Anthology

Man rescued from toy dinghy in North Sea

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The man, who the RNLI believe was in his 30s, was pulled to safety as he drifted in the North Sea off the coast of Redcar with his legs dangling over the edge of the blow-up craft.

He was rescued on Monday evening near the Teesside wind farm and was not exactly kitted out for a day at sea – wearing shorts, a hoody and trainers.

The boat's occupant was struggling against the wind and tide. Pic: RNLI/Redcar
Image:The boat’s occupant was struggling against the wind and tide. Pic: RNLI/Redcar

The RNLI said the Redcar inshore lifeboat escorted the man back to dry land where “a coastguard team was waiting to give him sea safety advice”.

Dave Cocks, lifeboat operations manager at Redcar RNLI said: “This is a good example of the types of incident we repeatedly warn people about.

‘It was a reasonably pleasant evening but the wind and tide were a recipe for this to happen.

The RNLI said they believed the man was in his 30s
Image:The man received ‘sea safety advice’ from the coastguard.Pic: RNLI/Redcar

“We believe the man was in his 30s. He was dressed in only a hoodie and shorts. He was bigger than the dinghy so his feet were hanging over the edge.

“If the alarm hadn’t been raised there was every likelihood he’d have drifted out of sight of land and we could well have been bringing a dead body back.”

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Peanut butter dupes guard in mass jailbreak

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The group at Walker County Jail in Alabama, US, craftily used the spread – taken from prison sandwiches – to alter the number of an inmate’s cell door to a number identifying a door leading outside.

When an inmate then asked a newly-employed guard to open his cell’s door, the inexperienced prison guard – who was watching on closed-circuit camera from a control room – inadvertently opened the outside door.

The group subsequently fled outside at around 6.20pm local time on Sunday and used blankets to climb over the prison’s razor-wire fence in less than 10 minutes.

Despite eleven of the group being recaptured within eight hours, 24-year-old Brady Kilpatrick, who had been jailed on drugs charges, was still on the run on Monday.

A helicopter was being used to hunt the sole remaining fugitive while off-duty police officers were drafted in to help.

A $500 (£380) reward was offered for information leading to an arrest.

Brady Andrew Kilpatrick
Image:Police were confident of recapturing Brady Kilpatrick

Of the group, who are aged between 18 and 30, two had been imprisoned on attempted murder charges.

Commenting on the unusual tactic used to fool the prison guard, local sheriff James Underwood said: “It may sound crazy, but these kinds of people are crazy like a fox.

“He thought he was opening the cell door for this man to go in his cell, but in fact he opened up the outside door.

“Escapes happen. We’ve got some evil people down here, and they scheme all the time to con us and our employees at the jail.

“You’ve got to stay on your toes. This is one time we slipped up. I’m not going to make any excuses.”

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Policeman’s ‘dad dancing’ dazzles festival-goers

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Thousands of people have watched the video of Special Constable Jason Cox strutting his stuff after being challenged to a dance-off.

Dorset Police uploaded the clip of the police officer’s arresting dance moves, but perhaps could have been more charitable when describing his style.

The force wrote: “We hope you love ‘dad dancing’ Special Constable Cox as much as we do!”

Festival-goers clapped and cheered as the policeman jived in his uniform, helmet and hi-vis jacket – with one delighted woman matching him move for move on their impromptu dance floor.

The 41-year-old has gained plenty of fans on Facebook, with one writing: “Moves like Jagger… Top stuff officer!”

He was also praised by Assistant Chief Constable Mark Cooper, who said: “We’re really proud of the work of our officers who were supporting the on-site security at Camp Bestival.

“By engaging with members of the public in this way, we hope it will build relationships and encourage young people in particular to run to us when they’re in danger, rather than be scared of the uniform.”

Camp Bestival, which was being held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset over the weekend, was headlined by Mark Ronson, Madness, and Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds.

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House on sale for £1 – but dare you step inside?

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A property in Sunderland described as “an ideal investment” is due to go under the hammer with bids starting at just £1.

But there is a catch.

The end terrace’s bargain guide price is due to “hazards of a serious nature” being found in the building.

It is not clear what the hazards are but anyone wishing to view the house has to sign a disclaimer that they do so at their own risk, auctioneers Andrew Craig said.

The sales pitch reads: “Attention Buyers! No Buyers’ Premium To Pay! Guide price £1. Yes you have read this correctly £1 with no reserve.”

The property is situated on Tunstall Terrace West, in the Ashbrooke area of Sunderland, close to the city’s university.

Images of the house show a stripped-back property with rooms including a kitchen that would appear to need a lot of tender loving care.

The property is up for auction at Newcastle Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, at 7pm on 31 July.

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Howzat! England stars take Tube to Test match

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Bowler Stuart Broad put a picture on Instagram of several members of the team on what appears to be a Piccadilly line train.

Wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, bowler James Anderson and Test debutante Toby Roland-Jones are among the other players who made the journey.

Stuart Broad stares at a poster of himself
Image:Stuart Broad checks himself out at Bank station

Team captain Joe Root tweeted a second picture of the players on a platform at Bank station in central London.

It shows Stuart Broad staring at a giant Sky Sports poster of himself, which Root described with the hashtag #notawkward.

The images caused a stir on social media, with some saying that England’s footballers would never do the same thing.

The team are in the middle of a five-day Test match against South Africa at the Oval in south London.

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Dull celebration of Bland and Boring links

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The triumvirate of tedious-titled towns, which span three continents, joined forces in the lighthearted celebration of the mundane.

To mark the partnership, dubbed the League of Extraordinary Communities, the Perthshire village of Dull is preparing a warm Highland welcome for a delegation jetting in from Bland in New South Wales, Australia.

Bland’s tie-up with Dull came after the Scottish hamlet twinned with the quiet American farming town of Boring, Oregon, back in 2012 – a move that required the official seal of approval from the state Senate.

After their pairing, 9 August was declared as “Boring and Dull Day” across the US state. There is also an official Dull and Boring tartan in a sign of the close links.

Putting mediocre on the map:

:: DULL – Tiny Highland village with around 84 residents

:: BORING – A small farming town in Oregon with around 8,000 residents – some 5,542 miles from Dull

:: BLAND – A former gold prospecting area in New South Wales, which has about 6,000 residents – some 10,343 miles from Dull

Iomhar Fletcher, chairman of Dull and Weem Community Council, said the visit by the group led by the Mayor of Bland, would provide an opportunity to strengthen links between their communities.

A civic reception, hosted by local provost Dennis Melloy, is being held in their honour, where a dram is set to be raised to Boring absent friends.

Mr Fletcher said: “The partnership has done wonders for our small community. We are always meeting visitors who have heard about it and wanted to see the place for themselves.

“We have possibly got the most photographed village sign anywhere in the UK.

“People queue up to get pictures taken.”

He added: “It’s a nice humorous, lighthearted way of promoting your community.

“We have so many things to offer people when they come here.

“We always have sunshine and don’t have midges.”

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‘Doofy’ teenager loses car for three days

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Gavin Strickland’s vehicle was eventually found after his parents posted an online appeal for help in tracing the car of their “doofy son”.

The 19-year-old from Syracuse, New York State, had made the 250-mile journey to Toronto to see Metallica play on Sunday night.

However, at the end of the heavy metal concert, he could not remember where he had parked his blue-green Nissan Verda sedan.

The missing Nissan Versa sedan
Image:The teenager’s parents posted an appeal on Craigslist to try and trace the missing car

He then spent a fruitless night walking around the Canadian city trying to find the garage where he had left his car.

“At first I was like, ‘I just forgot where I parked. It’s not a big deal.’ Eventually I started thinking . . . I may never see my car again,” he told CTV News Channel.

He finally admitted defeat and called his parents in Syracuse.

His father, Eric, said: “He just really kind of screwed up going into a big city not knowing what to do.”

After reporting the vehicle missing to Toronto police, Gavin’s parents decided to make a public appeal on the classifieds website Craigslist.

My car was found! And the story is so crazy it’s on the news all over Canada. I’ve become famous over a lost car

— Gavin Strickland (@gpstrickland31) July 20, 2017

Along with a picture of the car, the post said: “Our doofy son parked the car in an indoor parking garage, in the first floor (slightly lower/basement level) but that garage cannot now be located.

“Please respond with photos of the car and specific location instructions to claim the reward.”

According to the advert, the only nearby landmarks Strickland could recall were a Starbucks, a building site, possibly a bank and a “strange spiral outdoor structure”.

Fortunately, Toronto resident Madison Riddolls responded to his plight and set out to search for the car, which she found shortly after midnight on Thursday.

After receiving the good news, Gavin got on the bus back to Toronto to pick up his vehicle, amid a blaze of publicity, rounding off an ordeal he called “one big oops”.

He gave Ms Riddolls a $100 reward and a $100 donation for a charity of her choice.

She presented him with a map of Toronto for his next visit.

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Ford employs ‘golden noses’ to boost China sales

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Western drivers like the distinctive “new car” smell but in China people prefer their cars to be odourless.

At its research plant outside the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing assessors carefully test the smell of all materials going into Ford cars to be sold in China and Asia.

Paying attention to cultural distinctions is becoming increasingly important to global companies targeting consumers in markets where attitudes vary widely.

A report last year by A. J. D. showed that unpleasant smells was the top concern for Chinese drivers.

Employees install car components at an assembly line at a Ford manufacturing plant in China
Image:Employees install car components at a Ford manufacturing plant in China

“In North America, people want a new car smell and will even buy a ‘new car’ spray to make older cars feel new and fresh. In China it’s the opposite,” said Andy Pan, a Ford supervisor at the facility.

Smell assessors in China carry out a third more tests than their counterparts in Europe, performing 300 tests every year.

The odour of all materials used are rated from “not perceptible” to “extremely disturbing”, with some materials sent back to the supplier.

Materials can be noted as smelling of anything from burnt tire, to bad meat or moth balls and dirty socks.

Testers for Ford undergo a tough selection process to ensure they are up to the task, having to pass blind smell tests before being chosen.

“We have to have very healthy habits; we can’t smoke, we can’t drink,” said one of the team, 33-year-old Amy Han.

She added she avoids spicy food and does not wear nail polish, strong perfume or even a leather jacket to keep her smell sense sharp.

Testers have to pass blind smell tests to get the job
Image:Testers have to pass blind smell tests to get the job

Smell is just one factor carmakers are focusing on in China, where Ford’s sales are down 7% this year.

Local car companies Geely Automobile and BYD Co Ltd highlight their in-car air filters to protect drivers from harmful air pollution.

BMW is increasing the size of in-car touch screens and tweaking colours to appeal to consumers in China.

There’s been a big focus on new energy vehicles in Beijing, reflecting a wider concern about chemicals and pollution.

“When I lived in the United States I might look at the suspension or the engine,” said Don Yu, China general manager at CGT, which makes materials to cover car seats and dashboards for General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford.

“In China, though, people open the car and sit inside, if the smell isn’t good enough they think it will jeopardise their health.”

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Uproar as melting Lion bars delay motorists

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London-bound drivers on the A2 in Kent suffered long waits after a lorry carrying the cargo burst into flames near the junction for the Bluewater shopping centre.

Three of the road’s four lanes were shut, blocking a key route from the port of Dover to the capital.

The A2 was fully reopened at 2.25pm after fire crews worked with Kent Highways to put out the blaze and remove the chocolate load, which had melted onto the tarmac.

::Drivers warned of weekend travel ‘chaos’ as summer getaway begins

Three of four lanes were closed as fire crews were dispatched to the scene
Image:The cause of the blaze is unknown. Pic: Highways England

There were no reports of injuries and the cause of the fire was unknown.

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said crews removed the sides and roof of the vehicle before manually removing the contents of the trailer, “believed to be approximately 25 tons of chocolate”.

Three of four lanes on the A2 were closed after the fire. Pic: Dean Scott
Image:Three of four lanes on the A2 were closed after the fire. Pic: Dean Scott

Kent Highways later released pictures revealing sodden boxes of Lion bars scattered across the road from the burnt-out lorry.

One Twitter user caught up in the delays posted: “As far as I can see, everyone (myself included) is mourning the loss of the truck’s cargo of Lion bars!”

Another user wrote: “Damn. Lion Bars are hard to find at the best of times. I wonder whether they need help with the cleanup…”

A lorry carrying Lion bars caught fire on the A2 in Kent Credit: Highways England
Image:The lorry was carrying 25 tons of chocolate Pic: Highways England

One Twitter user expressed relief that “they were only Lion Bars” and “no real chocolate was harmed” in the “gooey” incident.

Congestion in the area was made worse following a crash between the junctions for Gravesend west and Gravesend central.

Two people sustained minor injuries in the collision involving a car and a motorcycle.

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Not too fast! Experts say T-rex could not run

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Scientists at the University of Manchester believe the sheer size and weight of the dinosaurs made running impossible, as their legs would have buckled and broken under the pressure of their heavy load.

The results contradict an earlier predictions by biochemical models that T-rex could hit speeds of 45mph.

Researchers say even their walking speed would have been limited because of the impact movement had on the skeleton.

The experts created a new simulation model to test their findings – combining two biomechanical techniques known as multibody dynamic analysis and skeletal stress analysis.

Professor William Sellers, who led the research, said: “The running ability of T-rex and other similarly giant

dinosaurs has been intensely debated amongst palaeontologists for decades.

“However, different studies using differing methodologies have produced a very wide range of top speed estimates and we say there is a need to develop techniques that can improve these predictions.

“Here we present a new approach that combines two separate biomechanical techniques to demonstrate that true running gaits would probably lead to unacceptably high skeletal loads in T-rex.”

He added that the findings also meant running at high speeds was probably highly unlikely for other large two-legged dinosaurs such as Giganotosaurus, Mapusaurus, and Acrocanthosaurus.

Fans of Jurassic Park may be disappointed by the research, as it shatters the illusion that a rampant T-rex would have been able to chase a 4×4 through a forest.

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