Don't Panic! Lighten Up!S


4 Charged in False Brain Surgery Claims

NEW YORK - Four people billed a health insurance company for 20 brain operations that were never performed on them, sometimes for the same person on multiple occasions, authorities said.

Bizarro Earth

Iran minister backs brief marriages to stem illicit sex

An Iranian cabinet minister said young people should be encouraged to get temporarily married, a practice unique to Shiite Islam, to avoid illicit extramarital sex, newspapers reported Saturday.

"We should expect violations and repercussions if we do not practically respond to young people's sexual needs," the centrist Kargozaran daily quoted interior minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi as saying.

"Islam has solutions for all human problems and temporary marriage is a solution to this kind of problem," the minister, who is himself a cleric, was quoted as telling a conference in Iran's clerical capital of Qom.

Temporary marriage, known in Farsi as sigheh, is a contract that allows a man and a woman to be married for any period of time from just an hour to 99 years.


Rifle Replica Leads to School Lockdown

WEST POINT, Utah - A bus driver called police when he saw a student carrying what turned out to be a replica of a Civil War-era rifle that had been displayed in class all year. The call led to a 47-minute lockdown at West Point Junior High School and two elementary schools.


Belgian soldiers to blowtorch caterpillars

A mini-platoon of soldiers wielding blowtorches will be deployed to the Belgian forests to tackle a plague of hairy caterpillars that are causing allergy outbreaks in humans.

Procession caterpillars, so called for the way they march in lines through forests, are covered in long, toxic hairs which cause dermatitis and respiratory problems and account for up to 80 per cent of doctor visits in the affected area.


Study Finds Cocaine, Pot in Rome's Air

Researchers may have figured out what makes la vita so dolce in Rome. A report from Italy's National Research Council released Thursday found that there are traces of cocaine and cannabis in the air of the Eternal City.

Comment: They'll probably find some way to blame this on plain, old, tobacco filled cigarettes.


Tigers' chick-mates

Zoo-keepers in China say they were shocked when a group of tiger cubs made friends with some newborn chicks.

Workers at Zhejiang Wenling Zoo in Taizhou city put the chicks in a cage with the four month-old tiger cubs.

A zoo spokesman told People's Daily: "We wanted to bring out the savage nature of the tigers while they were still cubs."


What Sex Toy Would Jesus Use? Better Ask a Celibate Priest First

A Catholic priest has removed his church's organist and choir director from her duties saying her sale of sex toys was not "consistent with Church teachings."

Magic Wand

Baby hedgehogs rescued after they are born too early

These tiny newborn hedgehogs are proving a handful for carers at a rescue centre - after the mild weather triggered a string of early orphaned arrivals.

The seven babies - from two separate families - have all been handed in to the Prickly Ball Farm Hospital in Devon in the last week.

Staff say Britain's mild spring weather has caused the females to come out of hibernation and give birth around a month early.

This means that animal rescue centres are dealing with the inevitable orphaned offspring weeks earlier than expected.


Flashback Divorce on menu

A man has applied to divorce his wife of 18 years after he found she was feeding him pumpkin instead of zucchini, as he had previously thought.



Dogs Playing Pool

Border collie Blue has amazed pub-goers by playing pool with his paws.

The pooch jumps up so his front two paws are resting on the table and then, standing on his hind legs next to owner Jeff Davies, looks down the cue sight. When he has a shot on, he sinks the ball into the pocket.

The 'Hurricane Higgins' of the dog world lines up a shot.