Giant Shrimp:

Posted on: Friday, February 14, 2003

Large shrimp thriving in Ala Wai Canal muck

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Mantis Shrimp are growing even larger than normal in the Ala Wai Canal's muck.

Handout photo

Health experts are not sure what is causing Mantis Shrimp found in the muck of the Ala Wai Canal to grow larger than their normal size, but one thing is clear, they say: You shouldn't eat anything out of the canal. 

State Department of Health signs posted along the canal warn people not to eat fish or shellfish found in the Ala Wai because of possible contamination from urban runoff into the Waikiki waterway. But that didn't stop Keith Harvey, a barge mate working on the Ala Wai dredging project. Harvey cooked one of several Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus Scyllarus) pulled from the mud at the bottom of the canal. The largest shrimp weighed in at 1.35 pounds and 15 inches.
Warning signs along the Ala Wai Canal promenade advise people not to eat fish or shellfish from the canal because of a risk of contaminants.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

"It was big. Like your arm," said Karen Ah Mai, executive director of the Ala Wai Watershed Association. "They do find them, but generally not that big. Maybe it was the super nutrients. That was supposed to be a world record."

Mantis Shrimp are crustaceans that live in shallow waters and normally grow to about a foot long.

Bottom feeders and fish such as tilapia — found in large schools in the canal — do well in the Ala Wai because food from runoff is plentiful, said Eric De Carlo, associate professor of oceanography at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa.

"They are delighted down there because there is so much algae and plant detritus that it is like a smorgasbord," he said.

However, the runoff contains pollutants such as copper, zinc and chlordane that can be a health risk, De Carlo warned.
Mantis Shrimp

"In Hawai'i our storm drains go right into our waterways," De Carlo said. "There is a bunch of heavy metals that have accumulated in the canal, primarily from road runoff, the most notorious being lead from all our gasoline use."

The creatures in the Ala Wai absorb the contaminants and, if eaten, pass them on up the food chain, said De Carlo, who is working on a city study on the efficiency of storm drain filters in reducing nonpoint source pollution from street runoff.

The plentiful shrimp, fish and crabs in the Ala Wai are tempting to some people, he said, but eating them and the pollutants they contain can increase your risk of getting cancer.

"If it weren't in the Ala Wai I'd say pass it over, I'll cook it," De Carlo said. "Most of us know better, but you see a lot of first-generation immigrants who may not speak English very well and they go to the Ala Wai Canal and catch crab. It isn't for fun; it's to go home and put on the dinner table for their families who are struggling. Our immigrant populations are at much greater risk because they don't know of these hazards."

The canal collects and drains water from Manoa, Palolo, Makiki and surrounding areas. It acts as a catchment basin, trapping sediments and other pollutants that flow into the canal, but without ocean circulation, it has slowly filled and in some sections is only inches deep at low tide.

Dan Mahnke, project superintendent for American Marine Corp., the company dredging the canal, said that as crews scoop up mud and silt from the bottom, many things have been found, from grocery carts to tires and sometimes ocean animals.

"We dug up two of (the shrimp) that beat the current state record and one that eliminated the record," Mahnke said. "He was enormous. His tail was bigger around than my forearm and about the same length."

Harvey said now that he tasted the Mantis Shrimp, it is unlikely he will eat anything else from the canal. "I heard they are sweet; that is why I tried it," he said. "It was sweeter than lobster." 

Villagers terrorised by man-eating crocs

CHRISPIN INAMBAO

VILLAGERS along the Kavango River, particularly at Divundu, are living in terror after recent attacks in which crocodiles have snatched and eaten people, mostly school-going children.

Most of the victims have been caught and killed while performing domestic chores - such as washing clothes and dishes or while trying to draw water from the river.

Less than a fortnight ago, a 14-year-old girl was caught and killed by a crocodile on the river bank close to the Divundu Clinic.

The girl was washing dishes in a shallow part of the Kavango when a crocodile pounced on her with lightning-quick speed, according to a villager who witnessed the incident.

Immediately after catching its victim, the giant reptile dived into the deeper part of the river and sank to the bottom. It stayed there for quite a while, before swimming to the surface again and then disappearing with its motionless victim under the water. The child's body has not yet been found.

Just a day after the 14-year-old girl was attacked, a boy narrowly escaped a similar incident at the same spot near Divundu Clinic.

The near-miss took place in the morning as the intended victim was washing in the river with other children preparing for school.

The child could have become another statistic had it not been for the other youngsters who saw the crocodile drifting towards its intended victim and raised the alarm.

Last month a woman had part of her right hand ripped off after a crocodile clamped her hand with its jaws and tried to drag her under water.

In March another child miraculously survived a crocodile attack at Shamundambo Village. While he was in the water washing, a crocodile clamped its jaws around his knee and tried to drag him deep into the river, but a group of adults rescued the boy by wrestling him from the jaws of the crocodile.

The boy's knee ligaments were apparently severely torn during during the tug-of-war which pitted the handful of villagers against the reptile.

In February a boy was caught and eaten by a crocodile at Ndongo Village. In another incident recorded along the Kavango recently, another girl, aged about 14, also became a victim.

Villagers believe that the recent attacks were as a result of a truckload of crocodiles being dumped in the Kavango River from the zoo near Rundu.

Villagers claim the crocodiles were dumped because the crocodiles had become too costly to feed because of their huge appetite for meat.

Contacted about the claims on Thursday afternoon, Environment and Tourism's Deputy Director for the North, Leon Van Rooyen, said: "It is only two crocodiles and that cannot change the situation."

Van Rooyen also told The Namibian that he did not know exactly where the two crocodiles had been released.

Residents and even some Government officials in the Divundu area are convinced that the number of crocodiles released into the wild is much higher. The villagers have appealed to the relevant Ministry to spare their lives by helping them with water pumps.





Is dead beast the marauding ‘hybrid mutant’?

IMAGE: Animal found dead

Carcass may be that of legendary beast that terrorized Maine county


Courtesy of Michelle O'Donnell via Sun Journal
A creature that was found dead after apparently being hit by a car in Turner, Maine, is shown Saturday. For years, residents across Androscoggin County have reported seeing and hearing a mysterious animal with chilling monstrous cries and eyes that glow in the night. Now, residents are wondering if the animal found dead over the weekend may be the mysterious creature.


TURNER, Maine - Residents are wondering if an animal found dead over the weekend may be the mysterious creature that has mauled dogs, frightened residents and been the subject of local legend for half a generation.

The animal was found near power lines along Route 4 on Saturday, apparently struck by a car while chasing a cat. The carcass was photographed and inspected by several people who live in the area, but nobody is sure exactly what it is.

Michelle O'Donnell of Turner spotted the animal near her yard about a week before it was killed. She called it a "hybrid mutant of something."
Story continues below ?


"It was evil, evil-looking. And it had a horrible stench I will never forget," she told the Sun Journal of Lewiston. "We locked eyes for a few seconds and then it took off. I've lived in Maine my whole life and I've never seen anything like it."

For the past 15 years, residents across Androscoggin County have reported seeing and hearing a mysterious animal with chilling monstrous cries and eyes that glow in the night. The animal has been blamed for attacking and killing a Doberman pinscher and a Rottweiler the past couple of years.

People from Litchfield, Sabattus, Greene, Turner, Lewiston and Auburn have come forward to speak of a mystery monster that roams the woods. Nobody knows for sure what it is, and theories have ranged from a hyena or dingo to a fisher or coydog, an offspring of a coyote and a wild dog.

Now, people are asking if the mystery beast and the animal killed over the weekend are one and the same.


Vultures devour flesh

Wildlife officials and animal control officers declined to go to Turner to examine the remains. By Tuesday, the carcass had been picked clean by vultures and there was not much left of the dead animal.

Loren Coleman, a Portland author and cryptozoologist, said it's unlikely that the animal was anybody's pet.

After reviewing photos of the carcass, Coleman said he was bothered by the animal's ears and snout. It reminded him of a case years ago in northern Maine in which an animal shot by a hunter could not be identified. In the end, wildlife officials got a DNA analysis that showed the animal was a rare wolf-dog hybrid, he said.
 
Mike O'Donnell, who is married to Michelle O'Donnell, said the animal looked "half-rodent, half-dog" to him.

It was charcoal gray, weighed between 40 and 50 pounds and had a bushy tail, a short snout, short ears and curled fangs hanging over its lips, he said. It looked like "something out of a Stephen King story."

"This is something I've never seen before. It's an evil-looking thing," he said.


A Pregnant Man?

Another Person Lived Inside a Man for Nearly Four Decades

 

 

Aug. 23, 2006 — - Sanju Bhagat's stomach was once so swollen he looked nine months pregnant and could barely breathe.

 

Living in the city of Nagpur, India, Bhagat said he'd felt self-conscious his whole life about his big belly. But one night in June 1999, his problem erupted into something much larger than cosmetic worry.

 

An ambulance rushed the 36-year-old farmer to the hospital. Doctors thought he might have a giant tumor, so they decided to operate and remove the source of the bulge in his belly.

"Basically, the tumor was so big that it was pressing on his diaphragm and that's why he was very breathless," said Dr. Ajay Mehta of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. "Because of the sheer size of the tumor, it makes it difficult [to operate]. We anticipated a lot of problems."

 

Mehta said that he can usually spot a tumor just after he begins an operation. But while operating on Bhagat, Mehta saw something he had never encountered. As he cut deeper into Bhagat's stomach, gallons of fluid spilled out -- and then something extraordinary happened.

 

"To my surprise and horror, I could shake hands with somebody inside," he said. "It was a bit shocking for me."

 

Removing the Mutated Body

 

One doctor recalled that day in the operating room.

"He just put his hand inside and he said there are a lot of bones inside," she said. "First, one limb came out, then another limb came out. Then some part of genitalia, then some part of hair, some limbs, jaws, limbs, hair."

Inside Bhagat's stomach was a strange, half-formed creature that had feet and hands that were very developed. Its fingernails were quite long.

"We were horrified. We were confused and amazed," Mehta said.

 

A Mutated Body Within a Body

 

At first glance, it may look as if Bhagat had given birth. Actually, Mehta had removed the mutated body of Bhagat's twin brother from his stomach. Bhagat, they discovered, had one of the world's most bizarre medical conditions -- fetus in fetu. It is an extremely rare abnormality that occurs when a fetus gets trapped inside its twin. The trapped fetus can survive as a parasite even past birth by forming an umbilical cordlike structure that leaches its twin's blood supply until it grows so large that it starts to harm the host, at which point doctors usually intervene.

According to Mehta, there are fewer than 90 cases of fetus in fetu recorded in medical literature.

Fetus in fetu happens very early in a twin pregnancy, when one fetus wraps around and envelops the other. The dominant fetus grows, while the fetus that would have been its twin lives on throughout the pregnancy, feeding off its host twin like a kind of parasite. Usually, both twins die before birth from the strain of sharing a placenta.

Sometimes, however, as in Bhagat's case, the host twin survives and is delivered. What makes his case so unusual is that no one suspected Bhagat had a twin inside him for 36 years.

Bhagat said he was very much relieved after his operation. He was not interested in knowing what Mehta did to him or seeing what he had removed from his abdomen.

"He didn't want to see it because it was looking very ghastly," Mehta said.

 

 

Avoiding the Gory Details

 

There was no placenta inside Bhagat -- the enveloped parasitic twin had connected directly to Bhagat's blood supply. Right after the surgery, Bhagat's pain and inability to breathe disappeared and he recovered immediately.

 

 

The case may have been a medical miracle to doctors, but to Bhagat his condition had been a source of shame and misery. All his life, people in the village where he lived had mercilessly teased him and told him he looked pregnant. Ironically, they were right in a way.

 

Today Bhagat is in good health and leads a normal life, but he still gets teased occasionally.

 

"They still ridicule him. What they say is, you went for an operation and you had the baby," Mehta said.

 


Road-spraying 'releases spirits'

04 December 2006

A police-led initiative of spraying water on state highways to release the trapped spirits of those killed in motor crashes has been declared a success.

Yesterday a special police convoy carrying Maori elders sprayed 10,000 litres of Waikato River water on SH1 and SH2 in a bid to free the spirits of crash victims.

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Dick Waihi, iwi liaison officer for the Counties-Manukau police district, today said the operation had been successful.

"About 35 people turned up to support us," Mr Waihi said. "It was very successful.

"It was a first for the country and we have had some really good feedback."

Maori elders consider the combination of blessed river water and prayers to be a trigger for the release of the spirits of those trapped by violent deaths on the roads.

Water was pumped from the Waikato River into a tanker at Tuakau by the New Zealand Fire Service.

From 5.30am the convoy drove south from Mt Wellington to Mercer on SH1, and then along SH2 to Maramarua.

The ceremonial spraying was interrupted at Mercer and Maramarua, where a karakia was performed.

Mr Waihi said the 2½-hour exercise was cost-free, with people donating labour and resources.

Despite the prayers, Mr Waihi said the exercise was non-religious and not just for Maori fatalities.

"Some people don't have an understanding why we are doing it. They should find out more about Maori protocols before making comment."

Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman had no problems with the initiative.

"Anything that helps is worthwhile, isn't it?"


Will sue to avoid goblins

Håkon Robertsen has refused to tear down a condemned barn for fear of reprisals from 'little people' and is ready to sue local authorities to protect the building.

Robertsen continues to resist a local order to tear down the derelict structure, and is currently being fined NOK 300 (USD 47.50) a day until he flattens the barn. Local authorities first ordered the barn demolished in February 2005 after complaints from Robertsen's neighbors and a new order was passed this autumn.

Robertsen fears the consequences of tearing the building down.

"I don't believe in ghosts, but underworld creatures have taken up residence in the building," Robertsen told newspaper Nordlys, referring to a term used for the fairies and goblins of Norwegian folklore.

Robertsen would not go into detail about his experiences, but said he was convinced that to comply with the order would have serious consequences for his life and health.

"A while back I removed the top of the building and that is an experience I will not repeat," he said, and points out that the barn is built on an old Viking site.

He has offered to build a solid fence around the ramshackle building so that it no longer poses a danger to anyone.

The head of the local building policy department, Mette Mohåg, told Nordlys that there was as yet no deadlock in the matter.

Delhi boy eaten by herd of pigs
A three-year-old boy has been eaten alive by a neighbour's herd of pigs on the outskirts of the Indian capital, Delhi, police say.

The boy, Ajay, strayed from the family home as his parents and other family members were having lunch.

When his mother went to look for him, she found the pigs chewing something and spotted bits of her son's clothing.

She threw stones at the animals but they turned on her. Her screams alerted neighbours who came to her rescue.

'Playing'

Relatives in the village of Samaipur Badli in north-west Delhi told police the boy had been carrying bread, which might have led the animals to attack him.

A senior police official, Manish Aggarwal, said a local man who owned the pigs had been detained for causing death due to negligence.

"Three children were playing outside their house when the incident took place," Mr Aggarwal told the BBC.

"The victim, Ajay, strayed from the area but his parents or relatives were not there to save him since they were having lunch inside their house."


Sleep disorder creates 'Mr Hyde'
Derek Rogers in the sleep clinic
Derek can lash out in his sleep
A quiet night's sleep is not an option for Derek Rogers or his wife - because he turns from a mild-mannered "Dr Jekyll" by day to a "Mr Hyde" by night.

Mr Rogers, 70, from Bedford, has a rare sleep disorder which causes him to become violent when he sleep-walks.

He has destroyed furniture, attacked his wife and injured himself during the night - but remembers nothing.

Doctors at Papworth Hospital have found a drug which has successfully treated Mr Rogers' "unique" condition.

He is definitely unique in Britain and probably in Europe
Dr John Shneerson, Papworth Hospital

Since he developed the condition in 1998, Mr Rogers has visited casualty up to three times a week.

He has broken his nose, fractured his ribs and split his head open.

South-African born Mr Rogers tried six different treatments before he was referred to the sleep clinic at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.

He said: "I am not violent - I do not swear or curse and I can't believe what I do at night."

His wife Linda has had to sleep in a different room to avoid her husband lashing out.

Doctors at Papworth decided to try a new £13,000 a year drug mix, which acts to break the circuit between the sleeping brain and muscles in the body.

Mr Rogers said: "Some people have a glass of whisky before going to bed. I just have a potion."

Dr John Shneerson, the director of the sleep clinic, said: "Quite aside from the physical side, the apprehension of what he was going to do at night was a difficult thing to live with.

"He is definitely unique in Britain and probably in Europe."

Mr Roger's story will be featured on Sleep Clinic on BBC 1 on Monday 26 March.




P&G wins US case on Satanic slurs
Pringles
Pringles are safe from demonic association
The Devil is not in league with global consumer brand Procter & Gamble, a US court has ruled.

P&G won a $19m (£9.7m) lawsuit against four distributors of rival Amway over rumours tying it to Satanism.

The court concluded a 12-year lawsuit in P&G's favour, after it ruled that the four had spread a false accusation that P&G subsidised Satanic cults.

The case is one of several unfair competition suits P&G has brought refuting the Satanism slurs.

According to P&G, the four distributors had passed on to customers the notion that its logo - featuring a bearded man looking over a field of 13 stars - was a symbol of Satan.

"This is about protecting our reputation," said Jim Johnson, P&G's chief legal officer.

For its part, Amway pointed out that it had successfully defended itself in an earlier case brought by P&G that had been connected with the rumours.

It had also, it said, done everything it could to get the rumour stamped out.



Beetle re-emerges after 60 years
 

A beetle thought to be extinct in the UK since the 1940s has been rediscovered in south Devon.

The short-necked oil beetle was found by an amateur entomologist during a wildlife survey on National Trust (NT) land between Bolt Head and Bolt Tail.

The beetles were last recorded at Chailey Common, Sussex in 1948.

Up to 40 of the insects, which survive by hitching rides on miner bees as larvae and then eating the bees' eggs, were found at the Devon site.

It's great that this oil beetle has survived against all the odds
David Bullock, National Trust

The beetle, which gets its name from the highly toxic oil secretions it produces when threatened, is also known as Meloe brevicollis.

The adult beetles, which live for about three months, lay up to 1,000 eggs in a burrow in soft or sandy soil and eggs hatch in the following spring.

Once they have hatched the young larvae crawl up on to vegetation, often lying in wait in flowers, for an unsuspecting mining bee to give them a lift to the bee's nest.

SHORT-NECKED OIL BEETLE
Adult beetles are flightless, large and slow moving
The bodies (especially of females) are swollen
The wing cases are short and rudimentary
The young larvae are known as triungulins after their three claws
They then devour the bee's egg and also the protein rich pollen stores the bee intended to provide for its own larvae.

But the flightless creature's natural habitats and the populations of bees they rely on have been decimated by intensive farming practices.

The NT said the coastal strip of land where the oil beetle was discovered by Bob Beckford had been managed less intensively as farmland, creating a habitat where the beetle could survive undisturbed.

This site will now be monitored and the lifecycle of the beetle examined in more detail so the land is managed in a way that helps the insect flourish.

David Bullock, head of nature conservation at the NT, said: "The discovery of a beetle that was thought to be extinct for nearly 60 years is an amazing story of survival, particularly for a species with such an interdependent lifecycle.

"It's great that this oil beetle, with its fascinating lifestyle, has survived against all the odds and is back in business on the south Devon coast."


Shocking event for Captain America

POSTED: 2:43 p.m. EST, March 7, 2007

Story Highlights

• Captain America a victim of Marvel Comics' "Civil War"
• Storyline plays off War on Terror, 9/11, says Marvel
• Is this really the end? "Cap" finale leaves questions
From Larry Holmes, Jonathan O'Beirne
and Glenn Perreira
CNN
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Editor's Note: The following story reveals information about the Marvel Comics' "Civil War" storyline and a key character. If you'd rather not know, stop reading now.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- He fought and triumphed over Hitler, Tojo, international Communism and a host of supervillains, but he could not dodge a sniper's bullet.

Comic book hero Captain America is dead.

After close to 60 years in print, Marvel Comics has killed off Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, one of its most famous and beloved superheroes amid an already controversial story line, "Civil War," which is pitting the heroes of Marvel's universe against one another.

In the comic series, Rogers was to stand trial for defying a superhero registration law passed after a hero's tragic mistake causes a 9/11-like event.

Steve Rogers eventually surrenders to police. He is later mortally wounded as he climbs the courthouse steps. (Watch the story of an American hero Video)

Marvel says the comic story line was intentionally written as an allegory to current real-life issues like the Patriot Act, the War on Terror and the September 11 attacks.

"Every child knew about 9/11," says Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Comics. "If [he] could see a TV he knew what 9/11 was. The other similarities [to] things going on are just part of storytelling."

It was a violent and strange end for an American hero.

Captain America first appeared in 1941, just as the United States entered World War II. He was a symbol of American strength and resolve in fighting the Axis powers, and later Communism.

As originally conceived by creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Rogers was a man born before the Great Depression in a very different America. He disappeared after the war and reappeared only recently in the Marvel timeline. For a superhero many thought perfect, it was perhaps a fatal flaw for "Cap," as he became known.

"He hasn't been living in the modern world and the world does move," says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada.

Quesada said he wanted to readers find their own meaning in Cap's end.

"There is a lot to be read in there. But I'm not one who is going to tell people, this is what you should read into it, because I could look into it and read several different types of messages," he told CNN.

The character's death came as a blow to co-creator Simon, the Associated Press reported.

"We really need him now," Simon, 93, told The AP.

Still, one has to wonder: Is Captain America really dead? Comic book characters have routinely died, only to be resurrected when necessary to storylines.

Joe Quesada agrees -- but said times are different now.

"There was period in comics where characters would just die and then be resurrected. And the death had very little meaning and the resurrection had very little meaning," he said. "All I ask of my writers is if you're going to kill a character off, please let that death have some meaning in the overall scope of things."

Besides, he said, there are other important questions left unanswered.

"What happens with the costume? And what happens to the characters that are friends and enemies of Cap?" Quesada said with a smile. "You're going to have to read the books to find out."

Captain America

Captain America started fighting crime -- and Nazis and Communists -- in 1941.

Photo in the News: "Strange Owl" Seen in Wild for First Time

Long-whiskered owl photos
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March 23, 2007—A tiny bird so rare and unusual that its scientific name means "strange owl" has been spotted for the first time in the wild, scientists announced yesterday.

Conservationists working in Peru got their first natural glimpse of the long-whiskered owlet last month while working in a private mountain reserve.

The species wasn't even known to exist until 1976, and since then the only known living specimens have been those caught in nets at night.

"Seeing the long-whiskered owlet is a huge thrill," said David Geale of Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos, who was part of the research team, in a press statement.

The American Bird Conservancy, which partnered in the research, described the sighting as "a holy grail" of bird biology.

As few as 250 of the owlets are thought to exist, scientists said, and the birds are as distinctive as they are rare.

With their diminutive size, bright orange eyes, and wild, wispy facial feathers, the dainty birds belong to their own genus, dubbed Xenoglaux, or "strange owl."

The owlets owe much of their survival to the remoteness of their dense mountain habitat, the researchers said. But as human activity encroaches on Peru's northern forests, the birds' future looks dimmer.

"Due to the rapid destruction of its forest habitat and its tiny range, it is inferred that the species is in serious decline," Geale said.

"Until recently, the owlets key habitat was completely unprotected."

Blake de Pastino



British blamed for Basra badgers
Badger picture courtesy of Matt White
The badgers appeared near the British base in Basra
British forces have denied rumours that they released a plague of ferocious badgers into the Iraqi city of Basra.

Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.

But several of the creatures, caught and killed by local farmers, have been identified by experts as honey badgers.

The rumours spread because the animals had appeared near the British base at Basra airport.

UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.

It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey
Housewife Suad Hassan

"We have been told these are indigenous nocturnal carnivores that don't attack humans unless cornered."

The director of Basra's veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, has inspected several of the animals' corpses.

He told the AFP news agency: "These appeared before the fall of the regime in 1986. They are known locally as Al-Girta.

"Talk that this animal was brought by the British forces is incorrect and unscientific."

THE HONEY BADGER
Also known as a ratel, it is a large, sharp-clawed mammal
At around 100cm (39in) long it is slightly bigger than its British woodland cousin
Capable of taking on a cobra, the animal weighs up to 14kg (30lb)
Its Latin name is mellivora capensis, and it is indigenous to Africa and the Middle East

Dr Ghazi Yaqub Azzam, deputy dean of Basra's veterinary college, speculated that the badgers were being driven towards the city because of flooding in marshland north of Basra.

But the assurances did little to convince some members of the public.

One housewife, Suad Hassan, 30, claimed she had been attacked by one of the badgers as she slept.

"My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer," she said. "It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey," she told AFP.


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Medical marvel gives Lakshmi a new life

November 7, 2007
 
It was a historic moment for Indian medical science when a team of 36 doctors successfully operated upon two-year-old Lakshmi -- a conjoined twin.

A beaming team of doctors headed by Dr Sharan Shivraj Patil announced on Wednesday morning that the 27-hour-long surgery had been completed and Lakshmi was safe now. The doctor was, however, quick to add that she was still under observation.

Doctors said the operation was expected to last 40 hours, but they were able to complete it in 27 hours. The doctors who started operating upon Lakshmi on Tuesday had successfully separated the spines of the conjoined twin.

The orthopedic surgeon had reconstructed the pelvic wing, Dr Patil said, adding that the major achievement was bringing the pelvic ring bones together. "This almost does away with another process," Dr Patil said.

 
Image: Lakshmi on her mother's lap at the Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore.
Reportage: Vicky Nanjappa | Photographs: Dibayngshu Sarkar/AFP/ Getty Images



Monday, April 13, 2009

Dearborn murder-suicide suspect had hate videos on YouTube

Internet pal said he warned police before murder-suicide Friday at community college

Paul Egan / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Anthony Powell, the man Dearborn police believe killed 20-year-old student Asia McGowan in a college classroom Friday before killing himself, posted hateful videos on the Web site YouTube in which he railed against black women and people who believe in the theory of evolution.

Powell's grief-stricken parents -- a retired Detroit Police officer and a registered nurse -- said Sunday their 28-year-old son had a history of mental illness. Sam and Doris Powell said they tried for years to get help for their son's clinical depression and other problems but never suspected he would hurt another person.

"If my child was going to kill himself, I would prefer he do himself, and not anybody else who was innocent," Doris Powell said.

"We are sorry for the death of (Asia McGowan)," Sam Powell said. "That's from the bottom of our hearts."

So disturbing were some of Powell's YouTube videos that another man with a YouTube site reported him to Detroit Police and got an e-mail back April 2 from someone in the office of Chief James Barren, according to a video posted on YouTube.

"On behalf of the chief, I would like to thank you for contacting us," said a message received by "Infamoustrag" on YouTube.

"I was unable to view the video. According to the site, I have to have a sign in.

"Do you recall exactly the content of the video? If it is too graphic, or you need to talk to me directly you may contact me at (phone number and officer's name blacked out)."

A spokeswoman could not confirm Sunday whether Detroit Police had been contacted about Powell.

Infamoustrag, who lives in Virginia and did not want his real name used, said he was concerned when he combined Powell's talk of suicide with him being upset over a girl. He sent an e-mail to Detroit Police warning of a possible suicide March 25 and provided a copy of the e-mail Sunday.

The e-mail did not mention the possibility Powell would kill someone else..

Powell, of Detroit, took a gun to Henry Ford Community College on Friday and shot and killed McGowan in a classroom, shortly before 1 p.m., before killing himself.

Campus officials ordered a lockdown until Dearborn Police could confirm a gunman was not still at large. The college reopens today for meetings for faculty, staff and students, according to its Web site; most classes resume Tuesday.

Turahn McGowan, Asia's father, said Sunday he was shocked by snippets of Powell's YouTube videos he saw on the television news and felt there were warning signs that could have prevented his daughter's death, particularly if police were warned about Powell. "It's like they wait until after the fact," he said.

Infamoustrag said on his site that Powell had talked about a girl he liked named Asia. But on the day of the killing, Powell deleted or made private the videos in which he talked about murder and suicide so they could no longer be seen, Infamoustrag said in the video. "I tried my best to help," Infamoustrag said in his video. "It was too late."

Don Cooper, 24 of Atlanta, a student and YouTube enthusiast who got to know Powell through the Internet, said he tried to encourage Powell to get help after Powell mentioned he had a shotgun and might do something stupid. But Cooper, who uses the YouTube handle "dc coop," said he was shocked by the action Powell ultimately took.

Powell's videos feature him sitting in his bedroom talking, and sometimes shouting, directly into a camera.

In one Powell video, titled "Black Women Don't Deserve Respect," Powell denounces black women as sexually promiscuous and says they "murder 1,500 babies a day" as a result of abortions. In another profanity-laced video, Powell attacks those who believe in evolution.

Doris Powell said her son was deeply religious and anti-abortion. He normally talked to his mother when something was troubling him, but she had been preoccupied recently by a serious stroke suffered by her father, who was also close to Anthony Powell, she said.

Anthony Powell had attended the community college off and on for years and recently said he was studying film and planned to go into the movie business, she said.

Powell worked at a variety of jobs, including at restaurants and a grocery store, his parents said. The Powells did not keep guns around the house and don't know where he got the gun, she said.

"Tony was the type of child that basically stayed to himself," she said. "He was a very shy type of kid and he didn't make friends easily. He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, he didn't do drugs.

"He never had a girlfriend." 



Snake born with hand shocks scientists

10:30 AEST Wed Sep 16 2009
5 days 4 hours 16 minutes ago
 
By ninemsn staff
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Xiu Qiong Duan found the snake in her house.
Xiu Qiong Duan found the snake in her house.

 
 
 

An elderly Chinese woman who discovered a snake with a clawed hand protruding from its body was so scared she beat it to death, according to reports.

Xiu Qiong Duan, 68, told the SINA Beijing news agency she woke up in the middle of the night to find the snake clinging to the wall of her bedroom.

"I woke up and heard a strange scratching sound ... at first I thought it was thieves" she said.

"I turned on the light and saw this monster working its way along the wall using his claw."

Ms Duan, from Suining in southwest China, said she then grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death.

She reportedly preserved its body in a bottle of alcohol which she gave to the Life Sciences Department at China's West Normal University in Nanchang.

Snake expert Long Shuai said the discovery of the creature, which is 40cm long and the thickness of a little finger, was "truly shocking".

"We won't know the cause until we've conducted an autopsy," she said.

 

 



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