Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Well won't you look at that

Warren the baby rhino is taken for a walk

Warren is being looked after at Care for Wild Africa, the largest rhino orphanage in the world.

YouTube link.

Here's Rowdy the black Labrador with vitiligo

14-year-old Rowdy from Canby, Oregon, has vitiligo, a disorder that causes the loss of skin pigment. The condition began within the last couple of years.

His owners, Niki and Tim Umbenhower, are regularly stopped by strangers who think they have painted his eyes white. Rowdy is now helping teach children that being different is beautiful, as a representative of the American Vitiligo Research Foundation.

YouTube link.

Man accused of committing lewd acts with cars

A man was arrested after he was accused of urinating and committing lewd acts with cars.

The incidents happened in the parking lot of a Foosackly's restaurant in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday night.

Mobile Police arrested 39-year-old, Patrick Earl Glydewell from Saucier, Mississippi.

He was charged with public lewdness and disorderly conduct and is being held in Mobile County jail.

Police hunt burglar who broke into home, stole popsicle's and urinated on woman's toilet seat

Police are looking for a burglar who broke into a residence, stole popsicles and urinated on a toilet seat.

A woman said someone broke into her home in Rome, Georgia, on Saturday night and rearranged items in the house.

She told police that the rear door had been forced open. The only items that appeared to have been stolen were popsicles valued at $2.

The victim said the burglar had also urinated on her toilet seat. Officers collected a sample on cotton swabs for DNA analysis.

Police reunited traveller with his errant turtle that had escaped at bus station

A turtle found wandering around a busy New York City bus terminal has been reunited with its grateful but sleepy owner.

Two turtles escaped from a bag in the Port Authority Bus Terminal after their owner fell asleep on Sunday afternoon, police said.

A police officer found one near a parked bus after a dispatcher reported seeing the reptile in the roadway at around 1:30pm, Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo said. Half-an-hour later, police then got word of a second turtle on the loose.

When they arrived at the spot where a witness saw it, the owner had already retrieved the reptile. Police then returned the first escapee to the owner, who said the animals slipped out of a blue shoulder bag while he dozed off. Officers don't know where the man was from or where he was heading.

Seal found in cemetery toilet relocated closer to the ocean

A 120-kilogram seal has been released close to the ocean after being caught napping in a cemetery toilet on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. The male Australian fur seal was found asleep in a cubicle in the female toilets at the Mersey Vale Lawn Cemetery in Devonport on Tuesday.

The council's Karina Moore said she initially thought it was a joke when a council works crew emailed her about the seal they dubbed "Sammy". Wildlife biologist Rachel Alderman said Parks and Wildlife officers sedated the seal in the toilet block while they prepared to move it.

"The officers were able to shut the door to the cubicle and keep it contained, which reduced potential issues for the seal and people, so you couldn't have asked for a better result, really," she said. "We try to intervene as little as possible, but obviously in this case the seal posed a potential risk to itself to get back to the water. It was possibly going to have to cross a road or encounter all sorts of other objects, and also human safety is a concern as well."

She said the seal probably swam up nearby Horsehead Creek, and it was not unusual for seals to make their way into cities and towns in Tasmania. "They're a really abundant species all around Tasmania, particularly in Bass Strait, and we've had them turn up in Cataract Gorge, paddocks, people's backyards, and now we can add a toilet block in a cemetery to the list." The seal was released at a nearby beach.

There's a video of the seal inside the toilet here.

Lifeguard surprised to find hedgehog in water flume

A lifeguard at a water park made an unusual find when she spotted a hedgehog inside a water flume. The discovery was made by Emily Daniels during the daily safety check of the flumes and slides at Splashdown Quaywest in Paignton, Devon.

"It wasn't camouflaged at all, so it was a bit of a shock to see it there," she said. "I've no idea how it got there but it hadn't climbed far as it was near the bottom of the flume," Ms Daniels said. "I'm not really an animal person, but it was quite small so I got a pair of gloves from the first aid station and managed to pick it up."

Operations manager Jon Lees said although one or two hedgehogs had been seen in the grounds of the water park, to his knowledge, they had never attempted to climb the 60ft (18m) flume known as Devil's Drop before. "It was lucky Emily spotted the animal, as it could have been painful for someone coming down the flume.

"And it wouldn't have done the hedgehog much good," he added. If the normally nocturnal creature had slipped down the flume into the water, it would probably have survived as hedgehogs can swim, but the RSPCA said it was lucky the lifeguard had been so vigilant. The little creature has now been relocated to a nearby hedgerow.

Mystery surrounds perfectly circular damp patch

A mysterious damp patch has a parish council baffled. The circular area at the village green in Holyport, Berkshire, which has been fenced off by Bray Parish Council, appears to keep flooding, however nobody knows why.

Bray Parish Council has been working with the Royal Borough and Thames Water to investigate the cause and has taken samples from the area. Ken Elvin, chairman of Bray Parish Council said: “We don’t know why it keeps flooding.

“It’s been like that for a few weeks. It’s a perfectly circular damp patch and Thames Water and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are mystified. We are in the process of pursuing it with RBWM, but they don’t know what it is.

“Thames Water have taken samples. It’s not sewage and they don’t believe it is drinking water because it contains low levels of chlorine. It could be a spring or anything, we’ve been investigating it for a month and we have no firm conclusion. It’s a problem and it’s a mystery.”

Model boat enthusiast requested the Queen's help as aggressive swan wreaks havoc on lake

A rogue swan is wreaking havoc at a Suffolk lake, sinking boats who dare to share his water. For decades the model boating club at Needham Lake coexisted peacefully with the local wildlife, but the arrival of the aggressive male swan has seen that relationship take a turn for the worse. One younger model boater has even written to the Queen in frustration, demanding that the menacing swan is brought in line. No fewer than eight intricately built model boats have been “annihilated” by the bird in a few weeks, leaving model boat enthusiasts scared to put their boats in the water. “He is a menace on the lake,” said Gipping Valley Model Boat Club treasurer, Cliff Galsworthy. He attacked my boat nearly straight after I put it in. I have spent about 10 full days trying to repair it. “It took about six months to build and he just smashed it to pieces a few weeks ago.

“I have fixed most of the superstructure but I still need to do the wiring.” The swan, who now has an unprintable nickname among boat club members, has a particular hatred of sailing boats but still lists some of the faster motor-powered ships among his victims. “He just smashes at them with his wings,” added Mr Galsworthy. “He annihilates them, tries to get on top and sink them. If you sail within 30-50 yards of him he will attack. He even attacks when his cygnets are nowhere near the boats.” The bird is part of a pair who currently have four cygnets – but the boat club has shared the lake with swans during breeding season many times before without a single incidence of bird-on-boat violence. Attendances at the club have fallen by half as a result of the attacks, with boaters afraid to put their pride and joy out to water if the bird is in sight.

Some of the larger boats are worth up to £15,000, with many the result of months and even years of build work. One of the swan’s rampages was caught on camera by model boat club member Peter Ashford. He described how it reared up over the boat, leaving the owner powerless to steer away. “He smashed it with his wings over and over again,” said Mr Ashford. “It was like the Bismarck, the rudder got stuck and it kept going in circles around the swan, which made things worse. We would never go near the swans but this one seems to come after them. It pushed it under and it eventually sunk. Luckily there was a flotation aid in the end, which kept it just above the water. A couple of boats nudged it back to shore and we fished it out with a long pole.” One model boat club member who had two of his boats attacked has taken to writing to the Queen in a bid to get the “menace” moved on.

Dean Cable, 23, from Wickham Skeith, said he is afraid to put his boats in the water if the swan is about. He said: “I wrote to the Queen telling her the swan is a menace and I would like him to be moved on if possible. I said usually I like swans, but this one was attacking our boats and I would like to be able to boat in peace. I told her the geese have no problem with us, the ducks seem to enjoy it and the swans we used to have at the lake were not a problem. One duck even hopped onto a barge for a ride. It is just this swan that is a problem and I want to see him moved elsewhere. I had one of my boats valued a month ago and I can tell you I don’t want that swan in the water at the same time as my boat.” The swans at Needham Lake are Mute Swans, and many people believe these are owned by the Queen. However, the only swans now owned by Her Majesty are those on the Thames and associated waterways. The bird is protected from attacks under law, making it a criminal offence to harm swans. They are native to the British Isles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Cats subtly request their dinner

YouTube link.

Customers queuing for cronuts unfazed by body on nearby bench

A man’s corpse was discovered on a bench outside the original cronuts bakery in SoHo, New York, early on Friday, but at least a dozen pastry-craving customers persisted in queuing up alongside the tragedy.

“I didn’t see anyone leave the line,” said Chinatown resident Molly Young, 29, who passed by the scene outside the famed Dominique Ansel Bakery. “It didn’t put a dent in anyone’s appetite.”

Another witness, Jessica Wright, 26, said that one customer did duck out of the line, briefly, to inform the bakery of “the dead guy” spotted on a wooden sidewalk bench some 40 feet from the store. “A guy in line was waiting for a cronut and saw a body on the first bench. He bought it to the attention of a Dominique Ansel Bakery employee,” Wright said. “She saw the dead guy and called 911. They came and pronounced him dead.”

A source said that the corpse was that of a neighbour, Andrew Lang, 47, whose death did not appear suspicious. He had been dead for about ten hours, the source said. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death. The cronut, a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, became a food craze in 2013. The confection is so popular, that the line outside the bakery is typically half-a-block long.

Singapore street food stalls make dining history after being awarded Michelin stars

Hungry diners queued up at a small, modest street food stall in Singapore on Friday to get a taste of the restaurant's local delights worthy of a coveted Michelin star.

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle made dining history on Thursday when they became the first street food stalls in the world to be awarded a star by Michelin as French critics revealed a Singapore guide of 29 establishments.

Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country and the fourth in Asia to be rated by the Michelin Guide. It has more than 100 open-air "hawker" centers and 6,000 stalls selling popular multi-ethnic meals. Chan Hon Meng, owner of Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, said he was honoured to receive the recognition as he cooked up treats for the extra customers.

Chan hopes his stall's success will encourage more young people to enter the hawker trade, which is starting to suffer from a lack of successors for the stalls, which are primarily run by elderly cooks. The 51-year-old chef said he had no immediate plans to increase prices of his food, such as his signature chicken rice dish, which he serves roughly 150 times per day at lunchtime for £1.90 (S$2.50), or £1.40 ($1.85), per plate.

There's a news video here.

Intoxicated woman drove to police station to let officers know she was too drunk to drive

A woman from Blenheim, New Zealand, who drove to the police station to let officers know she was too drunk to drive thought she was doing the right thing. Amanda Jane Boyd, 50, of Witherlea, was heavily intoxicated when she arrived at the Blenheim Police Station at about 2pm on June 14.

She told police officers at the front desk she needed to get to Christchurch but was too drunk to drive there, and asked if they could arrange to get her there. They asked how she got to the station, and Boyd pointed to her car and said she drove, but could not drive any further because she was too drunk.

Police breath tested Boyd who gave a reading of 1395 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 250mcg. In explanation, Boyd said she thought she was doing the right thing by not driving to Christchurch, and instead just driving a short distance to the police station to get help. She had been caught drink-driving twice before, once in 2008 and once in 2010.

Boyd appeared at the Blenheim District Court on Monday charged with drink-driving for the third or subsequent time. Judge David Ruth said Boyd had a serious problem with alcohol. "It was an exceptionally high amount of alcohol in your system, however it's not the highest you've had." He convicted Boyd and remanded her on bail to August 22 for sentencing, so a pre-sentencing report could be submitted.

Off-duty doctor returning home from night out called 999 convinced he'd seen decomposed leg

A doctor called 999 claiming he’d found a decomposed leg on a canal bank in Manchester city centre.

The man, who was off-duty at the time, told police he was convinced that he’d seen the body part sticking out of a bush near Oxford Road.

Inspector Phil Spurgeon, of GMP City Centre, said they got the call at around 6am on Sunday, and immediately sent an officer to investigate. He said the doctor had been on a night out and didn’t wait around for them to arrive.

Luckily, when officers got there, they found no decomposing leg, or any other body part. It turns out it was just a bit of rubbish, although the officer did agree it looked 'a bit suspicious'.

Police laid cunning trap to catch shoplifter armed with a bottle of perfume in a sock

A shoplifter, armed with a bottle of perfume in a sock, was arrested after quick-thinking police officers laid a cunning trap for him. PC Paul Bates and Sgt Kayleigh Webster, of Southend police, were picking up their lunch in the BP garage in Southend, Essex, on Monday July 11, when staff pointed out a suspicious man peering through the window.

Thomas Roberts, 36, of Westcliff, had become a familiar sight in the shop after visiting most days for over a month. Staff told police officers he would look through the window and return five minutes later to load up carrier bags with goods and then walk out - and not pay. Chief Insp Simon Anslow, Southend district commander, said the officers quickly came up with a plan.

He said: “PC Bates told Sgt Webster to drive off so that he thought they had gone. He then hid behind the alcohol stand and told staff to give him the nod. He came in, loaded up his two bags and walked out. PC Bates then jumped out and before he knew what happened he was in handcuffs.” Mr Anslow said Roberts then admitted to officers that he was in possession of a bizarre weapon, consisting of a bottle of perfume in a sock.

Roberts was charged with the theft of meat worth £150 from the shop on May 19, stealing meat worth £40 on July 11 and possession of an offensive weapon on the same day. He admitted the charges at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, July 13. Roberts was sentenced on Friday to a 12-month community order, which will involve a six-month drugs rehabilitation course and an overnight curfew. He must also pay an £85 victim surcharge.

Blind woman living in fear as aggressive seagulls are targeting her and guide dog

The life of a blind woman from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has been made a misery thanks to seagulls attacking her on the morning commute. Megan Paul, 24, walks from St Paul's to the town centre to catch a bus to Gloucester - a journey she says is becoming increasingly perilous due to the aggressive pests.

Megan is registered blind and her guide dog, Tate, often bears the brunt of the attacks. Megan has now issued a plea for help to prevent the birds from attacking her and scaring Tate. She said: "I would be at the bus stop near the Brewery Quarter and the seagulls would follow us and then swoop down on us. Now I have been avoiding the area.

"I've had to learn new routes to walk through and they are getting worse both here and in Gloucester where I work on Westgate Street." She added: "Often they go for the eyes and if he loses those I'll be forced to stay at home. People need to be made aware of this issue because it is becoming more of a problem.

YouTube link.

"I have been advised to use an umbrella to deter them but that hasn't worked. I end up swinging the umbrella around and I'm worried I could hurt my dog. It's really quite scary and so I have been forced to walk with other people so that nothing happens." She said there needs to be a new form of management when it comes to minimising the number of gulls in the area or at least controlling the levels.

Single dormouse-chewed hazelnut helped scupper new homes plan

A single woodland nut, chewed by a dormouse, had a central part to play in a High Court dispute over a controversial housing development in South Devon. Dormice are protected under European law and objectors to the scheme in Dartington pointed to the tooth-marked nut as evidence of the notoriously shy animals' presence. In a stunning victory for campaigners, a senior judge has now overturned planning permission for 32 new homes off Forder Lane.

The case was spear-headed by Elizabeth Wilkinson who would have faced eviction from her bungalow home had the project gone ahead. The nut did not in the end prove decisive, but the judge ruled South Hams District Council went wrong in law when it granted planning consent. The site is currently occupied by 18 affordable, one-bedroom, bungalows built by the Dartington Hall Trust in the 1960s, the court in London heard.

Mrs Wilkinson lives in one of them, but officials say they no longer match up to "decent home" rules and should be demolished. The council granted planning permission for the development to the South Devon Rural Housing Assocation in December last year. The consent was for 32 new homes, including 12 affordable one-bedroom flats and eight dwellings for learning disabled people in need of support. Fighting the decision, Mrs Wilkinson's lawyers said, amongst other things, that the project would destroy the habitat of dormice in nearby woodland.

Natural England was consulted about the dormice and a "nut survey" was carried out in January last year, said Mr Justice Hickinbottom. "The survey revealed a single dormouse-chewed hazelnut within the woodland", the judge added. That confirmed that dormice were living in the woods, which would be cleared as part of the scheme, "albeit in extremely limited numbers". Mr Justice Hickinbottom's decision sends planners back to the drawing board and means the council will have to consider the site's future afresh.

Giant mechanical puppet begins walk across south-west England to celebrate mining history

A giant mechanical puppet of a Cornish miner has taken its first steps on a 130-mile journey across south-west England.

The 10-metre (32.8ft) tall The Man Engine is making an historic journey to celebrate the area's mining history.

The puppet, which weighs 40 tonnes, is the same height as a double decker bus when in "crawling" mode but more than twice that height when standing.

YouTube link. Additional YouTube video showing The Man Engine in "crawling" mode.

It was launched in Tavistock, Devon, and will reach west Cornwall on 6 August. The Man Engine is operated by a team of volunteer puppeteers, who use ropes to control the giant model.