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News » News of the Weird

Recent Alarming Headlines

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Recent Alarming Headlines
Singer Wayne Newton was sued in District Court on Aug. 6 by a mother and daughter over an incident involving a monkey that took place in October 2017 at Newton's home in Las Vegas, where the daughter was an invited guest, according to court documents. Genevieve Urena, a minor, was touring the home when Newton's pet monkey, Boo, "without any provocation ... attacked and bit Ms. Urena, causing injury to her body as well as emotional distress," the suit claims, according to KVVU TV. The Urenas assert that Newton "had a duty to exercise due care" and should have known that Boo had a tendency to attack. They are seeking $15,000 in damages.

• In Perth, Australia, two pig farmers face jail time after illegally importing Danish pig semen in shampoo bottles. The Guardian reported that Torben Soerensen and Henning Laue, of GD Pork, were sentenced to three years and two years in prison, respectively, after pleading guilty to breaching quarantine and biosecurity laws by bringing in the contraband numerous times between 2009 and 2017 to be used in GD Pork's artificial breeding program. Australian agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie said, "GD Pork imported the semen illegally in an attempt to get an unfair advantage over its competitors, through new genetics." Western Australian Farmers Federation spokesperson Jessica Wallace called the acts "selfish": "How extremely disappointing." GD Pork also was fined $500,000.

Thank You, I Think?
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Aug. 11 that in the overnight hours, more than 50 old-style television sets had been deposited on the front porches of homes in Henrico County, Va. Henrico Police Lt. Matt Pecka said the culprits were caught on several doorbell cameras, with one of the videos showing a person wearing TV-shaped headgear while dropping off the TV. Even more puzzling, a similar phenomenon happened last year in nearby Glen Allen, where 20 sets were left on porches. Pecka said the only crime that might have been committed is illegal dumping: "We don't believe there's any reason for the community to be alarmed."

Bright Idea
A Twitter user known only as "Dorothy," 15, was banned from her phone by her mom in early August after becoming distracted while cooking and starting a fire, but that didn't stop her, reported The Guardian. First she tweeted from a Nintendo 3DS gaming device, but Mom caught on quickly and posted that the account would be shut down. The next day, Dorothy tweeted from her Wii U, assuring followers that while Mom was at work, she'd be looking for her phone. Finally, on Aug. 8, with no other options left, Dorothy reached out to Twitter from an unlikely source: her family's LG smart refrigerator. "I am talking to my fridge what the heck my Mom confiscated all of my electronics again," she posted. The post went viral, even prompting LG to tweet about it with the hashtag #FreeDorothy.

Cambodian farmer Sum Bora, 28, is lucky to be alive after spending almost four days wedged between boulders in the jungle northwest of Phnom Penh. On Aug. 4, as Bora was collecting bat guano for use as fertilizer, he slipped while trying to retrieve the flashlight he had dropped down a crevice, The Washington Post reported. After three days, his brother found him and alerted authorities, who worked about 10 hours to free Bora from the hollow where he was trapped. He was transported to a local hospital.

Least Competent Criminal
Larry Adams, 61, of Daytona Beach, Fla., came out swinging late on Aug. 12, complaining that neighbors were playing their music too loudly in the parking lot of their apartment complex. Adams emerged from his apartment threatening to shoot them and brandishing nunchucks, which he then hit himself in the head with. Police officers responding to a 911 call told WOLF-Fox 35 that Adams also sprayed everyone with roach repellent, causing them to cough and their skin to burn. "We not even roaches, so why are we getting sprayed with roach spray for?" wondered neighbor Cici Sylvester. Adams, sporting a goose egg on his forehead, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

True Love
For 68 years, Francis and Rosemary Klontz of Sacramento, Calif., have not just shared the ups and downs of marriage and family. They've cemented their bond by coordinating their outfits—every day!—for almost seven decades. Francis lets his wife pick out his clothes each morning: "She just lays it out for me, and I don't have to worry about a thing!" he told KOVR TV. The couple also sing together, performing at church, hospitals and around the house. They started dating in junior high school in Auburn, Washington, and the dressing alike custom started when Rosemary's mother bought them matching shirts. "We've been matching ever since," Rosemary said.

Government in Action
What a relief! The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Aug. 8 that miniature horses are cleared to fly in all cabins of commercial planes as emotional support and service animals. The agency called "dogs, cats and miniature horses" the "most commonly recognized service animals," Fox News reported. However, other organizations, including the Association of Flight Attendants, have urged a tightening of rules about the animals because of "rampant abuse" of service animal designations. Apparently, the DOT said "neiiiighhhh" to that.

A Gwinnett County (Georgia) medical examiner has resigned after wildly misinterpreting the cause of death for 61-year-old Ray Neal of Lawrenceville, who died on July 21. Despite reports by police and witnesses of large amounts of blood on the floor and walls at scene, investigator Shannon Byers initially ruled Neal had died of natural causes. But when his body arrived at the funeral home, employees discovered a hole in his neck, Fox 5 News reported, and Neal was returned to the morgue for an autopsy, which revealed he had been stabbed several times. Police are now investigating the death as a murder.

The Devil Is in the Details
Was there or was there not a clown? And what exactly is "fancy dress"? In the early hours of July 26, The Guardian reported, a "mass brawl" broke out in a buffet area of the P&O cruise ship Britannia, which was bound from Bergen, Norway, to Southampton, England. Witnesses told staff that the fight started when one passenger became angry that another was wearing a clown outfit, because they had specifically booked a cruise with no fancy dress. Another witness said the clown had crashed a black-tie party. But P&O later said in a statement there was no clown, and Hampshire police confirmed: "There is no information to suggest that a clown or anyone wearing fancy dress was involved in this incident." A number of passengers were injured in the brawl by flying furniture and plates, and two passengers were arrested, then later released.

Compelling Explanation
Fanny Alida Beerepoot and her brother, Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot, Christian missionaries in Tasmania, were ordered by the supreme court there to pay $2.3 million to the Australian Taxation Office on July 17 after failing to remit the estimated $930,000 in income taxes and other charges they owed in 2017. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported the dispute stems from the Beerepoots' contention that taxation "goes against God's will." Representing themselves, the siblings explained they had paid income taxes prior to 2011, but then came to realize that "the law of Almighty God is the supreme law of this land," and "transferring our allegiance from God to the Commonwealth would mean rebelling against God." Also in 2017, the family's property in Mole Creek was seized after they refused to pay property taxes on it for seven years.

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