QUIRKY WORLD ... Jail guard tried to smuggle drugs inside Bible

USA: A county jail guard in Alabama has been charged with trying to smuggle drugs inside a Bible.

Sheriff Rick Singleton says 32-year-old Kenneth Lee Lawson of Florence was arrested during a shift change when fellow officers found the prescription narcotic Suboxone hidden inside Lawson’s Bible.

Singleton says Lawson also was found with tobacco and was charged with trying to bring contraband into the Lauderdale County jail.

The TimesDaily reports that Lawson had been working as a corrections officer at the northwest Alabama jail for about three months.

Bob the snake

ENGLAND: A father-of-three had a near hiss when he found a large black snake he feared was a deadly constricter in his back garden.

Mark Sampson was working outside his home in Ipswich when he spotted the 4ft snake under a railway sleeper on Sunday afternoon.

The 44-year-old caretaker said: “I was shaking and terrified. I was too shaky to photograph it and went indoors in a panic attack.

“I’m terrified of snakes.”

Mr Sampson issued a cry for help on his Facebook page and also contacted his friend Kevin Wallace, who is a zoologist at Otley College.

Mr Wallace went round immediately to rescue the snake, lifting it into a sack with the help of friend Katy Hackett, a children’s nurse who has no experience of snakes.

The rescue was captured on camera by Mr Sampson’s daughters Tabby, 14, and Tilly, 12.

Mr Sampson added: “My youngest Savannah, 10, came in the garden and was quite curious. She named it Bob.”

Experts are now trying to determine whether the creature is just a large grass snake or a Mexican Kingsnake, native to the Sonora Desert on the Mexican-US border.

Although Mexican Kingsnakes are not poisonous, they are constrictors which kill their prey by asphyxiation.

Mr Sampson added: “If it’s a Kingsnake I have no idea how it got there.

“I was attempting to clear my jungle of a garden but it was more of a jungle than I realised. My lesson is to keep my garden trimmed back.”

Lofty ambitions

USA: The Netherlands has the tallest men in the world and Latvia the tallest women, according to the largest ever study of global height.

Overall, the top 10 tallest nations in 2014 was dominated by European countries, and featured no English-speaking nation.

Dutch men had an average height of 182.5cm (5ft 11.8in) while the average Latvian woman was 170cm (5ft 6.9in) tall. The second-tallest men were found in Belgium, followed by Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the women’s table, Latvia was followed by the Netherlands, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Serbia.

The research also revealed American men and women no longer stood out from the crowd as they once did.

In 1914 the US had the third-tallest men and fourth-tallest women in the world. Since then, US men have slipped to 37th place and women to 42nd.

Tree climber

USA: Police have arrested a man after he spent nearly 12 hours perched in a tree in Seattle.

KOMO-TV reported the man climbed onto the roof of an apartment building in the Lake City neighbourhood at about 2.45am on Sunday. He then crawled across some power lines and made his way into a nearby tree.

Police say the incident started with some sort of domestic dispute. The man was wanted for domestic violence vandalism and also had warrants out for his arrest. He refused to come down from the tree until about 1.30pm. No one was hurt, and the man was taken into police custody.

Another man who spent 25 hours atop a sequoia tree in downtown Seattle in March was charged with malicious mischief, but was later found incompetent to stand trial.

Hemingway lookalike

USA: For the first time in its 36-year history, a Hemingway has won a competition seeking the man who most looks like literary giant Ernest Hemingway.

Dave Hemingway was named the winner of the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest in Key West, Florida. The winner said he is not related to the late author.

The contest, which attracted 140 entrants, is the highlight event of the annual Hemingway Days festival that celebrates the author’s legacy. It was held at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, which was a frequent hangout of Hemingway’s during his Key West residency in the 1930s.

Hemingway, who won the contest in his seventh attempt, wore a wool, cream-coloured turtleneck sweater similar to what the late author favoured.

“Even though this sweater is really hot, it was part of my strategy,” he said. “And I think it worked really well.”

Like the author, Dave Hemingway said he likes to fish, to drink a little “and I like women. I like having a good time. I do feel like Ernest because I’m in the town he lived in so many years.”


Lifestyle

Fearless is a slick new documentary airing next Monday on RTÉ 1 which follows Cork native and editor-in-chief of US Glamour, Samantha Barry, in the run up to the 29th Glamour Women of the Year Awards. Ruth O’Connor speaks to Barry about her editorship of one of Condé Nast's most important media outlets.The fearless Samantha Barry: From Ballincollig in Cork to editor of Glamour

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