Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Unhappy home alone dog decides to go out

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Wild elephants demand fruit from motorists before allowing them to pass

Filmed recently in south eastern Sri Lanka, this wild elephant demands a fruity bounty from every passing motorist before allowing them on their way.

The elephant's friends down the road carry out a similar manoeuvre on vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.

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Masked bandit ran rings around police officers in beauty shop

A raccoon broke into a beauty shop in the Bronx, New York, on Saturday and ran rings around the police officers who coax it into a cage and zap it with a tranquilizer gun. The bushy-tailed bandit “was up in the ceiling,” said Cho Oh, 72. who works at Genesis Beauty Supply in Wakefield.

When Oh opened the shop at 8:30am, she noticed that chunks of ceiling and wigs were on the ground. Then she looked up, saw the critter and dialed 911. Four officers, armed with a trap lined with marshmallows and a tranquilizer guns, showed up.

One officer fired into “Lil Rocky’s’’ back, but the tranquilizer fluid didn’t leave the dart. Another officer, wielding a catch pole, tried to catch the furry menace but slipped and tumbled into one of his colleagues. Officers finally wrestled it into the cage. But the door malfunctioned, and “Rocky’’ scampered down an aisle to the front windows, where delighted passers-by gathered to watch the show.

The raccoon finally was snared by the catch pole and pushed back into the cage. This time, the officers managed to lock the door with zip ties. “Rocky’s’’ fate was not clear. An official with Animal Care and Control said renegade raccoons are typically euthanised so that their brains can be tested for rabies.

Woman stuck finger up vicious dog's bottom to stop attack on her pet Jack Russell

A quick-thinking woman from Melbourne, Australia, has saved her dog from a vicious attack in a rather unconventional way. Ann Bendouli was walking her dog Lexie along Hampton Beach when a Staffordshire terrier ran up and attacked the one-year-old Jack Russell, latching onto her side and shaking her.

"She's my soulmate, and I love her so much and I was so glad she was actually saved," she said. Ms Bendouli she had previously witnessed a fatal dog attack and had researched an intervention method should it ever happen again. "It said if you have a lighter, put it onto its bottom," she said.

However, Ms Bendouli didn't have a lighter so she did the first thing that came to mind, with the tools at hand, so to speak. "I pulled the tail up and stuck it right up to that knuckle," she said. The staffy was apparently in so much shock by the manoeuvre that it immediately let the wounded Jack Russell go. Lexie required more than ten stitches after the incident, which Ann wants the owner of the staffy to pay for.

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The staffy's owner Barbara was also injured in the attack, requiring plastic surgery after the tip of her toe was torn off while trying to separate the two dogs. Bayside City Council said regardless of whether the dogs were allowed to be off leashes or not, the staffy owner has an obligation to keep her dog under control. Council investigators are taking statements from witnesses to the horrifying attack.

Ghost that lives in hog plum tree is scaring children away from school

After six students fell unconscious within a short time one day, triggering rumours of a ghost taking up residence in a tree next to a school building in south-western Bangladesh, children stopped attending classes, prompting the villagers of Hazipur in modern-day Patuakhali to decide to call in a witch doctor to chase the evil spirit away and set things right. The six say they have been visited by the demon, or “Ramayan” as is its name, who wants the 25-year-old hog plum tree to be chopped down and each to sacrifice a goat and distribute the meat among the locals to appease it. Doctors at Kalapara Upazila Health Complex who treated the six on the day of the fainting outbreak, term it a case of “mass hysteria”, that is manifestations of anxiety and hyperventilation.

News of one student becoming unconscious sparked off the outbreak, prompting others to feel malaise but for only a few hours. The phenomenon has nothing to do with the children's nutrition intake, they added, for they were healthy. “They need counselling and guardians and teachers can play a vital role in this matter,” stated Medical Officer Md Aminul Islam. This seems all too apparent for Laboni Baiddhya, the only Hindu of the group's five girls and single boy and the first to have gone unconscious. She and the others, all of whom are classmates except for two who are two years junior to her and studying in class six, were treated for six days at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital. But like the others she did not return to school.

Her father Hebol Baiddhya says she has been “acting weird”, scolding and sometimes becoming aggressive when approached. On September 15 she had, though for a short period, lost consciousness again. The situation is worse for Rojina, one of the two younger ones. Lying in bed most of the time, she has a blank look in her eyes, cries out in sudden fits and attacks people at random, said her mother Amena Begum. She stopped talking some days ago. Using a pen and paper, Rojina explained to this correspondent what “Ramayan” wanted. Students, in this case all of the school's 303, abstaining from classes is not what the 60-year-old Hazipur High School ever experienced, said 80-year-old shopkeeper Md Nur Islam.

The issue prompted a meeting to be called at the school on September 17, the day no students turned up, where some 500 villagers and the school authorities were present. A three-member committee comprising headmasters of the high school and an adjoining primary school and the high school managing committee's chairman has been formed to bring in Babul Huzur, the “spiritual healer” to use charms and chant incantations to exorcise the ghost. “We are trying our best to overcome the situation,” said the high school's headmaster Shah Jalal Munshi, apparently not convinced that it is the works of an evil spirit. He is worried over the Junior School Certificate and annual exams coming up in less than two months' time. Though puzzled, he has his suspicions and so waits till new evidence comes to light and unravels this mystery.

Cow rescued by lifeboat after falling off cliff

A lifeboat crew in Ireland were called out to perform one of their more unusual rescues when a cow plummeted 20ft off a cliff and became stranded in the water. The Dunmore East RNLI was called out by the Irish Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon reporting that three people in a boat were in difficulty close to rocks under Creadan Head in the Waterford Estuary.

The volunteer crew immediately launched their all-weather lifeboat that arrived on the scene within five minutes. However when they arrived they discovered that the boat was not in danger and that the three people were trying to rescue a cow which had fallen from the cliff and became stranded. They had never heard of anything like this before. Neville Murphy, of Dunmore East RNLI, told how they initially thought they were on a serious mission.

“When we got the initial call we thought it was serious and that there were three people in serious danger but it transpired that they were just trying to rescue the cow. Our job is to ultimately save lives and they don’t necessarily need to be human lives.” He explained that the cow fell from the top of a cliff and became trapped in the water below. “She fell from about 20ft and was stuck in rocks in about three feet of water," he continued.

"We made up a bridle with the rope and tied it around the cow. We were very conscious of the distress to the animal and we brought her up. She was lucky and was uninjured. She was certainly happy to be back on greener pastures." Commenting after the ordeal, Dunmore East RNLI Deputy Coxswain Ray Power added: "As a lifeboat crew we never know what we might be facing each time we are called, but in this case thankfully the actual call was not as serious as we first thought, but we were glad we could help all the same and bring the cow to safety.”

Complaints that soup kitchen is affecting tourism

The organiser behind a much-used soup kitchen in Bournemouth has vowed to continue operating at one of the town's beauty spots despite warnings from the local authority to move on. Anastasia Wells runs the Street Light project in the Lower Gardens, cooking for up to 100 people each night. "We're not going to stop," Ms Wells said. "It's just pure discrimination against the homeless."

Bournemouth Borough Council said there were other more appropriate sites. Ms Wells is helped by her mother Rachel, preparing hot food and drinks. They pay for the ingredients themselves, and receive donations via a Facebook page. Rachel Wells said locals had been supportive of the enterprise. "No one's ever bothered... the clubbers and the hen parties that go by [make more noise]. It's a soup kitchen but it's also a picnic in the park and it's very relaxed.

"I spend a lot of time with these guys and I don't want them to feel like they have to be hidden away. I think they should be treated as normal human beings." David Smith, the cabinet member for planning and environment at the Conservative-run Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "The Lower Gardens are probably one of the best tourist spots we've got. Millions of visitors come there every year to visit and enjoy the ambience and we don't feel they are the best place to have a soup kitchen attracting up to 100 homeless people.

"We are working with them and suggesting they do find somewhere alternative to go but it's not always easy to find that location. There's plenty of soup kitchens already operating in and around the town centre and I think their resources could be put to much better use if they could link in with one of the existing charities." But Ms Wells said she had no intention of leaving the gardens. "They should be able to sit where everybody else sits, enjoy Bournemouth gardens, and be a part of the public. "We're going to keep doing it."

Bath Abbey's Choral Evensong abandoned mid-service because of noisy buskers outside

Worshippers at Bath Abbey had to abandon their choral evensong service on Sunday night because the dulcet tones of the choirboys were being drowned out by the noise of buskers outside. Bath Abbey officials called on council chiefs to act over the noisy amplified buskers, who have been getting louder, later and more numerous in the city centre – and especially in the square in front of the famous church.

Bath Abbey musical director Peter King called a halt to the choral evensong, as attempts on a peaceful service with the abbey’s organ and choir were deemed futile in the face of the musical onslaught from outside. The choral evensong is the most gentle and quiet of the Church of England's regular Sunday services, often with a single voice heard from the choir, and with other periods of silence and prayer. After the incident, Mr King complained that the city collectively had to sort out the issue of over-loud buskers – and some buskers sympathised and said the two who carried on playing ‘did not represent’ the majority of street performers.

“The local council continues to do nothing about this nuisance,” said Mr King. “Local office staff work with ear plugs and can’t open windows in a heatwave because of buskers. The council does nothing despite numerous complaints. Other cities manage the problem, Bath just wrings its hands and says it can do nothing. Two boys had learnt solos and take them home to practice and were singing them beautifully – all wasted,” he added. One busker, Justin Towell, expressed sympathy with the abbey’s plight. “Buskers who play over Abbey events do not represent the majority of us,” he said.

“So sorry to hear this.” The issue of busking in Bath has long been a thorny one, with council chiefs allowing the buskers to entertain shoppers and thousands of tourists every day, but attempting to manage the issue. Buskers are supposed to undergo an audition to check they are good enough, and the buskers have formed their own ad hoc arrangements to ensure everyone is spaced out enough and gets a fair share of time. They all meet at 10am to agree times and places, with the pitches outside the abbey’s famous West End the most sought-after. But increasing numbers of buskers are using amplified equipment to be heard over the general din of visitors – and each other.

Elderly woman won't be prosecuted for growing cannabis after asking BBC for help identifying it

A pensioner from Exmouth has unwittingly grown a 5ft (1.5m) tall cannabis plant from a pack of bird seeds. Patricia Hewitson contacted BBC Radio Devon's gardening programme asking for help identifying "a weed". After discovering it was an illegal cannabis plant the police were involved. Officers said Mrs Hewitson was growing the plant illegally but in good faith.

Mrs Hewitson said: "I sent a picture in via email and I got a couple of interesting emails back, including one from the police. They said they wouldn't prosecute me as I'd done it in good faith." BBC Radio Devon's gardening expert, Sarah Chesters, said: "I think the seed of this came from the bird feeder which hangs just above their door.

"It's quite common for bird seed to contain a huge variety of plant seed and cannabis has been known to come up from it." Cannabis is illegal to grow without a licence so Mrs Hewitson and her husband John were advised by Devon and Cornwall Police about what to do with the specimen. "We've been told we have to cut it up and either compost it, take it to the police station or take it up to the local recycling centre," Mrs Hewitson said.

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Sgt Ryan Canning, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "If you come into possession of an illegal drug such as cannabis, you must either destroy it or take it to a police officer. The lady has committed an offence although there are mitigating circumstances so we would not look to take it further although we would take it away."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cat traps

Frogs are fascinated by worm video

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Chicken police stop squirrel stealing from bird feeder

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Via Say OMG.

Drummer livens up slow church song

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Brothers attacked each other with sticks in dispute over stolen okra

Two brothers were charged with assault and battery after police in Spartanburg, South Carolina, said they got into a fight with sticks over stolen okra.

Officers were called on Thursday about a disturbance. Police that say Anthony Kelly told them his brother Ted Carol Kelly hit him when Anthony confronted Ted about stealing okra from his garden.

Ted told police that his brother hit him with a stick and in response Ted hit him back with a stick, according to police.

Police say both men were intoxicated and were unable to give written statements. Both Ted and Anthony Kelly were charged with third-degree assault and battery.

2-foot alligator prompted cautious investigation

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota responded to a call regarding an exotic animal on Thursday.

The caller was out mowing his lawn near a wetland area when he saw a 2-foot alligator in the grass.

A deputy responded and found the alligator on the grass near a creek and swampy area. The deputy approached on foot and the alligator did not move.

The deputy then used his baton to investigate further and found the alligator to be a plastic toy. It was safely removed.

Spiritual healer arrested after killing follower to prove that he could bring him back to life

A pir was arrested in Pakistan on Wednesday for killing a follower to prove his claim that he could bring him back to life. A Saddar police spokesman said Muhammad Sabir, a pir of village Mubarakabad in Bahawalnagar, gained popularity over the last five years for his ability to perform ‘miracles’. He said on Tuesday, he announced that he could breathe life back into a dead man.

The pir gave the condition that the victim must be married and have children. Sabir said 40-year-old Muhammad Niaz, a daily wage worker and father of six children, volunteered for the miracle. On Wednesday, Niaz was placed on a table in a square and his hands and legs were bound. The police spokesman said Sabir then sliced his throat as people looked on. Meanwhile, an anonymous caller informed the police about ‘the miracle.’

The spokesman said that by the time police arrived, Niaz had died. Witnesses said Sabir uttered some words to bring him back to life. They said when he realized his ‘miracle’ had not worked, he tried to flee. He was detained by the villagers and handed over to the police. Villagers told police that he used ask a local pet store to donate birds and dogs so that could save villagers from black magic. They said he sacrificed animals and sprinkled their blood on his followers.

He also asked them to sprinkle it at the entrance of their houses to be protected from evil. A report against the cleric has been lodged in Saddar police station. The body of the victim was taken to a hospital for an autopsy and later handed over to the family for burial. Samina, sister of the victim, said that her brother had sacrificed himself for the spiritual leader. “Why should I mourn when I know that my brother is in heaven?” she said. “He will be rewarded for his services for the spiritual leader in afterlife.” She said her brother had volunteered for the miracle and that the pir should not have been arrested.

Man's naked afternoon stroll shocked shoppers

A naked man shocked customers at a shopping centre in Darwin, Australia. The butt-naked gentleman was spotted casually strolling through Casuarina Square on Saturday afternoon.

On-looker Dee Smith said he was a sight to behold as he walked through the area at around 3.30pm. “It was hilarious,” she said. “We were at the Coffee Club having a cuppa when this guy strolls past very calmly, he didn’t look stressed whatsoever.”

The reason for the cheeky appearance hasn’t been discovered but Ms Smith thought the man must have been put up to it by mates. “It was probably a dare, or he just likes to get naked,” she said. Reactions from other patrons were a mixed bag.

“We cracked up with laughter, there were a couple of shocked looks from the people sitting near us, a couple of 15 year old girls were screaming,” she continued. “It was a bit of an eye-opener.” But the man's display didn’t last for long. “Security came through with mean looks on their face so he got out of their pretty quickly,” Ms Smith said. The man evaded capture and was long gone by the time police arrived at the scene.

Council removes posters telling women which side of the road they should walk on

Posters in north east London warning women they should only walk on one side of the road have been taken down after they sparked a backlash. The notices, which were put up along streets in Stamford Hill, were removed after residents complained to Hackney Council. Written in both English and Hebrew, they read: "Women should please walk along this side of the road only".

The Shomrim group, whose Jewish volunteers support policing in the area, said they were put up by an orthodox Jewish group for a religious parade this week. People from the religious sect are prohibited from touching members of the opposite sex unless they are married or closely related to them. More than 20,000 Haredi Jews live in the area - the third largest group in the world. Stamford Hill West councillor Rosemary Sales described the posters as "unacceptable" and said they had been removed.

She said: "Several residents in my ward in Stamford Hill have drawn these posters to my attention. "It is of course quite unacceptable to try to restrict women's movements in a public place and council officers removed these posters as soon as it was reported to them." Superintendent Andy Walker, from Hackney police, said officers had spoken to the parade organisers about "potential misinterpretation" of the signs. He added: "They have agreed that next year they will only by written in Hebrew and will be removed more swiftly after the event."

Chaim Hochhauser, from the Stamford Hill Shomrim group, said it had contacted the organisers to inform them the posters "lacked explanation". He said: "We didn't know much about these posters until it was brought to our attention later on. We have since contacted the event organisers, and explained that these posters lacked explanation in the English text, and therefore could have offended people who don't understand the Hebrew wording and the logo." A Hackney council spokesperson said: "As soon as the signs were brought to the Council's attention they were removed."

Car parking row over harmony centre

A row over car parking has erupted over a centre in Hereford which is designed to "promote religious harmony". The Hereford Islamic Society wants to convert a shop in Putson, South Wye.

Neighbours claim the site is not suitable and could become "overcrowded" because of limited parking space and access. The society said it believes parking would not be a problem and has altered its proposals so the site can accommodate 11 cars.

It has told Herefordshire Council the new centre would provide a place for prayer, religious services and community activities and its busiest times would be limited to Friday prayers, between 1:00pm and 2:00pm. A public meeting will be held later about the planning application for the Holme Lacy Road property.

Tracey Rock, who lives in an adjoining street, said: "It'll be overcrowded, it's just not a suitable area for a day centre to be in." Another resident, Don Allan, said: "They're going to be praying there from seven in the morning until 11 at night and we don't really want that. It's nothing to do with race or anything like that, just the volume of traffic." Herefordshire Council is currently considering the application and has received a petition from residents.