Monday, October 24, 2016


Daniel the duck plays some music

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Hairless hamster given a new sweater as winter approaches

A tiny hairless hamster will keep warm this winter after getting a custom-made sweater. A staff member at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS), in Portland, where she is being cared for, knitted the sweater to help one-year-old Silky stay warm.

The hamster was born hairless due to a genetic mutation, except for short curly whiskers on her snout. "She does need to be kept in a heated environment," especially in winter, said Diana Gabaldon from the OHS.

"While she isn't fluffy like a normal hamster, she is just as cuddly and playful as any other hamster," Ms Gabaldon added. Silky's owners had left her with the Humane Society when they were moving house and realised they could no longer care for her.

The Oregon Human Society said that Silky spends majority of her time in a "warm, clean habitat, with fresh bedding, food and water, and a wheel to run on." She wears the sweater for special occasions, the society said. Silky is also being treated for an eye infection. She will be available for adoption soon.

Enraged man allegedly attacked his lady friend because she wouldn't watch porn films with him

A man has been charged with domestic violence and aggravated menacing after he broke a glass and threw a tantrum after the woman he was with wouldn't watch adult films with him.

Standford Tye was arrested in Sandusky, Ohio, after Pamela Davis told police Tye became enraged after she refused to watch "porno" with him, according to police reports.

Davis told police that after she refused, Tye began throwing things around the apartment and screaming that he was going to "kill her." Davis said she believed Tye would would harm her if he had the chance. Davis said Tye did not live with her in the apartment, although he said he kept a closet full of clothes at her place.

Police reported that both Davis and Tye admitted to being intoxicated at the time of the incident. Tye also told officers that Davis had pushed him during, but he wouldn't pursue charges. Tye is being held in Erie County Jail and will appear in Sandusky Municipal Court soon.

Man's defence that he bit off a chunk of fellow mourner's nose at wake to keep his balance fails

What started out as a wake mourning the loss of a loved one ended in a booze-filled brawl that saw one man have the tip of his nose bitten off, and another found guilty this week of aggravated assault. Randall Edwin MacLean was convicted of the assault, which happened two years ago in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. Nova Scotia provincial court Judge Del Atwood dismissed the defence's explanation of why MacLean bit the victim as "far fetched and fantastic," according to a court decision released on Wednesday.

The defence had argued during trial that MacLean, 49, was acting in self defence during a drunken fight on Oct. 14, 2014, and latched onto Paul Gaudet's nose in a desperate bid to balance himself and stay upright. "Apart from acrobats … nobody keeps his balance with his teeth," Atwood wrote in his decision. "People will use their arms, hands, legs or otherwise contort themselves when they need to maintain balance. People do not bite into other people to maintain posture." It all started at the home of the Miller family in Pictou. The Millers had just had a death in the family and were having friends over. A lot of drinking ensued, according to the court decision.

Later in the evening MacLean, a friend of the Miller family, stopped by. He too had been drinking. At some point Gaudet, also friend of the Miller family, became angry with something MacLean had said or done. "It might very well have been that Mr. MacLean had not done anything untoward or uncivil at all," Atwood said in his ruling. "It might merely have been Mr. Miller and Mr. Gaudet's alcohol-impaired overreaction to or misinterpretation of events that led to the ensuing melee." Whatever the cause, the two men ended up fighting. The homeowner asked MacLean to leave, at which point Gaudet and a few other men began pushing MacLean towards the door, even as he maintained he had done nothing wrong and demanded an explanation.

According to the court decision, MacLean was almost out the door when he lashed out and bit into Gaudet's nose. It was quite the bite too. An emergency room doctor testified the lacerations were deep enough to expose cartilage and there was "a partial amputation to the tip of the nose." Fortunately, doctors were able to reattach the chunk. During trial, MacLean's lawyer argued his client used Gaudet's nose as leverage to keep himself upright, and prevent himself from falling over and getting pummelled by the other men. He argued that meant MacLean was acting in self defence. Atwood didn't buy the explanation. He said as soon as MacLean was asked to leave by the homeowner he should have gone. "I do not believe Mr. MacLean's explanation why he bit Mr. Gaudet; it is far fetched and fantastic," Atwood said in his decision. MacLean will be back in court for sentencing on Jan. 3.

Australia Post apologises after postcard was delivered 50 years late

Fifty years after it was posted on a South Pacific island, a postcard from Tahiti has finally arrived at its intended destination in Australia. The slightly faded scene of stately colonial buildings in French Polynesia was beneath an SA Water bill when resident Tim Duffy checked his letterbox in Wattle Park, Adelaide, last Monday. “It took a while to realise it was an old one,” he said.

“I checked the post date and it’s 1966.” Mr Duffy, who bought the house about 18 months ago with wife Claire, said he understood it was built by an Italian man in 1963. “There’s no way it could have been stored in there (the home’s original letterbox) that long; I would say the postman has put it in there,” Mr Duffy said. It is addressed to “Robert Giorgio”, from “Chris”, who writes that he’s “enjoying myself greatly”; “The weather is very humid ... I’ll try and drop you a note in England.”

The stamp on the postcard cost 13 francs, or the equivalent of 15c. The discovery inspired Mr Duffy to turn amateur sleuth and speculate about the card’s origins and marathon five-decade journey. Sent from Papeete in French Polynesia, it is believed to be addressed to the property’s original owner. Mr Duffy believes the postcard might have been sent from someone travelling on a boat. “It’s fresh enough although it is a bit faded and it’s got some damage to the top left, which looks like a bit of water damage,” he said.

The delay has prompted Australia Post to apologise, although it’s not clear to whom, and acknowledge that something “went wrong”. An Australia Post spokesman said it was likely the postcard had been stuck overseas and he apologised for the late arrival. “It is clear something went wrong 50 years ago after the postcard was posted in French Polynesia, and we apologise for the inconvenience,” he said. “Australia Post takes great pride in the timely, safe and efficient delivery of mail and we are confident that the vast majority of mail and parcels arrive on time.”

Police called to hotel after reports that guests were throwing condoms out of the window

Police were called after guests were seen throwing condoms out of a hotel window in Manchester city centre. The disturbance occurred at an apartment hotel in the Piccadilly area of the city on Saturday morning.

GMP received several calls from nearby residents and businesses after items such as eggs, bottles, and condoms were seen being thrown out of upper floor windows which were landing on the street below.

Officers paid a visit to investigate shortly after 8:30am. After they arrived the group were ordered to leave the premises by hotel staff. Officers remained on the scene to prevent a potential breach of the peace. However it is understood they left without fuss and no arrests were made.

GMP City Centre tweeted saying: “Officers now dealing with report that guests in a hotel room are throwing eggs, bottles and condoms onto the street below. They later added: “Update - Officers attended and guests have now been kicked out by hotel staff.”

Elderly lady furious with Asda for attempting to charge her 5p for a bag to put her bananas in

An elderly lady says she is "furious" and "outraged" after she was asked to pay 5p for a smal plastic bag to hold her bananas in an Asda supermarket. The 86-year-old grandmother, who has only been identified as Jean, told the staff member that she would "rather shove the bunch up her top" than pay extra to hold the bananas. At the time of the incident, the feisty woman had been trying to buy a 78p bunch of bananas from Asda in Longwell Green near Bristol. It has been a legal requirement for large supermarkets to charge five pence per plastic bag since last October.

However government guidelines state that the tax should not be applied to small bags containing unpackaged foods. Jean said: "I may be 86, but that doesn't mean I will stand by and be conned. It is not about the five pence it is about the principal, and I don't think is right. They must sell thousands of those little bags each week so think about how much those five pence's add up to, and where does the money go?" The incident took place on Thursday when Jean deviated from her usual routine of buying her fresh fruit from a local greengrocer.

She said: "I went to Asda because I just needed a few bananas. I put them in one of the small bags and took it to the till. The woman then said that will be five pence for the bag and I just couldn't believe it. I said that's not right it isn't a proper shopping bag, and she said because it had handles it comes under the five pence rule. I just felt furious. I said I would rather shove the bunch up my top than pay the five pence. I mean just because it has handles it doesn't make it a full-size shopping bag, I couldn't fit my weekly shop in that could I?" After a short argument the checkout woman allowed Jean to leave without paying the charge.

On her way out she asked a second Asda worker about the rule and they confirmed that staff have been told to charge five pence for each 20cm fruit bag sold. The incident has put Jean off shopping at the supermarket giant, owned by Walmart, and she hopes her experience will prompt others to question the charge. She said: "I will never go to Asda Longwell Green for bananas again. I am all for the charge for large bags, but not the small ones." An Asda spokesperson said: “We would firstly like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. The carrier bag guidance states that retailers should charge 5p for a bag of this size, unless it is being used for exceptional items such as loose fruit and vegetables. In this case, a mistake was made and we are trying to contact the customer to apologise in person."

Woman bitten by snake on residential street thinks it was attracted to chicken in her bag

A snake has bitten a Worcester woman - lurking in the bushes before dashing out and sinking its teeth into her leg. People in the city are now being warned about a slippery serpent after the nasty incident which left the victim “totally shocked”. Patricia Bullock, 57, was walking down Lansdowne Crescent last Sunday from the city centre when it happened. The terrifying reptile appeared from nowhere and bit her on the calf, leaving her suffering from shock and flu like symptoms since.

Environmental health experts are warning that the snake may be an “exotic pet” which has escaped from someone’s house, and believe it to be still-at-large. The mother-of-two said: “It was around 3pm and I had just been into town, I was walking back past some hedgerows. It was brown coloured and very quick, I caught it from my side view and it just lashed out at me. It bit me on the side of the calf and it really hurt, I felt a burning sensation like my leg was on fire. It bit me and then it was gone - I was absolutely shocked.”

After getting advice from a pharmacy and seeing her doctor, who asked her to contact the RSPCA, she says she is better now but wants people to beware. At the time she was carrying a chicken back home after shopping for food, and believes the snake may have smelt it. “I’ve had flu-like symptoms but imagine if this was a child it had bit,” she said. “Along this path I see so many old people, so many pets being taken on walks, dogs are around here, it is very busy.” Nigel Hands, a snake expert, said he would not want people to start looking for it. “In the middle of a residential area it’s unlikely to have been an adder, it’s more likely an escaped ‘exotic pet’,” he said.

“In urban areas occasionally grass snakes turn up in gardens, but adders are very choosy about their locations. I think someone may well have lost a pet but snakes aren’t out to hurt people, it was most likely frightened.” There are three types of snake in the UK, the most common being adders, and the last person to die from a bite was back in 1975. They are extremely rare in urban areas but the Malvern Hills is thought to have anything between 50 and 100 of them, with the reptiles going out of their way to avoid humans. Mark Cox, from Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said: “We licence people who keep dangerous and wild animals and don’t know of anyone who was lost a pet, if they did, they would lose their licence.”

Man unhappy about neighbour's new fence has launched a Donald Trump protest

An unhappy man has launched a 'Donald Trump protest' against a neighbour who put up a garden fence dividing their two properties. Paul Spooner who lives in Marston, Oxford, said a fence which has gone up in place of a hedge is reminiscent of the campaigning of the US Presidential candidate, who has threatened to construct a wall between the US and Mexico.

Mr Spooner has erected a banner in protest on the first floor of his home, and in full view of his neighbour’s house, with the words 'Say no to Trump fencing here'. He said: “[Donald Trump] is all for exclusion rather than inclusion, that was a big part of his early campaign to exclude people from the country. It is the same sort of mentality here, rather than being the open plan inclusive estate it’s all about exclusion. It is an open plan estate here.

“There hasn’t been any sort of fencing before. The feeling is it creates a precedent for much more fencing to go up. As soon as I realised the fence was up I contacted the city council and they said they would look into it. They then contacted me to say it was a legal fence. We are still trying to dispute that. A number of people in the neighbourhood are opposed to this fence. There is a large number of people that have been here a number of years. It does affect the neighbourhood and the character completely. It is very different to everything that is around the neighbourhood.

“I have had little communication [with the neighbour]. They know there is a problem with it, they know that people disagree with it.” One neighbour, who did not want to be named, questioned the level of support stated by Mr Spooner, and said: "It's a bit over the top. His premise is that it's blocking all the other houses views down the street but they feel that because they have children they have somewhere to play that's safe. I think everybody would complain if they had started building at the front but they haven't; it's at the back." She added that the fence was discrete and away from the main road and she had no problem with it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ring a ring o' roses

Rescued baby flying fox plays peekaboo

YouTube link.

Controversy over giant statue of naked lady

A naked woman made of steel who's 55 feet tall now towers over the entrance of a tech campus in the San Leandro neighbourhood of San Francisco.

At the base of the 13,000-pound statue, named Truth Is Beauty, is a message in 10 languages that says: "What would the world be like if women were safe?"

"As someone who is a survivor of rape and sexual abuse myself, I realised that this represented my story," said Deborah Acosta, San Leandro's Chief Innovation Officer. Acosta wanted to make a home for the sculpture, made by artist Marco Cochrane, after it was displayed at Burning Man in the Nevada desert in 2013.

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"The messaging is to look past the skin, the inner strength and the beauty that all of us have," she said. But not everyone sees it that way. "I think it's very inappropriate to have like a naked body just like that. And it's huge, you can't miss it," said one resident.

Emu lassoed after being found wandering along Arizona highway

Authorities received reports of an emu on the loose on Interstate 10 near Phoenix, Arizona, at around 10am on Friday.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr says a responding trooper found the bird in the median.

Mehr says a second trooper arrived and both officers drove alongside the animal to keep it from entering traffic lanes.

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An officer from the Arizona Department of Agriculture then used a lasso to wrangle the emu into a trailer. Authorities say it is still unclear how the emu came to be in the area.

Teenage goalkeeper awoke from coma speaking fluent Spanish after being kicked in the head

A student from Gwinnett County, Georgia, suffered a head injury on the football pitch and woke up speaking fluent Spanish. Last month 16-year-old Reuben Nsemoh, a sophomore at Brookwood High School, was kicked in a head playing goalkeeper for his team. It was the worst concussion his coach Bruno Kalonji has ever seen in one of his players.

“The ambulance came and they said he was having seizures because he might have bleeding in his brain,” he says. Nsemoh was in a coma for three days. When he awoke, he was unable to speak English. But found he could communicate in Spanish. “My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he said. Even though he never really spoke the language before, Nsemoh could do so fluently.

He figures his subconscious remembered the words that now seemingly come naturally to him. “I wasn’t perfect, but my brother is a really fluent Spanish speaker. So he kind of inspired me with that too.” It is the third concussion for the teen. But once he fully recovers, he hopes to get back on the pitch again. “It’s my passion. It’s the one thing I want to do for my career,” says Nsemoh. But Kalonji says he won’t do so on his team without a helmet.

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He believes all goalkeepers should be required to wear one. “This can happen even at practice. And if kids already have two concussions or three, it’s recommended that they wear one,” he says. Nsemoh’s parents are thankful he is recovering. “He’s a fighter. He tells me, ‘Mom I’ll do well. I’m okay’,” says Dorah Nsemoh. The family says the medical bills so far have topped $200,000. Both his mother and father are grateful to the Brookwood community for rallying around.

Bog mummy's missing toe returned after more than 60 years

The missing toe of Tollund Man, one of Denmark’s best-preserved Iron Age mummy's, has been returned after more than 60 years. The toe, still complete and intact with its mummified toenail, was returned by the daughter of the man responsible for restoring the body, who took it home when it was cut off in the 1950s as part of an experiment in perservation techniques. Birte Brorson said the toe had been part of her childhood. "I brought the toe with me to school once to show my classmates," Birte Brorson said. "We read about the Tollund Man, and I said, 'I’ve got his toe at home'. No one believed me, so I brought it there to show them."

Tollund Man was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland peninsular. Although he lived and died in the 4th century BC, his features had been so well preserved by the acid in the bog that the people who discovered him at first thought he was a recent murder victim. Brorson stressed that her father, who ended his career as a museum inspector, had been a serious scientist and was not the sort of person who would keep a toe as a joke. The family found the toe when they emptied their parents' house when her mother was moving into an old people's home.

"We found it in a box where my father kept his tools and things like that," she said. "We thought, 'that's the toe', and put it in a basket to take to my mother’s house, and for the last 11 years it was with my mother’s belongings." When they discussed returning it, their mother stopped them. "My mother said to me ‘don’t give it back to them, they’ll just throw it away’," she said. The father's keeping of the toe is perhaps not as bad as might be supposed, as conservation techniques in the 1950s were not good enough to preserve the whole body, so the forensic examiners decided to only preserve the head and did not keep the rest of the body intact, although some other body parts were preserved.

"That was the feeling we had. 'This is nothing'. At the time we had it bits of the Tollund man was scattered all over Europe." The Silkeborg Museum created a reconstruction of the body in 1987, which is what visitors can see today together with the original head. Brorson said she had been surprised by the reaction when she contacted the museum a week ago. "They were very, very enthusiastic and I didn’t expect that. I’m very happy it is a very big deal. I’m very, very happy that this toe is precious, because I always thought it was." “We are ecstatic here at the Silkeborg Museum. It's fantastic,” Ole Nielsen, the museum’s director said.

Young lady found to be clear after breathalyser test despite having had "a couple of bottles"

An underage motorist who was stopped by police for her erratic driving was let off, even though she had consumed "a couple of bottles" and had no licence, insurance or MOT.

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said the officers were in Runcorn to seize a vehicle for having no insurance when the underage driver rolled up to them in her little pink plastic car, veering from side to side.

When officers asked her parents if she had been drinking, they said she had had "a couple of bottles" that morning. The officers played along and pretended to take a breath test.

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "We’re here to support communities and we pride ourselves on our community engagement. Thankfully, the tot’s reading was clear and she was free to go."

Elderly donkey rescued by firefighters after falling and becoming stranded on kitchen floor

A fire crew from Yeovil, a specialist rescue team from Bridgwater and an officer attended a domestic property in Tintinhull, Somerset, after a rare call reporting that the occupier's donkey had followed her in to the kitchen and then fallen.

The owner, unable to help the donkey up, called her vet who advised her to call the fire service. After liaising with an animal rescue tactical advisor they attended due to the potential risk to the owner and the donkey if he got too distressed.

On arrival crews confirmed the donkey, known as Troy, had fallen on his side in the kitchen and was trapped causing him distress. Crews asked for the vet to be contacted and attend the scene.

Fire crews used salvage sheets and a small length of hose to slide Troy, who is 38-years-old, from the kitchen to a place of safety where once being checked by the vet, he was able to return to his companion, 32-year-old Rosie in the garden.

Lonely snail is hoping to find a 'lefty'mate

Scientists at The University of Nottingham hoping to study the genetics of an ultra-rare garden snail are asking the public for its help in finding the lonely mollusc a mate. The snail’s unique qualities make it a one in a million find - but also impossible for it to mate with its more common counterparts. At first glance, the brown garden snail may look like any other but closer inspection of the snail’s shell reveals exactly why this creature is so special. While the shells of this common species spiral in a right-handed, clockwise direction, known as dextral, the Nottingham snail is a sinistral, with a left-handed anti-clockwise spiralling shell.

In essence, the ‘lefty’ snail is a mirror image of its other shell-dwelling friends. Dr Angus Davison, associate professor and reader in evolutionary genetics in the University’s School of Life Sciences, said: “This really is an exciting find – I have been studying snails for more than 20 years and I have never seen one of these before. We are very keen to study the snail’s genetics to find out whether this is a result of a developmental glitch or whether this is a genuine inherited genetic trait.” However, for Nottingham’s ‘lefty’ snail, dubbed Jeremy, being special comes with a unique set of problems.

In addition to its mirror-image shell, the snail’s genitals are also on the opposite side to the more common dextral snails – making it very difficult for the two types of snails to mate. Dr Davison added: “Snails are hermaphrodites meaning that if they want to they can reproduce on their own without the need for another mate. However, they don’t really like doing this and from our perspective, the genetic data from offspring of two lefty snails would be far richer and more valuable to us.” Jeremy the snail was originally found around a compost heap in Rayne’s Park, South West London by a retired scientist from the Natural History Museum, who spotted its unique traits.

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Having heard about Dr Davison’s interest in snail genetics, he contacted the Nottingham scientist before sending it on – by snail mail. Now the hunt is on for a second sinistral brown garden snail to mate with Jeremy and Dr Davison is appealing to the public to get involved by searching hedgerows, borders and plant pots for this rare variety of the common snail. “This is something which everyone can get involved with and which you can easily do on your own doorstep. It is an example of citizen science at its best. There is a chance, because it is such a rare thing, that anyone who can find and identify another of these sinistral snails may even find themselves named as a contributor on a research paper we publish in the future as a result of this,” he said

Woman unhappy after receiving fine for filling in parking permit with pencil she thought was a pen

A woman from Scunthorpe in Humberside has hit out at a parking firm after being slapped with an “unfair fine" – for using a pencil that she thought was a pen. Liz Clarke, 55, was fined £60 for filling in a parking booklet with pencil instead of pen when visiting her 84-year-old mother at Sutton House flats in Scunthorpe, where there is limited parking. She said that she rushed over to her mother's home, who was in a “state" because of a flooding toilet, and grabbed what she thought was a pen, but it was in fact a plastic-covered multi-ink pen, which also had pencil lead inside.

Vehicle Control polices the parking at the residential development for housing association Ongo. Drivers are supposed to fill out the booklets in pen so that they don't re-use them. She said: “They must realise it is a mistake. I think they could be lenient given the circumstances." Mrs Clarke had planned to appeal the fine but said she has reluctantly decided to pay, if the company disagreed with her appeal, she would have found out after her fine was due, and would have to pay £100. She said: “I was in a rush to get up to my 84-year-old mum because she was in a right state.

“I have even told them that I used to be a special constable. I have appealed but if they say no, the fine will be £100. It was a nightmare day to be honest. I don't want the worry." She added that she contacted Ongo for advice, but was told there was nothing they could do. A spokesman for Ongo said: “I can confirm that in February 2016 we put out a tender and Vehicle Control Services were successful in being awarded the contract. This is something Ongo doesn't pay them for and the contract is for 2 years. When the parking permit scheme was introduced in 2009, customers living in the area were consulted with and in agreement that a permit system was needed.

“A number of residents had been to Ongo staff and said that some people were abusing the permit system which was why we looked to tender out for a new company. All residents living in the area were made aware of the change in provider and our reasons why. I can also confirm that the lady did get in touch with someone in our Housing Management who did say that at Ongo we can't do anything about the fine – as the contract is with Vehicle Control Services to carry out this service on behalf of Ongo, and as stated on the permit – it is to their terms and conditions." Vehicle Control have not responded to requests for a comment.