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News » News of the Weird

Wait, What?

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Wait, What?
On Feb. 23, Siriporn Niamrin, 49, discovered a large, waxy, oval-shaped lump that smelled of fish and weighed about 15 pounds along the beach near her home in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Thailand, and was excited to learn it may be a rare substance called ambergris, or vomit produced by sperm whales. The Mirror reported ambergris is highly prized in making perfume, and it might be worth as much as $260,000. "If I really have the genuine ambergris, I can help my community once I find a buyer for it," Niamrin said. "I'm keeping it safe in my house" as she waits for expert confirmation of its authenticity.

Multitasking
Northern California plastic surgeon Scott Green surprised officials in Sacramento Superior Court on Feb. 25 when he appeared for a traffic trial via videoconference from what appeared to be an operating room, the Sacramento Bee reported. As clicks and whirs of medical equipment and suctions could be heard in the background, a courtroom clerk questioned his whereabouts, and Green, dressed in hospital scrubs, admitted, "Yes, I'm in an operating room right now. I'm available for trial. Go right ahead." Despite Green's repeated assurances, Court Commissioner Gary Link was skeptical: "I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient if you're in the process of operating ... I don't think that's appropriate." The trial was rescheduled for later in March. California's Medical Board said in a statement it was investigating the incident.

Crime Report
Sharon Carr of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was arrested by officers responding to a residential burglary call on Feb. 26 when she stepped from the shadows in front of the victim's house. Investigators found a window screen removed and a window open, where they allege Carr entered the home but quickly left, leaving behind an empty Cheetos bag and a water bottle. Cheetos residue on Carr's teeth linked her to the crime, reported KTUL-TV, along with testimony from the victim. Carr was charged with first-degree burglary.

The Foreign Press
Diplomats and their families from the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea, worked around extreme COVID-induced travel restrictions by pushing themselves across the border in a rail trolley to reach their home country on Feb. 25, the BBC reported. The group of eight, including children, traveled 32 hours by train and two hours by bus to reach the Russian border, but trains and wagons cannot enter or leave North Korea, so the embassy's third secretary, Vladislav Sorokin, completed the last half-mile of the journey by pushing the trolley filled with the group and their baggage on train tracks over the Tumen River, where they were met by Russian officials at the border station.

Animal Antics
EuroWeekly reported that on Feb. 24, a routine Sudanese Tarco airline flight from Khartoum to Doha, Qatar, was forced to turn around about a half-hour after takeoff when a stowaway cat caused a midair emergency. The cat gained entry to the cockpit and became aggressive, attacking the crew, who were unable to restrain it, prompting the pilot to return to the airport. Officials believe the cat got onto the airplane while it was parked overnight in a hangar in Khartoum.

Inexplicable
Natasha Harris of Lillian, Alabama, called the Baldwin County Sheriff's office on Feb. 28 after her granddaughter's pet goat, Billy the Kid, returned home from one of his frequent adventures around their rural neighborhood painted from head to toe. Harris told Fox 10 News she suspected local teens had stolen and abused the goat, but investigators followed the goat's trail to Erica Farmer, who was visiting relatives nearby, and arrested her for theft of property and animal cruelty. Farmer has since apologized for dying the goat with colored shampoo and food coloring, and Harris now wants the charges dropped, telling the district attorney's office, "I'm really sorry for wasting your time."

Just Desserts
In late February, Thangulla Satish, 45, was killed in Telangana state in southern India when the rooster he was preparing for an illegal cockfight panicked and slashed him with the 3-inch blade strapped to its leg. Police inspector B. Jeevan said Satish was "hit by the rooster's knife in his groin and started bleeding heavily," the Associated Press reported. He died on the way to the hospital. The rooster was removed to a poultry farm nearby.

Oops!
Mates Jackson Perry and Noah Palmer of Mandurah, Western Australia, planned a leisurely float offshore, drinking beer on a blowup air mattress on Feb. 27, but they wound up stranded in the Indian Ocean for nearly three hours after the wind blew them out to sea. "We couldn't paddle against the wind, and we just kept going further and further out," Perry told 7News, but they did manage to call a friend, who reached them on his jet ski just before their cellphones died. "We were kind of getting worried at that point," Perry said, but the beers helped with the anxiety.

Mystery
Police in Hertfordshire, England, received about 100 complaints over a three-day period from people parked at a Tesco store in Royston who reported their car alarms inexplicably went off, and they couldn't use their key fobs to lock or unlock their vehicles. Communications watchdog company Ofcom told the BBC in March 1 its investigators checked the area for signs of interference, but found nothing. No cars have been reported stolen, and police said they were not treating the incidents as malicious.

Devil's in the Details
Amazon released a new icon for its shopping app in January with what was supposed to look like a jagged piece of tape on a package above Amazon's smiling arrow logo but instead reminded some viewers of Adolf Hitler's mustache, CBS News reported. After Twitter users commented on the resemblance, Amazon tweaked the art and rolled out a more squared-off version in late February.

Cliche Come to Life
Wendi Dale Hird, 56, was arrested at her home in Largo, Florida, late on Feb. 28 after throwing her cat in her 73-year-old male roommate's face, causing the cat to scratch him, according to arrest records. Police say she then struck the man in the face. Hird was charged with domestic battery on a person over the age of 65, reported The Smoking Gun. (Bonus: Hird was arrested in 2018 for allegedly battering the same man, described in court documents as a platonic roommate, but was not prosecuted.)

Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.