Monday, August 31, 2009

Clinics Turn Away Gunshot Victims

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Pivate clinics in Ciudad Juarez, the scene of a bloody turf war between rival drug cartels, are refusing to treat victims of gunshot wounds due to the risk to their staff and other patients. Representatives of the clinics told authorities that they could no longer receive this type of patients because cartel hit men have gone to hospitals to finish off a member of a rival drug mob who survived an attack.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Woman has operation to turn brown eyes blue

UK - When Shenise Farrell read on the internet about an operation which could turn her dark brown eyes light blue, she wasted no time in heading off to Panama. Less than two weeks later, British surgeons were battling to save her sight. They had to repair a hole in her iris and remove implants. It is unclear whether she will suffer long-term damage ? and her eyes are still brown.

Texas-3 Boaters Rescued After Coast Guard Gives Up

PORT ARANSAS, Texas - Three Texas boaters missing for a week were reunited with their families after they were found alive, sitting on top of their capsized catamaran 180 miles from land. The Coast Guard had called off its search after scouring 86,000 square miles of water without finding them.

Weird Ex-traffic cop claims he is the son of God

Siberia, Russia - The beard and long hair are both present and correct. And with his flowing linen robes and beatific smile he certainly does a fine impression of a holy man. But to his believers in this remote corner of Siberia, Sergei Torop, a former traffic policeman, is the literal reincarnation of none other than Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

American cons benefit from bailout bungle

WASHINGTON (AFP) ? The US government sent checks by mistake to 1,700 inmates around the country as part of efforts to jump-start the crisis-hit American economy, officials said Thursday.

The prisoners "received the economic recovery payment because our records did not accurately reflect that they were in prison," said Social Security Administration spokesman Dan Moraski.

The checks were for an average of about 250 dollars, meaning the mistake cost the government around 425,000 dollars.

A total of 3,900 inmates received checks under President Barack Obama's stimulus plan earlier this year, but 2,200 were entitled to receive them as they were not incarcerated when lawmakers approved the payments, distributed to some 52 million people.

Police: Pa. man smashed Yankees affiliate's trophy

SCRANTON, Pa. ? A northeastern Pennsylvania man has been charged with smashing a championship trophy won by a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Lackawanna County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dominick Manetti says 40-year-old Michael Cortezar entered the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees administrative offices during Thursday night's game upset about a catering problem. Manetti says Cortezar then grabbed the 2008 Governors' Cup from a trophy case and smashed it on the floor.

The farm club won the International League title last year to capture the trophy.

Manetti says Cortezar was arraigned Friday on charges including vandalism and making terroristic threats. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 2.

A woman who answered the phone at Cortezar's Peckville home said he had no comment.

Not a baa-d price: Record fee for Scottish ram

LONDON ? A British farmer who paid a new world record price for a sheep says the animal is the finest specimen he has ever seen.

Farmer Jimmy Douglas shelled out 231,000 pounds ($347,000) for the 8-month-old Texel ram called Deveronvale Perfection at an annual sale in Lanark, Scotland.

Douglas says the ram has "a great body and strong loin."

The British Texel Sheep Society says the fee paid Thursday is a world record, eclipsing a 205,00-pound price paid in Australia in 1989.

Society member John Yates says the ram will likely father pedigree lambs worth millions of pounds (dollars) for his new owner.

Breeder Graham Morrison, of Banff, Scotland, says he was staggered by the price but insists Deveronvale Perfection lives up to his name.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Federal Reserve Board chairman hit by identity theft

Washington DC - The Federal Reserve Board chairman was one of hundreds of victims of an elaborate identity-fraud ring, headed by a convicted scam artist known as “Big Head,” that stole more than $2.1 million from unsuspecting consumers and at least 10 financial institutions around the country. Ben Bernanke learned that a thief had swiped his wife’s purse, including the couple’s joint check book. Days later, someone started cashing checks on the Bernanke family bank account. More…

Blowing Smoke at Terrorists-So What?

Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the 9-11 commission report, was the mastermind of the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the U.S.S. Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Nashiri was also the target of an "unauthorized" CIA interrogation technique (that had not been legally vetted by the Justice Department) that is described in a May 7, 2004, CIA inspector general's report that was partially declassified by the Obama administration this week.

CIA officers blew smoke in Nashiri's face, according to the report, and they used cigars.

The IG's office described this smoke-blowing as one of several "unauthorized or undocumented techniques" it discovered had been used in isolated incidents by CIA employees interrogating high-level al-Qaida terrorists.

"An Agency (redacted phrase) interrogator admitted that, in December 2002, he and another (redacted phrase) smoked cigars and blew cigar smoke in al-Nashiri's face during the interrogation," said the IG report.

The IG, however, was unable to clearly establish that the smoke-blowing was intended to force Nashiri to cough up what he knew about al-Qaida's plans.

"The interrogator claimed they did this to 'cover the stench' in the room and to help keep the interrogators alert late at night," said the IG report. "This interrogator said he would not do this again based on 'perceived criticism.' Another agency interrogator admitted that he also smoked cigars during two sessions with al-Nashiri to mask the stench in the room. He claimed he did not deliberately force smoke into al-Nashiri's face." The interrogators learned their lesson: Don't blow smoke at terrorists...More

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Police say man fell asleep in the wrong home

STRATFORD, Conn. — Police charged a man with burglary and disorderly conduct after he allegedly wandered into a neighbor's home, stripped off his clothes and fell asleep in a 6-year-old's bed. A man, 26, was arrested early Sunday after a child in a house woke his parents to tell them a man was asleep in his bed. When officers arrived, the residents were screaming for help from a second-floor window.

Officers said the man's clothes, which smelled of urine and alcohol, had been dropped on the floor. They said the man admitted drinking at a New Haven club but denied he was in the wrong house.

The suspect was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 1.

Information from: Connecticut Post

Monday, August 24, 2009

Missouri woman donates kidney to her neighbor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Few things can be more neighborly than offering your kidney to a friend. Two Kansas City women have lived next door to each other for 30 years. But Claudine Jackson and Jo Ann Walz really got to know each other after Walz donated her kidney to Jackson.

The two had always been friendly, but have grown much closer over the past three years as Walz helped with car rides to dialysis treatments, doctor's appointments and the grocery store.

The kind act ended two years of waiting on a national kidney waiting list.

Jackson moved onto Fuller Avenue in south Kansas City in 1977. Walz moved in next door about a year later.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cop Busted Smoking Pot

You would think the police officer exams that are administered by departments would come with a common sense exam, but who the hell are we going to get to write it up? Heh, that was almost poetry.

Three cops were caught smoking pot in a police van, according to

Police: Man wearing Speedo tried to steal vehicles

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — A burglary suspect wearing only a Speedo-style swimsuit has been arrested in Connecticut after a police dog tracked him down and bit him on the leg. Police say they spotted the suspect in East Hartford on Thursday wearing the bathing suit and holding a toolbox that had been stolen from a truck. They say he tried to steal several vehicles and also took items from them.

Police say he tried to run from them, but a police dog found him hiding behind a car.

The Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported that he was being held after his arrest on $50,000 bail. He was scheduled for arraignment Friday, but the result of that hearing was not immediately available.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Remember the Face on Mars Picture?

Thirty-three years ago, in one of the first images sent back from Mars, people thought they detected the likeness of a human face rising from the dust of the red planet. The photo was captured by Viking 1, the first spacecraft to successfully travel to and land on Mars.

The image inspired tabloid headlines like “Monkey Face on Mars” and books like Richard Hoagland’s The Monuments of Mars, in which Hoagland claimed, based on the photos, to have seen “an entire city laid out — on Mars! — with the precision of a Master Architect. I had indeed discovered some kind of artificially constructed Martian ‘complex.’”

Once the public saw the “Face on Mars,” as it came to be called, people became interested in the neighboring planet and possible life there. The trouble, says Smithsonian geologist John Grant of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, is that people assumed it was a sign of advanced alien life.

Ryan Jenkins Not Arrested

Buena Park Detective Lieutenant Steve Holiday tells TMZ that the U.S. Marshal's office informed his department the man arrested tonight at a Toronto airport was not Ryan Jenkins.

Authorities boarded a plane and arrested a man they believed to be Ryan Jenkins, but authorities tell us it was not him.

Jenkins is still on the loose. The man taken into custody in Toronto tonight reportedly has been released.

Comedian Robin Williams was hospitalized over heart trouble

Comedian Robin Williams was hospitalized over heart trouble while in South Florida Wednesday, Miami media outlets report. Williams cancelled four scheduled performances of his one-man show.

Robin Williams in the Hospital
Robin Williams reportedly went to the intensive care unit at a hospital in the area after complaining of shortness of breath. Doctors recommended he take a full week of rest, the Los Angeles Times learned.

Williams, 57, has been touring with his “Weapons of Self Destruction” show since September. The show is set to go through 80 different cities.

As of now, Williams is scheduled to take the stage in Jacksonville, Fla. next Monday.

Is Comedian Robin Williams Dead? Did he really die?

The internet is a buzz with stories of Comedian Robin Williams dying. Well all we have found is that he had open heart surgery in March 2009.

This is the problem with the web and it's hyper information junkies! They are to quick to pull the trigger and push enter on untrue or unfactual info.
Robin Williams, well i hope you are not dead. If So RIP!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Man spells out marriage proposal in Ohio field

KALIDA, Ohio – A wheat farm has become a field of dreams for an Ohio woman whose boyfriend spelled out a marriage proposal on the land and took her up in a plane to see it. Aleasha Decker, 23, said she was excited and stunned when she read the question, "Aleasha, marry me?" in 20-foot, sheet plastic letters. They sat atop a harvested field in Kalida, about 60 miles southwest of Toledo in northwestern Ohio.

New husband-to-be Jason Kahle got some help from his father, who farms the land and flies a small plane. When they took Decker into the air on Aug. 9, they said the purpose was to photograph some relatives' houses.

After Decker spotted the message, she turned to find Kahle with a ring.

A June 5, 2010, wedding is now in the works.

Woman sues zoo over splashing dolphins

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A woman is suing a Chicago-area zoo for a 2008 fall near a dolphin exhibit, accusing zookeepers of encouraging the mammals to splash water and then failing to protect spectators from wet surfaces, local media reported on Thursday.

In her suit filed earlier this week, Allecyn Edwards said she was injured while walking near an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, where a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were performing, media said.

Officials "recklessly and willfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands, making the floor wet and slippery," but failed to post warning signs or lay down protective mats or strips, the suit said, according to the reports.

Edwards is demanding more than $50,000 for lost wages, medical expenses and emotional trauma from the Chicago Zoological Society and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, which operate the zoo in Chicago's southwest suburbs.

The suit was filed in Illinois' Circuit Court of Cook County.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

London Putpockets give a little extra cash

LONDON (Reuters) – Visitors to London always have to be on the look out for pickpockets, but now there's another, more positive phenomenon on the loose -- putpockets.

Aware that people are suffering in the economic crisis, 20 former pickpockets have turned over a new leaf and are now trawling London's tourist sites slipping money back into unsuspecting pockets.

Anything from 5 pounds ($8) to 20 pound notes is being surreptitiously deposited in unguarded pockets or open handbags in Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and other busy spots.

The initiative, which runs until the end of August in London before being rolled out countrywide, is being funded by a broadbrand provider, which says it wants to brighten up people's lives in unusual ways.

"It feels good to give something back for a change -- and Britons certainly need it in the current economic climate," said Chris Fitch, a former pickpocket who now heads TalkTalk's putpocketing initiative.

"Every time I put money back in someone's pocket, I feel less guilty about the fact I spent many years taking it out."

London's police have been briefed about the plan, which will see at least 100,000 pounds given away.

(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Kate Kelland)

Fla. man pretends to be disabled in bizarre scam

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A Florida woman was duped into changing diapers and providing care for a man she met through Craigslist who feigned disabilities. Turns out the man who hired Janet Schulte to look after an adult brother with diminished mental capacity was the same guy she bottle-fed and treated like a child for 3 months.

Schulte said the worst thing is that authorities can't go after the man because he appears not to have committed any crime. Though the man lied, he typically paid the agreed $600 weekly for her services.

Schulte said he never broke character, and on the phone always gave an excuse when she tried to meet his "brother."

She and her husband got suspicious and found the man out after subtle behavior changes and a few late payments.

Stupid News-Facebook Squirrel becomes a Web sensation

WASHINGTON (AFP) – There's a squirrel popping up all over the Internet.

The rodent first made its appearance in a holiday photo taken by an American couple in Canada and has gone on to become a Web sensation.

Melissa Brandts and her husband, Jackson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, were taking a time delay picture of themselves in front of a lake at Canada's Banff National Park when the squirrel jumped into the frame.

Melissa Brandts submitted the picture to National Geographic's "Your Shot" photo gallery with an explanation of how the unusual picture came about.

"We had our camera set up on some rocks and were getting ready to take the picture when this curious little ground squirrel appeared, became intrigued with the sound of the focusing camera and popped right into our shot!"

"A once in a lifetime moment! We were laughing about this little guy for days!!"

The holiday photo has since gone viral on the Internet and websites such as "The Squirrelizer" have sprung up in which the photo of the squirrel can be inserted into any picture.

The squirrel even has its own page on Facebook created by Melissa Brandts with more than 2,000 members at last count.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Media focus on minister's kiss at flu event

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish newspapers splashed photos Saturday of the health minister failing to practice her own advice to avoid kissing in an H1N1 flu awareness campaign.

The front pages of El Mundo and another national newspaper featured pictures of Trinidad Jimenez kissing news conference assistants twice on the cheek before she went on to warn against kissing as a way to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus.

Jimenez's health campaign, launched Friday, recommended measures such as washing hands frequently, using tissues when sneezing or coughing and avoiding kissing and sharing glasses.

The news conference was held hours before the virus claimed its eleventh victim in the country, a 31-year-old woman.

Widow sells husband's tomb above Marilyn Monroe

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An American widow is selling her husband's burial spot directly above film legend Marilyn Monroe so that she can pay off her mortgage.

Elsie Poncher has put an advert on eBay to auction off the tomb in Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles.

"Here is a once in a lifetime and into eternity opportunity to spend your eternal days directly above Marilyn Monroe," says the advertisement.

"In fact the person occupying the address right now is looking face down on her."

The burial plot is currently occupied by the late Richard Poncher, described by his widow as an entrepreneur who bought two tombs from baseball player Joe DiMaggio, Monroe's ex-husband, as the pair were divorcing in 1954.

Monroe died at the age of 36 in 1962. Poncher died at the age of 81 in 1986.

Elsie Poncher said she would move her husband's remains over one spot into a crypt intended as her final resting place if the sale was successful and she would be cremated instead when the time came.

Bidding for the plot opened at $500,000 and had reached $2.5 million by Sunday. No one from eBay was immediately available to comment on the bidding process or to give more details.

Poncher told the Los Angeles Times that she hoped to raise enough money to pay off the $1.6 million mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.

"I can't be more honest than that," she told the newspaper. "I want to leave it free and clear for my kids."

The Westwood Village Memorial Park is home to many celebrities, including Dean Martin, James Coburn, Roy Orbison, Truman Capote, Natalie Wood, and, from this year, Farrah Fawcett.

Playboy's Hugh Hefner bought the crypt beside Monroe in 1992.

Russians cry foul over government's golden bed

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia's government has issued a tender for luxury furniture, including a gilded bed, triggering an outcry Wednesday in a country where the economy shrank 10.9 percent in the last quarter.

The interior ministry said it wanted a cherry wood bed and that the "the decorative elements of the head and footboards must be covered with a thin layer of 24 carat gold."

The total value of the furniture tender was 24.4 million roubles (461,000 pound), according to the procurement agency's site

"I cannot imagine the need to purchase expensive items during such a difficult financial situation for the country," wrote blogger shortly after the details became public.

The tender announcement said the bed should be sent to the ministry headquarters. Other items must be delivered to an address in an exclusive dacha district on Moscow's outskirts.

According to Russian newspaper Vedomosti, this is where several senior officials in the interior ministry reside in state-owned homes.

"Golden toilets would be more logical...and a negotiating table should be made of bulletproof and shock resistant material," wrote one comment on the Vedomosti website.

The publication of the tenders comes as part of Russian efforts to improve transparency and boost public confidence in efforts to cut corruption by holding public competitions for state purchases.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Actor in swine flu ad catches swine flu

UK - The actor from a popular UK public service announcement about how to avoid swine flu has been diagnosed with swine flu. In the advertisement from the U.K. Department of Health, actor David McCusker first sneezes the wrong way in an elevator, spraying mucus everywhere, then sneezes the right way into a tissue, which he promptly throws away and washes his hands..More

Canada’s health care system imploding

SASKATOON - The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country’s health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it. Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country recognize that changes must be made. We all agree that the system is imploding...More

Monday, August 17, 2009

UFO sightings may have been down to "X Files"

LONDON (Reuters) – A cluster of UFO sightings over Britain in 1996 may have had more to do with public fascination with TV shows like the "X Files" than extraterrestrial activity, according to files released by the National Archives on Monday.

Documents from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) indicated there were 609 UFO sightings in 1996, compared with 117 in 1995. This coincided with the rise in popularity of the X Files and the release of the alien blockbuster film "Independence Day."

The files, which span 15 years and contain more than 4,000 pages, show that for most cases the UFO sightings had ordinary explanations such as bright stars and planets, meteors, artificial satellites and balloons.

In one incident in 1995, two men in the midland county of Staffordshire told police they saw an alien with a lemon-shaped head emerge from a hovering UFO and tell them "We want you; come with us."

Another case detailed dozens of sightings of a brightly illuminated oval object in London during 1993 and 1994 which was later explained as an airship advertising the launch of the Ford Mondeo car.

Despite most cases having a mundane reason behind them, some 10 percent were classed as "unexplained."

For these, the MoD said there was "insufficient information" which is why it continued to collect reports.

The files also add a new detail on Britain's best known UFO incident, the Rendlesham Forest sightings of December 1980 in which American airforce men saw a series of mysterious lights.

The then government of Margaret Thatcher summarily dismissed the affair but a letter from a former chief of defence staff in 1985 warned it not to be so cavalier.

"The case has puzzling and disquieting features which have never been satisfactorily explained ... which continue to preoccupy informed sections of the public," said the letter.

The files can be seen on Website

Executive killed by a boulder

Colorado - A prominent Sprint Nextel Corp. executive was killed when a boulder crashed through the windshield of his vehicle while he and his family were driving in Colorado. The Colorado State Patrol said a boulder the size of a briefcase fell off a mountain and crashed through the windshield of the family’s Chevy Tahoe...More

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rubber Ball Fetish

Christopher Bjerkness, 31, was arrested in Duluth, Minn., in July and charged with another episode of breaking into a gym facility and slashing numerous large rubber exercise balls. He had acknowledged a sexual urge to slash that type of ball following a conviction in 2006 for cutting up 70 balls in three incidents at the University of Minnesota Duluth. This time, 40 balls were damaged at a St. Mary's/Duluth Clinic West building. Police were told by a psychologist last year, after Bjerkness abandoned court-ordered therapy, that he "continues to be a risk to society."Duluth News Tribune

Fan mad about Archie engaging Veronica sells comic

DALLAS – When comic book store owner Dave Luebke heard that after 67 years, the carrot-topped everyman of the comic world, Archie, was proposing to va-va-voomy rich girl Veronica instead of girl-next-door Betty, he decided to protest by selling his copy of the series' rare first issue.

Luebke's Archie Comics No. 1 sold for $38,837 when Dallas' Heritage Auction Galleries offered it Friday. Heritage spokesman Noah Fleisher said the buyer was a longtime Archie reader and collector from Virginia who did not want to be identified.

"Betty is it. Not Veronica," said Luebke, whose Richmond, Va., store has more than 1 million comics in stock. "This is serious."

And, he said, 99 percent of his customers agree that perky, blond Betty is the clear choice over shiny dark-haired Veronica in the seemingly never-ending love triangle.

"It's amazing how many stories they've gotten out of this over the years," said Barry Sandoval, Heritage director of operations of the comics division.

The Archie Comics Web site shows Archie proposing to Veronica on bended knee on the cover of No. 600, which hits comic book stores Aug. 19. That begins a six-issue story arc that takes place in the future — when the perpetual high schoolers have graduated from college, said Victor Gorelick, editor-in-chief of Archie Comics.

He said people all over the world are reacting to Archie's choice and "mostly everyone feels bad for Betty."

For those heartbroken by Archie's choice, Gorelick remains coy, advising: "I just tell them to stick with it. Read through it and you'll see what happens. A lot happens. A lot goes on."

The Archie Comics Web site shows the proposal issue is followed by an issue with a cover featuring the couple at the altar, Veronica proclaiming "I do!" and Archie saying "Do I ever!" In the next issue, twins are on the way.

After the six-issue story arc, the gang will return to high school, Gorelick said.

Tom Michael, a teen comics collector from Iola, Wis., has a feeling all might not be what it seems.

"I have a feeling that the last issues will have him asking Betty to marry him," Michael said.

Sandoval, who said Luebke's No. 1 is in excellent condition, suspects Luebke's reason for selling might have a bit more to do with the money than anger.

Luebke concedes that the economic downturn was a factor, but he said his outrage on behalf of Betty is real.

Heritage Auction Galleries:Website

Friday, August 14, 2009

Italian quake victim asks to live with Berlusconi

ROME (Reuters) – A man made homeless by April's earthquake in central Italy has asked Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to keep his promise and provide victims with lodging in one of his houses.

Antonio Bernardini, whose home in the mountain city of L'Aquila was destroyed, wrote to Italy's Civil Protection agency saying he preferred lodging in Berlusconi's luxurious sea-side Sardinian villa or his residence in central Rome, "if possible."

"This is not a provocation, but a legitimate request based on the statements of the prime minister," Bernardini said.

Thousands of people made homeless by the April 6 quake still live in temporary accommodation in hotels or tent villages.

Bernardini said many were being exploited by unscrupulous hoteliers and felt little better than illegal immigrants.

"We find ourselves in conditions of weakness and inferiority," said Bernardini, whose elderly mother died just a month after he carried her from the wreckage of their house. "I live in a small hotel room far from my home town."

"Give us a concrete sign. If not me, then take in some other victims," he asked the prime minister.

Berlusconi, who will travel to the stricken region of Abruzzo on Saturday, won plaudits for his handling of the immediate aftermath of the 6.3 tremor, which killed nearly 300 people, boosting his image among supporters as a man of action.

During the rescue efforts, Berlusconi called on Italians to take in victims of the quake and said: "I will also do what I can by offering my houses." He promised to rebuild L'Aquila within 28 months and provide victims with new homes.

Since the earthquake, Berlusconi has been mired in a scandal surrounding his personal life, which erupted when his wife Veronica announced in early May she would seek a divorce because of his womanising, accusing him of "frequenting minors."

Berlusconi's strong popularity ratings have weathered the scandal, falling only four points since May to 49 percent according to a poll last month, but analysts warn his support could be seriously eroded by failure to keep promises to the earthquake victims or a steep rise in unemployment.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

British embassies tired of bizarre requests

LONDON (AFP) – Help! I've just had my breasts enlarged and I don't like the new size. British embassy -- sort out my boobs!

Along with tips on jam-making and how best to discipline naughty boys, these are just a few of the bonkers requests being fired at British embassies around the world, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

The country's 261 diplomatic missions across the globe are getting fed up of bizarre demands for help from Brits abroad, some of whom seem to think the British embassy is an agency for finding lost sunglasses and paying bills.

"If you have a serious problem abroad -- maybe you've been involved in an accident, have lost your passport or are a victim of crime -- we can help you," said Juliet Maric, the British Consul in Alicante on the Spanish east coast.

"But we can't tell you who is allowed to use your swimming pool, pay your taxi fares for you -- or do anything about the exchange rate.

"We regularly get enquiries from people who think we're a one-stop-shop for any problem they might encounter while abroad; this can be frustrating as we need to focus resources on the serious cases that we're there to help with."

One lady, unhappy with the size of her newly-boosted breasts following surgery, asked if the embassy could help.

A mother asked the Florida consulate to help her teenage son pack his suitcase and give him a lift to the airport as he was feeling unwell.

One person called in consular assistance to find out what ratio of fruit to sugar should be used when making jam.

A holidaymaker in Italy asked the embassy where a particular brand of shoes could be bought.

Other requests have included asking for embassy staff to pay a bill when a credit card had "maxed out" and a traveller asking "Can you tell me how to make my naughty son behave?"

"Our embassies are not there to provide weather reports or give advice on unruly children," said consular affairs minister Chris Bryant.

"It's important that British nationals understand what the Foreign Office can and can't do for them."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ill. man faces 6 months in jail for yawning

JOLIET, Ill. – Drowsy spectators in one suburban Chicago courtroom might want to stifle their yawns from now on. Clifton Williams, 33, of Richton Park, is facing six months in jail for making what court documents call a yawn-like sound in Will County Judge Daniel Rozak's court last month. The yawn happened as Williams' cousin, Jason Mayfield, was being sentenced for a drug charge on July 23.

Rozak found Williams in contempt of court and sentenced him to six months in jail. However, Rozak could free Williams after a status hearing Thursday, if Williams apologizes and the judge accepts. By then, Williams will have served 21 days.

Witnesses disagree about whether Williams' yawn was out of line.

Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County state's attorney's office, said the prosecutor in the courtroom at the time told him that what came out of Williams' mouth could hardly be called a "yawn."

"This was a very loud, boisterous, deliberate attempt on the part of this individual to disrupt the proceedings and show disrespect to the court," Pelkie said. "It was not a guy who involuntarily yawned. This guy was making a statement — a very loud statement — in court."

Mayfield disagreed, saying it was "not an outrageous yawn." Williams has written his family to say that he can't believe he's in jail "for nothing."

A message left for Rozak Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Six months is the maximum sentence judges can give for criminal contempt without a jury trial.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

German bride spends first night with crate of vodka

BERLIN (Reuters) – A bride in Germany spent her wedding night passed out next to a crate of vodka in the back seat of a car and had to be rescued by police when the BMW began to overheat in the sun.

Police in the western city of Cologne said Monday the inebriated 30-year-old remained unconscious even after they smashed the car window to get her out.

"Only after being shaken several times did she eventually regain consciousness," police said in a statement.

Still clad in her wedding dress, the dazed woman had to scramble through the broken window because she had no idea where the car keys or her husband were, police said.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Police Officer Hit, Dragged by Drunk Driver

BOISE, Idaho - Police in Boise say an officer has been injured after he was hit by a car and dragged a few yards in the city’s downtown. Police say the unidentified officer was struck early Saturday by 30-year-old Jeremias Ramirez, whom they say was drunk at the time.

Riot Breaks Out at Chino Prison

California - A riot broke out at Chino State Prison leaving 40 inmates injured. 40 inmates were taken to hospitals for treatment. Inmates’ injuries range from stab wounds and slashes to head trauma. Some injuries were considered life-threatening.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Obese Texas inmate hides gun in his flabs of fat

HOUSTON – An obese inmate in Texas has been charged after officials learned he had a gun hidden under flabs of his own flesh.

Twenty-five-year-old George Vera was charged with possession of a firearm in a correctional facility after he told a guard at the Harris County Jail about the unloaded 9mm pistol. The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that Vera was originally arrested on charges of selling illegal copies of compact discs.

The 500-pound man was searched during his arrest and again at a city jail and the county jail, but officers never found the weapon in his rolls of skin. Vera admitted having the gun during a shower break at the county jail.

Information from: Houston Chronicle,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Burger King: No shoes rule taken too far with baby

SUNSET HILLS, Mo. – Like most restaurants, the Burger King in this St. Louis suburb has a no shoes, no shirt, no service policy. And baby, do they enforce it. Too much so, the company admitted, after apologizing for restaurant workers who asked a mother to leave because her 6-month-old wasn't wearing shoes.

Jennifer Frederich, her mother and Frederich's infant daughter, Kaylin, stopped at the Burger King in Sunset Hills on Sunday. The baby was shoeless — Frederich figured tiny baby feet were immune from the rule.

But workers told the family to leave because the shoeless baby was violating a health code. In fact, shoelessness is not a health code violation in St. Louis County.

Frederich told KTVI-TV that she and her mother ate hurriedly and left before they could be kicked out. Frederich did not have a listed phone number, and The Associated Press could not reach her for comment.

Burger King released a statement Thursday indicating workers had taken the no shoes, no service policy too far.

"Our franchisee, which independently owns and operates this restaurant, apologizes for this guest's experience," the statement read. "The franchisee is retraining his restaurant team on the proper use of the 'no shoes' policy."

The franchise owner also contacted Frederich to apologize in person.

Frederich told the TV station the flap was a bit overblown, and she hoped no one would be fired. But she appreciated Burger King's apology.

Burger King, based in Miami, is the nation's second-largest hamburger chain, with 11,800 restaurants worldwide.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Man who served time charged with robbing same bank

UPPER TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A Pennsylvania man who served nearly six years in prison for robbing a southern New Jersey bank was charged with robbing the same one again. The FBI, state and local police arrested 45-year-old John Millison of Drexel Hill, Pa., on Tuesday and charged him with the July 27 robbery of a PNC Bank branch in the Marmora section of Upper Township near Ocean City.

It's the same bank he went to prison for robbing in 2003. He was released in November.

Millison, who is being held on $200,000 bail, was also charged with robbing a supermarket pharmacy on the same day as the bank.

Authorities did not know if he had retained a lawyer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jobless US graduate sues college for 70,000 dollars

NEW YORK (AFP) – A US student who recently graduated from New York's Monroe College said Monday she had filed a complaint with the school accusing it of being responsible for her inability to find work.

Trina Thompson, 27, who graduated with a degree in information technology in April at the school in northern Manhattan's Bronx district, asked the state supreme court to award her 70,000 dollars to reimburse the tuition costs.

The former student said she had been unable to find employment to support herself since graduation.

"I need full-time job placement and that's what they said they were going to help me with and they didn't," Thompson told NY1 television.

"The IT career counselor sent me about three emails saying 'Oh, I have this job opening, you should apply for it.' That's it."

A Monroe College spokesman said the lawsuit was "completely without merit."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Man scandalizes with TV sex confession

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – A divorced Saudi man with four children has shocked Saudi Arabia, one of the most conservative countries in the world, with details of his sexual exploits on an Arabic television show.

Mazen Abdul-Jawad, 32, has gone into hiding after appearing two weeks ago on Lebanese channel LBC -- mainly owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal -- where he spoke to camera from his bedroom in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah about how couples can spice up their sex lives.

"Everything happens in this room," he said on an episode of the salacious show "Ahmar Bilkhat al-Areed" (Wide Red Lines), before launching into descriptions of foreplay techniques and tricks for cruising women on the streets of Jeddah.

Clips of the racy confessions from the TV show, which can be seen via satellite in Saudi Arabia, have had nearly half a million hits on Youtube.

Saudi Arabia follows an austere form of Islam where religious police patrol the streets to enforce a strict moral standard including no mixing of unrelated men and women, as well as no drugs and alcohol.

Public beheadings are regularly carried out for a range of crimes, from murder to rape, witchcraft or insulting Islam.

But many young Saudis find ways around the draconian system to make contact with each other, and the clerics have tried in vain to limit mobile phone and other technology.

Men have been prosecuted for taking pictures of young women with phones in malls and many reports say such photographs are often used as blackmail.


Abdul-Jawad said sex became an important part of his life at age 14, following his first sexual encounter with a neighbor.

He demonstrated how he would cruise girls in his red convertible or in supermarkets, often making use of Bluetooth mobile phone technology, and produced sex toys and lubricants from his bedroom cupboard.

"While I'm driving I turn my Bluetooth on. It has the description of my car and my mobile number... I get calls from girls... and in some cases I call back and she goes out with me," he says in the Youtube clips.

Newspapers and bloggers have said the young man should face legal action for spreading vice in what has been dubbed by media as the "frank with filth case."

"He confessed before the world that he committed fornication and continues to fornicate," an anonymous user wrote on al-Medina newspaper's web forum this week.

"It is for that reason that he deserves to be stoned to death, as Islamic law stipulates."

Hashim Adnan, a 24-year-old from Jeddah, said Abdul-Jawad deserved at least some form of censure. "He must be punished and become an example for all. We Saudis are not used to and will not accept such behavior," he said.

It was not possible to contact Abdul-Jawad who has made only one public comment since the controversy erupted.

"I offer my apologies to everyone and I am ready to accept the consequences," he said in an interview with the daily Okaz last week. It carried a photograph of him in traditional Saudi robes but with his face concealed.