So faltam meses, dias, horas, minutos, e segundos para o ano 2012


Click here to download your poster of support

Radio Viseu Cidade Viriato

sábado, 25 de outubro de 2008

Daylight Saving Time or SUMMER TIME end today

EU - European Union - Clock Changes

This applies to most states in Europe even those not in the European Economic Union (EU).

NB In the United Kingdom Summer Time is referred to as British Summer Time (BST).

Summer Time Rule

Start: Last Sunday in March

End: Last Sunday in October

Time: 1.00 am (01:00) Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Since 1996 all clocks in Europe have changed on same date.

Year - DST Begins - DST Ends

---------1 am GMT -1 am GMT

1999--- March 28---October 31
2000--- March 26---October 29
2001--- March 25---October 28
2002--- March 31---October 27
2003--- March 30---October 26
2004--- March 28---October 31
2005--- March 27---October 30
2006--- March 26---October 29
2007--- March 25---October 28
2008--- March 30---October 26
2009--- March 29---October 25
2010--- March 28---October 31
2011--- March 27---October 30

Europe - Standard Time Zones

Most European countries follow EU directives for time-keeping.

There are three different time zones across the EU:

Western Europe Time (Standard Time = GMT)

United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal

Central Europe Time (Standard Time = GMT+1)

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden
Non-EU: Norway, Switzerland

Eastern Europe Time (Standard Time = GMT + 2)

Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania
EU members from 2007 (tbc): Bulgaria, Romania
Non-EU: Belarus, Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine


Source: European Union

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on summer-time arrangements(Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 January 2001 on summer-time arrangements)

Is this the most dangerous job in the world?

Kids in this country aren't even allowed to play conkers without wearing goggles.

But in Russia, men fit air-conditioning units 16 floors up by hanging out the window with no safety net.

This fearless chap first lowered the unit out of the block of flats before enthusiastically launching himself from the window and embracing it in a giant bear hug.

The flimsy metal brackets luckily held and he managed to clamber back inside without plummeting to the street below.

The fun is not just confined to the former Soviet Union - in Egyptian capital Cairo another picture shows a man being dangled by his legs as he repairs another air-conditioning unit.

The contrast with Britain could not be greater.

Here, anyone installing such devices would no doubt need to put up scaffolding, close roads and employ hard-hatted safety officers to supervise the process.

There has been growing anger in Britain about alleged health and safety killjoys clamping down on innocuous activities.

But the Health and Safety Executive insists it is not seeking to ban everyday activities and says there are myths surrounding its business.

'There have been many reports of the HSE banning all sorts of things - flip-flops at work, knitting in hospitals, sports days, and even cuddly toys on dustbin lorries,' a spokesman said. 'This is simply not true.'

Wild boar killed in sweet shop rampage

Police marksman were called in after three wild boars went on the rampage in a Chinese province.
The creatures have become more prevalent following a recent ban on hunting them, leading to shortages in food in country's eastern Anhui province.

This, and the fact that the winter months have led to a scarcity of food for the boars, caused them to head for the town of Toncheng.

Officers killed one of the animals in a sweet shop during the incident.

Sex-change hen ruling the roost

A cockerel called George is ruling the roost – after transforming from a hen called Georgina.
The one-in-10,000 sex-swap has taken about two years and started when Georgina shared a home with other hens.

'As she was surrounded by other hens with only one other male in the group she has decided to take on the role of a cockerel,' said Jane Howorth, who keeps George at the Battery Hen Welfare Trust headquarters in Chulmleigh, north Devon.

George has even developed a cockscomb on his head.

The change is believed to happen when a damaged ovary causes the hen's testosterone levels to soar, turning the remaining ovary into a testicle.

Runaway hamster back in custody

The escaped hamster who defied a team of firefighters after going on the run was back in her cage today.

Fire crews used the traditional hamster-hunting tools of a chocolate-covered camera and a sock-covered vacuum cleaner to try and wrangle missing Fudgie out of her hiding place at six-year-old Zoe Appleby's home in Dunbar, East Lothian.

The girl's mother contacted the fire service six days after the pet scuttled down a hole in the kitchen floor.

Despite their efforts, they failed to recover Fudgie and called in the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

The Daily Record said the hamster had been found this morning running around a cage that the SSPCA had put out to catch her.

In the search for Fudgie, firefighters took the family cooker and gas pipes to pieces.

They also dropped a mini-camera coated with chocolate underneath the floorboards.

They then hoped to suck out the furry rodent using a vacuum cleaner with a sock over the nozzle.

The Appleby family are looking after Fudgie for a friend of Zoe's.
Her mother Angela, told the Record they were delighted that the hamster had ended its nine-day exile.

'It was like Christmas morning,' she said.

'Zoe sat in her pyjamas in front of Fudgie's cage and watched her for ages. She said "I love you Fudgie".'

Woman jailed for virtual murder

A woman has been non-virtually jailed after virtually killing her virtual husband in an online role-playing game.

The 43-year-old became so angry about her sudden divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said.

The woman, who has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his ID and password to log onto Maple Story, a popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), to carry out the virtual murder in May, a police official in the northern city of Sapporo said on Thursday.

'I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,' the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.'

The woman, a piano teacher, had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison or a fine up to US$5,000.

Players in Maple Story create avatars for themselves, while engaging the usual MMORPG pastimes of fighting monsters in dungeons, going on quests, and forming relationships with other players.

The woman killed her ex-husabnd's avatar using login information she had obtained from the 33-year-old office worker during happier times. The man complained to police when he discovered that he was dead.

The woman was arrested Wednesday and taken 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sapporo, where the man lives, the official said.

The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

Bad online behavior is usually handled within the rules set up by online worlds, which can ban miscreants or take away their virtual possessions.

In recent years, misbehavior in the virtual world has in some cases had consequences in reality.

In August, a woman was charged in the U.S. state of Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through virtual world Second Life.

In Tokyo, a 16-year-old boy was charged with stealing the ID and password from a fellow player of an online game in order to swindle virtual currency worth US$360,000.

sexta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2008

Chainsaw relief for tree-trapped horse

This mare has had a bit of a 'mare – after getting her head stuck inside a tree.

The filly, called Gracie, had to be cut free with a chainsaw when owner Jason Harschbarger discovered her wedged in the trunk – after he was alerted by hearing the horse making strange noises.

'I had taken a break from using the weed eater and when I turned it off I could hear her crying,' said Mr Harschbarger.

'I looked up and all I could see was her belly. I ran up to see her and she looked in a lot of trouble. She was hanging there by the back of her jaws. I ran back down to my vehicle and got a chainsaw and ratchet strap.

'I don't know what possessed me to get the camera as well.'

I think she was just being curious and stuck her head in there
When attempts to pull her free with the ratchet strap option failed, Harschbarger decided it was time to crank out the chainsaw.
'I started cutting on the tree right above her head. That really stressed her and she reared up three times and her head came out.
That chainsaw really spooked her.'

But the drama didn't end there. Gracie may have freed her head, but as she came back down her left hoof got stuck back in the tree. But twenty minutes, and some nifty chainsaw work, later, Gracie was free once more – although slightly shocked.

Gracie has emerged mostly unscathed with a few scars down her neck and a bit of nerve damage to her nose and lips. But things have changed a bit for the Harschbargers after the pictures were shown all around the US.

'We've been on Fox News,' said Mr Harschbarger. 'My friends are asking me how it feels to be a celebrity.'

'I think she was just being curious and stuck her head in there.
Then her hoof might have slipped on the wood and she fell backwards and got her head wedged,' he speculated.

The robot apocalypse looms ever larger

Phrases that give us pause:

"What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed."


"Once the bits are joined, there will be a robot force under command of a single soldier with potentially dire consequences for innocents around the corner."

Sounds bad enough. But when those are actual descriptions of the Pentagon's newest military destructobot program - they're actively seeking contractors to 'develop a software and sensor package to enable a team of robots to search for and detect human presence in an indoor environment' - you pretty much know that it's time to abandon civilisation, and head for the mountains, where we will live in caves surrounded by elaborate booby-trap mechanisms to fend off the roaming packs of killer hound-droids.

'Fraudsters landed me with £150 McDonald's bill'

A British fraud victim spoke today of his shock when he discovered a £150 bill at a Brazilian McDonald's restaurant on his bank statement.

Joe Pearson, 53, who has never been to Brazil, was horrified to find the £151.99 transaction at the fast food outlet - which could buy a customer 76 Big Mac burgers or 43 medium Big Mac meals.

Retired Mr Pearson, from Gloucester, does not know how his Barclays bank account details were accessed, but a code on his statement allowed anti-fraud staff to track the transaction to an outlet in Brazil.

A call centre worker contacted him to alert him to the possible fraud, so Mr Pearson used internet banking to check his balance.

He said: "I looked at my statement online and there were two transactions from McDonald's. The total came to £151.99.

"I called Barclays Bank and they told me it was from a McDonald's restaurant in Brazil.

"Well, I couldn't believe this. I couldn't believe someone could spend that much in McDonald's - they must have been having a party or something.

"I wouldn't eat at McDonald's myself and I couldn't even travel to Brazil if I wanted to - my passport is expired."

Mr Pearson, who retired due to ill health, said he previously used his card to purchase items online, but is careful with his details.
"I have only had the card for a year," he said.

"I'm very careful with my details, I don't give them out. I've made purchases on the internet through Paypal, but aside from that I only use it in the machine."

Mr Pearson had to sign statements to confirm it was not him who made the transaction and Barclays agreed to refund the money to his bank account.

A spokesman for the bank said: "Our fraud detection system must have picked it up and thought it was bizarre that either the gentleman was in Brazil or realised it was such a large amount to spend in a fast food restaurant.

"Although we have a very sophisticated and successful fraud detection system we still want customers to be aware and we would encourage all our customers to be vigilant and to review their bank statements regularly."

One dead, six injured after faulty toilet seat falls

A range of faulty raised toilet seats has led to at least six people being injured, a safety watchdog warned today.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had received 91 reports of broken Homecraft Rolyan Savanah seats.

The MHRA said six people had fallen off the toilet because the seat slipped, with injuries including bumps to the head, bruising and back injury.

One woman died following one of the incidents, although it was not clear to what extent the fall had contributed to her death, the MHRA said.

It urged the public and health and social care providers to be vigilant over the two and four-inch raised seats.

Nearly 25,000 of the seats were sold in the UK between May 2007 and January. However, they do not carry a batch or serial number.

The product codes are AA2112 and AA2112L for the two-inch seats and AA2114Y and AA2114L for the four-inch seats.

MHRA spokesman Clive Bray said: "The MHRA has received reports of 91 seats being affected so far where the rubber pad has come away from the brackets which are used to secure the toilet seat.

"Six of the reports resulted in the person falling off the toilet because the toilet seat slipped. Injuries have included bumps to the head, bruising and back injury.

"Tragically following one of these incidents a woman died, although it is not clear how much the fall contributed to her death."

People can report any safety related issues concerning medical devices to the MHRA by calling 0207 084 3080 or visiting

quinta-feira, 23 de outubro de 2008







Protesters pelt PM with shoes

A crowd of angry protesters hurled shoes and plastic bottles at the Thai prime minister after cornering him in an underground car park.

Somchai Wongsawat's security agents and police shielded him from the flying foowear and huddled him into a waiting car, which sped off in a motorcade.

The protest was staged by more than 100 employees of the state-owned telecom operator TOT during a visit by Somchai to their headquarters outside the capital Bangkok.

It marked the first time in Thailand's months of political crisis that state employees have come into direct confrontation with the prime minister.

It was not, however, the first time that Somchai has had to make a quick getaway.

On October 7, Somchai escaped a violent protest outside Parliament by climbing over a back fence to safety.

Riot police outside the building fired tear gas to disperse rowdy protesters, leaving hundreds injured and two dead.

Somchai's motorcade had today detoured into an underground car park lot to avoid a crowd shouting "Somchai, Murderer!" in reference to the October 7 disturbances.

Protesters swarmed around him in the parking lot, waving noisy plastic clappers shaped like giant hands.

After holding a meeting inside the building, Somchai left through the main entrance, where more protesters had gathered.

Some hurled clappers at his entourage and plastic water bottles and shoes.

Throwing shoes is particularly insulting in Thai culture, which considers feet the dirtiest part of the body.

Somchai, who took office last month, has come under growing pressure to step down to ease Thailand's deepening political crisis.

He is a brother-in-law of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, around whom the crisis revolves.

Former Manchester City owner Thaksin was convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison in a landmark ruling yesterday.

But he is currently living in self-imposed exile in London and most Thais doubt he will ever serve time behind bars.

Firefighters fail to recapture hamster

Eight firefighters were called in to help find an escaped hamster, it was revealed today.

Two fire crews used a chocolate-covered camera and a vacuum cleaner to try and locate missing Fudgie at six-year-old Zoe Appleby's home in Dunbar, East Lothian.

The girl's mother contacted the fire service after the pet had scuttled down a hole in the kitchen floor, and stayed there for six days. She had to reassure neighbours when two fire engines from Dunbar and Newcraighall pulled up outside their house on Monday afternoon.

In the search for Fudgie, firefighters took the family cooker and gas pipes to pieces.

They also dropped a mini-camera - coated with chocolate in an effort to lure Fudgie towards it - underneath the floorboards.

They then hoped to suck out the furry rodent using a vacuum cleaner with a sock over the nozzle.

Despite their efforts, they failed to recover Fudgie and called in the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

The hamster, who was being looked after for a friend during the school holidays, has now been missing for eight days.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said: 'The call related to a hamster that was trapped behind a wall.

'They got a Fibroscope camera and put that down under the floorboards to see if they could find it.

'In the end we left it in the hands of the SSPCA.'

Zoe's mother Angela told the Daily Record newspaper: 'When we got in touch with the fire brigade, eight of them turned up in two separate engines.

'I had to reassure the neighbours that everything was OK and it was just a hamster.

'But the firefighters were excellent and tried everything they could. The drama that tiny animal has caused is unbelievable.'

The nursery nurse said she believed Fudgie has made a home for herself under the floor using cardboard tubing that she put down for the pet to climb up

Lonely gorilla in 'love search'

Even though Polo is 6 feet (183 centimeters) tall, dark-haired, bilingual and good-natured, the 36-year-old silverback gorilla is still single after a fruitless eight-year search.

"We have written to all major zoos in the world. We have tried everything," said Vijay Ranjan Singh, the director of the zoo in Mysore, a city in southern India about 525 miles (845 kilometers) southeast of Mumbai.

Polo, who was sent to Mysore from Ireland's Dublin Zoo in 1995, has been alone since 2000 when his mate, 46-year-old Sumathi, died.

Singh said that because gorillas are considered highly endangered, other zoos are reluctant to part with theirs. The Mysore zoo doesn't want to send Polo abroad to find a friend because he is India's only gorilla. Also, animal transfers are usually done within the framework of breeding programs that are often regional.

Worried that failure to find a companion for Polo could cause him psychological harm, his keepers decided to make one final plea. "He needs psychological and emotional enrichment that we can't provide," Singh said by telephone from Mysore on Thursday.

Polo is a western lowland gorilla, native to the forests of central Africa. Silverback gorillas - marked with a distinctive patch - are dominant males who usually live in family groups in the wild.

"He is not very happy. The few joys he enjoys are bathing and searching for food that his keeper hides in blocks of ice or in bamboo to keep him energized," Singh said.

For the prospective mate, Singh says Polo is good-natured and responds to commands in both the local Kannada language and English.

The mystery of the vanishing cats

The RSPCA is investigating the mysterious disappearance of a large number of cats in a town dubbed the Purr-muda Triangle.

More than 40 pet cats are reported to have vanished from homes in Stourbridge, West Midlands, over the last eight years.

The RSPCA has been investigating the disappearances - but said to date, no cat remains had been found.

Julie Wootton, whose 15-year-old cat Norman went missing last year, told the Daily Mail website she had formed a group to try and solve the mystery.

She said: 'It's terrible, the area is just deserted of cats now, people have stopped replacing pets because they can't face the heartache.

'We have even found a few collars afterwards, on one it said that the cat was microchipped.

'If the animal is found by the bin-men, or is brought into a vet, they will always scan it for a microchip, so they aren't being found.'

A RSPCA spokesman said: 'We share the concerns of worried cat owners when their pets have gone missing and in liaison with the police have investigated the incidents we have been notified of.

'In this case there have been reports of missing cats with no information about how they have gone missing, with no bodies of cats as evidence therefore it is difficult to investigate further without any evidence.

'We will continue to look into any further incidents which are reported to us and it is our intention to make door to door enquiries in the local area with a leaflet drop to see if any further information will be forthcoming.'

Have you been abducting cats in Stourbridge for the past eight years? What are you doing with them? Let us know in the comments.

Toilet swearing woman gets compensation

An American woman who was arrested and prosecuted for swearing at her toilet has won $19,000 in compensation.

Dawn Herb's legal fees will also be paid as part of the settlement with the city of Scranton.

Herb was arrested last year after a neighbor, an off-duty police officer, heard her swearing at the overflowing lavatory through an open window.

She was charged with disorderly conduct and faced a possible 90 days in jail.

But the judge at her trial found her not guilty, saying that swearing was not illegal and her language was constitutionally protected free speech.

Civil rights group the American Civil Liberties Union announced the settlement on Wednesday.

quarta-feira, 22 de outubro de 2008

Horse and hound in mad chasing game

At first glance, it looks like this dog is about to be maimed for life.

But Asti the horse and Freya the Belgian shepherd are just horsing around after striking up an unlikely farmyard friendship.

Yapping dogs are usually greeted with a hoof in the face but this 12-year-old male enjoys the game.

'They have been playing this game since Freya was a pup,' said farmer Jurgen Schmidt, 52.

'They chase each other around each day and none of them has ever been harmed.'

Mr Schmidt lets all the other horses out of their stables before allowing the pair their game of chase.

And, despite the advantage of long legs, Asti has never managed to nip the seven-year-old farm dog.

'Freya can change her direction so very quickly, Asti runs out of luck each time,' said photographer Lothar Lenz, who captured the horseplay in Bruchkoebel, Germany.

'Horses have to build up a rapport with dogs before they can trust them.

'The other horses look quite confused at what exactly is going on.'

Dog cake wins Olympic gold for Britain

British Olympic success just keeps coming. Our latest champion has picked up a gold and silver – in cake making.

Michelle Wibowo celebrated a double triumph in the Patisserie Showpiece section of the International Culinary Olympics.

She cooked up a storm with a lifesize hound dog-shaped sugar sculpture, which won her gold, and picked up silver for a cake of Elizabeth I.

It took Ms Wibowo four days and 20kg (44lb) of sugar paste to make the dog.

She said: 'It's really heavy. I got the inspiration from the Elvis song You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog.

'It was fun making it and putting on little details like the drool.

was the first time the 30-year-old, who is a trained architect turned cake maker, had attended the Olympics in Erfurt, central Germany. About 1,600 cooks from more than 50 countries battled for the culinary crown.

'I really didn't think I would win with the Elizabeth I cake as it was cracking up around the dress,' said Ms Wibowo, from Burgess Hill, West Sussex.

always had a passion for cake decorating but my father wanted me to become an architect. I did that. But I also started to pursue my hobby and here I am.'

She won't have much time to bask in her Olympic glory though – she has been commissioned to make a 120kg (265lb) cow for a wedding and a tasty version of London's Museum of Childhood.

Man told he's 'too ugly' to work

A jobless father of two with a disfiguring skin condition claims he is being discriminated against for being 'too ugly'.

Edward Johnson has applied for more than 80 jobs and registered with countless agencies since he was made redundant last month but without luck.

He was born with the incurable hereditary condition, neurofibromatosis, which has left him with hundreds of benign tumours on his face and body.

'One agency mentioned my skin condition and said their clients wouldn't like it,' said the food hygiene supervisor.

'People see me and are scared of catching something even though it's not infectious. I'm not tall or good-looking but people shouldn't discriminate against me.'

The 53-year-old from York added: 'In places like hotels, if you're good-looking you're put out the front, if you're ugly you're put out the back.'

Charity Changing Faces warned against making 'unwitting judgments based on appearance'.

Beyonce-seeking driver arrested, may be crazy in love

An American man arrested in Connecticut for reckless driving gave police a completely plausible explanation for his behaviour - he said that Beyonce was waiting to meet him in New York.
The 33-year-old man, from Michigan, was detained early on Sunday after driving in a 'reckless manner' in a parking lot and nearly crashing into a parked patrol car, police spokesman Vaughan Dumas said.

Dumas also noted that police found a teddy bear and flowers inside his car, which the man explained were meant for the singer.

He told the cops that he was off to meet Beyonce at the George Washington Bridge in New York, according to Dumas.

The man reportedly refused to leave his car when ordered, and asked police for directions to Detroit before suddenly driving off again.
He was arrested a few minutes later and charged with reckless driving, speeding, interfering with an officer, failure to obey an officer's signal and failure to obey a stop sign.

The man was released on $5,000 bail and taken to a local hospital for observation, Dumas said.

'He didn't threaten her or anything,' Dumas added. 'It was just his claim that he was going to meet her.

Naked suspect gets trapped in chimney

Firefighters today rescued a suspected burglar who became stuck in a chimney, stark naked.

Police and the fire service were called to the scene at the Tesco Express store in Pemberton, Wigan, at around 5.30am.

The naked man was eventually freed and taken to hospital as a precaution. He was later discharged.

It is believed his clothes somehow came off as he struggled to get out of the chimney. It is not clear exactly how that would happen.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: 'Officers went to the scene where a man was trapped in the chimney of the store.

'The fire service attended and rescued the man from the chimney-breast.'

A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary at the Ormskirk Road store and is currently in police custody. Hopefully with clothes on now.

terça-feira, 21 de outubro de 2008

Literal Video goes Head Over Heels

Hey, remember when we predicted that we'd be seeing an onslaught of re-dubbed classic music videos with the lyrics replaced by literal descriptions of what's going on in the video? Well, here you go - following on from his meme-birthing effort with A-Ha's Take On Me, Dustin McLean has turned his attention to Tears For Fears' classic Head Over Heels.

This one's not quite as funny, granted (maybe because it features a lot more actual singing in the video, so it's more obvious that the words don't match up) - but still, it's well worth it for 'and now I'll float to the next level'. Now buck up, internet people, and do one that's really chellenging. May we suggest New Order's True Faith?

Fashion show winner floored by snakebite

A woman voted best-dressed at a fashion contest was unable to collect her prize after she was bitten by a deadly snake.

Megan McDonough won the award at a horse race meeting at Hamilton in the Australian state of Victoria.

But the bite on the foot from a Tiger snake stopped her stepping on to the stage to take the plaudits.

Hamilton Racing Club secretary John Donnelly said: "The judging had just been concluded.

"They were just giving them a final parade. And unfortunately Megan got bit on the foot."

Tiger snakes are common in south-eastern Australia during warm months and are among the world's deadliest snakes.

Symptoms of a bite include localised pain, numbness and sweating, followed rapidly by breathing difficulties and paralysis.

Of the world's ten deadliest snakes, all are found in Australia, and the country has about 100 venomous varieties.

Donnelly said the woman was taken to hospital and was recovering well.

"I've knocked around race courses a long time, and seen lots of things happen, but this is a first for me," he added.

Snakeskin find throws house into panic

A family is living in fear after discovering a snake is on the loose in their attic.

They have not seen the creature but have found two shed 1m (3ft) snake skins at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.

Gemma Peters, 25, said: 'I'm a bit scared and I'm worried for my son, Lewis.' Experts say the snake will probably stay put 'unless it's hungry'.

Heroin addict elephant can never go home

An elephant once addicted to heroin-laced bananas has kicked the habit - but in the process become unfit for the wild.

The four-year-old bull elephant, referred to alternately as "Big Brother" or "Xiguang", went through a lengthy rehab course.

But officials today admitted there was no going back to his original habitat, despite rescue efforts.

Traders had captured him in south-west China in 2005 and used spiked bananas to control him, before he was saved.

A Yunnan Wild Life Park manager today said: "Three years of domestic life and a huge amount of rehabilitation medicine have changed the physical situations, odours and habits of Xiguang."

The beast will now divide his time between two wild life parks in the south-western province of Yunnan.

My six years of agony over a meat pie

A shopper who claims she is still in agony after a Fray Bentos pie fell on her head six years ago has finally dropped her bid for compensation.

Rita Gibson said her life was ruined after the tin hit her in a Co-op store, damaging nerve endings in her head.

But the North Shields branch denied the 1.8m (6ft) column of meat pies were incorrectly stacked and the 76-year-old's lawyers have advised her to drop the case.

'I would rather have been knocked out and killed on the spot than have to live the life I do now,' Mrs Gibson said.

'I don't go out of the house any more and I'm really down about it.'

The widow of Turnberry, North Tyneside, added: 'I thought I would buy one of the pies for my dinner but they were stacked really high, so I had to reach up to get one.

The next thing I knew, one came smashing down. I had a massive throbbing pain in my head. It's never gone away.'

At the time of the incident in May 2002 a Co-op spokesman said: 'We were not responsible for this accident.'

Father has son jailed for being lazy

A man has taken his son to court in Nigeria for being idle – with the result that his son was jailed for six months.

The father brought his 20-year old son before the Islamic court in northern Nigeria, demanding that he be jailed for refusing to engage in productive activities, according to state news agency NAN.

He accused his son of refusing to go to school, and said he was a member of a gang.

Father Sama'ila Tahir said: 'He is not listening to words and he is bringing shame to my family. I am tired of his nefarious deeds.

Please put this boy in prison so that I can be free.'

The son was sentenced to six months in prison and 30 strokes of the cane for disobeying his parents, NAN reported. The cane was administered on the spot.

Iran arrests pigeons for spying

In what could see a major escalation of tension between Iran and the West, Iranian security forces have announced that they have arrested two pigeons for spying.

The two pigeons were detained in Natanz, near Iran's uranium enrichment facility – one of the major sources of the diplomatic chill between Tehran and Western governments.

According to a report in Etemad Melli, a reformist newspaper, one of the pigeons was apprehended in the nearby city of Kashan, beside a rose water production plant.

Both pigeons were described as having 'metal rings' and 'invisible string' on their bodies, aThis is not the first animal-espionage incident in Iran. In July 2007, it was reported that 14 squirrels had been detained on the Iranian border for spying.

Animals have long been used in military and intelligence operations, from dolphins being trained to detect mines to chickens recently being used by US forces in Kuwait to discover chemical weapons. During the Second World War, Britain awarded 32 medals for bravery to military pigeons (see
Weird Fact of the Day, October 13).

It is not known if the two pigeons are currently being detained, if they are still alive, or what may happen to them.

No third party has yet claimed the pigeons as their own.ccording to the AFP news agency.

segunda-feira, 20 de outubro de 2008

UFO in near-miss with jet plane

A UFO near-miss had a jet pilot in a panic as he came in to land at Heathrow, previously secret files released reveals.

The captain of the Alitalia airliner was so concerned he shouted 'look out' to his co-pilot after seeing a brown missile-shaped object shoot past them overhead.

The incident happened near Lydd in Kent in April 1991 when a McDonnell Douglas MD80 from Milan was at 6,700m (22,000ft).

Pilot Achille Zaghetti told investigators that he saw a strange object about 300m (1,000ft) above him.

He recounted: 'At once I said, “look out, look out”, to my co-pilot, who looked out and saw what I had seen.'

The pilot said air traffic control then confirmed there was 'an unknown target' some ten miles from the plane.

A TV report on the same day carried a report that a 14-year-old boy had seen a missile flying at low level in the area, note the MoD files made available online today by the National Archive.

But the MoD concluded it had no military origin and that the report must be treated as an unidentified flying object.

Altogether, there are 19 sightings between 1986 and 1992 covered in the ­released online files.

They include a letter from a woman claiming to be from the Sirius system who said her spacecraft – which also contained two 'Spectrans' with 'Mr Spock ears' – crashed in Britain during World War II.

Parakeets destroying precious windmill

A windmill that withstood the Blitz and the worst of the English weather for 150 years is being destroyed – by parakeets.

The grade II listed building has suffered £50,000 of damage courtesy of 12 rose-ringed parakeets, which are using its sails to sharpen their beaks.

The birds could be descendants of ones which escaped during the filming of the Humphrey Bogart movie The African Queen at Shepperton Studioby s in Surrey in 1951.

They normally live in Africa or Asia but these ones are well established in Croydon, south London, where the Shirley Windmill has become their latest target.

It was twice bombed during World War II and has also been struck numerous times by lightning since being built in 1854. But the parrots may be its final foe. 'They just won't listen to us,' said Clive Higgins, secretary of the Friends of Shirley Windmill, which opens the building regularly in the summer to the public.

He added: 'We wave our arms and shout at them but the parakeets are just too high up and they carry on gnawing and chipping away at the wood. They're pests and are destroying our glorious windmill.

'It is getting towards a point when the windmill may be deemed a danger to the public.'

In July, parakeets caused £10,000 of damage to the spire at the 1836 St John's Church in Croydon.

A church spokesman said at the time: 'They love the shingles and have pulled out at least 100 of them. Maybe they're looking for insects. Now we're at a complete loss.'

America gets first musical road

Workers have begun carving grooves on the first 'musical road' in the United States, which will produce notes of the William Tell Overture when cars drive over them.

The high desert city of Lancaster north of Los Angeles placed the grooves on another road, Avenue K, last month for a Honda commercial.

The quarter-mile strip was engineered to play the notes - better known as the theme for The Lone Ranger - when motorists hit them at 55 mph.

The city paved over that first stretch two weeks later after neighbours complained the noise was annoying and kept them awake.

The city, however, received hundreds of calls praising the road and decided to retain the concept. They decided to recreate the road in an industrial area away from homes.

Man arrested for sex with car wash vacuum

A man has been arrested and jailed in the U.S for “receiving sexual favours from a vacuum” at a car wash, police say.

The 29-year-old was caught after a local resident in Swan Creek Township, Michigan, called the police when he saw the man acting suspiciously at the car wash.

Saginaw-Area News reported that the police officer then caught the accused in the middle of act and said: “I've seen some strange things, but this is the weirdest thing I've ever heard.”

Bear floored by smell of coffee

It's become a staple of many commuters' journey to work – a knockout cup of coffee. But for one forest tripper, the morning pick-me-up proved a little too much to bear.

Starbucks the grizzly bear was knocked off his feet when he sniffed a coffee mug left behind by a group of walkers.

The predator, whose species has the keenest sense of smell on Earth, was completely bowled over by the aroma.

'We were watching bears catch fish when out came the grizzly.
Although the cup was empty, the bear still went loopy over the smell,' said Doug Read, who was walking in British Columbia, Canada.

Golf cart getaway evades cops

A golf cart might not be everyone's first choice of getaway vehicle, but authorities in Utah found out to their cost that they shouldn't be underestimated.

A suspect in the Utah city of Morgan managed to evade Sheriff's officers after leading them on a wild cross-country chase in a souped-up golf buggy.

The chase began when the miscreant was spotted spinning out in a park. Officers gave chase, but the suspect drove off into an alfalfa field. He then managed to jump the gold cart over a number of irrigation ditches, leaving the cops' cruises stranded behind him.

Authorities said they suspected that the cart may have had its electric motor replaced with a car engine.

While the suspect may have won that particular battle, he didn't win the war – he was arrested the following day at his grandmother's house.

Mystery of the stolen beach

Police in Jamaica are trying to hunt down a group of thieves, suspected of stealing hundreds of tons of sand from a beach on the northern coast of the island.

Hundreds of truck-loads of sand went missing in July from Coral Spring beach but so far no arrests have been made and detectives now suspect the tourism industry might be to blame, seeing as it could add value to their businesses.

The BBC reported that due to the high demand for sand in Jamaica for hotel resorts that is why the sector is being investigated.

Because there have so far been no arrests over the months, now the government is worried there may have been a cover up within the police force.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding is now cracking down on the investigation, ordering forensic tests on the coastal beaches to test it against the stolen sand.

domingo, 19 de outubro de 2008

Man collared for hugging police officer

A man who thought that a police officer coming to arrest him needed a hug may face assault charges.
When the intoxicated 21-year-old from Iowa, USA, was stopped by a police officer he ran up to him and spread out his arms in a bid to give him a hug.

The officer said he told the man to "get back" and put his hands up in the air, but the jolly suspect continued to move towards the policeman and wrapped his arms around him.

His hug was obviously not appreciated, however, and he was handcuffed.

Balloonist turns to body parts

Do you remember being disappointed by the balloon creation that was supposed to be a dog but ended up looking more like a confused rat?
Well, if you got Jason Hackenwerth to entertain you for your seventh birthday, you'd certainly be mightily impressed.

The American artist has graduated from turning balloons into farmyard animals to making giant works based on insects, sea animals and even parts of the body.

Hackenwerth spends £6,000 a year on balloons to create his works, which are displayed throughout the world. His biggest work was 45m (147ft) long and made of 4,000 balloons.

While most of his creations are inspired by little crustaceans and insects, sometimes he gets his ideas from things a bit closer to home.

His favourite piece is The Oracle, a piece that is worn over the body. 'I love to get inside this one,' said the New Yorker.

was his mother, who worked as a clown, who taught him the art of balloon twisting.

He began with simple animals and hats to make a crust as a street performer but, by the time he graduated from art college, he had a grander plan.

'I used to travel the New York subway every day and it was so bleak,' said the 38-year-old.

'I wanted to find a way to cheer it up down there, so I started making balloon shapes and sneaking down in the middle of the night to hang them up. When people saw them their faces would light up, so I decided this was the medium I would like to work in.'

Just like all balloons, his sculptures gradually wilt and lose air.
'It's like watching a plump, robust teenager turn into a withered, shrivelled old lady,' he said.