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Update  December, 2019

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Odds & Ends  The Associated Press

Odds and Ends - December 27, 2019 - January 9, 2020

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Ray of festive cheer: Santa feeds the fish in Berlin

Berlin (AP) — Santa has taken a dive in Berlin. A diver dressed as Father Christmas - and a companion dressed as an angel - descended into the tank at the Sea Life aquarium in Berlin on Thursday to offer the fish some seasonal cheer. The festive feeding of the sharks, rays and others has become an annual event at the aquarium, which is home to about 5,000 underwater creatures. 

Cats to be put on leashes to protect wildlife? EU says No

Brussels (AP) — Put domestic cats on a leash to better protect threatened birds and the environment? The European Union says that would deny mankind's furry friend its unalienable right to roam. The EU's executive said Thursday that it is "a strong defender of free movement rights — including of cats" and "categorically" denied it would ever force cats to be kept indoors or on a leash, as one scientific study suggests. Tilburg University scientists wrote in Oxford's Journal of Environmental Law that free-ranging domestic cats "impact biodiversity through predation, disturbance, competition, disease and hybridization," and added that the predatory impact is worse than often assumed. They argued that EU laws and directives could effectively force owners to keep them indoors or on a leash outdoors.

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)


TSA finds gun-shaped toilet paper roller in bag at airport


Newark, N.J. (AP) — Transportation Security Administration agents at New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport uncovered a more decorative than deadly item when they checked a passenger's carry-on. Agents on Tuesday thought there was a gun in the bag when they put it through the X-ray machine. However, a closer inspection revealed a gun-shaped toilet paper roller. The realistic replica gun was designed to spin paper instead of bullets. Travelers are not permitted to bring real or replica firearms through security checkpoints. TSA says it gave the man the option to place it in a checked bag, hand it off to a companion or surrender it. He decided to give it to TSA.

 (Transportation Security Administration via AP)


Oink oink, cha-ching: $3 million found in barrels of pork

Shelby, N.C. (AP) — Barrels of raw pork shoulder were riding fat in a tractor trailer pulled over by North Carolina deputies. Approximately $3 million in cash was recovered from the barrels Saturday, the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Tuesday. The driver of the tractor trailer was accused of failing to maintain his lane and impeding the flow of traffic on Interstate 85. Deputies became suspicious of the truck when a K-9 alerted to the trailer, the post says. Deputies searched the tractor trailer and discovered the cash wrapped in plastic in the barrels. The money is believed to have been obtained from drug sales throughout the region and was headed to Mexico, Sheriff Alan Norman said. "It's one of the largest U.S. currency seizures in Cleveland County history," Norman told The Shelby Star. The Department of Justice has been called to assist in the investigation, according to the sheriff's office.

(Cleveland County Sheriff's Office via AP)


Odds and Ends - December 13, 2019 - December 26, 2019


Willie Murphy, 82. (Photo: 13 WHAM-TV via AP)

No easy mark: Female bodybuilder, 82, clobbers intruder

Rochester, N.Y. (AP) — An intruder didn’t count on an 82-year-old woman living alone being an award-winning bodybuilder with nerves of steel. Willie Murphy was getting ready for bed Thursday at her home in Rochester, New York, when a man pounded on the door and said he needed an ambulance, Murphy told WHAM. She called police but wouldn’t open the door. Then, she said, the man broke in and skulked through the dark house. “He picked the wrong house to break into,” Murphy said. She clobbered him with a table, poured shampoo in his face and was beating him with a broom when police arrived. “I was whaling on that man,” Murphy told the Democrat and Chronicle. “‘Cause I said to myself, ‘If it’s my time to go to hell, I’m taking him with me!’” The man got his ambulance ride, after all. He was sent to a hospital, and police tweeted a selfie with Murphy, calling her “tough as nails.” Murphy works out almost daily at Rochester’s Maplewood YMCA and said she can deadlift 225 pounds — more than twice her weight. She can do one-handed pullups and one-handed pushups. She won the World Natural Powerlifting Federation Lifter of the Year award in 2014. “She really helps dispel the myths of aging,” said Michelle LeBoo, a program coordinator at the Maplewood YMCA. Murphy is “a strong, beautiful woman” who does things “for the benefit of others,” LeBoo said. Murphy said she hopes her story inspires people of all ages.

Man found in freezer was husband
of recently deceased woman

Salt Lake City (AP) — A man whose body was in a freezer for as long as 11 years was the husband of the woman who had recently died in their apartment west of Salt Lake City, police said Tuesday. But the autopsy that nailed down his identity didn’t help investigators solve how he died, who killed him or exactly how long his body was tucked into the chest freezer inside the couple’s apartment, said Tooele Police Sgt. Jeremy Hansen. Officers discovered the body of Paul Edwards Mathers, 69, last Friday after finding his wife dead on the bed when they went there to check on her after she hadn’t been seen in two weeks. Detectives couldn’t tell from looking at the fully intact body how he died, but suspect foul play, Hansen said. The death of his wife, Jeanne Souron-Mathers, 75, is not considered suspicious. They don’t know if she was involved in her husband’s death, Hansen said. Detectives estimate the man’s body was in the freezer from between 1 and 11 years based on when residents in the apartment complex say they last saw him. The autopsy didn’t narrow down that time frame, Hansen said. Souron-Mathers had lived in the apartment since 2007 in the city of Tooele, which has about 35,000 residents and is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Salt Lake City.

Ruff ride: Florida dog bumps
car into motion, gets solo trip

Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities say they responded to a rogue vehicle spinning in reverse around a suburban cul-de-sac with a lone occupant inside: a Black Labrador. News outlets report residents called police Thursday after seeing the dog trapped and clambering around in the car as it spun in circles in a Port St. Lucie neighborhood. Police say they think the dog’s owner stepped away from the running car and that’s when the pet knocked it into reverse. Neighbor Anne Sabol says she watched the furry speed racer take out a mailbox and a trash can. Sabol says the dog was in high spirits after being rescued, adding it “jumped out of the car, wagging his tail.” Police stopped the joyride by punching a passcode into the driver’s door. No one was hurt.

Odds and Ends - November 29, 2019 - December 12, 2019

(Jared Thaxter via AP)

Lobsterman rescues deer trapped in water off Maine coast

Harrington, Maine (AP) — A Maine lobsterman hauled in an unusual catch 5 miles off the coast — a live deer. Ren Dorr says he was setting traps when he saw a young deer Monday morning. He says the deer had given up swimming and was being carried farther offshore. He and his crew hauled the 100-pound buck aboard. Having a wild animal in a confined space could be trouble. But Dorr told the Bangor Daily News that the deer was so tuckered out that he “laid right down like a dog.” He says it took a half-hour to return to Harrington, where the deer was set free. Dorr says that he has seen deer swimming before but that this was different. He says that if he and his crew hadn’t intervened, the deer would have been “a goner.”

California deputies help dumpster-diving bear escape

Kings Beach, Calif. (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in Northern California have helped a massive dumpster-diving bear get out of a sticky situation. Placer County sheriff’s deputies found the bear trapped Monday in a locked trash bin in Kings Beach, on Lake Tahoe’s northern shore. Video the agency posted to Facebook shows a deputy shining a flashlight on the dumpster and the bear suddenly popping its head out. As the startled deputy jumps back, others laugh and say “whoa!” They recognize it as the bear they’ve dubbed “T-Shirt” for a patch of white fur on its chest. The agency says the animal has had run-ins with deputies before. They unlock the dumpster from a distance and fling open one of the doors. The bear was stuck in a smaller opening in the top of one of the doors, but eventually drops down, pushes it open and lumbers out.

Rescue: ‘Unicorn’ puppy doesn’t notice ‘tail’ growth on head

Jackson, Mo. (AP) — A rescued puppy is attracting a lot of attention because of his resemblance to a unicorn. The nearly 10-week-old puppy, named Narwhal, has a tail-like appendage growing from his forehead. Narwhal was rescued over the weekend and sent to Mac’s Mission in Jackson, which specializes in fostering animals with special needs. Mac’s Mission founder Rochelle Steffen says Narwhal doesn’t notice the extra tail and is otherwise a happy, healthy puppy. Although it looks like a tail, Narwhal cannot wag it. Steffen says the rescue group has been flooded with requests from people wanting to adopt Narwhal since his picture hit social media. But he’ll remain at Mac’s Mission so his caretakers can be sure the tail doesn’t grow out of proportion to his face and cause him problems.

(Tyler Graef/The Southeast Missourian via AP)

S. Carolina man: McDonald’s sweet tea came with weed inside

Hilton Head, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man who went to McDonald’s for a sweet tea says he received a little extra herbal substance on the side. The Island Packet reports Parrish Brown went to a McDonald’s on Hilton Head Island and asked for a sweet tea with light ice and extra lemon. Brown now believes “extra lemon” was code for marijuana, since he found three bags of weed in his cup. He says he only realized it once he was “high as a kite.” Brown says he’d never had marijuana, so he didn’t recognize the taste. He says he paid regular price for the items. Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Bob Bromage says an investigation is ongoing. He didn’t specify which McDonald’s Brown had gone to. A representative for McDonald’s said the company is “fully cooperating with law enforcement on the validity of this claim.”.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Odds and Ends - December 27, 2019 - January 9, 2020

Odds and Ends - December 13, 2019 - December 26, 2019

Odds and Ends - November 29, 2019 - December 12, 2019