Friday, October 28, 2016

Imminent danger

Panda experiences snow for the first time

After nine years in the warm and mild climate of Sichuan Province, Youyou was recently moved to a new home in China's far Northeast Province of Heilongjiang, where he experienced his first snowfall on Tuesday.

YouTube link.

Excited baby koala meets a tree

This is Mason, a current resident at Port Stephens Koalas sanctuary in New South Wales, Australia.

YouTube link. Original Facebook video.

Native American headdress-wearing good Samaritan named Rambo disarmed gunman

A good Samaritan wearing a Native American headdress overpowered a man who had reportedly fired several gunshots on a MAX train in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday night.

Police said the suspect fired his gun after he was confronted by another man on the train at about 8:30pm. The dispute between the two, who knew each other, was reportedly about money missing from the victim's home.

When officers arrived at the 102nd Avenue Transit Station, the suspect was being held down by a man who said his name was Rambo Richardson. He said he heard gunfire as the train approached the station and saw the gunman and his victim struggling.

Richardson then overpowered the gunman, took his weapon and held him down. "I just acted. That's what people are supposed to do," Richardson said. "So I just tried to be an example for others. To try to bring things back to what it used to be, the indigenous way. Helping the community, not just standing by." No one was injured during the incident.

With video.

Man alleges that his wife chased him with scissors because she didn't want a potato

A husband from Bay City,, Michigan, testified that he was scared for his life when his wife allegedly chased him with scissors over a dinner dispute. Douglas M. Levy, 59, took to the witness stand in the preliminary examination of his 51-year-old wife, Roberta L. Levy, on Thursday. He said he and his 6-year-old daughter arrived at their South End home at about 9:20pm on Friday, Sept. 30. His wife was already present, he said. He said he and his daughter had come from Kroger with three potatoes, planning to make baked spuds with broccoli and cheese for dinner. "I was cutting up a potato with a fork to put in the microwave," Levy testified.

"I was getting her meal ready and Bobbi came out and said, 'I don't want a potato.'" He said his wife then grabbed a burrito out of the freezer, before grabbing other frozen items and throwing them at him. "I said, 'What's wrong with you? What are you doing? She was just screaming. I couldn't even make out what she was saying. She just snapped and started chasing me with a pair of scissors." Levy said his wife held the scissors in her right hand, their point angled downwards. "She said, 'What are you? A woman?' and she started chasing me," he said. As Roberta Levy chased her husband, their daughter yelled for her mother to stop. Douglas Levy grabbed a phone and called his 24-year-old daughter, who in turn said she was calling the police.

When he told Roberta Levy their daughter and police were coming over, she stopped her pursuit and said she was going to her aunt's house. "I feared for my life and my daughter's life," Douglas Levy testified. "She could have slipped and hit (our daughter) with (the scissors). If (our daughter) hadn't been there, I would have been stabbed." Police arrived and interviewed Douglas Levy and his young daughter. After they left, Roberta Levy returned and tried getting back in the house, her husband said. Police returned to the home. According to court records, Roberta Levy told police her husband has been verbally abusive, has been pitting their daughter against her, and won't feed her. Levy added she was heating up a microwave burrito and grabbed the scissors to cut open the package.

She and her husband started arguing while she was holding the scissors, but she denied threatening or assaulting him. Cross-examined by defence attorney Andrea L. LaBean, Douglas Levy said he and his wife have an odd relationship and that she had got out of a substance abuse rehab a few days before the incident. The hearing ended with Bay County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Stroud asking District Judge Mark E. Janer to bind Roberta Levy's case over to Circuit Court for trial. Janer obliged and bound Levy's case over to the higher court. Levy is charged with single counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence. The former is a four-year felony, while the latter is a 93-day misdemeanor.

Squirrel that ransacked home detained by police

Christine Kiss had just returned to her home in Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada, from a five week holiday to Europe with her husband when she noticed something wasn’t right. “I go up the stairs and I see the clock flipped over,” she said. As she ventured further, it got even stranger.

“The painting was crooked, the lamp shade was crooked.” The place was ransacked, but the worst was still to come. It only took one glance to see the den was a disaster. “It looked as if a leaf blower had gone through the whole den and just blown them all over the place,” said Kiss. The mystery deepened when Kiss noticed not a single item from the home was missing.

Kiss then noticed that her chocolate Easter eggs had been eaten, and there were peanut shells scattered everywhere. Then she discovered perhaps the biggest clue. “The kitchen counter was completely covered with poop,” she said. It was time to call in the professionals. Kiss called Oak Bay Police and told them her house was trashed. They arrived within ten minutes and eventually found the suspect hiding behind the washing machine.

It was a squirrel. Using a broom and a towel, the officers took the bushy-tailed villain into custody. The saga was over but there is a cautionary tale to this “squirrels gone wild”. The Kiss’s had been feeding a pair of squirrels all summer, who they affectionately named Wilhemina and Franklyn. “They come regularly they just sit there looking in the dining room door waiting for their peanuts,” she said. Kiss said she’s learned her lesson and will never feed squirrels again.

With video.

Woman offers bong-smoking thieves free garden hose in attempt to thwart constant thefts

A grandmother from Sydney, Australia, has left a length of garden hose with a note for marijuana smokers who have continually cut up her hose to make bongs. Julia McCall has attached the note to the front fence of her house with the section of hose. The note reads “Please don’t chop my hose again. Help yourself to this bit for your bong, Julia”.

Mrs McCall decided to take action after she became fed up with finding the hose in her front garden constantly slashed. Small sections of her green garden hose had begun disappearing. What infuriated her the most, was that the thieves seemed to slash from the middle of the hose, rather than bothering to remove the tap and cut from the end. Mrs McCall, who is retired and has lived in the are for 40 years, asked her son what was going on.

“My son said that’s what people did, people take them for bongs,” she said. “There’s only so many times you can go to Bunnings asking for six inches of hose before they start looking at you funnily.” Mrs McCall said sections of her hose had occasionally disappeared previously, but when it resumed she had an idea on how to handle the situation. “I was quite surprised to see it had started again,” she said. “And once it starts, of course then the community say ‘there’s a hose down there that you can get bits off’.

“I wouldn’t mind if they just took a bit off the end, but they cut it right in the middle.” So she wrote the note and cut off a section of her hose, which she hopes will keep the bong makers happy. “I thought it might bring a little shame to them, to stop pinching my hose like that, but it’s also a bit of a joke too I suppose,” Mrs McCall said. “I think in this day and age tolerance is a necessary component, isn’t it? We all have to live with each other and if we ease it a little, so much the better.”

Scrap yard owner has replaced his guard dogs with fighting bulls

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

After a summer that saw seven separate break-ins at his second hand auto parts business in the Valencian town of Montserrat, Emilio Cerveró decided he needed to review his security measures.

He complained that thieves had repeatedly cut the fence into the premises to release his guard dogs and four had been killed since the start of the summer. So he has now released a pair of toro bravos, the Spanish breed of bull used in bullfighting, to roam the property in the hope of deterring any intruders.

Cerveró complains that the robberies started when part of his land was expropriated by the council to build a new road and his perimeter wall was replaced with a flimsy wire fence. “The bulls can roam around freely in the yard and let’s hope they do their job,” he said. “All I am trying to do is protect my property.”

There's a video here.

Rare gold coin worth up to £250,000 discovered in child's pirate treasure collection

One of Britain's rarest coins will go under the hammer at an auction house next month after being discovered in a little boy's toy box. The Queen Anne 'Vigo' five guinea gold coin will be put up for sale at Boningtons saleroom in Epping, Essex, on Wednesday, November 16. The auctioneers have put an estimate of between £200,000 and £250,000 on the find.

The coin is one of only twenty made from the 7.5lbs of gold seized from Spanish treasure ships by the British in Vigo Bay, northern Spain, on October 23, 1702. A man from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, who cannot be named, has passed the coin to Boningtons for sale, after being given it by his grandfather years ago. He had no idea of its value, however, until he showed it to Boningtons' coin specialist, Gregory Tong, who instantly recognised the rare coin, of which fewer than 15 examples are known.

"My grandad had travelled all over the world during his working life and had collected many coins from the various countries he had been," the vendor said. "He gave me bags of coins to play with throughout my early years because I was into pirate treasure. As time passed these coins went back into bags and boxes and were forgotten about until I re-discovered them after my grandad passed away. I looked back through the coins, remembering the stories I made up about them when I was small, and then gave them to my own son to play with and put into his own treasure box.

"My little boy has been playing with this coin as I did all those years ago." The series of 'Vigo' coins were made out of treasure captured by the British fleet after they failed to take Cadiz in 1702 but managed to seize gold and silver from Franco-Spanish treasure ships coming back from America. Struck the following year, the coins were made as part of an attempt to detract attention from the British failure at Cadiz. The treasure was delivered through London and received at the Royal Mint by the Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton. The coin is only the sixth example of its type to be offered for sale in the last 50 years.

RSPCA called out to rescue a stone tortoise ornament

The RSPCA were called out to urgently rescue a tortoise that turned out to be a stone garden ornament. The animal welfare charity were contacted on Monday by a woman who spotted the tortoise in a garden in Sheffield, south Yorkshire.

She asked neighbours if anyone owned the reptile but, after being unable to find an owner, called the RSPCA. Animal welfare officer (AWO) Liz Braidley went along to collect the reptile but soon found all wasn’t as it seemed.

“I went into the lady’s garden to try to capture the tortoise and it soon became clear that he wouldn’t be giving me the run-around - as he was made out of stone.” she said. “It did make me laugh. I was having a bad day so it really cheered me up!

“The welfare of animals is at the heart of everything we do at the RSPCA so we wouldn’t want to deter anyone who is worried about an animal from getting in touch with us. So if you are concerned for an animal, please contact our 24-hour emergency line where staff can help with advice, information, or reporting incidents to one of our inspectors.”

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sartorial elegance

Wild giraffe spotted befriending a little rabbit

South African photographer Ayesha Cantor, 49, was taking a drive around Kragga Kamma Game Park, near her home, when she stopped to take some pictures of giraffes basking in the setting sun.

She noticed one giraffe seemed to be preoccupied by something on the ground and was amazed when she realised it was a domestic rabbit. Ayesha said: "My daughter and I were taking a late Sunday afternoon game drive around the park.

"The light was lovely so on coming across a group of giraffe I stopped to snap a few sunset giraffe pics. One giraffe kept bending down, we did not immediately realise why he was doing that. And then we saw the bunny.

YouTube link.

"It really looked like a domestic rabbit, and there are a few houses which neighbour the park, so we assume that it was an escapee. It's really remarkable that it had managed to survive."

Message in a bottle returned to family after more than 50 years

A message in a bottle sent out to sea more than five decades ago was found 1,500 miles away and returned to a family in New Hampshire. The long-lost message was discovered by Clint Buffington, a musician and writing teacher from Utah, who was vacationing in the Turks and Caicos. “(I found) this coke bottle half buried in the sand, looked like it had been there since the beginning of time,” Buffington said.

“On the paper, there was something written in pencil, like handwriting, it said, ‘Look inside,’” he said. Buffington broke open the bottle and unrolled that waterlogged note. “I could read words like ‘return’ and ‘Beachcomber,’” Buffington said. He used those soggy words to search for the sender and the story. The note was written by Paula Pierce’s father more than 50 years ago. “And it just hit me, it was my father’s writing,” Pierce said. “And I was shocked.”

The long-lost message was written in 1960 by Paul Tsiatsios, then owner along with his wife Tina, of the Beachcomer Motel just off the coast of Hampton beach, before it was thrown into the Atlantic Ocean. The note said, "Return to 419 Ocean Blvd. and receive a reward of $150 from Tina, owner of the Beachcomber." Paula’s parents are both gone now, and the Beachcomber sold a couple years ago. Buffington flew to New Hampshire to deliver the message in the bottle.

YouTube link.

“This is special because it brings back a piece of him, a piece of her, a piece of my childhood, a piece of the Beachcomber,” Pierce said. “All of these things are very hard to lose.” She insisted on living up to her father’s promise, giving Buffington the reward. “You have to take it,” she told Buffington. But she said the biggest reward is the message in a bottle finding its way back home. “The significance of the message in the bottle was not lost on him. It took him to find it, and it took him to come across the country and bring it to me,” Pierce said.

FBI hunt man who robbed bank while wearing a cat mugshot T-shirt

The FBI is searching for a man who they say robbed an Oklahoma bank while wearing a T-shirt depicting a cat posing for a mugshot.

They say the robbery happened at around 4:20pm on Monday afternoon at a BancFirst bank in Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Special Agent-in-Charge Kathryn Peterson says a man walked into the bank and gave a teller a note demanding money, then ran off with the cash. Peterson says the man’s note said he had a gun but no weapon was observed.

He is described as a white male in his late 20’s to early 30’s, 5’9″ to 5’11”, 200 to 215 lbs., with short brown hair, a moustache and beard. The FBI say the man was wearing a black shirt featuring a cat posing for a jail booking photo. The FBI also says the suspected bank robber also wore sunglasses and cargo shorts. He remains on the prowl.

Alleged burglar who surprised homeowner said she wanted to sleep in his bed

A woman who surprised a man in his home on Thursday morning reportedly told him that she wanted to sleep in his bed, but police believe she was there to steal. Michael Smith was in his home on Devils Nose Road just north of Rogersville, Tennessee, at around 8:30am when a woman, later identified as Savonna Mae Collier, 34, from Blountville, allegedly entered his residence.

Collier was later arrested after allegedly attempting to flee the residence in Smith’s $20,000 UTV. She was prevented from escaping in the UTV when Smith’s wife arrived home from driving a school bus route and blocked the road with her bus. Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Detective Marc Bass said Collier appeared to be living out of her car, which she parked in a neighbour’s driveway before entering the Smith residence.

Bass said that Collier appeared to be under the influence of meth and was looking for something to steal in order to purchase more drugs. When Smith found Collier in his home, she reportedly told Smith, “She wanted to sleep in his bed,” Bass said. “Mr. Smith stated he didn’t know her and told her to leave,” Bass added. “(Collier) then pushed Mr. Smith and fled the residence. She ran outside and stole Mr. Smith’s Can Am UTV, and fled in the vehicle. Mr. Smith gathered himself and went after the female.

“The UTV had stopped in the middle of the road due to Mrs. Smith returning home from driving a school bus and seeing her UTV coming at her with an unknown person driving it.” A short time later, the HCSO arrived and arrested Collier who was charged with aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000 and vandalism. The vandalism charge stemmed from damaged caused to the UTV when Collier allegedly jammed a object into the ignition to start it. Collier is being held in the Hawkins County Jail with no bond pending arraignment in Sessions Court on Monday.

Train with more than 100 passengers on board confiscated over farmer's compensation dispute

Indian court officials confiscated a passenger train after the railway department failed to pay compensation to a farmer for acquiring his land. The train had more than 100 passengers on board when the officials confiscated it at the Harihar station in southern Karnataka state on Monday.

The train was only released after railway officials gave an assurance that the compensation would be paid. The railway acquired his land in 2006, but have still not paid him for it. The farmer, AG Shivakumar, agreed to let the railway department acquire his one-acre plot of land for the express train line, after he was assured compensation of 3.6m rupees (£44,067, $53,904).

He approached a local court after the railways ignored several requests for payment. The court in 2013, ordered the railway department to pay Mr Shivakumar his compensation along with interest. But after the railways did not heed the order for three years, the court ordered its officials to confiscate the train. "The [railway] officials gave an undertaking to the court that the amount will be given in one week's time.

"The train was allowed to leave after about 100 minutes," KGS Patil, Mr Shivakumar's lawyer, said. Some passengers who were in the train were amused with the court's order. "Initially, we thought the train had been stopped by some agitators. Much later when the train did not move, I realised that it was a court order that was being enforced. I was angry but I also found it funny," Sihi Kahi Chandru said.

Driver who chased after his runaway car on busy motorway faces charges

Police in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, have released footage showing the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a busy motorway last week. The car, which had been parked on the hard shoulder where its driver was talking to the driver of a lorry, also parked there, started to move slowly across the carriageway.

Noticing his vehicle had started to move, the car driver chased it across two lanes of traffic on the A5 motorway, where it crashed into the central reservation and back across the road, while cars and lorries tried to avoid it. The car finally came to a stop against a signpost on grass between the motorway and the exit lane.

Neuchâtel police said they had identified the driver of both the car and the lorry. “The two men, of mature age, know each other and live in the area,” police spokesman Pierre-Louis Rochaix said. Rochaix said it was “completely crazy” that despite the number of vehicles that must have witnessed the incident, no one came forward to report it to police.

YouTube link. Full original police Facebook video link.

It wasn’t until road maintenance workers saw the damage to the central reservation and signpost that the surveillance video was analyzed. The car driver will face charges of placing others in serious danger by the accidental movement of his car. Rochaix added it was also irresponsible of the pair to have parked on the hard shoulder.

'Torpedo' filled with £4.5 million worth of cocaine found on Irish beach

A "torpedo" carrying more than 5m euros (£4.5m) of cocaine has been found on a beach in the Republic of Ireland.

More than 75kg of the drug were found near the tourist hotspot of the Cliffs of Moher in County Claire. Revenue customs officers responded to a report from a member of the public about the suspicious device.

They believe it may have been attached below the waterline of a cargo ship or other sea vessel. Small bales of cocaine, each about a foot long and weighing about 1kg, were found wrapped in plastic inside the 6ft metal tube on Monday.

A spokeswoman said: "It is not possible at this stage to say either where the drugs originated or their intended destination."

Money sent flying as police stormed bank and arrested man with little bucket full of cash

Hundreds of pounds worth of notes and coins were sent flying into the air when three police officers wrestled a man to the ground in front of stunned bank customers in Skegness, Lincolnshire.

The man had entered Barclays bank holding a grey bucket at 1pm on Monday when the branch was packed with customers waiting to make transactions. Police stormed into the bank and arrested him, leaving money scattered over the floor.

Customers watched as the officers pinned the man down while another scrambled on her hands and knees as she picked up the money. An eyewitness, who was in the queue waiting to see a cashier, said: "The man was being served at the counter and he was carrying a little bucket.

"Customers presumed some kind of bank robbery had been foiled." But Chief Insp Jim Tyner said: "There was no robbery. Officers were making an arrest for an unrelated matter." A spokesman for Barclays East Midlands region said: "The incident was not bank related. He was a wanted man who happened to be at the bank at the time of the arrest."

With short video.

Cat survived 45-mile road trip clinging to roof of owner's van

A cat has survived a 45-mile (72km) road trip on the roof of its owner’s van. Matt Haine was commuting from his home in Warminster, Wiltshire to Weston-super-Mare, Somerset when he heard a cat on the roof of his white Transit.

He said: "I pulled up and it just slid down the windscreen, so slowly, I saw the tail then the back legs and all of a sudden these big eyes looking at me." It was only after he called his wife at home that he realised the windswept feline was the family's own cat Flo.

Mr Haine, said he had just arrived at the seaside resort, after a 70 minute drive, when he saw the "silhouette of a cat walking along the top of the roof". "All of a sudden it just slid down the roof and I'm look at it and I'm thinking is that Flo?" he said. "There is a roof rack on the van and the only thing I can think of is that she wedged herself between the roof rack and the pipe tube, where I keep my copper pipes.

"She's quite a small cat but she seemed to cling on to the roof rack quite well, I don't know how many claws she's got left now." For the return journey, Mr Haine strapped one-year-old Flo in the passenger seat and now says he checks his van over every morning before he leaves. "She's not been on there lately mind, she's learnt her lesson," he said. "I don't think she wants to come back again in a hurry."