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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weird news - A woman gets a huge phone bill due to data roaming charges

You must have heard of those stories where people get huge phone bills for roaming charges on their mobile phones; and you see people worrying about data plans when they go roaming. So, when somebody plans a trip abroad, they also do a lot of planning about their phone and internet data links, how to get the best plan that would not cost them a packet, and so on. Many of us think that this is strange, after all, how much extra cost would there be when you are on a roaming charge ?
Well, consider the fate of this lady. Her brothers depended on her for their phone bills, and neglected to change their data plans when they went out of their city, and then the lady was hit for a bill that exceeded $200,000 (and when the lady checked, the bill was found to be genuine). What a shock. It was only after some publicity that the phone company decided to be generous and reduce the bill to a much more manageable $2500 (link to article):

A South Florida woman opened up her monthly cell phone bill to find a balance due of $201,000-- and it wasn’t a typo.
Celina Aarons, who uses T-Mobile, usually sees a bill of about $175 per month. Her plan not only includes her phone, but her two deaf-mute brothers, the Associated Press reports. Her brothers communicate primarily through texting and also use their phones to watch videos.
But when her brothers spent two weeks in Canada, with their cell phones on and changed to an international plan, Aarons saw her bill jump to $201,000, the AP reports. They had sent more than 2,000 texts and downloaded videos, charging up close to $2,000 data charges at a time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weird news - Hot chilli contest causes hospitalization of contestants

There are always people who like to think that they can handle all sorts of situations, and then end up in trouble that other people have to handle. And we are not talking about the hikers who end up lost and have to be evacuated by rangers from some isolated site and so on. In this specific case, the situation was that a contest was arranged where it could be said that things would turn nasty.
So, consider a case where a contest was arranged for something that most people would stay away from; namely dishes in the form of curries where the amount of spice was such that it would affect most people. People who took part suffered a great deal due to the dangerous nature of the curries, with even the Red Cross people standing by unable to provide help. External emergency services were required, along with hospitalization (link to article):

Two people have been taken to hospital following the "world's hottest chilli" competition at an Edinburgh Indian restaurant.
Emergency services were called to the Kismot restaurant in St Leonards Street on Saturday afternoon after some competitors became "very unwell".
The competition involves people eating the "Kismot Killer" curry.
The Scottish Ambulance Service is now calling for a review into how the event is managed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weird news - Iranian actress sentenced to an year in jail and lashes

It is always bad to be generic, but it has typically been found that Islamic societies tend to be more conservative than western countries, frowning upon expressions that are fine with other countries. For example, Saudi Arabia tends to be very conservative on the rights of women, not even allowing them to drive, or to move around with men who are not related to them. Iran is also conservative, but it gets more difficult since Iran lives in the condition of paranoia, especially when it comes to something that is like the expression of freedom or against the power of the theocratic state. Consider how this actress was sentenced to a relatively harsh punishment for her portrayal of scenes from inside homes in Iran, and was objected to by the censors inside Iran (link to article):

Actress Marzieh Vafamehr has been sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes by an Iranian court for her role in an Australian film on the limits imposed on artists in the Islamic republic.
The film My Tehran for Sale which won the 2009 Independent Spirit Inside Film award and the jury award for best feature film at the Trimedia Film Festival in 2010 has been directed by Iranian-Australian Granaz Moussavi.
It was a production of Adelaide-based Cyan Films and the movie tells the story of a young actress in Tehran whose theatre work is banned by the authorities.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weird news - Sharks in the water hole of a golf course

Typically, a golf course adds many obstacles to make things more challenging. So you can have a sand trap, water trap, trees, as well as many other natural obstacles to make things more difficult. However, people have not gone so far as to make such obstacles be deadly towards the players, although that would add to the attractions for thrill seekers, and probably pull in a number of people who would be attracted.
Consider how unlikely it is that, during a flood, sharks would swim in the waters and come to the water hole of a golf course, and grow there to become the normally dangerous bull sharks (bull sharks are known to be one of the more dangerous species of sharks). What must be worrisome for people as well is the thought that sharks can be found in flood waters, and people do get caught in flood waters (link to article):

But a golf course in southeast Queensland has a different kind of shark attraction: half a dozen bull sharks in a lake that are granting new meaning to the term “water hazard.”
Carbrook Golf Club has captured the bull sharks on video to prove it.
The lake, next to holes 12 through 15, is out-of-bounds to golfers. If a hook or a slice ends in the lake, players are advised to grab a new ball from their bag.
“If you lose a ball, you definitely don’t go in and chase it,” golfer Graham Casemore told the ABC.
That didn’t stop one determined golfer from taking on the sharks -- not wanting to incur a one-shot penalty -- before scampering out defeated.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weird news - Man kills wife and beheads her

Once in a while, you will watch a particularly gory movie or read a book that describes a murder scene that is particularly gory. If you watch a movie such as "Saw", then you will be watching pretty gory scenes, and these can be disturbing. But what happens when you see such a scene in real life ? It can be utterly horrible, something that is very disturbing and in many cases, requires the people witnessing such scenes to get some sort of medical attention or counselling so that their memories of such scenes are somewhat mollified. Imagine seeing a person walking, carrying the head of his wife in his hand; most likely if you see such a scene, you would run away screaming (link to article):

An autorickshaw driver killed his wife and walked the roads of Guwahati's Hengrabari with her severed head and a blood-stained machete before he was arrested. The couple's younger son is missing.
Ranjit Das was charged with murder and produced in the chief judicial magistrate's court. He was remanded in judicial custody on Friday.
No matter what the reason be, it is just not justifiable to commit such an atrocity.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weird news - Man kills unknown woman and then hides the body

When we read about murders or homicides, in most of the cases, there are motives for the incident. In many cases, these are revenge killings, or done in the heat of the moment, and when the person ends up in court, there is a motive. In some cases, where the reason is reason enough (such as in self-defence or to avenge some utter humiliation), people can think that the motive is something that may get convince that there was no option other than the killing, and the murder punishment can be reduced to that extent. However, there are cases where the killing is so random, or when there is no motive for the murder, and society cannot determine why the crime occurred. In such cases, the punishment is even more severe, with the trial typically ending in a very severe penalty (link to article):

A Dutch engineer accused of murdering the woman who lived next door in southwest England strangled her and then researched how long it would take a body to decompose, his trial heard on Monday.
Vincent Tabak, 33, admits manslaughter but denies murdering 25-year-old landscape architect Jo Yeates, whose body was discovered hidden under leaves and snow next to a country road near Bristol on December 25 last year.
Prosecutor Nigel Lickley told Bristol Crown court that Tabak attacked the woman in her flat, bundled her body into his car, dumped it and then sent a text message to his girlfriend saying he was "bored".
Yeates had gone missing on December 17 after going for a drink with colleagues and buying a pizza from a supermarket on the way home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Weird news - Young girl dies in an amusement park in a freak accident

Amusement parks are meant as a place where people come to relax. Some of these rides seem very thrilling, with people dropping fast through large heights, or sitting in an open vehicle that runs on rails and moves at fast speeds. All of these provide great excitement, but need a lot of planning and design to ensure that everything goes right when they are in operation; however, from time to time, you do hear of problems that do occur in amusement parks, a few of which turn fatal. Parks need to have a thorough preventive maintenance program, and even then something can go wrong. But, the only good point is that such accidents are few and you only read about them once in a while. In this case, a girl was sitting in an amusement park ride, and the ride broke sending her dropping down (link to article):

A young boy who was on the ride suffered minor injuries, but walked away from the twisted metal on his own, Barcelona spokeswoman Rosa Diaz said.
The names of the victims have not been announced.
The mechanical arm of "El Pendulo" (The Pendulum) broke and the basket carrying the teens fell on top of the ride known as "The Golden Mine," said Sara Jaurriete, director of the Tibidabo amusement park.
The park's website describes El Pendulo as "the ultimate free fall and the first of its kind in Spain."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weird news - Donkey entered as a candidate for mayoral elections

A donkey is a typical depiction of an animal who is stupid, can do whatever it is forced to do. Also, there is a symbol of donkeys in politics, where the Democratic party in the United States is also represented by a donkey (with the Republican Party being represented by an elephant). When people want to protest something, a donkey can be one of the symbols that is typically used; whether that be in terms of taking out a procession of donkeys, or carrying placards on donkeys, or placing an effigy of somebody on top of a donkey. However, in a satirical move, a political party is using a real donkey as a candidate for mayoral elections in Bulgaria (link to article):

The Society for New Bulgaria chose the animal, called Marko, as a candidate for the position in the town of Varna because he "doesn't steal" or "lie".
Angel Dyankov, head of the campaign headquarters of the Society for New Bulgaria party, said: "Unlike the other mayor candidates and politicians, the Donkey has a strong character, doesn't steal, doesn't lie, and gets work done."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weird news - Girl eats a lightbulb, and is only 3 years old

You read about people doing all sorts of weird things, many of them for some sort of publicity or the other. If you read some of the facts listed in Ripley's books, or even the Guinness World Records, some of those exploits seem so weird. But most of those are done by adults who want the publicity.
When a young child does something that seems weird, the immediate need for doing that act is blamed on the parents (since it is assumed that the parents are the one who are forcing the child to act, and the child is too young to do something on his / her own). Consider the following case where a very young girl (all of 3 years old) ate a lightbulb due to a medical condition (link to article):

A three-year-old girl has eaten a light bulb.
Natalie Hayhurst - who suffers from Pica, a condition characterised by an appetite for non-nutritive substances - nearly died when she consumed the inedible object, and she polished off nearly a whole brick "like a chocolate chip cookie" in the past.
Her mum Colleen told the Daily Mail newspaper: "She doesn't try to eat glass so much since it hurt her, but she will try and eat rocks and sticks she finds in the garden.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weird news - Saudi lady sentenced to 10 lashes for driving

Sometimes we take our independence for granted. The ability to drive wherever we want, live the way we want, and so on. This is particularly true for woman's rights, where many countries had to go through long struggles to establish rights.
Even in the modern western democracies, where the spirit of freedom is taken for granted, rights for women such as the right to drive, and most important, the right to vote were won only in the last century, and too after long struggles. So it seems strange when you hear that in some societies, women are still deprived of the right to drive because of cultural and religious reasons.
But to expect that a woman can be expected to be lashed because she had the guts to drive is something that is totally unexpected, and yet that is the scene in the conservative Islamic society of Saudi Arabia where a religious police governs everything (link to article):

A Saudi woman has been sentenced to be lashed 10 times with a whip for defying the kingdom's prohibition on female drivers, the first time a legal punishment has been handed down for a violation of the longtime ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.
The driver, Shaima Jastaina, in her 30s, was found guilty of driving without permission, activist Samar Badawi said. The punishment is usually carried out within a month. It was not possible to reach Jastaina, but Badawi, in touch with Jastaina's family, said she appealed the verdict.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women _ both Saudi and foreign _ from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
In the end, the king over-turned the judgment, but it also showed how far backward the country actually is and the sorry state of women's rights.

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