Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Farmer dyes sheep red

A Scottish farmer has dyed his sheep red in an effort to cheer up drivers sitting in motorway tailbacks.

Andrew Jack sprayed his 54-strong flock before releasing them on to the Pyramid Hills by the M8 in West Lothian.

Mr Jack told the Scotsman: "The sheep are causing quite a stir. We used a sheep spray, but it was totally animal-friendly and would not do the sheep any harm.

"We will leave them like that until it is time to shear their coats off."

The idea was the brainchild of managers at the Pyramid Business Park in Bathgate, and was designed to keep their workers and passers-by travelling on the M8 entertained.

It follows the M8 Art project, which created artistic talking-points along the main travel corridor between east and west.

They included the Iron Horse at Easterhouse and the Big Heids sculptures at the Eurocentral Terminal site.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fines for failed marriages

Poland is planning to fine people who get divorced in a bid to cut the spiralling number of failed marriages.

The ruling PiS party unveiled the plan after it was revealed a third of Polish marriages now end in divorce.

The fines, set depending how well off spouses are, could soar into hundreds of thousands of pounds for wealthier Poles.

Divorce in Poland currently cost around £100 in court fees, a figure ruling MPs feel is much too cheap.

According to Andrzej Symanski, a PiS party MP: "It costs the same to divorce as a good pair of shoes."

MPs now want to raise divorce fees, making the price dependent on the spouses' earnings and property.

University sociologist Dr. Krzystof Lecki accused the state of looking to cash in on the divorce trend and added it would not stop people separating.

He said: "If adults want to get divorced, they will, whatever the costs are. It's more likely to stop people marrying in the first place than anything else."

Burglars steal kitchen

A Yorkshireman returned from travelling the world to find burglars had stolen his entire kitchen.

James Elstub, from Dewsbury, returned from holidaying in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the USA to find his kitchen had been stripped.

Thieves broke in and took all the appliances and fittings in the room, Halifax Home Insurance said.

Mr Elstub said: "I can't believe I returned home from my holiday to find burglars had stolen my kitchen sink.

"The criminals must have been bold, as it would have taken considerable time to strip the kitchen.

"The burglary felt like a complete invasion."

Mr Elstub claimed for £3,000 for the damage caused by the break-in and for a replacement kitchen.

"My replacement kitchen arrived very shortly so I only had to put up with two weeks of microwave meals," he added.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dog performs Heimlich manoeuvre

A US woman claims her golden labrador saved her life by giving her the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Debbie Parkhurst, 45, was eating an apple at home in Cecil County, Maryland, when a chunk got stuck in her throat.

"It was lodged pretty tight because I couldn't breathe," she said. "I tried to do the thing where you lean over a chair and give yourself the Heimlich, but it didn't work."

Mrs Parkhurst then began beating her chest, attracting the attention of two-year-old Toby, reports the local Cecil Whig newspaper.

"The next think I know, Toby's up on his hind feet and he's got his front paws on my shoulders," she recalled. "He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest."

Toby's jumping apparently managed to dislodge the apple from Parkhurst's windpipe.

"As soon as I started breathing, he stopped and began licking my face, as if to keep me from passing out," she said.

"I, literally, have pawprint-shaped bruises on my chest," Parkhurst said. "I'm still a little hoarse, but otherwise, I'm OK.

"The doctor said I probably wouldn't be here without Toby. I keep looking at him and saying: "You're amazing"."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Toadzilla seized in Australia

A giant cane toad the size of a small dog has been captured in northern Australia.

It has been nicknamed Toadzilla and is the biggest cane toad ever found in Australia's Northern territory.

Environmentalists have been trying to stop the spread of the poisonous creatures across the country's tropics.

The toads were introduced from Hawaii in the 1930s in a failed attempt to control native cane beetles.

Toadzilla was caught during a community hunt in Darwin.

Cane toads were first released in Queensland and have since marched in their millions across the country.

They are prolific breeders. Some estimates put their number as high as 200 million.

They have poisoned countless native animals, including crocodiles which have died after eating them.

The population of some snakes, lizards and small marsupials have also suffered greatly.

A Northern Territory MP once said the toads were such a menace that people should attack them with golf clubs to keep them at bay.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Man, 102, given 25 year mortgage

A 102-year-old man has been given a 25 year mortgage for £200,000.

The pensioner will be 127 if the loan runs to its full term - five years older than the world's longest living person who died at 122.

The man, from East Sussex, faces repayments of £958 a month on his interest-only loan.

He is using it to "get into the buy-to-let" market and intends to use the rental income to pay the mortgage.

He is the oldest person in Britain to be given a new mortgage. There are now thousands of pensioners borrowing money to buy property in the hope of beefing up their pensions.

Most lenders offer mortgages to people up to the age of 75. But some have no age limit. Jonathan Moore, of Mortgages for Business, arranged the loan for the 102-year-old.

He said: "It's a new phenomenon. Five years ago, anybody over 65 would have been hard-pushed to get any mortgage. But lenders have eased restrictions to keep in step with the market."

Last journey was dead long

A man travelled up and down the same train line for six hours before staff realised he was dead.

Ferdinando Borelli, 85, had a fatal heart attack, but other passengers assumed he was asleep, reports The Sun.

He completed the route - from Savona to Turin in northern Italy - three times before cleaners tried to wake him at the company's depot.

He was returning from holiday and died shortly after boarding the train.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Singleton advertises for tomb-mate

A single Chinese man is advertising on the internet for a female tomb-mate so he won't be alone after death.

Mr Li, 45, of Nanjing city, said: "I was chatting with friends in a bar, and we were talking about life and death. They said it's sad to be all alone, even after death.

"That night I came back home, and thought about it seriously, and came up with the idea of finding a tomb-mate."

Li posted a message online, saying he is single but sociable and wants a female to share his tomb, and left his mobile phone number.

His ad attracted a lot of comments but Li says a curious journalist from Jinling Evening Post was the first to call.

"I only want to have a try. If I fail, I can take it, as long as I've tried," he said.

"I don't want a relationship with her. I just want to find someone to share the lonely tomb."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beer goggles for drink drivers

Police in Poland are forcing drink drivers to wear specially made beer goggles to show them how alcohol affects their driving.

Officers in Koscian arranged for those caught drink driving to put on the goggles that distort their vision in the same way as several pints of beer.

They then have to get in a car driven by a police officer and can see how hard it is to focus.

A police spokesman said: "The blurred sight of the goggles is equivalent to that experienced by a drunk driver.

"The beer goggles distort a person's vision and force them to try and constantly refocus."