Sunday, July 22, 2012

Candy smugglers

Two Seattle men are busted at the Canadian border. Not for drugs or guns. But illegal candy. Brandon Loo and Christopher Sweeney told Seattle TV station KOMO they spent more than two hours in a detention center after U.S. border agents discovered six chocolate Kinder Eggs in their vehicle. The eggs contain a toy inside and are illegal in the U.S. because of choking hazards. Importing them can lead to a hefty fine, according to The Associated Press. The men were eventually released on a warning. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment about the case Tuesday night. According to the AP, the agency seized more than 60,000 Kinder Eggs from travelers' baggage and international mail shipments last year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Driver jailed for using bus 'as weapon'



A bus driver who used his bus like a 'weapon' to knock a cyclist to the ground has been jailed for 17 months, a court official said. Gavin Hill was shown on CCTV in an exchange with cyclist Phillip Mead before he lurched the bus sharply into the cyclist's path, throwing him from his bike

Man survives in snowed-in car for two months

A Swedish man who spent two months snowed inside his car as temperatures outside dropped to -30C is "awake and able to communicate", according to the hospital treating him, where stunned doctors believe he was kept alive by the "igloo effect" of his vehicle.

The man, believed to be Peter Skyllberg, 44, who was found near the north-eastern town of Umeå on Friday by passers-by, told police he had been in the car since 19 December without food, surviving only by eating snow and staying inside his warm clothes and sleeping bag.

Dr Ulf Segerberg, the chief medical officer at Noorland's University Hospital, said he had never seen a case like it. The man had probably been kept alive, he said, by the natural warming properties of his snowed-in car which would have acted as "the equivalent of an igloo".

"This man obviously had good clothes; he's had a sleeping bag and he's been in a car that's been snowed over," said Segerberg. "Igloos usually have a temperature of a couple of degrees below 0C and if you have good clothes you would survive in those temperatures and be able to preserve your body temperature. Obviously he has managed to preserve his body temperature or he wouldn't have made it because us humans can't really stand being cooled down like reptiles, for instance, which can change the body temperature."

Two months was at the "upper limit" of what a person would be able to survive without food, added Segerberg.

Skyllberg was found emaciated and very weak by a pair of snowmobilers who thought they had found a crashed car. They dug down through about a metre of snow to see its driver lying on the back seat in his sleeping bag, according to Ebbe Nyberg, a local police officer.

"They were amazed at what they found: a man in his mid-40s huddled inside in a sleeping bag, starving and barely able to move or speak," Nyberg, working in Vaesterbotten county, was quoted as saying.

A rescuer told the local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren: "It's just incredible that he's alive considering that he had no food, but also since it's been really cold for some time after Christmas."

Police said temperatures around Umeå had fallen to -30C. One doctor, Stefan Branth, said Skyllberg may have survived by going into hibernation mode. "A bit like a bear that hibernates. Humans can do that. He probably had a body temperature of around 31C which the body adjusted to. Due to the low temperature, not much energy was used up."

But Segerberg said he was "sceptical" of this suggestion. "We can't lower body temperature very much. A little bit we can, but if we lower body temperatures more than just a little bit, we lose consciousness and go into a coma," he said, cautioning that it was not his area of expertise.

Skyllberg is being treated in an ordinary ward in the University Hospital, where Segerberg said he was "feeling well". It was unclear how he had come to be stranded in the deserted lane.

Segerberg said that, even in a part of the world where sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow are the norm, this case was unusual. "There have been cases of people caught out in the mountains, and if they can dig themselves down in the snow they are able to survive and be found. But there must be something special in this case."

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Lightning kills entire soccer team

All 11 members of a soccer team were killed by a bolt of lightning which left the other team unhurt, a Congolese newspaper has reported.

Thirty other people received burns at the match in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kinshasa daily newspaper L'Avenir said local opinion - known to believe in charms and spells - was divided over whether someone had cursed the team.

The two sides were drawing 1-1 in the match in eastern Kasai Province when the lightning struck the visiting team.

"The athletes from [the home team] Basanga curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed," the paper said.

There was no official confirmation of the report - a rebel war affects much of the east of the country.

In a similar incident at the weekend, a premier league soccer match in Johannesburg was brought to an abrupt end when lightning struck the ground.

Half the players from both teams - the Jomo Cosmos and the Moroka Swallows - dropped to the turf.

Several writhed on the grass holding their ears and their eyes. Spectators and coaching staff ran onto the pitch to help. Fortunately no-one was killed.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ship wrecks bridge

A cargo ship plowed through a Kentucky bridge, leaving a 300-foot gap in the middle of the structure and carrying off a load of asphalt and metal on the ship’s bow.

The 312-foot-long ship, the Delta Mariner, struck the Eggner Ferry Bridge in Benton, Ky., about 9 p.m. on Thursday. The ship was too tall to pass under the structure, and destroyed two sections of the bridge.

Four cars were on the bridge and 20 workers were on the ship that was carrying rocket parts, but no one was injured.

“We are grateful that this wreck caused no injuries or loss of life. Since that bridge carries 2,800 cars every day, we were very fortunate that no one was on the span at that time,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. “We’ll turn our attention to a full inspection of the bridge and determine what steps we can take next to speed up the replacement of that important artery.”

Inspectors and emergency responders from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet rushed to the scene to assess the damage.

The bridge was in the process of being replaced.

House made of shredded money



What would you do with $1.82 billion worth of shredded money? In Ireland, people build houses out of it — at least that's what Dublin-based artist Frank Buckley did. The unemployed artist originally wanted to create a gallery for his series of mixed-media artworks called "Expressions of Recession," but he ended up building a house instead.

Buckley has been working roughly 12 hours a day every day since the beginning of December. During the early part of the construction process, he made bricks out of the decommissioned Euros Ireland's mint lent him. In all, around 50,000 money bricks went into building the house that consists of a bedroom, a bathroom, and a living room. He plans to continue expanding the house that sits on an empty office building to include a kitchen, a shower, and a patio.

If you're wondering how it feels to live in a house made out of paper currency, he said that it's quite warm inside: "Whatever you say about the Euro, it's a great insulator." Frank is one of the countless people all over the globe affected by recession, and he built the house because he "wanted to create something from nothing." It will take around seven more weeks to complete building his new home, but Buckley (who's been living in the house since December) welcomes any visitor who wants to take a look at his billion-dollar masterpiece.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Student hangs own painting in museum

THE director of a major Polish museum says it was a "witty artistic happening" when an art student secretly hung his own painting in the museum as part of a campaign to open up galleries to young artists.

Director of the National Museum in Wroclaw, Mariusz Hermansdorfer, said he treated the campaign as a joke and has kept the painting on display - in the museum's cafe.

It will be offered for sale at a charity auction.

Last month, Wroclaw Fine Arts Academy student Andrzej Sobiepan put up his small painting of a green leaf in the Polish contemporary art gallery. Museum officials didn't notice the new painting for three days.

He said later he wanted to draw public attention to young artists who are denied exhibition space in museums.

Sobiepan said he was inspired by the elusive British graffiti artist known only as Banksy.

"I decided that I will not wait 30 or 40 years for my works to appear at a place like this," Sobiepan told TVN24.

"I want to benefit from them in the here and now."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goal Balls

In their latest bid to stop people riding on top of crowded trains, railway officials in Indonesia have begun hanging heavy concrete balls over train tracks.

The balls, named by state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api the "Goal Bola-bola" (Goal Balls), are hung on chains from a metal frame much like a goal post, the Jakarta Post reported. Hung slightly only higher than train roofs, they are designed to swing into "anything that happens to be on top of the train."

Each ball is around the size of a grapefruit and "could deliver serious blows to the head," according to the Associated Press.

The first of them were hung this morning near a train station just outside the capital, Jakarta. Others are due to be installed at railway crossings. If successful, Kerata Api plans to expand the scheme, spokesman Mateta Rizahulhaq told the AP.