QUIRKY WORLD ... Big Ben’s bongs ‘temperamental’ and out of time

ENGLAND: The bongs of Big Ben have become “temperamental” and can be out by up to six seconds, clocksmiths have admitted.

The famous hour markers have been fast for the past fortnight, interrupting BBC Radio 4 broadcasts that use the sound live.

The Houses of Parliament’s three dedicated clocksmiths have tried to deal with the problem by removing weights from the pendulum.

Swim from harassment

ENGLAND: Female fish have become better swimmers in order to escape male sexual harassment, research claims.

The female guppies have learnt to shake off the unwanted male attention by changing their physiology to swim faster and more efficiently.

The scientists behind the research likened it to athletes who train to become better at their sports.

Spirits in space

JAPAN: Spirits have arrived at the International Space Station. Not the ghostly ones, but the kind you drink.

A Japanese company known for its whiskey and other alcoholic drinks included five types of distilled spirits in a space station cargo ship. The supply ship contains about 4,500kg of cargo, including six liquor samples.

Suntory Global Innovation Centre in Tokyo wants to see if alcoholic beverages mellow the same in space as they do on Earth.

The samples will be used for experiments and will spend at least a year in orbit before being returned to Earth. An identical set of samples will be stored on the ground in Japan.

Caught clean-handed

USA: Pennsylvania State Police say a woman found an intruder taking a shower and doing his laundry at her home when she woke up.

The resident summoned police to her home in Greene Township, near Erie. Local resident Casey James Shaffer, 24, was arrested on charges of criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and loitering and prowling at night.

Shotgun hospital wedding

USA: It could have been the plot of a movie: A Houston couple improvises a hospital wedding in less than an hour after the bride goes into labour early.

Stephanie Tallent was eight months pregnant and having an ultrasound when she went into labour at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston.

Fortunately she and fiance Jason Nese had gotten their marriage licence the day before. Nese fetched the licence from his car, along with a white sun dress that Tallent meant to send to the cleaners. A chaplain was called and a party of doctors, nurses, and clinic staff rounded up for the wedding.

After the ceremony, Tallent was prepped for a caesarean section. Daughter Sophia arrived a few hours later at 6 pounds 3 ounces.

Tired thieves

USA: Police in Pennsylvania say officers found a couple asleep in a garage with the light on after a homeowner reported a burglary.

New Castle police said they found the couple early in the morning, shortly after the homeowner called them.

Police say the homeowner had gone downstairs and found a glass jar containing cash missing, some furniture moved, and cabinets opened. She also found her safe on the back porch, her purse missing, and her basement door forced open.

Police found the sleeping intruders after noticing the garage light was on.

Spencer Peak, 21, faces a preliminary hearing on September 1 on burglary and other charges.

The woman found with Peak hasn’t been charged.

Pet rescue

USA: A Nevada family has been forced out of their home after a house fire, but authorities say no one was hurt thanks in part to a family pet.

Officials for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District say one of the family’s dogs alerted them to the fire that started on the deck of the home in a neighbourhood off the Pyramid Highway at about 11.30pm.

Two adults, a child, and four dogs were safely evacuated before firefighters arrived and the flames spread into the house and the attic.

Officials say the fire damaged about 40% of the home north of Sparks near Rook Court and Nightingale Way.

The Red Cross is helping them find a temporary residence. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Wanted: Superman

ENGLAND: A Romanian national called Superman is wanted by police after the theft of a £21,130 watch from a jewellers.

Police want to speak to Superman Rostas, 25, after a man entered Andrew Michaels Jewellers in Stodham St, Newark, Nottinghamshire, and posed as a customer before stealing the gold and diamond-encrusted watch.

Police said the theft took place on June 19 and officers have now issued CCTV of Rostas in a bid to trace him.


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