Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sartorial elegance

Wild giraffe spotted befriending a little rabbit

South African photographer Ayesha Cantor, 49, was taking a drive around Kragga Kamma Game Park, near her home, when she stopped to take some pictures of giraffes basking in the setting sun.

She noticed one giraffe seemed to be preoccupied by something on the ground and was amazed when she realised it was a domestic rabbit. Ayesha said: "My daughter and I were taking a late Sunday afternoon game drive around the park.

"The light was lovely so on coming across a group of giraffe I stopped to snap a few sunset giraffe pics. One giraffe kept bending down, we did not immediately realise why he was doing that. And then we saw the bunny.

YouTube link.

"It really looked like a domestic rabbit, and there are a few houses which neighbour the park, so we assume that it was an escapee. It's really remarkable that it had managed to survive."

Message in a bottle returned to family after more than 50 years

A message in a bottle sent out to sea more than five decades ago was found 1,500 miles away and returned to a family in New Hampshire. The long-lost message was discovered by Clint Buffington, a musician and writing teacher from Utah, who was vacationing in the Turks and Caicos. “(I found) this coke bottle half buried in the sand, looked like it had been there since the beginning of time,” Buffington said.

“On the paper, there was something written in pencil, like handwriting, it said, ‘Look inside,’” he said. Buffington broke open the bottle and unrolled that waterlogged note. “I could read words like ‘return’ and ‘Beachcomber,’” Buffington said. He used those soggy words to search for the sender and the story. The note was written by Paula Pierce’s father more than 50 years ago. “And it just hit me, it was my father’s writing,” Pierce said. “And I was shocked.”

The long-lost message was written in 1960 by Paul Tsiatsios, then owner along with his wife Tina, of the Beachcomer Motel just off the coast of Hampton beach, before it was thrown into the Atlantic Ocean. The note said, "Return to 419 Ocean Blvd. and receive a reward of $150 from Tina, owner of the Beachcomber." Paula’s parents are both gone now, and the Beachcomber sold a couple years ago. Buffington flew to New Hampshire to deliver the message in the bottle.

YouTube link.

“This is special because it brings back a piece of him, a piece of her, a piece of my childhood, a piece of the Beachcomber,” Pierce said. “All of these things are very hard to lose.” She insisted on living up to her father’s promise, giving Buffington the reward. “You have to take it,” she told Buffington. But she said the biggest reward is the message in a bottle finding its way back home. “The significance of the message in the bottle was not lost on him. It took him to find it, and it took him to come across the country and bring it to me,” Pierce said.

FBI hunt man who robbed bank while wearing a cat mugshot T-shirt

The FBI is searching for a man who they say robbed an Oklahoma bank while wearing a T-shirt depicting a cat posing for a mugshot.

They say the robbery happened at around 4:20pm on Monday afternoon at a BancFirst bank in Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Special Agent-in-Charge Kathryn Peterson says a man walked into the bank and gave a teller a note demanding money, then ran off with the cash. Peterson says the man’s note said he had a gun but no weapon was observed.

He is described as a white male in his late 20’s to early 30’s, 5’9″ to 5’11”, 200 to 215 lbs., with short brown hair, a moustache and beard. The FBI say the man was wearing a black shirt featuring a cat posing for a jail booking photo. The FBI also says the suspected bank robber also wore sunglasses and cargo shorts. He remains on the prowl.

Alleged burglar who surprised homeowner said she wanted to sleep in his bed

A woman who surprised a man in his home on Thursday morning reportedly told him that she wanted to sleep in his bed, but police believe she was there to steal. Michael Smith was in his home on Devils Nose Road just north of Rogersville, Tennessee, at around 8:30am when a woman, later identified as Savonna Mae Collier, 34, from Blountville, allegedly entered his residence.

Collier was later arrested after allegedly attempting to flee the residence in Smith’s $20,000 UTV. She was prevented from escaping in the UTV when Smith’s wife arrived home from driving a school bus route and blocked the road with her bus. Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Detective Marc Bass said Collier appeared to be living out of her car, which she parked in a neighbour’s driveway before entering the Smith residence.

Bass said that Collier appeared to be under the influence of meth and was looking for something to steal in order to purchase more drugs. When Smith found Collier in his home, she reportedly told Smith, “She wanted to sleep in his bed,” Bass said. “Mr. Smith stated he didn’t know her and told her to leave,” Bass added. “(Collier) then pushed Mr. Smith and fled the residence. She ran outside and stole Mr. Smith’s Can Am UTV, and fled in the vehicle. Mr. Smith gathered himself and went after the female.

“The UTV had stopped in the middle of the road due to Mrs. Smith returning home from driving a school bus and seeing her UTV coming at her with an unknown person driving it.” A short time later, the HCSO arrived and arrested Collier who was charged with aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000 and vandalism. The vandalism charge stemmed from damaged caused to the UTV when Collier allegedly jammed a object into the ignition to start it. Collier is being held in the Hawkins County Jail with no bond pending arraignment in Sessions Court on Monday.

Train with more than 100 passengers on board confiscated over farmer's compensation dispute

Indian court officials confiscated a passenger train after the railway department failed to pay compensation to a farmer for acquiring his land. The train had more than 100 passengers on board when the officials confiscated it at the Harihar station in southern Karnataka state on Monday.

The train was only released after railway officials gave an assurance that the compensation would be paid. The railway acquired his land in 2006, but have still not paid him for it. The farmer, AG Shivakumar, agreed to let the railway department acquire his one-acre plot of land for the express train line, after he was assured compensation of 3.6m rupees (£44,067, $53,904).

He approached a local court after the railways ignored several requests for payment. The court in 2013, ordered the railway department to pay Mr Shivakumar his compensation along with interest. But after the railways did not heed the order for three years, the court ordered its officials to confiscate the train. "The [railway] officials gave an undertaking to the court that the amount will be given in one week's time.

"The train was allowed to leave after about 100 minutes," KGS Patil, Mr Shivakumar's lawyer, said. Some passengers who were in the train were amused with the court's order. "Initially, we thought the train had been stopped by some agitators. Much later when the train did not move, I realised that it was a court order that was being enforced. I was angry but I also found it funny," Sihi Kahi Chandru said.

Driver who chased after his runaway car on busy motorway faces charges

Police in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, have released footage showing the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a busy motorway last week. The car, which had been parked on the hard shoulder where its driver was talking to the driver of a lorry, also parked there, started to move slowly across the carriageway.

Noticing his vehicle had started to move, the car driver chased it across two lanes of traffic on the A5 motorway, where it crashed into the central reservation and back across the road, while cars and lorries tried to avoid it. The car finally came to a stop against a signpost on grass between the motorway and the exit lane.

Neuchâtel police said they had identified the driver of both the car and the lorry. “The two men, of mature age, know each other and live in the area,” police spokesman Pierre-Louis Rochaix said. Rochaix said it was “completely crazy” that despite the number of vehicles that must have witnessed the incident, no one came forward to report it to police.

YouTube link. Full original police Facebook video link.

It wasn’t until road maintenance workers saw the damage to the central reservation and signpost that the surveillance video was analyzed. The car driver will face charges of placing others in serious danger by the accidental movement of his car. Rochaix added it was also irresponsible of the pair to have parked on the hard shoulder.

'Torpedo' filled with £4.5 million worth of cocaine found on Irish beach

A "torpedo" carrying more than 5m euros (£4.5m) of cocaine has been found on a beach in the Republic of Ireland.

More than 75kg of the drug were found near the tourist hotspot of the Cliffs of Moher in County Claire. Revenue customs officers responded to a report from a member of the public about the suspicious device.

They believe it may have been attached below the waterline of a cargo ship or other sea vessel. Small bales of cocaine, each about a foot long and weighing about 1kg, were found wrapped in plastic inside the 6ft metal tube on Monday.

A spokeswoman said: "It is not possible at this stage to say either where the drugs originated or their intended destination."

Money sent flying as police stormed bank and arrested man with little bucket full of cash

Hundreds of pounds worth of notes and coins were sent flying into the air when three police officers wrestled a man to the ground in front of stunned bank customers in Skegness, Lincolnshire.

The man had entered Barclays bank holding a grey bucket at 1pm on Monday when the branch was packed with customers waiting to make transactions. Police stormed into the bank and arrested him, leaving money scattered over the floor.

Customers watched as the officers pinned the man down while another scrambled on her hands and knees as she picked up the money. An eyewitness, who was in the queue waiting to see a cashier, said: "The man was being served at the counter and he was carrying a little bucket.

"Customers presumed some kind of bank robbery had been foiled." But Chief Insp Jim Tyner said: "There was no robbery. Officers were making an arrest for an unrelated matter." A spokesman for Barclays East Midlands region said: "The incident was not bank related. He was a wanted man who happened to be at the bank at the time of the arrest."

With short video.

Cat survived 45-mile road trip clinging to roof of owner's van

A cat has survived a 45-mile (72km) road trip on the roof of its owner’s van. Matt Haine was commuting from his home in Warminster, Wiltshire to Weston-super-Mare, Somerset when he heard a cat on the roof of his white Transit.

He said: "I pulled up and it just slid down the windscreen, so slowly, I saw the tail then the back legs and all of a sudden these big eyes looking at me." It was only after he called his wife at home that he realised the windswept feline was the family's own cat Flo.

Mr Haine, said he had just arrived at the seaside resort, after a 70 minute drive, when he saw the "silhouette of a cat walking along the top of the roof". "All of a sudden it just slid down the roof and I'm look at it and I'm thinking is that Flo?" he said. "There is a roof rack on the van and the only thing I can think of is that she wedged herself between the roof rack and the pipe tube, where I keep my copper pipes.

"She's quite a small cat but she seemed to cling on to the roof rack quite well, I don't know how many claws she's got left now." For the return journey, Mr Haine strapped one-year-old Flo in the passenger seat and now says he checks his van over every morning before he leaves. "She's not been on there lately mind, she's learnt her lesson," he said. "I don't think she wants to come back again in a hurry."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Watch out for the puparazzi

Dog likes to hold hands while in the car

Willow, an Alaskan Klee Kai, likes to have her paw held while riding in the car.

YouTube link.

Man dressed as a tree arrested for blocking traffic

A man dressed as a tree was arrested on Monday, accused of blocking traffic.

Asher Woodworth, 30, from Portland, Oregon has been charged with obstructing a public way.

Police say Woodworth stood in the middle of High Street covered in tree limbs. Officers gave him a warning at first, but Woodworth allegedly returned to the street. He was arrested a short time later.

Woodworth’s motivation, according to police was to "see how people would react to his performance," and "how he might impact people’s natural choreography." Woodworth has been freed on $60 bail.

There are videos here and here.

Police smashed car window after wig on seat was mistaken for a child in danger

An unusual case of mistaken identity took place when a woman's wig was thought to be a child left in her car. Jasmine Turner, from Suffolk, Virginia, says she went out to the store on her work break when she got a call from police about an unresponsive child in her car.

"By the time I get from the Walmart back to my job, the police aren't there, but the window's busted out of my car and there's glass everywhere," says Turner. Except Turner doesn't have children. Turner says she left her wig on a pile of blankets in the backseat and that's what someone thought was a child.

But she says by the time she came back to her car, the police, and her window, were gone. "I really can't take my car anywhere because around Suffolk, anywhere as a matter of fact, you never know when somebody's just going to look in and be like, 'Oh, she has her window down, so I'm free to do whatever.'"

The police department say they notified Turner about the city's risk management division to get repairs for her car. "I just want my window fixed, and when I do get the window fixed, I need them to pay for me to either be in a rental or whatever the case is because I can't miss time off work," she says. "I have bills to pay."

With news video.

Koala spotted taking her baby for 'a morning stroll'

A koala was spotted "taking a morning stroll" with her joey on her back along the main street of McLaren Flat, south of Adelaide in South Australia, on Friday.

The pair were filmed by Radek Petlak and his wife Emma Barry, who were in McLaren Flat for work. "She was very unfazed by being filmed except for that little sideways glance she and her baby gave us," Ms Barry said.

"We were super confused when we first saw it when driving past but we're so glad we pulled over and got out of the car to watch her. After we stopped filming she went down the driveway of the house and headed to their garden. Such a beauty," she added.

YouTube link. Alternative Facebook video link.

Local bakery worker Charles said while there are many koalas in the area, it was rare to see them walking along the street in the middle of the morning. "It's much less dense residentially here, so I guess they feel safe to do their thing," he said. "[But] it's a rare thing to see a koala on the main street." He said most koalas in the area were spotted high up in the trees and shied away from people.

Man rescued from rubbish bin after apparently mistakenly thinking that it contained old clothes

Police were called after passers-by reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

The 48-year-old man had to be rescued from the container after he climbed into through the tiny gap to retrieve what he thought was a bag of old clothes.

But he became trapped inside due to a tilting door mechanism which is meant to prevent people from raiding the bins. The man, who according to local reports is of Romanian nationality, had mistakenly thought the bin contained old clothes destined for recycling.

“We just don’t know how he managed to climb in there,” said Jose Elias a sergeant with the Murcia Local Police. He said police officers at the scene were unable to free the man and had to wait for council workers to come and open the container. He was finally freed after spending around half an hour trapped in the bin and was said to be unhurt.

Pee problem is eroding the world's tallest church

The ancient walls of Ulm Minster in the city of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, are being eroded by human urine, its official stone masons have said. The acid and salts in the urine of those relieving themselves on the side of the church are causing significant damage to the stone of the lower walls.

Despite the fine being doubled from €50 to €100 for those caught passing water on the famous landmark, the number of occurrences does not seem to have dropped. The church is famous because it boasts the highest church spire in the world at 530ft (161.53 metres)

It is also the fourth tallest structure in the world built before the 20th century. However, this important building is under threat unless more is done to protect it, according to its custodians. “I have observed it again for the last half year, and once more people are urinating on it,” said Ulm Minster’s head mason Michael Hilbert.

The “master mason” (Baumeister) believes that events such as a wine festival and Christmas market are the main causes, and that there needs to be more free public toilets to discourage people from relieving themselves outside. Construction on the church began in 1377, but was not completed until 1890. Although renovation and preservation work is unending on the steeple, it is the foundations that are being threatened by a more unexpected menace.

Another broom snapped in Derbyshire village

A broom has been snapped in half in a Derbyshire village, the third such reported incident in 15 months.

Adam Ward was on his way to work in Barlborough on Monday morning when he saw the broken broom.

Its brush had been spiked into the grass as if to demonstrate some kind of show of victory.

Adam, like many others, has now been left wondering if the Eyam broom-snapper of summer 2015 is up to his or her dirty tricks again.

Elderly man trapped other passengers on bus in protest at being unable to get off at usual stop

An 87-year-old man from Plymouth, Devon, lay down on a bus and stopped other passengers from getting off in protest at a shake-up which has left him unable to get off at his usual stop. Angry Colin Willmott says he thought "the world had gone mad" when his CityBus service was re-routed. The changes were brought it because coaches have started using new stops at Derry's Cross after the closure of Bretonside and opening of Plymouth's new coach station at Mayflower Street. Last week, when the disabled pensioner expected to get off the number 25 bus at his usual stop, the bus kept going.

The driver said it was because coaches, which had previously been able to use Bretonside, were now using the Derry's Cross stops as there was no space at the city's new coach station. The next stop was further down Royal Parade, at stand number A16, and Mr Willmott said the extra walk was a struggle. "It's crazy," he said. "All of us pensioners have to walk from Royal Parade down to the market, then walk all the way back up again." Frail Mr Willmott added: "I come into town for the market, I don't shop up at the posh end of town. I'm an oldie, it's what we are used to." He said he was "no less than shattered", following the trek.

The next time it happened, Mr Willmott refused to get off at the Royal Parade stop and instead lay in the aisle, deliberately restricting other passengers from getting off the bus. "Two bus inspectors came out and they asked me to get off the bus and talk with them in the office," he said. "I said I had already [spoken to CityBus about the changes] and it didn't lead anywhere, so I would not leave until I saw some action. I let passengers on by moving to the side but a few of them shouted at me and called me selfish. They just didn't understand the bigger picture, it was the only way I could draw attention to the issue. It puts me off going into town."

Mr Willmott took his battle to his local councillor, Ian Tuffin, who said: "I immediately got all the info and the council are quite correct, it is dangerous [for buses] to double park. But I spoke with someone from the council and they confirmed that the bus should always stop in whatever circumstances. I recognise the elderly shouldn't have to walk that distance, it's ridiculous." Mark Collins, commercial and marketing manager at CityBus, said buses were only able to stop at Derry's Cross if there are no coaches there. A spokesman said: "Following feedback from passengers on the Service 25, an agreement has been made between Plymouth Citybus and Plymouth City Council that we will now use stand A9 to drop off and pick up passengers. It will not wait on this stop and continue to serve stand A16."

Councillor held birthday party for lamppost that has been broken for a year

A birthday party has been held for a lamppost which has not been working for a year. The street light in Pebmarsh Close, Colchester, Essex, was damaged 12 months ago after a bin lorry hit it. But despite repeated requests for it to be fixed, nothing has happened. So in a bid to grab the attention of Essex Highways bosses, Colchester borough and Essex county councillor Dave Harris (Lab) held a birthday party, complete with cake and card, at the lamppost.

Mr Harris said: “It’s been a full year and nothing has happened. It really is unacceptable. “It is on a corner where many people walk at night, so it needs to be lit to make people feel safe, especially now we are coming into winter and the evenings will be darker. I thought I’d have a party to show it’s still not been done. I selected a card with an owl on it because you have to be an owl to see around the place at night.”

Mr Harris first raised the issue on October 11 last year. In email exchanges he was initially told the lamppost would be repaired within “four to five weeks”. But nothing was done and, in August, Mr Harris raised the issue again, only to be told the job had been passed to a contractor to install a new lamp column. At that time, the contractor was waiting for new materials to complete the work. No timescale for repairs could be given.

When Mr Harris then asked why the contractor did not have any lamppost columns, which are frequently needed for repairs, he was told although the equipment had been available since October last year, “other works have taken priority”. Essex Highways has now confirmed the street light will be repaired within a week. Mr Harris added: “This is a service each and everyone of us pay our council tax for. It should not take a year for a lamppost to be repaired.”