules.

John Garnett of Kelker, near Skipton, wanted to move his lambs from their crowded indoor pens to the fields.

But he was concerned that some could perish as temperatures have recently plummeted below freezing.

The answer came in the shape of plastic coats which give the lambs enough extra insulation to ensure they can survive the cold outdoors of North Yorkshire.

Mr Garnett said: "Well, the lambs seem to like them and the sheep don't seem to be bothered. It keeps the bad weather off them. The farm buildings are filling up with sheep and lambs so we needed to get some out into the fields. They were fairly young and we had heard about these jackets so we thought we would give them a try."

As well as protecting the lambs from the elements the jackets have an added advantage - foxes seem to be bemused by them and stay away.

Britain's first cyber suicide

A father-of-two hanged himself live over the internet in Britain's first 'cyber suicide'.

Kevin Whitrick, 42, took his life after being goaded by dozens of chatroom users from across the world who initially believed he was play acting. But as they watched in horror, Mr Whitrick climbed onto a chair, smashed through a ceiling and then hanged himself with a piece of rope.

Stunned by what they had witnessed - broadcast on a popular chatroom website used by millions of people across the globe - chatroom users immediately contacted the police.

Officers rushed to the electrician's home in the Wellington area of Shropshire within minutes, smashing down the door to try to save him. But despite their efforts to save him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Last night it emerged that Mr Whitrick had been suffering from depression after being badly injured in a car crash last year.

Friends said that the breakdown of his marriage with wife, Paula - with whom he had 12-year-old twins - and the recent death of his father had also been causing him some distress.

Mr Whitrick told users of web-chat site PalTalk what he was going to do two hours before he killed himself on Wednesday night.

He was logged on with around 50 other users to a special "insult" chatroom where people "have a go at each other".

Today distraught users of the site said that they felt sick and had previously thought the web broadcast was a hoax.

Hungry horse

A hungry horse sparked a major rescue operation involving 14 firefighters, cutting equipment and a vet after he wandered into a caravan for a bite to eat and got stuck inside.

The drama began when peckish two-year-old Welsh Cob cunningly used his teeth to open the caravan door in Newgate Lane, Fareham, after smelling the bales of hay which were inside.

Unable to rein in his appetite, the stallion, called Triple Five, climbed in the caravan and began to munch away.

But when Triple Five had eaten his fill and went to leave he found there was not enough room for him to turn around and began to panic.

Firefighters from Fareham, Havant and Portchester took an hour to free the helpless horse after being called to the private stables just before 3pm yesterday.

They used specialist equipment to cut off the front end of the two-berth van so the young stallion could be led to safety.


Pigeons are not part of Liverpool's plans for its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The city council is mounting a campaign to rid the city of the birds, which it says are being fattened up by the public feeding them leftovers.

Ten robotic birds of prey are being brought into the city centre to scare off the pigeons and visitors are being warned not to give them food.

The council wants to encourage the birds into parks and open spaces.

The mechanical birds - called "Robops" - are to sit on the roofs of buildings, and can be moved around.

They look like a Peregrine Falcon, which is a natural predator of pigeons, and even squawk and flap their wings to scare off the birds.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Squatters lefts

A Serb man who lived in a tree in his garden for two years after squatters stole his home has finally come down.

A court has ruled Stevan Graovac can move back into his home which he fled in 1995 because of the war.

As he came down from his tree house for the last time, Mr Graovac said: "I'm happy it's all over. I thought I would have to live in a tree for the rest of my life. But I will keep the tree house as it is to show my children."

Stevan Graovac left his home in Smilcic, near the Adriatic port of Zadar, and moved to America but when he returned, a decade later, he found someone else living there.

A Croatian family fleeing fighting in Bosnia had moved into his deserted home, and refused to leave.

Officials agreed he was entitled to have his home back under Croatian law but until they could find another home for the current occupants, he would have to find somewhere else.

Mr Graovac, 59, then built a house in a tree in the back garden, sleeping on a straw mattress, and stayed there for two years living off benefits and charity donations while his case was sorted out.

The Croatian family have been moved into a new home of their own.

Tomb mate

A single Chinese man is advertising on the internet for a female tomb-mate so he won't be alone after death.

Mr Li, 45, of Nanjing city, said: "I was chatting with friends in a bar, and we were talking about life and death. They said it's sad to be all alone, even after death.

"That night I came back home, and thought about it seriously, and came up with the idea of finding a tomb-mate."

Li posted a message online, saying he is single but sociable and wants a female to share his tomb, and left his mobile phone number.

His ad attracted a lot of comments but Li says a curious journalist from Jinling Evening Post was the first to call.

"I only want to have a try. If I fail, I can take it, as long as I've tried," he said.

"I don't want a relationship with her. I just want to find someone to share the lonely tomb."


A Norfolk man is to finally marry a woman whose name he had tattooed on his arm 32 years ago.

Andy Cheeseman's decision to proclaim his love for Annette Law as a 17-year-old appeared somewhat rash when they split up before she had even seen it.

After more than two decades and two broken marriages the couple got back together again after a chance reunion through Friends Reunited and Annette was finally able to see the tattoo for the first time.

Andy, 49, of Gorleston, said:"It's very emotional."

What makes a meat pie

Fed up with misconceptions about their product, manufacturers have successfully changed the definition of a meat pie.

In the past, pies needed to contain at least 25 per cent meat, but meat could refer to any animal parts.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has now redefined a meat pie as containing at least "25 per cent meat flesh", which excludes offcuts and offal, but includes muscle, skin and fat.

But shoppers in Townsville in north Queensland still have doubts about what is under the crust.

"My mother used to work in a meat pie factory and she used to say that all the meat that got dropped on the floor, they used to get sent containers and that would all get processed and put in the pies," one person said.

"That's leftover meat from meatworks, they scrape it off the ground and they chuck it in this big grinder," another person said.

"It has to be Australian meat, it depends on what brand I guess you buy," a shopper said.

"I would have thought it would be lean cuts, it depends on the price of them too, you see, you can tell by the taste.

"You get gristle and stuff - I've eaten some pretty dodgy ones." "I don't have any idea either, I just eat it," another person said. "If it tastes good, it's good for me." "Well hopefully, meat, onion, beef, gravy - all the odd stuff out of the cow - I've no idea, I shudder to think," another shopper said.


A hapless German thief snapped his credit card in two while prying open a lock, inadvertently leaving behind his name and account details for police.

"He tried to copy what he'd seen them do on television, but the flat owner woke up and the criminal ran away," a police spokesman said.

"The victim called up and read us the details off the card.

"When we got round to the burglar's house, the other half of his credit card was sitting on his kitchen table."

The 29-year-old burglar was trying to open the door to his neighbour's flat in Moenchengladbach in western Germany, police said.

Sniffer dog security

Malaysian officials say movie pirates have put a bounty on the heads of two police sniffer dogs who helped to bring down a fake DVD ring.

The dogs, Lucky and Flo, have been trained to sit down when they smell plastic and led police to fake DVDs worth $3.7 million in a raid on Tuesday.

The Trade Ministry says bosses of the affected crime syndicate have offered an unspecified reward for anyone willing to kill the two female Labradors.

Authorities say they are taking the threat seriously and have stepped up security around the dogs to ensure their safety.

Suicide online

Police are investigating the death of a 42-year-old man who appeared to harm himself while talking to people in an internet chat room using a web cam. Police were called to an address in Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, on Wednesday evening, after a viewer in another area of the UK dialled 999.

Kevin Neil Whitrick, of Orleton Lane, was pronounced dead at the scene.

BBC Midlands Today said there were unconfirmed reports that the man had hanged himself.

A West Mercia Police spokesman confirmed Mr Whitrick had been using a web cam at the time of his death.

Det Ch Insp John Groves said: "Our inquiries to date have revealed Mr Whitrick was using a chat room with a number of other people at the time of his death. We are liaising with the internet service provider at this time to contact other users who were online at the time of the incident and who may have information that could assist our inquiries."

The death is being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem examination is being carried out into the cause of death. People who may have seen Mr Whitrick just before his death are being offered counselling, he added.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Voyager Cruise in Cyclone Valentina

France opens it's UFO database

France on Thursday became the first country to open its official archives on unidentified flying objects (UFO), said Jacques Patenet, the head of the UFO study group at the National Centre of Space Studies (CNES)."It's a world first," Patenet said. "It's true that in the United States you can ask for information on a case-by-case basis. But we have done the opposite by putting all the information at the disposition of the public. "

The archives are available at HERE and currently contain 400 files, about one fourth of the approximately 1,600 UFO sightings reported in France since the 1950s.

All of the files are scheduled to be online by the end of the year, Patenet said.

"We are working on the principle that there is nothing we will not put online with one exception: protecting an individual's privacy," he noted.

The files comprise principally witness statements taken by police officers, with personal data erased.

Hall of fumes

MONTPELIER, VT – Seven kids, ages eight to thirteen, from across the country, descended on the small town of Montpelier today wearing sneakers so decrepit and odorous, even the town dump wouldn’t take them. Why? To participate in the annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest. Each has won a regional contest and, therefore, earned a place in the national finals. In the end, thirteen-year-old Katharine Tuck took home the grand prize with a pair of one-year-old sneakers that nearly caused the judges to pass out.

Celebrating its 32nd year, the National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker contest is the ultimate test of just how offensive sneakers can get when they’re not taken care of properly. Sneakers are judged on the conditions of the sole, tongue, heel, toe, laces or velcro, eyelets/gromments, overall condition and most important ODOR, by a panel that includes NASA “Master Sniffer” George Aldrich, Chemical Specialist for NASA space missions, and Dr. Joel Goodman, founder and Director of The HUMOR Project.

This year, Katharine Tuck beat out six other contestants, from, Worcester, NY, White Plains, NY, Montpelier, VT, Eagle River, AK, Berkeley Heights, NJ and Las Cruces, NM to take home the grand prize of $2,500.00.

“My sneaker got dirty and smelly by just wearing them everyday to work in her yard, play sports, and just playing” said Katharine.

Katharine also received the Golden Sneaker Award trophy, plus an all expense trip to New York City to see The Lion King, and a much-needed supply of Odor-Eaters® products to kick out the odor from his/her sneakers. Although the maker of Odor-Eaters products sponsors the contest, it’s clear that the contestants keep the product far from their willfully worn and torn warriors submitted for judging.

Katharine’s sneakers will also be enshrined in the Odor-Eaters “Hall of Fumes” in Montpelier, VT.

Yes Deer

SUPERIOR, Wis. - A 20-year-old man received probation after he was convicted of having sexual contact with a dead deer. The sentence also requires Bryan James Hathaway to be evaluated as a sex offender and treated at the Institute for Psychological and Sexual Health in Duluth, Minn.

"The state believes that particular place is the best to provide treatment for the individual," Assistant District Attorney Jim Boughner said.

Hathaway's probation will be served at the same time as a nine-month jail sentence he received in February for violating his extended supervision.

He was found guilty in April 2005 of felony mistreatment of an animal after he killed a horse with the intention of having sex with it. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and two years of extended supervision on that charge as well as six years of probation for taking and driving a vehicle without the owner's consent.

Hathaway pleaded no contest earlier this month to misdemeanor mistreatment of an animal for the incident involving the deer. He was sentenced Tuesday in Douglas County Circuit Court.

"The type of behavior is disturbing," Judge Michael Lucci said. "It's disturbing to the public. It's disturbing to the court."

Wake up call

ROANOKE, Va. - The underside of a car is a familiar sight to auto mechanic Dean Blevins. Seeing one on top of him at 2:30 in the morning, while he was in bed - that was new. A Jeep crashed through a wall of Blevins' apartment early Tuesday and pinned him in his bed. It took firefighters an hour to free him, but he suffered only minor bruises and scrapes.

As he saw the vehicle's engine above him and felt hot antifreeze splash onto his face, Blevins said, his initial thoughts were less about his injuries than about going after the driver.

"If I'd a had my gun," he told The Roanoke Times, "I'd a probably shot him."

The driver, Wesley Dewayne Smith, 34, of Roanoke, was charged with driving under the influence.

Building owner Wesley Dearing said the Jeep's windshield got snagged between the first and second floors of the wood-frame building, probably saving Blevins from being crushed.

Blevins, 58, was treated at a hospital and released. His apartment was condemned until repairs could be made, but he said he had calmed down enough to laugh about the experience.

"I'm lucky to be alive," he said.


McDonald's Corp. is reviving its campaign to ditch the dictionary definition of "McJob," this time setting its sites on the vocabulary of Britons. The world's largest fast food company said Tuesday it plans to launch a campaign in the U.K. this spring to get the country's dictionary houses to change current references to the word "McJob."

The Oxford English Dictionary, considered by many wordsmiths as the gold standard for the English language, is one of those that will be targeted. It defines the noun as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."

The word first cropped up two decades ago in the Washington Post, according to the dictionary. But executives at Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's say the definition is demeaning to its workers and say theyll ask dictionary editors to amend the definition.

"Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And in this case, they got it completely wrong," said Walt Riker, a McDonald's spokesman. "It's a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that's been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years."

But the restaurant chain that helped coin the phrase "super size" may have its work cut out.

In 2003, editors at the Merriam-Webster dictionary declined to remove or change their definition of "McJob" after McDonald's balked at its inclusion in the book's 11th edition. Instead, the Springfield, Mass. publisher said the word was accurate and appropriate.

Ugly veg

Green-fingered Brian Davy didn’t look twice at the hideous root vegetable after digging it up on his allotment.

But his wife spotted its bug-eyes, hooked nose and crooked mouth as she was about to cook it.

Brian, 71, said: “It looks like some sort of gargoyle.

“My wife is the chef and it didn’t go in the pan because it was so unusual.”

Brian, of Wellington, Shrops, has grown veg for five years. He said keeping a parsnip was a “bit odd” and it could still end up on his plate or even in a broth.

Satanic bar-codes

A HUNDRED residents of a Russian village have refused to switch to new passports because they believe the documents' bar codes contain satanic symbols.

"We believe these new passports are sinful," Valentina Yepifanova, an elderly resident of the village Bogolyubovo, told Rossiya television as she clutched an old, tattered passport she said she wanted to keep.

"They have these bar codes and people say they contain three sixes. We are against that."

Some residents of Bogolyubovo, which means "God-loving" in Russian, have also stopped collecting their pensions at the local post office because the payment slips also have bar codes that might contain the mark of the devil, Rossiya TV reported.

Duty free splurge

A CHINESE man bought carry-on wine and spirits worth a record €23,000 ($38,100) at Paris airport's duty-free shop, including a bottle of 1806 cognac that might have slipped through the fingers of Emperor Napoleon.

The 15-minute duty-free shopping spree included a €5000 bottle of cognac dating back to 1806, when Napoleon ruled France, airport officials said.

The tourist also splashed out on a bottle of epic 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild red wine with a price tag of €13,800 before boarding a scheduled flight to Beijing. Other items in his hand-luggage included a bottle of 1900 Armagnac.

"Most people buy regular wines from Burgundy and so on, but we know this gentleman quite well. He is a collector and an illustrator," said saleswoman Lynda Chong.

"He didn't seem terribly surprised at the price. In a quarter of an hour he made his purchases and left," she said.

The shopper's name was not disclosed.

With travel rebounding from a recession, the operator of Charles de Gaulle airport, ADP, has started stocking up with luxury items and hired 20 personal shoppers to cater to wealthy tourists from China, Japan and Russia.


A man has had a slice of ham and pineapple pizza tattooed on his head.

The slice was inked right across the back of Colin Helsby's head, with the crust behind one ear and the tip behind the other.

The 45-year-old had the tattoo to raise cash for a cystic fibrosis charity and to celebrate the opening of his new business - a takeaway pizza shop!

Mr Helsby, from Penmaenmawr, north Wales, said he had a bit of a headache but was happy with his new look.

The tattoo took three hours to complete and features three types of ham, chunks of pineapple and long strands of cheese dripping down Mr Helsby's neck.

He said: "I'm really pleased with it, and I'll keep my head shaved at the back for a few weeks to show it off."

Tattooist Blane Dickinson, who tattooed a full English breakfast across the top of a man's head last month, said he liked the result: "It's really colourful, and I'm very proud of it."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kill the baby polar bear

Animal rights campaigners in Germany have called on Berlin's Zoo to kill a baby polar bear that has been rejected by its mother rather than have it raised by humans.

The three-month-old polar bear cub has captured the hearts of many Germans, baby Knut and his twin brother were born in December.

They were rejected by their mother and were left exposed to freezing temperatures.

After Knut's brother died, the zoo intervened to save the surviving cub.

Knut has been nurtured by a keeper who has slept by his side and bottle-fed him.

Now animal rights campaigners argue Knut should be put down to stop him becoming emotionally and physically reliant on humans.

That has sparked outrage in Germany and Berlin Zoo has vowed to continue hand-rearing the cub.

Click on title to watch video

Tricky Squid

The biggest squid in history is presenting a colossal challenge to scientists and curators at New Zealand's National Museum.(Title is link to previous post)

Their problem is how to handle the ten-metre giant after they thaw it out.

The half-ton squid was very gently landed by the crew of a New Zealand trawler long-lining for toothfish in Antarctic waters last month, the largest catch of its kind.

It was frozen for safe keeping and sent off to New Zealand's national museum where scientists are now faced with the challenge of safely thawing it out so it can be studied.

Conventional procedures may take so long the squid's outer tissue could deteriorate, so infra-red technology is being considered to accelerate the defrosting.

Then there is the equally tricky matter of turning the mysterious creature from the ocean depths into a colossal museum piece.

Octogenarian Hero

Police in the Netherlands say an 81-year-old man who saw a shoplifter flee a supermarket in The Hague chased after the thief on his bike and crashed into the man to stop him.

Officers say the 81-year-old had observed the 29-year-old shoplifter run from the supermarket with two employees in pursuit.

"The man did not hesitate a moment, followed the fleeing suspect on his bike, rode into his legs, whereupon both fell," police said in a statement.

The cyclist injured his hand and shin in the fall and had to undergo treatment.

The shoplifter was arrested and found to be carrying 122 euros ($202) worth of cosmetics, police said.

5 million-year-old whale

The skeleton of a 5 million-year-old whale has been found in the Tuscan vineyard that produces the world-famous Brunello di Montalcino wine.

A spokeswoman for wine promotion agency Winenews said they found the first piece of the skeleton in January.

"A group of palaeontologists were digging in January in the Castello Banfi vineyards and found a whale's vertebra," Daniella Vidotto said.

"They continued their search and found the animal's entire skeleton, about 10 metres long."

Explaining that the region was under water 5 million years ago, Ms Vidotto said it was a magnet for palaeontologists.

"A dolphin skeleton was found a few years ago in our area, in Pienza, as well as lots of sea shells," she said.

The region in the province of Siena is known for its wine and Brunello di Montalcino was named the best wine in the world last year by the prestigious US magazine Wine Spectator.

600 wed in anti-racist furore

More than 600 Belgian couples have gathered to tie the knot, both out of love and as a gesture against small-town racism.

The focus of some discord in the village of Saint Niklaas has been a black town councillor.

Three couples in the town announced they would not get married when they found out Councillor Wouter Van Bellingen was listed to officiate, objecting to his colour.

The councillor was adopted from birth in Rwanda and brought up a Belgian.

The Mayor ruled no other official would marry the three couples, but hundreds of couples of different colours from several European countries signed up asking for Councillor Van Bellingen.

So they had to be married together and crowded into the town square.

The weather though was unobliging, with some late winter hail driving people indoors for the ceremony.

Ve vant nein English !

Conservative members of the German Parliament have launched a bid to strengthen rules to prevent English words being used in signs at rail stations and other public places.

The members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which forms one half of the Coalition Government, have taken particular aim at German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

In German stations, travellers are directed to a "Service Point" and can rent a bicycle from "Call a Bike", but the MPs say many Germans cannot understand the signs.

"We need a wider form of consumer protection based on the understanding of language," said a statement from lawmakers Julia Kloeckner, Laurenz Meyer, Erika Steinbach and Gitta Connemann.

The MPs said if consumers fail to understand the language used in signs, "they feel limited and can no longer participate" in daily life.

Deutsche Bahn rejected the criticism.

"We operate on an international level," a spokesman said.

Cabbie honoured

London's longest serving black cab driver has been honoured with an award after 70 years of service.

Alfred Collins, aged 92, was given the award from Transport for London at a specially organised ceremony at the Public Carriage Office.

Mr Collins, from Colindale in north west London, drove his first passenger in 1937 and his last a few years ago.

Some of his most famous fares have included Margaret Thatcher, Joan Collins and Bruce Forsyth.

The father of two said: "Life is all about communication and I have enjoyed sharing my vast experience of life as well as learning a lot with some of my passengers. I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life." He added: "It has been a great privilege to serve the people of London.

May the force be with you young Skywalk

Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin took the ceremonial first step on Tuesday onto a glass-bottomed walkway overhanging the Grand Canyon that backers hope will lure tourists to the remote west rim.

A private developer from Las Vegas built the $40 million (20.4 million pounds) horseshoe-shaped walkway, called the Skywalk, with the permission of the Hualapai tribe, whose ancestral lands abut the southwest rim of the canyon in Arizona.

The steel pathway, which is paved with 90 tons of toughened glass, is cantilevered 70-feet (21 meters) out over the lip to give steel-nerved visitors a dizzying glimpse of the Colorado River Valley nearly a mile (1.6 km) below.

The project has stirred controversy on the Hualapai Reservation, where backers say it will create valuable jobs but opponents condemn it as a desecration of a sacred landscape.

Aldrin, 77, strode out onto the transparent pathway, waving to a crowd of about 1,000 tourists, dignitaries and tribal members, to meet a group of Hualapai elders and children in the centre coming from the other direction.

P&G not in league with Lucifer

The Devil is not in league with global consumer brand Procter & Gamble, a US court has ruled.

P&G won a $19m (£9.7m) lawsuit against four distributors of rival Amway over rumours tying it to Satanism.

The court concluded a 12-year lawsuit in P&G's favour, after it ruled that the four had spread a false accusation that P&G subsidised Satanic cults.

The case is one of several unfair competition suits P&G has brought refuting the Satanism slurs.

According to P&G, the four distributors had passed on to customers the notion that its logo - featuring a bearded man looking over a field of 13 stars - was a symbol of Satan.

"This is about protecting our reputation," said Jim Johnson, P&G's chief legal officer.

For its part, Amway pointed out that it had successfully defended itself in an earlier case brought by P&G that had been connected with the rumours.

It had also, it said, done everything it could to get the rumour stamped out.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Six sixes

Herschelle Gibbs said hitting six sixes in an over in South Africa's World Cup win over the Netherlands was "up there with the best things" he has done.

The 33-year-old said: "I never thought about getting six in a row, but if it's your day, it's your day.

"After the first three I thought I was in with a chance, but I decided I wasn't going to charge him [Daan van Bunge], I'd wait to see what he did.

"I just stayed in my crease and luckily they fell into the right slot."

Sir Garfielad Sobers also hit 6 sixes.

Also May he rest in peace , Bob woolmer who died today

Two faced Pig

A newborn piglet with one head, two mouths, two noses and three eyes is held between two mirrors in Xi'an, China

Free land

Alaska -- Anderson, a little town in Alaska's interior, has no gas station, no grocery store and no traffic lights, but it does have plenty of woodsy land - and it's free to anyone willing to put down roots in the often-frozen ground.

In a modern twist on the homesteading movement that populated the Plains in the 1800s, the community of 300 people is offering 26 large lots on spruce-covered land in a part of Alaska that has spectacular views of the Northern lights and Mount McKinley, North America's highest peak.

And what's an occasional day of 60-below cold in a town removed from big-city ills?

"It's Mayberry," said Anderson high-school teacher Daryl Frisbie, whose social studies class explored ways to boost the town's dwindling population. Students developed a Web site and Power Point presentation, then persuaded the City Council to give it a go.

"Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of the Lower 48, crime, poor schools, and the high cost of living?" the Web site asks. "Make your new home in the Last Frontier!"

The 1.3-acre lots will be awarded to the first people who apply for them and submit $500 refundable deposits beginning at 9 a.m. Monday. Each winning applicant must build a house measuring at least 1,000 square feet within two years. Power and phone hookups are already available.

City Clerk Nancy Hollis said people who apply in person or have someone stand in for them will have the best shot, since the post office doesn't open until noon and deliveries are even later from the regional hub of Fairbanks, 75 miles away.

People seeking more information are calling from such places as California, Texas, Idaho and Florida.

Locals eyeing the sites include 15-year-old newcomer Brittney Warner, a student who worked on the project. The 10th-grader, her parents and three siblings moved to Anderson two months ago from Boise, Idaho, when her father got a job at nearby Clear Air Force Station.

Warner calls her new community "very nice, small, very outdoorsy" - a place that would be even better if it brought in some new businesses. Residents now have to drive at least 20 miles for gasoline or groceries.

Her family is now living in a rental home and planning to apply for one of the lots.

"We already have a house design," she said.

Cory Furrow, a 26-year-old electrician, said he will be in line, too. Anderson has everything he enjoys - good terrain for snowshoeing and skiing, fishing, and hunting for moose and grizzly bears.

"I've lived here my whole life, so when free land comes up in my hometown, I can't pass that up," said Furrow, who lives in his family home.

Folks in Anderson say there are some job opportunities within driving distance, including a coal mine, a utility, major hotels and the air station, a ballistic missile early-warning site. Locals also would like to see entrepreneurs among the newcomers.

In addition, they are hoping for families. The high school basketball team had to go coed this year because there weren't enough boys.

Among the other advantages of Anderson: no property taxes, state income taxes or sales tax, virtually no crime, and no traffic. There are magnificent summers with temperatures as high as 90 degrees and plenty of wide-open space.

"One of the resources that we have is land," said Mayor Mike Pearson, a mechanic at the air station. "If this works out well, the city's got lots more property."