Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Smile for the camera

Would a dog abuse a biscuit on demand button?

Cooper the Shih Tzu was given a biscuit on demand button.

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It appears he wasted no time abusing his new powers.

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Professor wants university's mascot to display a wider array of facial expressions

A University of Iowa professor is asking for the Department of Athletics to allow the university’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, to display a wider array of facial expressions. “I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of paediatrics at UI, wrote recently in an email to UI athletic department officials. “And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words.

“However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, face conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence is not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.” Oral said she has been concerned for some time with the lack of emotional variety displayed by the university’s long-standing mascot. Her intention, she said, is to bring diversity to how Herky feels, not to eliminate the ambitious, competitive, go-getter Herky.

Athletic department officials said they are looking into some concerns raised by Oral but note that the request is complicated. "UI athletic department officials are aware of this request and are in the process of formulating a response in regard to Herky," Steve Roe, the department's director of communications. The problem is that, if the university is to maintain the value of its brand and logo, then the university needs to keep that brand and logo unchanged and recognisable for as long as possible, said Dale Arens, director of UI's trademark licensing programme.

Herky has been the symbol of UI and its intercollegiate athletic teams for more than 60 years. The cartoon image was created in 1948 by Richard Spencer, an instructor of journalism at UI, and the character earned its name through a statewide contest staged by the department. Over the next decade, the mascot came to life at football games with a black leather head and gold felt feathers. After decades, the costume for the life-size Herky was changed two years ago to a fuzzy-faced, thick-browed Herky, with teeth perpetually bared into a half-smile or half-grimace.

Police saved man’s life with Heimlich manoeuvre before arresting him over drugs he coughed up

A police officer in Buffalo, New York, saved a choking man’s life by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, but after the man coughed up a bag of cocaine, he arrested him.

Central District Officers Sean McCabe and Omar Rodriguez said they were on routine patrol on Thursday when they saw Bryan Ramos sitting outside a vacant house. When they approached Ramos for questioning and for a pat down, he put a pack of cigarettes that appeared to contain drugs in his mouth, according to an arrest report.

Ramos struggled, and he was pulled by the officers to the ground. He continued to resist, so the officers sprayed him with pepper spray. Ramos began having a hard time breathing, and was turning purple, so McCabe performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him. Officers said Ramos coughed up the cigarette pack containing a plastic bag of cocaine.

Ramos, 23, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and criminal trespass following the incident. After his arrest, Ramos told the officers his cousin had asked him to hold the items. “If there is something in that bag I am (in deep trouble). That bag is huge. I know it’s probably a B felony,” Ramos said, according to police.

Burglary suspect left behind a T-shirt with his name on it

A man accused of breaking into two businesses in Racine, Wisconsin, in late July allegedly left a shirt with his name ironed into it at one of the crime scenes. On July 28, Racine police officers were dispatched to the Port of Call liquor store on a report of a burglary.

When police arrived, the observed two broken glass doors leading into the store in addition to a grey T-shirt laying in the entrance way. Police observed that the cash register had been taken. When they talked with the owners, they indicated the cash in the register was about $300 and the register itself was valued at about $1,000.

When police reviewed the security footage, they observed that the T-shirt on the floor contained the name "Dustin Brannon" ironed onto it. Officers looked up the aforementioned name in their lookup system and found a picture of Brannon. They compared the photo with Port of Call's security footage and made the match.

Brannon is also accused of robbing a second Racine-area business, a Citgo gas station. Brannon, 35, of Trevor, is being held in the Racine County Jail on a $2,500 cash bond. He has been charged with two counts of felony burglary that carry a combined maximum of 24 years of incarceration if he is convicted. Brannon's next appearance in court is Sep. 1.

Police used fishing hook to capture alleged criminal in canal

Police in Queensland, Australia, went to great lengths to catch an alleged armed criminal on the Gold Coast, chasing him down in a teenager's dinghy and finally capturing him with a gaff hook.

Officers said the man, 38, fled when they arrived at a Palm Beach house on Sunday morning over reports he was seen armed with a knife and trying to enter a house.

Neighbour David Rowe said the man tried to get away by jumping a number of fences into the nearby canal, where he tried to swim to the other side. Quick thinking police saw three teenagers cruising past in a dinghy and commandeered their vessel. "He was in the water a good 20 minutes or so before they used the gaff hook and pulled him to shore," Mr Rowe said.

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The alleged offender could been seen trying to swim away despite being hooked, until he was dragged to shore where three officers were waiting. The man, from Maroochydore, has been charged with possessing a knife, trespass and assault or obstruct police officer. "I've seen some weird arrests, but this is the weirdest one I've seen in a while," a Queensland police spokesman said.

Village abandoned by its residents due to hoax ghost threat

A village in Jharkhand, India, has been abandoned by its residents due to a hoax ghost threat.

Reportedly, at least 10 people of the Parhiya caste in Khirakhar in the Latehar district have died in the past year.

This has frightened the residents of the presence of some supernatural powers in the village.

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However, residents of nearby villages claim that it’s the lack of proper medication and diagnosis due to which these people have died. The village also lacks basic water and electricity facilities.

Woman says she came face-to-face with Old Stinker the werewolf

A woman has described the moment she came face-to-face with the notorious werewolf Old Stinker. Jemma Waller, an animal rescue worker, was driving through the East Riding of Yorkshire village of Halsham when she believes she saw the legendary creature. The 24-year-old said the beast looked like a big dog "with a human face". Ms Waller was with two friends at the time of the sighting. She said: "We were driving down this country lane on our way to get some pizza and my friend in the back seat said that he had seen a fox.

"I looked on my driver's side and saw this beast on all fours who started to walk straight towards my car on two legs. It looked like a big dog, probably bigger than my car, but it had a human face. It also had this cream and grey fur. My automatic reaction was to keep on driving, but thankfully it didn't keep coming towards me. It just turned around and ran off diagonally. Everyone in the car was really shaken. We'd never seen anything like that before." The party stopped their car at a nearby petrol station to calm themselves down.

When concerned staff asked what was wrong, the friends described what they had seen. Staff then told them about the Beast of Barmston Drain. Ms Waller said: "We had never heard about it before, but when we started reading up about it, it was exactly like what we saw. It just made us more scared to be honest and I didn't get any sleep that night. It was just like a horror movie." Sightings of "Old Stinker" are believed to date back to the 18th century when wolves still stalked the countryside.

In one report from the 1960s, a lorry driver said a creature had tried to smash its way through his windscreen as he drove along a remote Wolds road. Last month, Hull City Council officially confirmed it has no written policy on dealing with werewolves after a resident submitted a freedom of information request. Wayne Carr asked if a risk assessment had been "undertaken on Barmston Drain with regards to werewolves". The council replied by saying it had no written policy on werewolves, no record of werewolf-related risk assessments and no secret stock of silver bullets locked away in a Guildhall cupboard.

Man wearing red dress robbed sex shop at gunpoint

A gunman wearing a red dress and wig who carried out an armed robbery at a sex shop in Liverpool is being sought by police. The robber who was also wearing a grey cap and white gloves struck at adult store Nice’n’Naughty in the city centre at 5.40pm on Sunday.

The man brandished a black handgun, which was used to threaten a member of staff. Following a brief struggle, the man snatched money from the counter before leaving the shop. Now police have issued CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to following the raid.

Detective Inspector Steve McGrath from Liverpool CID said: "We are keen to speak with the man pictured to assist us in our enquiries. The staff at the shop were thankfully unhurt but understandably distressed to be threatened with what had the appearance of a firearm, regardless of whether it was real or fake.

"I would appeal to anyone who saw a man dressed as described and acting suspiciously to contact police at once. We have spoken with the owners and staff to offer reassurance but I want to assure all businesses that we will do everything possible to identify this offender and bring him to justice, and ensure Liverpool City Centre is a safe place to live, work and visit."

Not-so-thin Lizzy the overweight monitor lizard reunited with owner thanks to the RSPCA

A three-foot long monitor lizard that went missing from a back garden in Suffolk has been reunited with his owner thanks to the RSPCA. Lizzy had already been rescued and re-homed after he was overfed by his previous owner and was overweight. The giant reptile, who weighs in at around 6kgs, had been on a strict diet and exercise regime since New Year and had escaped from his garden enclosure in the warm weather.

The lizard was found hiding underneath a piece of corrugated metal a week after going missing by passers-by in fields in Kelsale on August 22nd. RSPCA Inspector James Finch said: “I was shocked when I first saw this lizard – at a first glance he could easily be mistaken for a crocodile, he is huge. I have only ever seen one monitor lizard before, but it was nothing like this. This one was so big – and very strong too.

“He was clearly overweight and was lost – and a bit grumpy about it. The person that found him had managed to contain him in a trailer and called us to help. Thankfully his owner was tracked down and we could reunite them fairly swiftly.” It is believed the recent spell of warm weather made not-so-thin Lizzy more energetic during his afternoon exercise, prompting him to escape into the nearby field. Insp Finch said: “The owner was so relieved to get his lizard back.

“He had been cutting down shrubbery in his garden desperately trying to find him, but with no luck. It was lovely to be able to reunite them again.” Dr Ros Clubb, exotics scientist for the RSPCA, said: “Lizards like this would not survive long-term in the wild in this country so it is lucky he was found when he was. It is great that his owner is taking such care to exercise him and make him lose weight. With reptiles this is a very slow process as their metabolism is slow. So this shows dedication getting him to stick to his regime.”

Monday, August 29, 2016


Otter expertly juggles with two stones

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Man fought boredom by walking around motel while completely naked

A man from Greenfield, Massachusetts, told police he decided to fight his boredom by walking around a motel while completely naked. Police arrested Alfred Henderson, 40, after he admitted he purposely walked around the Red Roof Inn naked, according to a police report filed in Framingham District Court.

Early on Wednesday morning, motel employees told police they were in the lobby when a fully naked man walked by carrying an ice bucket. He went to the vending machine area and returned to his room. One of the two women said they had seen the man walking around wearing nothing but a T-shirt earlier, police said.

Police knocked on his room door and were greeted by Henderson. “He said, ‘You are probably looking for me.’” Henderson admitted to walking around nude. When asked why, he said, “Boredom.” “Alfred exposed himself openly and recklessly disregarding a substantial risk to public exposure,” police said.

Police arrested Henderson and charged him with open and gross lewdness. At Henderson’s Framingham District Court arraignment prosecutors did not ask for bail and Judge David Frank released him. Henderson is due back in court on Oct. 16 for a pretrial conference.

Disabled dog's wheelchair stolen from family's porch

A special wheelchair used by a disabled dog was stolen from his owners’ porch in Long Beach, Washington.

Charley, a 6-year-old black Labrador, has used the custom-made chair to get around since he lost feeling in his hind legs a year and a half ago. Charley’s owners, Rod Beauregard and Leoni Wolf, usually keep the two-wheeled vehicle inside, but it was left outside recently, and the wheelchair, which cost around $400, together with the ramp Charley used were stolen.

Rod and Leoni say they can tell he wants to play and chase his ball, but he can’t. Since the theft, they have been transporting him outside using a blanket. “I don’t know what’s happening with the world. People just seem to be taking more and more from each other,” said Leoni. “He can’t walk now, he can’t run for his ball, he can’t get up, he can’t stand up, and he’s sad about it,” Rod added.

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Rod says he can't understand why someone would steal his dog's wheelchair, but he has an idea. "It has BMX wheels on it. Someone could put it on a bike. They're going to throw the other piece away probably," he said. However, a family friend created a GoFundMe account to raise money to replace the chair and within hours of the page going up, the funds were met.

Residents concerned about clown apparently attempting to lure children into the woods

A note some residents of Greenville County, South Carolina, found on their apartment doors has them concerned for the safety of their neighbourhood. Residents at Fleetwood Manor Apartments reportedly received letters on Wednesday stating the property management has received complaints of a person dressed as a clown trying to “lure children into the woods.”

The letter, which appears to be printed on Fleetwood Manor Apartments letterhead, reminds the public children should never be alone or walking through the woods at night. The property management in the letter indicates Greenville County law enforcement is conducting daily patrols of the property due to the reports.

Donna Arnold, one of the people residing at the complex who received the letter, said she called the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office to come out to Fleetwood Manor after her son and others reported seeing clowns behind the basketball court. “I thought my child was seeing things,” Arnold said.

“And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?” Community activist Bruce Wilson said he is getting involved at the apartments to make sure children are safe, even if the sightings turn out to be harmless. “We have about two to three hundred children out here,” Wilson said. “I want to make sure that law enforcement is doing the right thing.”

With news video.

Naked tomato thief on the loose

Police in Toronto, Canada, say a naked tomato thief is on the loose.

They say that at about 8pm on Friday night, officers received a call about a naked man who was seen in a residential backyard.

"He was soaping himself up" and washing off with a hose. The garden intruder then took off with tomatoes from the backyard.

Toronto police say officers arrived at the home, but the man had fled the scene. A search was conducted in the neighbourhood, but police say neither the man nor the tomatoes could be found.

Teenager on the run requested that the media used a 'better photo' of her

A teenager on the run from police in Australia asked a TV station to use a 'better photo' of her when reporting her escape. Amy Sharp is alleged to have broken out of a police station in Sydney before running away.

As is fairly standard practice, police issued a statement accompanied by two photographs they had taken of the 18-year-old in a bid to find the youngster. But the search took an unexpected turn when the pictures and police statement were uploaded onto Sydney's 7 News Facebook page. The first person to comment on the story and the photos was Ms Sharp herself.

Clearly unhappy with how she looked in the police mugshots, in which she wore a glum expression and a red blanket draped over her shoulders, she uploaded a more flattering shot in the comments section of the page with a simple request: "Can you use this photo please, and thank you. Yours truly, Amy Sharp xx" The comment was accompanied with a smiling emoji with a halo.

Police said that Ms Sharp was in the Surry Hills Corrective Services Cell Complex when she fled from staff and was last seen running away. Police did not consider her a risk to members of the public saying she had been in custody for property offences. She was later caught in Wentworth Park, not far from where she allegedly escaped. She has now been charged with escaping lawful custody.

Big bottom contest banned following outcry

The government of Burkina Faso has banned an annual beauty contest for women with the biggest buttocks, saying such events are sexist.

Advertisements for this weekend’s third edition of “Miss Bim-Bim”, carrying an image of two fully clothed women with exaggeratedly large behinds, provoked an outcry. “Our role is to do everything to avoid damaging the image of women,” said Minister Laure Zongo in a statement, adding that criticism had persuaded her to act.

The male organiser of the event, Hamado Doambahe, said it aimed to promote a more positive body image for African women and encourage fashion designers to use African costumes. Contests like Miss Bim-Bim have been held in other West African countries. Women’s rights groups have mixed views about the tendency in many African cultures to celebrate women with larger bodies than are typically admired elsewhere.

While they welcome the shift away from the unnaturally thin female shapes promoted by the global fashion industry, they deplore the emphasis on men judging women’s body shapes. The head of Burkina Faso’s High Council for Communications, Nathalie Some, called for people in advertising, the media and the arts to protect the rights of women and girls.

Woman left heartbroken and unable to sleep after theft of life-size model goat

A woman has been left ‘heartbroken’ after thieves stole her life-size model of a goat which she had received as a wedding present. Annie Anthony-Mays, 58, said she has been unable to sleep at night ever since ‘Billy’ was stolen from her allotment in Ecclesall, Sheffield.

Annie said the model goat was given as a present from friends when she married husband Tony in June 2007. Annie, of Ecclesall, said: “I am so upset. Ever since it was stolen I haven’t been able to sleep at night. It was a wedding present and it means a lot to me. I’m heartbroken, to be honest. I really love Billy.

“I just can’t understand why anybody would steal something like this. It’s not worth any money, but does have great sentimental value to me. I’m worried that it will be completely ruined if I ever see it again.” Annie noticed the theft when she arrived to do work on her allotment last Sunday afternoon.

She said thieves stole a wheelbarrow in order to take the goat, as well as a range of gardening equipment. “I just want Billy returned safely,” said Annie. “He’s been a part of my life for nine years now and I have taken him with me with every house move and so on. I have been running around the area looking for him, in case it has been dumped somewhere, but I have had no joy. I hope he turns up.”

Man admitted to being drunk and disorderly after wearing a traffic cone on his head

A young man ended up in court after wearing a traffic cone on his head during a drunken prank. Daniel O’Donnell thought it was just a harmless jape but police failed to see the funny side and arrested him for being drunk and disorderly. The 20-year-old, of Worcester, appeared before city magistrates on Thursday and admitted being drunk and disorderly in a public place following the incident on July 31.

But his solicitor suggested it should never have come to court in the first place. Giles Rowden, prosecuting, said: “Police see the defendant. He has a traffic cone on his head. They go and speak to him. He smells of alcohol. They form the opinion, perhaps not surprisingly, that he’s drunk. When they see him again with the cone on his head and apparently taking selfies of wearing the cone, police lose patience with him. Quite frankly, they have had enough and arrest him for drunk and disorderly” said Mr Rowden.

Sarah Brady, defending, said: “He thought it was funny at the time. It wasn’t upsetting anyone but police told him to stop. He accepts he did carry on with the cone on his head. He wasn’t intending to take it home or anything. He was drunk. It was the early hours. He was in a thoroughly good mood. He thought it was funny. The police disagreed. This is his first and, one hopes, only conviction at the age of 20.” She said the forklift worker had been working since he left college and earned £360 per week.

She added: “He doesn’t think he has a problem with alcohol but intends to stop doing stupid things under the influence of alcohol. He spent a night in the cells. In the old days, when I started, that would have been seen as sufficient by the police who would not have bothered to charge him and bring him to court as well. A fixed penalty notice was not considered either. But here we are. As drunk and disorderly goes this is one of the most harmless I have personally encountered. He’s lost his good name by this jape.” Magistrates handed him a conditional discharge for six months and ordered him to pay £135 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.