Joe Rwamirama, 48, of Kampala, Uganda, has an unusually practical superpower: "He is known all over the city as the man who can kill mosquitoes with his farts," local barber James Yoweri told The Sun on Dec. 10. Rwamirama said no one in his home village has ever contracted malaria because his gaseous ejections knock out insects over a 6-mile radius. "He is respectful of people around him and will only fart when there are mosquitoes around," Yoweri continued. Rwamirama hopes to market his gas and claims that insect repellant companies have been looking into its chemical secrets, but The Sun couldn't verify those claims.
When a Shelby, Ohio, police officer responded to a call on Nov. 13 about a sick or rabid raccoon on a residential street, he had a tough decision to make. The raccoon did seem either injured or ill, and according to WJW, the officer decided it needed to be destroyed. However, there is no area animal control department, and police officers don't have the "training or equipment to capture a potentially rabid animal," officials said. And the officer was hesitant to use his firearm because of the time of day and because some residents were outside their homes. So he decided to use his vehicle to eliminate the raccoon, running over it several times to finish the job. Unfortunately, a bystander was recording the incident, and people on social media are calling for the officer's removal. The Shelby police chief responded: "The video is disturbing to watch. ... We are having an independent group, with a prosecutor, to determine if any criminal charges are appropriate (but) ... this incident doesn't violate any wildlife laws."
It's very cold and very dark, in an existential sort of way, in Minneapolis at this time of year. To wit: Cianna Violet, 24, passes by a certain spot, near a Broadway Pizza location, as she commutes to work. In November, she noticed a yellow traffic pylon with an extra something clinging to the top and pulled over to check it out. It was a rat—dead, frozen, sad. Until Dec. 3, when Violet noticed something about the rat had changed. Sure enough, someone had dressed the chilly little rodent and even remembered accessories, like a tiny silver backpack and fur-trimmed boots. The outfit is "100% seasonably appropriate," Violet told CityPages. "I'm sorry it had to die, but in death it has brought a reason to smile to hundreds."
• Meanwhile, it's warm and sunny in Las Vegas, and the pigeons are wearing cowboy hats. What? On Dec. 9, KVVU reported that pigeons have been spotted with tiny red cowboy hats on their heads. Mariah Hillman, who runs an animal rescue, at first thought the little headwear was cute, but then began to worry about how the hats had been affixed to the birds' heads. "Did they glue them? ... Is it something that's going to impede their flight or attract predators?" she wondered. Hillman and her agency have been handing out business cards and asking people who see the little urban cowbirds to "just feed them until I get here. I'm only 3 miles away and I'll come trap them."
The Raleigh (North Carolina) News & Observer reported on Dec. 9 that a 14-year-old runaway made a logical choice when deciding where to hide. Around 8:30 that morning, as workers at Bed Bath & Beyond opened the store in Greenville, they discovered someone hidden in the store and called police. Officers responded for a "breaking and entering in progress," but found only a teenage boy who had "camped out" in the store overnight. He was returned to his home.
In Miami Beach, Fla., you don't even have to leave the oceanfront to get caught in a traffic nightmare. For Miami's Art Basel, Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich unveiled on Dec. 3 a masterpiece three months in the making: sand sculptures of 66 actual-size cars and trucks locked in a traffic jam, which he calls "Order of Importance." His artwork is meant to bring attention to the climate crisis, Dezeen reported. The work includes several lanes of traffic split by a traffic divider. Most of the vehicles are partially submerged in a nod to rising sea levels created by global warming. "As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality," Erlich said. It is his largest project to date.
Marie Bennett, 40, and Joseph Betancourt, 24, of Woodland, Calif., would have made the Grinch proud, but police in Red Bluff weren't having it. On Dec. 5, the two allegedly broke into the Children First Foster Family Agency, where they stole "(a) large amount of toys that were being held there for children for Christmas presents," police told Fox News. Surveillance video showed the burglars coming and going from the home next door; officers arrested Bennett and Betancourt for burglary, theft and breaking and entering, and they recovered the stolen toys, declaring, "These 'Grinches' will not be stealing Christmas from kids on our watch."
• The Bosch's Country View Nursery in Allendale, Mich., is a longtime favorite destination for Christmas tree shoppers. But sometime in early December, the Grinch visited, lopping the top halves off more than a dozen trees, according to WZZM13. It takes a fir tree between six and 10 years to grow to Christmas tree height, explained owner Brian Bosch. "Somebody had a bad day, I'm assuming," he said. "I don't know why somebody would do that." Bosch did say that the trees might recover, although it would take a few years.
In Turlock, Calif., mothers became alarmed when a man turned up at their doors, asking for "five strands" of hair and fingerprints from their children in order to collect their DNA. "He said he was with Amber Alert," Lauren Hassett told KTXL on Dec. 4, and "that he needed to finish a DNA file" on her daughter. She also said the man asked for her daughter using a name the 13-year-old girl only uses online. Hassett ordered the man off her property and called police, who were later able to catch up with him. Officers said the man's business was legitimate, but "the manner in which the information was relayed led to some misunderstanding. ... The involved adult male was passing out child DNA kits, which would be retained by the family, in the event it was ever needed for future investigations."
• Operation Santa's Naughty List took place Dec. 3 to 8 in Polk County, Fla., seeking to target human trafficking and prostitution, and it was beyond successful. The sting stung 124 people, including 46 customers and numerous others for different crimes, but the standout was Rodney Davis, a 56-year-old husband and security guard at Disney World, the Tampa Bay Times reported. When Davis showed up to purchase sex from an undercover detective, he was wearing ... nothing. Not even socks. Prostitutes who were identified as victims of human trafficking were taken to shelters and offered support services.
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