Flushed kitten rescued
A newborn kitten narrowly escaped drowning after being flushed down a toilet in Sydney, officials said on Tuesday. The day-and-a-half-old kitten swirled all the way down the s-bend before becoming lodged, prompting its frantic owner to call the emergency services. Rescuers used a camera and “located the kitten in a pipe several meters below ground,” fire superintendent Ian Krimmer said. Three crews including a special search and rescue unit responded to the distress call, dismantling the toilet and breaking through a concrete slab to reach the kitten. “We always try and help with domestic pets where we can,” Krimmer said. Media reports said the culprit was a two-year-old girl.
Killer mother spared jail
A woman who beat her five-year-old daughter to death while trying to get her to memorize a poem has been spared jail by a Zhejiang Province court, state press said yesterday. Tan Hong-ying was sentenced to three years in prison by a court in Zhejiang on Tuesday, but the sentence was suspended and she was instead given five years probation, the Beijing Morning News reported. The report did not say why the court in the city of Jiashan handed down such a light sentence. The girl died in March after Tan pushed her to memorize a Tang Dynasty poem, a common school exercise for local children, the report said. Tan said she “hit the child on five or six occasions, with three or four strikes each time” on the back of the head as the girl tried to recite the poem.
Man rescued from toilet
A man who got his arm stuck in a toilet pipe in an attempt to retrieve his dropped mobile phone was freed by rescuers, state television reported on Tuesday. When rescue workers arrived on the scene in Jiangsu Province, they found the man crouched over the toilet in a bathroom stall, his entire arm submerged up to the shoulder in the drain. Workers broke the porcelain bowl with crowbars and hammered the pipes, taking care not to injure the man, CCTV reported. After 10 minutes of work, the man was able to slowly remove his cut and bruised arm from the bowl and retrieve his waterlogged phone.
Threat lands more time
A prisoner who asked a warder to fax a death threat to the police officer who arrested him was convicted of threatening behavior yesterday. Daniel Thomas Rewi Nepia received a six-month jail term for the offense, longer than his original four-month sentence for violence and driving infringements, the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper reported. The court heard he gave a hand-written note to a warder at Hawke’s Bay Prison that read: “I will shoot you in the face when I am able to do so. Before I do I shall take your family the way you have taken mine.”
Cyber bully summoned
Police served a court order on an alleged cyber bully using the social networking site Facebook, officials said yesterday, describing it as a national first. Victoria police got court approval to use the site after attempts to serve the order in person, over the telephone or via the post failed. The “prolific” Facebook user was accused of, among other things, using the site to harass, bully and threaten another person, and police said they transcribed all the court documents and sent them to his Facebook inbox.
Sharon sculpture shocks
A lifelike sculpture of former prime minister Ariel Sharon is stirring high emotions among Israelis. Sharon suffered a devastating stroke on Jan. 4, 2006, that has left him comatose for nearly five years. An art exhibition opening this week in Tel Aviv featuring a wax figure-like sculpture of Sharon in his hospital bed has enraged his political supporters. “This is not the way I would like to remember Sharon,” said Raanan Gissin, Sharon’s former adviser and confidant, after visiting the art gallery where the sculpture is exhibited. Israeli artist Noam Braslavsky said he created the sculpture because Sharon has been absent from the public eye for so long. “It’s an allegory about the state of Israel’s state of existence, hanging between the heavens and the earth,” Braslavsky said.
Cat woman spared jail
A woman who sparked an Internet hate campaign after she was caught on camera dumping a cat in a rubbish bin was spared jail on Tuesday after she admitted causing suffering to the animal. Mary Bale, a 45-year-old bank worker, was fined ￡250 (US$400) after pleading guilty at Coventry Magistrates’ Court. Bale, who appeared close to tears during the hearing, was also ordered to pay costs of ￡1,171 and banned from keeping or owning animals for the next five years.
Molester TV show panned
A television show that attempts to unmask pedophiles using a young actress as bait came under attack on Tuesday after a suspect vanished. The program called Scene of the Crime: Internet — Protecting Our Children and hosted by a high-profile political wife is based on a similar US show, To Catch a Predator, that went off air after the suicide of a suspected molester in Texas in 2007. On the show, a young woman pretending to be a minor seeks out potential child abusers in Internet chat rooms. When a meeting is arranged, a girl playing a 13-year-old goes along, with the hidden cameras rolling. The suspects, whose images are blurred and voices distorted when they are broadcast, are subsequently confronted by a journalist playing the mother of the young “victim.” Then the case is handed over to the police. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger issued a sharp warning on Tuesday against television being used to promote frontier justice.
Scientists ponder spots
In Rudyard Kipling’s children’s tale, the leopard was initially a “greyish-yellowish catty-shaped kind of beast.” He was hopeless at hunting until a kindly Ethiopian gave him spots with which to conceal himself both on stony ground in the open or under sun-dappled trees. British scientists, in a study published on Wednesday, have given data to flesh out Kipling’s whimsy, confirming how stripes and spots worn by the big cats fit neatly with their habitat. A team led by University of Bristol experimental psychologist Will Allen analyzed images of 37 species of felidae, from the wildcat to the clouded leopard, transcribing the complexity of their fur patterns into mathematical formulas. The equations were then matched against data for the cats’ habitat and behavior. “We found that cats which live in closed habitats such as forests are much more likely to be patterned, especially with particularly irregular or complex patterns, than those which live in open habitats,” Allen said. The study appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, published by Britain’s de facto academy of sciences.
Reno cat breaks record
A cat in Reno has broken the Guinness world record for the world’s longest domestic cat. The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that a five-year-old Maine Coon named Stewie was certified as the new record holder after measuring 123.2cm from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail bone. That’s a little more than 1.2m long. The record was previously held by another Maine Coon that measured 121.9cm. Stewie’s owners, Robin Hendrickson and Erik Brandsness, say they decided to try for the record after hearing countless people say they were amazed by Stewie’s length.
Would-be assassin honored
A carpenter who tried to kill Adolf Hitler and paid with his life will soon be honored with a memorial in Berlin, more than 70 years after his bomb failed to stop the dictator. The city state of Berlin has unveiled plans to erect next year a steel silhouette of the face of Georg Elser rising to a height of 17m in the central Mitte District, on the street which was once home to Hitler’s chancellery. Elser concealed a bomb inside a pillar he had hollowed out in a Munich beer hall where Hitler was due to speak on Nov. 8, 1939. However, because it was foggy, Hitler took the train back to Berlin instead of flying, meaning he had to leave the beer hall early — 13 minutes before the bomb Elser had planted exploded. Elser was arrested at the Swiss border, put in a concentration camp, and finally murdered in Dachau just weeks before the end of World War II.
Student named police chief
A 20-year-old female criminology student has been named police chief of a town plagued by drug violence because no one else wanted the job. Marisol Valles became director of municipal public security of Guadalupe “since she was the only person to accept the position,” the mayor’s office of the town of some 10,000 people near the US border told local media late on Monday. Valles is studying criminology in Mexico’s most violent city of Ciudad Juarez, some 60km west of Guadalupe.
Thief proves denim dummy
Police in Tennessee say it wasn’t too difficult to find a man accused of walking out of a Walmart store wearing stolen jeans. He left his old denim behind — along with his wallet. Officers in Gallatin say 20-year-old Dustin Matthew Marshall tried on the jeans and left without paying for them, but employees found his old jeans and wallet in a dressing room. WTVF-TV reports police caught up with Marshall and a 19-year-old woman who was with him on Saturday night after a couple ducked out of a steakhouse without paying their bill.
Chimp goes ape in Kansas
A 136kg chimpanzee has been captured after wandering around a Kansas City neighborhood and smashing out the window of a police car. Police captain Rich Lockhart told the Kansas City Star the department got a call about noon on Tuesday that a primate was on the loose. Lockhart says the ape was a pet that escaped from its chains. Lockhart says efforts to shoot the animal with a tranquilizer dart failed. The chimp climbed on a patrol car and struck the passenger-side window with its fist before running off. It’s owner was eventually able to coax it into a cage.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists