Monday, January 26, 2015

Camouflage cat

Cockatiel plays peek-a-boo


YouTube link.

Tiger entertains self by making giant snowballs

Tanya the tiger at Kaliningrad Zoo in Russia plays with a giant snowball that she made herself. Keepers at the zoo were mystified as to how the giant snowballs were appearing in the enclosure, suspecting that youths were heaving them over the fences after the zoo was shut to the public.

Tanya only plays like this when she thinks no-one is around. She rakes up as much snow as she can and then rolls it from one side of the enclosure to another, resulting in multiple snowballs being formed. .

YouTube link. Alternative video.

Council wants to rename Love Shack Route because it’s too rude

For years it’s made locals laugh and tourists titter, but the Streaky Bay Council in South Australia now wants to rename Love Shack Route because it’s just too rude. The sleepy lane runs through a small housing estate just outside the picturesque Eyre Peninsula town and was named by the land’s owners for a bit of fun when the subdivision was approved about eight years back.

The name pays tribute to an old shack on the property that for decades served as an informal party palace, hosting the town’s young people on Friday and Saturday nights after the pub closed. The council signed off on the name, but now thinks Love Shack Court would be more appropriate. A public notice published by the council states: “Notice is hereby given that Council resolved at its December 2014 Council meeting its intention to rename Love Shack Route to Love Shack Court and request community comment on the proposed renaming.”

Just who’s offended by the name is unclear - original landowner Janet Williams ­believes it’s one of the road’s residents, but Deputy Mayor Robert Stephens said he thought it was someone from another part of town - one thing is certain: someone wants the Route retired. Mrs Williams said the land had been owned by the Williams family for 125 years, and she was angry that the Council was looking to change the name against the family’s wishes. “As far as I’m aware it was nothing more than a verbal request put to the Council to change the name,” she said.

“They surveyed the landowners on the road and they voted to keep the name. When they didn’t get their way they said, ‘Oh well, let’s put it out to public consultation’.” Mrs Williams said the sign had been stolen a number of times by souvenir hunters, but she believed a larger, harder-to-steal sign would actually work as tourist attraction. Mr Stephens, who was Mayor of Streaky Bay for a number of years, said he voted against changing the street’s name. “I think the residents are probably 50-50 on it,” Mr Stephens said. “But to be honest, I think most people in Streaky Bay see it as a bit of fun. It’ll go out to the community now for feedback.”

One-year-old baby boarded bus alone in China

A public bus in Changsha City in central China's Hunan Province received a special passenger on Tuesday night, as an unaccompanied one-year old baby climbed onto the bus.

When the bus door opened, both the driver and passengers were surprised to see a baby climb the door steps. A female passenger behind the boy looked around but failed to find any adult taking care of the toddler. The bus driver pulled over the bus with the consent of the passengers, and called police for help.

Some passengers on the bus volunteered to take care of the baby while waiting for the arrival of police officers. After receiving the call, officers of a local police station checked with nearby neighbourhood, and managed to find the baby boy's parents an hour later. "My baby boy was playing outside (my cellphone store) alone.

YouTube link.

"In just two to three minutes, I couldn't find him any more. We looked for him everywhere around, but failed to find him," said Mrs. Zhang, the baby's mother. According to Zhang, she and her husband run a cellphone store near their home, and the baby was playing outside the store alone before wandering away.

Two Chinese men caught by Bulgarian customs officers with 2 million baby eels in their luggage

Customs officials in Bulgaria have seized two million live baby eels hidden in luggage. Two Chinese men arriving from Madrid were detained at Sofia airport for trying to smuggle the eels in eight containers.

Officials said that the tiny eels, known as elvers, had been declared as food items. The European eel is classified as a critically endangered species and cannot be exported outside the region. Their sale is also heavily regulated within the EU.

Elvers are seen by some as a delicacy. Just 1kg (2.2lb) can fetch up to €1,300 (£1000; $1500) in Asia, according to customs officials. The eels had been placed in bags filled with water and are believed to have been worth several thousand euros.

A rescue centre at an aquarium in the coastal city of Varna has taken them in. The European eel is protected by an international agreement and trading in the species without a permit is forbidden worldwide.

Fake bank in China that operated for a year scammed customers out of £20 million

A fake bank in China that looked exactly like a real bank managed to scam people of almost 200 million yuan (£21m, $32m) worth of deposits in just a year.

The “bank”, in Nanjing’s Pukou district in Jiangsu province, promised customers 2 per cent interest a week for their deposits. Almost 200 people were conned.

One businessman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, deposited 12 million dollars from his company, but stopped receiving interest for the money after just four weeks. He went to the police after travelling to Nanjing from Hangzhou and trying in vain to get his money back.

YouTube link.

Police investigations revealed that the “bank”, although designed to look just like a real one, with LED screens and counters manned by people dressed like bank staff, did not have the permits required to operate as a financial institution. Rather, it branded itself as a “cooperative”. Police detained four people involved in the operation.

Massive fish spillage meant free dinner for locals

Locals in Ravenhill Road, East Belfast, Northern Ireland, were gifted a free fish supper on Saturday night.

A fish tanker coming to an abrupt halt at a traffic light caused the huge spillage.

Many local residents then rushed out to gather hundreds of the mackerel in plastic bags

Police later contacted environmental health officers to clean up the road.

There are photo galleries here and here.

Tampered-with fire hydrant created new water feature in city centre

A fire hydrant caused a geyser to erupt on a city centre street when it was switched on, causing amusement for some local people.

The tall column of water on Navigation Street, Birmingham, could be seen for several hours on Saturday morning.

A Severn Trent Water spokesman said the firm believed the hydrant, intended for emergency service use, had been tampered with.

A team of engineers arrived at the scene at 08:00am to switch the hydrant off. There were no supply issues to nearby properties, the firm said.


Woman horrified after finding strange creature in tin of tuna

A woman was horrified when she spotted a pair of beady eyes staring back at her from a tin of tuna. Zoe Butler, of Arnold, Nottingham, had just opened the can of Princes tuna when she noticed the strange creature. The mother-of-two, aged 28, has complained to the company and is keeping the remains in the tin while she waits for a reply. Mrs Butler said the can of tuna chunks preserved in spring water was part of a multi-pack bought from Asda in Arnold.

She said: "I opened the top of the lid and saw a purply thing, a gut sack or intestine – then I turned it round and pushed it with a fork and saw it looking back at me. It's got like a spiny tail along the bottom – it's quite grim. I dropped the fork, jumped back, screamed a bit and shouted for my nan to come and have a look." Mrs Butler has sent photos of the fishy find to Princes. She added: "I haven't shown it to the kids because they might get put off eating tuna.

"I just want to find out what it is and to make sure it doesn't happen to somebody else. I didn't set out to get compensation and I don't a want lifetime's supply of tuna!" Zoe's grandmother Susan Goddard, 69, said: "It's a little red and has eyes, bright black, looking at you. We did manage to ascertain that it was dead." Dr Hany Elsheikha, associate professor of veterinary parasitology at the University of Nottingham, said it could be some form of juvenile crab.

He said: "All I can see from the picture is a body and the eyes are very prominent. The legs have been chopped off during the process." A spokesman for Princes said: "We were contacted by Mrs Butler and immediately responded to apologise. We are arranging for her to send us the product so that we can look into this matter fully." An Asda spokeswoman said they were awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Under surveillance

Little Jaxon attempts to stop words leaving TV

Oh no.

YouTube link.

Meanwhile in Thailand

It's only a matter of time before the inevitable happens.

YouTube link. Facebook link.

Couple heartbroken at being forced to give up pet bear they've looked after for 33 years

Jeff and Debbie Gillium of Lodi, Ohio, have been the proud owners of an adult bear for 33 years, but a state law now threatens to break up the trio. The couple have owned Archie since the black bear was 6 years old. "I rescued him from a horrible situation. he was living in a cage that was four feet high," said Jeff Gillium. Now, Archie is nearing 40 - and near the end of his life. But Gillium fears his beloved pet might die before he has to. The Ohio Department of Agriculture sent the couple a letter last week saying they must either provide a permit for the bear, voluntarily surrender him to be tranquilized and transferred out of state, or transport him themselves.

"The ODA says they're going to come out and use a tranquilizer," said Gillium. "That might kill him. My only other option is to kill him myself." An agency spokeswoman said the Dangerous Wild Animal Act was passed in 2012 to prohibit casual dangerous wild animal ownership in Ohio. "The law provided a reasonable opportunity for existing owners to obtain a permit to keep their animals and this owner did not comply," said Erica Hawkins. "If relinquished as requested, the Department's animal health veterinarians will work to identify an appropriate, permanent home for the animal and will use their professional judgment to develop a plan for the safe movement of the animal."

Debbie Gillium said the couple was never informed of the law. "We didn't know," she said. "The only thing I was told is that we were grandfathered in from the division of wildlife and the USDA." That law changed in 2012, after several exotic animals were let loose in Zanesville, Ohio by a suicidal owner. If you owned your "pet" before then, you had to apply for a permit and prove proper caging and care for the animal. Before 2012, there was no law against owning exotic animals. The Gilliums have the correct permits for Archie up until 2013.

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They say when they went to renew they were told they didn't have to. Now that it's too late to get a permit, state law prohibits them from keeping Archie. "I think that he should be allowed to finish out his life here, his years here," said Debbie. "I think that's the fair thing. We are not using him for profit. He's never harmed anybody in all these years. They should've notified us they had all summer." The ODA says they will look into whether or not the couple was notified in 2012 when the law changed and also whether or not they had the up to date permits before then.

Gunfire meant for iguana terrified vacationing family

A North Carolina family said their idyllic vacation in Islamorada, Florida, was suddenly interrupted by a moment of terror on Wednesday morning when they heard a gunshot whistle past them and smack into the wooden dock at the Upper Matecumbe Key resort where they were staying. " Run, someone is shooting at us," Robert Wells, 54, said to his wife Ruth. Ruth Wells, 49, told detectives she whisked her children off the resort's beach, and the family locked themselves in their hotel room, according to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office report.

The family did hear at least one gunshot that may or may not have hit the dock. But it wasn't the Wells in the crosshairs. Rather, an iguana perched on the seawall of a house next to the Pines and Palms Resort at mile marker 80.4 was the intended target. And from the blood Sheriff's Office deputies found on top of the seawall, apparently it was a successful reptile hunt. Jeffrey Spencer Bennett, a gynaecologist who lives at mile marker 80.5 on the Old Highway, directly north of the oceanside resort, told deputies that he saw a large iguana sitting on the seawall of his 3-acre property. Bennett said he went inside his house and retrieved his .22-calibre Remington rifle.

He went back outside to the yard, where he said he shot the rifle once and the iguana fell into the water. He told deputies that he positioned himself to take the shot facing the water. No one was in his line of fire, he said. Bennett told police he is an experienced hunter and would never shoot in the direction of people. He also said he had between 10 to 20 higher-calibre guns locked in a safe in his home, "and he would not use them to shoot at iguanas," wrote Deputy Luis Gomez. Asked in an interview if he thinks the bullet went through the iguana and into the Pines and Palms dock, he responded, "Impossible." He declined to comment further.

Gomez said he stood on the dock where the Wells said they were when they heard the gunshot. He lay down on the dock and looked over and saw a "small indentation" in the wood. He said the indentation was facing north and toward Bennett's property. However, he added, "It is unknown if the indentation was caused by the projectile that struck the dock." Gomez and other deputies did not find any shell casings in Bennett's yard. The Wells told deputies they did not want to press charges against Bennett "because they felt it was not done intentionally," Gomez said. The State Attorney's Office is reviewing the case. Bennett faces one count of improper exhibition of a firearm, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Couple returned money after receiving bag full of cash at Burger King drive-through

After going through the drive-through at Burger King in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Friday, a local woman discovered that instead of the sweet tea and junior spicy chicken sandwich that she ordered, she got a bag full of money. Rather than keeping the cash, totalling $2,631, she went back to the restaurant with her husband and returned it.

At round 4:30pm Janelle Jones, of Rochester, had ordered a drink and a sandwich at the drive-through of the North Main St. restaurant. She was driving home when she discovered that the sandwich bag was actually full of cash, and there was no food inside. Jones called her husband, Matthew Jones, who suggested she come home so they could return the money together. At home, the couple inspected the bag and found the cash, most of which was inside two bank deposit bags.

There was also a loose $100 bill. Matthew Jones admitted, “We are not perfect human beings,” and said the couple had considered the possibility of keeping the money, adding they could have certainly used the cash. But he said he and his wife are Jehovah's Witnesses, and that “Jehovah sees everything.” When they returned the money about an hour later, the employees of the store were extremely thankful, he said.

“It felt a lot better than keeping it,” said Matthew Jones. Store employees at Rochester's Burger King confirmed the incident but chose not to comment on the story. “One person said 'they were going to get fired' so it felt good knowing we helped them keep their jobs,” Janelle said. “A manager told me they would give me five free meals,” Janelle added. “The manager said he talked to the corporate office and they said to tell me 'thank you.'”

Frenchman has created Valentine's Day fart pills

A French inventor of scented flatulence pills designed to make bodily gases smell more pleasant has added a new flavour to his repertoire, just in time for Valentine's Day. Christian Poincheval, 65, from north-western France has added the special Valentine's Day product to his array of scented flatulence pills designed to make wind less odious. His new St Valentine's ginger fart pills, mean loved-up couples don't have to worry about committing any faux-pas on the most romantic day of the year.

He chose ginger because of its fabled aphrodisiac qualities. "Say it with love, flavour your farts with ginger," reads the advert for the pills. Poincheval, who has been involved in homeopathy, claims the all-natural herbal medicine not only facilitates intestinal transit, but also neutralizes the odour of the gas let out. The the herb mixture in pills, which also come in rose and violet scents, are claimed to also help reduce bloating. The idea for the pills came to him six years ago after a rather disagreeable dinner with friends.

"We had just come back from Switzerland and we were eating a lot with our friends and the smell from the flatulence was really terrible. We couldn't breathe so me and a friend decided something had to be done," Poincheval said. "When we were vegetarian we noticed that our gas smelt like vegetables, like the odour from a cow pat, but when we started eating meat, the smell of the flatulence became much more disagreeable," he said.

"We needed to invent something that made them smell nicer." At that point Poincheval went to see a scientist in a lab to look at ways of inventing a natural remedy for the everyday problem. The pills cost €19.99 (£14.95, $22.40) for a packet of 60 and according to the inventor they have been approved by French health authorities. "We're not quite ready to be floated on the stock exchange, but we sell a few hundred jars every month. Everyone needs these kind of pills," he said.

Mysterious blue fox spotted at London hotel

A mysterious blue fox has been spotted at a Travelodge in south east London.

A worried guest at the Travelodge in Woolwich spotted the creature whilst at the hotel bar .

A man in the bar was able to befriend the fox by feeding it Doritos.

The animal was then escorted away from the hotel by staff.

Bubble machine brings joy to young gorillas

Playful gorillas are having great fun with their new toy - a bubble machine. The play-thing has been entertaining young western lowland gorillas at Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury in Kent.

The bubble machine was donated by a supporter of the park after keepers drew up a wish-list of useful items that would help enrich the animals' lives.

Animal director Neil Spooner said: "Enrichment is a vital part of how we care for our animals here and we are always looking for new and exciting themes.

YouTube link.

"Enrichment is just one of the many ways we keep our animals active and healthy." Lorna Wanless, head of the gorilla section at Howletts, said: "Jouki and Nkoumou love trying to catch them and Nkoumou even managed to pop one."

Festive onesie-wearer’s jaw broken after he was mistaken for a Power Ranger

A onesie-wearing man had his jaw broken in an unprovoked attack on a night out after being mistaken for a Power Ranger. Andy Mulligan, 24, was dressed in a red all-in-one, with a Christmas tree on the front, when he was knocked out outside the Revolution bar in the Electric Press in Leeds city centre. It later emerged his attacker had confused him with another customer he’d had a scuffle with inside the bar who was dressed up as one of the characters from children’s television show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Mr Mulligan, of Alwoodley, said: “It was a totally unprovoked attack. I’ve got a friend who knows someone who was knocked out in similar circumstances and they died as a result. He needs locking up.” Mr Mulligan had been drinking with his rugby team and was standing outside the bar when he was attacked. “I think he might have shouted ‘Oi!’ but the next thing I knew I’d turned round and he’d smacked me in the face and knocked me out. Apparently he was half way down the street before I hit the ground.”

Mr Mulligan didn’t go to hospital until the following day, when he found out he had broken his jaw. He was on soft foods for several weeks. “The fact that I wasn’t more seriously injured is down to luck more than anything,” he said. Police have examined CCTV but are still looking for the attacker over the incident, which happened on December 18. The attacker was described as white, aged in his late twenties to early thirties, about 5ft 10ins tall and of medium to stocky build.

He has brown hair which was longer on top and was wearing a dark red or burgundy long-sleeved top and carrying a jacket. It has been suggested he may have been called Lee. Detective Constable Kate Hutton, of Leeds district CID, said: “The victim was left seriously injured in what we believe was a completely unprovoked attack where it appears he was mistaken for someone the suspect had been involved in scuffle with earlier on the dancefloor. I would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident.”