Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Friday, September 25, 2015

Eight book reviews of my new novel "Chief Minister's Mistress".....

# Chief Minister’s Mistress is readable...having written 16 books in five years, author Joygopal Podder seems to have gotten his formula down pat. – Shantanu David, “The Indian Express”
# Joygopal Podder has definitely written a great page-turner. Right from the first page...the book goes on in the same fast pace and doesn't let you lose interest. – Abhilash Ruhela Blog / DNA of Books.blogspot / Indiblogger / booksareworld.blogspot
# Rarely does one comes across this kind of combination for book lovers. An author who holds the Limca Book of Records for writing at the fastest pace and a publisher who delivers the best. We expect a crime thriller to have a mind blowing speed and this particular book doesn’t disappoint you on this quarter. Ratings....Cover : 4/5; Story : 3.5/5; Characterization : 4/5; Writing Style & Narration : 4/5; Presentation : 4/5; Overall : 4/5. – Sandeep Sharma, “The Author’s Blog”
# "Interesting and gripping novel....all the very best". – Nilima Pathak, Correspondent, 'Gulf News' Dubai
# “Chief Minister’s Mistress is a masterpiece murder mystery… I thoroughly enjoyed the political thriller.” – Gunjesh Bond, Author
# Amazon.in Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
# The author uses straight forward narrative…He uses very simple language throughout the book…The story is interesting. – Vijayta Lalwani, Betweenthelines.in
# Goodreads.com Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fields of watermelon burst in China farm fiasco

Watermelons have been bursting by the score in eastern China after farmers gave them overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather, creating what state media called fields of "land mines."

About 20 farmers around Danyang city in Jiangsu province were affected, losing up to 115 acres (45 hectares) of melon, China Central Television said in an investigative report.

Prices over the past year prompted many farmers to jump into the watermelon market. All of those with exploding melons apparently were first-time users of the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron, though it has been widely available for some time, CCTV said in the report broadcast on May 16th night.

Chinese regulations don't forbid the drug, and it is allowed in the U.S. on kiwi fruit and grapes. But the report underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Indonesian Book on Obama Sets Record for Thickest Book

Timed to coincide with President Barack Obama’s visit to Indonesia, on November 9th, 2010, was a book launch for what has become the world’s thickest book, “Obama and Pluralism.”

The book is a whopping 5,247 pages, and a record-breaking 34 cm (13.4 inches) thick. It compiles the works of almost 40 people, written over five days and took less than one year to publish.

The author of “Obama dan pluralisme,” the book’s Indonesian name, is Damien Dematra. This is his seventh book about the American President. Dematra is a highly accomplished and prolific novelist, screenwriter, director, producer, photographer, and painter. He has written 62 novels in both English and Indonesian, 57 scripts for film and TV, and produced 28 films, including “Little Obama.” During his career as a painter he once produced a painting every day for one year.

The previous world record for thickest book was set in 2009 by Agatha Christie’s “Queen of Crime,” the complete collection of Miss Marple stories—12 novels and 20 short stories. That book is 4,032 pages with a spine measuring 32.2 cm (12.6 inches), according to the Guinness World Records website.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

An electric battery that is more than two thousand years old?

Archaeologists in Iraq have found what appears to be an ancient electric battery. The object, dating from roughly 230 BC, was found in an excavation of a Parthian village in 1936. It consists of a small vase containing a copper cylinder surrounding an iron rod. Sceptics insist that it is a scroll case. However, it cannot be denied that if an acid, such as lemon juice, is poured into such a vase, an electric current is created. In fact, the current is sufficient to be used to electroplate metal objects suspended in the correct metal solution.

If the battery was indeed used for this purpose, it may mean that much of what modern museums classify as ancient gold objects may only be gold plated objects...

Vending machines that kill

Between 1983 and 1988, five American servicemen were killed and thirty-nine injured by a hitherto unknown menace: soft drink vending machines. The accidents usually occured when soldiers attacked the machines, either hoping to get a free drink, or trying to take revenge on the machine for eating their money without delivering the requisite refreshment. In most cases the machine then fell on the assailant.

Drinking to excess

One night in 1990, a woman of Van Nuys, California, USA, stepped out of her bed and onto something large and apparently asleep on her rug. It turned out to be a burglar, who, overcome by the twenty cans of beer which he had drunk to fortify his courage, had passed out.

Gender imbalance

The death of thousands of goldfish in the ponds of Britain in the spring of 1977 has been attributed to sex-crazed toads. That spring, male toads found themselves in a ten to one majority over female toads. The resulting dearth of breeding partners left the males mating with anything: water-lilies, sticks, and also pets. The grip of a mating male toad is easily sufficient to crush an average goldfish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

My second novel: "The Inheritance" has been published...

Cheers! My second novel: "The Inheritance" has been published. Click on the following link to check out the details and also to place an order on the publisher's website: http://www.atlanticbooks.com/browse/details.asp?id=22396

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My first published book: "Deceivers" is now available for purchase online. Just click on the link:


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby boomers: 4 sisters, 4 births, 4 days

Four American sisters from one family have each given birth within four days.

That's four sisters, four babies, four days.

The same obstetrician delivered the babies of three of the sisters — 27-year-old Lilian Sepulveda, 29-year-old Saby Pazos and 24-year-old Leslie Pazos — in the same suburban Chicago hospital on Friday (August 6th) and Saturday (August 7th).

A fourth sister, Heidi Lopez, gave birth on Monday (August 9th)in California.

Family members say the women didn't plan the timing. Obstetrician Dr. Jean Alexandre, who delivered the three babies in suburban Chicago, calls the births "very unusual but wonderful at the same time."

Molly Gaus, a spokeswoman for Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., said Saby Pazos and Leslie Pazos both delivered their babies naturally on Friday. Saby gave birth to a 7-pound, 8-ounce boy named Abel Brian, and a couple of hours later Leslie had a 7-pound, 1-ounce girl, Ashley Mishell.

Sepulveda had a scheduled Caesarean section on Saturday morning. She gave birth to an 8-pound, 3-ounce daughter named Emily Marie.

Lopez, who had to have an emergency C-section on Monday in California, delivered a baby boy named Jonathan. "It was unplanned that it would happen that early," Gaus said.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Australian man survives 12,700-volt shock

An electric pole surveyor in Australia had a miraculous escape when he suffered only partial burns on being hit by a power surge of 12,700 volts.

The 35-year-old unidentified man suffered partial burns to about 20 percent of his body and was shifted to a hospital in Brisbane.

"It's believed the patient from Rockhampton was a surveyor and had pulled over on the side of the road," Herald Sun quoted an official as saying.

"He had taken a pole, and it accidentally hit an overhead power line sending 12,700 volts through him."

Man hides 140,000 pounds in aunt's grave

A Briton hid 140,000 pounds in his aunt's grave to dodge tax sleuths, but the cache was uncovered after the tax inspectors were tipped-off.

The man buried the money so as to fool the Inland Revenue. He planned to leave the cash there for 20 years before digging it up. The 20 year period is the time limit for tax investigations, The Sun reported last Monday.

Tax inspectors got a wind off the devious plan and sought permission from a priest to dig up the grave and recovered their 50,000 pounds share from the businessman.

The country's top taxman Dave Hartnett said: "Tax evasion isn't a victimless crime. We all pay extra to compensate for the money cheats steal from the country. But we're getting better at catching cheats. It's not worth the risk."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Now, build your satellite and put it into orbit for $8K

A US company has taken the "do-it-yourself" concept to a completely new level - the firm is selling kits to build and fly small satellites for as much as 8,000 dollars.

Randa and Roderick Milliron, a Mojave, Calif.-based couple, are the brains behind the program they've named TubeSat. The duo have been developing a bare-bones, low-cost rocket system for the last 14 years.

The first of four suborbital test flights is slated for August and there are customers for those as well.

"The acceptance and enthusiasm has been overwhelming," Discovery News quoted Randa Milliron, chief executive of Interorbital Systems, as saying.

The customers include hobbyists and universities, including the Naval Postgraduate School in California, Morehead State University in Kentucky, and the University of Sydney in Australia.

"There's been a massive number of shelved experiments, caused by a dearth of low-cost launch systems. This is an opportunity for the academic community to fly affordably," Milliron said.

Interorbital's rocket, the Neptune, will place up to 32 TubeSats and 10 slightly larger off-the-shelf spacecraft called CubeSats into orbit about 192 miles above Earth.

Launches will take place from the island of 'Eua, located in the Kingdom of Tonga, in the South Pacific.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dr Tathagat Tulsi, 22, becomes Professor Tulsi at IIT Bombay

He completed high school at the age of 9, had a B.Sc at 10, an M.Sc in Physics at 12, and a PhD in Quantum Computing from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, at 21. In 2003, Time named him among the world's seven most gifted youngsters. Now, at age 22, Patna-born prodigy Tathagat Avtar Tulsi has become possibly the youngest assistant professor at IIT.

Tulsi will teach Physics at IIT Bombay from July 19, having chosen the institute over Waterloo University, Canada, and the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER), Bhopal, both of which had offered him jobs.

"I turned down Waterloo despite an impressive pay package because I do not want to go abroad now," Tulsi told The Indian Express over the phone from Patna. "My dream is to set up a lab focused on quantum computation in India, and one day help develop a largescale quantum computation-based supercomputer. IIT Bombay offers me these possibilities."

IIT Bombay confirmed that Tulsi is set to join its faculty. In an appointment letter sent on June 30, IIT Bombay Director Prof Devang V Khakar informed Tulsi that the institute's Board of Governors was pleased to offer him assistant professorship on contract at the Department of Physics.

Hailed early as a wonder boy, Tulsi suffered humiliation in August 2001 when a delegation of scientists taken by the Department of Science & Technology to Lindau in Germany for an interaction with Nobel laureates, suggested that he was a "fake prodigy" who had "mugged up" jargon which he spouted unthinkingly.

A hurt Tulsi went into a shell for several years. He returned to news this February after he became the youngest holder of a PhD in India.

"Back then it hurt a lot. But I have put the humiliation behind me, and now feel that I have achieved something. I am very happy to join an IIT as faculty. I am looking forward to teaching and research," Tulsi said.

Monday, June 7, 2010

'Veiled' shock: Bride turns out to be a boy

If marriages are made in heaven, Gangaram Tewari must be wondering whether his was designed in hell. This 30-plus small-time electrician from Gauri Shankerpurwa hamlet in Bahraich in the province of Uttar Pradesh, was ‘fraudulently’ married to someone other than his fiancee. Worse: this “someone” turned out to be a teenaged boy in disguise of a bride.

Tewari now has lodged an police complaint against the match-making couple who brought the two sides together for tying the nuptial knot and charged Rs 30,000 for it. Police have arrested the “bride” boy who admitted to have been married away similarly at least 18 times in the past. A manhunt is on for the other members of the gang.

Tewari’s hopes to get his Rs 30,000 back now rest with god. Ram Bharose, the superintendent of police, Bahraich, says that police teams were now on the lookout for the gang. “This is one of its kind case that I have come across in my entire service till date,” says the SP, talking to Times Of India.

It all started in March last when, fed up with the loneliness in his life, Gangaram Tewari finally decided to get a life-partner. Looking for a bride, his family bumped into a match-maker couple — Dheeraj Tewari and his wife of Ramgaon locality in the city — who assured them a compatible match for Rs 30,000 as their fee. The couple offered a number of proposals for Tewari. Finally, the family shortlisted one — Sunita, daughter of late Sukhai Yadav, hailing from a tiny hamlet of Barabanki district near uttar Pradesh's capital city, Lucknow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Aliens have been visiting Earth for decades: Canadian expert

Accusing world famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking of spreading misinformation about threats from aliens, former Canadian defence minister Paul Hellyer claimed on Sunday that extraterrestrials have actually been visiting earth for decades.

Rather than harm mankind, he said, their (aliens') spaceships have provided us information for triggering today's microchip and IT revolution on our planet.

Hawking has recently warned humanity against contacting aliens. 'If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans,' the British astrophysicist has said.

According to Hawking, if human beings tried to contact aliens, they could invade us and take away our most important resources. 'If they (aliens) wanted to use our solar system, for some super project, our complaints would be like an ant colony protesting the laying of a parking lot,' Hawking has said in a new documentary.

Hawking has also said that though most extraterrestrial life could be only in the form of small animals, but there could also be 'nomads, looking to conquer and colonize other planets'. Taking issue with Hawking Sunday, the former Canadian defence minister, who himself is an expert on the subject and has has been speaking about aliens for years, said aliens have already visited earth and contributed to our technological advancement.

Hellyer told the Canadian Press that 'the reality is that they (aliens) have been visiting earth for decades and probably millennia and have contributed considerably to our knowledge.' He said our computer screens have their origins in alien spaceships. 'Microchips, for example, fiber-optics, they are just two of the many things that allegedly - and probably for real - came from crashed vehicles,' the Canadian said.

Blaming Hawking for scaring mankind about aliens, he said, 'He (Hawking) is indulging in some pretty scary talk there that I would have hoped would not come from someone with such an established stature. I think it is really sad that a scientist of his repute would contribute to what I would consider more misinformation about a vast and very important subject.'

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fighter jets chasing 'UFO' captured on video

A mystery cameraman in England has filmed two fighter jets whizzing over the M5, chasing, what looked like a UFO, on Saturday, April 10th.

The 30-second clip is believed to have been taken from a West Midlands service station car park.

"This is one of the best videos I've seen. It could be a new drone - that might explain the military jets," the Sun quoted expert Nick Pope, who probed UFO sightings for the Ministry of Defence.

"But you don't normally test-fly secret projects in daylight. Alternatively, this could be the real thing - a UFO in our airspace and military aircraft scrambled to intercept, probably due to it being tracked on radar," he added.

The Ministry of Defence did not comment on the alleged sighting, but confirmed it would scramble jets to meet an air threat.

"We are not aware of any reports of unidentified aircraft near the M5," said West Midlands Police.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day of pranks: Flying car fix, flavoured newspaper

Flying car mechanics, flavoured newspaper pages and Labour Party election posters depicting the prime minister as a thug were among April Fool's Day jokes awaiting Britons in their papers on Thursday.

The Daily Mail reported that the Automobile Association, which deals with emergency callouts to car breakdowns, had equipped its staff with jet-packs to fly over gridlocked traffic to reach stranded motorists faster.

Meanwhile, the Sun proudly declared it had succeeded in creating "the world's first flavoured page" - next to a blank, white square which contained the instruction: "Lick here".

In an elaborate mock-up, the Guardian said Labour Party would portray Gordon Brown as one willing to take on David Cameron in "a bare-knuckle fistfight for the future of UK".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Woman sues US zoo over splashing dolphins

A woman is suing a Chicago-area zoo for a 2008 fall near a dolphin exhibit, accusing zookeepers of encouraging the mammals to splash water and then failing to protect spectators from wet surfaces, local media reported.

In her suit filed early last week, Allecyn Edwards said she was injured while walking near an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, where a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were performing, media said.

Officials "recklessly and willfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands, making the floor wet and slippery," but failed to post warning signs or lay down protective mats or strips, the suit said, according to the reports.

Edwards is demanding more than $50,000 for lost wages, medical expenses and emotional trauma from the Chicago Zoological Society and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, which operate the zoo in Chicago's southwest suburbs. The suit was filed in Illinois' Circuit Court of Cook County.

Miss Singapore World resigns after lingerie fraud

Beauty queen Miss Singapore World has given up her crown after it emerged that she had stolen credit cards to go on a shopping spree for lingerie.

Ris Low had come under public pressure to be stripped of her 2009 title, after local media reported she stole seven credit cards last year while working at a medical clinic, buying goods worth about S$8,000 ($5,662) including gold anklets and phones.

Organizers of the pageant ERM World Marketing said she had resigned Tuesday of her own accord. She will no longer represent Singapore at the Miss World finals to be held in South Africa in December, but her replacement has not yet been decided.

Japan's new first lady says she rode in a spaceship

Japan's next prime minister might be nicknamed "the alien," but it's his wife who claims to have had a close encounter with another world.

"While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus," Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of premier-in-waiting Yukio Hatoyama, wrote in a book published last year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lottery jackpot lands Canadian in jail

A Canadian man who won $44.4 million in a lottery in Toronto last Monday, landed in jail rather than enjoy wild parties after winning the jackpot.

Barry Shell, 45, who lives in the Indian-dominant city of Brampton on the outskirts of Toronto, was handcuffed immediately after he pocketed the cheque for the windfall.

The reason: he had an arrest warrant pending against him since 2003 for failing to appear in court to face charges of theft and illegal property.

Police swung into action as the man was posing for photographs after accepting the cheque for $4,377,298 (more than Rs.13 crore) at the provincial Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) headquarters here.

Police told him of the pending arrest warrant. A shell-shocked Shell was handcuffed and put behind bars.

He was produced in court to face charges of contempt for failing to appear before it, theft of $5,000 and possessing illegal property.

Under the strict lottery laws in Toronto, a jackpot winner is thoroughly investigated before he or she is handed over the cheque to prevent misuse of the newly acquired wealth.

The lottery body has posted a warning on its web site urging people to 'play responsibly'.

Among other things, it warns them against spending more money than they can afford, borrowing money to buy tickets, neglecting family and owning money to family, friends and credit cards.

Rui Brum from the lottery body told the local media that "any flags that are raised are immediately forwarded to the Ontario Provincial Police Bureau attached to the AGCO (the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) for further investigation".

A press release by the lottery body quoted Shell as saying, "I went to the store and checked my ticket on the self-serve ticket checker.

"As soon as I saw how much I had won, I grabbed a pen and signed my ticket."

The next moment he was in handcuffs.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mouse builds nest in Oregon ATM with USD 20 bills

A mouse in USA found inside an automatic teller machine -- along with a nest it had built with chewed-up USD 20 bills -- gave an Oregon gas station employee the surprise of her life.

The mouse, discovered on August 6th, had thoroughly torn up two bills and damaged another 14 to line his nest. Employee Millie Taylor says she screamed and slammed the machine's door shut.

The bank replaced all the money that wasn't extensively damaged, and the ATM has continued to work just fine. The mouse also got a reprieve: He was evicted from his nest but set free outside the station.

Other workers at the Gem Stop Chevron in La Grande in eastern Oregon say they're mystified about how the mouse got inside the machine.

Woman marries 7 times in 45 days

A 25-year-old Egyptian waitress, supposedly ‘addicted to men’ and who had allegedly married seven times in 45 days has been arrested by the police in Hurghada on charges of polygamy.

Working in a tourist resort the waitress allegedly developed sexual relationships with young men. Sexual relationships out of wedlock are prohibited by law in Egypt. However, she used to write an unofficial marriage agreement before any new relationship.

The waitress met a young contractor in the cafe who soon fell for her and proposed.

A few days into the marriage, her new husband, Ramadan discovered one of the unofficial marriage agreements dating a few days before they got married. When confronted, she reportedly confessed she was ‘addicted to men’ and had married seven times in 45 days. Two of the marriages were only ten hours apart. She also confessed she was pregnant.

The husband filed an official complaint against his wife and the police detained her on charges of forgery, fornication and polygamy.

Spelling gaffe turns city into 'unwiped bottom'

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper faced embarrassing moments when his office issued a press release mis-spelling the name of a provincial capital he was visiting. But it was no ordinary mistake. It was a gaffe which turned the name of the city into 'unwiped bottom'.

This happened during Harper's visit to the country's Arctic territory of Nunavat.

He was in the provincial capital of Iqaluit to announce development projects when the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) issued the press release with Iqaluit spelt as Iqualuit.

The error left the residents flabbergasted.

Because the extra 'u' changed the meaning of the city to unwiped bottom.

"It means people with unwiped bums," Sandra Inutiq of the office of the Languages Commissioner of Nunavut was quoted as saying.

"It's not exactly a nice term," she said.

The Prime Minister's office apologised for the gaffe, calling it a human error that might teach Canadians an important lesson about spelling mistakes, agency reports said.

"Hopefully this unfortunate typo, which we have corrected, will inform the greater public that there is no (extra) 'u' in Iqaluit," PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas was quoted as saying.

Major Canadian media outlets also misspelt Iqaluit as Iqualuit.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Evolution 'driving women to become more beautiful'

Here's some good news for the ladies: a group of scientists has claimed that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful.

While men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors, the boffins added.

According to a series of studies of physical attractiveness and its links to reproductive success in humans, researchers found that pretty women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.

In the research, Markus Jokela, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, found beautiful women had up to 16 percent more children than their plainer counterparts.

To reach the conclusion, Jokela used data gathered in America, in which 1,244 women and 997 men were followed through four decades of life, reports "The Times" of London.

Attractiveness was rated on the basis of photographs taken during the study, which also collected data on the number of children they had.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scottish man sets new world record by running 259 ft with body set on fire

LONDON: A Scottish man slammed the previous world record of running 227ft with body set on fire by sprinting 259 ft.

Keith Malcolm, from Aberdeen, succeeded in his second attempt to break the record after he fell 40ft short of the record in his previous attempt in May.

The amateur stuntman, who now lives in Widley near Portsmouth, Hants, wore eight layers of protective clothing, including four layers of fireproof undergarments, a Formula One fireproof jacket and three overalls to avoid any harm.

He protected his head with three fire hoods and a helmet apart from coating himself in special protective "stunt gel" to save himself from flames that approximately reached 1000 degree Celsius.

"It was absolutely awesome. I managed it in 17 seconds and was running flat-out. I really did not want to hang around," the Telegraph quoted Malcolm as saying.

"There wasn't much left of the jacket at the end. To be honest, the heat I felt was what you would expect if you were wearing all those clothes and a helmet in hot weather and trying to run.

However, team of experts from Hampshire Fire and Rescue were at hand in case any accident had occurred.

The new world record was set at the Alton and North East Hampshire Agricultural Show, which aimed at raising money for Cancer Research.

A temple, where devotees offer liquor to deity

This temple in India's province of Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur district doesn't have an idol or a priest and devotees don't make floral offering. They offer liquor to the deity -- a saint who lived in the area around 150 years ago and was said to enjoy his drink in the evening and had a knack of clairvoyance and curing people.

Welcome to the Khabees Baba temple situated in a forest area near Sardana town in Sitapur district, some 80 km from the provincial capital of Lucknow, where devotees offer liquor to the deity.

According to locals, the temple was built around 150 years ago in memory of a saint named Khabees Baba, who devoted his life worshipping Lord Shiva in Sitapur.

"It is believed that Khabees Baba died in the Sandana forest while worshipping Lord Shiva. So, in order to pay homage to their guru, Baba's disciples constructed the temple at the place where he died," Shyam Babu Saini, a teacher and resident of Sardana, said.

The temple is popular not only amongst the locals in Sitapur; devotees from different parts of Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere too visit the temple.

"Though devotees visit the temple round-the-year, they throng here in large numbers during the month of Ashadh of the Hindu calendar, especially on the occasion of Guru Poornima," said Saini.

Locals say Khabees Baba was fond of liquor and whatever he used to say under its influence proved to be true.

"We have been told by our ancestors that a large number of people used to meet Khabees Baba Monday evenings, when he used to get drunk," said Praveen Kumar, 65, a resident of the Roti Godam area of Sitapur. He visits the temple often.

"People, especially those with chronic health problems, used to come to Khabees Baba. An inebriated Baba used to bless them and their health problems used to be cured," he added.

The small temple has no idol inside, instead there is a raised platform on which rests two slipper-shaped structures that are taken to symbolise the feet of the saint, locals say.

Devotees coming to the temple offer liquor on these clay structures, while a small portion of liquor around the symbolic feet is collected and distributed as prasad (offering) among the devotees.

There is no priest in the temple and the locals themselves take care of its maintenance, taking turns to do so.

Man seeks ride from detective after heist

Authorities in Michigan, US say a parolee who robbed a bank in Saginaw was caught when he tried to hitch a ride from an undercover police detective.

Mark E. White was arraigned on July 10th on charges that include bank robbery and making a false bomb threat. He is being held at the Saginaw County Jail on $755,000 bond. It was not clear whether White had an attorney. Police did not immediately return a message seeking comment July 11th.

Authorities tell The Saginaw News that White flagged down Saginaw Township Detective Scott Jackson on July 8th after the bank robbery a few blocks away.

White was paroled on June 16 after serving time for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and violating an earlier parole.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Woman survives being shot in head, makes tea

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, USA: A woman who was shot in the head last month not only survived but made herself tea and offered an astonished deputy something to drink.

Tammy Sexton, 47, remained hospitalized three days after being wounded by her husband, who killed himself after he shot his wife. She has now fully recovered.

"There's no way she should be alive other than a miracle from God," said Sheriff Mike Byrd of Jackson County, Mississippi.

Byrd said deputies were looking for Sexton's husband, Donald Ray Sexton, earlier in that last week of April to give him a document ordering him to stay away from his wife. Court records show he was put on probation for six months on April 9 for domestic violence.

He showed up at their home in rural Jackson County in Southeast Mississippi about 12:10am on Tuesday and confronted his wife as a relative ran next door to call police, the sheriff said.

"She was at her bed, and he shot her right in the head," Byrd said. "Then he went out on the back porch and shot himself."

The slug from a .380-caliber handgun struck Tammy Sexton squarely in the forehead, passed through her skull and exited through the back of her head, Byrd said. A deputy arrived within minutes and was greeted by the woman.

"When the officer got there she said, 'What's going on?' She was holding a rag on her head and talking. She was conscious, but she was confused about what had happened," he said. "She had made herself some tea and offered the officer something to drink."

Byrd said the bullet apparently passed through the lobes of the woman's brain without causing major damage. She was rushed to a Mobile hospital by a helicopter.

While such cases may be rare, medical journals confirm people have been shot in the head with little or no lasting injury.

"It's bizarre. You just don't hear of something like this. Somebody gets shot in the head and they're dead," Byrd said.

Two-timing US woman has twins from 2 men

An American mother was left dumbstruck after she found out that she had incredibly conceived her twin sons from two different fathers.

Mia of Dallas, Texas, gave birth to babies Justin and Jordan, now 11-months-old, just seven minutes apart and undertook a paternity test after finding the two looking very unalike. The 20-year-old faced a jaw dropping moment after tests showed that there was a 99.999% chance that the boys did not have the same father.

Mia confessed to having cheated on partner James Harrison with another lover at the time she conceived. Stunned medics told her different eggs were fertilised by each man within a very short time of each other — a million-to-one condition, which made the twins, in reality, half-brothers.

Mia further revealed that her partner James had decided to raise both the kids as his own despite her affair.

Mia is about to become a mum again, but this time she has assured that there was “no question” that James was the father.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dead man gets re-elected as mayor

ST. LOUIS, USA: Voters in the small northeastern Missouri town of Winfield re-elected their mayor for a fourth term on last month, about a month after his death.

Ballots had already been printed and absentee voting had already begun when Harry Stonebraker died of a heart attack at age 69 on March 11. He won easily in the April 13 general election with 206 votes, or 90 percent. Alderman Bernie Panther got the other 23 votes.

The election recalled Missouri's 2000 US Senate race, when Democrat Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash just weeks before the November election, but still defeated incumbent Republican John Ashcroft.

Carnahan's wife, Jean, was eventually appointed to the Senate seat until a special election in 2002, when she was defeated by Republican Jim Talent.

Lincoln County Clerk Elaine Luck said she wasn't surprised by Stonebraker's win, noting he was a popular mayor who helped lead the community of 1,500 through the devastating 2008 flood, when a levee breach caused by a burrowing muskrat damaged about 100 homes.

``I figured he'd win because he seemed to get even more popular after he died, just like Carnahan,'' Luck said.

Luck said Aldermen would appoint a mayor to serve until a special election in April 2010 to pick a mayor for the remainder of the two-year term.

Stonebraker was a lifelong resident of the Winfield area and a retired construction superintendent. He had nearly completed his third two-year term as mayor.

Winfield is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of St. Louis.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The curious case of a missing cow

CHENNAI, India: Two persons claiming ownership of a cow, a broken horn as the common identification mark and a confused police force. This case had all the makings of a mystery, till science stepped in. An inspection by a veterinarian confirmed the approximate time when the horn broke and the cow was handed over to the claimant who got the time right.

It all started with Savari Ammal (55), who sells milk for a living at Kumaran Nagar, complaining to the Avadi police that one of her cows had gone missing in July 2008. After a gap of about eight months, she found the cow on March 16, 2009. But soon a person called Adi Kesavan came to her, claiming that the cow belonged to him.

Savari Ammal had, in her complaint to the police, said that the cow was pregnant when it went missing and that one of its horns was broken. When Kesavan insisted that she return “his” cow, he was asked for any identification mark on his cow. “A broken horn,” came the reply, putting the police in a spot. The only difference in his version was that the horn had broken two months ago, while Ammal said her cow’s horn had broken nearly a year ago.

Doctors of the Government Veterinary College in Vepery were surprised when some policemen — with a cow sporting only one horn, in tow — came to them in the last week of March. The doctors were asked to determine when the horn had broken off.

“Looking at the growth of the outer layer (corium) of the horn (which continues to grow), they found that it had broken about a couple of months ago,” said Avadi inspector Kannan. The cow was handed over to Kesavan, but Savari Ammal, not willing to give up her claim on the animal, has approached the suburban police commissioner.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Inmate arrested trying to get back in jail

WOODBINE, US: Authorities say they arrested an escaped jail inmate trying to sneak back into the lockup with cigarettes allegedly stolen from a nearby store.

Sheriff Tommy Gregory said on Saturday that 25-year-old Harry Jackson had opened a door to the exercise yard and climbed the outer fence.

Deputies found a jail door unlocked early on Saturday and were looking for the inmate. They spotted Jackson trying to come back in and found 14 packs of cigarettes they believe were stolen from a convenience store about a block away.

Jackson faces new charges of breaking out of jail and burglary. He was already in jail in Camden County in far southeast Georgia for charges including possession of a controlled substance and violating probation.

100-year-old eats 30 bars of chocolate a week!

It is often said that eating too much of chocolate is bad, but for Peggy Griffiths, it certainly seems to have worked out well.

Griffiths has turned 100 and is still scoffing thirty bars of chocolate a week.

Peggy, of Abbotsham, Devon, England, has munched her way through an estimated 70,000 Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars that would weigh four tons.

She owned her own sweet shop in the 1930s - until it closed down after she ate all of the profits.

"When I was young I could buy a bar of chocolate with my pocket money. It only cost tuppence and tasted exactly like it does now," the Sun quoted Peggy, as saying.

Her daughter Eileen Osborne said: "When mum was a little girl, her mother told her that sweets were bad for you but chocolate was good. She absolutely loves it. She's a chocoholic and her diet agrees with her."

'Frog marriage' to please rain gods in Nepal

Some Nepalese farmers have found a novel way to please their rain gods who have been shying for long by arranging 'frog marriage' to seek their blessings, as the 'croak' of the amphibians mark the arrival of the monsoon.

Suffering from lack of rain for more than eight months farmers of central Nepal have arranged frogs' marriage.

The residents of Gairi village in Dolakha district, 140 km east of Kathmandu, conducted marriage ceremony of frogs as per Hindu rituals amidst hundreds of onlookers.

The locals brought a groom frog from Siple stream while the bride was brought to the ceremony from Chukepani stream, according to a Kathmandu Post news report published on March 18th.

The two amphibians couple were later married in the ceremony held on a plate at local Nageshwori Kalikasthan temple as prayers shouted to congratulate them.

To perform the wedding rituals, the locals had invited seven priests on the occasion. Each family of the village contributed Rs 20 in order to organise the wedding feast.

One of the locals recalled that they witnessed rainfall after performing similar rituals five years back. After the hours of ceremony the newly wed couple were let go in a nearby stream, with the hope that they might communicate to the rain god about the locals' plight due to the drought.

Shortly after the rituals ended there was a strong gale followed by a brief drizzle, according to a local woman. However, there was not sufficient rain so that the worry of the local farmers is overcome.

Man claims he was canned for too much 'waist'

PONTIAC, Mich: A 61-year-old man has sued his former employer, claiming he was fired from a $75,000-a-year salesman's job because of his waistline. But the employer says Patrick J. Ronayne was let go because of his performance, not his weight. The Detroit News reported on March 19th that Ronayne's lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 from Winston Golf and Winston Manufacturing. It claims weight and age discrimination.

The lawsuit claims he was let go with a statement "he was not a `flat belly'" and was replaced by a thinner person. Ronayne is listed in state records as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 225 pounds.

The businesses are part of Auburn Hills-based 3Sixty Group LLC. Spokesman Garrett Morelock calls the claim "absurd." He says Ronayne wasn't a good salesman.

Girl on bottle goes topless as you guzzle

A former rock band drummer and two mates have taken on the Australian beer market with a unique world first marketing concept for their new beer.

The label is Skinny Blonde, a low-carb beer that is thriving on the current popularity of Australia’s new crop of ‘healthy’ beers. But there is another reason it is popular: the Skinny Blonde bottle features a 1950s-style pin-up called Daisy whose red bikini disappears as the beer level drops and the bottle warms up, thanks to the modern ink technology used on the labels.

The savvy marketing ploy was born three years ago when 34-year-old Hamish Rosser and his mates — actor Richie Harkham, 29, and artist Jarrod Taylor, 33 — decided to act on a “drunken idea that actually worked”. “We had the idea of a pin-up girl, we thought everyone uses women in their advertising campaigns so why not put it on a bottle?” Rosser, the drummer in the Australian band The Vines, told the Times, London.

“So we had this idea of the disappearing bikini and researched into disappearing ink. Then we did a few trial runs and when we realised it worked we were stoked, we were over the moon.”

The trio, who lived within streets of each other in Bondi, formed the company Brother’s Ink and began experimental home brewing in Taylor’s laundry with the aim of producing a Japanese-style dry “session beer” three years ago. “We wanted to make a beer that you can have several of rather than ales which you have one or two then you move on,” Rosser, who has a degree in chemical engineering, said.

After some years with The Vines, an Australian garage rock band who burst on to the international scene before singer Craig Nicholls’ health issues put them on hiatus last year, Rosser said expanding Skinny Blonde was now his top priority.