Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Cats subtly request their dinner

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Customers queuing for cronuts unfazed by body on nearby bench

A man’s corpse was discovered on a bench outside the original cronuts bakery in SoHo, New York, early on Friday, but at least a dozen pastry-craving customers persisted in queuing up alongside the tragedy.

“I didn’t see anyone leave the line,” said Chinatown resident Molly Young, 29, who passed by the scene outside the famed Dominique Ansel Bakery. “It didn’t put a dent in anyone’s appetite.”

Another witness, Jessica Wright, 26, said that one customer did duck out of the line, briefly, to inform the bakery of “the dead guy” spotted on a wooden sidewalk bench some 40 feet from the store. “A guy in line was waiting for a cronut and saw a body on the first bench. He bought it to the attention of a Dominique Ansel Bakery employee,” Wright said. “She saw the dead guy and called 911. They came and pronounced him dead.”

A source said that the corpse was that of a neighbour, Andrew Lang, 47, whose death did not appear suspicious. He had been dead for about ten hours, the source said. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death. The cronut, a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, became a food craze in 2013. The confection is so popular, that the line outside the bakery is typically half-a-block long.

Singapore street food stalls make dining history after being awarded Michelin stars

Hungry diners queued up at a small, modest street food stall in Singapore on Friday to get a taste of the restaurant's local delights worthy of a coveted Michelin star.

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle made dining history on Thursday when they became the first street food stalls in the world to be awarded a star by Michelin as French critics revealed a Singapore guide of 29 establishments.

Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country and the fourth in Asia to be rated by the Michelin Guide. It has more than 100 open-air "hawker" centers and 6,000 stalls selling popular multi-ethnic meals. Chan Hon Meng, owner of Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, said he was honoured to receive the recognition as he cooked up treats for the extra customers.

Chan hopes his stall's success will encourage more young people to enter the hawker trade, which is starting to suffer from a lack of successors for the stalls, which are primarily run by elderly cooks. The 51-year-old chef said he had no immediate plans to increase prices of his food, such as his signature chicken rice dish, which he serves roughly 150 times per day at lunchtime for £1.90 (S$2.50), or £1.40 ($1.85), per plate.

There's a news video here.

Intoxicated woman drove to police station to let officers know she was too drunk to drive

A woman from Blenheim, New Zealand, who drove to the police station to let officers know she was too drunk to drive thought she was doing the right thing. Amanda Jane Boyd, 50, of Witherlea, was heavily intoxicated when she arrived at the Blenheim Police Station at about 2pm on June 14.

She told police officers at the front desk she needed to get to Christchurch but was too drunk to drive there, and asked if they could arrange to get her there. They asked how she got to the station, and Boyd pointed to her car and said she drove, but could not drive any further because she was too drunk.

Police breath tested Boyd who gave a reading of 1395 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 250mcg. In explanation, Boyd said she thought she was doing the right thing by not driving to Christchurch, and instead just driving a short distance to the police station to get help. She had been caught drink-driving twice before, once in 2008 and once in 2010.

Boyd appeared at the Blenheim District Court on Monday charged with drink-driving for the third or subsequent time. Judge David Ruth said Boyd had a serious problem with alcohol. "It was an exceptionally high amount of alcohol in your system, however it's not the highest you've had." He convicted Boyd and remanded her on bail to August 22 for sentencing, so a pre-sentencing report could be submitted.

Off-duty doctor returning home from night out called 999 convinced he'd seen decomposed leg

A doctor called 999 claiming he’d found a decomposed leg on a canal bank in Manchester city centre.

The man, who was off-duty at the time, told police he was convinced that he’d seen the body part sticking out of a bush near Oxford Road.

Inspector Phil Spurgeon, of GMP City Centre, said they got the call at around 6am on Sunday, and immediately sent an officer to investigate. He said the doctor had been on a night out and didn’t wait around for them to arrive.

Luckily, when officers got there, they found no decomposing leg, or any other body part. It turns out it was just a bit of rubbish, although the officer did agree it looked 'a bit suspicious'.

Police laid cunning trap to catch shoplifter armed with a bottle of perfume in a sock

A shoplifter, armed with a bottle of perfume in a sock, was arrested after quick-thinking police officers laid a cunning trap for him. PC Paul Bates and Sgt Kayleigh Webster, of Southend police, were picking up their lunch in the BP garage in Southend, Essex, on Monday July 11, when staff pointed out a suspicious man peering through the window.

Thomas Roberts, 36, of Westcliff, had become a familiar sight in the shop after visiting most days for over a month. Staff told police officers he would look through the window and return five minutes later to load up carrier bags with goods and then walk out - and not pay. Chief Insp Simon Anslow, Southend district commander, said the officers quickly came up with a plan.

He said: “PC Bates told Sgt Webster to drive off so that he thought they had gone. He then hid behind the alcohol stand and told staff to give him the nod. He came in, loaded up his two bags and walked out. PC Bates then jumped out and before he knew what happened he was in handcuffs.” Mr Anslow said Roberts then admitted to officers that he was in possession of a bizarre weapon, consisting of a bottle of perfume in a sock.

Roberts was charged with the theft of meat worth £150 from the shop on May 19, stealing meat worth £40 on July 11 and possession of an offensive weapon on the same day. He admitted the charges at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, July 13. Roberts was sentenced on Friday to a 12-month community order, which will involve a six-month drugs rehabilitation course and an overnight curfew. He must also pay an £85 victim surcharge.

Blind woman living in fear as aggressive seagulls are targeting her and guide dog

The life of a blind woman from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has been made a misery thanks to seagulls attacking her on the morning commute. Megan Paul, 24, walks from St Paul's to the town centre to catch a bus to Gloucester - a journey she says is becoming increasingly perilous due to the aggressive pests.

Megan is registered blind and her guide dog, Tate, often bears the brunt of the attacks. Megan has now issued a plea for help to prevent the birds from attacking her and scaring Tate. She said: "I would be at the bus stop near the Brewery Quarter and the seagulls would follow us and then swoop down on us. Now I have been avoiding the area.

"I've had to learn new routes to walk through and they are getting worse both here and in Gloucester where I work on Westgate Street." She added: "Often they go for the eyes and if he loses those I'll be forced to stay at home. People need to be made aware of this issue because it is becoming more of a problem.

YouTube link.

"I have been advised to use an umbrella to deter them but that hasn't worked. I end up swinging the umbrella around and I'm worried I could hurt my dog. It's really quite scary and so I have been forced to walk with other people so that nothing happens." She said there needs to be a new form of management when it comes to minimising the number of gulls in the area or at least controlling the levels.

Single dormouse-chewed hazelnut helped scupper new homes plan

A single woodland nut, chewed by a dormouse, had a central part to play in a High Court dispute over a controversial housing development in South Devon. Dormice are protected under European law and objectors to the scheme in Dartington pointed to the tooth-marked nut as evidence of the notoriously shy animals' presence. In a stunning victory for campaigners, a senior judge has now overturned planning permission for 32 new homes off Forder Lane.

The case was spear-headed by Elizabeth Wilkinson who would have faced eviction from her bungalow home had the project gone ahead. The nut did not in the end prove decisive, but the judge ruled South Hams District Council went wrong in law when it granted planning consent. The site is currently occupied by 18 affordable, one-bedroom, bungalows built by the Dartington Hall Trust in the 1960s, the court in London heard.

Mrs Wilkinson lives in one of them, but officials say they no longer match up to "decent home" rules and should be demolished. The council granted planning permission for the development to the South Devon Rural Housing Assocation in December last year. The consent was for 32 new homes, including 12 affordable one-bedroom flats and eight dwellings for learning disabled people in need of support. Fighting the decision, Mrs Wilkinson's lawyers said, amongst other things, that the project would destroy the habitat of dormice in nearby woodland.

Natural England was consulted about the dormice and a "nut survey" was carried out in January last year, said Mr Justice Hickinbottom. "The survey revealed a single dormouse-chewed hazelnut within the woodland", the judge added. That confirmed that dormice were living in the woods, which would be cleared as part of the scheme, "albeit in extremely limited numbers". Mr Justice Hickinbottom's decision sends planners back to the drawing board and means the council will have to consider the site's future afresh.

Giant mechanical puppet begins walk across south-west England to celebrate mining history

A giant mechanical puppet of a Cornish miner has taken its first steps on a 130-mile journey across south-west England.

The 10-metre (32.8ft) tall The Man Engine is making an historic journey to celebrate the area's mining history.

The puppet, which weighs 40 tonnes, is the same height as a double decker bus when in "crawling" mode but more than twice that height when standing.

YouTube link. Additional YouTube video showing The Man Engine in "crawling" mode.

It was launched in Tavistock, Devon, and will reach west Cornwall on 6 August. The Man Engine is operated by a team of volunteer puppeteers, who use ropes to control the giant model.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Doggie bag

Baby sloth and kangaroo become acquainted

YouTube link.

Man tells of unusual attack while stuck in traffic jam

A man says he is left stunned after a terrifying ordeal on an expressway in Michigan on Saturday.

Michael Mengis, of Oak Park, said he was driving with his son along I-94 near the I-96 interchange when they came to a complete halt due to heavy traffic. He said a man jumped out of his Jaguar car and onto the hood of his Dodge Dart.

Then, the attacker pulled out a knife and started using it to hit the driver’s side window. He was unable to break to break the glass. “Thank God Dodge builds a good window,” said Mengis. He said the man struck his car eight or nine times.

While the story is serious, Mr Mengis' account of the incident has some comedy elements.

YouTube link. Alternative YouTube link.

It is not clear if then stranger intended to carjack the victims. Once traffic picked up, Mengis says he sped away and called Michigan State Police. Mengis wants to warn other drivers about his attack.

Widow took husband's body on 'rolling wake'

Alan Bengaard, chief of police in Ketchikan, Alaska, has seen a lot in his decades-long law enforcement career. But he’s never seen anything like this. Ketchikan police received a third-party call from the area of the Potlatch Bar at around 3:15am on Wednesday.

When they arrived on scene, officers discovered an aluminum transport casket with the body of a 78-year-old man inside, according to Bengaard. The man had died from natural causes over the weekend on Prince of Wales Island, and his wife took the body to Ketchikan, Bengaard said.

“The body was in that and supposed to be destined for the mortuary, but for some reason she decided to not go directly to the mortuary and had been driving around with him for a couple days,” Bengaard said. “My understanding is kind of - leading up to the events of the last couple days - there’s been a rolling wake or viewing.

“It was pointed out to me that, evidently, she had stopped at a couple of the canneries and got ice and filled the bed of the truck with ice to keep the body chilled. You can’t make this stuff up,” the chief added. The wife did not break any laws that Bengaard was aware of. The mortuary took custody of the body after police responded to the scene. The family can make arrangements for how it wants to take care of the body. “Hopefully it won’t go back on the road again,” he said.

Man allegedly head-butted his mother because she brought home Chick-fil-A for dinner

Derek Foreman, 30, of Largo, Florida, is currently nursing an injured nose.

This follows an incident on Thursday when he allegedly head-butted his 55-year-old mother in the face during a confrontation about dinner arrangements at their home.

“Def. and Victim had a verbal disagreement because the victim brought home Chick-fil-A and the Def. did not want to eat Chick-fil-A,” a criminal complaint notes. Faced with the fast food, Foreman “became upset” and head-butted his mother, causing her bottom lip to split, investigators allege.

Foreman was arrested for domestic battery, a misdemeanor, and booked into the county jail. After a court hearing on Friday, Foreman was released from custody and directed to have no contact with his mother. A judge also ordered Foreman to be outfitted with a device that monitors his alcohol intake.

Motorist led police on hour-long high-speed chase because he was bored

A man from Thurston County, Washington, led multiple police agencies in a sometimes dangerous pursuit that spanned two counties and 49 miles on Saturday evening because he was bored, the county sheriff’s office said. Sgt. Dave Odegaard with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said David B. McNalley, 30, had no warrants, no prior convictions, and a valid driver’s licence when he tore off through an intersection in Tumwater at 4:38pm.

Burning rubber, he attracted the attention of a sheriff’s deputy, who tried to pull him over. “He took off,” Odegaard said of McNalley, who was driving a 1994 Mercury Sable. “The deputy felt like he basically instigated this pursuit. It went from the Tumwater area into the Olympia city limits and then went onto I-5.” The pursuit went on for more than an hour, crossing into Pierce County and circling back around into Olympia. A handful of patrol agencies were involved. McNalley “was passing cars on the shoulder of the road down near Nisqually,” Odegaard said.

Sometimes reaching 85 miles per hour, the pursuit was “was discontinued three times due to speed and public safety.” McNalley circled back into Olympia. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Department set up spike strips. In trying to avoid them, McNalley lost control and drove onto a farm, hitting a fence at about 5:45pm. There was minor damage to the fence, Odegaard said, but no one was hurt. McNalley didn’t appear to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, Odegaard said. “He said he was just bored,” Odegaard said. “It looks like to us right now ... he instigated this pursuit because he was bored and just wanted to do it.”

McNalley has been charged with three counts of attempting to elude a police vehicle, but other charges could be pending, Odegaard said. He is being held without bail in the Thurston County jail until his arraignment on Monday. Odegaard said it was an unusual chase. Usually, people being pursued don’t come back to the same jurisdiction where the chase started. “It’s frustrating, because in my mind he endangered not only his life but a number of officers that were involved,” he said. “We had jurisdiction from state patrol, Lacey, Thurston County Sheriff’s, Nisqually Tribal as well as all the citizens ... he could have very easily injured or killed some innocent people just for the joy of, ‘I was bored.’”

Man arrested after calling police to report theft of a pound of marijuana and large amount of cash

A man from Jamestown, North Dakota, is facing a Class A felony after he called 911 to report a large sum of money and marijuana were stolen from his residence. Tyler Dallmann, 31, was charged on Wednesday with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class A felony, in Southeast District Court.

He was also charged with criminal attempt to tamper with physical evidence and possession of drug paraphernalia marijuana, Class A misdemeanors, and possession of drug paraphernalia marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor. Dallman is free on bond. According to court documents, at 2:12am on Tuesday, Dallmann called Stutsman County Communications to report his residence had been burgled.

When police officers arrived on the scene, Dallmann allegedly said someone broke the window in the back door of his residence and stole $30,000 in cash and about a pound of marijuana. While officers spoke with Dallmann, other officers returned to the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center to obtain a search warrant for Dallman’s residence, car and any outbuildings on the property.

After the search warrant was obtained, a search was conducted of the property. Marijuana was allegedly found in the house and a backpack containing $12,000 was found in a car belonging to Dallmann. The maximum penalty for a Class A felony is 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a Class B misdemeanor is 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Drivers violating traffic rules ordered to plant a tree

Almost 3000 traffic offenders have been ordered to plant a tree, as part of a new community service initiative by the Indian state of Telangana.

The Telangana Ku Haritha Haaram initiative, was launched on July 7 last year and has since enlisted at least 2765 motorists to plant saplings across the district.

Police said their goal was to plant a total of one million saplings, thereby increasing the state’s current 24 percent of tree cover to 33 percent. Telangana’s Superintendent of Police Rema Rajeshwari said the community service was “in addition to fines and punishment”. She said criminals and ex-convicts had also contributed to the scheme, as part of “reformative policing efforts”.

“We hope that such positive reintegration programmes will help criminals to join the mainstream, when predisposing factors drive a person to criminal behaviour are addressed in a holistic fashion,” she said. “Our efforts have already started giving results, as many violators are returning to water the saplings.”

Restaurant owner surprised when customer paid more than £1million for three-course meal

A restaurant owner has spoken of his shock after a customer accidentally paid more than £1million for a three-course meal. Onwer Abdul Wahid said the man, who did not want to be named, was having the meal with two friends at the Rajpoot Indian Restaurant in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The bill for the three-course mean and drinks should have come to around £100 but after paying by credit card, Mr Wahid realised a payment of £1,006,082.04 had been authorised by his bank. Mr Wahid, 51, said: “When he came to pay I gave him the card machine and he asked to put in the amount himself but it didn’t go through.

“I then had to phone the bank for him and I answered all of the questions and they then gave me the confirmation code. At this time he still had the card machine so I never saw the amount he had typed in. But 10 minutes later I took the machine and looked at it and I just said ‘oh my god what’s happened, what have you done my friend’.

“I looked at the receipt and then he looked at it and he just said ‘oh my …’ He then rang his bank up to say it was the wrong amount and cancel it before paying the correct amount.” He added: “This has to be one of the most expensive meals there has ever been. I have never experienced anything like this. It was really, really shocking. I still can’t believe it.”

Man apologises for stealing and crashing both his grandfather's cars

A grandson has made a public apology to his grandfather after twice taking his cars without consent - and crashing both times. Dean Bates, 27, took his grandad Peter’s Vauxhall Insignia after a family row and crashed into another vehicle, writing it off, and injuring the other driver. Then he went back home to take Peter’s second car, a Ford Focus, before going missing for three days - and then knocking a policewoman off her motor bike while leaving his hotel bolthole. Now Dean of Winlaton, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, wants to apologise to Peter, who helped bring him up, for the upset he has caused.

There was no serious damage in the second incident but the policewoman was slightly injured. Dean has now said he wants to apologise to his grandad. He said: “I love my grandad but I did not know what I was thinking when I took the cars. There was an argument in the morning and I took the car. It was just a one-off. I don’t know what I was thinking but I know I caused a lot of problems for him, the other driver, and the policewoman. I was playing with the radio, turned left at a roundabout, and crashed into someone. The woman driver of the car I crashed into broke her hand and her car was a write-off. Afterwards I drove back home, picked up the other car, and went to a hotel for three days while my family were looking for me.

“I thought I was going to get sent straight to jail. I was all over the place and didn’t know what was going through my head. That’s when I had the second crash after driving into the policewoman’s motorbike. I feel guilty but I don’t know what to do to put it right. I am really sorry.” Dean, who has lost his job since the incident, was charged with two counts of aggravated vehicle taking and causing injury and two counts of using a motor vehicle on a road without third party insurance. He was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, when he appeared at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court. He was also ordered to receive alcohol treatment for nine months and was disqualified from driving for a year.

Peter, 68, said: “I forgive Dean because he has paid the price for what he did. But it has caused problems with the insurance company who cancelled the policy and said they will not meet a claim for repairs to my car.” He said the Vauxhall Insignia will take £4,500 to put right and he does not know where the money is going to come from. Insurance company Markerstudy Group said a clause in the policy meant they were not responsible for “taking away incidents” where the car was taken by a member of the household or member of the family in a close personal relationship with the policyholder. Because Dean has lived with Peter since the age of 15 they said they were unable to deal with the claim. Peter appealed, claiming the policy wording was ambiguous, but they said they would not uphold the appeal.