QUIRKY WORLD ... Birthday woman robs her own chauffeur

USA: A Connecticut woman celebrating her 50th birthday in style has been charged with robbing the limousine driver she hired to chauffeur her around town.

QUIRKY WORLD ... Birthday woman robs her own chauffeur

Willimantic police say the Melanie Roberts had a dispute with the driver over how much she owed him just after midnight on Monday.

Police say she removed the keys from the vehicle and ran to her home where she grabbed a loaded 9mm pistol.

Police allege she threatened to “shoot out” the limo’s tires, then reached inside and removed a GPS device and a clipboard with money.

The driver called 911, and Roberts was arrested at the scene. She was detained on $100,000 (€92,000) bail on six charges, including larceny and carrying a firearm under the influence.

Super Superman

ENGLAND: Britons have overwhelmingly named Superman as their hero of choice, with the comic character receiving 53% of the vote in a poll.

Batman came in second with 20% of the vote, trailed by Wonder Woman with 9%.

The survey was carried out by Odeon to mark the launch of ticket sales for the highly-anticipated movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, due to be released on March 25.

Rampant nudity

USA: US politicians backing a New Hampshire bill to criminalise women exposing their breasts in public say failing to pass it could hurt the state’s tourism industry and lead to rampant nudity.

Representatives Brian Gallagher and Peter Spanos are co-sponsors of legislation that would make it a misdemeanour for women to show their breasts or nipples in public with “reckless disregard” for whether it would offend someone.

The plan is partly a response to a “Free the Nipple” movement that led to two women cited for going topless at a Gilford beach.

Backers say families and children should not be exposed to women’s bare breasts in public. Opponents say it violates the constitution by creating different standards for women and men.

Lions on prowl

KENYA: Kenya wildlife authorities have deployed a tracking team to investigate reports that two lions were spotted outside Nairobi National Park near a residential area.

Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Gathitu said a truck driver reported seeing the lions along Ngong Road in the capital. Mr Gathitu said it is possible the lions were among a group of six that wandered out of the Nairobi park earlier this month. He said the lions could be staying in Ngong forest adjacent to the park.

Leap of joy

USA: A Michigan couple is celebrating the unique occurrence of both their children being born on leap days.

Chad and Melissa Croff of Columbus welcomed their daughter, Evelyn Joy, early on Monday morning at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township. She arrived 10 days past her February 19 due date.

The couple’s other daughter, Eliana Adaya, was born on February 29, 2012, the last leap day at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

Melissa said she didn’t anticipate both her children would be born on the same day, let alone leap day.

Long road

USA: It takes about 22 hours to reach Florida by car for a person travelling from Wisconsin. But if you’re a cat, the 1,484-mile (2,388km) journey likely takes closer to two months.

At least that’s how long it took Nadia, the Russian blue, to trek from her home on a snowy December day to sunny Naples this week where animal officials helped find her owners.

The Naples Daily News reports Cheri Stocker adopted the cat nine months ago in Wisconsin. On Christmas Eve, the cat escaped.

A Naples woman found the kitty in North Naples.

Workers at an animal shelter found the cat’s microchip and got hold of Stocker’s sister, who had been listed as an emergency contact.

Acting the goat

USA: A crew of goats brought in to devour invasive plants at a popular park in Oregon’s state capital, Salem, have been fired because they ate indiscriminately, cost nearly five times as much as human landscapers, and smelled far worse, a city official said.

The 75 billy and nanny goats were supposed to eat Armenian blackberry and English ivy and other invasive plants choking native vegetation across the 9.1-acre Minto-Brown Island Park, the city’s largest, last autumn.

The goats “had a barnyard aroma” and cost $20,719, including $4,203 for drinking water and a workers’ toilet, and $2,560 for monitoring, city staff said in a report.

The cost was nearly five times the $4,245 for a normal parks maintenance man backed by a prison inmate work crew to do the job.

Rachel McCollum, owner of Yoder Goat Rentals, the company that supplied the goats, praised the work of the animals, adding: “The public response was very favourable.” While the goats were “almost universally welcomed”, they also greedily devoured native flora right along with invasive targets, choosing tasty maple and hazelnut trees.

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