Anthology

Neglected cat found covered in matted ‘dreadlocks’

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Staff at the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Centre in Pittsburgh said the pet’s fur had been growing for years.

She was only discovered when her elderly owner, who has Alzheimer’s disease, moved into a nursing home.

The cat, named Hidey, has now had a much-needed hair cut to remove around 2lbs of matted fur from her body.

The cat was nursed back to health
Image Caption:The cat had to be nursed back to health

“She suffered from severe matting (dreadlocks, really), the likes of which had been neglected for years,” the rescue group posted on its Facebook page.

“Our medical team shaved off the pounds of intertwined fur from her body and, needless to say, this cat is feeling so much better now!”

The cat was nursed back to health
Image Caption:Feeling a lot lighter after her hair cut

A now much lighter Hidey is due to be cared for by a relative of her previous owner, the post said, and will “finally have a chance at a happy and healthy life”.

The rescue group also urged its Facebook followers to “not only check on the elderly in your community, but also check on their animals to prevent instances like this from happening in the future”.

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Woman on holiday smuggled cat in her handbag

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The woman’s ploy to get her four-year-old cat Bella into the country was only discovered when border agents at the arrivals terminal in Auckland got suspicious about her and her husband’s muddy boots.

The couple – both in their 20s – were picked out for an inspection and the woman was “very reluctant” to have her handbag examined by an X-ray machine, officials said.

It was then that the authorities found the “very docile” cat, who they suspect may have been drugged to keep her quiet for the 7,000-mile trip. 

The woman claimed she had told a ticketing agent about Bella when she bought her ticket.

Craig Hughes, from the Ministry for Primary Industries, said he doubted if the woman’s story was true – and even if it was, it was still unacceptable to bring a cat across the border without declaring it.

He said the woman’s actions were “dangerous” because foreign cats could introduce non-native ticks and diseases into the country.

New Zealand has strict regulations for importing pets with cats and dogs from most approved countries needing an implanted microchip, and they have to be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. 

He said the woman was upset about being refused entry to New Zealand and she, along with her cat, were sent back home.

“She had plans to have a nice holiday with her husband in New Zealand,” he said. “And her cat.”

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Ikea warns teenagers to stop store sleepovers

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The Swedish furniture giant has lost its sense of humour over the escapades of young pranksters after 10 similar incidents in Britain, the US, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Australia and Poland over the past year.

Most recently, two 14-year-old girls narrowly avoided arrest after they were caught in a branch in Jonkoping, Sweden.

Ikea spokeswoman Johanna Iritz said trespassers often hid in wardrobes at closing time.

She warned the company was taking the sleepovers “seriously” as it could not guarantee the safety of those involved.

Customers at the opening of an IKEA store in France
Image Caption:Ikea fans gather at the opening of a store in France

She said the fun was “overrated” and anyone trying the stunt could face arrest.

Two Belgian YouTubers have been credited with starting the craze with their video of a 12-hour stay in a store, which has been viewed more than 1.7 million times.

The pair filmed themselves jumping on beds and reading bedtime stories before hiding in a wardrobe and leaving undetected after the store reopened.

A less successful British attempt, in which two young men were caught by a security guard three hours after the store closed has had more than 2.3 million views on YouTube.

Ikea – which has has 340 stores in 28 countries – might have to accept its own share of the blame for the fad – having staged its own “Big Sleepover” promotional event at stores around the world in 2011.

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Ikea tells teens to stop store sleepovers

E4y.net

The Swedish furniture giant has lost its sense of humour over the escapades of young pranksters after 10 similar incidents in Britain, the US, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Australia and Poland over the past year.

Most recently, two 14-year-old girls narrowly avoided arrest after they were caught in a branch in Jonkoping, Sweden.

Ikea spokeswoman Johanna Iritz said trespassers often hid in wardrobes at closing time.

She warned the company was taking the sleepovers “seriously” as it could not guarantee the safety of those involved.

Customers at the opening of an IKEA store in France
Image Caption:Ikea fans gather at the opening of a store in France

She said the fun was “overrated” and anyone trying the stunt could face arrest.

Two Belgian YouTubers have been credited with starting the craze with their video of a 12-hour stay in a store, which has been viewed more than 1.7 million times.

The pair filmed themselves jumping on beds and reading bedtime stories before hiding in a wardrobe and leaving undetected after the store reopened.

A less successful British attempt, in which two young men were caught by a security guard three hours after the store closed has had more than 2.3 million views on YouTube.

Ikea – which has has 340 stores in 28 countries – might have to accept its own share of the blame for the fad – having staged its own “Big Sleepover” promotional event at stores around the world in 2011.

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Pagan wins battle to wear goat horns on ID

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Phelan Moonsong said he always wears his goat horns unless he is sleeping or bathing. He claims they serve as his spiritual antennae and help him educate others about Paganism.

He applied to update his driver’s licence in August and explained his religion to a motor vehicles employee, but was told he had to appeal to the Secretary of State’s office.

After providing more information, he was told his ID had been rejected by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in November.

The pagan priest only takes the horns off when he sleeps or bathes
Image Caption:The pagan priest only takes the horns off when he sleeps or bathes

Mr Moonsong, of Millinocket, Maine, was told by the American Civil Liberties Union that it was unable to provide legal assistance for his case, but the state department has eventually granted his request.

A spokeswoman for the Maine Secretary of State’s office said the goat horns had been allowed because Mr Moonsong had cited their religious purposes and because they did not obstruct his face.

He questioned why he was made to appeal in the first place, and also why the ACLU refused to take his case.

He said: “What I was requesting should have been accepted according to what was written in statute and guidelines.”

It should be no different than a nun wearing a habit, or a Sikh wearing a turban, he added.

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Ed Miliband appears on US news as TV flu guy

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A picture of the former Labour leader blowing his nose has been used by US TV channel NBC to illustrate a feature about cold and flu season.

The original picture taken at a Labour Party conference
Image Caption:The original picture taken at a Labour Party conference

Despite meeting with Barack Obama at the White House in 2014, it seems Mr Miliband is so anonymous in America that the image from the picture agency Getty was used as a stock image without anyone realising who he is.

The photograph was taken at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool in 2011 and can be found on the picture agency’s website when typing in the search term sneeze.

Flu season is the worst! Tonight on @NBCNightlyNews… everything you need to know about this year’s flu:( https://t.co/asn5L2Yrq5

— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) December 19, 2016

It was used for a feature in NBC nightly news discussing “everything you need to know about this year’s flu”.

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Baubles, tinsel… and a snake in Xmas tree

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The householder, who lives in the Frankston district, locked the animal in the room where it was discovered on Sunday and called a specialist.

Professional snake catcher Barry Goldsmith attended the home and safely removed it.

Mr Goldsmith said it was likely to have gone into the tree as the warmer weather had made it more active.

He said: “It’s one of the more different ones, but we find them in all sorts of places. Tiger snakes are very good climbers.”

The bite of the reptile, which is common in the area, is potentially fatal to humans.

Its colouring can be yellow, orange-brown and jet black, which might have made it difficult to spot.

The snake catcher added that people should leave them alone and not try to kill them.

“It’s dangerous, it’s illegal, and it’s cruel,” he said.

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Freezy does it! Fundraiser with a difference

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The swimmers, some in elaborate costumes, gathered at Goose Lake in Anchorage for the annual fundraiser.

A part of the ice was cut away, allowing swimmers space for a dive, a cannonball or even a timid step into the freezing water.

David Aromin, who came from Philadelphia to take part, said he had happily braved the 0C water temperature for “a great cause”.

“I’m new to Alaska and this is one way to be baptised,” he added.

Special Olympics Alaska president Jim Balamaci said the fundraiser, which was running for the eighth year, brought in more than $300,000.

Mr Balamaci and his team run a year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

He added: “When you have a thousand athletes coming out on one of the shortest days of the year, in the middle of winter, to jump into 32 degrees (farenheit), to say: ‘You know what? We’re just going to unite our communities, we’re going to accept everybody and we’re going to do this all together’, it just warms my heart.”

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Pie (literally) in the sky: Pastry sent into space

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The humble comestible was attached to a weather balloon by a team from Sent Into Space – and sent on an upward journey reaching about 100,000 feet.

It was launched on Thursday from a pub car park near to where the pie eating championships are to be held next week in Wigan.  

Video footage shows the pie making its glorious journey, soaring way above the clouds in a flight which lasted about three hours.

After it crashed down back to Earth it was sent for testing to see whether its molecular structure had changed.

Those involved in its trip said it would have been frozen as it made its ascent – before being cooked as it hurtled back towards the ground.

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MPs target firms in ’embarrassing’ Xmas song

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The honourable members donned Santa hats and antlers to record the single, which is to the tune of the 1980s hit Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid.

The lyrics refer to “Scrooge” employers who have cut back on overtime pay and other perks to bring in the National Living Wage, currently £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and over. 

Some of the best-known names in British business are mentioned in the song: “B&Q, Tesco and Waitrose, John Lewis, Caffe Nero and Eat. Be ashamed of how you treat your staff.”

They are also urged to “keep their perks”. 

A dozen MPs joined the singalong including former soldier Dan Jarvis, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and Kevin Brennan, who sings with Parliament’s in-house band. 

One of those involved, Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, told her local newspaper it was a “fun/highly embarrassing way of raising an important issue”.

MP Siobhain McDonagh, who organised the recording last week, told Sky News: “We are not anti-business, we love business. We want business to treat their employees fairly.”

Ms McDonagh, the MP for Mitcham and Morden in south London, said she got the idea from one of her constituents.

The father of two working at B&Q claimed he would be £2,600 a year worse off under the National Living Wage due to cuts in overtime pay and allowances.

He has since been reimbursed some of the money.

“People accept contract changes because they can’t afford to lose their job. The gap between the pay for those at the bottom and the top executives is getting wider,” said Ms McDonagh.

“Our biggest and best companies have a responsibility to treat their loyal staff with respect. That’s what we want to highlight – we don’t expect people to praise our singing voices!” 

Among the practices they mention are the end of double time on Sundays and Bank Holidays; extra pay for anti-social hours; cutting back on free lunches; and cutting pensions and seasonal bonuses.

The MPs are also writing to the chairs of the companies’ boards asking them to reverse the decisions.

Labour’s press office insisted it was the MPs’ personal decision to record the song and stressed it “has nothing to do with the Labour party”. 

The recording has not been universally admired on Twitter. One man, Owen Evans, wrote: “Tesco gave me a job…I’d rather go into Christmas employed than not.”

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries called it “a seriously pathetic swipe at businesses who employ, pay wages and taxes which pay for our NHS and schools and troops and doctors”. 

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