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Monday, January 31, 2011

Weird news - Chinese man originally sentenced to life for evading tolls, overturned after protests

China has a judiciary that is under the control of the ruling Communist party, and this can result in a number of cases where the sentencing can seem very strange. So, for example, when somebody is corrupt and is convicted of corruption, they can even be given a death sentence and the sentence has been carried out in the past. In other cases, people who protest against corruption and other malpractices can be convicted of acting against order and sentenced.
At the same time, the spread of modern technology has enabled the airing of views even in a society such as China where the articulation of dissent can be very quickly shut down. So, when a person was convicted and sentenced for a life sentence for evading tolls, it seemed so weird (especially when Chinese citizens claimed that people committing serious crimes were being sentenced for lower sentences, and also that tolls were very high) (link to article):

A Chinese farmer and gravel dealer who was sentenced to life in prison for evading more than $560,000 in highway cargo tolls by using fake military license plates has now avoided the harsh punishment as well.
After a public outcry about what was deemed harsh treatment of Shi Jianfeng and widespread grumpiness over high tolls in general, state media said Wednesday that authorities have overturned Shi's life sentence.
Shi was sentenced last week for fraud. Fake military license plates on two of his trucks that carried gravel allowed them to avoid tolls more than 2,300 times because military vehicles are exempt.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weird news - Couple crash into a church, blame their car navigation system

The use of satellite navigation systems for finding your way around when driving a car has increased tremendously. It is now perfectly acceptable to just know the destination, plug this address into the system, and then follow the voice commands given by the system. It works for a huge amount of cases and this success rate has contributed to the increased use of such technologies. However, there happen cases when the technology has led people into trouble; such as the case of lorry drivers who reached destinations different from where intended, or went the wrong way on 1 way streets. Consider this case when this couple claims that the car navigation system told them to turn right into the church instead of taking them the right way (could be that their system came under the control of the devil) (link to article):

The unnamed couple were driving in freezing conditions from Austria to France on Friday when the car's satnav said, "turn right", The Times reports.
The 76-year-old driver did as he was told, immediately smashing into a 19th Century chapel near Freundpolz, Bavaria. The prang is said to have caused £23,000 worth of damage.
A motorist who stopped to help claimed the confused man blamed the machine for the error. The stunned driver said: "It told me to turn this way, but I suddenly ran out of road."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weird news - Cat called for jury duty, owner tries to get exemption

In the United States, the jury system is the backbone of the judicial system, whereby people are governed by a jury made of their peers; so, for a trial, a jury is selected out of all the eligible population, with very few people exempt. So, people are called for jury duty, and are then selected by the lawyers for both sides; it is not easy to get an exemption from this jury duty, and the law looks unfavorably at any attempts to try to evade this duty.
But, sometimes, the officialdom that make up any system can get trapped into their red tape and processes, and lead to some hilarious situations, which get reported as weird situations. What can you call a situations where a cat is called for jury duty and the owner is running around trying to make the judicial system understand that this is an animal, not a human being (link to article):

Mrs Esposito had included a letter from her vet confirming that the cat was "a domestic short-haired neutered feline".
Tabby Sal had been entered by Mrs Esposito under the 'pets' section of the last census. "When they ask him guilty or not guilty? What's he supposed to say - miaow?" She said.
"Sal is a member of the family so I listed him on the last Census form under pets but there has clearly been a mix-up."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weird news - Man faces huge problem, his car totally freezes in New York

When you are in a city such as New York, the problem of parking is so bad that people literally fight for a parking space. So when somebody sees a parking space, there is a great sense of triumph and people are willing to leave their car for days altogether in that space. However, problems happen only to a minuscule percentage of those users.
What do you say about this case where a person found a parking space, and left his car over there. However, he left it there for a matter of days, and a combination of cold weather, a burst water main (and passing cars splashing the water onto the car) left the car literally frozen. He tried to thaw the car by turning on the engine, but this only ended up breaking the glass of one window. Further, his boss was somewhat incredulous about this story and he had to provide proofs for this story (link to article):

Helfer told the TODAY hosts he found himself a good spot, parked, and–as New Yorkers do–didn’t worry about the car for days. In the meantime, factor in sub-zero temperatures and a broken water main, and the result was a German car transformed into a block of ice. When Helfer got to it, he tried to run the engine to warm the car, and succeeded only in changing the temperature enough to shatter the windshield.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weird news - Man jumps out of 9th floor in a New York building, rubbish saves his life

Most people bemoan a situation when rubbish is not being collected on time, since that seems to contribute to a lowered opinion of the locality, leads to an issue where there are health implications, and also draws the attention of scavengers and animals (including smaller insects) and so on. However, in the case of emergencies, the collection of garbage can be affected, since garbage collection is at a lower priority than other municipal activities. So, for example, when there was a lot of snow during recent storms in New York, garbage collection was badly affected and piles of rubbish were piled up in many localities. But they also saved a life (link to article):

A man who leapt from his ninth-floor New York apartment in a apparent suicide bid survived after landing on piles of rubbish left uncollected in the recent snow storm. Vangelis Icapatos, 26, plunged 100ft from his building on West 45th Street wearing just his pajamas and landed on his back, according to police.
He was taken to Bellvue Hospital, where his condition is said to be stable, after the rubbish broke his fall. A police spokesman added: 'He landed on a garbage pile - that’s the only reason he’s alive.'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Weird research - ATM's as dirty as public loos

We normally believe a lot in what we can see, so when you look at public convenience, even if it seems totally clean and sparkling, you will always consider it dirty and a place to quickly go, do your thing, and leave. But other places seem clean, look clean, and so we consider those places as clean. Obviously, we cannot look at the places at a much deeper level, and truly determine whether these places are also clean, or do they also contain a lot of germs that can cause public illness. Would you be surprised if you knew that there are many places as clean as a public toilet, even the seemingly clean ATM (link to article):

The next time you take out money from an automated teller machine (ATM), make sure you either wear gloves or wash your hands. Cleanliness tests have revealed that cash machines are as dirty and carry the same germs as public toilets.
Health experts took swabs from the numeric key pads on a string of ATMs around Britain that are used by thousands of shoppers every day. They then took similar swabs from the seats of nearby public toilets and compared the bacteria under microscopes in a lab. The swabs were left to grow overnight and samples from both locations were found to contain pseudomonads and bacillus - bacteria known to cause sickness and diarrhoea, according to the Daily Mail.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Weird news - Man gets huge damages for being poked in the eye by a lap dancer

When ladies wear high heels, doctors normally always state that wearing these high heels can cause damage to the leg structure of these ladies and cause a lot of pain. And yet, the needs for glamour and fashion over-rule any health reasons for doing so. At the same time, these high heels with their sharp points can be very harmful (if you have ever been stepped on by such a lady and felt the tip of the heel, it can be very painful). But what happens when something as embarrassing as being hit in the head by a lap dancer in a club by her high heels, and hard enough to be seriously hurt (link):

A South Florida man is $650,000 richer after successfully suing a strip club, having been injured when a lap dancer poked him in the eye with a stiletto (heel). Michael Ireland was left with a punctured eye socket, broken facial bones and permanent double vision after the 2008 incident at the Cheetah club in West Palm Beach.
Added to this, the club boss told local media Rod Kimbrough said the dancer Sakeena Shageer, a "very nice, young small girl", had reacted instinctively after being smacked on the buttocks by a patron unknown. "A patron violently slapped the young woman on her buttocks and she was walking around the top of the bar and I guess out of a natural response she turned around and kicked him." However, Ireland and his attorneys pressed on, and yesterday the club elected to settle rather than go through the hassle of a court case.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weird news - Elephant stuck in a well, took quite some time to bring it out

There are many questions that children ask which seem very difficult to answer, and then life makes a reality. Consider the question related to the child seeing 2 different items and trying to connect them - this happened. The child had just seen an elephant, and some time later saw a well, and connected them together; the innocent question being about what would happen if the elephant found itself in the well; and of course nobody had any real answers to the question. And then surprise, some days later I saw this article that described the same item (link)

This one, in the Ranchi district, just fell right in. Villagers heard plaintive cries from an abandoned well and rushed there to find the elephant stuck inside. He was part of a herd that strayed into the Silli village from the jungles nearby.
For 12 hours, villagers and officials from the Forest Department worked to help him. The officials had to break the walls of the well to make way for the elephant to walk out of there. He sustained some injuries during the rescue operations, but not major ones.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Weird news - Woman wakes up when being carried to her funeral, but dies later

Imagine that a person is being carried to her funeral, to the burial grounds; and then the person who is being carried suddenly wakes up ? Such an occurrence has the potential to shock the mourners, and if any of them are elderly or otherwise have a heart condition, this can cause people to have heart attacks.
Further, if the person has been declared dead by doctors, and is being taken to the burial grounds; but if still alive, then they are missing urgent medical attention, something that could actually worsen their health and plausibly lead to their death (link to article):

A woman, who was declared dead by doctors and whose body was being taken in a procession to the burial grounds, suddenly stirred and stood up sending shivers down the spine of relatives and others present here on Thursday.
She had been admitted to King George's Hospital after she collapsed in the house while attending to her daily chores on Wednesday. The callous KGH doctors had declared her dead and even issued a death certificate. After her `rebirth,' the family later took Varalakshmi to a corporate hospital in a 108 vehicle on Thursday morning. A relative, Nageswara Rao, said the 108 staff noticed her pulse and shifted her to a private hospital where she succumbed later.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Weird news - Camera captures murderer just at the time of the murder

How likely is that a camera will capture the scene of a murder just before the actual murder happens ? And that too, when the person who is being killed is actually taking the photo. Imagine the shock, you take a photo, really don't notice that somebody is pointing a gun at you, and then just after the photo is taken, you get shot and eventually die ? The family of the murdered person however saw this photo, and sent this photo to the police; based on this photo, the police found the killer along with the accomplice. However, such a scenario happening is very unlikely, and the murdered must be ruing his luck (link to article):

A murdered Philippine politician caught his killer on camera just moments before he was shot dead, with the photograph leading to the arrest of the suspected gunman, police said today. The photograph, taken by district councillor Reynaldo Dagsa and distributed by his family to media, shows his relatives posing outside their home while a gunman in the background appears to aim a pistol at the victim.
The family gave the photograph to the police, leading to the arrest on Monday of the gunman as well as a suspected accomplice, he said. The alleged killer is shown in the photograph wearing a reversed baseball cap just behind Dagsa's daughter, wife and mother-in-law, who were apparently unaware of the alleged assailant's presence.

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