Friday, May 29, 2009
ALOHA, Ore. – An Oregon man spent Memorial Day in jail after dialing 911 to complain that a McDonald's worker was rude and didn't give him an orange juice he ordered. Raibin Osman was accused of improper use of the emergency telephone number.
The Oregonian newspaper reports that the 20-year-old bailed out of the Washington County Jail on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
Sheriff's Sgt. David Thompson said Osman ignored deputies who told him the emergency number isn't to be used for straightening out fast-food orders.
A McDonald's employee also called 911 during the incident to complain that Osman and the people with him were blocking the drive-thru lane and knocking on the restaurant windows.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
BELLEVUE, Wash. – Fire officials in Washington state said a sunny day and a dog's glass water bowl combined to cause a blaze that charred the back of a home. Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Eric Keenan said investigators determined the glass bowl of water focused sunlight enough to act like a magnifying glass and start the fire on the home's wood deck Sunday.
Investigators said there was no electrical wiring or other possible cause.
The homeowners were away, but neighbors noticed the smoke and flames. The family dog was rescued. Damage is estimated at $215,000.
With information from:
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio – A central Ohio man who fired five gunshots at a tractor being used to mow a ditch along his property has pleaded guilty to felonious assault and could be sent to prison. Pickaway County prosecutor Judy Wolford says Randall Turner entered the plea Friday. The 53-year-old Turner faces two to eight years in prison.
A tractor operator told sheriff's deputies Aug. 4 he'd been confronted by an angry man with a handgun while he mowed the edge of Turner's property in Ashville, 20 miles south of Columbus.
Turner said he fired the shots to disable the tractor. The operator wasn't hurt, but a bullet ricocheted and grazed Turner's forehead.
Turner sued the county in 2007, saying his property had been damaged by the mowing. The lawsuit was dismissed last week.
Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com
Monday, May 18, 2009
Staid in China: Yet-to-open sex park demolished
BEIJING – This investment turned out to be as risky as it was risque. A sex theme park that featured explicit exhibits of genitalia and sexual culture is being demolished before it can even open, a government spokesman in southwestern China said Monday.
The park, christened "Love Land" by its owners, went under the wrecking ball over the weekend in the city of Chongqing, said the spokesman, who like many Chinese bureaucrats would give only his surname, Yang.
Yang refused to give the reason for the demolition or other details. However, photographs of the adult-only park had circulated widely on the Internet over the weekend, prompting widespread mockery and condemnation.
Exhibits had included giant-sized reproductions of male and female anatomy, dissertations on how the topic of sex is treated in various cultures and what the official China Daily newspaper called "sex technique workshops."
The park's main investor, Lu Xiaoqing, had earlier claimed that the attractions sought only to boost sexual awareness and improve people's sex-lives.
The demolition highlights conflicted views on sex in modern China, where a prudish attitude toward discussion of sexuality is paired with an almost clinical approach to its physical aspects.
While pornography is banned and sex education largely unheard of, shops selling sex toys and related items stand out prominently in many neighborhoods and sex outside marriage is widely tolerated. Prostitution, while technically illegal, is widespread, and the keeping of mistresses among prominent businessmen and Communist Party officials is considered commonplace.
Such attitudes are blamed in part for risky sex and ignorance about birth control among minors. With public discussion of sex so limited, there is relatively little awareness of sexual harassment and abuse and laws and regulations covering such matters are weaker in China than in many countries.
Newspapers last week carried prominent reports on a government official who was let off with a fine simply because he said he had not known that the 13-year-old girl he paid to have sex with was underage.
The man, Lu Yumin, a local tax bureau official in Sichuan province's Yibin county, was arrested on charges of child rape, but was convicted only of visiting a prostitute and fined 5,000 yuan ($730).
Sunday, May 17, 2009
LONDON (Reuters) – A man who tried to hire a prostitute to take his 14-year-old son's virginity as a present was spared jail by a court on Friday.
The Polish national took the boy out in his car and allowed him to pick out the prostitute, who was standing at the side of the road in the red-light district of Nottingham.
But the 42-year-old father was arrested because the teenager had chosen an undercover police officer, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, after he admitted a charge of trying to solicit a woman to have sex with a child, the Press Association reported.
The court heard that the father, who came to Britain eight years ago, was arrested last July during an undercover operation by the city's vice squad.
Prosecutor Adrian Harris said the man and his son had approached the undercover officer whose code name was Sarah and beckoned her over .
He asked "Sarah" how much it would cost for her to have sex with his son and they agreed on a 20 pound fee. However, when the car pulled over, the man was arrested by plainclothes police officers.
"The boy said that they had driven past the girl and his dad pointed to her and said 'will she do?'" Harris said.
"He said 'yes' and they had turned round. He said his dad did this because he was still a virgin and he was taking care of that for him."
Judge Jonathan Teare said he would spare the father jail because of his excellent character and that he believed he did not mean any harm to his son.
"You have a duty of care to your son and that is to look after his moral welfare, not as you might think to break him in to the ways of sex through a prostitute," he said.
The court was told the boy would continue to live with his father.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Authorities in North Carolina say a store owner and a patron thwarted a teen accused of trying to carry out a robbery by concealing a banana beneath his shirt to resemble a gun.
Winston-Salem authorities say 17-year-old John Szwalla entered the Internet cafe Thursday and demanded money, saying he had a gun.
The owner, Bobby Ray Mabe, said he and a customer jumped Szwalla, holding him until deputies arrived. While they waited, Mabe says the teen ate the banana.
Mabe says deputies took pictures of the peel. Forsyth County Sheriff's office spokesman Maj. Brad Stanley says deputies joked about charging Szwalla with destroying evidence.
Szwalla faces a charge of attempted armed robbery. Jail officials say he doesn't have an attorney.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
LOS ANGELES - It's always been a mad MAD world for Neil Cuadra. The 55-year-old Internet entrepreneur has photographed a portrait he made of MAD magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman's head using junk mail CDs and DVDs and sent it to the magazine, a feat that landed him in the magazine's 500th issue, published in April.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Officials at a Providence hospital group said an oral surgeon began operating on the wrong part of a patient's mouth this week before discovering the error. It's the fifth wrong-site surgery in the last two years in the Lifespan hospital chain.
Timothy Babineau, president of Rhode Island Hospital, said that the mistake occurred Monday at Hasbro Children's Hospital.
Babineau said Wednesday the surgical team was able to perform the correct procedure with "good results." He said the patient is in good condition and no complications are expected.
A hospital spokeswoman said the state Department of Health is investigating.
GOLDEN, Colo. – Jefferson County authorities are looking a man they've dubbed the "Nicotine Ninja" believed to be responsible for stealing $120,000 worth of cigarettes. Authorities said the suspect is completely clad in dark clothing and covers half his face with a black cloth when he breaks into liquor stores in the middle of the night. The man is believed to be responsible for 118 burglaries across the metro area during the last two years.
Authorities said he usually only takes brand-name cigarettes and ignores the generic brands.
Information from: KDVR-TV, http://www.kdvr.com
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
TAIPEI (Reuters) – A Taiwanese man became a sitting target for a snake, which bit his penis as sat on the toilet at his rural home, local media reported on Monday.
"As soon as he sat down, he suddenly felt a knife-like pain and reacted instinctively by standing up," the China Times said. "When he looked down, he saw the big snake."
The 51-year-old man, from Nantou County, was under medical care with minor injuries, a director at Puli Christian Hospital said.
"As soon as he has passed the risk of infection, he can go," the director, who declined to be named, said. "A snake's mouth isn't always clean."
Local television images showed the black and yellow reptile, reportedly a species of rat snake, being uncoiled and plucked slowly from the toilet bowl.
Snakes regularly enter rural homes in Taiwan and other sub-tropical regions of Asia.
(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by Nick Macfie and Miral Fahmy)
Monday, May 11, 2009
MISS DAKOTA a spy?????
Saberi, a citizen of both the United States and Iran, was arrested in late January for working in the Islamic Republic after her press credentials had expired. She was later charged with espionage, a charge that can carry the death sentence.
Her case created a new problem for Tehran and Washington at a time when the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking to reach out to the Islamic state after three decades of mutual mistrust.
The United States said the espionage charges against Saberi, a former Miss Dakota who moved to Iran six years ago, were baseless and demanded her immediate release.
Tehran, which does not recognize dual nationality, said Washington should respect the independence of Iran's judiciary.
The two countries are locked in a dispute over nuclear work that the West fears is aimed at making weapons, an allegation that Iran denies.
Obama has offered a new beginning of engagement with Tehran if it "unclenches his fist." Iran says the United States must show real change in policy toward it.
Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders last month said Saberi's conviction was a warning to foreign journalists working in Iran ahead of its presidential election in June.
It said seven journalists were imprisoned in Iran, which it said was ranked 166th out of 173 countries in its latest press freedom index.
Iran denies Western allegations it is seeking to stifle dissenting voices. The government says it welcomes constructive criticism and upholds the principle of free speech.
(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Hossein Jaseb; Editing by Peter Millership)
Thursday, May 7, 2009
NEW YORK – A cow nicknamed Molly who escaped from a New York City slaughterhouse may have a new lease on life. New York police said the all-black cow got out from Musa Hala, Inc. about 1 p.m. Wednesday, a slaughterhouse where animals are butchered according to religious restrictions.
She wandered nearly a mile before she was corralled and captured by Emergency Services Unit officers. She was darted and delivered to the city's Animal Care and Control, where she was nicknamed Molly.
Officials there are looking into whether Molly the cow can be placed at a farm sanctuary to live out her life or if she must be returned for slaughter. It depends on whether anyone comes forward to claim her. Animal care officials said a handful of cows in the past decade have escaped to the city streets.
SABINE PASS, Texas – Beachcombers found more than seashells while strolling on a Texas beach: two dozen neatly wrapped packages of cocaine. Jefferson County Sheriff's Lt. Troy Tucker said drug smugglers have been known to use freighters and the cocaine may have been kicked overboard to avoid detection.
The sheriff's department was working with federal agencies Wednesday to try to determine the source of the 53 pounds of cocaine, worth about $500,000.
KFDM-TV reported the cocaine was found Tuesday west of Sea Rim State Park, in the Sabine (suh-BEEN') Pass area.
It was found by people looking for debris, such as metal, that washes ashore. Their names weren't released.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
SYDNEY – A bungee jumping, ostrich-riding British charity worker was named the winner Wednesday of what's been dubbed the "Best Job in the World" — a six-month contract to serve as caretaker of a tropical Australian island. Ben Southall, 34, of Petersfield, beat out nearly 35,000 applicants from around the world for the dream assignment to swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for while writing a blog to promote the area.
He was selected for the 150,000 Australian dollar ($111,000) gig by officials from the tourism department of Queensland state.
Southall and 15 other finalists spent the past four days on the island for an extended interview process, which required applicants to snorkel through crystalline waters, gorge themselves at a beachside barbecue and relax at a spa. The finalists also had to demonstrate their blogging abilities, take swimming tests and sit through in-person interviews.
The job is part of a AU$1.7 million tourism campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland, and officials say it has already generated more than AU$110 million worth of publicity for the region. It quickly became a viral marketing hit, spreading quickly across the world via YouTube and social networking sites such as Facebook.
"I hope I can sell the reef as much as everybody is expecting," Southall said after he was crowned the winner at a ceremony on Hamilton Island. "My swimming hopefully is up to standard."
Southall once worked as a tour guide in Africa, but most recently has worked as a charity fundraiser. In his application video, he expressed a love for adventure, and featured photographs of himself riding an ostrich, running a marathon, scuba diving and kissing a giraffe.
"From the time he was announced in the Top 50, and then the Top 16, Ben has excelled in showing a true passion for Queensland," Queensland Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said in a statement. "His ideas for how he will make the role his own ... plus his initiative and ability to rise to a challenge impressed the selection panel and secured his place in the top job."
Although unquestionably a publicity smash success, the contest also attracted a fair bit of scandal since it was unveiled in January.
First, the job's Web site crashed due to a deluge of visitors, angering many hopefuls who couldn't access the site to lodge their video applications. Later, the tourism department was forced to admit it had created a popular video "application" showing a woman apparently getting a tattoo expressing her love of the Great Barrier Reef.
Then one finalist was ousted after it was revealed she had connections to the adult entertainment industry. And a prankster identifying himself as terror mastermind Osama bin Laden posted a video of himself on YouTube reciting reasons why he was the best pick for the job.
Southall will live for free in an airy, three-bedroom oceanfront villa with a private pool and sweeping views of the surrounding islands. He plans to bring his Canadian girlfriend with him to the island for the duration of the job.
Southall starts "work" on July 1.
On the Net:
Best Job in the World: http://www.islandreefjob.com/
Monday, May 4, 2009
BEIJING (AFP) – Officials in a county in central China have been told to smoke nearly a quarter million packs of locally made cigarettes annually or risk being fined, state media reported.
The Gong'an county government in Hubei province has ordered its staff to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-produced cigarette brands a year, the Global Times said.
Departments that fail to meet their targets will be fined, according to the report.
"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," said Chen Nianzu, a member of the Gong'an cigarette market supervision team, according to the paper.
The measure could also be a ploy to aid local cigarette brands such as Huanghelou, which are under severe pressure from competitors in neighbouring Hunan province, according to the paper.
China has 350 million smokers, of whom a million die of smoking-related diseases every year.
More than half of all male doctors in China smoke, but the government is now trying harder to get them to kick the habit in order to set an example for others, state media reported recently.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
People that use mobile phones are 2.5 time more likely to develop cancer in areas of the brain that are adjacent to the ear they use to talk on the mobile phone.
Over 90% of diseases are caused or complicated by stress.
Over 436,000 U.S. Troops were exposed to depleted uranium during the first Gulf war.
On average, 90% of the people that have the disease Lupus are female.
Many cancer patients that are treated with chemotherapy lose their hair. For some when the hair grows back, it can grow back a different colour, or be curly or straight.
Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for about 180,000 deaths per year.
Chances of a women getting breast cancer are increased by excessive use of alcohol.
A popular superstition is that if you put a piece of bread in a baby's crib, it will keep away diseases.
A person that is struck by lightning has a greater chance of developing motor neurons disease.
Every year in the U.S., there are 178,000 new cases of lung cancer.
Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Asthma affects one in fifteen children under the age of eighteen.
Every eleven minutes in the U.S., a woman dies of breast cancer.
Due to eating habits in the USA, one in three children born in the year 2000 have a chance of getting type II diabetes.
The oldest known disease in the world is leprosy.
Friday, May 1, 2009
KANSAS CITY (Reuters) – Humans have it. Pigs don't. At least not yet, and U.S. pork producers are doing everything they can to make sure that the new H1N1 virus, known around the world as the "swine flu," stays out of their herds.
"That is the biggest concern, that your herd could somehow contract this illness from an infected person," said Kansas hog farmer Ron Suther, who is banning visitors from his sow barns and requiring maintenance workers, delivery men and other strangers to report on recent travels and any illness before they step foot on his property.
"If a person is sick, we don't want you coming anywhere on the farm," Suther said.
Those sentiments were echoed by producers around the nation this week as fears of a possible global flu pandemic grew, with more than 200 people sickened, including more than 100 in the United States, and at least 177 dead, all but one in Mexico.
"There is no evidence of this new strain being in our pig populations in the United States. And our concern very much is we don't want a sick human to come into our barns and transmit this new virus to our pigs," said National Pork Producers chief veterinarian Jennifer Greiner.
"If humans give it to pigs, we don't have things like Tamiflu for pigs. We don't have antivirals. We have no treatment other than to give them aspirin," said Greiner.
The World Health Organization on Thursday officially declared it would stop calling the new strain of flu "swine flu," because no pigs in any country have been determined to have the illness and the origination of the strain has not been determined.
The never-before-seen H1N1 flu virus has elements of swine, avian and human varieties.
PIGS BEHIND SECURITY FENCES
Still, U.S. hog farmers said flu fears have hit them hard in the wallet as hog prices plummeted this week in response. Many countries reacted to the outbreak earlier this week by banning pork or meat from U.S. states that have human cases of the flu. And Egypt ordered the slaughter of all pigs in the country as a precaution.
U.S. hog producers have already been struggling financially for more than a year due to poor prices and high feed costs. If the new flu strain does hit their herds, it could spur further price declines, and could potentially spread broadly through herds.
To try to protect against such a scenario, industry groups and veterinarians this week warned farmers to step up their biosafety protocols, keeping pigs in barns behind security fences with access by any outsiders extremely limited.
Purdue University veterinarian Sandy Amass said farmers should keep an eye on pigs for "coughing, runny nose, fever and a reduction in feed intake," and to have the animals tested immediately if they exhibit such flu symptoms.
"Pigs get flu just like people get flu," Amass said. "We're want to do everything possible so the pigs don't get infected."
For Carroll, Iowa, producer Craig Rowles that means if any of his workers feel sick, they are ordered to take time off work -- paid -- to keep them away from the pigs.
"It's a real issue," Rowles said. "If the pigs get it, there isn't much we can do. Water, aspirin, and bed rest, that's all we've got."
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; additional reporting by Bob Burgdorfer in Chicago, Editing by Sandra Maler)
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