Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Odd News in Brief

Odd and surprising stories from around the world

SHOE PROTEST

A protester shouting "Scottish not British" threw a shoe which was made in England at Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

"They were shouting, 'Scottish not British' and it was made in England - the irony of it was fantastic," he said.

"It was lady's size seven-and-a-half brown slip-on. It doesn't fit me - I'm size 12. I wouldn't have minded but you have got to start throwing pairs of size 12 at me for it to be any good."

FRUITY RECORD

Fairtrade campaigners tried to get into the record books by persuading people to eat thousands of bananas.

London's Trafalgar Square was one of several venues around the world where more than 360,000 bananas were given out and munched at the weekend.

Campaigners hope their efforts will result in a new world record being set for the largest amount of bananas being eaten in a 24-hour period.

ODD EXHIBITS

Isaac Newton's death mask, funeral effigies from the South Pacific and the body maps of HIV sufferers are some of the exhibits in a new exhibition.

The collection at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge explores how people around the world have viewed the human body throughout history.

The exhibition, which runs until November 2010, also features interactive activities such as listening to a diseased lung and seeing how the brain reacts to pain and disgust.

£7m FOR SHOES

A former bookkeeper embezzled 9.9 million dollars (£7 million), forcing her company to make layoffs as she bought 400 pairs of shoes that she kept in a room-sized wardrobe decorated with a crystal chandelier and a plasma television, authorities said.

Annette Yeomans, 51, surrendered at the Vista, California, jail on Friday and was booked for investigation of grand theft and embezzlement. She is being held at the San Diego County jail in lieu of 10 million dollar bail.

Authorities allege that Yeomans embezzled the money from 2001 to 2007 while she was chief financial officer for Quality Woodworks, a cabinetry business in San Marcos.

HIGH FREQUENCY

Federal Communications Commission officials in the US and deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's gang unit in Florida busted a pirate radio station they say was reportedly broadcasting information on where to buy drugs.

Authorities say the Street Heat broadcast included live advertisements for criminal gangs and discussions of where to buy drugs and find prostitutes. Balthazard Senat and Christopher Robert Roth were arrested on Friday and charged with unauthorised transmission and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver. Officials say Roth was a DJ for the radio station.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff's office and a person answering the phone at the Orange County Corrections Department had no information on whether the men had retained lawyers.

INMATE BREAKS INTO JAIL

An escaped jail inmate was arrested when he tried to sneak back into the lockup with cigarettes allegedly stolen from a nearby store.

Sheriff Tommy Gregory from Woodbine in Georgia, US, said on Saturday that 25-year-old Harry Jackson had opened a door to the exercise yard and climbed the outer fence. Deputies found a jail door unlocked early on Saturday and were looking for the inmate. They spotted Jackson trying to come back in and found 14 packs of cigarettes they believe were stolen from a convenience store nearby.

Jackson faces new charges of breaking out of jail and burglary. He was already in jail in Camden County in far south-east Georgia for charges including possession of a controlled substance and violating probation.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

A woman told of her horror at seeing her husband twice fall down a cliff during a country walk.

George Stastny - who suffered a broken nose and injured back - tripped on a narrow footpath and fell down a 20ft cliff as he was enjoying a stroll in the Teesdale Valley, close to his home in County Durham.

He was still conscious, so his wife, Mary, managed to drag him back to the top of the cliff, where he eventually passed out. But as she turned away to go to seek help, he stood up, fainted again, and fell back down the cliff.

PUB RAFFLE

A pub landlord is organising a raffle draw - with the watering hole itself as the star prize.

Tickets for the competition cost £20 and the winner will become the new owner of the Plash Inn, a country pub in west Wales.

The current economic climate has made it difficult for Steve Goymer to find a buyer for the £600,000 property - so he has set up a website - www.winapubinwales.co.uk - offering the pub for sale in a raffle.

SCHOOL REPLICA

The Emir of Qatar is building a replica of a leading British public school in his desert kingdom.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani is funding the multi-million project to open a branch of Dorset's Sherborne School in Doha.

It will open to its first pupils, of all nationalities, in September 2009, catering initially for kindergarten through to Year 6, rising annually to Year 13.

HOOK, LINE AND BUMPER

Police in New Jersey State plan to go fishing for cars after complaints from environmentalists that dozens of vehicles have been shoved into the lower Hackensack River over the years, polluting it with petrol, oil and anti-freeze.

The Hackensack Riverkeeper organisation has been working with police to locate the submerged wrecks.

Divers and underwater robots will attach airbags to lift them to the surface so they can be hauled away. Police intend to identify and prosecute the owners.

WELCOME TO AMERICA

A Canadian driver was hit with pepper spray after repeatedly asking a US border guard to say "please".

Desiderio Fortunato said he thought the inspector who told him to turn off his engine at the crossing in Washington state was rude and asked him to say please.

Instead the man sprayed him in the face before handcuffing him. He was released after three hours. A customs spokesman said they were reviewing procedures.

HISTORY BOOK

A letter giving a unique insight into Arthur Ransome's relationship with his readers was found hidden inside a copy of the author's most famous work.

The signed letter and a black and white photograph of Ransome in a sailing boat were concealed within the pages of a Puffin paperback copy of Swallows And Amazons.

It was among a collection of books, and the letter, photograph and book are expected to fetch up to £100 when they go under the hammer in Dorset, later this month.



NO JOKE

A motorist has claimed he was stopped by police for laughing at a joke with a friend on a hands-free mobile phone.

When company director Gary Sanders, 47, got out of his car he claimed a police officer told him he was showing "undue care and attention" to driving and that he was then questioned for half-an-hour before being allowed on his way.

But a spokesman for the police said it was "risible" an officer would stop a driver for laughing and insisted Mr Sanders was stopped due to his speed exceeding the 30mph limit in the Queensway Tunnel in Merseyside and for tailgating.

MANHOOD BOOST

Volunteers who tried out a penis extension device increased the length of their manhood by almost a third, a team of Italian researchers reported.

The men were not - putting it delicately - excited when the measurements were made. But the researchers did find the device improved erectile function by up to 36%.

A total of 21 "highly motivated" patients with an average age of 47 were recruited for the study, which involved using the extension device every day for six months. The research was reported in the British Journal of Urology International.

OLD SMOKEY

A great-grandmother who smoked more than 200,000 cigarettes in the last 70 years said she has managed to kick the habit.

Mervyn Fielding, 84, who started smoking at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, has gone two months without a cigarette.

The pensioner, of Middleton, Derbyshire, has 10 great-grandchildren.

HARD TO CREDIT

A would-be robber abandoned his attempt to hold up a store, then paid for a soft drink with his credit card before fleeing.

Shawn Lester, 33, became flustered when a customer walked into the shop in West Virginia and the clerk told him to pay for the drink.

He produced the card, signed the receipt "John Doe" then left empty handed. Police arrived at his home a few hours later.

COMPUTER LESSON

A school in Pennsylvania hoped to raise funds by selling a 10,000-dollar mobile classroom on an internet auction site.

But they ended up having to let it go for just one dollar when they failed to set a minimum bid and only one buyer was interested.

The East Stroudsburg school tried to back out of the eBay sale but was told the deal was binding.

HOUNDED

A mayor in the Texan town of Brownsville became so concerned after seeing a Great Dane he thought was stuck on a second-floor apartment balcony he broke in to rescue it.

That was when he discovered its surprised owner standing in his kitchen. The man has now made an official complaint.

Mayor Pat Ahumada, a dog lover whose zeal for animals has caused problems before, said: "He looked to be stuck on the balcony. The animal's paws were hanging out from the railing and he was struggling to get up."

PARDON ME

A pensioner says a rare stomach ailment has made her too embarrassed to leave home.

Former nurse Jean Driscoll, 72, of Chelmsford, Essex, says the problem started two years ago and makes her belch uncontrollably.

Mrs Driscoll, a grandmother, says the problem has baffled doctors but she hopes that a London specialist might find an answer.

CCTV OUTCRY

The use of CCTV cameras to monitor teachers at work in classrooms has been criticised by union leaders.

Four schools in Salford, Greater Manchester, have installed the cameras in training classrooms.

Teachers also wear earpieces so they can get feedback from observers while they work. The cameras are used at three council-run schools, Harrop Fold, Albion High School and St George's Roman Catholic High as well as the Oasis Academy.

SOFA SAFARI

The latest advances in virtual reality mean users can go on safari from the comfort of their own front rooms.

The Virtual Cocoon will use all five senses and be so convincing that it will be indistinguishable from real life, designers promise.

The virtual reality headset will enable users to experience the smells, heat, sounds and sights of places such as Kenya's Masai Mara - while sitting on their sofa. A team of scientists from universities across the UK are working on the project.

ANTI-THEFT DEVICE STOLEN

Thieves derailed a train firm's attempts to cut crime in a village station car park.

First Capital Connect installed a device which makes a whining noise in an attempt to stop "youngsters" gathering outside the station at Meldreth, Cambs - but someone stole it.

Elaine Holt, the firm's managing director, said it had installed the device to deter youngsters gathering in the car park.

DRUNKEN KISS

A woman bit off her boyfriend's tongue during a drunken kiss on his birthday, a court has heard.

Tracy Davies deliberately bit down hard on Mark Coghill's tongue during the kiss, cutting the front third of it off, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told.

They were celebrating Mr Coghill's 45th birthday. Davies, 40, of Sunderland Road, Gateshead, denies one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

TAKING PRECAUTIONS

Six armed men stole thousands of condoms and birth control pills from a women's health office in Java.

They grabbed the contraceptives from the shelves and then cracked open a safe deposit box, fleeing with around £700.

Birth control is legal and available in most parts of Indonesia.

McANNOYED

A McDonald's customer in Florida called police three times after being told the restaurant had run out of Chicken McNuggets.

Latreasa Goodman said she paid for a 10-piece serving last week but was later informed there were no nuggets.

Police warned her for misusing the emergency call line. A company spokesman said she should have been given a refund.

GRIPES OF FROTH

Workers at the world-renowned Hofbraeuhaus brewery in Munich went on strike in support of demands for better wages for brewery workers.

Some 70 employees picketed the brewery, east of the city centre, but returned a day later.

Four other breweries were hit by warning strikes including the Augustiner and Spater-Franziskaner breweries in Munich. The union said more were planned.

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