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terça-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2008

'Drug bust' beauty queen stripped of title

A Mexican beauty queen arrested in the company of heavily armed, suspected drug traffickers has been stripped of her Hispanic American beauty title, pageant organizers in Bolivia told local media on Saturday

Laura Zuniga, 23, and seven men were detained at a military checkpoint in central Mexico on Monday. Police found assault rifles and $55,000 in cash in the luxury vehicles they had been driving.

Zuniga was ordered jailed on Friday for a further 40 days while investigators probe possible ties to violent smuggling gangs.

Police say they suspect the dark-haired model, who won the Miss Sinaloa and Queen of Hispanic America pageants earlier this year, was the girlfriend of one of the men arrested. Investigators say he is linked to the Juarez cartel, which operates lucrative smuggling routes into the United States.

'Promociones Gloria, the company that created and is responsible for (the pageant) has dismissed Laura Zuniga as the official Hispanic America Queen 2008,' the organization said in a statement, according to La Paz daily La Razon.

She was to compete in the Miss International pageant next year.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon is battling powerful cartels in his country with soldiers and federal police.

segunda-feira, 29 de dezembro de 2008

'Human igloo' saves woman's life

A woman managed to survive for three days buried deep in snow - by acting like a giant human igloo.

Donna Molnar, 55, was last seen on Friday when she left her home west of Toronto in a snowstorm to get baking supplies.

Her van was found abandoned by the side of a windswept rural road late the next day.

Reverse Santa lives in attic, steals stuff

Christmas is traditionally a time when a strange man descends from the roof of your house and gives you stuff. But one family in America were suprised to discover that, instead, a strange man had spent several days living in their roof and stealing things from them.

The family, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, did not realize they had an unexpected Christmas guest until the UnSanta - who had been in their attic for days - emerged wearing their clothes.

Stanley Carter surrendered Friday after police took a dog to search the home in Plains Township, a suburb of Wilkes-Barre about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Philadelphia. He was charged with several counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass.

'When he came down from the attic, he was wearing my daughter's pants and my sweat shirt and sneakers,' homeowner Stacy Ferrance said. 'From what I gather, he was helping himself to my home, eating my food and stealing my clothes.'

Police said the 21-year-old Carter had been staying with his friends, who are Ferrance's neighbors in a duplex. But when they told him to leave, he apparently accessed the shared attic through a trap door in a bedroom ceiling.

We found a note labeled "Stanley's Christmas List" of all the items he had removed and donated to himself

The friends said Carter went missing on December 19 and they filed a missing person report a few days before Christmas.

Ferrance said she had heard noises but thought they were caused by her three children. She notified police on Christmas Day when cash, a laptop computer and an iPod disappeared, then called police again the next day when she found footprints in her bedroom closet, where the attic trap door is located.

In keeping with his role as a reverse Santa, Carter even kept a list of everything he took, said Plains Township police Officer Michael Smith.

'When we were going through the inventory of what he did take, we found a note labeled "Stanley's Christmas List" of all the items he had removed from the residence and donated to himself,' Smith said.

Carter was in jail Sunday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing set for January 5.

quarta-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2008

Crocodile found in a bath in London

A two-foot long crocodile has been found living in a bath in Peckham.

Pest controller Steve North discovered the killer beast while on a routine call advertising the local council's services.

A resident invited him in and sid he had a 'problem' in his bathroom and asked Steve to take a look at it.

Steve said: "I followed him in. What I didn't expect was to be eyeballed by a 2ft long crocodile, happily lounging in the bath."

The man, a tenant who was renting the flat, said he was looking after the crocodile for a friend.

A team of animal control experts had to be brought in to remove the crocodile and take it away.

terça-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2008

Driver banned for having world's most untidy car

Police have banned a woman driver's car from the road - for being too untidy.
The Vauxhall Astra was so full of junk, magazines, old clothes and even bits of furniture that they could barely see the driver at it roared down a motorway in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The driver - who has not been named by police - has been banned from taking the car on the road again until it has passed a tidiness test.

Police said the car was so full of junk the woman's face was pressed up against the windscreen as she drove.

"I'm sure this will make most people feel a lot better about leaving the odd sweet wrapper lying around in their car," joked one police source.

Lonely man jumps into Knut the bear's enclosure

Police in Germany say a lonely man jumped into the Berlin zoo enclosure of famed polar bear Knut to try and make friends with the 440lb predator. Fortunately, officials were able to keep him and the animal apart by distracting Knut with a leg of beef.

The 30-year-old man jumped over a fence into a water-filled ditch at the edge of the bear's enclosure on Monday morning. Police say zoo officials distracted 2-year-old Knut with the meat and lured him into his cage.

Officers led the man away unharmed. Police say he told them that he felt lonely and that Knut also appeared to be lonely - but he did not give the impression of being mentally disturbed.

Knut was hand-raised after his mother rejected him at birth. He rose to stardom early last year as a cute white ball of fluff, but has since grown rapidly into a hulking 440-pound predator.

He currently faces being made homeless, as he has outgrown his enclosure and Berlin zoo cannot afford to build him a new one in these tough economic times.

domingo, 21 de dezembro de 2008

McCanns make Christmas video plea

Kate and Gerry McCann have begged for help to ensure this is the last Christmas they spend without their missing daughter Madeleine.
The couple have released a new video featuring previously unseen footage of the little girl playing happily with her family before her disappearance.

The clips were mostly filmed around Christmas 2006, the last time the McCanns were together with all three of their children over the festive period.

Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3 last year as her parents dined with friends nearby

The new video shows her sitting on the stairs of the McCanns' home in Rothley, Leicestershire, flanked by her younger siblings, twins Sean and Amelie.

In the first recording of her speaking that has been made public, she encourages her brother and sister to copy her gestures, saying: "Clap your hands together and one, two, three."

Madeleine then holds up her new pair of shoes and says: "These are my shoes." Behind the camera Mr McCann asks her what colour they are, and she answers: "Pink."

The short film, which has Snow Patrol's hit song Chasing Cars as its soundtrack, also features a montage of clips of Madeleine.

Mr and Mrs McCann decided not to appear in the new video, but it includes a direct emotional appeal from them for assistance: "Christmas is a time for children. Please help bring our daughter back." And it closes with the words: "This will be our second Christmas without our daughter. Please help us make sure we don't have a third."

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry do not wish to say anything further. They feel the video will speak for itself. This message is entirely focused on Madeleine, as it should be at this time of year. Kate and Gerry are still very much continuing a lot of hard work behind the scenes in the search for their daughter."

Related Links
Find Madeleine


sexta-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2008

Dogless shepherd uses wolf poster to control his flock of sheep

He could be forgiven for looking just a bit sheepish, but this shepherd has learned how to control his flock using just a poster of a wolf.
Farmer Du Hebing couldn't afford another dog after his old one died and had a brainwave after visiting a local wildlife park.

"They had a flock of rare sheep and as a joke one of the keepers had put a picture of a wolf in the enclosure.

"But I noticed that the sheep never went near it," he explained.

Now Du has got his neighbours wondering what he flock he's up to every time he moves his sheep.

"People laugh and point but it works - and the poster eats a lot less than any sheepdog," he said.

quinta-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2008

Santa gets a parking ticket

Father Christmas's job is hard enough – what with flying around the world in one night, climbing down chimneys and placating recalcitrant reindeer – without adding traffic wardens to his problems.
Unfortunately for Santa, however, a traffic warden in New York just got herself added to his naughty list, after she gave him a parking ticket while he was handing out toys to children.

Santa – in this case going under his everyday name of Chip Cafiero – was sitting in a horse drawn carriage instead of the traditional sleigh when the incident occurred. The problem was not so much the carriage, but the even less traditional double-parked SUV sat alongside him to protect the horse from traffic.

Cafiero, who was dressed as Santa at the time, says that he tried to tell the traffic warden that the SUV wasn't blocking traffic.

Regrettably, it appears that he tried to communicate this by shouting 'Ho! Ho! Ho!' at her.

'This grinch just went ahead and fined me,' said Cafiero, a 60-year-old retired schoolteacher.

He now says that he will challenge the $115 ticket (£74) he was given.

Martin Golden, a local politician, described the parking ticket 'ridiculous.' Police declined to comment.

Welsh rugby team 'could kill the Pope'

The Pope and his medical team will be on tenterhooks for the last fortnight of this year – that is, if superstition is anything to go by.

That's because the Welsh Six Nations victory this year gives Pope Benedict a 45 per cent chance of dying by the end of 2008, tongue-in-cheek research suggests.

'Every time Wales win the rugby grand slam, a Pope dies – except for 1978, when Wales were really good and two died,' said Dr Gareth Payne from the Univers­ity Hospital of – where else – Wales.

Dr Payne added the Vatican medical team 'cannot fully relax until the new year arrives'.

Since 1883, eight pontiffs have died – five in grand slam years, where the winners beat all other competing nations in a tournament.
There were three deaths when Wales completed the sweep and two more when it won the tournament but not the grand slam.

'The special theory of papal rugby is nothing more than an urban myth,' added Dr Payne, whose study is published in the British Medical Journal.

'This comes as something of a relief, as we're at a loss to see how events could be linked.'

1,500 parakeets found in tiny apartment

Animal welfare officials in Berlin have rescued 1,500 parakeets - from a two-room apartment.

City veterinarian Margit Platzer said the birds were flying freely around the apartment, which was 'littered with feces, feathers and leftover food.'

Platzer said it took her team more than seven hours on Tuesday to catch all the birds with nets.

The birds were taken Wednesday to animal shelters in Berlin and elsewhere, because there was not enough room for them at facilities in the capital.

Local media reported, without citing sources, that the owner gradually bought and bred the birds until his apartment was full, and that neighbors had complained about the noise and smell.

The retired man, who was not identified, could face charges for endangering the animals' safety and health.

Korean politicians in massive brawl

Free trade agreements may not immediately strike you as a political issue likely to inflame the passions and provoke an enormous brawl - but that's what happened today in the South Korean parliament.

As the ruling Grand National Party tried to bring in bill apporoving a free trade pact with the United States, opposition party members tried to get into the committee room where the bill was being introduced. Naturally, the ruling party barricaded the doors to the room with furniture.

It all kicked off from there, with opposition members fighting with security guards before taking a sledgehammer to the door, and ruling party members turning fire extinguishers on them to drive them back.

We can't help but feel that the British parliament would be a lot more interesting if, just occasionally, Gordon Brown gave David Cameron a fire extinguisher to the face because he didn't like the tone of his voice at Prime Minister's questions.

Man offers daughter to Bush shoe-thrower

The daughter, Amal Saad Gumaa, said she agreed with the idea. 'This is something that would honour me. I would like to live in Iraq, especially if I were attached to this hero,' she told Reuters by telephone.

Her father, Saad Gumaa, said he had called Dergham, Zaidi's brother, to tell him of the offer. 'I find nothing more valuable than my daughter to offer to him, and I am prepared to provide her with everything needed for marriage,' he added.

Zaidi's gesture has struck a chord across the Arab world, where President Bush is widely despised for invading Iraq in 2003 and for his support for Israel.

Amal is a student in the media faculty at Minya University in central Egypt.

Zaidi's response to the proposal was not immediately clear.

quarta-feira, 17 de dezembro de 2008

Smoking bidets to be repaired

A Japanese toilet-maker has pledged to repair nearly 82,000 electric bidets after several units overheated and emitted smoke.

Inax, Japan's second largest toilet-maker, made the announcement Tuesday after receiving six reports that covers on toilets with electric bidets - sprays fitted at the back of the toilets - melted and began smoking, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

No injuries were reported from the faulty DV-200 series, manufactured between March 2004 and June 2005, the ministry said in a statement, which urged owners to immediately pull the plug on the toilets.

Trickles of water leaked from the bidet pump, rusted the motors, and caused the malfunctions, the ministry said.

Inax apologised for the problem and offered free inspection and repairs for the 81,724 electric bidet toilets affected.

The company last month issued similar warnings to hundreds of thousands of people who purchased older-model toilets.

High-tech toilets fitted with warm water sprays and dryers are standard in Japanese homes. Luxury models come with an automatic lid, a massaging spray and a bowl deodoriser.

3 tonnes of cocaine found in bird poo bags

Five drug traffickers have been arrested in Peru for trying to smuggle cocaine inside 400 bags of bird poo.

They hoped the stink of 17 tonnes of guano would throw sniffer dogs off the scent of 2.8tonnes of cocaine, bound for Europe.

Turkmenistan will no longer sing about mad dictator

In bad news for crazed dictators everywhere, all references to Saparmurat Niyazov, the late autocratic leader of Turkmenistan, have been dropped from the Central Asian state's national anthem.

The parliament adopted a law changing the anthem on Monday, but the new text has yet to be published in the official press and state television broadcasts still open and close with the old version.

In the revised anthem, all three references to 'Turkmenbashi' - Niyazov's self-bestowed title, meaning 'the head of all Turkmens' - have been replaced with 'the people', according to a text of the revised anthem obtained by Reuters.

Where the first line of the chorus of the previous version said 'The great creation of Turkmenbashi' the new version says 'The great creation of (my) people'.

The change is part of President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's campaign to expunge the legacy of Niyazov's 21-year ironfisted rule during which he surrounded himself with an elaborate personality cult.

Berdymukhamedov already has reversed other policies of Niyazov, who died in 2006, such as renaming months after his relatives, banning opera and closing hospitals everywhere except in the capital Ashgabat.

terça-feira, 16 de dezembro de 2008

President Bush Gets The Boot

Wild video out of Iraq, where an irate local journalist (?) tossed both of his shoes at President Bush during a press conference. Each shoe-missile missed its mark and the guy was immediately pounced on. Who knows what set the guy off? Maybe he was ticked that he didn’t get a pair of Nikes for Christmas. Whatever the case, it’s a shoe-in for Video of the Day. Check it out.

Couple served court notice via Facebook

You've been "superpoked" - and served. A court in Australia has approved the use of Facebook, a popular social networking Web site, to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan.

The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court last Friday approved lawyer Mark McCormack's application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by e-mail.

Australian courts have given permission in the past for people to be served via e-mail and text messages when it was not possible to serve them in person.

McCormack, a lawyer for the lender the couple borrowed from, said that by the time he got the documents approved by the court late Tuesday for transmission, Facebook profiles for the couple had disappeared from public view.

The page was apparently either closed or secured for privacy, following publicity about the court order.

"It's somewhat novel, however we do see it as a valid method of bringing the matter to the attention of the defendant," McCormack said.

Despite the setback, McCormack said the Facebook attempt would help his client's case that all reasonable steps had been taken to serve the couple. A court is expected to settle the matter as early as next week.

Facebook has become a wildly popular online hangout, attracting more than 140 million users worldwide since it launched in 2004.

Facebook friends can "poke" or "superpoke" each other - terms for giving someone a playful nudge.

Lawyer and computer forensic expert Seamus Byrne said he was aware of only one similar case in Australia.

A Queensland state District Court judge ruled in April against documents being served by Facebook because the option of contacting a person via a post office box had not yet been exhausted.

In the latest ruling, Master David Harper insisted that the documents be attached to a private e-mail sent via Facebook that could not be seen by others visiting the pages.

McCormack said he and a colleague found the woman's Facebook page using personal details that she had given the lender including her birth date and e-mail address.

The man was listed on her page as a friend. Prior to Tuesday, neither had imposed security options that deny strangers access to their pages.

McCormack said he did not bother searching for the couple through any other social networking sites.

"It's one of those occasions where you feel most at home with what you know and I myself have a Facebook account," McCormack said.

Drug dealer steals fridge full of urine

A drug dealer stole a fridge full of his urine samples from a probation office after learning his samples had tested positive.

Devin Anthony Perry, 26, broke into the office in Gainesville, US, by shooting through a window.

Taking the locked refrigerator with him he reportedly picked up shards of window glass that had his blood on it and set the shrubbery beneath the window on fire, according to The Gainesville Times.

Police tracked Perry to his house and found the glass shards in a runnish bin, but the refrigerator has still not been found.

segunda-feira, 15 de dezembro de 2008

Robbers thwarted by pizza throw

Police say a pizza delivery man fought back with the one weapon he had handy when a gun was pulled on him in a stickup: he threw a large pepperoni pizza at his assailants.

Delivery man Eric Lopez Devictoria, 40, flung the steaming pizza at the gunman, buying time as he ran for safety, police told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

At least one shot was fired as Devictoria fled, but the deliveryman wasn't hurt and was able to quickly call police, authorities in Miramar, Florida said.

Three teenage suspects were nabbed soon after Wednesday's run-in, police said. They were charged with armed robbery.

French Banksy makes budding snapper a star

His face is on walls, doors and, er, skips across the world but if he walked past you in the street you probably wouldn't recognise him.

Amateur photographer Jon Cartwright has become a global phenomenon after a self-portrait he posted on the web inspired France's answer to Banksy.

Before he could say 'internet stardom', the 33-year-old's picture app­eared on the streets of New York, London, Paris and Sao Paulo.

'I'd be lying if I pret­ended I didn't get a big kick out of it,' said Mr Cartwright, a web manager from Southwark, south-east London.

'His work is inc­redible. It's quite nice to be involved.'
His rise to fame began in February when he posted on website Flickr a photo he took of himself smoking a cigarette.

He then received a message from a Paris-based artist who calls himself C215.

'This is a great picture of you. I will provide you soon or later a surprise,' he wrote cryptically.

Mr Cartwright soon found his face appearing all over the world, his photo forming the base for a stencil.

'A picture I took as a lighting experiment more than anything else has taken on a life of its own,' he said.

Despite the partnership, the budding male model has never met C215, whose real name is Christian Guemy.

The best they have done is exchange e-mails in a bizarre cross-Channel rel­ationship.

'It shows how the internet allows people to collaborate in strange ways,' added Mr Cartwright.

Council tells mayor to go to bed

A city council in California has imposed a curfew on its own mayor, after they got fed up with her working late at the City Hall.

Mayor Blanca Figueroa regularly works until the small hours of the morning. Members of the council, who say they have safety concerns about her night-owl ways, have now banned her from staying at the office after 11pm.

The mayor is less than happy about this, calling the curfew 'petty'.

The mayor of the town, 14 miles east of Los Angeles, insists that she needs to work into the night because her days are taken up by meetings, and she has an overflowing inbox of correspondence from residents.

Ghost arrests burglar

A burglar who broke into a house in Malaysia claims he was held captive by a 'supernatural figure' for three days without food and water, according to news reports.

Police official Abdul Marlik Hakim Johar told The Star newspaper the house's owners found the 36-year-old man fatigued and dehydrated when they returned from vacation Thursday.

He says they called an ambulance to take him to a hospital.

The man told police that every time he tried to escape, a 'supernatural figure' shoved him to the ground.

Abdul Marlik could not immediately be reached and other police officials declined to comment.

sábado, 13 de dezembro de 2008

Tiger, Roger and Thierry in worst ad

What do Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry and Roger Federer have in common? (Apart from winning millions in prize money, that is).

Well, they've picked up the gong for starring in the worst celebrity advert of the year.

Advertising experts described them as 'three black-suited giggling idiots' for their corny Gillette razor commercial.

It cost millions to make but tops the list of Top 10 TV turkeys compiled by industry 'bible' Campaign. 'It deserves to be mocked the most,' said the magazine.

Close behind was the commercial for Country Life butter starring a tweed-wearing John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten from The Sex Pistols.

Campaign said: 'It's just so sad to see someone who was a trailblazer in an anti-establishment movement on his knees for the corporate dollar.' Gong for best celebrity advert went to Nike, with its footballer in a park who ends up playing for Arsenal against Manchester United.

It features Ronaldo who scores a goal then faces the camera to blow a sarcastic kiss at the 'hero'. Campaign said: 'Ronaldo blowing a kiss may make you want to rip his face off – but it shows Nike's true understanding of a football fan.'

Pamela given 'wedgie' by magician

We're debating whether the lovely Pamela Anderson can still pull these swimsuits off?!

The 41-year-old stripped down to a little silver number to assist Dutch illusionist Hans Klok opening night of his magic show " The Million Affair 2008 beurs Amsterdam " in Holland.

The actress gave a new definition to the 'wedgie' as she took to the stage to help out. Tell us, do you think Pammie's still got it?

sexta-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2008

Santa Clawed as cat attacks Father Christmas

They say you should never work with children or animals - but if you're Santa Claus, that's sort of an occupational hazard. For one store Santa, however, things took a turn for the worse when he posed with an enormous, skittish cat - and now he might need rabies shots.

Jonathan Bebbington was playing the jolly old elf during a 'Santa Paws' photo event at a PetsMart store in New Jersey on Sunday when he was bitten on the wrist and hand. The event was to raise money for Penny Angel's Beagle Rescue group.

The cat and owner disappeared after the incident. At least one person thought it was a bobcat, said Joan Kerr, president of Penny Angel's.

'It had absolutely huge paws, like 3 inches around,' Kerr said.

The cat, named 'Benny,' appeared terrified because dogs were nearby, Bebbington, 47, told The Press of Atlantic City.

'It had very powerful jaws and big teeth,' he said, estimating the cat weighed about 30lb.

The woman who brought it to the store in Hamilton Township told people there she bought the cat from a breeder in Wyoming for $1,500.

'Her last words were, "I have a permit and the cat has all his vaccines,"' Bebbington said.

Unless the owner produces vaccination records, Bebbington will have to receive rabies shots starting Thursday as a precaution. He's already had a tetanus shot.

Cheeky winker trademarks ;-)

You'd better wipe that ;-) off your face - or you might be forced to pay up.

A Russian businessman has trademarked the emoticon - the combination of punctuation marks used to convey a wink in text messages and e-mail.

The man who now own the rights to the typographic wink is Oleg Teterin, president of the mobile ad company Superfone. He said on Thursday he doesn't plan on tracking down individual users, following the decision by the federal patent agency.

'I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder,' he said in comments to NTV.

Companies will be sent legal warnings if they use the symbol without his permission, he said.

'Legal use will be possible after buying an annual license from us,' he was quoted by Kommersant as saying. 'It won't cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars.' Bargain.

He also said since other similar emoticons - :-) or ;) or :) - resemble the one he has trademarked, use of those symbols could also fall under his ownership.

Other Russian Internet entrepreneurs reacted to the effort predictably, with >:-0 and :-(

'Imagine the next wise-guy who trademarks the 33 letters of the Russian alphabet and then says anyone who uses the Russian alphabet has to send him money. It's absurd,' Alexander Manis, the director of a broadband internet and mobile company, told NTV.

Maksim Mashkov, owner of an Internet cafe and bookstore, said he doubted the trademark's legal basis since the symbol has existed in the public domain for years.

Indeed, Russia media said Teterin wasn't even the first person to try to trademark the symbol in Russia. Kommersant said a St.

Petersburg court in 2005 agreed with an appeal from the German corporation Siemens, which was sued by a Russian man claiming he held the trademark.

Scott Fahlman, a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, is widely credited with innovating the three keystrokes - a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis - as a smiley face, 25 years ago. He simultaneously ivented the :-( as well.

quinta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2008

Meet the Kung Fu Squirrels

They're mean, moody and know how to fight. Each other, mainly.

With moves straight out of a martial arts movie, they don't hold back when it comes to beating up their mates.

And, being more Squirrel Nutjob then Squirrel Nutkin, they're a family whom Beatrix Potter would have steered well clear of.

The creatures were pictured by British photographer David Slater in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

He describes the vegetarian beasts – Cape Ground squirrels – as 'adorable' despite their behaviour.

'They're very inquisitive animals and I soon discovered that, if I put the camera on the floor, they couldn't resist an inspection,' said Mr Slater, of Coleford, Gloucestershire.

'Such close encounters with wildlife are what I really enjoy.

'I've often watched them from the car when in a game park and discovered a small family that had residence in a distant corner of a campsite.

Unlike their British cousins, these squirrels are poor climbers and so live on or under the ground.

And, when not attacking one another, they like nothing better than using their tails as sun umbrellas or sunbathing with legs outstretched.

Miracle as boy survives after arrow shot through his skull

A schoolboy archer had a narrow escape after being shot through the eye with an arrow.

It went through 11-year-old Liu Cheong's eye socket, completely through his head and was only stopped by the back of his skull.

"If the arrow had been shot with just a bit more force, it would have come out the back of his head," said doctors at Jida Hospital in Changchun, eastern China.

The boy only survived because the arrow had miraculously missed his brain.

Surgeons spent four hours removing the 16 inch arrow which had sunk more than four inches into the boy's head. They had to cut away part of it just to get him in the CT scanner.

After brain scans and x-rays, doctors began to cut away parts of his skull to remove the arrow without damaging optic nerves or brain tissue.

His parents have been warned he still faces a risk of infection and may need further ops. The teammate who shot him - a 13-year-old girl called Yan Shin - is being treated for shock.

"It is a miracle he survived the accident," said one medic.

Teachers at Jiutai City school believe the youngsters were practicing on their own when the accident happened.

quarta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2008

Man jailed for buying rocket launchers

An Australian man who bought stolen military rocket launchers has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after a judge determined he was aware that reselling the weapons might put them into the hands of terrorists.

Taha Abdul Rahman, 30, of Sydney, pleaded guilty in New South Wales District Court to buying prohibited weapons without authority and receiving stolen defense force goods.

Abdul Rahman bought seven rocket launchers from an associate of former Australian army captain Shane Della-Vedova in 2003. Della-Vedova was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May for stealing the M-72 shoulder-fired weapons from the military and selling them.

Judge Mark Marien described Abdul Rahman as a "middle man," and said the father of two sold one of the weapons to a gang leader with terrorist links.

The rest of the rocket launchers are still missing.

Marien told the court there was no evidence Abdul Rahman was aware of the gang leader's intentions but said he "would have clearly been aware that the rocket launchers would have likely ended up in the hands of criminals and possible terrorist offenders."

He called the offenses "a grave threat to public order and safety."
Abdul Rahman will be eligible for release in one year because of time served since his 2007 arrest. He had faced life in prison if convicted of all 17 offenses with which he was originally charged.

Plastic surgery for the dead

It was only a matter of time. You can get plastic surgery when you're a spoilt teen, an image conscious middle ager and a shrivelled old hag.

So why not have some when you're dead?

Undertakers say more and more people are asking to be tucked and smoothed out for their funeral to look good for their friends and family.

"People used to say, 'Just throw me in a pine box and bury me in the back yard'," said Mark Duffey, head of Everest Funeral in the US.

"But that's all changing. Now people want to be remembered. A funeral is their last major event and they want to look good for it.

"I've even had people say, 'I want you to get rid of my wrinkles and make me look younger'."

Undertakers use a similar technique to Botox to smooth out wrinkles, and lips are plumped and cheeks are filled out.

Man caught with case full of crabs

Ever on the lookout for drugs, guns and money, customs agents at a South Texas international bridge crossing busted 191 units of an unusual sort of contraband - hermit crabs.

A 49-year-old Mexican citizen from McKinney, Texas, was crossing back into the United States at the Hidalgo Port of Entry when U.S.
Customs and Border Protection officers found a box full of live hermit crabs inside his vehicle and another bag of the crabs in the boot.

The 191 crabs taken in the Nov. 30 bust were given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the man was issued a $1,910 fine for not declaring the crabs

Deer crashes into classroom

A fourth-grade class in Michigan learned firsthand about animal behavior when a deer crashed through a window and into its classroom.

The six-point buck sent chairs, desks, books and shards of glass flying. A boy suffered a small cut to his head, but there were no serious injuries.

Marty Alexander, the principal of Coopersville East Elementary School, says the unexpected guest dropped by Monday afternoon.

He says the teacher stayed cool, instructing her 23 startled students to drop to the floor as the deer bounded across the room.

She then led the children into the hallway.

After a twitchy, 30 -second visit, the buck jumped back through the window and ran away.

Boy stuck inside arcade game

An Australian boy caused a bit of a furore when he got himself stuck inside a toy-grabbing claw game in a shopping centre.

The two-year-old climbed through the prize chute to join the toys, where he stayed until firefighters managed to open the glass door.

The incident happened at the Oasis Shopping Village in the Northern Territory.

Firefighters used a hacksaw to set the boy loose. One onlooker said it was "extremely amusing", adding: "His parents looked more embarrassed than anything."

The stunt paid off for the toddler, however, when he was allowed to walk off with one of the toys. The little brat.

terça-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2008

Nagging wife earns lotto jackpot

A "nagging" wife who pushed her husband to buy a lottery ticket helped scoop the $4.2 million (£2.8m) first prize - with only minutes to spare.
The man from New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, bought his ticket just two minutes before ticket sales closed Saturday night.

"My wife had been nagging me all week to get a ticket, so I when saw the Lotto sign ... I sprinted in to get the ticket before they closed," said the man, who asked not to be identified - normal practice among lottery winners in New Zealand .

"I must have been their last customer of the night," he said, adding that the young married couple had had a "rough" couple of years, reduced to one income after having children.

"I have never been so glad to listen to my wife's nagging," the man said on Tuesday.

He discovered their newly won fortune Sunday thanks to his wife's request for a barbecued sausage.

Out shopping for bargains, the man said he didn't have enough money to buy his wife the sausage she'd asked him for. So he decided to check his Saturday lottery ticket in case he'd won a small prize.

"I could not believe it when they said I was actually the big winner," he said.

"When she realised how much it really was, she fell to the floor, and then said: 'but all I wanted was a sausage."'

Suspect flees to police academy

When a crime has been committed, where do you go? To a police station, of course, or if there's none around, a police training centre.

However, that is only if you have witnessed a crime. If you may have committed the crime, then going to these places may not be the best idea.

In Dumb Criminal world though, anything is possible.

A man suspected of robbing a petrol station in the US was arrested when he ran into the Ohio State Highway Patrol training centre.

Police said two men robbed the petrol station, before fleeing the scene in a pickup truck.

When an officer spotted the vehicle later, he pulled it over, only for the passenger to make a break for it. The driver surrendered to police.

The passenger ended up running into the police training academy, where he was arrested.

"That is a little comical," said Columbus police Sgt. Greg Bodker.

"One of the officers was directly behind the suspect who fled on foot so I don't believe he would have gotten in there, but he did get to the porch and attempt to open the doors."

Man blames sheep for devastating fire

A mechanic has blamed sheep for causing a fire that wiped out his £275,000 workshop.

Keith Ellet said sheep in a nearby paddock broke a waterline to a pressure pump in his workshop in Greerton, causing the pump to run dry, overheat and catch fire.

Mr Ellet, who rebuilds trucks for a living, told the Bay of Plenty Times his business lay in ruins and he was facing a bill of $750,000 (about £275,000) because he was not insured.

He told the paper: "My whole life is tied up in this business, not only my ability to earn a living. It's left a huge hole which is indescribable."

Planes are too quiet, moan pilots

Dozy pilots are grumbling that a new plane is so quiet they can't get any sleep.

They have complained that the A380 super jumbo jet from Airbus is too serene when in motion, which makes it difficult for them to catch forty winks during breaks.

Pilots at airline Emirates claim the four engines propelling the long-haul jets are so quiet they can hear everything - crying babies and sweet paper rustling included - making it impossible to sleep during rest periods.

The A380 is quieter than any other plane, according to Airbus.

"We're getting lots of complaints," Capt. Ed Davidson, the airline's senior vice president for fleets, said.

"On our other aircraft, the engines drown out the cabin noise. [On the A380] the pilots sleep with earplugs, but the cabin noise goes straight through them."

Unfortunately, passengers are also mistaking the pilots' sleeping quarters for the toilets.

Charred monkey meat found in man's luggage

A passenger has been caught with three charred monkeys in his luggage as he passed through customs.

The man had flown into Washington from the African country of Bangui when he was stopped at Dulles International Airport after a sniffer dog alerted customs officials.

After admitting he was carrying the meat the man was allowed to enter the US without penalty.

He was also found to be carrying deer meat and dried beef.

Primates are a common food source in Central Africa. Monkeys are often smoked and used for stew - which would have given the meat its charred appearance.

The monkey carcasses were confiscated however and are being inspected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Washington Post.

segunda-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2008

Hotels reveal strangest requests

Sandwiches made from a mixture of Spam and marmalade and a wedding breakfast of cream cheese and chips are just some of the strange things ordered at hotels, it has been revealed.

False teeth, breast milk and incontinence pads have also been requested, a survey by Best Western Hotels found.

One manager was asked to measure the size of the hotel's carpet pattern before a guest would book accommodation.

And the manager of a hotel in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was asked to give a guest a salt rubdown to get rid of a botched fake tan.

The Spam-and-marmalade sandwich request came from an enthusiastic walker at a hotel in the Highlands, while one hotel reported being asked to prepare a three-course meal at 4am.

The strange wedding breakfast fare of cream cheese, crackers and chips was ordered at a hotel in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands.

Best Western concierge Ray Mortlock said: "There are few demands that are too much for us and we like to think we can handle anything - so long as it's legal."

Woman loses hearing after sloppy kiss

A young woman in southern China has partially lost her hearing after her boyfriend ruptured her eardrum during an excessively passionate kiss.

The 20-something girl from Zhuhai, in southern Guangdong province, went to hospital completely deaf in her left ear, the China Daily said, citing a report in a local newspaper.

"The kiss reduced pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear," the paper quoted a doctor surnamed Li from the hospital as saying.

The woman's hearing would likely return to normal after about two months, Li said.

"While kissing is normally very safe, doctors advise people to proceed with caution," the paper said.

sábado, 6 de dezembro de 2008

Going Green: Six simple things you can do:

Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

We've all heard about climate change, but here are some scary statistics. The United Nations says that 150,000 people are dying each year because the world is getting hotter. And it's not just people who are suffering; Greenpeace tell us that in 50 years one third of all land-based species could face extinction.

Here are six steps you can try at home.

Recycle as much as you can
Most local councils have a recycling scheme which means you can separate your rubbish into what can and can't be recycled. The most common things to recycle are glass (bottles and jars) and paper (newspaper, magazines, wrapping paper and packaging). Help your family to recycle by making a special poster to explain what can be recycled, or by making a special bin to put it in.


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

Donate what you don't want
You might not want something anymore, but that doesn't mean someone else doesn't need it. Recycling centres collect clothes, furniture and computers and distribute them to people who need them. If you're sorting out your old toys, don't throw them in the bin; they'll just end up in a landfill site. Instead why not donate them to your local charity shop or the children's ward of your local hospital. If you want to swap them for something you really want, there are some good websites that can help you give away things for free, and find things you that want. Try Freecycle.


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

The plastic in most carrier bags does not biodegrade, so it can take around 100 years to break down. Recycle Now told us that every year 100,000 tonnes of plastic bags are thrown away; amazingly that's the same weight as 70,000 cars! If you've got supermarket carrier bags at home, take them back to the shop they came from - they should know how to recycle them. Better still, stop using them altogether and buy reusable shopping bags. There are some great reusable shopping bags in the shops. Why not think about giving them to people in your family as Christmas presents?


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

Make sure you don't leave things like the TV and DVD player on standby because they're still using up to 85% of the energy they would if they were switched on. Grown-ups aren't very good at remembering to turn lights off - so remind them! When light bulbs need changing encourage your parents to change them for energy-efficient bulbs. They're more expensive but will last 10 times as long as normal bulbs and use four times less energy. And remember; always turn things off when you leave the room, if there's no one there there's no reason for the TV/lights/music/ to be on!


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

Around 30% of the rubbish from our homes can be put onto a compost heap, instead of in the bin. Compost is just broken-down, rotted organic matter. You can put in anything that was once alive (apart from meat and animal products), so egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, apple cores, tea bags and lots more.
Once it's rotted into compost you can use it to feed your garden. You can either buy a compost bin from a garden centre or make your own. All you need is a big plastic tub with a lid. Add scrunched-up newspaper every now and then to allow some air to circulate, and place the bin somewhere warm and sunny.
Once your compost bin is up-and-running you'll never need to throw teabags or vegetable peelings in the bin again and you'll have reduced family's rubbish by 30%. If you have a place for compost-able rubbish in your kitchen, make it your job to empty it into the compost bin once a day.


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

We all waste lots of water, but it's easy to learn how to save it. Have a shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower uses around a third of the water that it would take to fill a bath. Don't leave the tap running while you're brushing your teeth because it can waste a massive five litres of water per minute!
Using a dishwasher when it's not completely full wastes water too. Ask your parents if you can make loading the dishwasher your job. That way you can make sure it's completely full. If you use a paddling pool or water toys in the summer, don't just empty it down the drain. Instead, why not use the water to give your garden a drink.


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

It's easy to use lots of paper, especially if you love drawing and writing. Try and think of ways to use less, while still being creative. Use every piece of paper on both sides. Try drawing and writing on paper that would otherwise be thrown away. If your parents work in an office they may be able to bring home paper that has got printing on one side. And remember, if you're using a computer think before you print, don't print out anything unless you really need to.


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

We all know that cars are bad for the environment. So walking is a much better idea - it's good for the planet and good for you. If you're too young to walk to school by yourself find out if your school has a 'walking bus' scheme.
A walking bus is where lots of children walk to school together, stopping and picking-up other children along the way. Walking buses are run by trained adults who walk at the front and the back making sure everyone is safe. Usually anyone on the walking bus will wear bright or reflective clothing to make sure they can be seen.
If your school hasn't got a walking bus yet - suggest one. Have a
look at this website about schools in Hertfordshire who have walking buses for some ideas.


Helping the environment isn't just for grown-ups. We can all help and there are loads of easy ways that we can do our bit.

How many of your toys have batteries in them? For most children it's lots! Batteries have chemicals such as mercury in them, and when they're put into landfill rubbish dumps the chemicals often leak out and can eventually end up in our water.
The next time you need new batteries, ask your parents to buy re-chargeable ones. They come with a re-charger unit which you plug into an electricity socket for about eight hours, and then your batteries are as good as new. They cost a bit more than normal batteries, but they'll last you around 1000 times as long!

Karaoke hogger killed for singing

A man has been stabbed to death by customers at a Malaysian karaoke bar for singing too much and refusing to share the mic.

Police said witnesses saw a group of men punch and stab 23-year-old Abdul Sani Doli with a knife at the bar late Wednesday in eastern Sandakan town on Borneo island.

A brawl broke out because the men were furious that Abdul Sani was hogging the stage.

Police detained two suspects after Abdul Sani was found dead outside the bar.

Airport introduces karaoke for a more horrific travel experience

Just when you thought airport departure lounges couldn't get any more nightmarish, Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas is setting up karaoke booths for travelers, just in time for the holidays.

For the past two years, officials have invited choirs and bands from high schools and churches to perform at Bush and Hobby airports during December. Karaoke seemed the next logical step, said Caroline Schneider, assistant airport manager for customer service.

'During the holidays, we have a lot of our novice travelers,' she said. 'We thought while they are waiting, they can just sing a song.'

Aspiring vocalists can choose from hundreds of song titles, Schneider said. Small prizes will be given to the singers.

sexta-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2008

Accident-prone Santa on display

An artist has created a Christmas display showing Santa with no legs because of an accident involving alcohol and some power lines.
Artist Keith McGuckin, from northern Ohio, shows Santa in a wheelchair being pushed down stairs by a crazed tree.

The installation is on show at the Oberlin Public Library.

An accompanying narrative explains that the tree later goes off to a strip club with money from Santa's Salvation Army kettle.

In 2006, the same artist made gingerbread Nazis whcih drew so many complaints he was forced to remove them from a shop's window.

Mad man can drive a taxi

A criminally insane man convicted of killing his wife should be allowed drive a taxi, a court has ruled.

The man killed his wife, but escaped a murder conviction on the grounds of insanity.

Australia's Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal says he should be allowed to drive taxis, local media reported.

But, the state's public transport minister, Lynne Kosky, says the law will be changed to stop people with similar backgrounds getting taxi licences.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: "The assurance that I can give to the public is that we will ensure that out taxi industry is safe, we will take all measures and we're doing that to make sure that our taxi industry is safe, we've currently got audits in place, and we will take every step possible to appeal this decision."

Toilet bowl rescue woman sues

A woman is suing a sports bar and restaurant, saying she got stuck inside a toilet bowl for 20 minutes after the seat broke.

Kathleen Hewko says she was in the bathroom at when the handicapped toilet seat she was sitting on cracked and dumped her into the bowl, a newspaper reported.

Hewko says in her claim that she had hip surgery prior and was re-injured when the seat broke.

The lawsuit names Starters and Kohler Co, of New Jersey, the company that made the toilet seat.

Representatives from both companies said they couldn't comment.