Saturday, April 4, 2009

Indian elections dominated by elephant problems

Politicians in parts of rural India are facing demands for solutions to controlling elephant stampedes.

At rallies in Ranchi, the capital of the impoverished eastern state, candidates who promised to build new schools and roads have been heckled by farmers. They demanded: "What good is all that when we're not safe in our homes because of the elephants?"

ndia's growing population has meant settlers pushing into the dense jungles that used to be home to a large and untroubled elephant population.

Under pressure from humans, the beasts have in turn been forced into villages and fields to forage for food.

Confused, disorientated and hungry, they stumble into inhabited areas where their foraging expeditions often end in eye-to-eye confrontations with petrified villagers.

In January, a herd of nearly 150 hungry elephants rampaged through a village in the remote north-east, trampling to death a young family as they slept in their hut.

Farmers tired of watching elephants feasting on their crops and destroying their rickety huts have poisoned or electrocuted them. Others have shot them with poison-tipped arrows. Less lethally, some farmers have also enlisted the services of camels whose scent is apparently so unpleasant that it will drive even the laziest elephant away.

As voters look ahead to the first phase of polling on April 16, the streets of Ranchi, the capital of Jharkand, are linked with posters promising: "Save us from elephants and get our vote".

Saurabh Narayan Singh, a candidate for the Congress Party in Ranchi, said there were no easy solutions to a conflict in which both sides were justified in demanding space to live.

"I can only promise that if I'm elected, I'll train villagers to scare elephants away by bursting firecrackers or beating drums, as they do in Africa, or lighting torches and smearing fences with red chilli paste," said Mr Singh.

His rival, Subodh Kant Sahai, a candidate for the Bharatiya Janata party, said he would appoint more guards to police the area. "Well-equipped forest guards can manage the herds and keep them away from human habitations," he said.

Wow, and I thought politics were complicated here with the economy and health care. Those things are nothing compared to the horrors of elephants!!! Elephant Attack!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Man shoplifts a lot of shrimp

A Massachusetts man shoplifted over five hundred dollars worth of shrimp in four different shopping trips.

John Silvera, 46, pleaded guilty to charges of shoplifting and simple assault in connection with his arrest last month. Police said he stole about $500 worth of shrimp in four separate trips to the Salem Market Basket.

The Eagle-Tribune reported his plea deal required him to waive extradition so he can answer to another shoplifting charge from Methuen, where he is accused of making off with a jacket full of frozen shrimp at a Market Basket there.

Extradition for shrimp theft. Giggle. I wonder if he just had a lot of cocktail sauce.

Man attacks fiance because she made a bad sandwich

A Pennsylvania man attacked his fiance with a kitchen knife and his teeth because he didn't like the meatball sandwich she made him.

Just ask Lyndel Toppin's fiancée, whose middle finger was almost chopped off when Toppin allegedly attacked her with a kitchen knife, according to Upper Darby police.

The reason for the assault, cops say, was a poorly made meatball sandwich. Specifically, the cheese placement was all wrong, which infuriated Toppin. "That was the catalyst," police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

The 44-year-old woman, whom cops did not identify, was preparing dinner last week in her Kingston Road home when Toppin "became enraged due to the victim not placing cheese on his hoagie roll correctly," according to the arrest affidavit.

Toppin grabbed a knife from the other room and slashed her finger, causing a deep laceration, she told police at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, where she received 23 stitches to close the gash.

Also, instead of chomping on the meatball sub that she'd made him, Toppin wrapped his teeth around his girlfriend's left wrist and refused to let go, the criminal complaint says.

"Toppin bit down on the victim's arm and would not release his bite," Upper Darby Investigator Matthew Rowles wrote in his report. The bite left swelling and teeth marks.

"It was a barbaric attack," Chitwood said.

I wonder what he's going to do when he tastes the prison food?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


A Michigan boy has a medical condition that gives him super strength.

At 5 months old, Liam Hoekstra of Grand Rapids, Mich., started doing an expert gymnast move called the iron cross. By 8 months old, Liam could do a pull-up and by 9 months, he could climb up and down stairs.

"I would hold him up by his hands and he would lift himself into an iron cross. That's when we were like, 'whoa, this is weird,'" Liam's mother, Dana Hoekstra told The Associated Press.

Soon, the family thought to take him to specialists, who diagnosed Liam with a rare condition loosely called myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy, according to reporting by the AP.

The condition is so rare, only a few similar cases have been documented in medical literature. Hoekstra declined to do more interviews with, saying she hoped to get her son out of the limelight for a while.

Wow, it's like a real life comic book except without the nuclear radiation causing the issue. I wonder what costume he'll choose.

Man coughs up nail stuck in his nose for thirty years

A Colorado man stunned doctors when he coughed up a nail that could have been in his face for thirty years.

Prax Sanchez went to the doctor complaining of pain under his right eye. The doctor ordered an MRI, whose magnetisms seems to have dislodged the inch-long nail from Sanchez's sinuses, local TV station KKTV reported. On his way home, he coughed the nail up, much to his surprise.

"I never had any idea there was any metal in my face," Sanchez told KKTV.

He'd had a dizzy spell about a year ago, and has a x-ray taken of his head. At the time, doctors somehow missed the inch-long nail that appeared clearly in his films, Colorado's KOAA TV station reported.

Now that's disturbing. How could he not know that he had a nail in his nose. Eek!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Inmates use pigeons to smuggle cell phones into prison

Prison guards in Brazil have discovered carrier pigeons smuggling cell phone parts into a prison farm.

Guards at the Danilio Pinheiro prison near the southeastern city of Sorocaba last week noticed a pigeon resting on an electric wire with a small cloth bag tied to one of its legs.

"The guards nabbed the bird after luring it down with some food and discovered components of a small cell phone inside the bag," police investigator Celso Soramiglio said Tuesday.

One day later, another pigeon was spotted dragging a similar bag inside the prison's exercise yard. Inside the bag was the cell phone's charger, Soramiglio said.

The birds were apparently bred and raised inside the prison, smuggled out, outfitted with the cell phone parts and then released to fly back.

"Pigeons instinctively fly back home, always," the investigator said.

Soramiglio said that police have not discovered who raised the pigeons or the name of the inmate who was going to receive the cell phone, but that he hoped the telephone carrier would provide the information.

"Some of them are members of organized crime groups that use cell phones to talk to family and friends and to give and receive orders for criminal actions outside and inside prisons," Soramiglio said.

Now that's inventive. Too bad they can't put their brains to use doing some good.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

San Fransisco bars overrun with snuggies

Over two hundred people showed up for a San Fransisco pub crawl wearing snuggies, blankets with arms.

Keith Charles F., 25 (he said he preferred to not give his last name to the newspaper), and Patricia Prislin, 24, said they met on social networking Web site Yelp and started talking about a recent Snuggie pub crawl in Chicago and the possibility of starting a Snuggie event closer to home, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The pair said they didn't just ask people to show up in their Snuggies, they offered costume competitions for best male, best female, best group, best couple and sluttiest Snuggie.

"We kept moving the date back because people were not going to get their Snuggies in time," Keith Charles said to the newspaper before the event. "Don't tell anyone but I got a red one off of eBay."

I bed everyone was warm and comfortable, yet able to easily move their arms.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Man claims apples caused high blood alcohol reading

A politician in Poland who failed a blood alcohol test blames the apples that he had eaten earlier in the day.

Asked why a traffic police check Sunday showed he had 0.7 units of alcohol in his blood, Marek Latas denied having drunk alcohol that day.

"I am diabetic, I ate a few apples before driving.

"I have been involved in no accident, I underwent a routine roadside check. I was confident there was no chance I had alcohol in my blood," said Latas, a member of parliament for the conservative opposition Law and Justice Party.

The prosecutor's office is investigating his case, the website said. In Poland, the legal limit for alcohol when driving is 0.2 units. Fermented apple juice can be used to make cider, an alcoholic drink.

That's what they all say. I bet he's friends with the guy who blamed ice cream on his alcohol reading.

Teacher's job at risk after sex-ed talk

Parents are calling for an Italian teacher to loose her job after she discussed genital piercing, handcuffs and whips with her sixth grade students.

Parents of the children in the fifth and final year of an elementary school in this northwestern Italian city have asked the school to keep her away from their children.

The headmaster of the elementary school, Vincenzo Guarino, said the teacher was guilty of ''serious naivety'' in not realising that ''certain subjects and language can be used in a class of 15-year-olds, but not 11-year-olds''.

''It's true that she was only answering questions but there are ways of discussing these things''.

Parents say the unidentified teacher went into detail about bondage and S&M after an initial discussion on masturbation led to oral sex and further afield.

The teacher has defended herself by saying she was only doing what she had been told in a training course for teaching children about sex, which emphasised the importance of speaking frankly in order ''to clear things up''.

Not really sure how a teacher could think that was appropriate for sixth graders. However, it seems like her training course wasn't appropriate either.

What do you think? Should she be fired? Disciplined? Transferred to another school?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bad salad. Just eat the sandwich

Normally I stick to odd news but I couldn't help it with this one. The front page of MSN is featuring a BLT surprise salad.

The recipe includes 12 strips of bacon and blue cheese among other not great for you ingredients.

One of the reviews gives us this fantastic tip: this recipe is for 4 people. So really its a healthy salad when you take this into account. Um, even if you split twelve pieces of bacon with four people it's still not healthy. I think the surprise is that it's far worse for you than a real BLT.

Remember, just because it's a salad doesn't make it healthy.

Australians celebrate with toad killing festival

In a celebration that would make PETA very upset hundreds of Australians celebrated as thousands of poison toads were killed.

"To see the look on the faces of the kids as we were handling and weighing the toads and then euthanizing them was just...," Townsville City Councilman Vern Veitch said, breaking off to let out a contented sigh. "The children really got into the character of the event."

The toads _ which can grow up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length _ were imported from South America to Queensland in 1935 in a failed attempt to control beetles on sugarcane plantations. Trouble was, the toads couldn't jump high enough to eat the beetles, which live on top of cane stalks.

The toads bred rapidly, and their millions-strong population now threatens many local species across Australia. They spread diseases, such as salmonella, and produce highly toxic venom from glands in their skin that can kill would-be predators. The toads are also voracious eaters, chomping up insects, frogs, small reptiles and mammals _ even birds. Cane toads are only harmful to humans if their poison is swallowed.

Queensland politician Shane Knuth, a longtime nemesis of the cane toad who came up with the Toad Day Out idea, figured the best way to combat the problem was to gather Australians en masse for a targeted hunt. With each adult female cane toad capable of producing 20,000 eggs, he said, killing even a few thousand toads could ultimately wipe out millions.

On Saturday night, participants fanned out under the cloak of darkness to hunt down the toads. On Sunday, the toads _ which the rules stated must be captured alive and unharmed _ were brought to collection points and examined by experts to ensure they were not harmless frogs. The creatures were then killed, either by freezing or by being placed in plastic bags filled with carbon dioxide. Some of the remains will be ground into fertilizer for sugarcane farmers.

Oh, what a heartwarming family festival. They've got to be proud. The kids are so excited as the toads are weighed and then killed. Yay, we're killing frogs!

Boy grows mullet to help cancer victims

A Florida boy has been growing a huge mullet so he can donate his hair to cancer.

Dustin grew his hair into a mullet-style, shorter in the front and longer in the back, just like his dad, Barry Amara. His father also plans to donate his hair once it's longer.

"He's had some teasing from the other kids because he had his hair long," Barry Amara, of Sunrise, said. "They'll tease anyone who looks different. But once he explained why, they really admired him."

Before growing it out, Dustin had his hair in a short buzz cut.

"We always have to remind him to brush his hair," his mother, Tracy Amara, said. "He thinks if he just fixes up the front, no one will notice, but it doesn't work like that."

As the hairstylist tied Dustin's hair into a ponytail and pulled out the scissors, Dustin grimaced. Even though the style was just for charity, he said it would be strange to feel air on the back of his neck again.

"It's OK, I'm going to grow it back," Dustin said. "Then I'll donate it again."

The mullet: business in the front and a party in the back.