Monday, February 08, 2016

That Monday morning feeling

Little piglet helps itself to a drink of milk

LiveLeak link.

Intoxicated mother and her boyfriend allegedly let her nine-year-old daughter drive them home

A Wisconsin mother and her boyfriend are facing felony charges for allowing her nine-year-old daughter drive them home in their pick-up truck after they appeared too drunk to drive. Jason Roth and Amanda Eggert pleaded not guilty on Friday to a number of felony charges including child neglect and second degree recklessly endangering safety.

The couple were arrested about a week ago after authorities say they took a 911 complaint about erratic driving on rural Wisconsin roads. By the time law enforcement caught up to Eggert and Roth’s truck after it had pulled into a public boat launch along the Apple River in Polk County.

Deputy Jeff Hahn told the court he was stunned when he realised driver was nine years old and that the couple’s 11-month-old baby was strapped into a car seat. “As the nine-year-old exited the truck, it was still running and in drive when Mr. Roth was sitting in the truck by himself,” Hahn testified in court. “He turned the ignition off and the truck began rolling backwards down the hill towards the river. I jumped into the truck to hit the brakes and put the truck in park.”

Hahn said both adults appeared highly intoxicated, with one of Roth’s preliminary breath tests coming back at .25, more than three times the legal limit to drive. The nine-year-old allegedly drove the truck for miles, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. Fortunately, there were no accidents and no one was hurt. The two young children are now staying with extended family as Eggert and Roth remain jailed. Both their cases are now headed towards trial.

With news video.

Cars parked on frozen lake during warm weather suffered a watery fate

At least 10 cars have been written off after falling through the ice at Lake Geneva in Walworth County, Wisconsin. It happened during the annual Winterfest celebration, which draws thousands of people to the lake-front community. Despite warning signs, hundreds of cars park on the ice each year. This year, warm weather caused the ice to be unstable, sending 15 cars into the lake.

At least 10 are being deemed a total loss. One of those belongs to Laurie Oberhelman, who was visiting the festival for the first time. "We were coming in and there were a lot of cars and not a lot of parking spots, and we looked and I said oh look there's plenty of cars parked on the lake. People park on the lake all the time from what I understand so let's do it," she says. "It was a bad choice."

Renner Larson was there when it first started, and says the process happened very slowly. "As the ice bent downwards, water started coming up, and cars went in front-end first," he says. "Then water came up, and they slid in a little bit more." Dive teams worked to remove the cars one by one, as thousands gathered to watch the situation unfold.

YouTube link.

Police say nobody was injured, despite numerous people running to their cars as the ice caved in. "Fortunately it's only a property issue right now, and nobody was injured or in the vehicles when they started to submerge. So it's a bad day, but a good day at the same time," says Lt. Ed Gritzner. Signs are posted warning drivers to venture onto the ice at their own risk. Gritzner says the drivers of those vehicles will be responsible for all property damage.

Car boss claims the air sucked in by its diesel vehicles in Delhi is 'far dirtier' than that emitted

In a strong criticism of the ban on high-end diesel car sales in India, a boss at Tata Motors-owned luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has claimed that the air sucked in by its latest technology vehicles on Delhi roads is "far dirtier" than that emitted. "The latest EU VI regulation schemes have got technical features, which (can) clean the air in Delhi.

"These kind of vehicles drive like a hoover ... the air they suck in is far dirtier than the air which comes out of it," CEO of the UK-based JLR Ralph Speth said. JLR is among the automobile companies hit hard by the Supreme Court order in December last year banning registration of diesel SUVs and cars above 2000cc in the entire National Capital Region until March 31.

Lashing out at the order, he said: "If you ban these kind of vehicles, I don't understand. Sorry it is over my horizon." He said if the aim is to reduce pollution and improve air quality then a comprehensive measure has to be taken, including banning of old cars and controlling other sources of pollution and "not just come up with a single solution, exactly with wrong advice and wrong technology".

Expressing disappointment at the Supreme Court order, Speth said: "I am an engineer. It (the order) has nothing to with market and nothing to do with anything. What triggered such a decision from a technology point of view? From a technological point of view this kind of decision is unreasonable." To overcome the ban, JLR is looking at bringing in more petrol variants of its different models. The company is already selling petrol variants of the Jaguar XJ, Range Rover Sport. It has also launched two petrol variants of the new Jaguar XE.

Restaurant questioned about 'unsavoury' and 'antisocial' wine list by police

The owner of a restaurant in Sydney, Australia, claims police have questioned his staff over a tongue-in-cheek sign advertising “free wine” and an “antisocial” menu that listed wine prices by the glass Giovanni Paradiso, one of the proprietors of Paddington’s 10 William Street, posted a picture of the menu on Instagram, claiming New South Wales police had said the wine list was “promoting unsavoury antisocial behaviour”. “SYDNEY WHAT THE F*CK IS HAPPENING,” he wrote, echoing discontent within the city’s entertainment and hospitality industries over stringent regulations and perceived “nanny state” laws.

Paradiso said that officers had been checking on nearby pubs on Saturday when they entered the Italian eatery and expressed concern over a blackboard listing available wines, which they said was too close to the door, promoted heavy drinking and did not make clear the venue also served food. They also took issue with a sign posted outside that read “Real wine, free wine”, a light-hearted reference to the restaurant’s additive-free beverages, he said. He said there was “an undercurrent of disappointment among venue owners” and much confusion over drinking and dining regulations.

“We’re very, very frustrated,” he said. On Saturday the New South Wales government announced a one-year extension to its ban on all new pub and club licenses in Kings Cross and Sydney’s centre, which, along with “lockout laws” banning people from entering premises after 1.30am, have been blamed for dampening nightlife in the city. Critics of the lockout laws, which are currently under review, say 13 venues in Kings Cross have been shut down since they were implemented in January 2014. State crime statisticians reported in April that since the lockouts were introduced assaults had dropped by 32% in King’s Cross and 40% in the Sydney CBD.

But they cautioned it was not yet clear whether the fall was related to less alcohol consumption or a drop in foot traffic. Alcohol-fuelled assaults at Sydney’s Star casino, which is exempt from the lockouts, jumped 88% in the months after the laws were introduced. NSW police confirmed that officers had patrolled 155 venues to enforce compliance with liquor laws on Friday and Saturday evening, finding 12 breaches. A spokesman declined to comment on 10 William Street specifically but said: “It is common for police to provide advice to licensees regarding potential licensing breaches or issues during business inspections.”

Council unable to take action against home invader because he's a goat

A series of home invasions in Frankton, near Queenstown in New Zealand has left local resident Sam Penny clamouring for justice. The incidents, which allegedly culminated in an attack on Penny's girlfriend and a broken guitar, began when the alleged perpetrator chewed the architraves in Penny's apartment and destroyed a pot-luck dinner. The offender has been identified but due to a legal loophole, the fact he's a goat, he's avoided charges.

Council authorities have been unable to take formal action, opting instead for preventative justice. Penny described the intrusions and complained about council inaction. "I like to keep my garage door open somewhat to let a nice breeze through the house and this f*cking goat keeps coming in and ruining my sh*t," he said. Council regulatory manager Lee Webster said to his knowledge the council had only received one complaint about the goat, who he described as "quite a sizeable animal". "I believe his name is Kevin," Webster said.

Kevin, who lives at The Lake House next door to Alpine Village, allegedly entered Penny's home three times through an open garage door. After Kevin's first foray, the architraves had to be replaced and painted. "The second time it ate all my lotto tickets, sh*t and p*ssed all over my floor and left mud stains on the carpet that are still there," Penny said. "During the weekend it came in and tried to charge me and my girlfriend and knocked over my guitar and snapped the neck on it." Webster said there had been a lot of discussion with the complainant and with the goat's owner to determine the facts.

Because dog control laws don't apply to goats, the council advised the complainant to talk to the police if Kevin posed a threat to life. "The way I see, it shouldn't matter if it's a f*cking pitbull or a pet butterfly, if it's coming onto your property, into your house and ruining your sh*t, then the council should be held responsible for making sure the correct steps are taken so it stops happening," a frustrated Penny added. Webster said the council had worked with the goat's owner and advised them to keep Kevin controlled and ensure he was fenced in. "It's not a common occurrence to have these issues with goats," he said.

Railway station's patrolling cat promoted to Senior Pest Controller and given high-vis jacket

Feilix the cat has been working hard capturing mice at Huddersfield railway station in West Yorkshire for the past five years.

Now she has received a promotion and a posh uniform. Felix has been named the railway station’s Senior Pest Controller.

The feline was brought in back in 2011 as just a nine-week-old kitten to keep the platforms free of mice and other vermin.

She even has her own cat flap installed in the new ticket barriers and has a Facebook page. The new role means Felix has her own high-vis jacket and name tag, given to her on behalf of TransPennine Express.

Police responding to reports of '30 masked men' smashing cars discovered filming of rap video

Police called to reports of ‘30 masked men smashing up cars’ turned up to discover it was actually a group of actors filming a music video for rapper Shotty Horroh. Distressed neighbours called police after witnessing a group of men wearing balaclavas smashing up cars on Friday afternoon. But when they arrived to the scene, at Multi Car Parts Ltd in Oldham, Greater Manchester, it was soon discovered the group of men were actors filming a music video for Shotty.

Police looked confused as they arrived at the scene, before a member of the production team asked if they wanted to also star in the video. After it was realised the group had full permission the police officers left the scene. Shotty, whose real name is Adam Rooney, said: “It was the third day of shooting and on the second day they stuck their nose in. What made me laugh was the fact that they said “30 men” there was 10 maybe 15 at most.

“Furthermore, we were on private land doing what normally happens on there - we were at a scrap yard smashing cars. The video I'm shooting is for a song called “FUDT” (F*ck Up Da Ting) produced by Mystry and is loosely based on the 1970 Walter Hill movie Warriors. “We had a bunch of gangs running around Market Street in town. We also had fire breathers and all sorts on set, overall it's been really fun to shoot this project, besides her Majesty’s finest trying to kill time at our expense.” Waseem Mohammed, owner of Multi Car Parts Ltd, said: “One of our premises is next to a block of flats, somebody must have seen through the window.

“Suddenly a police car came flying, a police man started running towards the garage. He said ‘they are smashing cars up’, but I said they are in my premises. They are allowed.” A statement on the GMP Royton and Shaw Facebook page said: “30 males wearing balaclavas & stab vests smashing up cars with baseball bats was reported to us this afternoon. Officers attended the scene to discover this was a group shooting for a music video. We would like to thank the vigilant caller for bringing this to our attention. But, if you are going to do something that may cause concern to the public, please contact us first on 101.”

With video of the incident.

'Mobile confession unit' on double-decker bus begins tour

A mobile "confession unit" on board a double-decker bus has begun a tour across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

The "Mercy Bus" has been hired by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford to reach people who do not go to church.

Starting at Salford Shopping Centre, it will also visit shopping centres, prisons, homeless centres and housing estates every Saturday until Easter. The bus received a Papal blessing recently when one of its priests, Fr Frankie Mulgrew, met the Pope in Rome.

"We were inspired by the Pope who, when he was as cardinal in Argentina, would celebrate open-air Masses in the poorest areas of his diocese," said Fr Mulgrew. The bus will also visit Blackburn, Burnley, and Manchester in coming weeks.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Can't. Quite. Reach.

Derbie the dog watches her favourite TV show

YouTube link.

YouTube link.

Teenage boy ordered to remove costume after dressing as Elsa on school's Disney Day

Students at Ethan Chase Middle School in Menifee, California, were encouraged to wear Disney costumes for spirit day on Thursday.

Austin Lacey, 13, chose to dress as Elsa from the movie "Frozen." The eighth-grader said that his classmates loved the idea and asked him to pose for selfies.

But the school principal apparently felt it was inappropriate and told him to take off the costume. A statement from Romoland School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale read in part: "This action was taken in accordance with district policies.

"At no time was there an indication that the student was expressing any particular message. The Principal's action was based upon the need to stop a general disruption to the school environment," Vitale stated.

With news video.

Man and his girlfriend jailed on drug charges

A southwestern Minnesota couple are in jail on drug charges after authorities raided their apartment in Pipestone.

Forty-two-year-old Benjamin Walker is charged with possession of methamphetamine near a park zone and possession of firearms or ammunition by a felon. His girlfriend, 34-year-old Jennifer Underwood is charged with methamphetamine possession.

The drug charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Agents with the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and Pipestone County Deputies searched the couple's apartment on Thursday morning, and found meth, cut pen straws, glass pipes, and a spoon.

In another room they found propane torches and a box containing .38-calibre ammunition. Walker has a felony burglary conviction which prohibits him from owning a firearm or ammunition.

Couple charged after argument over broken Lego structure turned physical

A man and his common law partner were involved in an argument when she threw a Lego structure he had been building.

As a result, the structure broke.

Police said the argument then turned physical, with both parties assaulting each other.

A 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, both from Brandon in Manitoba, Canada, were charged and released.

Russian lawyer accuses unlikely animal friends of 'gay propaganda'

Russian prosecutors have begun considering whether media coverage of the unexpected friendship between a male tiger and goat at a safari park in the country’s far east counts as gay propaganda.

Novosibirsk lawyer Alexei Krestyanov complained to the prosecutor general last month that information about the animals living together could harm children by provoking “interest in non-traditional sexual relations”. “I think the positive coverage of this topic is nothing less than interference in the personal lives of minors, which is what hidden propaganda is, and public, active imposition of homosexuality,” Krestyanov wrote.

The prosecutor’s office in the Primorsky region, which borders China and North Korea, has said it has begun checking Krestyanov’s allegations. The two animals became minor national celebrities in November when Timur the goat, who was meant to be a live snack for Amur the Siberian tiger, instead took over the enclosure at a safari park near Vladivostok, forcing the tiger to sleep on the roof of his own lean-to.

Video from last November.

YouTube link.

The media was soon full of footage of the two playing together, and Timur’s fans have even begun a campaign to elect him to parliament, arguing that he would be braver and more honest than current MPs. Timur has been in the care of a veterinarian since late January after he tried to headbutt Amur, who took him by the neck with his fangs and gave him a shaking. Although Krestyanov cited a children’s rights law in his complaint, his language echoed that of the law against gay propaganda passed in 2012 amid President Vladimir Putin’s growing emphasis on traditional values.

Police investigate deliberate uprooting of 50ft tree

Police are assisting in an investigation to find who deliberately uprooted a 50ft ash tree in the village of Passenham, Northamptonshire, on the county border with Buckinghamshire.

Rob Riekie, landscape and operations director for The Parks Trust, Milton Keynes, said: "This was a well-established ash tree, roughly 50ft high with a crown of about 45ft.

"It was deliberately uprooted some time between December 2015 and early January 2016 on Trust-owned land at Old Stratford/Passenham.

"This is a criminal act and Northamptonshire Police has been notified." Anyone with information about this criminal damage should contact Northamptonshire police or The Parks Trust.

Man jailed over 37-mile dumper truck trail of destruction

A man who stole a dumper truck and left a 37-mile (59.5km) trail of destruction during a police chase across two counties has been jailed. The two-hour low-speed pursuit last July started in Norwich and ended in Brandon, Suffolk, and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. Nicholas Churchill, 40, from Brandon, Suffolk, wrote off two cars and damaged several others after a "red mist" descended.

A police officer whose car was rammed said he thought he was going to die. The pursuit took place on major roads including the A140, A11, and A134 - as well as in a pedestrianised precinct - and involved six police cars and a helicopter. At an earlier court hearing, Churchill admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs.

Norwich Crown Court heard he took the 30-tonne truck from his employer after becoming angry about the air conditioning in his cab when it became too hot to work at a quarry in Spixworth, Norfolk. But it was a mild day of about 13C (55.4F) and he felt hot because he had been taking amphetamines, prosecutor Andrew Oliver said. His antics left a trail of destruction along the way and shoppers were forced to scatter as he drove through the Brandon street that is closed to traffic.

YouTube link.

A Norfolk policeman, whose patrol car was rammed, told the court: "I thought I was going to die. I was petrified." Churchill's rampage damaged police cars and the truck he was driving was estimated at costing more than £26,000 to repair or replace. In mitigation, the court was told: "The red mist descended. What happened after that he can't remember or explain." Jailing Churchill for 14 months and banning him from driving for two years, Judge Anthony Bate said: "You left a trail of destruction and damaged police vehicles in your wake. It was a shocking piece of sustained dangerous driving."

Businessman sells fresh British air to the Chinese for £80 a bottle

A British businessman is making thousands of pounds out of selling bottled British air to the Chinese for £80 a bottle. The smog-plagued elite of Beijing and Shanghai are snapping up the decanters from Leo De Watts who 'farms' fresh-air from the British countryside. His team of workers put bottles in adapted fishing nets and hold them aloft as they stride through a muddy field to 'harvest' the product. They then leave it open for up to 10 minutes to capture the area's aroma, but also ensure no grass or bugs get into the 'organic' product.

In just a few weeks of launching the venture, Aethaer, which is from the ancient Greek word for pure fresh air, Mr De Watts, 27, has sold 180 580ml containers of breeze from Dorset, Somerset, Wales, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. Once unbottled, the 'experience' of inhaling the fresh-air for the consumer lasts just a few seconds. Mr De Watts, who is from Gillingham but now lives in Hong Kong, asks friends and family members to go out on land that is as far away from pollution as possible to bottle the air. Mr De Watts describes British breeze as the 'Louis Vuitton or Gucci' of fresh-air and said each area has its own unique aroma. He said: "I would say on the whole that Dorset air seems to pick up a few more scents of the ocean, as the breeze flows up the Jurassic Coast and over the lush pastures.

"Whereas air from the Yorkshire dales tends to filter it's way through much more flora, so the scent captures the subtle tones of the surrounding fields, giving different qualities to the collection. We go up to a hill top, for example, and collect all the products there which are all packaged and bottled up, sent to Dorset and then directly to China. Our customers all have high disposal incomes and want to buy gifts for someone or someone wants to use it. There is a serious point to this though as Beijing, Zhuhai, and Shanghai are the major places where pollution is quite bad, whether it is the fault of the rest of the world or its China's responsibility, we have a case of people living in smog."

YouTube link. There are more videos here.

Although a Canadian company is already sending bottled Rocky Mountain air to China, Mr De Watts is leading the British charge. He said: "I saw a few reports of people importing bottles of air and thought it was a bit ridiculous myself, and then I thought about it. When someone bottled water everyone thought it was ridiculous, now you have Evian and Volvic - why not bottle air? We are priced as is a luxury item it is not for every day customers, if they want something that is cheaper they can buy it. Think of us as being the equivalent of Louis Vuitton or Gucci, so we are not likely to appeal to a mass market. It is really a cottage industry at the moment we have got a few people around the country who go out and bottle it. It doesn't require that many people and you can collect quite a lot in one go and you don't have to pay for it."

Pensioners told bus shelter has to be replaced with a pole because it breaches the Equality Act

Pensioners trying to prevent the removal of a bus shelter in Wallasey, Merseyside, have been told it has to go because it fails to meet criteria set out in the Equality Act. Merseytravel have placed notices in the shelter on Belvidere Road announcing their intention to scrap it and replace it with a bus pole. They say their notice has already sparked "a considerable response." The plan has upset many nearby residents - and their objections have been taken up by ward councillor Leah Fraser.

She has written to the public transport organisation saying: "I have been made aware of the notice at this bus stop indicating you are considering removing the shelter and replacing it with a pole. This would cause considerable hardship, and I don’t use the word lightly, for many elderly people who regularly use the shelter. Several of them have contacted me to say they are very upset and as I live nearby myself I can understand why. Belvidere Road is quite open and at times is a very bleak, cold and windy location.

"Within Wallasey over the years there have been a number of shelters where glass has been damaged by yobs and replaced - yet in this location vandalism has never been an issue. So I am surprised that in an area of older residents, they are expected to be sheltered by a pole. There is nowhere else for people to shelter at all. Could you please tell me the reason behind this proposal?" A pensioner who asked not be named said she often uses the bus stop and has contacted Merseytravel to object. She said: "Considering most of the passengers waiting there are elderly it would be an awful loss.

"I often see elderly people resting on the very rudimentary seat provided by the shelter and they are relieved to be out of the wind and rain. Please keep our shelter. It is very well-used". A Merseytravel spokesman said: “Merseytravel is reviewing the Belvidere Road bus stop for a number of reasons. The shelter needs maintenance and the parts required are no longer available. It doesn’t meet current legislation within the Equality Act and there have been reports of anti-social behaviour at this site. We have asked for comments and feedback as part of this review and we are pleased with the considerable response we have had so far. We appreciate customers’ views and all responses will be analysed along with other relevant information before any decision is made.”