QUIRKY WORLD ... Luke, no chute: Skydiver nets a record with landing

USA: A 42-year-old skydiver with more than 18,000 jumps has made history by becoming the first person to leap without a parachute and land in a net instead.

After a two-minute freefall, Luke Aikins landed dead centre in the 25m by 225m net at the Sky movie ranch on the outskirts of Simi Valley, California.

As cheers erupted, Aikins quickly climbed out, walked over and hugged his wife Monica, who had been watching from the ground with their four-year-old son Logan and other family members. “I’m almost levitating, it’s incredible,” the jubilant skydiver said, raising his hands over his head as his wife held Logan, who dozed in her arms.

Caught in a trap

England: An escaped lynx that was missing in Devon for more than three weeks has been captured. Flaviu was reported missing from Dartmoor Zoological Park near Plymouth on July 7, triggering a search involving a police helicopter and a drone.

He was caught in a trap set by keepers, zoo owner Benjamin Mee said.

Speed reader

England: A 10-year-old speed-reading prodigy has finished the new Harry Potter story, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts One and Two, in just 59 minutes.

Toby L’Estrange, from Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, was challenged by Amazon to produce the first review of the new Potter story.

The schoolboy can read an average 400-page book in under two hours, using techniques he learned from his grandmother Susan Norman, a speed-reading expert. The latest instalment of the Harry Potter stories is the script of a new original story by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.

Stinking hot

USA: How hot is it in upstate New York? So hot that horse manure is bursting into flames.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation said it had received multiple complaints about the smell and smoke emanating from a burning pile of horse droppings at a property in the town of Throop, 30km west of Syracuse.

The responding officer learned that the owners of a horse stable had been storing the manure in large piles that sometimes spontaneously combust in excessive heat and dry conditions. officials said a shift in prevailing winds carried the odour into neighbours’ homes. It took three local fire departments two hours to douse the burning manure.

What you cookin’?

USA: The powerful smell caused by a man cooking urine prompted the evacuation of an apartment building in Massachusetts.

Police responded to the Amherst apartment complex after the manager found several unmarked glass containers containing liquids in an apartment. He had received a complaint of a pungent odour.

Officials said the smell came from urine and possibly other chemicals, but it is unclear what the man was trying to produce. The tenants were allowed back into their apartments after authorities determined that the substances were not explosive or a health hazard. A private clean-up company took charge of the chemicals.

Giving up

USA: A woman who was recently released from prison in Oregon robbed a bank in Wyoming only to throw the cash up in the air outside the building and sit down to wait for police, authorities said.

Investigators say 59-year-old Linda Patricia Thompson told them she wanted to go back to prison.

Thompson said she had suffered facial fractures after strangers beat her at a park last weekend.


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