QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

Still smoking, 460,000 cigarettes later

ENGLAND: A woman has reached her 100th birthday despite smoking half a million cigarettes during her life.

Dorothy Howe took her first drag aged 16 and has puffed her way through 15 every day since which means she has smoked about 460,000 cigarettes over the last 84 years.

Dorothy, of Saltdean, East Sussex, said: “I put my health down to whiskey and cigarettes. I keep telling myself that I am going to quit smoking when they put the prices up but that’s just not going to happen now. I’ve had a great life and I am lucky to be alive.”

Pianist prosecuted

SPAIN: Prosecutors want to send a young pianist to jail for more than seven years after a neighbour accused her of causing psychological damage and noise pollution.

The plaintiff — identified only as Sonia B — claims she suffered from noise contamination between 2003 and 2007 amid the five days a week, eight-hour practice sessions by Laia Martin, who lived below her in the north-eastern town of Puigcerda.

Martin, 27, now a professional concert pianist, denies she played at home that often as she took regular classes in other towns. El Pais newspaper said Sonia B told a court she now hates pianos and eventually moved house. The trial continues.

Flying high

WALES: Scientists have captured footage of what it is like to fly with the UK’s largest seabird.

Researchers working on the island nature reserve of RSPB Grassholm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, attached miniature cameras to some of the gannets that nest there.

The “gannet cam” footage shows a bird flying high above the Pembrokeshire coastline while ships pass below.

It also shows the bird landing in the bustling colony, skimming low over the water, and spectacularly plunging into the sea at speed during a feeding dive.

The footage was taken by a team led by Steve Votier, from the University of Exeter, and Mark Bolton from the RSPB.

Rare condition

ENGLAND: An artist saw her weight drop to 5st 7lb because she was terrified that all food was going to poison her.

Samantha Brown, 27, was eventually diagnosed with an unusual form of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Her chronic anxiety, an effect of an obsessive compulsion to control her food intake, caused her weight to shrink dangerously low, to the horror of her family and friends.

Brown was working as a freelance fashion stylist when her OCD began to manifest itself.

She said: “I felt as if I had no control. I began dictating to myself what I could and couldn’t eat. As my behaviour developed, it became an OCD, where I thought practically everything was poison.”

Movie violence on rise

USA: Gun violence in supposedly teen-friendly films has increased considerably in recent decades, to the point that it sometimes exceeds gun violence in even adult movies, according to a US study.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center and Ohio State University examined gun violence in top-grossing movies.

Researchers found such action in PG13-rated films has more than tripled since 1985.

According to the study, gun violence in PG13 movies has rivalled the level of gun violence in R-rated movies since 2009, and actually surpassed it in 2012.

Critics of the ratings system have long held that it places too much emphasis on sexuality and too little on violence.

The Motion Picture Association of American declined to comment on the study.

Parrots evicted

USA: A US parrot shelter manager has appealed for help after it emerged the home may have to close its doors.

The Rhose Island commercial building where 67-year-old army veteran Steve Lazicki runs the Birdhouse and Rescue centre is slated for demolition because the owner plans to redevelop the area.

Lazicki said the 80 strays in his care must be out by Dec 30.

Lazicki, who has run the shelter for 17 years, said: “They’re my kids. They’re very intelligent. They need a lot of attention.

“People often buy a parrot without any idea of what they’re getting into.”

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