Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Minnesota Mullet Contest Winner

RED WING, Minn. - A 3-year-old Red Wing boy has won first prize in this year's Minnesota Mullet Contest, and yes, there is such a thing.

Hockey Moms magazine, a Minnesota publication that's distributed at hockey arenas, named Brady Arneson's blond hairdo the best.

Mullets are a family tradition for the Arnesons — Brady's older brother Blake won the same award in 2005. Their father Scott Arneson also had a mullet as a child.

Mullets, which are sometimes called hockey hair, remain popular for some players.

Scott Arneson explains that hockey kids want their hair to hang out the back of their helmets.

Brady's parents say they'll soon cut his mullet to keep their son comfortable in the warm weather.

Video HERE

Burger buns stored in WC

Employees at the Checkers store on South French Avenue at West 15th Street (see map) apparently decided it was okay to store buns for their hamburgers inside a not-so-clean men's room.

Tuesday, it appeared they had changed the policy, but not before racking up a dozen health code violations.

"The bread was stacked sky high to the ceiling, plus it was only about 12 inches from the men's commode," said former customer Willie Jones.

Checker's goes through a lot of hamburger buns at its drive-thru restaurants. It's hard to even think about what might happen to those buns in a tiny, smelly and dirty bathroom. One customer told Eyewitness News he didn't like the manager's reaction to his complaint about the bread box-bathroom stall combination.

"'You got the bread in the men's restroom.' She got angry with me. She got T'd off and she locked the door," Jones said.

Health officials didn't settle for that solution, forcing the store to throw away all of it. Unfortunately, they don't know how long the Sanford Checkers kept both bread and cups in a bathroom that was quickly cleaned as Eyewitness News arrived Tuesday. An employee denied the bathroom-food storage system.

"Were you guys storing bread in there?" WFTV reporter Steve Barrett asked.

"No sir," the employee replied.

That employee and the bread delivery man seemed perplexed about where the bread should go Tuesday as an Eyewitness News crew looked on. They finally took it inside the kitchen.

"Do you ever see them put the bread you bring in the bathroom?" Barrett asked the delivery man.

"No comment," he said.

In all, the Checkers location was cited for a dozen violations, including nine "critical" violations. They were for things like storing food on the floor and having a faulty water treatment system.

The manager would not come out and talk Tuesday and no one called back from the corporate office for comment.

Assed to the prom

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Thirteen members of a high school lacrosse team have been disciplined for baring their bottoms on which was written a prom invitation from one player to a girl.
more stories like this

Carolyn Campbell, a senior at Huron High School, accepted the invitation to go to the prom with fellow senior Kristoff Wennersten.

The varsity lacrosse players displayed the question, "Will You Go To The Prom With Me? Yes or No?" on their bottoms, which they bared during a junior varsity game last Thursday.

Officials suspended the 13 players for an undetermined number of games and ordered them to perform 20 hours of community service. They also were suspended from school for one day.

"Inappropriate is inappropriate," school athletic director Dottie Davis told The Ann Arbor News. "It disrespects women, and that's the clear message we need to have the students understand -- what may be fun to them isn't necessarily fun to everyone else."

Campbell accepted the invitation by patting the back of the player who displayed the word "Yes."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spidey Tattoo

Britons rude?

Britons are ruder than they were a decade ago, according to a survey on Monday that showed almost three-quarters of people think manners should be taught at school.

A third believe bad manners are the catalyst for much of the anti-social behavior in Britain, the ITV poll found.

Experts interviewed by the network blamed a lack of respect for authority.

More than 90 percent of respondents believe parents are failing to ensure their children learn proper manners and that bad behavior of celebrities and footballers are setting a poor example for impressionable youngsters.

Spitting and swearing were the most offensive behaviors, it found, while queue-jumping and not saying 'please' or 'thank you' were other main gripes.

Repairer arrested

A graffiti vandal was arrested in South-West England after he returned to the scene of his crime to repair the damage.

Aaron Miller, 18, drunkenly spray-painted his name and 'crack head' on a garage door.

But he later bought paint from B&Q and began to right his wrong - which is when the police caught him.

Miller, of Weymouth, Dorset, was given a conditional discharge.

Self-assembly Robot

Woman rescued from under dead husband

MARION, Ill. — Bruce Pitts had a feeling something was wrong when the newspapers began piling up in the roadside tube outside the southern Illinois home of Fred and Blanche Roberts.

So on Sunday, the worried newspaper carrier cracked open an unlocked side door and saw 84-year-old Blanche Roberts helplessly looking back at him, her right leg pinned beneath the body of her 77-year-old husband — who apparently had been dead for days in the home just outside Marion, Ill.

"The good Lord was with her. She was not scared, wasn't panicking. Nothing," Pitts said Tuesday during a telephone interview. "She was conscious, talking. Just peaceful. It was remarkable."

Williamson County, Ill., coroner Mike Burke said Fred Roberts likely collapsed and died of a heart attack Wednesday evening after mowing the lawn, based on accounts from people who were visiting the home that day.

"They said he was really beat-red in the face, that he didn't look good," Burke said.

He described Roberts as "a good-sized man," though he declined to divulge the man's proportions.

But there was no doubt that Blanche Roberts, once pinned on a landing leading from the kitchen to the basement, couldn't wriggle free. Burke said she was trapped in "kind of an awkward position;" Pitts said she was sitting up but wedged against a wall.

Air Marshalls denied flights

Some federal air marshals have been denied entry to flights they are assigned to protect when their names matched those on the terrorist no-fly list, and the agency says it's now taking steps to make sure their agents are allowed to board in the future.

The problem with federal air marshals (FAM) names matching those of suspected terrorists on the no-fly list has persisted for years, say air marshals familiar with the situation.

One air marshal said it has been “a major problem, where guys are denied boarding by the airline.”

“In some cases, planes have departed without any coverage because the airline employees were adamant they would not fly,” the air marshal said. “I've seen guys actually being denied boarding.”

A second air marshal says one agent “has been getting harassed for six years because his exact name is on the no-fly list.”

Earlier this month the agency issued a new security directive (SD) “to address those situations where air carriers deny FAMs boarding based on 'no-fly list' names matches.”

The memo was issued April 23 from the assistant director of the office of flight operations.

Gregory Alter, spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service, said the new directive “mitigates any misidentification concerns by empowering airlines to quickly clear an air marshal’s status after positively identifying their law enforcement status.”

Man pays water bill for 600 years

Don Mathis was in for some good news — sort of. He wouldn't have to pay another water bill for 600 years. But the circumstances of such good fortune left the Houston man sourly dismayed.

Mathis thought his check for $99,000 was safely en route to a Dallas securities firm where it would be used to purchase a certificate of deposit. Instead, it arrived at Houston's Department of Public Works and Engineering office, where it was automatically processed, endorsed and deposited.

"It's a comedy of errors," Mathis said, noting that he never suspected anything was amiss until he received a nervous phone call from Dallas. "I have no idea what went wrong. I've done this a jillion times."

Mathis said the problem started last month when, as usual, he paid his granddaughter's $13.74 water bill by phone. About the same time, he dropped his check to the security firm in the corner mailbox.

Days later he was advised the check had not arrived.

His bank determined the check had been deposited in a city account — effectively pre-paying the granddaughter's water bill for six centuries.

"Mr. Mathis mailed a check payable to Southwest Securities, which was processed through our automatic payments processing system," public works Director Michael Marcotte told the City Council in a memo. "Due to the high volume of checks received daily, we did not notice the mistake."

Public works spokesman Alvin Wright theorized that Mathis might inadvertently have placed his check in the water bill's return envelope.

Mathis insisted he never mailed the check to public works.

He has petitioned the city for a full refund, and this time he likely will be in for real good news. The City Council is expected to approve his request Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mathis' granddaughter's new water bill has just arrived.

The quickest Dumbass Draw

A man who shot his ex-girlfriend in a hotel room told Mesa police he was practicing drawing his loaded handgun when it went off.
Amber Sungleton said all she remembers is not feeling good and going to sleep.

"And the next thing I know, I woke up and I was shot in my leg and he was freaking out, telling me, 'don't move' and he ended up on the phone with 911 and they came," she said. "At that point, I didn't even know what had happened yet."

Sungleton said detectives told her that from the angle of the bullet and where her ex-boyfriend was standing, it may or may not have been an accident.

Sungleton is in the hospital recovering from a hip fracture. Her ex-boyfriend was taken to jail, but has bonded out.

Honeymoon in jail

A newlywed couple face numerous charges in a brawl that officials say left two others injured and caused $1,000 in damage to a hotel after their wedding over the weekend. Dr. David Wielechowski and his bride, Christa, exchanged vows at a ceremony on Saturday.

According to police, the Wielechowskis had just checked into the Holiday Inn in Ross Township on their wedding night when they began to argue. KDKA's Ross Guidotti reports that authorities say David Wielechowski allegedly used a karate-style kick with his leg, knocking his wife to the floor.

Meanwhile, officials say two other hotel guests, Joseph Vacca and Richard Dovi, went to help the new Mrs. Wielechowski. Police report that Vacca and Dovi tried to restrain Wielechowski from attacking Christa. That's when police say she turned against Vacca and Dovi.

Authorities say all four got into a fight, and ended up in the hotel elevator heading down to the first floor. According to the criminal complaint, once on the first floor, the bride and groom picked up metal planters and threw them at Vacca and Dovi.

The couple was arrested by police and they are now facing charges of simple assault and public drunkenness. They were later released on their own recognizance.

Officials say during the brawl, Vacca knocked out a tooth, suffered a cut to his face and also has a possible broken thumb, and Dovi suffered a minor laceration on his chin.

Da Vinci parachute success

Switzerland - A 36-year-old Swiss amateur parachutist made a successful 650-metre (2,130-foot) drop Saturday using a replica of a parachute designed more than 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci.

"I came down... smack in the middle of the tarmac at Payerne military airport," said Olivier Vietti-Teppa. "A perfect jump." Vietti-Teppa is the first person to have made it safely to the ground with the Leonardo model.

In 2000, Britain's Adrian Nicholas tried it but had to pull the ripcord on a modern backup parachute to complete his descent safely. Vietti-Teppa jumped from a hovering helicopter and the Leonardo parachute opened at 600 metres, he reported.

The parachute he used was made using modern fabric along lines designed by the Renaissance genius. The specifications were found in a text dating from 1485. The parachute consists of four equilateral triangles, seven metres on each side, made of parachute fabric, Vietti-Teppa explained.

The base of the pyramid is a square of mosquito net, which enables the parachute to open. A wooden frame originally conceived by da Vinci was not used on the model in action on Saturday.

One drawback: it is impossible to manoeuvre or steer the Leonardo parachute. "You come down at the whim of the wind," said Vietti-Teppa, who carried out advance tests using a scale dummy model launched from a remote-controlled model helicopter.

There's a video HERE

Prisoner sues over weight loss

An overweight prisoner in the United States is suing the authorities for not feeding him enough after he lost over 100lbs (45kg) in jail.

Broderick Lloyd Laswell, who is awaiting trial for murder, dropped from 413lbs to 308lbs (140kg) after eight months inside the Arkansas prison.

He claims his vision has gone blurry while trying to exercise.

The prison says the meals average 3,000 calories a day - more than the US recommended daily intake for adults.

Laswell has filed a federal law suit complaining Benton County jail does not provide inmates with enough food.

"Free Tibet" flags - Made in China

Police in southern China have discovered a factory manufacturing Free Tibet flags, media reports say.

The factory in Guangdong had been completing overseas orders for the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Workers said they thought they were just making colourful flags and did not realise their meaning.

But then some of them saw TV images of protesters holding the emblem and they alerted the authorities, according to Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Accident filmed

A private plane struck a crowd of onlookers shortly after landing at a small air show in central Germany on Saturday, killing one person and injuring 10 others, including two children, police said.

Hartmut Tuermer, a spokesman for police in the town of Gotha, said the prop-powered plane had landed just before 4 p.m. local time near Eisenach just before it hit people along the runway and then struck a children's carousel before coming to a halt.

One man was killed and 10 other people were hurt, three seriously, said Karin Koehler, another police spokeswoman. Another seven suffered what she called light injuries, including two children aged 9 and 14. She said the carousel had not been in operation when the plane hit it.

Liz I Painting may be worth millions

Experts are taking a closer look at a painting that not long ago was hanging in a North Carolina gift shop.

The oil painting of Queen Elizabeth I may be more valuable than anyone realized.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that the portrait is believed to have been painted in 1592, when Elizabeth would have been about 60 years old. It is one of the few portraits of the queen in her declining years.

If it's authentic, it could be worth millions.

An Auburn University English professor says the queen is shown, wrinkles and all, in an unflattering light. She says it's unlikely the queen ever saw the picture because she was known to destroy paintings that didn't flatter her.

The painting had been hanging in a gift shop at The Elizabethan Gardens gatehouse on North Carolina's Roanoke Island.

XXX plate removal

More than 9,000 North Carolina license plates have been recalled because they begin with "XXX" — a common symbol for sexually explicit material.

Marge Howell, communications officer for the Department of Motor Vehicles, said DMV Commissioner William C. Gore Jr. made the call Thursday morning after receiving complaints from people who found the letters offensive.

"I don't think anybody really looked at this as a problem," Howell said. "It was just next in the alphabetic stream of things."

At least 1,015 of the plates were distributed before the recall went into effect, but Howell said gathering the remaining stockpile should be easy. They are only available at two bureaus — Greenville's 10th Street location and the branch in Roanoke Rapids.

"Only a few were turned in ... just six that I know of, and I don't know the reasons for those," Howell said. "The commissioner decided this was just something that we didn't need out there."

She added that DMV license plate bureaus will replace any plate considered offensive free of charge.

A Winterville man returned his plate Thursday afternoon, after realizing in the parking lot that he was holding the suggestive prefix.

"I definitely don't want XXX on there," Blake Coghill said. "I'm a youth pastor."

He re-entered the office to complain and emerged 10 minutes later, raising a new plate beginning "XTM" triumphantly above his head.

"They didn't know if they'd be able to replace it today," he explained, smiling, "But they had some back there ... I don't want to be the brunt of somebody's joke."

Story is by Kathryn Kennedy/The Daily Reflector and photo is by Greg Eans/The Daily Reflector.

Hydrant theft

HESPERIA — Firefighters were unable to douse an early morning blaze in time because copper fittings worth a mere $8 had been stolen from all five fire hydrants on the block.

As a result, Jerry Malberg lost his mother’s house near Rock Springs Road.

Hesperia Councilwoman Rita Vogler said authorities will look for those responsible at metal recycling spots and encouraged residents to report fire hydrants with missing tops to the fire department.

“This is a trend that has to do with the rising prices of metals and it’s bigger than San Bernardino County, which is why we need to be on the look out,” she said.

The house was empty at the time, but Malberg’s neighbors, Tony and Kim Gallegos, thought otherwise.

Tony Gallegos attempted to put out the fire with a garden hose while waiting for firefighters to arrive. Other neighbors were honking horns trying to wake up the occupants, said Gallegos.

“We watch out for our neighbors’ property all the time,” said Kim Gallegos. “We never thought we’d have to watch out for the hydrants.”

Tree ornaments

A South Florida man was trimming some trees in his backyard in Oakland Park on Friday when he discovered skeletal remains hanging from a tree. Broward County Sheriff's authorities say Glenn Parker found a skull, a hand, and other human remains hanging several feet off the ground.

Homicide detectives examined the remains, which authorities believe have been hanging from the tree since last year.Authorities say the death appears to be a suicide and no foul play is suspected.

The Medical Examiner will determine an official cause of death.

Car ready for take-off

A 73-year-old man drove around a security gate at Miami International Airport and ended up on the tarmac this morning, police said. The man, who authorities did not identify, was detained without incident.

"It might be the case because of his age that he was disoriented," said Miami-Dade Police detective Robert Williams. "We still have to interview him to determine what mindset he was in when he evaded the security gate."

The area was quickly locked down after the 8:30 a.m. intrusion, Williams said.

No flights or landings were delayed, said airport spokesman Greg Chin.

Worthless watch = $300,000

A $300,000 watch? Luxury. A $300,000 watch that doesn’t tell time — and that sells out? Pure genius.

According to several news reports flagged by my friends at Luxist, Swiss watchmaker Romain Jerome (the watch is on their homepage) just launched the “Day&Night” watch. The watch won’t tell you what time it is. That’s so yesterday. But it does tell you whether it’s day or night — helpful, I guess, for billionaire types who can’t afford windows.

As the company’s Web site boasts: “With no display for the hours, minutes or seconds, the Day&Night offers a new way of measuring time, splitting the universe of time into two fundamentally opposing sections: day versus night.”

What’s most impressive about the Day&Night is its complexity, given its absolute uselessness. The watch features two tourbillons — devices that overcome the ill effects of earth’s gravity on a watch’s accuracy — connected by a differential mechanism. Instead of hands, the watch has a “contemplative tourbillon operation whereby the ‘Day’ tourbillon operates for 12 hours to symbolize working life, while the ‘Night’ tourbillon takes over afterward to represent an individual’s private time.”

Like other Romain Jerome watches, the watch is made in part with steel salvaged from the sunken Titanic, along with material from the shipyard where it was built. That sounds creepy to me, but maybe today’s buyers prefer morbid metals.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The joke's on Bush

US President George W Bush poked fun at his potential successors during his last White House Correspondents' Association dinner. The president said he was surprised they were not in the audience before making jokes at their expense.

Referring to Republican candidate John McCain's absence, he said: "He probably wanted to distance himself from me a little bit."

The annual dinner dates back to 1924 and is attended by media personalities, celebrities and politicians. President Bush also put forward mock excuses on behalf of the Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Taking a jibe at controversies which have dogged their campaigns, he said: "Hillary Clinton couldn't get in because of sniper fire and Senator Obama's at church."

There's a video HERE

No "floppy" truncheon needed

Three judges have ruled that a male stripper who dresses as a policeman can use a real truncheon (baton) in his act. Stuart Kennedy, a student whose stage name is Sgt Eros, was arrested on his way to an engagement in Aberdeen by two female police officers.

They watched his performance in a city pub to confirm his explanation for wearing a police uniform before he was charged with carrying an offensive weapon.

A sheriff threw out the charge at a lower court amid widespread criticism of the Crown for pursuing the case, but prosecutors decided to appeal against the ruling.

They told the Appeal Court in Edinburgh at an earlier hearing that Mr Kennedy, 25, a genetics student and part-time strippagram, would not have been detained if his truncheon had been "floppy".

He said the case against him was a waste of public money and expressed astonishment that the issue had reached judges in the court of appeal. However, he also revealed that the press coverage had made his police costume his most popular outfit.

Rabies scare

Three people are being treated in England for exposure to rabies after being bitten by an infected puppy which was in quarantine. The puppy had been brought to the UK from Sri Lanka, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The people bitten were at the centre, thought to be in the Chingford area of Essex, and are being vaccinated.

The dog died whilst in quarantine, and this contained any public health risk, the Health Protection Agency said. The dog had been held at the centre since 18 April, and died on Friday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Obama auction hits a snag

After Barack Obama breakfasted at the Glider Diner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a loyal customer of the diner asked owner Charles LeStrange if he could have the Senator's Obama's half-eaten waffle and sausage.

He then put the leftovers, complete with cutlery and plate up for auction on eBay with the note that money raised from the sale of Senator Obama's breakfast would "go to Hillary for President!!!! Haha.", according to a blog on the Scranton Times-Tribune website.

By 2.45pm Tuesday (US eastern time) the half-eaten meal, which was wrapped in plastic and frozen soon after Senator Obama finished with it, had reached $US20,100 after 36 bids.

When the Glider Diner began receiving negative calls, Mr LeStrange asked Mr Oakes to take the food auction down from the auction website .

"It had nothing to do with him (M. LeStrange), but everyone was blaming him. So we took it down," Mr Oakes told the Scranton.

"We put it up there because we figured people are nuts and they might go crazy with it. And guess what? They did," Mr. Oakes said.

But he said the funds would not have gone to just Senator Clinton's campaign.

The auction money would have been donated to either the Democratic Party or be split between both the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

Mr Oakes said he isn't sure what he will do with the leftovers now.

Hitler dolls go on sale

A doll of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has gone on sale in the Ukraine. Supermarkets in the capital Kiev are stocking the 40 centimetre high figure of the fuhrer, complete with jackboots, leather trench-coat and swastika armband.

The £100 figure has a spare head "with a kind expression on it," glasses and several changes of clothes. It comes in a presentation box with the dates of Hitler's birth and death on it.

The decision to market the figure comes at a time of growing extreme right political sentiment in Ukraine. There are also reports of increasing xenophobia and racism, and of some extremists supporting racism similar to that of Nazi Germany under Hitler.

Around three million people died as a result of the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine, including 1.5 million Jews. Hitler wanted to turn the country into a buffer zone with Russia peopled by slave workers working for the Third Reich.

Although Ukranian laws prohibit any form of fascism or propaganda, the dolls are already on sale and will be mass marketed this summer.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Darth Vader in court

A man posing as Darth Vader attacked a Star Wars fan, who had founded a Jedi Church, a court has heard. Arwel Wynne Hughes, 27, from Holyhead, Anglesey, admitted assaulting Barney Jones and cousin Michael with a metal crutch. They suffered minor injuries.

Hughes, who was drunk and dressed in a black bin bag, shouted "Darth Vader!"

Earlier, when Hughes failed to arrive on time, District Judge Andrew Shaw issued an arrest warrant, adding: "I hope the force will soon be with him."

In the event, Hughes turned up and the case at Holyhead magistrates court resumed.
The court heard he had jumped over a garden wall wearing the bin bag before the attack.

Outlining the case againt Hughes, prosectutor Nia Lloyd said Barney Jones had recently started the Jedi church in Holyhead - in honour of the Star Wars' good knights. It had about 30 members locally and "thousands worldwide".

The cousins had been filming themselves playing with light sabres in the garden before the attack.

Hughes admitted two charges of common assault. Hughes could not remember the incident and only realised what had happened when he read about it in local newspapers, the court told.

Defending, Frances Jones said alcohol was "ruining his life" and he had no idea where he got the crutch from.

Molly alone - fish

A fish species, which is all female, has survived for 70,000 years without reproducing sexually, experts believe. Scientists from the University of Edinburgh think the Amazon Molly may be employing special genetic survival "tricks" to avoid becoming extinct.

The species, found in Texas and Mexico, interacts with males of other species to trigger its reproduction process. The offspring are clones of their mother and do not inherit any of the male's DNA.

Typically, when creatures reproduce asexually, harmful changes creep into their genes over many generations. The species will eventually have problems reproducing and can often fall victim to extinction.

Scientists at Edinburgh University have been studying complex mathematical models on a highly powerful computing system to look at the case of the Amazon Molly. Researchers calculated the time to extinction for the fish based on modelling genetic changes over many thousands of generations. They are now able to say conclusively, for the first time, the fish ought to have become extinct within the past 70,000 years, based on the current simple models.

Scientists believe the fish, which are still thriving in rivers in south-east Texas and north-east Mexico, are using special genetic survival "tricks" to help them stay alive.

One theory is that the fish may occasionally be taking some of the DNA from the males that trigger reproduction, in order to refresh their gene pool.

Like mother like son

India's tallest woman, who stands 7ft 2in, claims her baby has grown to 3ft 2in in only 10 months.

Svetlana Singh says she hopes her child Karan, who already weighs three-and-a-half stone, (49 pounds), will be the tallest man in the world.

Speaking in the family's home in Meerut, outside Delhi, Mrs Singh told how the hungry boy needs feeding an astonishing 20 times a day. He just doesn't stop eating and never stops growing," she said. He is only ten-months-old and wears clothes designed for five-year-olds."

"Karan has never fitted into baby clothes, even when he was first born he was 2ft 2in tall and was the same size as a normal two-year-old."

Husband Sanjay, who at 6ft 6in has to look up to his wife, hopes his son's height will help him become a basketball player so he can study in America. "Both sides of our family are very tall - my father is 6ft 5in and Svetlana's father is 6ft 7in - so Karan could not really have been born any other way," he said.

The couple, who are both doctors of naturopathy, a holistic medicine, met at university where their size immediately attracted them to each other.

Skeletons in the extension

Catherine McGuigan, 42, faces a £30,000 bill to give 10 skeletons dug up from her garden another resting place.

The gruesome episode began three weeks ago when she found her five builders white as sheets and hugging mugs of tea.

"It was like something out of a horror movie," said Miss McGuigan, who has a son, Cameron, ten, and lived in the cottage for 11 years.

"The men said they had found what they thought was an old pipe but when they pulled it out of the ground they realised it was bone. Then they looked down and there in the earth was a skull and the rest of the skeleton."

Miss McGuigan, who had moved out of the cottage during the building work, called police and within minutes her cottage was cordoned off for a forensic search of the hole beneath her dining room.

To her relief, the remains turned out to be over 100 years old and the police did not need to get involved. But within days of restarting work, another skeleton was found. Since then eight more have been recovered.

"It's been heart-breaking and now I can hardly bear to go to the house. Some skeletons are just a few bones but others have been dug up intact actually still in their coffins."

And it is thought up to 40 more bodies could be buried at the cottage in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire – on the site of Quaker burial ground from the 1700s.

And as no one else will take responsibility for the bodies, their disposal has been left to Miss McGuigan.

Priest blown away

A Catholic priest who floated away under hundreds of helium balloons in a bid to raise money for his parish is missing off Brazil. Only pieces of the party balloons have been found by searchers looking for Reverend Adelir Antonio de Carli off the coast of Santa Catarina state, the Associated Press reported.

Mr de Carli, 41, lifted off from the port city of Paranagua yesterday afternoon wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.

He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Gallas.

Mr di Carli had been trying to break a 19-hour record for flying with balloons to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers in Paranagua, Brazil's second-largest port for agricultural products.

A video of Mr di Carli posted on the G1 website of Globo TV showed the smiling 41-year-old priest slipping into a flight suit, being strapped to a seat attached to a huge column green, red, white and yellow balloons, and soaring into the air to the cheers of a crowd.

He soared to an altitude of 6000m then descended to about 2500m for his flight to the city of Dourados, 750km northwest of his parish.

But winds pushed him out to sea and Mr di Carli was 50km off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua's port authority, Ms Gallas said.

Mr di Carli had a GPS device, a satellite phone, a buoyant chair and was an experienced skydiver, she said.

"We are absolutely confident he will be found alive and well, floating somewhere in the ocean," she said.

Fart police

A woman was asked to leave an Enfield charity shop after the assistants accused her baby of passing wind.

Dr Mine Dogantan Dack, a research fellow in piano music at Middlesex University, claims one of the assistants asked her to leave the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shop, in Palmers Green, on April 12, after implying her 17-month-old daughter had caused a stink.

Dr Dack said: "I told them that my baby didn't do a poo or (pass wind) while we were in the shop; and that even if she did they have no right to ask me to leave. Who gives the BHF staff the authority to act as the 'fart police'?

"If this happened at Harrods, it would be disgraceful enough, but at a charity shop, the survival of which depends completely on the good will of the public, this behaviour is totally 'disgusting and unacceptable', in the words I used before leaving the shop. "

She has applied to set up a petition on the 10 Downing Street website calling for "the Prime Minister to ban insulting behaviour towards babies" and the right of babies to have "freedom of movement in public spaces."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Condom Bungee

A Durban man took a plunge with a difference when he bungee jumped 30m using an elastic rope made from condoms. Jump master Carl Dionisio made the unusual jump at the Wavehouse at Gateway to get what he described as "the virgin buzz" one got on the first bounce back.

The condom bungee jump was the first of its kind in the world and Dionisio said part of the thrill was getting recognition from the jumping community. The 37-year-old made his first jump 15 years ago in Mossel Bay. He was quickly hooked on the extreme sport and turned it into his career.

Dionisio, who was born in Lisbon, studied photography and at first took pictures of jumpers. He later started his own company designing bungee structures as well as being involved in marketing, shows and team-building exercises.

Dionisio said he and his assistant, Michael "Sniper" Xaba, had been working on the idea of the condom rope for more than a year.

They used 18,500 condoms to make it. "It was difficult as the condoms are slippery. When we tied knots they would just slip out," he said. He then cut the tips off the condoms and made loops.

"It took us four months to make the rope," said Dionisio, one of a handful of master jumpers in the world.

He said he was not concerned that the rope would be strong enough. "Latex is latex. But the cord was based on a mathematical formula and although I was 99 percent sure that it would work, my stomach was in a knot for a month before the jump," said Dionisio.

Now Dionisio is going to take a year off. He and an old army friend have bought a small yacht and will soon be flying to Israel where it is berthed.

"We have never sailed, but we've studied the theory and we will be joined by a 74-year-old skipper to show us the ropes."

Cheapest beers of the world

Ale lovers have found the world’s cheapest beer – costing an incredible 16c A PINT. But the bad news for boozers is they must travel to war-torn Somalia, troubled Congo, or the remote Pacific islands of Tuvalu to get it.

A new website called collects info from drinkers around the world.

Other beery bargains include Ethiopia (40c a pint), Vietnam (66c) and the Philippines (70c), although stag parties will find little else on offer in communist North Korea (64c).

At the other end of the scale, Monaco’s bars are most expensive at an average $15.05 a pint. Next dearest is Guadaloupe ($12), then Norway ($10.58) and France ($9.44).

A pint of beer in the United States costs an average $4.65, says the website.

A drinks industry source said: “OK, beer might be cheap in Somalia, but you’d probably get shot if you went there. Congo isn’t exactly safe either. As for Tuvalu, there are virtually no jobs except fishing, and the islands risk being wiped off the face of the earth as sea levels rise. If anyone deserves a cheap pint, it’s them.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rare quads

TOWSON, Md. -- A mother has given birth to a rare set of quadruplets in which three of the four boys are identical.

The boys were born 11 weeks premature in January at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Towson. The parents plan to introduce themselves and their boys at a news conference Friday.

There are fewer than 100 documented cases of "identical triplets plus one" in the United States, hospital officials said.

Two embryos were implanted into the mother, and both were fertilized, hospital spokesman Michael Schwartzberg said. One of them split, then split again, creating the identical triplets.

The boys were delivered by Caesarian section Jan. 29, their mother's 32nd birthday. Joshua Drew was born first, then Gavin Michael, Cody Benjamin and finally Logan Christopher, the non-identical one, Schwartzberg said.

The babies were treated at the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, and all four have been home in Belcamp for about 2½ weeks, Schwartzberg said.

Shower suit

A clothing manufacturer has designed a suit that washes in the shower, and dries in time for the next day in the office. And even better, the suit does not require ironing.

The Shower Clean Suit bills itself as the first wool, non-iron suit that can be rinsed under a normal shower stream to remove all the dirt, stains and odours that build up during a working day.

It even carries a designer label - London tailor John Pearse. Made under licence in Japan the suit was introduced as a solution to the problem of long, hot summers during which businessmen still like to remain crisply suited and booted.

Produced in partnership between Japanese menswear retailer and Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, the special fabric blend includes polyester and has two special finishes that help to maintain its shape.

The same team have already come up with a rain suit, which repels water and oil and a super non-wrinkle suit. smog, dirt, smoke, smells and stains from food apparently wash away after a few minutes rinsing under a 40C shower.

Washable suits are already available, but Konaka says its Shower Clean line of business suits are one-of-a-kind.

The firm's Web site shows how to clean them: Reverse the jacket and pants, put them on clothes hangers and douse with warm water for a few minutes to clean the inside.

Repeat the process to clean the outside and drip-dry.

Unfortunately for all those businessmen hoping to scrap trips to the dry cleaners, the suit is only available in Japan.

Bond car crashes

A stunt driver has crashed the car used by movie secret agent James Bond into Italy's Lake Garda during filming of 007's latest movie, Quantum of Solace.

The driver was delivering the iconic Aston Martin DBS to the film scene in heavy rain when he lost control around one of the lake's narrow curves.

The driver was quickly rescued and taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Italian TV showed the car, reportedly the only one available for use in the film, being winched out of the lake.

Filming for the movie - starring Daniel Craig as the latest Bond - has already taken the crew to England, Panama, Chile and Mexico.

The newest film in the long-running 007 franchise is to be released later this year.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Russian sleeps off knifing

A Russian man trying to sleep off a night of after-work drinking failed to notice a six-inch (15-cm) knife in his back - until his wife woke him up. Yuri Lyalin, 53, took a bus home, ate breakfast and apparently slept like a baby before his spouse noticed a handle sticking out of his back.

He was rushed to casualty but doctors found no vital organs damaged.

Mr Lyalin shrugged the episode off but the drinking partner who stabbed him faces trial, Russian media report.

"Unique and intriguing the case may be, but the accused faces a severe punishment," said Pavel Vorobyov, a deputy prosecutor in the northern city of Vologda.

Mr Lyalin, an electrician, had spent the evening drinking with a watchman at his workplace when they got into an argument, Interfax news agency reports. The morning found him waking up in the watchman's office but instead of going back to work, he decided to take the bus home.

At home, Mr Lyalin had some sausage from the fridge and lay down to sleep, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper says. After a couple of hours, his wife noticed the handle sticking out of his back and called an ambulance.

Viktor Belov, a surgeon who treated him, found a kitchen knife in Mr Lyalin's back but "by good fortune, it had gone through soft tissue without touching vital organs".

His alleged attacker reported the crime to the police himself, Interfax adds. Mr Lyalin apparently feels fine and bears no ill-will. "We were drinking and what doesn't happen when you're drunk?" he was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying.

You've been forked

Iowa - When known pranksters Rick and Marilyn Jones left town for a wedding, neighbors seeking payback eyed their property and decided to stick a fork in it -- a few thousand forks, in fact.

Tom and Paula Tschudi planted 3,000 white plastic forks in the Jones' yard and dangled more from the roof, fence and garage.

``We just wanted to do something funny to them, because every time we leave, they pull some prank on us,'' said Paula Tschudi, who promised to help pick up the forks.

Over the years, the Joneses have strung beer cans like holiday lights around the Tschudis' home, put a for-sale sign in their yard and strung yellow crime-scene tape around chalk outlines of bodies on the sidewalk.

As the Tschudis, their two children and another neighborhood family planted the forks Sunday, one passer-by asked what they were doing.

``We told him we were aerating their lawn,'' Paula Tschudi said with a laugh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The "in" pet

Forget about labradoodles and pugaliers there's a new designer pet on the market - African pygmy hedgehogs. reported the cross between Algerian and white-bellied hedgehogs were fetching as much as £150 ($320) each and expectant owners were waitng up to a year for them to become available.

Breeder Bonnie Martin told the hedgehogs were incredibly cute and could fit in the palm of your hand.

"They are just as cute as a hamster or a guinea pig but they have the added 'wow' and novelty factor," she said. "They are a very easy pet to handle and cheaper to maintain than a cat."

The website reported wildlife hospital worker Les Stocker as saying the domestication of hedgehogs was "absolutely appalling".

China demands apology

China on Tuesday demanded that television news channel CNN apologize after one of its commentators said the Chinese were "goons" and that their products were "junk."
Jack Cafferty made the comments earlier this month on CNN's political program, The Situation Room.

"We are shocked at and strongly condemn the evil attack by the CNN anchor on the Chinese people," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news conference.

"Cafferty used the microphone in his hand to slander China and the Chinese people, and seriously violated reporting ethics."

Cafferty said the United States imported Chinese-made "junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food," adding: "They're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years," according to a copy of his comments carried on YouTube.

Biggest Barbie-Q

More than a thousand barbecue fanatics in Uruguay grilled up 12 metric tonnes of beef on Sunday, setting a new Guinness world record while promoting the country's succulent top export.

Army personnel set up a grill nearly 1.5km long and firefighters lit six tonnes of charcoal to kick off the gargantuan cookout.

Some 1250 people grilled the beef and about 20,000 spectators cried with joy when a Guinness judge confirmed the barbecue record had been broken.

"I'm very proud to be Uruguayan. We have the best beef and now we have the world's biggest barbecue," said one of the volunteer cooks, sporting an apron and chef's hat.

The South American country bested a Mexican grilling record from 2006 by a resounding 4 tonnes.

Wrong deposit

Three days after stealing a rare collection of coins, a thief in Germany took them to the bank for safe keeping – and delivered them into the hands of the man he had robbed.

"I don't think the thief was expecting that," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Dortmund on Tuesday.

Soon after the thief made the deposit, a bank worker handling the coins recognized them as the set worth some 50,000 Euros ($80,000) that had been stolen from his house.

Police tracked down the 36-year-old suspect and arrested him, securing a haul of other stolen goods in the process.

Quel surprise!

A French MP has said he is outraged that the song chosen to represent the nation in the Eurovision song contest has English lyrics. Jacques Myard, of the UMP party, has urged the company that runs most of France's TV networks to reconsider.

Sebastien Tellier's entry, entitled Divine, combines both English and French lyrics with electro music.

France's culture minister has defended his song, saying the country should fully support his bid for victory.

A total of 43 countries are taking part in a contest that draws hundreds of thousands of viewers from Europe and beyond.

Teenager rescued from baby swing

A teenage girl had to be rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in a baby's swing after "a lark" on a Lancashire seafront. The crew from Morecambe fire station were called to Marine Drive Central in Morecambe at 9pm on Tuesday after friends of the 14-year-old phoned for help.

Watch manager Tim Morrell, of the resort's station, said the girl was "quite embarrassed" at the incident which happened at a children's play area on the promenade.

He said: "She had been playing around on the swing and slipped right down into it and then realised she could not get herself out of it.

"We just clipped her out and let her go on her way. I do not know how long she had been stuck there but she seemed pretty relieved to get out."

Marriage letdown

A German farmer who married a woman he met on the internet has asked for the marriage to be annulled after finding out 'she' was a he.

Wolfgang Zober, 55, from Naumburg, said: "I don't meet many women as I am often out in the fields working all day, and so a friend suggested I try internet dating.

"I was delighted when I contacted Randy Victoria, 38, and was delighted when I met her and realised she was as lovely as her photographs.

"She even knew loads about farming - I didn't realise that was because she used to be a farmer herself.

"We only had a kiss and cuddle before we married. But on my wedding night she told me she had a penis - and that her real name was Ralf. I was devastated.

"The only true thing she did say was that she had two children, but she was the father - not the mother."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ground Farce

A British Lottery winner Roy Gibney has been fined £10.50 after a "farcical" planning row with North East Lincolnshire Council.

The 53-year-old, who scooped £7.5-million in 1998, was taken to court for creating a vegetable patch for use by local disadvantaged schoolchildren, without planning permission.

He was issued with an enforcement notice in September, ordering him to remove the patch by November 9, but because he did not comply, he has appeared before Grimsby Magistrates' Court.

He must now tear up the educational facility, which includes sheds and raised vegetable and fruit beds, and measures 20 yards by 30 yards.

He said: "The council have turned around and said we have gone and encroached on the countryside - but it's my back garden."

Speaking from his luxury 25-acre estate in Barnoldby-le-Beck, he said: "The council has spent money on this case and I got fined just £10.50. I could understand it if I had built a high-rise block of flats or a house. To be honest with you, I think the fine reflects the seriousness of the crime. It is just farcical, but I am glad because I think that such a small fine shows that the judicial system has seen common sense and seen that this is for the local community and not for my benefit."

He explained: "I wanted the local school kids to know that carrots come from the ground, not from the supermarket. They come down here and they learn stuff and plant things and at the end of the year they come back down and pick what they have grown and take it home."

Blowing balloons with nose record

A 13-year-old boy is claiming the world record for blowing balloons with his nose. Using one nostril at a time, Andrew Dahl inflated 213 balloons within an hour Friday in the town's public library. His feat has been submitted for review by Guinness World Records.

His father, Doug Dahl, measured the balloons to make sure each was at least 20 centimeters, about 8 inches, the minimum diameter, and his mother, Wendy Dahl, kept the tally.

At one point he asked, "Does this count as practicing my trumpet?" His mother replied, "Only if you can play that with your nose."

It was his second try. In February he sent a videotape of himself inflating 184 balloons, only to learn that it didn't count because he handed them to his father to tie. This time he tied them off himself.

There's a video HERE

"I've been driving for 76 years, when I fell asleep at the wheel"

A 93-year-old driver who had not had an accident in 76 years but caused £60,000 worth of damage to two Porsche cars has spoken of his "miracle" escape. Jack Higgs was uninjured when his Ford Fiesta hit a Carrera II then flipped over onto a Porsche 911 outside a showroom in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan.

He was found hanging upside down by his seatbelt in his overturned Fiesta. The former Pentecostal minister, who lives next door to the showroom, has now decided to quit driving.

Mr Higgs said he could not explain how he managed to lose control of his 13-year-old car and smash into the Porsches. One of the elite cars was a write-off while the other was badly damaged and will need extensive repairs. Both cars were privately owned and were in the garage for servicing.

Mr Higgs' Fiesta, worth £600, was also a write-off. The cost of his accident was estimated at £60,000, which will be met by his insurance company.

"I've been driving since I was 17, have a clean licence and have never even picked up so much as a parking ticket," said Mr Higgs. He said he would be relying on the bus service and lifts to get him around from now on.

'Multi racial' sheep

A new television series about an extended family of "all-singing, all-dancing, multi-racial sheep" is being produced.
Welsh language channel S4C and Cynhyrchiadau Ceidiog Creations will team up with the children's station of the Arabic language broadcaster Al Jazeera to produce a high-definition second series of Baaas.

The three companies will produce a new 52x15-minute series of the pre-school show after the first series was sold to Al Jazeera in 2006.

Baaas is expected to be shown
under the title of Meees in Welsh on S4C in the autumn and in Arabic in early 2009, when the Qatar-based Al Jazeera launches its own children's channel.

"Negligently using a mop"

A New York judge is suing the city for one million dollars after slipping on a freshly-mopped floor in his own courthouse.
Supreme Court Justice Jack Battaglia is even targeting the courthouse cleaning lady who wielded the mop, according to legal papers.

Judge Battaglia, who broke a knee in the accident, accuses the city of "negligently using a mop bucket and wringer" and "negligently using a mop and soapy water" to create a "dangerous and hazardous traplike condition".

Naked nomad leaves millions

A man who rejected possessions and walked naked around the country has been declared dead, leaving his sister an estate worth millions of dollars. Victor Flanagan, also known as the “Naked Nomad”, was declared presumed dead in the Supreme Court in Perth last week – more than a decade after he last spoke to his sister.

The West Australian said a multimillion-dollar beachfront property near Busselton would be left to his sister, Violet Georgina Jenkins. Mr Flanagan had inherited the property after their father’s death.

Mrs Jenkins told the court that she last spoke to Mr Flanagan in 1996, while he was living in Papua New Guinea, the newspaper reported. He moved to PNG after years of wandering naked around outback Australia. He would don a sarong when walking through towns and a pair of thongs when there were prickles underfoot.

Mrs Jenkins said loggers at a remote camp in PNG found a naked and dying man in a canoe and she believed it was her brother. He was buried in a mass grave in the PNG city of Lae, where other unidentified people were laid to rest, she said.

Supreme Court Justice Andrew Beech ruled that it was fair to say that Mr Flanagan, who would have turned 57 this year, was dead.

“It is to be expected that he would have been in contact with (Mrs Jenkins) if he were still alive,” Justice Beech said. In a newsletter for environmental awareness group The Great Walk, Mr Flanagan was described as “a gentle man who walked this earth with love and care for the environment around him”.

“He walked barefoot from Perth to Papua New Guinea, becoming known as the Naked Nomad, making the news in his plight to share his truth with the outside world,” the newsletter said.

In 1995, Mr Flanagan told a reporter his naked adventures had attracted interest from travellers and police and many gave him and his dog food and water.

He said his goal was simply to be in touch with nature.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Win a divorce

A men's magazine has caused outrage by giving its readers the chance to win a divorce. Zoo Weekly in Australia is offering one lucky reader the chance of an all-expenses paid divorce.

Men are being invited to write in and explain why they deserve to win the prize. But critics have branded the competition unethical, inappropriate and in poor taste.

The men's magazine is promising to take care of it for the winner - from the legal costs to hooking up the "lucky" bloke with new women.

"The idea is we're going to try to get this guy out back on the scene and try to set him up with some more suitable girlfriends to have a good time," editor Paul Merrill said.

"When a marriage fails it's always sad but what's even sadder is being stuck under the same roof as someone who's shagged your best mate or something.

"This is hopefully going to encourage people to see the error of their ways and get out rather than put up with 40 years of misery."

Asked if the competition could be viewed as encouraging divorce, Merrill said: "You'd have to be pretty nutty to enter a competition to win a divorce if you're happily married."

The magazine drew widespread criticism from academics and plastic surgeons last year when it offered readers a chance to win their girlfriends a boob job by sending in shots of her cleavage.

Tai chi cows

A dairy farmer who believes a happy cow is a productive cow has discovered an unusual way to relax his herd and increase milk yields – tai chi. Rob Taverner performs the ancient martial art in front of his 100 cows every morning to get them in the right moo-d to produce lots of milk.

The 44-year-old organic farmer visits the animals at 9am each day to run through his ten-minute routine of slow movements and breathing techniques – dressed in his distinctive overalls and wellies.

He said: 'Tai chi is all about leaving your problems behind and getting into a better zone and my mood definitely transfers to the cows.

'Like all animals, they are very receptive to human emotions and can sense feelings such as relaxation, calmness and happiness.

'Some people think what I do is ridiculous but I have some very content cows and I would do anything to keep them that way. As any good dairy farmer will tell you, a happy cow is a productive cow.'

Blind runner finishes 7th marathon

Dave Heeley was yesterday planning some "quiet time at home" after becoming the first blind person to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Mr Heeley, along with his sighted running partner Malcolm Carr, crossed the London Marathon finish line after five hours and 23 minutes, supported by cheering friends and family.

Mr Heeley and Mr Carr ran their first event in the Falkland Islands on 7 April, before travelling to Rio de Janeiro, Los Angles, Sydney, Dubai, Tunis and finally London, and have so far raised over £100,000 for the Guide Dogs charity.

Mr Heeley said he was inspired to undertake the challenge by the "life-changing" event of receiving his first guide dog.

He hopes his world record will help other blind people to achieve "freedom and independence".

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Man swaps wife for a goat

A farmer who blamed his wife for not providing him with a child has swapped her for a goat with three kids. Three-times-wed Stoil Panayotov struck a deal with another farmer at a livestock market and handed over his wife in exchange for eight-year-old Elena.

Stoil, 54, said: "A friend told me that he had no luck with women and that he really liked my wife." Amazingly, she went along with the arrangement. Stoil added: "The deal was reached when my wife gave her approval.

"The goat has given birth to three kids and my wife to none. This deal was more profitable to the goat owner - I got a second-hand goat and he got a brand new wife."
Click here to find out more!

The trade was concluded in front of a stunned crowd in the market town of Plovdiv in Bulgaria. Now locals are wondering what will happen next if things don't work out between Stoil and Elena.

35c a gallon

North Carolina - Hundreds of people who found temporary relief from $3-plus gasoline prices yesterday after an employee accidentally set the price at 35 cents at the Kangaroo Express station at 17th Street and Wellington Avenue, employees said.

The trouble started about 9 a.m. today when an attendant at the BP station punched in 35 cents instead of $3.35 for premium-grade gasoline, said employee Shane Weller. The mistake wasn’t noticed until about 6 p.m., when crowds jammed the pumps and caused traffic jams on nearby roads, Weller said.

By that time news of the low-priced gas had spread like wildfire through e-mail and word of mouth, he said.

Snowmobiler falls into volcano

A man was evacuated by helicopter after falling into the crater of Mt. St. Helens while snowmobiling on the mountain Saturday. John Slemp, 52, of Damascus rode his snowmobile along with two others to the west rim of the crater at Mt. St. Helens.

Slemp got off his snowmobile and walked out onto a cornice overhanging the crater when it gave way, according to police. Slemp reportedly fell about 100 to 200 feet before landing on the interior slope of the crater. He then slid on hands and knees to the bottom of the crater.

There was no immediate official word on Slemp's injuries. He was taken to Yacolt, Washington to receive medical care.

The call for help came around 5:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Rescue crews from Skamania County Sheriff and the Clark County Volcano Rescue Team responded to the call from a man who reported his friend had fallen inside the crater of Mt. St. Helens.

The man’s friend used a two-way radio to call for help. The signal was picked up by a man in Mossy Rock who then contacted 9-1-1 for help.

Woman Killed Over Glass Cleaning

Philadelphia police say a 64-year-old woman found dead in her northeast Philadelphia home Friday was killed by her roommate over "the proper way to wash a glass."

Police say 20-year-old Jerry Jean assaulted and killed 64-year-old Jocelyne Desay in her Hasbrook Avenue home on April 5th. Police say he assaulted her, stabbed her in the neck multiple times, wrapped her in bed linens and put her body between a wall and her bed.

Jean cleaned up the home following Desay's murder and continued living there. Jean was arrested and will be charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and possession of an instrument of crime.

The victim's body was found Friday when police went to her home for a wellness check after her family had not heard from her in days.

Degree in selling beds

One of England's newest universities is offering tailor-made degrees in the management of selling beds. Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe is offering a retail management foundation degree developed in partnership with bed company Dreams.

Like the much-publicised "McDonald's A-level", the Dreams degree incorporates the existing company training package.

But Buckinghamshire New University vice-chancellor Ruth Farwell said: "Whilst we recognise the impetus behind the decision to allow companies such as McDonald's to award their own qualifications, we believe that it is better for employers to partner with universities in initiatives such as this one."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Underpants record

Tom Arnold aided a successful Guinness Book Of Records attempt on late night TV in America on Wednesday night (09Apr08) by helping dress a parking lot security guard.
Jimmy Kimmel Live comedy sidekick Guillermo, who plays a car park attendant on the show, attempted to become the first man to stand upright wearing 100 pairs of underpants.

Arnold, who was a guest on the show, helped the Latino step into various colours and designs of Y-fronts as Guinness bosses looked on. Guinness official Stuart Claxton confirmed Guillermo would be entered into the record books for "Wearing The Most Pairs Of Underwear Simultaneously".

At one point it looked as if Guillermo would fail in his attempt after pulling on 50 pairs of underpants - the sheer weight of the garments put him off balance and he had to be supported by show assistants.

Arnold helped him put on the last three pairs.

Record donation

A widow has given 4000 vinyl records spanning every classical genre to her local Oxfam shop, the largest music donation in the charity's history, a spokesman has said.

The collection, worth an estimated £25,000, ranges from Bach and Haydn to Stravinsky and Stockhausen and will keep the shop stocked for three years.

It was donated by an unnamed woman, in her 50s, to her local Oxfam store in Tavistock after the death of her husband.

"It is amazing. I can't think of a classical genre that is missing," said Oxfam volunteer Terry Hyde. "It is all there – all your big figures from the 18th and 19th century, your 20th century unlistenable nightmares by Stockhausen, avant garde, opera, unaccompanied violin. Virtually every genre is covered."

Shop manager Jacky Theobald said the collection was too big to go on sale at the same time.

"It is a small shop," she said. "We will do a Chopin week, a Mozart week, that sort of thing."

Oxfam – which says it seeks to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice in more than 100 countries – makes around five million pounds each year from the sale of film and music. It recently received a rare Rolling Stones demo single and a Handel score.

Video embarrasment for Walmart

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, faces embarrassment and potential lawsuits after its corporate video archive was made public. Flagler Productions, which worked for Wal-Mart for almost 30 years, has made its footage available to lawyers, unions and media organisations.

The archive includes clips of male store managers parading in drag. Wal-Mart dropped Flagler in 2006 and only offered the firm $500,000 for the video library. Flagler had asked for $150m before reducing its price to $145m, according to a letter on Wal-Mart's website.

The footage captures Wal-Mart executives and employees in closed meetings and unguarded moments. A lawyer stumbled on the archive when representing a 12-year-old boy who suffered extensive burns after a gas canister bought at Wal-Mart exploded.

She found footage of employees joking and playing skits about exploding gas cans, reports said.

Flagler says that since Wal-Mart never signed a contract for its services, the rights to the tapes still belong to the production company.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

That takes the biscuit

The UK Treasury is facing a £3.5m bill, because of VAT wrongly imposed on a Marks and Spencer teacake, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled. Customers paid VAT for 20 years before the authorities accepted the product was a cake, which does not command Value added tax (VAT), unlike biscuits (cookies) , which do.

The UK argued that paying back the total sum would "unjustly enrich" M&S as customers had paid the money.

The ECJ ruled that, in principle, VAT had to be repaid in full, but left the final decision to the British courts. That decision will be taken by the House of Lords and HM Revenue and Customs said it was too early to make a comment.

"This is a very complex judgment on which it would be premature to make any comment until the House of Lords has handed down its judgment," Revenue and Customs said in a statement.

$2.7m for a camel

United Arab Emirates - Dubai's crown prince paid the equivalent of about $2.7 million for a camel during a desert festival celebrating Bedouin traditions in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, state-run media said Tuesday.

The festival also included a camel beauty contest, where thousands of owners strutted their animals in a bid for the top prize of finest overall camel and separate categories related to the age and colour of the camels, in which features such as best neck, head, lips, nose, hump, legs or feet are judged.

Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the son of Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed, bought 16 camels for $4.5 million, including one female camel for $2.7 million, the state news agency WAM reported.

The agency called the price tag "unprecedented" but it was not clear if it was an official record.

The hefty sum was still a fraction of the record price paid at auction for a horse. The Green Monkey, a thoroughbred colt, was purchased at a Florida auction in 2006 for $16 million.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Visit Scotland (and dump your litter)

Scotland's coastline and beaches have more litter on them than any others in the UK, according to a new survey.

The Marine Conservation Society said that 43,078 items were collected on 46 Scottish beaches in 2007. Scotland had the highest levels of overall litter density in the UK, recording a 30.4% increase on 2006 and the highest level since 1996.

The level of sewage-related debris in Scotland was more than five times the national average, with East Bay Beach in Helensburgh recording particularly high levels.

Sewage-related debris levels have fallen to record lows in England and Wales but continue to account for around 26% of waste on Scottish beaches.

Carrier bags, drinks bottles and cigarette butts contributed to the plastic waste which made up the main source, 29.7%, of the litter on Scottish beaches.

Emma Snowden, the society's litter projects co-ordinator, said: "The plastic litter problem needs to be tackled at all levels, from grassroots to government, while industry and retail must acknowledge the need to reduce plastic bag use and packaging. Plastics are of particular concern as they could persist in the marine environment for centuries with fatal consequences for wildlife."

Almost 4000 volunteers surveyed parts of of UK coastline in September 2007 and removed more than 346,000 items of litter ranging from cloth and fishing line to lollipop wrappers.

The most common items of debris were pieces of plastic which could have come from the breakdown of plastic bags, packaging or bottles, according to the society.

Also in the top 10 most commonly found items were plastic rope, plastic caps and lids, crisp, sweet and lollipop wrappers, polystyrene pieces, cotton bud sticks, cigarette stubs, fishing net and glass pieces.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "Most people take care to dispose of rubbish responsibly but the minority who don't can have a very unpleasant and very damaging impact on the environment for the rest of us and they need to think again about their actions. Councils have been making greater use of their powers to deal with litter, including fining and prosecuting litterbugs. However, we all need to take personal responsibility for our actions."

Ear chipper fined

SANTIAGO, Chile — A Finnish tourist who chipped an earlobe off an ancient Moai on Easter Island is being allowed to go home after paying a $17,000 fine and agreeing not to return for three years, police said Tuesday.

Marko Kulju, 26, deposited the money into a bank account overseen by the court that handled his case, the Easter Island prosecutor's office said in a statement.

At prosecutors' request, Kulju also wrote a public apology for damaging the figure, one of 400 statues carved out of volcanic rock between 400 and 1,000 years ago to represent deceased ancestors. The statues are protected by Chilean law.

Kulju was taken into custody after being caught trying to steal a piece of the Moai's ear as a souvenir two weeks ago by a local Rapanui woman, who reported him to police on the South Pacific island.

Kulju called his attempted theft "the worst mistake of my life," in comments published by the Santiago daily newspaper La Tercera in its online edition Tuesday.

It was not clear exactly when he planned to leave the island, a Chilean territory.

Bow & arrow nutter

RAPID CITY, South Dakota -- Rapid City police say an intoxicated man has been arrested for standing in the middle of a street on Monday night and threatening motorists with a bow and arrows. Loren Two Bulls, 23, of Rapid City, was arrested.

He's charged with six counts of aggravated assault and one count of theft of mislaid property.

Police say Two Bulls had a large razor knife, smelled of alcohol and slurred his words.

Two motorists called police.

People in one car said they saw a man shoot an arrow at another vehicle before taking aim at them. They say a third vehicle also passed while the man was aiming at cars.

Skirting the law

We may not know what a Scotsman wears under his kilt, but the town officials of Clinton, Louisiana, say what they see is too much.

Jay Herrod mows lawns in a skirt. He says he wears the garment because he gets heat rash and "it allows that area to breathe and, uh, wearing a skirt on the mower allows the sweat to evaporate."

Herrod's landscaping customers aren't complaining.

"He cuts the yard in a hurry. He does a good job," Carline Kimbro says. "I don't have any problems. That's what I was interested in. I don't pay attention to what he wears."

But the town alderman in this northern Louisiana town do.

The municipal authorities have cited Herrod for indecency in violation of a "no sagging pants" ordinance. He says the rule shouldn't apply to him because of his medical condition and has a doctor's note to prove it.

"I've had some women say I have nice looking legs, "Herrod says with a laugh."For a man, I know, I'm the only guy in East Feliciana Parish that wears a skirt. That's a known fact."


Babies and toddlers aren’t best known for their ability to stop and go on command. This results in them spending much of their time using their head as the brake for most of their unexpected manoeuvres.

According to the DTI, there a 500,000 reports of child head injuries each year. What do you do?

Meet the Thudguard, a helmet specifically designed to make sure your little Einstein doesn’t damage their brain along the way to learning how to walk and run. It’s targeted at kids aged from 7 months to 2-years old.

Developed by a Scottish mother of three, the Thudguard is made from “impact tested protective foam” to reduce the severity of bumps and thuds.

It’s lightweight so as not to strain a toddler’s neck muscles, ventilated and easily adjustable. The helmet covers most of the head and has been tested to comply with DTI safety standards.

Available in blue for boys and lilac for girls, the Thudguard costs £20.

And yes, if you send your child to crèche wearing one of these, it will be singled out and bullied. More here

New name for Lunt?

The rural community of Lunt is considering changing its name because of vandals who repeatedly deface the village sign. Residents of the historic Merseyside enclave fear it is becoming a laughing stock because of yobs who frequently deface the first letter of its name.

An alternative name has been proposed by some who are fed up of being greeted by an offensive word every time they enter their village.

Retired police officer Martyn Ball, a prospective Conservative councillor, is canvassing residents for their support for the change.

Dr Ball, now a law lecturer, said: "We are all painfully aware of the repeated times our village sign is defaced by mindless yobs who change the L to a C. Drive in every day and you see a very offensive word."

He has suggested that Launt be used as an alternative name, which he says would be pronounced the same.

But not all the inhabitants of the village next to Sefton in Merseyside are happy with the idea. Parish councillor Steward Dobson, 84, said: "This village is very, very old and people don't want the name changed.

"The vandalism has been done for years, it's not children who are doing it. I know that because we have decent children in this village."

David Roughley, whose family has farmed in Lunt since 1851, added: "At the end of the day we live in Lunt and we don't want to change because of a few yobs. It is the vandals who should change, not the village."

Lunt is an ancient settlement whose existence was first recorded in 1251 in the Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey, according to the village website.

Ice cream ship

DEN OEVER, The Netherlands - A Viking ship made from ice-cream sticks set sail for England from the Netherlands on Tuesday.

The 15-metre (50-foot) long ship, named after the Norse god Thor, is made from 15 million recycled ice-cream sticks glued together by U.S.-born stuntman Robert McDonald, his son and more than 5,000 children.

"If you can dream it you can do it ... I want to teach children that anything is possible," McDonald said.

Badly injured as a child in a gas explosion that killed the rest of his family, he has loaded his ship with cuddly toys and plans to reach London and visit children in hospitals.

He and his crew hope to cross the Atlantic later on the ancient Viking route to North America via Iceland and Greenland.

Ringo beheaded

A foliage sculpture of Beatle Ringo Starr in the band's home city has been beheaded by vandals.

The topiary feature, which took 18 months to cultivate into the fab four, was unveiled at the city south Parkways Transport Exchange last month.

Starr's head was chopped off, but the rest of the Beatles were untouched.

The 67-year-old outraged some Liverpool residents when, after opening the European Capital of Culture events, he said he missed nothing about the city.

Merseytravel funded the topiary which was commissioned from artists in Tuscany and cultivated on the Wirral.

The piece was created by Italian sculptor Franco Covill and then nurtured and shaped into George, Ringo, John and Paul.

No reservation

German police are looking for thieves who stole a mile and a half of the central reservation from a busy motorway. The thieves made off with more than 20 tonnes of the metal strips from the A6 motorway in Vierheim near Frankfurt.

Police said they must have spent hours dismantling the 500 four metre strips of metal that made up the stretch of the central reservation. They said the gang must also have used specialised equipment to take the strips apart and then move them.

A police spokesman said: "We are puzzled how the thieves were able to escape with their load without anyone noticing. A large truck with a lifting device would have been needed to transport all that metal.

"So far we have not been able to find a single witness who would have seen probably a large number of people with a huge truck moving parts of a motorway's central reservation."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rainforest condoms

The Brazilian government has begun producing condoms using rubber from trees in the Amazon. The health ministry says the move will help preserve the largest rainforest in the world.

It will also cut dependence on imported contraceptives, which are given away to fight Aids. The Brazilian government has one of the biggest programmes in the world to distribute free condoms in the fight against the disease.

The new state-run factory is in the north-western state of Acre, and will initially produce 100 million condoms a year, which will be known by the name Natex.

Officials believe that not only will it generate income for Amazon residents, but it will involve using a product which is widely available and can be obtained without destroying large areas of the rainforest.

The latex will come from the Chico Mendes reserve, an area named after the famous conservationist and rubber tapper who was shot dead in 1988 by local ranchers.

Shortest soccer team?

Brazilians have long held a reputation for being the giants of football, now they can also lay claim to being the first country with a team made up entirely of dwarves.

The players may be lacking in height, but after choosing the team name Gigantes do Norte - the Giants of the North - it appears they have a generous sense of humour.

Managed by professional coach Carlos Lucena, the Giants were put together in an effort to raise the profile of dwarves in Brazilian society and challenge "sizeist" attitudes.

The average size of the team is about 4ft, while the smallest player is just 3ft 3in.
Together the 11 dwarves play in Belem, north-east Brazil, taking on youth teams in 40-minute matches.

The diminutive team use full size goals, but this hasn’t proved to be a setback for their 4ft 7in keeper who managed to keep a clean sheet in their last match, beating the opposition by 4-0. Their friendly game was against the Barcarena under-13 team, in the Barcarenao Stadium at the mouth of the Amazon River.