QUIRKY WORLD ... Helpline worker in hot water for robot prank

USA: If some workplace problems happen because employees are only human, one New York City government worker got in trouble for virtually the opposite.

He was suspended for 20 days without pay partly for answering an information-technology helpline “in a robotic voice”. The city’s Civil Service Commission upheld the suspension this month.

An administrative law judge’s report says the Health Department worker told callers “you have reached the help desk” in an over-enunciated monotone.

Callers complained and one even hung up, later saying she needed “to speak to a human”. The judge called him a “disgruntled employee” acting out.


LONDON: The singer Katie Melua has had a spider extracted from her ear after it took up residence for a whole week. Melua revealed her close encounter with the arachnid on her Instagram account, complete with pictures.

The singer said she had been bothered by a rustling sound in her ear and went to the doctor, who used a micro-vacuum cleaner to remove the creature. The 30-year-old Georgian-British singer believes the spider — identified as a member of the salticidae or jumping spider family — had found its way into a pair of earbud headphones.

“Basically, I used these old in-ear monitors to block out sound on a flight. A little spider must have been in them and crawled inside my ear and stayed there for the week,” she wrote.


USA: Scientists have found a new way to communicate with dogs — using a high-tech harness.

“We’ve developed a platform for computer-mediated communication between humans and dogs that opens the door to new avenues for interpreting dogs’ behavioural signals and sending them clear and unambiguous cues in return,” said Dr David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at North Carolina State University and one of the researchers.


ENGLAND: A footballer who was dead for 25 minutes after a heart attack in his sleep has made a miraculous recovery, the Blackpool Gazette reports. Louie Shields, 23, from Blackpool, suffered a cardiac arrest when he was in bed and needed urgent CPR from his mother.

Terrified girlfriend, Kirsten Jones, 21, immediately dialled 999 as mum, Karen McAuley, 51, desperately battled to save her son’s life by giving him the emergency treatment. He was rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where doctors said he had been clinically dead for 25 minutes before being placed on a life-support machine.


USA: Drivers scrambled to grab money flying around a dual carriageway in the US after an armoured truck’s door burst open.

Maryland State Police say a lock on the truck seems to have malfunctioned, causing the door to open. A bag of cash fell out and bills flew in the air.

Police say a number of drivers stopped and grabbed what cash they could before a fire department vehicle arrived and turned on its emergency lights. Responding troopers were able to help the truck’s driver recover about $200 (€159). It is not known how much cash was lost.


BRAZIL: Fans of one of Brazil’s most popular football clubs will have a chance to spend eternity near some of their greatest idols.

Corinthians said it is building its own cemetery, complete with a mock football field and VIP tribunes where some of the team’s greatest players will be offered burial spaces.

The Corinthians Forever cemetery is expected to open late in 2015, but fans can already start booking one of the 70,000 burial places available.


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