Sunday, February 07, 2016

Can't. Quite. Reach.

Derbie the dog watches her favourite TV show

YouTube link.

YouTube link.

Teenage boy ordered to remove costume after dressing as Elsa on school's Disney Day

Students at Ethan Chase Middle School in Menifee, California, were encouraged to wear Disney costumes for spirit day on Thursday.

Austin Lacey, 13, chose to dress as Elsa from the movie "Frozen." The eighth-grader said that his classmates loved the idea and asked him to pose for selfies.

But the school principal apparently felt it was inappropriate and told him to take off the costume. A statement from Romoland School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale read in part: "This action was taken in accordance with district policies.

"At no time was there an indication that the student was expressing any particular message. The Principal's action was based upon the need to stop a general disruption to the school environment," Vitale stated.

With news video.

Man and his girlfriend jailed on drug charges

A southwestern Minnesota couple are in jail on drug charges after authorities raided their apartment in Pipestone.

Forty-two-year-old Benjamin Walker is charged with possession of methamphetamine near a park zone and possession of firearms or ammunition by a felon. His girlfriend, 34-year-old Jennifer Underwood is charged with methamphetamine possession.

The drug charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Agents with the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and Pipestone County Deputies searched the couple's apartment on Thursday morning, and found meth, cut pen straws, glass pipes, and a spoon.

In another room they found propane torches and a box containing .38-calibre ammunition. Walker has a felony burglary conviction which prohibits him from owning a firearm or ammunition.

Couple charged after argument over broken Lego structure turned physical

A man and his common law partner were involved in an argument when she threw a Lego structure he had been building.

As a result, the structure broke.

Police said the argument then turned physical, with both parties assaulting each other.

A 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, both from Brandon in Manitoba, Canada, were charged and released.

Russian lawyer accuses unlikely animal friends of 'gay propaganda'

Russian prosecutors have begun considering whether media coverage of the unexpected friendship between a male tiger and goat at a safari park in the country’s far east counts as gay propaganda.

Novosibirsk lawyer Alexei Krestyanov complained to the prosecutor general last month that information about the animals living together could harm children by provoking “interest in non-traditional sexual relations”. “I think the positive coverage of this topic is nothing less than interference in the personal lives of minors, which is what hidden propaganda is, and public, active imposition of homosexuality,” Krestyanov wrote.

The prosecutor’s office in the Primorsky region, which borders China and North Korea, has said it has begun checking Krestyanov’s allegations. The two animals became minor national celebrities in November when Timur the goat, who was meant to be a live snack for Amur the Siberian tiger, instead took over the enclosure at a safari park near Vladivostok, forcing the tiger to sleep on the roof of his own lean-to.

Video from last November.

YouTube link.

The media was soon full of footage of the two playing together, and Timur’s fans have even begun a campaign to elect him to parliament, arguing that he would be braver and more honest than current MPs. Timur has been in the care of a veterinarian since late January after he tried to headbutt Amur, who took him by the neck with his fangs and gave him a shaking. Although Krestyanov cited a children’s rights law in his complaint, his language echoed that of the law against gay propaganda passed in 2012 amid President Vladimir Putin’s growing emphasis on traditional values.

Police investigate deliberate uprooting of 50ft tree

Police are assisting in an investigation to find who deliberately uprooted a 50ft ash tree in the village of Passenham, Northamptonshire, on the county border with Buckinghamshire.

Rob Riekie, landscape and operations director for The Parks Trust, Milton Keynes, said: "This was a well-established ash tree, roughly 50ft high with a crown of about 45ft.

"It was deliberately uprooted some time between December 2015 and early January 2016 on Trust-owned land at Old Stratford/Passenham.

"This is a criminal act and Northamptonshire Police has been notified." Anyone with information about this criminal damage should contact Northamptonshire police or The Parks Trust.

Man jailed over 37-mile dumper truck trail of destruction

A man who stole a dumper truck and left a 37-mile (59.5km) trail of destruction during a police chase across two counties has been jailed. The two-hour low-speed pursuit last July started in Norwich and ended in Brandon, Suffolk, and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. Nicholas Churchill, 40, from Brandon, Suffolk, wrote off two cars and damaged several others after a "red mist" descended.

A police officer whose car was rammed said he thought he was going to die. The pursuit took place on major roads including the A140, A11, and A134 - as well as in a pedestrianised precinct - and involved six police cars and a helicopter. At an earlier court hearing, Churchill admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs.

Norwich Crown Court heard he took the 30-tonne truck from his employer after becoming angry about the air conditioning in his cab when it became too hot to work at a quarry in Spixworth, Norfolk. But it was a mild day of about 13C (55.4F) and he felt hot because he had been taking amphetamines, prosecutor Andrew Oliver said. His antics left a trail of destruction along the way and shoppers were forced to scatter as he drove through the Brandon street that is closed to traffic.

YouTube link.

A Norfolk policeman, whose patrol car was rammed, told the court: "I thought I was going to die. I was petrified." Churchill's rampage damaged police cars and the truck he was driving was estimated at costing more than £26,000 to repair or replace. In mitigation, the court was told: "The red mist descended. What happened after that he can't remember or explain." Jailing Churchill for 14 months and banning him from driving for two years, Judge Anthony Bate said: "You left a trail of destruction and damaged police vehicles in your wake. It was a shocking piece of sustained dangerous driving."

Businessman sells fresh British air to the Chinese for £80 a bottle

A British businessman is making thousands of pounds out of selling bottled British air to the Chinese for £80 a bottle. The smog-plagued elite of Beijing and Shanghai are snapping up the decanters from Leo De Watts who 'farms' fresh-air from the British countryside. His team of workers put bottles in adapted fishing nets and hold them aloft as they stride through a muddy field to 'harvest' the product. They then leave it open for up to 10 minutes to capture the area's aroma, but also ensure no grass or bugs get into the 'organic' product.

In just a few weeks of launching the venture, Aethaer, which is from the ancient Greek word for pure fresh air, Mr De Watts, 27, has sold 180 580ml containers of breeze from Dorset, Somerset, Wales, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. Once unbottled, the 'experience' of inhaling the fresh-air for the consumer lasts just a few seconds. Mr De Watts, who is from Gillingham but now lives in Hong Kong, asks friends and family members to go out on land that is as far away from pollution as possible to bottle the air. Mr De Watts describes British breeze as the 'Louis Vuitton or Gucci' of fresh-air and said each area has its own unique aroma. He said: "I would say on the whole that Dorset air seems to pick up a few more scents of the ocean, as the breeze flows up the Jurassic Coast and over the lush pastures.

"Whereas air from the Yorkshire dales tends to filter it's way through much more flora, so the scent captures the subtle tones of the surrounding fields, giving different qualities to the collection. We go up to a hill top, for example, and collect all the products there which are all packaged and bottled up, sent to Dorset and then directly to China. Our customers all have high disposal incomes and want to buy gifts for someone or someone wants to use it. There is a serious point to this though as Beijing, Zhuhai, and Shanghai are the major places where pollution is quite bad, whether it is the fault of the rest of the world or its China's responsibility, we have a case of people living in smog."

YouTube link. There are more videos here.

Although a Canadian company is already sending bottled Rocky Mountain air to China, Mr De Watts is leading the British charge. He said: "I saw a few reports of people importing bottles of air and thought it was a bit ridiculous myself, and then I thought about it. When someone bottled water everyone thought it was ridiculous, now you have Evian and Volvic - why not bottle air? We are priced as is a luxury item it is not for every day customers, if they want something that is cheaper they can buy it. Think of us as being the equivalent of Louis Vuitton or Gucci, so we are not likely to appeal to a mass market. It is really a cottage industry at the moment we have got a few people around the country who go out and bottle it. It doesn't require that many people and you can collect quite a lot in one go and you don't have to pay for it."

Pensioners told bus shelter has to be replaced with a pole because it breaches the Equality Act

Pensioners trying to prevent the removal of a bus shelter in Wallasey, Merseyside, have been told it has to go because it fails to meet criteria set out in the Equality Act. Merseytravel have placed notices in the shelter on Belvidere Road announcing their intention to scrap it and replace it with a bus pole. They say their notice has already sparked "a considerable response." The plan has upset many nearby residents - and their objections have been taken up by ward councillor Leah Fraser.

She has written to the public transport organisation saying: "I have been made aware of the notice at this bus stop indicating you are considering removing the shelter and replacing it with a pole. This would cause considerable hardship, and I don’t use the word lightly, for many elderly people who regularly use the shelter. Several of them have contacted me to say they are very upset and as I live nearby myself I can understand why. Belvidere Road is quite open and at times is a very bleak, cold and windy location.

"Within Wallasey over the years there have been a number of shelters where glass has been damaged by yobs and replaced - yet in this location vandalism has never been an issue. So I am surprised that in an area of older residents, they are expected to be sheltered by a pole. There is nowhere else for people to shelter at all. Could you please tell me the reason behind this proposal?" A pensioner who asked not be named said she often uses the bus stop and has contacted Merseytravel to object. She said: "Considering most of the passengers waiting there are elderly it would be an awful loss.

"I often see elderly people resting on the very rudimentary seat provided by the shelter and they are relieved to be out of the wind and rain. Please keep our shelter. It is very well-used". A Merseytravel spokesman said: “Merseytravel is reviewing the Belvidere Road bus stop for a number of reasons. The shelter needs maintenance and the parts required are no longer available. It doesn’t meet current legislation within the Equality Act and there have been reports of anti-social behaviour at this site. We have asked for comments and feedback as part of this review and we are pleased with the considerable response we have had so far. We appreciate customers’ views and all responses will be analysed along with other relevant information before any decision is made.”

Saturday, February 06, 2016

It's the weekend

Lady and deer stamp their feet at each other

YouTube link.

Man who fell into and became locked in his car's trunk charged with possession of marijuana

A Florida man who said he fell into his car's trunk and got locked in after a walk on the beach was rescued on Wednesday by a Monroe County Sheriff's deputy who heard him knocking for help. The incident began at about 9:30pm when Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Seth Hopp answered a call about a report of a suspicious vehicle parked near Sombrereo Beach.

There, Hopp said he found a 1997 Lincoln Continental with all four doors open but no one in sight. Drawing closer, Hopp said, "I then began to hear a knocking coming from the closed trunk." "Come out", Hopp ordered after announcing himself as "Sheriff's Office." "I can't", answered a voice that turned out to belong to be 32-year-old Rob Moore of Marathon.

"I opened the trunk and a ... male emerged," said Hopp. And the male had an unusual explanation for his predicament. After going for a walk on the beach, Moore told the deputy, "he was looking for the keys to the vehicle and had accidentally fallen in the trunk while searching for the keys. The trunk then closed on top of him." What happened to Moore's keys remains unknown.

The deputy may have opened the trunk using an in-car release, said Monroe County Sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin. During his interview with Hopp, Moore told the deputy he had in the car a pill bottle containing marijuana. Moore was charged marijuana possession, a first degree misdemeanor. Moore's mother arrived and drove him home in the Lincoln, Hopp said. "Certainly these are unusual circumstances," said Herrin. "But we have no reason to believe it happened in any way other than what he described."

Wife faces up to six years in jail for poor management of the household chores

A man from Lazio, Italy, is taking his wife to court for “mistreatment of the family” because she did not cook or clean enough.

The 40-year-old woman from the town of Sonnino has been charged with "mistreatment of the family" due to what her husband describes as “poor management of the household chores”.

The charge could result in a jail sentence of up to six years. In his statement, the husband, who is seven years his wife's senior, claimed he had been "insulted" for over two years by his wife's negligence.

He said that on occasion his wife has kicked him out of their bedroom and that he has been “forced to live in conditions with poor hygiene”. The husband also said that the food he bought ended up in the bin as his wife rarely cooked. The trial has been fixed for October 12th this year.

Authorities ban 'silent discos' over noise concerns

Authorities in Lausanne, Switzerland, have quashed a proposal for outdoor “silent disco” events in the city centre because of concerns they would be too noisy. Organisers of the events, where participants dance to music listened to on wireless headphones, had wanted to hold them on the terrace and rooftop of bistros in the Flon nieghbourhood on June 12th and September 4th. The events were to run until 5am.

Similar events have been held in the nearby municipality of Pully, run by Olivier Meylan, the director of the unfortunately named For Noise Festival. Meylan submitted an application with the support of Mobimo, the owner of the property where the bistros are located, and a recommendation from the municipality of Pully. However, the city’s business regulation department turned down the proposal, a decision that cannot be appealed.

“Since 2014 numerous complaints from neighbours have been lodged,” Florence Nicollier, head of the department said. “They involve noise problems caused by musical events and other activities taking place on terraces of establishments in the Flon neighbourhood and the Place de l’Europe, in particular those on rooftops,” Nicollier said. Apparently, the concern with “silent discos” is that they are not that silent, since participants often sing along to the music.

“During silent discos, the noise caused by the clientele is not negligible,” Nicollier said. As a result, the city has decided to ban such events. Event organiser Meylan did not hide his disappointment. “Given our experience in the neighbouring municipality of Pully, we should have been able to at least try a test in the centre of Lausanne and take stock afterward, but no,” he said. “There is now a lack of original events in this city that are, however, popular with young adults.”

Armed police swooped on shop after reports of a bloodbath when the owner cut his hand on a box

Armed police swooped on a shop in Colwyn Bay, Wales, expecting to find a bloodbath but found no more than the baffled owner nursing a hand he’d cut while moving boxes. Mike Roberts, who owns the Mission army surplus store, was taken aback at the scale of the police response. He had cut his hand on the corner of an ammunition box, and it bled all over the floor as he tried to staunch the flow.

Someone who peered in through the window saw the bloodstained floor and called the police, who sped to the scene in five squad cars, along with an ambulance. Some of the officers who turned up were carrying guns. Mr Roberts, who has been running the business for three months, said: “I just cut my hand on one of the ammo boxes. The police came and just blew it up out of proportion.

“I couldn’t believe the amount of police officers that turned up. They just asked me what happened and who had attacked me - no one had. Nobody was arrested and no one was hurt but it was a nasty cut. It was all something and nothing.” An eye witness, who asked not to be named, said he saw blood everywhere. He added: ”I got off the bus at 8pm and there were five police cars outside the army surplus place.

“I definitely saw at least one armed officer there and I saw an ambulance drive away. There was blood all over the floor and on the outside of the door of the shop.” A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed they had attended the scene but no one had been taken away for treatment. A North Wales Police spokeswoman said: “Police spoke to two men at the scene. There are no allegations of criminality.”

Bank raiders caught after empty ATM fell out of back of getaway van during police chase

A pair of bungling bank raiders were caught stealing an empty cash machine after it fell out of the back of their getaway van during a police chase. Jamie Ronald Keegan and Marc Andrew Shelton, both 33, broke into the Halifax bank in Sale, Cheshire, just after midnight on December 12 last year. They wrapped chains around the ATM, which had an out of order sign on it, before yanking it out and driving off. But Minshull St Crown Court in Manchester heard how their attempts to escape failed after they were spotted by police who noticed the back door of the van was open.

The vehicle appeared to be dragging something behind it causing sparks in the road but when officers tried to get it to pull over it sped off. Police gave chase, and realised a large metal chain was hanging from the back, hitting and damaging parked cars as the paid fled in the van. The stolen ATM, valued at around £100,000, then fell out of the back of the vehicle hitting another car, but the crooks drove off. Stella Massey, prosecuting, told Judge John Potter how both men were caught following a search by the police helicopter. She said that Shelton, of Sale, was arrested after jumping over a fence.

The officer told him it was “on suspicion of robbery”, to which Shelton replied: “It’s not robbery it’s burglary.” Keegan, also of Sale, was found “red in the face” and out of breath in a wheelie bin, immediately telling officers: “I’m bang to rights, I’ll hold my hands up. Lock me up.” The court heard how the pair had been arrested previously following a break in at a motorcycle shop in North Wales on September 21 last year. A neighbour of Colwyn Bay Motorcycles had called police after seeing two men on the roof of the store, getting in through a broken skylight. As officers arrived, they ran off but were later found in a nearby phone box in Old Colwyn and arrested.

They told an earlier hearing at Llandudno magistrates that the plan had not been to steal from the shop, but to in fact release pigeons inside to defecate on the motorcycles and wreck them after the store had refused Shelton credit. This was confirmed after a box with two pigeons was found nearby – both were rehomed. Shelton was earlier sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to burglary with intent to cause damage for the motorbike shop raid. Keegan had been sent to Crown Court for both that and the cash machine case. Judge Potter sentenced Keegan to six months for the North Wales matter in line with his co-defendant after he too pleaded guilty. Both Shelton and Keegan were then jailed for 40 months for the ATM burglary, which they both pleaded guilty to, which will run concurrently.

Dog missing for more than four days rescued by lifeboat a mile out at sea after chasing a seagull

A dog which had been missing for than four days was rescued by lifeboat after being swept into the sea. The lifeboat was called into action at around 9.30am on Thursday, after members of the public reported seeing a dog chase a seagull into the water at Hastings, East Sussex. The crew, assisted by the Coastguard, quickly found Storm, a seven-year-old long-haired German Shepherd, who had been missing since Sunday.

The waterlogged dog was pulled from the sea and reunited with his happy owner at the lifeboat station, before going to the vet for a check-up. Storm’s owner said that he couldn’t thank the UK Coastguard or the RNLI enough. He said, “I have been out looking for Storm since he went missing on Sunday and last night I was out until midnight searching for him. When I got the call that he was on the beach, I was over the moon. But when I got down to the beach he’d already swum out to sea. I was just frantic to get him back.

“The Coastguard reassured me the whole time, talking me through the rescue process and keeping me updated on how they were conducting the search. I just can’t thank them all enough for bringing him safely home.” Coastguard Nick Jury said, “This is a very happy ending for Storm. The owners had put up posters informing people that he was missing and he was spotted on the beach by a member of the public. By chance, the dog’s owner was also in the area searching for him.

“I had spotted the dog in the water and was able to guide the RNLI Hastings Inshore Lifeboat to Storm, by which time he was about one mile out to sea. He was completely exhausted when the RNLI reached him and he was rescued just in time. Happily, Storm has been very fortunate to survive quite a swim out to sea. In this instance we had received a 999 call and a member of the public had come into the office at Hastings to alert us. His owners and the members of the public did exactly the right thing by calling the UK Coastguard and not attempting to rescue him themselves – which is the best advice we offer dog owners. We want people to enjoy the coast and this simple measure could save lives.”

Museum's 155-year old Perpetual Mouse Trap has claimed its latest victim

A Perpetual Mouse Trap patented in 1861 has lived up to its name by catching a mouse in Reading, Berkshire . The unfortunate rodent fell foul of the 155-year-old trap which is on display at an artefact at the English Museum of Rural Life in the University of Reading.

The Perpetual Mouse Trap was made by Colin Pullinger & Sons of Silsey in Sussex and is described as the 'simplest, cleanest and most humane trap yet produced, as well as being 'beautifully made and finished'. It is a multi-catch live mouse trap with a see-saw mechanism.

A post on the museum's blog said: "The mouse had managed to sneak past University of Reading security, exterior doors and Museum staff, and clambered its way up into our store. Upon finding itself there it would have found the promised land; a mouse paradise laid before it full of straw, wood and textiles. Then, out of thousands of objects, it chose for its home the very thing designed to kill it some 150 years ago: a mouse trap.

"The trap itself was not baited, but this did not stop our mouse from wriggling inside and, finding itself trapped, meet its demise." Staff at the museum constantly guard against rodents and other pests because of the damage they can do to their collection. They are still deciding what to do with the mouse, who remains inside the trap for now. One option is a dignified burial, another is to desiccate it or have it prepared to remain as a permanent feature of the mouse trap.

Dispute over five-legged dog floral tribute amicably concluded with donation to charity

A row which broke out over flowers for a funeral after a grieving family complained the flower dog they bought arrived with five legs appears to have reached an amicable conclusion after a donation was given to charity. Magaret Seaman, 76, of Shoebury, Essex, had known 91-year-old Peggy Hartman for 50 years until she passed away on January 20. Her funeral took place on Monday and Mrs Seaman clubbed together with her family to buy a £60 flower arrangement in the shape of a Jack Russell, for dog-loving Peggy. However, when the flowers arrived at St Mary The Virgin Church, in North Shoebury Road, pall bearers were said to be laughing at the arrangement, which looked to have five legs and an unusual nose. Mrs Seaman said: “It was very upsetting and embarrassing.

“My daughter was waving for me to go over because the pall bearer started laughing at the flowers. One of them said ‘we’ve been trying to work out what sort of dog it is, I’ve never seen one with five legs before’. We have laughed about it all since the funeral but on the day it was upsetting. My son went in to ask for a refund, not for the materials but for the labour, and they said no – we wanted to give the money to Battersea Dogs Home as Peggy had asked for either flowers or donations to the home. I wish we’d just given the home the money now.” The florist, from Harlequin Flowers, in Shoebury, defended her work, providing photographic evidence of how the dog looked when it was being delivered to the funeral directors.

She said: “It has been tampered with. I am a very highly trained professional and there is no way in this world I would let something out of my shop looking like that. I took a photo of the dog, as I do with all our arrangements, as it was on the way to the funeral directors over the road and you can see how it looked – it didn’t have five legs.” The business later relented and agreed to donate the £60 refund to Battersea Dogs Home. A spokesman for Harlequin Flowers said: “Our team work hard to delight all our customers. Where we get it wrong, we have a clear procedure to resolve the matter and we will work with our customers to put things right. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity in this case. We’ve thoroughly investigated the issue with the team locally.

“However, ultimately our customer is dissatisfied and therefore, as a gesture of goodwill and in line with their wishes, we have donated the full cost of the arrangement to Battersea Dogs Home. We would ask any customer that believes that we have failed to live up to the high standards they expect of us to contact us directly.” When informed of the decision, Mrs Seaman said: “It is fantastic, Peggy loved dogs. I had thought about just leaving it after the funeral but I am glad we didn’t and the money has gone to the right place.” Funeral directors S Stibbards and Sons, also of Shoebury, transported the flowers to the church. Director Martin Stibbards said: “It appears as though the flowers have split apart, creating the illusion that the dog had five legs. Unfortunately, at times, these things do happen but nobody is to blame and having spoken to all my gentlemen they have assured me that any comments made were not by our staff. Additionally, every care was taken with the tribute, as is taken with all floral tributes entrusted into our care.”