Man Bitten By Nine-Foot Python While On Toilet

A Thai man is recovering in hospital after being attacked by a nine-foot (three metres) python while sitting on the toilet.

Attaporn Boonmakchuay suffered a three-inch (eight cm) wound after being bit on the penis by the snake which had crawled up through the plumbing.

The excruciating ordeal lasted half an hour before he managed to prise open the snake’s jaws and escape.

Mr Boonmakchuay described how he fought the snake as his wife sought help but, even after a neighbour came to his aid with a knife and rope, he only managed to free himself only when the python momentarily lost its strength.

Attaporn Boonmakchuayrecovering in hospitalAttaporn Boonmakchuayrecovering in hospital

Doctors said the victim’s injuries could have been worse

He said: “All of a sudden, while I was holding it, it began to lose some strength so I used my hand to prise open its mouth. Then the snake released its grip by itself.”

The 38-year-old needed stitches but medical staff say that he should make a full recovery.

A doctor from the Chachoengsao hospital, near Bangkok, said that victim was “lucky”, adding: “if the bite had gone into the urinary tract it would have been a big problem.” 

Rescue workers managed to eventually release the snake after using hammers to free it from the toilet.

Large snakes are common even in urban areas of Thailand, particularly during the onset of the rainy season when they leave flooded areas for drier ground.

Water Skiing Baby Breaks World Record

A six-month-old girl has made a splash by breaking the record for the world’s youngest water skier.

Zyla St Onge managed to glide 686ft (209m) on her own across a manmade lake in Florida, with adults treading water along her journey.

Although she can’t even walk yet, the 30-inch baby appeared to be a natural as she stood on junior-size water skis and gripped a handle bar.

Zyla St Onge managed to travel across a manmade lake in Florida on her ownZyla St Onge managed to travel across a manmade lake in Florida on her own

Zyla has beaten the earlier record for the youngest water skier by two days

The fact her parents are professional water skiers may have given her a slight advantage.

Her father Kevin believes Zyla could have travelled even further if the boat hadn’t reached the end of the lake.

According to the World Barefoot Center, the record for the youngest water skier has been held for decades by Parks Bonifay, who successfully took to the water aged six months and 29 days.

Zyla, who was six months and 27 days old when she made her attempt, managed to beat this record by a mere 48 hours.

‘Mermaids Real?’ And Other Top Google Queries

By Sky News US Team

“Do penguins have knees?”, “Am I a psycho?” and “Why is my poop green?” are some of the most Googled questions in US states, according to a survey.

The quirky queries, gathered by real estate app Estately using Google Trends, lift the lid on some of the most embarrassing online preoccupations over the last 12 years.

It was people in the rural Midwestern state of Iowa who were apparently interested in penguin joints.

Proving Americans really are a nation of animal lovers, Pennsylvanians wanted to know, “Do cats fart?”, while in New Mexico they were Googling: “Do dogs dream?”

A disturbing number of Missourians wanted to know whether they were psychopaths, but perhaps even more troubling, many people in Delaware wanted to know, “How to get away with murder?”

It was South Dakotans who asked “Why is my poop green?”, but according to Estately, another big question in the state was, “Who let the dogs out?”

Some of the other bizarre online Google queries included, “Are mermaids real?” (Mississippi), “Who to invade next?” (New York), “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?” (Utah) and “Who framed Roger Rabbit?” (New Hampshire).

The full Estately list is here.

Golden Moment: Athlete’s Spoof Medal Ceremony

An Australian athlete has staged a spoof awards ceremony after two Russians who took gold ahead of him in separate races were disqualified for doping.

Race walker Jared Tallent originally came second in the 50km event at the 2012 London Olympics.

But in March he was informed that original winner Sergey Kirdyapkin had had his win overturned for a doping violation.

Olympics Day 15 - AthleticsOlympics Day 15 - Athletics

Tallent (L) Sergey Kirdyapkin (C) and Tianfeng Si of China at London 2012

When he heard the news Mr Tallent tweeted a picture of himself winning the silver with the words: “History has been rewritten…. I am Olympic champion!”

Then on Tuesday he discovered that Russian athlete Denis Nizhegorodov, the winner of the event in the 2011 World Championships in South Korea, had also been disqualified for doping.

History has been rewritten…. I am Olympic champion!

— Jared Tallent (@JaredTallent) March 24, 2016

Speaking to Sky News, Tallent said: “Reading the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) rules correctly, we’re not too sure, but we’re thinking I’ll now be upgraded to the gold medal at the 2011 World Championships, along with the 2012 Olympic Games that was decided earlier this year.

“So that was a mock ceremony for the 2011 World Championships.”

Tallent also released photographs of him scribbling-out the names of Nizhegorodov and Russian teammate Sergey Bakulin from an official results book.

Tallent reacts after finishing second in the men's 50km race walk final at the 15th IAAF Championships in BeijingTallent reacts after finishing second in the men's 50km race walk final at the 15th IAAF Championships in Beijing

Video:Tallent: ‘I Worked My Butt Off’

The amended 2012 result also meant that Irish athlete Robert Heffernan, who originally came fourth, was promoted to third place and will now receive the bronze.

Tallent has previously been a vocal critic of the doping industry and refused to shake hands with athletes he believed were using performance enhancing drugs.

He said: “I worked my butt off to race and train as hard as I could for London and to be beaten by a cheat was devastating.

It’s ok @iaaforg, we got it covered. Officially records now amended for WC11

— patbirgan (@patbirgan) May 24, 2016

“There have been big problems in athletics for a number of years, particularly in my event, the walk events.

“It’s been shown to be systematic in Russia, state-sponsored. We don’t want to compete against those athletes.”

Oz Deputy PM: I’m Depp’s Hannibal Lecter

Australia’s deputy prime minister has boasted that he got into Johnny Depp’s head like the fictional manipulative serial killer Hannibal Lecter after the Hollywood star described him as looking like he was “inbred with a tomato”.

The exchange is the latest in a war of words which started a year ago when Barnaby Joyce threatened to have Depp’s pet Yorkshire terriers put down.

Mr Joyce said it was time the animals, which had been illegally smuggled into Australia, “b*****ed off back to the United States”.

The actor’s wife pleaded guilty last month to falsifying documents to conceal the dogs when she arrived in the country on a private jet to join the actor on the set of the new Pirates Of The Caribbean film.

The couple filmed an apology as part of a deal with prosecutors that allowed Heard to avoid a conviction.

Johnny Depp and Amber HeardJohnny Depp and Amber Heard

Video:Depp, Heard’s Bizarre Video Apology

Depp referred to Joyce as Barnaby Jones, the television detective played by Buddy Ebsen, while discussing the case this week on the US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“He looks somehow inbred with a tomato,” Depp told Kimmel.

“It’s not a criticism. No, I was a little worried. He might explode.”

Mr Joyce replied by thanking Depp for the publicity he gave Australia’s tough biosecurity laws through the case that was widely lampooned as a “war on terrier”.

Mr Joyce, who is campaigning ahead of July elections, said he had moved on from his dispute with Depp.

“I’m inside his head, I’m pulling little strings and pulling little levers. Long after I’ve forgotten about Mr Depp, he’s remembering me,” Mr Joyce told reporters in his home town of Tamworth, New South Wales.

“I’m turning into his Hannibal Lecter,” Mr Joyce added, referring to Anthony Hopkins from the Academy Award-winning movie Silence Of The Lambs.

100,000 ‘Out Of Control’ Bats Invade Oz Town

An Australian town is in a “state of emergency” because it has been overtaken by a swarming mass of 100,000 bats.

The grey-headed flying foxes are overrunning Batemans Bay in New South Wales and the problem is so bad they are on almost every surface and in every tree.

Danielle Smith, who lives in the plagued town, said: “I can’t open the windows, I can’t use the clotheslines, it’s just, I can’t study because the noise just goes constantly. I can’t concentrate. It’s not fun.”

:: Bat Invasion Forces Closure Of Texas Hospital

She added: “The bats came and they are just out of control. We just can’t do anything because of them.”

Russell Schneider, of the Flying Fox Task Force, said: “This is the biggest, this is unprecedented. They’ve never been seen in these numbers.”

A statement from the task force said many of the townspeople felt “isolated, powerless, and many had become prisoners in their own homes”.

Officially, the grey-headed flying foxes are listed as a vulnerable species so authorities cannot kill them.

Instead, they are considering deterring them using smoke and noise. One approach under consideration is clearing all the local vegetation and officials have already started chopping down trees.

Animal rights groups are insisting that patience is the only thing that will work, saying the bats will move on of their own accord when ready.

But people who live in the town are desperate for a solution. One person said the animals are “causing a great deal of stress and distress”.

Mum’s Hysterical Fun With Chewbacca Mask

Texas mother Candace Payne has become an unexpected internet sensation after she filmed herself laughing hysterically while sitting in her car wearing a mask.

She recorded a Facebook Live video of herself in the Chewbacca mask while sitting in the car park of a department store.

The mask emits a strange whining noise whenever she opens her mouth.

“I’m such a happy Chewbacca,” Mrs Payne says, while laughing. “This is worth every penny.”

Chewbacca is a character from the Star Wars films.

The video was viewed by more than 72 million people in less than 24 hours and Chewbacca also trended on Twitter in the US.

Kohl’s, the shop where Mrs Payne bought the mask, tweeted: “Can we all agree that this reaction to a Chewbacca mask is everything?”

Later, a spokesman for the chain said the mask had since sold out online.

The Star Wars official account also got in on the fun, tweeting: “Laugh. It. Up”.

Wristband Is Shocking Way To Control Spending

A bracelet that gives its wearer an electric shock when they go overdrawn is being launched.

The idea is that the Pavlok wristband will be wired up to an online bank account so that, when the user goes overdrawn beyond pre-set spending limits, they will be given a 255-volt shock.

The plan is worked out in four stages starting with the customer logging into their credit card or bank account facility.

They then connect the device and set a spending limit.

When users get near their self-imposed limit, a notification will be sent to their phone.

If they go on spending regardless, the wristband moves into shock mode. 

The shock is reported to be “slightly uncomfortable”, rather than painful, says Intelligent Environments, the company that provides the connection between the device and the banking sites.

It emphasises it has been tested fully and is safe.

The bracelet is expected to be particularly appealing to the youth market with parents and partners particularly expressing an interest on their beloved’s behalf.

“We’ve had lots of interest from ‘concerned others’,” an IE spokeswoman said.

“Quite a few have said they want to get one for their daughter, or wife!”

Managing director David Webber was quoted as saying: “My daughter and other people we’ve spoken to who are under 25 think it’s brilliant.

“There’s probably a novelty value as well.”

The wristband was launched in 2014 by a US internet business intended for use as a way of shocking people out of bad habits, such as smoking or nail-biting.

It was based on the experiment conducted by Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov with dogs which found that the dogs – and in this case people – can be trained to behave in certain ways through reward or punishment.

Panda Picture Proves ‘Dead’ Bear Is Alive

A Taiwanese zoo has released a “proof of life” photo of one of its giant pandas to counter rumours it had died.

Tuan Tuan is pictured behind bars with newspapers laid out in front of him to prove what day it is.

Taipei Zoo said 11-year-old Tuan Tuan, his partner Yuan Yuan and their cub Tuan Zai were all fine.

“We welcome everyone to visit them at the zoo,” said its director Chin Shih-chien.

China’s official Communist Party paper, Global Times, had reported that Tuan Tuan had died of canine distemper.

The story soon spread like fast-growing bamboo across the Chinese-speaking internet.

Tuan TuanTuan Tuan

Tuan Tuan arrived in Taipei in December 2008

The paper later retracted its story and apologised for not checking its facts.

The death of the politically sensitive panda, a present to Taiwan from China, may have had deep diplomatic implications. 

Beijing has often uses gifts of giant pandas, which only exist in China, to make political statements.

China claims that Taiwan, which is quasi-independent and self-governing, is part of its territory.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan were sent to Taiwan in December 2008 following the election of China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou as the island’s leader.

Their combined names – Tuan Yuan – mean “Reunion”. 

Rumours of Tuan Tuan’s death emerged days before the inauguration of Mr Ma’s successor, Tsai Ing-wen, whose party supports Taiwan’s formal independence from China.

University Bans ‘Risky’ Mortarboard Throwing

The tradition of throwing mortarboards into the air after graduation has reportedly been banned by a university on health and safety grounds.

The University of East Anglia said the decision was taken after a number of graduates were injured by falling hats, including one that was taken to A&E after receiving a cut to their face, according to a statement published by student newspaper The Tab.

Instead, students have been advised mortarboards could be added digitally to photographs after the event – for a charge of £8.

Law students at the university were sent instructions suggesting they could “mime” the throwing action.

Penguin Photography told them: “As well as being safer, this will have the added advantage that even more of the students’ faces will be seen in this photograph.”

Louisa Baldwin, the Law Society president at UAE, told The Norwich Tab: “If I’ve paid £45 to hire a bit of cloth and card for the day I should be able to chuck my hat in the air.”

The university told the student newspaper that the throwing of hats posed an “unacceptable risk”.

It said: “The decision to not have the traditional ‘hat throwing’ photo opportunity for all students this year follows a number of injuries over recent years to graduates hurt by falling mortarboards.

“This is an unacceptable risk and we want to ensure no student’s graduation day is ruined by the potential for avoidable injury.”

The university said the ban had been agreed by academic dress suppliers which often received “damaged mortarboards” after graduations.

But the students’ union postgraduate education officer, Liam McCafferty, told Sky News it was “outrageous” that Penguin Photography wanted to charge students to add the hats digitally.

“We’re glad the university is taking concerns about health and safety seriously considering that last year a student was seriously injured,” he said.

“The real scandal is the fact the company is charging £8 extra to Photoshop the hats in, which I think is outrageous. They’re trying to make a quick buck off that and it’s not acceptable.”