Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The horror

Young Bonobo joyfully slides down a hill

A juvenile Bonobo (pygmy chimpanzee) has fun sliding down a hill at Twycross Zoo, in Atherstone, England.

YouTube link. Additional YouTube video.

Pig spotted running down street during a hailstorm

During a hailstorm in Billings, Montana, on Saturday, Hamlet the mini-pig escaped from his home

He was spotted running down a street during the downpour. Rick Lindholm, who was shooting video of the storm, spotted Hamlet.

"What is this? It's a pig!" Lindholm says excitedly. Hamlet is now doing fine and is back to his normal self after a few treats.

YouTube link. Facebook video link.

Carmella Tyrrell, Hamlet's owner later said: "Hamlet is good. We were terrified when we saw him running down the sidewalk. My son came to his rescue."

Drunk man who climbed into lions' enclosure at zoo arrested after being rescued unscathed

A 35-year-old man, who was reportedly in an inebriated state, jumped into the lion enclosure at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, India, on Sunday. Luckily, minutes later, the man was pulled out unharmed by zoo security personnel while the animal keeper diverted the attention of two big cats, which came dangerously close to him.

The intruder, identified as Mukesh, a native of Kurdiya village in Seekar district of Rajasthan, works as a helper with L&;T Metro rail and stays at Chaitanyapuri. On Sunday evening, Mukesh, apparently in an inebriated condition, went to the zoo along with five friends. At 4.55pm, Mukesh climbed the lion enclosure fence and got into the moat. "Even as security staff kept warning him, Mukesh crossed the barricade and went into the African lion enclosure.

YouTube link.

A lioness, Radhika, was inside the enclosure," Nehru Zoo curator Shivani Dogra said. Noticing Mukesh, Radhika, the nine-year-old lioness, came close to him, almost to the edge of the moat. A little later, an Africal lion, Kishan, joined her. But animal keeper R Papaiah, who takes care of the big cats, called them and directed them to go towards the other side of the enclosure. "The two big cats followed the instructions of Papaiah and went away," zoo chief security officer, J Muralidhar, said.

"The intruder was rescued by animal keeper R Papaiah with the assistance of security personnel." Zoo officials then handed over Mukesh to the Bahadurpura police. "Except for a scratch on his leg due to the fall in the moat, Mukesh did not suffer any injuries. We are questioning him and his friends to know the motive behind the crazy act," Bahadurpura inspector Harish Kaushik said. Police are planning to book Mukesh under trespass and other relevant charges.

Lego 'arms race': study says that company are making more violent toys

Lego products are becoming increasingly violent as toymakers engage in an "arms race" to catch children's attention in the digital age, a new study says. New Zealand researchers say bricks with weapons have steadily become more commonplace and are now included in 30% of Lego kits. The study said Lego reflected a broader trend in children's entertainment.

Lego says weapons are always used for a wider purpose such as saving the world, and are part of a child's development. Researchers from the University of Canterbury concluded that Lego "showed significant exponential increases of violence over time", with a higher proportion of weapons appearing among Lego's building blocks and themed kits. Lego's first weapons were issued in 1978 when a castle kit included swords, axes and lances.

"The Lego company's products are not as innocent as they used to be," lead researcher Christoph Bartneck said. "The violence in Lego products seems to have gone beyond just enriching game play," he added. An analysis of Lego catalogues from 1973 to 2015 found the scenarios depicted had also become more violent, with 40% of all pages containing some type of violence such as shooting or threatening behaviour.

"To catch the attention of their customers, toy manufacturers are similarly locked in a metaphorical arms race for exciting new products," the study said. Lego spokesman Troy Taylor said the company's products promoted a range of play activities such as construction, fantasy and conflict. "As with other play types, conflict play is a natural part of a child's development," he said. "We always try and use humour where possible as it helps tone down the level of conflict," he added.

Stolen baby penguin statue returned by thief after two years, albeit bereft of feet

The mysterious case of the missing penguin that disappeared from the garden of a café in Vienna, Austria, two years ago has had a happy ending after the flightless bird suddenly re-appeared earlier this month.

The stone baby penguin has been returned to the larger ‘adult’ penguin it had been standing next to for decades in the garden of Café Rüdigerhof with the note ‘Mum, I’m back’. The supposed thief offered no explanation, however, as to why the penguin was now missing its two feet.

When the model had been taken from the cafe’s beer garden, devastated owner Renate Halper even put out a reward of €300 and ten large beers for whomever found the baby bird. Despite the generous reward, the bird, which had been part of the cafe’s garden since Halper was a baby, had stayed missing until this month when it was discovered again behind the cafe by Halper’s son.

“Perhaps the thief felt guilty?” Halper said. After getting some new feet from a stonemason, the penguin will once again return to the garden, although Halper remains none-the-wiser about where it has been for two years nor who took it.

New hotel owners claim the building is haunted

A couple who took over a hotel in rural Scotland believe they have a ghost. A series of spooky disturbances have left Arpad Halasz and his fiancée puzzled since becoming co-managers of the Red Moss Hotel in Lanarkshire four months ago. The till springs open of its own accord, newly-made beds suddenly show the indent of a body, newspapers flick open and TVs switch on and off. But events at the hotel just off the M74 at Crawfordjohn took an even stranger turn, appropriately enough, on Friday the 13th.

Arpad, originally from Hungary, said: “We were awoken by the sound of something breaking and when I went to investigate I found a picture had come off the wall and smashed in the function room. “The hook and picture wire were fine, so I couldn’t understand what happened.” Arpad and the hotel’s owner, Eddie MacNeil, reviewed the CCTV footage and were shocked at what they saw. “An orb suddenly appears in the room and floats around before seemingly going behind the picture, which then comes down off of the wall,” he continued.

Full four minute YouTube video.

“The orb floats around a little more and then disappears. There have been lots of instances of weird things happening since I came here, like items moving from one place to another when my back is turned. It’s strange but I don’t let this type of thing bother me.” There have long been stories of spooky sightings at the Red Moss but never before have they been captured on film. Local historian Robert French said the most famous story is that of the so-called Quine of the Red Moss. “The ghostly figure of a beautiful young woman carrying a light has been witnessed on the moss land around the hotel,” he said.

“During the time of the Covenanters, she was said to be sent out by her mother to look for her brother, who had failed to return from an illegal religious service, known as a conventicle, being held on the land. She too never came back and over the years drivers on the road have reported seeing a dim light across the desolate moss. Maybe the orb on the footage is that same light.” Ghosthunter Tom Robertson, who has investigated the mysterious goings-on at the Red Moss in the past, said: “The place is definitely haunted, of that there is no doubt, because I saw an apparition of a female figure in the dining room years ago. She doesn’t appear to be wishing anyone any harm.”

School bans teachers' whistles to signal end of playtime because they are too aggressive

A primary school in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, has banned whistles from being used to signal the end of playtime because they are 'too aggressive' and might scare children.

Staff at St Monica's Catholic Primary School in Neath Hill will instead raise their hand at the end of breaks, and hope the children spot them. The ban on whistles was revealed by teaching assistant Pamela Cunningham, and she attacked the ban saying she still keeps her whistle in her pocket 'just in case'.

Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, has called the move 'crazy'. He said: "We have become extraordinarily over-sensitive. Does this mean children are not going to be able to play football and hockey because the referees use whistles? What about fire alarms?"

The school is a voluntary aided Catholic Primary School which has 467 children on roll, including at the nursery, and educates children aged between three and 11 years.

Wild animals kept at UK homes include lions, tigers and crocodiles

Wild animals including lions, tigers, crocodiles, rattlesnakes and zebras are being kept legally on private property across the UK, figures have revealed. More than 100 councils have issued licences to people who keep undomesticated animals at home, a freedom of information request has found. The FOI request was sent to every council in the UK, of which 363 replied.

It also showed more than 300 cobras, vipers and rattlesnakes are being kept. Animal welfare experts have expressed concern at the findings. Dangerous wild animals licences are granted by councils to allow people to keep undomesticated animals as pets, providing they have the requisite safety measures at their home and pay a fee.

Licences are also issued to properties where animals may be receiving care after being rescued, or living at small private farms, where people keep wild beasts for breeding purposes. The figures supplied by the councils only collate details of animals being kept legally with a licence, but not any that are being kept without the proper authorisation.

A RSPCA spokeswoman said they were "deeply concerned" about the figures. "People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home. This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal's needs and whether they're a realistic pet."

Men rescued by firefighters after their inflatable boat was sunk by an otter

An otter was to blame for a puncture to a dinghy that led to two men having to be rescued from the River Severn in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, after getting stranded. The occupants were led to safety by crews from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. The rescue unit was sent to the river at about 10.20pm last Wednesday after the alarm was raised when the men became stuck on the debris.

A fire service spokesman said the two men had been travelling down the river in a dinghy when their boat drifted over to an area of river debris and they got stuck. He said: “They were quite safe where they were, they just had to be help from that log debris area.” A fire service spokesman said the two men had been travelling down the river in a dinghy when their boat got a puncture.

They became stranded in the middle of the river on an area of tree debris. He said: “They were quite safe where they were, they just had to be help from that log debris area.” The men were rescued by fire service boat and then checked over by an ambulance crew as a precaution by about 11.15pm. Police were also at the scene.

One of the boat's occupants, Bridgnorth resident Stuart Davidson, said: “Otter burst our boat. Two blokes, a deflated rubber and two fire engines.” The Bridgnorth otter has been spotted splashing about in the River Severn, close to Bridgnorth Bridge, in recent months. It is believed to have taken up home in the wood and debris that has built up a the bridge following heavy rain earlier this year.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Rabbits play leapfrog

YouTube link.

Suspected burglar caught after crashing his getaway golf cart into a pond

An alleged burglar was caught after his getaway golf cart landed in a pond, police said.

Police officers responded at about 7:11am on Friday to a golf cart that was partially submerged in a pond in Lady Lake, Florida, and eventually determined that a nearby home had been broken into.

The house backs up to the pond and officers spotted golf cart tracks in the front yard that led down to the pond. The home was unoccupied at the time. Detectives identified the golf cart’s owner as Michael Wayne Hawk, 46, of Lady Lake.

They visited his home to find a television set stolen from the residence, a set of keys to the home and wet clothing belonging to Hawk. Hawk was charged with burglary of an unoccupied residence and grand theft. He was booked into the Lake County Jail with bond set at $7,000.

Masked burglary suspect found hiding under a plant

What was initially a call to investigate a possible burglary turned out to be a raccoon on the loose inside a Florida property management office.

A concerned employee called 911 for help after arriving at about 8:30am on Wednesday at the All Florida Properties, Inc., office in Palm Bay. The worker found ceiling tiles collapsed in and papers riffled and strewn about.

“It looked like someone was searching for a specific paper,” said Lt. Mike Bandish of the Palm Bay Police Department. However, the burglar turned out to be a raccoon as Palm Bay police quickly responded to the scene.

They immediately began going from room to room in a bid to find a possible reason for the office being in disarray. “They did a search and found the raccoon hiding behind a plant,” Bandish said. An officer captured the raccoon with a catch pole and then led him out of the office and into the wooded area behind the building.

OctoPossum spotted taking family for a stroll

A couple from Queens, New York, recently spotted something they're calling "OctoPossum." Gene Gray and his wife, Heewon Lee Gray, recently moved into their apartment in the Upper Ditmars neighbourhood of Astoria.

They decided to open up their doors to take in the nice weather on Tuesday morning while going through their morning routines, when out of nowhere, Heewon Lee saw something moving outside. "My wife said, 'Gene, OMG... What is that?'" Gene Gray said.

The couple looked a little closer and realised it was an opossum, carrying eight young joeys. "I guess the opossum thought it was a nice day as well and decided to take the kids out for a walk," Gray said. "I grabbed my iPhone and after fumbling was finally able to capture the footage."

YouTube link.

The moment was brief, but quite an experience for the Grays. "Poor OctoPossum looked wiped out, but the little ones held on tight," said Gene Gray. Gray said they watched the video over and over to figure out exactly how many joeys were gipping their mother's back. When they came up with eight, they knew they had to call it "OctoPossum."

China denies exporting cans of human meat and selling it in Africa as corned beef

China's foreign ministry has denied reports that Chinese food companies are canning human flesh and selling it in Africa as corned beef.

The country's state-run Xinhua news agency said one newspaper in Zambia was falsely quoting an unnamed woman living in China. She said Chinese firms were collecting dead human bodies, marinating them and packing them in tins. Chinese spokesman Hong Lei said the reports were "irresponsible".

The Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Yang Youming, said the reports were aimed at destroying the long-standing partnership between the two countries. "Today a newspaper is openly spreading a rumour, claiming that the Chinese use human meat to make corned beef and sell it to Africa.

"This is a malicious slandering and vilification which is absolutely unacceptable to us. We hereby express our utmost anger and the strongest condemnation over such an act," he said. Zambia's Deputy Defence Minister Christopher Mulenga says his government will launch an investigation into the reports.

Power Minister's press conference highlighting achievements interrupted by power cut

As Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal was addressing a press conference to highlight how much work has been done by the Power Ministry, the lights went out.

On Tuesday, Mr Goyal was talking about his ministry's achievements over the past two years and its committment to providing 24/7 electricity to everyone by 2019.

At this point he was presented with a flash of reality. The minister continued with his presentation in the dark. The electricity returned just as he was explaining the ministry's plans to have a power supply system for Delhi.

YouTube link.

This is similar to the system currently in place in Mumbai that islands itself off to ensure continuous power supply to the financial capital even though other areas may face power outages.

Marriage of couple with 50-year age gap vetoed by court

A court in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, has refused the marriage application of a 71-year-old great-grandmother and her 21-year-old fiancé. The Vaud cantonal court didn’t believe they were in love, but that the man, from Tunisia, simply wanted to live in Switzerland.

The Swiss pensioner said she met her 21-year-old boyfriend on the internet when he was just 18. “We both like rap, walks in the countryside. We have the same ideas,” said the retired secretary, who was previously married to a man 13 years her junior. Having never met her intended in person, in August last year the woman took a five-day visit to Tunisia to visit him.

The couple then lodged their request to marry with the Swiss ambassador in Tunisia. But a court refused the request at the end of April, judging it “emotional fraud with the aim of migration”, the Vaud civil registry office said. According to Swiss law, couples wishing to get married must submit an application to the registry office in their place of residence.

This is then examined and if they meet all requirements, the wedding can go ahead. A couple may not marry “in order to circumvent laws on the admission and residence of foreign nationals”. The young Tunisian said the 50-year age gap “didn’t pose any problems” for him. “I don’t want to have children. I love her and I want to live with her,” he said.

Cuddly wolf mascot banned from France after farmers’ protests

The Giro d’Italia cycling race’s fluffy wolf mascot will be banned from appearing when the race enters France this week after protests from a farmers’ group who complained his presence would be “pure provocation”.

Lupo Wolfie, who became the Giro’s mascot last year, was due to accompany the race when it enters the Hautes-Alpes department in south-eastern France for stages 19 and 20. However, his proposed presence has provoked outrage among Jeunes Agriculteurs 05, a union that defends the interests of local farmers under the age of 35.

They they say it is mocking the number of attacks they have suffered on their livestock in recent months. “The display of such a mascot in the midst of our pastures, which is supported by most environmental groups, is pure provocation that is not humanly acceptable to the farmers,” said a statement from the group.

“Farmers are tired of seeing the wolf only presented to public opinion as a nice soft toy.” Their request has been agreed to by organisers, who decided to replace the previous mascot Girbecco, a mountain goat sporting the race’s famous pink jersey, after a run of six years. His predecessor was Ghiro, a giant rat who has been described as a wobbly-eyed cross between Don Corleone and Master Splinter.

Drunk motorist driving car with just one tyre arrested following police chase

A driver has been arrested after a police chase in Barnsley, south Yorkshire. Several members of the public reported the motorist was swerving all over the roads between Rawmarsh and Worsbrough on Saturday afternoon. The male driver collided with several cars on his journey, both parked and moving.

When police started pursuing the car near Birdwell in Barnsley it only had one tyre left on the wheels. A spokesman said: "As soon as my colleagues got behind the vehicle, it started to make off from them, using the traction available from his one tyre to accelerate to speeds of around 50mph whilst still swerving all over the road.

"As the male driver entered Worsbrough, the pursuing officers took the decision that they could not let him drive any further and as soon as an opportunity presented itself, and it was safe to do so, they deliberately collided with him to make sure he could not continue his journey and continue to put everyone, including himself, at great risk."

He was arrested for dangerous driving, failing to stop, drink driving and criminal damage, after spitting all over the inside of the police vehicle he was transported in. The person arrested blew 72 at the station. The legal limit is 35. The incident resulted in minor injuries to officers.