Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are we nearly there yet?

Licking in unison

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Chase quickly ended when man fleeing officers following traffic stop ran into police academy

A man who fled from a traffic stop in Mississippi unknowingly ran into a building where police academy training was in session.

Roger Wayne Beasley Jr., 30, apparently was so focused on getting away that he didn't notice marked cars parked outside the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy building, Police Chief John Miller said.

An officer had recognized Beasley driving a vehicle on Wednesday and knew he didn't have a licence, Miller said. Beasley jumped out of his vehicle and ran off, so an officer jumped out of his car and ran after him. "He got to the door and was about to go through," Miller said.

He was outnumbered. Police arrested Beasley on charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, resisting arrest, no driver's license, careless driving, improper lane change, resisting arrest and failure to comply. Beasley was released from the Harrison County jail on bonds that total $51,670.

Eager Beaver Bar ends weekly 'Lingerie Night' after patron attempted to kidnap bartender

After a regular Lingerie Night attendee at Eager Beaver Bar in Appleton, Wisconsin, was charged last week with attempting to kidnap a bartender, the weekly event has been discontinued. The bar's owner, Christina Coon, said Lingerie Night, at which bartenders served customers while dressed only in underwear, was stopped in light of allegations against Dennis L. Mitchell, 45, of Appleton.

Police said Mitchell ran up to the bartender as she walked to her vehicle on July 10 and tried to put a plastic bag over her head. When the woman yelled, neighbours approached the pair, and the man ran away. Despite Coon's assurances that the incident was an isolated issue, one neighbour is calling for the bar to be shut down, citing frequent police calls and unruly crowds over the years.

In the days following Mitchell's arrest, the bar removed all traces of Lingerie Night from its Facebook page, including multiple photos of bartenders dressed in lingerie. Coon said she did so in an effort to protect her employees. "All the content has been removed for the safety of our bartenders, not to deny or to hide Lingerie Night," Coon said.

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"We are no longer having Lingerie Night, and that's really all there is to say about it." In the four years Eager Beaver Bar has operated Coon said there haven't been any incidents as serious as the attempted kidnapping. "This was a one-time incident of a man who used poor judgment," she said. During an appearance in Outagamie County court last week, Mitchell's bond was set at $50,000. He is charged with attempted kidnapping, in addition to soliciting prostitution in a separate incident. If convicted, he faces more than 20 years in prison. Mitchell is scheduled to return to court on July 24th.

George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles

A pine tree planted in 2004 near Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, in memory of George Harrison is to be replanted because the original tree died as the result of a beetle infestation.

The sapling was planted, unobtrusively, near the observatory with a small plaque at the base to commemorate the former Beatle, who died in 2001, because he spent his final days in Los Angeles and because he was an avid gardener for much of his adult life.

The memorial tree in Griffith Park had grown to more than 10 feet tall, but Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge said the tree beetle onslaught was too much for the tree.

Trees in Griffith Park have occasionally been the victims of bark beetles and ladybug beetles, among other tree-unfriendly creatures.

German court rules that tantric massages should be subject to same 'amusement tax' as sex trade

Tantric massages provide sexual pleasure and are subject to the same tax levied on brothels and swinger clubs in a German city, a court ruled on Monday.

The decision by an administrative court in Baden-W├╝rttemberg followed a complaint by the owner of a massage parlour who had been billed €840 under a local "amusement tax" targeting the sex trade in the state capital Stuttgart. The court said that a studio offering the massages falls under the same tax levied on businesses that "specifically grant the opportunity for sexual pleasures".

It upheld the ruling of a lower court from November. Stuttgart introduced the "amusement tax" in 2012. The business owner had argued that tantric massages should be exempt because "although the genital area is involved during the massage, the main purpose of the treatment is not sexual pleasure". Rather, she said, the massage is aimed at providing holistic well-being and self-awareness.

But the court stressed that because massages including the genital area can be booked for a fee, the business fit the requirements of the amusement tax which is calculated according to the size of the business. The court statement rejected the owner's argument that the levy "only applied to establishments with ties to the red-light scene". She can, however, still appeal the ruling to a federal court. Tantric massage is a type of full-body erotic massage performed according to a ritual rooted in ancient Indian tradition.

Aquarium has created special love nest for shy clownfish

After a bumper breeding season at the Sea Life London Aquarium recently with penguin, poison dart frog and seahorse births in a matter of weeks, aquarists have created a special aquatic love nest to encourage a couple of shy clownfish to pair up.

Complete with red velvet curtains for total privacy, the tank has also been enhanced to replicate their natural habitat to encourage the female to lay eggs.

“We have an excellent track record with our breeding programmes here at the Sea Life London Aquarium but this pair of beautiful Pink Skunk clownfish have been proving a bit shy,” explains aquarist Pete Williams. “So far they haven’t mated, so we have designed what we hope will be the perfect setting to bring them together.

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“We’re giving them total privacy away from other marine life – and with a specially fitted curtain - away from human eyes too. Hopefully with this custom-made environment in place, we can look forward to welcoming some clownfish babies in the not too distant future.”

Vicious swan from Newcastle has caused boating to be banned on Edinburgh pond

Boating has been banned on an Edinburgh pond after a vicious Geordie swan moved in. The male bird and its mate, originally from Newcastle, have taken over Craiglockhart Pond and are rearing cygnets. The swan has been flying across the pond and attempting to pick off any straggling kayakers. The bird is becoming so aggressive the city council has decided on safety grounds to cancel a kayaking holiday camp, costing the authority almost £6,000 in lost bookings. The ornamental pond, which opened in 1878, has been used for boating – without incident – for decades.

The previous pair of swans died last year after raising several sets of cygnets over 20 years and happily sharing the water with kayakers. Kayaking coach Magnus Lyon said the new pair of swans were young and examination of their tags showed they originated 120 miles south in Newcastle. He said: “There has been a pair of swans on the pond since well before I was there and I’ve been doing classes on the pond for ten years or so. Before we would get along and I would brief the kids and we would leave them alone and they would leave us alone. But the new pair are much more aggressive. Usually he picks out stragglers – anyone who is falling behind in the group.

“I have to bunch the kids up and put myself between them. He was getting bolder and I just thought this is something that should not be continuing. At the end of the day we do this for kids to have fun – to pass on a deep-rooted fear of water or wildfowl is not something we want to do.” Mr Lyon said alternative sites for the kayaking classes were being looked into. Colin Seddon, Scottish SPCA Wildlife Centre manager, said: “In this case it appears the birds are either defending a nest site, their young, or their breeding territory. They will see the kayakers as potential predators and will be trying to keep them away. Usually swans will only act in this manner during the breeding season, in which case the best advice would be to steer clear of the area they are defending.”

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure confirmed: “We have had the same swans in the pond for over 20 years, however recently we received a new breeding pair. The male swan is very territorial and is being very protective over his cygnets. We have taken the decision to cancel the kayaking holiday camps as our main concern is the risk this could have on our holiday camp participants. The swan had been lashing out at our coach who has run these camps for years and he was concerned about the reaction of the swan. We have lost £5,168 of income due to this cancellation however we feel the income is irrelevant over the health and safety of our participants.”

Would-be robber's attempted raid on cash depot thwarted when he knocked down the wrong wall

A court has heard how an inept robber's attempted multi-million pound raid on a cash depot in Swanley, Kent, turned into a “farce” when he knocked down the wrong wall with a digger. After discovering an empty room and then a discarded warehouse, Raymond Betson and his accomplices left equipment and a stopwatch nearby which allowed police officers to link them to the attack and trace Betson through DNA. The 52-year-old, from Folkestone, and other unknown offenders targeted the Loomis cash depot in Swanley in the early hours of March 23, 2012.

Just before 5am a heavy-duty digger, which had been stolen, was driven into the outside wall of the depot in a bid to knock it over and allow the offenders to gain access. The digger rammed the wall a number of times before one of the robbers, who were armed with baseball bats and white sacks, climbed over the rubble, only to find an empty room. The group then entered a nearby warehouse, only to find it was empty too. Less than a minute later, the offenders ran off empty-handed. Police attended the scene and later discovered an abandoned Mitsubishi 4x4 stuck in a field near to Petham Court Farm, Swanley.

Officers discovered a two-way radio, a baseball bat and large white bags inside. They also found a balaclava, a snood and a running stopwatch in a nearby bush which allowed officers to calculate the time on the stopwatch and link it to the attempted robbery. DNA gathered from the snood and the balaclava provided a near-perfect match to Betson – there was less than one in a billion chance it could match anyone else. officers from the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate carried out a search warrant at Betson’s address and he was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery. Investigations to trace and identify the outstanding offenders continue.

On Friday, Betson was found guilty of attempted robbery at Maidstone Crown Court. Investigating officer Detective Constable Helen King said: “Betson wanted to make a lot of money quickly and was significantly involved in this botched robbery. But what went from an armed robbery quickly turned into a farce because they knocked down the wrong wall, then searched an empty warehouse and managed to render the getaway vehicle useless as they fled the scene, discarding equipment nearby. I’m pleased the jury have recognised Betson’s guilt. Our investigations to bring his fellow offenders to justice continue.” Betson will be sentenced on August 8.

One-eyed man unhappy with Specsavers for refusing to give him half-price eye test

One-eyed David Rainsford, who lost his right eye when he was 14 after being shot by a fellow pupil with an airgun at school, claims high-street optician Specsavers is discriminating against him by charging the same for an eye test as customers with both eyes. The 44-year-old, from Cramlington, near Newcastle upon Tyne, says: “It is discriminatory really how they charge the same for one eye as two.”

David, who has a glass eye, is a customer at Specsavers in Cramlington and when he was due a test he decided to broach the subject of paying half. “I have to look after the eye I have left, it is a very personal thing to me and important for the health of my eye that I have it checked properly,” he said. After approaching head office to see if they would consider a policy change, he was told to contact his store, but David was told it was the same price to test one eye as it is for two. He said: “You cannot get a disease in a glass eye, there is nothing they are willing to consider.

“Back in the 90s when I lived in Manchester I got consent from Vision Express for this discount. It is a simple request and it is a very successful business.” Dr Nigel Best for Specsavers, said: “A thorough eye examination can take anywhere between 15 minutes and one hour depending on the nature of the symptoms the patient displays and the complexity of the problems. In patients with an ocular prosthesis it is important to be comprehensive. A typical sight test will include an examination of the surrounding area as well as the eye itself.

“Without proper care, prostheses can result in eyelid irritation which would require a referral to an appropriate specialist. In patients who have been fitted with a prosthetic eye following a condition that caused a removal, there is a risk that the condition can often pose a continuing risk to the remaining eye, making regular, thorough examinations important. At Specsavers, patients not entitled to an eye examination funded by the NHS, can be confident that irrespective of the time required to perform such an examination, a single fixed fee will be charged.”

With video.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Polite request

Fox decides against eating baby owl for dinner

When it notices it's being filmed.

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Cat isn't keen about sharing yogurt

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Woman accused of trying to shoplift vibrator by sliding device behind her child in pushchair

A woman who allegedly tried to steal a vibrator from the “love section” of a Spencer’s gift shop in South Carolina was foiled when a store employee spotted her stashing the device behind her child, who was seated in a stroller, police report.

Misty Ann Lee, 38, was caught on Friday afternoon inside the WestGate Mall in Spartanburg, according to a police report. She was cited for shoplifting and booked into the county jail, from which she was released late on Friday evening.

A Spencer’s manager told officers that she saw Lee “select a vibrator from the love unit” and then move to the “t-shirt cube,” where she allegedly slid the item “behind a young child in the stroller.” Lee then departed the store, worker Dawn Hamilton told investigators. After Lee departed the business, she was stopped by Ms Hamilton, who demanded the vibrator.

“Ms Hamilton stated Ms. Lee looked like she didn't know what she was talking about and then she retrieved the merchandise from the stroller,” according to a Spartanburg Police Department report. With vibrator in hand, Ms Hamilton appeared content to let Lee leave. But when Lee subsequently sought to re-enter Spencer’s, Ms Hamilton decided to notify police. Lee is free on a $2000 personal recognizance bond. The police report does not include the make, model, or retail price of the vibrator.

Pedal power used to move entire contents of flat

A group of people have moved the entire contents of a flat, in pouring rain, using only push bikes. Stuart John Fox and one other were moving from Kelburn to Newtown in Wellington, New Zealand, so approached the team at Bicycle Junction in Newtown to help out.

With the use of social media, six people - many who did not know one another - turned up in Kelburn on Sunday, Dan Mikkelsen from Bicycle Junction said. Most were on cargo bikes - push bikes with a large carry box on the front - and one turned up with a 6m homemade trailer for his bike.

''It was really shaping up to be a cracker on Sunday - wet and windy wise,'' said Mikkelsen. Between the six people and bikes they managed to load on a double bed, a desk, a chest of drawers, chairs and all sorts of bits and pieces such as books and bedding. The unusual procession made its way past the Botanic Gardens, into the city, around the waterfront and up to Newtown.

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It got stopped at one point by a police officer, who simply wanted to know what they were doing. There were plenty of thumbs up from passersby. ''There were only one or two that got a bit grumpy,'' Mikkelsen said. The procession made it to Newtown with all possessions intact and dry. ''We would like to do a whole house for the next one,'' Mikkelsen added.

Man shocked to discover huge sinkhole in his backyard

A man in Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory, who heard “something like an earthquake on and off all day” says he was shocked when he later discovered a “cliff face” and “huge sinkhole” had appeared in his previously flat backyard. Lance Hart, 51, said he heard “some rumbling that sounded a bit like thunder” outside his Darwin River home on Thursday night.

“I thought ‘what on Earth are the neighbours doing, they’re 800 metres away,” Mr Hart said. “But it was night time, out in the rural area, and I couldn’t see anything and didn’t give it much thought after that.” Mr Hart said he “carried on with life” and work before returning to the site on Saturday. “I strolled out and looked over the back fence and saw what looked like a cliff face that wasn’t there before.

“I just thought, ‘holy shit’.” Mr Hart said a huge sinkhole - about 40 x 30m wide and at least 15 metres deep - had appeared and swallowed “massive trees”. “There was water at the bottom, it must have been very deep because one of the trees was really big, about 2.5ft across, and there’s no sign of it, it’s gone,” he said. “There were a couple of other fairly large trees that have gone without a trace as well.”

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Mr Hart said there was also “a big crack in the ground where (the land) had slipped”. He said there used to be a “slight ditch” - the bed of a dried up billabong - in the spot where the Earth opened up and left a gaping hole in the ground. “But it’s going to be interesting to see what happens next wet season when the sink hole fills up with water and the loose edges start to slide,” Mr Hart said. “I think it’s a matter of wait and see what happens, it’s just a natural phenomenon … sink holes happen.”

TV debate about Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad turned into brawl

A journalist and a lawyer from Jordan fought on air after arguing about Syrian president Bashar al Assad during a TV debate, which aired on Josat satellite Television Channel on Thursday.

Lawyer Samih Kharees defended al Assad as “a symbol leading his nation” while journalist Shakir al-Johari assailed the Syrian leader.

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Al-Johari firstly threw a bottle of water, then jumped out of his seat, picked up a chair and hurled it at Kharees. He tried to attack him again but was stopped by the presenter and another employee from the channel.

It is not the first time al-Johari has been involved in a studio fight. He was previously one of the brawlers in another debate over Syria in May.

Stroke victim fined for littering after cigarette fell from her trembling hand

A stroke victim claims she was given an £80 on-the-spot fine for littering after a cigarette fell from her trembling hand. Brenda Winsland, 77, of Speke, Liverpool, was left with severe shakes in her fingers after suffering a blood clot in her brain last month.

When she lit a cigarette during a family day out in Wigan town centre this week, it quickly fell from her unsteady hands and she was pounced on by a council enforcement officer. Mrs Winsland said: “It’s made me ill to think this has happened.” The pensioner was handed a fixed penalty notice by the officer ordering her to pay £80 or face being taken to court. Mrs Winsland continued: “My family took me to Wigan for a nice day out.

“But I needed to sit down because I felt unwell and they took me to a bench in the street. I lit a cigarette but dropped it because my hands were shaking. It wasn’t deliberate, I dropped it because I have had a stroke.” But the enforcement officer ignored Mrs Winsland’s pleas for sympathy and issued the fine. Mrs Winsland said: “I have a very bad shake in both hands and I still have to go to the stroke clinic a lot.

“The trip to Wigan was my first proper day out since the stroke, other than for hospital appointments. I’ve been pretty much housebound. Getting this fine has left me feeling really unwell. I’ve been having nightmares, nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It’s not about the money, it’s about the principle.” Wigan council disputes Mrs Winsland’s version of events, claiming she deliberately dropped the butt and stamped on it. Mrs Winsland’s family now plan to write to Wigan council in a bid to get the fine overturned.

Court brought to standstill by a flock of seagulls

The deafening cry of a flock of seagulls temporarily brought court proceedings to a halt at South Tyneside Magistrates Court on Fridayy.

Magistrates stopped solicitor Kevin Smallcombe in his tracks during a hearing as voices struggled to be heard among the chatter from above.

Gary Cracknell, chairman of the magistrates, asked for a case hearing to stopped while court officials investigated whether windows in court room three could be closed. He told the court: “I’m sorry, Mr Smallcombe, I will have to stop you there.

"It is impossible to hear with this noise.” Proceedings stopped for a number of minutes before it was discovered that the windows have an automatic open and shut mechanism, which operates depending on temperature. The gulls eventually quietened down.

Excited lady threw her prosthetic leg at Robbie Williams impersonator

A woman removed her prosthetic leg and threw it to Robbie Williams impersonator Blobbie Williams at the GuilFest 2014 festival.

Heather Best had removed her leg to wave at the singer, but when the portly tribute act spotted her in the audience, she threw it in his direction for him to then raise it in the air.

47-year-old Heather said: "I used to go to Glastonbury. I work in horse racing and lost my leg through a stupid accident at work. This is the first festival I have been to since.

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"That [the accident] was in 2010. It's good to dance even if I only have one leg." She said Angels was her favourite Robbie Williams song. "He [Blobbie] sings with a lovely voice. I was there to have fun and to dance again."