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Bizarro Earth

'Ridiculous' visa rulings set out

UK tourist visas are often denied to would-be visitors because they "plan a holiday for no particular purpose other than sightseeing", a report says.

Others were turned down because they had never previously taken any foreign travel or could not speak English.

The "ridiculous reasons" for rejecting visas were set out in a report by the independent monitor of UK visas.

Linda Costelloe Baker's report said that despite such flaws there had been "significant improvement in quality."

But she said entry clearance officers could use "some ridiculous reasons when refusing visa for tourist visits".

She said a common reason for refusal was "you wish to go to the UK for a holiday. You have never previously undertaken any foreign travel before and I can see little reason for this trip".

Wine

Rats! Look who's getting tipsy in India

Rats are gnawing at beer cans and making holes in caps of whisky bottles stored in police storehouses in eastern India and apparently getting drunk, authorities said on Wednesday.

The rodents' love for liquor has the police department in Bihar state stumped as it tries to store hundreds of bottles seized from illegal sellers from across the state in Patna, the state capital, said Kundan Krishnan, a senior officer.

"We are fed up with these drunk rats and cannot explain why they have suddenly turned to consumption of alcohol," he said.

Magic Wand

After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack

Five years after settling in southern California and trying to blend into American society, a six-man terrorist cell connected to the militant Islamist organization Army of Martyrs has reportedly grown too complacent to conduct its suicide mission, an attack on the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Wine

8-Foot Alligator Removed From Buffalo Basement

Reptile experts removed an 8-foot-long, 170-pound alligator from the basement of a Buffalo home and planned to drive it to a Florida sanctuary in the back of a minivan.

"Jojo" the alligator was removed Sunday from the home where it was raised after its owner called the state Department of Environmental Conservation and said he could no longer care for it.

Star

Firefighters Resuscitate Cats, Rat

POCATELLO, Idaho - Firefighters resuscitated four cats and an albino rat from a charred apartment in this southeastern Idaho city. The animals received oxygen after the Monday blaze through a special mask designed for small animals. The Pocatello Fire Department bought it two years ago.

Magic Wand

Fortuneteller 'Mrs. Grace' Sees Her Future in Jail

ROCKVILLE, Md. - A fortuneteller now sees her future _ and it involves 18 months behind bars. Grace Uwanawich, also known as "Mrs. Grace," was sentenced this week in Maryland after admitting that she defrauded clients by convincing them to hand over tens of thousands of dollars so that she could crush destructive curses.

Magic Wand

India: Man gulps 117 coins in hope of TB cure

Pradeep Hode, a 30-year-old from Diva in Thane, was seeking a cure for tuberculosis. But, he got to see the other side of the coin.

A chronic patient of tuberculosis of the abdomen, Hode, over the past few months, had swallowed 117 coins, which were removed on Friday after a surgery by doctors at KEM Hospital, Parel.

Hode had been suffering from severe abdominal pain for the past few months. Based on hearsay and some bizarre logic of his own, Hode started swallowing coins hoping that the heavy metal would reduce abdominal pain and create pressure for regular bowel movements. However, his condition only got worse.

Document

You shall not drive! Vatican issues 10 Commandments for drivers

The Vatican on Tuesday issued a set of "Ten Commandments" for drivers, telling motorists not to kill, not to drink and drive, and to help fellow motorists in the case of accidents.

The "Drivers' Ten Commandments," as listed by the document, are:

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

Wine

Euro MPs spurn 'pure vodka' bid

The European Parliament has voted down a bid by MEPs from Poland, Finland, the Baltic states, Sweden and Denmark to tighten the legal definition of vodka.
The so-called "vodka belt" countries wanted to restrict the term to spirits made only from potatoes or grain.

But a majority of MEPs voted in favour of a looser definition.

Vodka made from anything other than potatoes or grain will have to say so on the label - but no minimum size for the declaration will be stipulated.

MEPs agreed on a looser definition taking in sugar beet, grapes and even citrus fruit, which are used as ingredients by producers in countries such as Britain, France and Germany. They account for nearly a third of EU vodka production.

Snowman

Customs find snakes in garden gnomes

[Australian] Customs and Quarantine officers have broken a smuggling racket in which snakes and lizards were sent as gifts, concealed in the hollow spaces of pottery figurines and garden gnomes.

Garden gnomes sent to an address in Blacktown were seized on June 10 when a customs officer saw snakes moving in the package, a customs spokesman said.