Friday, October 31, 2008

Missing Fla. dog shows up 1,000 miles away in Ill.

RACINE, Wis. (AP) -- A Maltese dog named Max is headed home to Florida after he was spotted in Chicago - 1,000 miles from where he vanished. Richard Gonzalez had reported a pet theft after Max disappeared several months ago from his daughter's yard in Brandon, Fla. Gonzalez says he thought that Max would never get far. But the pooch was identified in Chicago by an implanted microchip.

Gonzalez contacted the Northcentral Maltese Rescue to retrieve Max. Rescue director Mary Palmer had the dog taken to Racine, Wis., and he will be flown Saturday to Florida.

Gonzalez says he has no idea how his dog got so far away. He says he was so thrilled about the find that he almost asked Palmer to put Max on the phone.

Rare 3 Cent Stamp Sells for $1M at NYC Auction

NEW YORK — A rare 1868 U.S. postage stamp has sold for more than $1 million at a New York City auction.

The 3-cent, rose-colored "B Grill" stamp was among the highlights of a three-day sale at Siegel Auction Galleries that ended Thursday. The auction house says only three other known examples of the stamp remain. "B Grill" refers to an embossed pattern in the stamp paper.

An anonymous buyer made the winning bid of $1,035,000.

The auction also included one of stamp collecting's most famous prizes, the so-called Inverted Jenny from 1918. The 24-cent airmail stamp features a biplane accidentally printed upside down. Only 100 of the red, white and blue stamps were printed.

Siegel says a New Rochelle stamp dealer bought an Inverted Jenny on Thursday for $388,125

Bowler Dies Moments After First 300 Game

RAVENNA, Mich. — Don Doane belonged to the same team at a Ravenna bowling alley for 45 years.

Just moments after rolling the first perfect 300 game of his life, Doane collapsed onto the floor while high-fiving his Nutt Farm teammates.

The 62-year-old Ravenna resident was taken to a local hospital but couldn't be saved. A medical examiner determined that a heart attack killed Doane.

Jim Nutt spoke with Grand Rapids TV stations WOOD and WZZM about his friend and teammate, who collapsed Oct. 16 at Ravenna Bowl.

Nutt says Doane won't be forgotten by his many friends at the Muskegon County bowling alley. They say it's strange not seeing Doane anymore on league nights.

Suicidal Squirrel Slows Early Voting

A suicidal squirrel caused delays for early voters when it knocked out power for about 800 customers, including the Indian River County Library and Courthouse.Elections officials say early voting was slowed - but not stopped - at the library on Thursday. Voters were still able to cast their ballots by flashlight.Officials say a squirrel leaped from a tree onto a power line, causing a fire that tripped an electrical switch, knocking out a power line feeding a section of Vero Beach

The dead squirrel was found lying on the ground.Early voting continued as usual after power was restored. It was out for about an hour and a half.

How many zeros in a billion?

How many zeros in a billion?

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.
-A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

-A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

-A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

-A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth.

- A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.
-While this thought is still fresh in our brain...let's take a look at New Orleans ... It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division. Louisiana Senator,Mary Landrieu (D) is presently asking Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARSto rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...what does it mean?

-Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) you each get $516,528.

-Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

-Or... if you are a family of four...your family gets $2,066,012.
Washington , D. C <>Are all your calculators broken??

Accounts Receivable Tax

Building Permit Tax

CDL License Tax

Cigarette Tax

Corporate Income Tax

Dog License Tax

Federal Income Tax

Federal Unemployment Tax

Fishing License Tax

Food License Tax

Fuel Permit Tax

Gasoline Tax

Hunting License Tax

Inheritance Tax

Inventory Tax

IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

Liquor Tax

Luxury Tax

Marriage License Tax

Medicare Tax Property Tax

Real Estate Tax

Service charge taxes

Social Security Tax

Road Usage Tax (Truckers)

Sales Taxes

Recreational Vehicle Tax

School Tax

State Income Tax

State Unemployment Tax

Telephone Federal Excise Tax

Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax

Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax

Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax

Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax

Telephone State and Local Tax

Telephone Usage Charge Tax

Utility Tax

Vehicle License Registration Tax

Vehicle Sales Tax

Watercraft Registration Tax

Well Permit Tax

Workers Compensation Tax
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt... We had the largest middle class in the world... and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? Can you spell 'politicians!'

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snow leopard wins top photo prize

Snow leopard wins top photo prize

By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

Snowstorm leopard (Image: Steve Winter/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008)
Steve Winter's winning image of a snow leopard on a night-time prowl

A picture of an elusive snow leopard on a night-time prowl has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008 award.

Steve Winter's image was captured during a 13-month quest to snap the perfect photo of the endangered species in its hostile habitat high in the mountains of Central Asia.

Speaking about his winning snap, Mr Winter said: "I was thrilled to have finally captured the shot I had dreamed of - a wild snow leopard in its true element."

The competition, now in its 44th year, is run by BBC Wildlife magazine and London's Natural History Museum.

The panel of judges spent months shifting through more than 32,350 entries before deciding on the winners.

"Everything comes together in this striking picture," said judge Mark Carwardine on Mr Winter's image.

"The drama of the snow, the mystery of the darkness, the posture of the rarely photographed snow leopard and the intriguing composition."


The picture of an elusive snow leopard, captured at an altitude of more than 13,000ft in India's Ladak's Hemis High Altitude National Park, was the reward for 13 months of effort for Steve Winter, a photographer for National Geographic magazine.

Snowstorm leopard (Steve Winter/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

"I try to do stories that have never been done before," he told BBC News.

"They do involve an incredible amount of work with scientists and local people. We were lucky in this instance that we got incredible pictures.

"It was collaboration between myself, the team and the snow leopard," he joked.

The project involved 14 remote cameras in roughly 45 locations. It was a case of trial and error - one camera only delivered a picture of half of a leopard in five-and-a-half months.

Working in such harsh conditions, where temperatures plummeted to -40C (-40F), he asked the manufacturers for their advice on the performance of the cameras in extreme temperatures.

"We don't know, tell us when you get back," he recalled.

Commenting on the use of trigger cameras rather than being sat behind the lens, Mr Winter said: "They are something that needs to be used to get intimate portraits of elusive animals.

"I used to hate these cameras because they gave you a record of an animal.

"Images are all about composition and light. If I cannot control that as if I would as I put the camera up to my face, then essentially I have failed.

"So I asked myself that if I did not like these cameras, how can I like them more.

"It turns out that snow leopards are the perfect species on which to use these cameras. They always come to specific locations to mark their territory.

"So I viewed the locations as movie sets. I put the cameras there, I put the lights there.

"I knew the animal would come; it was just wanting for the actor to walk on stage and break the beam."

Canon EOS Rebel XT + 10-22mm lens at 16mm; 1/200 sec at f16; ISO 100; waterproof camera box + Plexiglass tubes for flashes; Trailmaster 1550-PS remote trigger


This photo showing a young male lion harassing a thirsty giraffe at a waterhole in Namibia has won this year's Young Photographer of the Year prize.

The show (Catriona Parfitt/Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

It was taken by teenager Catriona Parfitt during a family safari holiday in 2007.

"When the giraffe first arrived, it was very nervous," Catriona explained.

"As it walked slowly towards the water, it kept looking over its shoulder towards the ridge where there was a pride of four lions."

She added that perhaps the young lion saw a solitary giraffe as too much of a temptation to leave alone, despite the risks.

Competition judge Rosamund Kidman Cox called the image an astonishing shot: "Stage, action, story and onlookers combine to make an unforgettable scene."

Canon EOS 400D + Canon EF300mm f4 IS USM lens + Canon EF 1.4 extender; 1/200 sec at f5.6; ISO 100


Italian Stefano Unterthiner's photo of a mischievous Sulawesi black-crested macaque won the competition's Animal Potraits category.

Trouble-maker (Stefano Unterthiner/ Wildlife Photgrapher of the Year)

The monkey earned his nickname "trouble-maker", Stefano explained, because it was more interested in the photographer than being photographed.

After spending weeks following the monkeys in the Indonesian island's Tangkoko National Park, Stefano found that their search for food took them to the coastal edge of the park's forest.

While most of the primates were busy foraging among the rocks for fallen fruits and nuts, one young adult took an interest in Stefano's activities.

"He would leap at me and kick off my back like a trampoline," he recalled. "It was part play, part confrontation, part attention-seeking, part curiosity."

Nikon D2X + Nikon 12-24mm lens; 1/250 sec at f10; ISO 125; graduated neutral-density filter; flash


David Maitland's "deadlock" is this year's winner of the competition's Behaviour: Other Animals category.

Deadlock (David Maitland/Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

He told BBC News that the photo was just a glimpse of a struggle between a tree-frog and cat-eyed tree-snake that lasted for hours through the night in the tropical forests of Belize.

"The snake had failed to get its jaws around the whole of the frog's head," he recalled.

"It wouldn't let go, presumably because the frog would have leapt away. But it couldn't swallow it, either."

Neither of the creatures showed any sign of giving up in the three hours that David sat in a cramped position.

"It was a complete stalemate," he added. In the early hours, when the pair had moved beyond the focus of his lens, David decided to call it a night.

When he returned in the following morning, there was no sign of the pair and no clue to which had finally broken the deadlock.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II + 100mm macro lens; 1/500 sec at f10; ISO 50; twin flashes

Clash of eagles (Antoni Kasprzak/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year)

The photo of a fight between two white-tailed eagles over the carcass of moose in the depths of a Polish winter secured the top prize in the Behaviour: Birds category for Antoni Kasprzak.

To capture this image, Antoni found a carcass of a moose, which had been hit by a train, knowing that it would be ideal bait for his subjects.

Five hours later, waiting in the sub-zero temperatures of the Polish winter, a struggle broke out between an adult male white-tailed eagle and a young male.

Capturing the shot, Antoni knew the snowy backdrop for an award winning image.

Canon EOS 40D + Canon EF500mm f4 IS USM lens; 1/1000 sec at f4.5; ISO 500; tripod

Funeral home decides to celebrate 80th anniversary with replica Elvis casket, impersonator

Funeral home decides to celebrate 80th anniversary with replica Elvis casket, impersonator

BARTONVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ The owners of Endsley Funeral Home in Bartonville wanted to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the business by putting a little "fun" into "funeral." So, for their open house Saturday, they put a replica of Elvis Presley's 650-pound casket on display and hired Elvis impersonator Dave Stovall to dance around it and sing a few of the King's most famous songs.

Stovall said he was so impressed by the casket he wanted to lie down in it for a while.

Embalmer Stephanie Van Oppen explained the apparent irreverence by saying the staff wanted people to have fun at the funeral home for once, and get to know that its employees aren't creepy and weird.

Nearly 300 people from Peoria and Tazewell counties attended the bash.

Prison Warden's Wife on Trial for Allegedly Helping Killer Escape, Living With Him on Chicken Ranch

Prison Warden's Wife on Trial for Allegedly Helping Killer Escape, Living With Him on Chicken Ranch

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MANGUM, Okla. — A decade after a convicted killer escaped from an Oklahoma prison and vanished along with the assistant warden's pretty young wife, the two were found living together on a Texas chicken ranch.

Now, the woman, Bobbi Parker, is back with her husband and fighting in court to prove she was a kidnap victim, not a lovestruck accomplice to the escape.

On Tuesday, a judge ruled Parker, now 46, must stand trial on charges she helped Randolph Dial break out of the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite.

Click here for photos.

The ruling came after evidence was presented at a preliminary hearing that Parker and Dial shared a bed for a decade and acted like husband and wife.

During the hearing, Parker's soft-spoken husband, Randy Parker, chatted with his wife and occasionally leaned on the back of her chair. He has said only that the couple's marriage is strong and that they are looking forward to putting the case behind them.

Dial began spending time with Bobbi Parker while she oversaw a pottery program at the prison. With a charming personality and a gift for gab, Dial was granted minimum-security status and allowed to roam the prison grounds with little oversight

The inmate and the assistant warden's wife worked together in the pottery shop in her garage on the prison grounds. They were also seen sipping coffee on her porch swing.

Their behavior didn't look right, Jack Cowley, the former warden of the prison, testified at the hearing. He said he was considering moving the pottery shop into another building when the pair disappeared.

"You don't sit on the front porch and drink coffee," Cowley said. "Just the appearance would be an impropriety."

Dial, who died in 2007 at age 62, pleaded guilty to escape and maintained until his death that he kidnapped Parker at knifepoint and forced her to drive him from the prison.

"I was a hostage-taker and will probably live to regret it," Dial said in a jailhouse interview shortly after his capture. "But now I don't. Doing a life sentence, at my age, I wouldn't trade it for the past 10 1/2 years."

But prosecutors painted a different picture, claiming Bobbi Parker fell in love with the con man and ran off with him. They said a search of the pair's East Texas trailer, which had only one bed, uncovered photographs, cards they exchanged, a box of condoms, Viagra instructions, a vibrating sex toy and a love letter she wrote to him.

Prosecutors also said it wasn't the first time Parker had inappropriate relationships, including sexual contact, with inmates at prisons where her husband worked.

Parker told investigators she and Dial never were intimate, that she wasn't attracted to Dial and that the sex toy was a gag gift from a friend. She said she stayed with him out of fear he would harm her family.

An author who wrote a book on the escape, Charles Sasser, testified Tuesday that he spoke to the couple while they were on the run and said their relationship was like that of "two old married people." Sasser said he asked Dial over the telephone whether Bobbi Parker was still alive.

"He said, `Of course she's still alive. She's right here. Do you want to talk to her?"' Sasser recalled.

Bobbi Parker then took the phone and talked briefly to Sasser, who said he encouraged her to call her children, who were 7 and 10 when she disappeared, to let them know she was safe. Sasser said Parker responded that it might be better if her children thought she was dead.

Parker's attorney said she stayed with Dial out of fear.

"From the get-go, Dial was intimidating to her," said attorney Rick Cunningham. "He threatened her and her family, her two daughters ... and that became an oppressive part of that situation. She kind of resigned herself to her fate."

Parker told investigators that she began to feel woozy on the day of the escape, possibly from being drugged, and that she recalls Dial carrying her to the van that the couple escaped in.

The judge who presided over the preliminary hearing did not buy it. In ordering her to trial on a charge that could bring 10 years in prison, Judge Brad Leverett said: "It's clear from the evidence the court has heard so far that Ms. Parker was not kidnapped in 1994 as she claimed."

Lean files countersuit

Lean files countersuit

Claims county owes him about $92,000

By John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard - 10/29/2008

Gary Lean

Despite pleading guilty to stealing about $40,000 from taxpayers and non-profits, a former Butte-Silver Bow County employee claims the taxpayers owe him money.

Former facilities manager Gary Lean filed a counterclaim in Butte district court Tuesday claiming the county owes him about $92,000 in compensatory time, sick leave and other pay.

This counterclaim comes in response to the county's lawsuit filed earlier this month that demanded Lean pay back about $158,000. The county asked the court to order Lean to return all compensation and benefits he received while on administrative leave, lost revenues from the Butte Civic Center, and the costs for the criminal investigation.

However, Lean states in his six-page counterclaim that his guilty plea doesn't absolve the county from paying him all his accrued compensatory time, sick leave, annual leave and longevity pay he earned while employed by the county. Lean's counterclaim, which was filed by his attorney Peter Meloy, claims the county doesn't have "clean hands" and can't deny Lean his accrued pay.

On Sept. 15, Lean pleaded guilty to the tampering with public records count and four felony theft counts, which combines all eight felonies. Judge Ray Dayton gave Lean a four-year suspended term, and also ordered him to pay almost $38,000 in restitution. Lean admitted to bilking taxpayers and non-profit organizations out of nearly $40,000 while working as the county's facilities manager between June 6, 2003, and May 16, 2006.

Lean was placed on paid administrative leave in May 2006 after the state started investigating theft allegations against him. He continued to receive his pay until February 2008, when he was formally charged.

The county is attempting to get $118,835 from Lean for the pay he received while he was on leave. Meloy says in Lean's counterclaim that the county isn't entitled to that money.

The county voluntarily placed Lean on administrative leave without pay and "voluntarily agreed to continue paying defendant throughout the term of his employment," according to Lean's counterclaim.

Lean claims that he earned 2,945 hours in compensatory time that the county refuses to pay him. At his hourly rate, Lean demands $68,636 from the county.

Lean also is seeking more than $11,000 in owed sick leave, and about $12,500 of unused annual leave.

He's also asking the court to award him penalties in the amount of 110 percent of his wages due, and costs for attorney fees.

— Reporter John Grant Emeigh may be reached via e-mail at or by telephone, 496-5511

Victoria's Secret thief makes off with over 100 bras

— INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- More than 100 bras - worth more than $4,500 - were stolen Monday from Victoria's Secret at the Indian River Mall, according to an Indian River County Sheriff's Office report.

The store has reported at least three other large shoplifting incidents this year. Monday's incident happened at 6:45 p.m. while the store clerk was helping several customers in the back of the store. The theft alarm went off, and the employee discovered the bras had been taken from some drawers, according to the report.

The employee did not see who left the store with the merchandise, the report said.

Disgruntled call centre worker 'froze customer's bank account in revenge prank'

Disgruntled call centre worker 'froze customer's bank account in revenge prank'

A bank customer who criticised an "unhelpful" worker at an Indian call centre has alleged the clerk played a revenge prank on him by freezing his account and changing his identity to that of a Ugandan divorcee.

George Bates, 23, said he found the operator at Abbey's call centre to be "rude and arrogant" and gave him a low rating in a post-call customer satisfaction survey.

However, when the self-employed carpenter later rang the bank he was unable to access his account for "security reasons".

Mr Bates, who is single, then visited his local branch and discovered his identity had been changed to that of a 33-year-old Ugandan divorcee.

Mr Bates also found his overdraft facility had been withdrawn and direct debits totalling £750 had been cancelled - resulting in £60 worth of bank charges.

Abbey has since cancelled the charges, apologised, and offered Mr Bates £200 in compensation.

Mr Bates alleged that the operator had "obviously seen that I have given him bad feedback and has decided to change all my details in revenge."

He added: "When I heard my details had been changed to Ugandan I was terrified that my account had been emptied by somebody else and I would never get my money back."

Mr Bates said the episode began when he contacted Abbey's telephone banking service on September 23 to extend his overdraft to cover direct debits.

The operator, who spoke with an Asian accent, extended the overdraft from £1,500 to £1,700. But when Mr Bates later asked to extend the overdraft further, the operator refused as the limit could not be changed twice in one day.

"He was really unhelpful but he had the cheek to pester me to give him a good rating after the call," he said.

Mr Bates, from Bristol, said that as a result he gave the operator a bad review in a questionnaire.

When he found out he was locked out of his Abbey account, his manager at his local branch corrected his details, and his overdraft and direct debits were reinstated.

Abbey agreed to pay the charges for cancelling his overdraft and for non-payment of the direct debits.

Mr Bates said, however, that he planned to change banks.

He said: "I am not happy with the service and the fact that the call centre Abbey uses is in India.

"I've been forced to take lots of time off work which has costs me several day's wages and the stress of it all is really frustrating.

"Even though they did eventually sort everything out I am still unhappy and I will be switching back to a bank with call centres in Britain."

Abbey said it had "fully investigated" Mr Bates's claims but it could not say whether any disciplinary action had been taken.

A spokesman said: "An error occurred on Mr Bates's overdraft. We have since returned his account to the correct position and refunded any charges relating to this error.

"In relation to Mr Bates's other claims, we can confirm that we have fully investigated these complaints but we do not comment on individual employees."

Overweight Dolphins Forced to Diet

Overweight Dolphins Forced to Diet

Dolphins at a Japanese marine park have been placed on a low fat diet since August.

Apparently all 19 dolphins have developed potbellies and are too out of shape to perform aquatically.

“They started failing to hit jumping targets and keep upright while treading water. We were puzzled by their poor performance, and then we noticed they looked rounder.” - Haruo Imazu, Kinosaki Marine World.

Aquarium workers have measured the dolphins and found that all had gained weight over the summer, some up to 22 pounds.

dolphins-eat Overweight Dolphins Forced to Diet picture

All the dolphins ate the same food, which consisted of about 31 pounds of mackerel mixed with some white fish (no bagels or cream cheese, please).

The problem seems to have been that the mackerels had gotten fatter, which added too many calories for the dolphins.

mackerel Overweight Dolphins Forced to Diet picture

Now all the dolphins are on a serious weight-loss program and are fed more white fish than mackerel. They are also exercising more regularly.

It is hoped that less fat and moderate exercise will work (and maybe the zoo can arrange a morale-boosting visit from Richard Simmons if he is still available for consultation).

Let the dolphins not eat cake (or something like that)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Judge rules Ohio homeless voters may list park benches as addresses

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge in Ohio has ruled that counties must allow homeless voters to list park benches and other locations that aren't buildings as their addresses.

U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus also ruled that provisional ballots can't be invalidated because of poll worker errors.

Monday's ruling resolved the final two pieces of a settlement between the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

The coalition agreed to drop a constitutional challenge to Ohio's voter identification law until after the Nov. 4 election. In return, Brunner and the coalition agreed on procedures to verify provisional ballots across all Ohio counties.

The coalition was concerned that unequal treatment of provisional ballots would disenfranchise some voters.

Homeless Man Gets 9 Months for Stealing $1 From Child

ATTLEBORO, Mass. — A homeless man who stole a $1 bill and a bag of empty cans from a 10-year-old girl has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

Robert Rowell Jr. pleaded guilty on Monday to larceny in Attleboro District Court, and was credited with three months already served while awaiting trial.

Authorities say the 44-year-old Rowell was one of two men who robbed the girl as she was headed to a local market to cash in the cans on July 16.

The case against his co-defendant, 50-year-old Kevin Egan, is pending. He is free on bail and due back in court Nov. 20 for a pretrial hearing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Swedish Man Fakes Kidnapping to Escape Marriage

BERLIN — A Swedish man's novel explanation for taking a break from a troubled marriage has landed him in trouble with the German police.

Nuremberg police say the man came to them on Saturday claiming to have been abducted from his home in southern Sweden by two men who demanded money and took him to the German city.

That triggered a large-scale search. But police said in a statement Monday that the 43-year-old's story fell apart in questioning.

He told officers that he had embarked on a European tour to get away from marital problems at home. He said he came up with the kidnapping story to explain his absence to his wife — who had reported him missing.

Police said the man is under investigation for faking a crime. Prosecutors ordered a $3,800 bail payment.

Local burglar botches theft by dialing 911

GIBSON COUNTY, IN (WFIE)- A Boonville man foils his own burglary when his cell phone accidentally dials 911.

The Gibson County Sheriff's Office tells 14 News that Jesse N. Jeffries was caught stealing anhydrous ammonia from the Mackey Co-op early Saturday morning.

But Jeffries made the job a little easier for authorities when he accidentally pushed a button on his cell phone and called 911.

Dispatcher Dave Brogan answered the call, realized what was happening and gave police a play-by-play until they arrived on scene.

Jeffries tried to run from police but he tripped and fell into a ditch where two officers were able to arrest him.

Rat infestation threatens UK

Rat infestation threatens UK

Britain now has more rats than people, with the trend set to continue unless households cut down on food waste, it has been claimed.

Experts claim councils which have stopped weekly bin collections are to blame, along with mild winters and last year's floods.

The worst affected city is York, which has seen its rat population rise by 208 per cent in a year. Carlisle has seen a change of 142 per cent.

Other areas to see a significant increase in infestation include Exeter (60 per cent) and Salford (40 per cent).

Rentokil estimates there are 65 to 80 million rats in Britain compared to around 60m humans.

National Pest Technicians Association director Peter Crowden told The Daily Mirror: "In 30 years I've never known such a big rat population – and there will be an epidemic if people don't reduce food waste.

"Fortnightly bin collections now mean it's vital we recycle. Just putting extra food scraps on compost heaps means fantastic breeding grounds for rats to spread disease."

Nationwide, call-outs by pest control units rose by 17 per cent.

Out of 50 local authorities asked if they had seen an increase in call-outs, 39 admitted they had.

Westminster was one of the few have seen a reduction in the problem, although it has only seen call-outs cut by 10 - from 804 in 2006-07 to 794 in 2007-08.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Couple Gets Bag of Pot With Taco Order at Restaurant

Couple Gets Bag of Pot With Taco Order at Restaurant

Saturday, October 25, 2008

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A Colorado couple found an unusual topping on their order of tacos: a small bag of marijuana.

They discovered the drugs with their order from a Del Taco restaurant and called police, said Lakewood police spokesman Steve Davis.

Twenty-six-year-old Dennis Klermund, who police say waited on the husband when he picked up food Oct. 16, faces charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Klermund initially denied any knowledge but admitted the bag was meant for a friend after a search dog found the more marijuana in a locker, police said.

Klermund no longer works at the restaurant, said owner Ulises Montero. A message left for Klermund was not returned.

Butchering of deer closes restaurant

A Chinese restaurant in the Town of Hamburg was shut down by the Erie County Health Department Friday after an inspector found employees butchering a deer inside.

Officials don’t know whether the dead deer at China King, 5999 South Park Ave., had been hunted or if it was road kill.

“From our standpoint, it doesn’t matter,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Anthony J. Billittier IV. “They can’t do what we think they did.”

Billittier said that there is no reason to believe that the deer meat made its way into any of the dishes served at China King.

“I don’t think they were far enough along,” Billittier said. “They were in the butchering process. They didn’t get to the meat yet.”

Butchering an animal inside a restaurant is against the law in New York State for sanitary reasons. Diseases such as E. coli can be spread through unsafe butchering.

“In general, you can’t have a dead animal in a food services establishment,” Billittier said.

In addition, it’s illegal to sell meat that hasn’t been prepared by a licensed butcher, he said.

“What were they going to do with the meat?” Billittier wondered. “I don’t think we’ll ever really know the answer to that.”

The bizarre discovery was made after a tipster called the Health Department late Friday morning.

A health inspector was quickly sent to the restaurant and saw the dead deer being butchered. The inspector also discovered a cooling unit at the restaurant was not at the proper temperature.

The restaurant was immediately closed down. A hearing on the matter is expected to be held early next week.

The owners, identified in records as John Zhang and Wei Zhen Ma, could not be reached to comment Friday.

Dozing cop at CPO shoots himself dead

Dozing cop at CPO shoots himself dead

By ASIF CHAUDHRY submitted 20 hours 44 minutes ago LAHORE - A young and newly married policeman, deployed at the main entrance of the Central Police Office, died in hospital in mysterious circumstances late Friday night with three bullet wounds in his chest.
Constable of Punjab Constabulary Rashid Mahmood was on his duty at the Gate No 1 of CPO when this fatal accident took place. All the bullets were fired from his own official gun when he was on his duty.
After the tragic death of the young cop three statements appeared from police on different levels making a simple accidental death a mysterious one.
However, the video clips captured by close circuit camera installed at the entrance of the IGP office revealed the true circumstances leading to the death of the constable. According to the clips, the constable was dozing at the main entry point of the IGP office. As his thumb fell on the trigger of his gun, it went off and released six bullets. Three of them pierced through his chest, later claiming his life. He was immediately removed to the Mayo Hospital. The 25-year-old constable, however, succumbed to his wounds despite receiving 21 blood bags.
The Old Anarkali police officials, however, shared a different story. “According to the crime scene and investigations so far, it seemed that the policeman committed suicide over some family issue”, an Old Anarkali police investigator said.
The officials of the IG office, however, said the incident took place when the victim’s rifle went off accidentally.
The spokesman of the IGP strongly denied the reports about the suicide factor behind the death of the young constable.
Eyewitness of the incident, constable Muhammad Mnshah, told that while the deceased was talking to somebody on his cell phone, his hand suddenly fell on the trigger of his own gun which went off. Resultantly, Rashid sustained three bullet injuries in his chest, he further told the officers.
On the condition of anonymity, a security guard of the IGP Office told The Nation that the cause of the incident was out-dated official guns provided to the Punjab Constabulary personnel for security purpose. He claimed the guns lacked the automatic safety lock. The so-called semi-automatic gun holds up to 20 rounds, he said, but it fired only six rounds when the constable Rashid’s hand fell on the trigger accidentally. Three of the bullets burst his chest while others three hit the boundary wall and the main gate of the IG office. Due to missing safety lock, constables have no choice but to keep the gun loaded all the time even at he risk of their own lives, he said.
Spokesman of IGP said the video clips revealed the gun of the constable went off when his thumb fell on the trigger unintentionally as he was snoozing late night on Friday.