WATERFALL PHOTO DEATH: Tourist dies in fall while posing for photo

Koh Samui – VIJAY SHAH via GEORGIA DIEBELIUS and Metro

A tourist has died after falling a hundred feet while posing for a holiday snap at a waterfall, reports the newspaper Metro today.

Jiri Barta, a man aged 32 from the Czech Republic, was visiting the tourist spot on the popular holiday island of Koh Samui, Thailand with a group of eight fellow travellers. They had reached the Khun Sri waterfall, where Barta and another group member decided to sit at a cliff edge to take pictures. However, Barta lost his footing and tumbled off the cliff, falling 100 feet (30.5 metres) to the ground below. His horrified companions desperately tried to give him first aid, but he did not survive.

 

Local ambulance rescue teams were called and arrived at the scene. They also attempted to save Barta’s life but later declared him deceased and ferried his body to a local hospital for a post-mortem.

According to a friend of the deceased quoted in the Metro article, Barta was part of a group of five tourists who arrived in Thailand on February 5, and hired five motorcycles to travel around Koh Samui island. The friend, Romana Uassara, told the paper: We were just admiring the beauty of the waterfall and he walked over to the edge for a picture.

‘The edge is so steep and he fell onto his back. It took a long time for his body to hit the bottom. I don’t know why. ‘

We went down and he was still alive. We tried to do CPR and asked for help from villagers in the neighbourhood”

Tourist police spokesperson Boonchai Wannawatchanasuntorn said that rescuers spend five hours negotiating the terrain to retrieve Jiri Barta’s body. He added There is a sign in both Thai and English barring people from entering, but tourists keep ignoring it.

Accidents happened often because the slope is very steep, at almost 90 degrees, and it is very slippery.”

Lieutenant Colonel Piyawat Chunwat added: “This is a very dangerous area and we advise all tourist [sic] to stay away and be extra careful.

‘The rescue and recovery of the body was made more difficult by the steep cliffs and dangerous conditions.”

Koh Samui, with a population of 62,500, is Thailand’s second largest island and is popular with budget travellers. The island is famed for its many beaches and mountainous scenery.

SOURCES:

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

“Tourist fell 100ft to his death whilst posing for a photograph on waterfall” – Georgia Diebelius, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (24 February 2018) http://metro.co.uk/2018/02/24/tourist-fell-100ft-death-whilst-posing-photograph-waterfall-7338311/?ito=social

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Koh Samui rentals in a bungalow, vacation homes direct from the owners” – iha Holiday Ads https://www.iha.com/koh-samui-bungalow-rentals/c4b/

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CAMBRIDGE PREGNANCY CITIZENSHIP DEMAND: NHS compels UK woman with Polish surname to prove her residence

Cambridge – VIJAY SHAH via NICOLE MORLEY and Metro

A British-born pregnant woman who changed her surname to her husband’s Polish-origin one was forced by a hospital to prove her citizenship or be refused ante-natal care under the National Health Service (NHS), online news site Metro.co.uk (Metro) reported yesterday.

Emma Szewczak-Harris from Chesterton, a suburb of Cambridge, who is eight months pregnant, was asked to prove she was a British citizen by a letter sent from the city’s Addenbrooke Hospital, despite her still retaining her maiden name in her double-barrelled surname and having a typically English first name. The mother-to-be told Metro that the letter and actions of Addenbrooke Hospital made her feel a ‘second-class citizen’, and that it was a ‘disgrace’, especially given the fact that Szewczak-Harris was not asked for residency proof in previous appointments.

 

Szewczak-Harris said: “I’ve absolutely no idea why I received it other than my surname,

‘As I’m pregnant, I’m going to the hospital a lot at the moment, but no one has at any point asked for my credentials which – as a born and bred Brit – are completely sound.

So I’m stumped and angry that women in my condition, who are anxious enough as it is, should be made to worry about their access to care.’

After 26 years of living in the country and using the NHS, I’ve never had my identity policed until now,’ 

‘Am I going to go into labour and then be denied treatment?”

The letter, which was seen and shared by Metro, told Szewczak-Harris that she had failed to provide documents at her last appointment proving that she was entitled to free NHS treatment as an expectant mother, before giving a list of suitable proofs of identity and residence. It was dated October 12 and was issued by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Furthermore, the letter demanded Szewczak-Harris supply the necessary documentation by a deadline of October 30, 2017.

A hospital spokesperson said the letter had been sent out as part of a ‘pilot scheme’ aimed at preventing patients from abroad taking advantage of NHS treatment for free and that the hospital had a policy of asking non-emergency maternal care patients to bring proof of residence with them to appointments.

A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesman said: “The Department of Health has asked the trust to pilot a scheme to allow us to better monitor and collect payment from overseas patients who are not eligible for free NHS treatment.

‘This brings us into line with national NHS guidelines and how many other trusts operate.

‘From August 1, 2017 all non-emergency patients in maternity and urology have been asked in their appointment letters to provide two forms of identification when they attend – one to prove identity and one as proof of residence. Once you have provided this information you will not be asked again.

‘If a patient is not eligible for free NHS care, they will be charged for any treatment we give to them and, from October 23, there is a statutory requirement to withhold treatment where clinical staff assess if this routine aspect of their care can wait until they return to their home country.”

Szewczak-Harris said she was not going to reply to the letter.

“What are they going to do? I’m entitled to that,” she said. “My husband is very angry about it. He has faced this kind of thing before but as someone who works in medicine on the Addenbrooke’s site, he’s horrified about it. This makes us feel like second-class citizens.”

Hospitals in England may be required to check the residency and immigration status of all patients who use their services from October 23 (tomorrow) according to campaign group Docs Not Cops. The controversial ruling on English NHS trusts could mean people unable to prove their nationality would have to pay for treatment upfront. The rule is a sign of the UK Conservative government’s hardening stance on immigration and in particular, government fears of ‘health tourists’ from outside the UK coming to the country to help themselves to free treatment.

SOURCES:

Renata Soares Barros.

We Are #StopBrexit – We Are The 48%, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586336064998120/

“Pregnant Brit forced to prove nationality by NHS after taking Polish husband’s name” – Nicole Morley, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (21 October 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/21/pregnant-woman-denied-nhs-treatment-after-taking-polish-husbands-name-7016266/amp/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“February 5, 2010 – Paperwork” – Caitlin Childs, Flickr (5 February 2010) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nerdcoregirl/4335907588

 

UNITED AIRLINES: Airline cremates world record size rabbit without owner’s permission

Chicago – VIJAY SHAH via ASHITHA NAGESH, GEORGIA DIEBELIUS and Metro

The American air carrier United Airlines, which has suffered a massive PR blow recently after a doctor was assaulted and dragged off one of its planes, faces yet more controversy after it emerged the airline cremated a deceased giant rabbit without informing the pet’s owner, according to UK tabloid paper Metro today.

Ten-month old Flemish Giant rabbit Simon, the son of current world record holder for biggest rabbit, 4ft 4in (1.32m) Darius and measuring at 3ft (91cm) himself, was found frozen to death in the cargo hold at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. He was travelling from Heathrow Airport, near London, UK to a new home in Chicago.

 

Picture posed by another giant rabbit.

 

It was reported that airport ground staff at O’Hare has placed Simon in a freezer instead of a suitable pet carrier, resulting in his death. Simon had remained entirely trapped in the freezer, which was set at a temperature of around 0-2 degrees Celsius for the entire 16-hour duration of the flight. His former owner, rabbit breeder Annette Edwards, demanded that a post-mortem be held on her pet, but came to discover that Simon’s body was sent for cremation without her being told. The cremation took place this past Friday.

Edwards told The Sun newspaper: “I had been asking United over and over again for his body so that I can have him examined here in Britain but they never got back to me,

‘All I want to know is how he died. He was fit as a fiddle when he left my house, and then 24 hours later he’s dead”

Simon was said to have been travelling to the home of an unnamed celebrity, based in Kanton in Ohio state who had taken on the responsibility of being his owner, and the celebrity was reported to be upset at Simon’s passing.

At the time, United Airlines claimed that the rabbit was still alive upon arrival at Chicago, and that he was mistakenly placed in a freezer at holding on the airport premises. A United staff member told The Sun: “The rabbit arrived fine but there was some sort of mistake and he was locked inside a freezer overnight.

Everyone thought he was just having a nap or something. Nobody realised it needed to be taken out.’

‘We know from the inventory that that the rabbit was alive when it reached the airport. So it happened in the warehouse. It has all been kept very hush hush but none of us know who froze the rabbit.”

A United spokesman countered the allegations, saying at the time of the incident: “That assertion (that Simon froze to death on the flight) is completely false. Simon was cared for at the PetSafe kennel facility which is kept at room temperature (on average 70°F (21°C)).

‘He arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport in apparent good condition at 10:25 am (local time).

‘He was seen by a representative of the kennel facility moving about within his crate about 11:00am. Shortly thereafter, a kennel representative noticed Simon was motionless and determined that he passed away “

SOURCES:

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

“United Airlines ‘cremated Simon the giant rabbit without the owner’s consent’” – Ashitha Nagesh, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 May 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/05/01/united-airlines-cremated-simon-the-giant-rabbit-without-the-owners-consent-6607998/

“Giant rabbit died in care of United Airlines ‘after being put in the freezer’” – Georgia Diebelius, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (29 April 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/29/giant-rabbit-died-in-care-of-united-airlines-after-being-put-in-the-freezer-6604933/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Colby the Flemish Giant” – Rhiannon Boyle, Flickr (4 October 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/anomieus/2912690917

NO LICENCE FOR YOU: Man fails driving test five seconds in

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King’s Lynn, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via TANVEER MANN and Metro.co.uk

A British man has probably set the world record for quickest time in flunking a driving test after failing it five seconds in, reported the Metro newspaper yesterday.

Craig Barraza, aged 33, originally from Portlethen in Aberdeenshire but now living in Norfolk, crashed out of his driving test after pulling out of the centre of the wrong side of the road, according to Metro. The hapless learner told the paper he had a ‘complete mind blank’ once he got behind the wheel and largely forgot everything the driving instructor had taught him over his lengthy and expensive preparation lessons.

 

 

Barraza, who appeared for his exam at the King’s Lynn test centre, immediately pulled out and began driving down the wrong side of the road. Vehicles in the UK drive on the left. His error was so obvious that even the examiner who was in the front passenger seat with him at the time exclaimed “You do realise you’re on the wrong side of the road?”.

Despite immediately failing his test, Barraza still had to continue driving for another forty minutes, where it is alleged he actually drove so well that he would have passed had it not been for the ghastly error he made at first. The examiner, and Barraza’s driving instructor, Steve Fletcher, said that it was the worst blunder they had seen in 50 years of instruction.

Barraza, who is employed as an operative on a wind energy farm, is said to have spent £1,000 in total on forty lessons with Fletcher, as well as the multiple-choice question ‘theory test’ that all new British drivers are required to sit in addition to the practical.

He said: “I was only just leaving the centre to get out. We were literally just five seconds into it. I was approaching the junction to exit it and I had an absolute mind blank, questioning in my head: ‘What side of the road do we drive on?”

‘I had a 50/50 chance, and I chose to exit it in the right lane. Instant fail. Had I not been so stupid I’d have breezed through.’

‘My examiner with 20 years experience, and my instructor with 30 years both said they have never witnessed anything like it in their careers. I hadn’t even left the test centre car park.”

He added: “I’ve avoided driving because when I was 17 I stalled at a roundabout which just completely put me off. But I was more confident now.

‘I think it’s when you get older you get a bit wiser but that’s rich coming from me after failing like that. I’ve lived in the UK my whole life so there’s no excuse for not driving on the left.

‘Honestly, who fails a test quicker than that? I didn’t even get to the junction.”

Despite his huge messup, Barraza has received supportive messages from his friends after posting about the calamity on social media, however it is not mentioned if he will retake his test.

SOURCES:
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
“Guy fails driving test in just five seconds after pulling out of centre on wrong side of road” – Tanveer Mann, Metro – News – UK/Associated Newspapers Limited (4 February 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/04/guy-fails-driving-test-in-just-five-seconds-after-pulling-out-of-centre-on-wrong-side-of-road-6426532/?ito=facebook
Rabia Ali.
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Jan 9 : The Driving Lesson” – Dawn Sajn, Flickr (9 January 2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/dawnps/6664634135/

 

LONDON HOUSING CRISIS: Bedding down in a van

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via JIMMY NSUBUGA & Metro

As London’s housing crisis spirals out of control, and both house prices and rents became more and more painful for the city’s 8 million inhabitants, one enterprising worker has taken a peculiar, if somewhat desperate, solution to keeping a roof over his head, the newspaper Metro reported yesterday.

Alex Hill, aged 24, is an IT worker who emigrated to the UK’s capital from the small town of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire county, England. Upon arriving in the big city, he found the price of renting beyond a joke, with single bedrooms in flatshares and houseshares now costing an average £550-750 per month. Buying a house would have also been just a dream, with the average London house now selling for around £500,000. There was no way, even in his relatively well-paid career, that Alex would have been able to purchase outright.

English: Boscombe, blue van A nice touch of se...
English: Boscombe, blue van A nice touch of self-parody, I’m sure! Looking up Westby Road towards Sea Road. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Instead he set up home….in a large blue commercial van. Hill uses the van as a place to sleep, parking it in side streets. While this seems makeshift, the IT employee, who works in the City, is able to save £1,000 per month on rent and utilities. Unfortunately the van has no running water or WC facilities, so Hill is forced to avoid drinking fluids after 7:00 pm to avoid having to use the toilet in a city where public urination is illegal.

He installed a bed in the vehicle, which also comes equipped with a solar powered generator for electricity and a small heater to keep Hill warm during this month’s cold winter nights.

“I was planning to cycle around Europe for a few months last summer and had already handed in the notice for my flat,” he told student newspaper The Tab.

“The plan was to stay with friends until I got another flat, but I decided to try out living in my car for a few weeks and showering at work.”

He often parks his unusual mobile home in hip places like Clapham, Brixton or anywhere in Islington where he can visit friends and camp outside after, and surprisingly with such a large van in a city notorious for its scarcity and expense of parking places, Alex Hill says he has no trouble with parking.

He added: “I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.

‘The most important thing for me was that I could still shower every day at the office, but it depends what you feel you need.”

It is not illegal in the UK to sleep or even live in your vehicle. Many homeless people often live in their cars in preference to being on the streets, and thousands of British holidaymakers often go on camping holidays in caravans, but Alex’s situation is also a sad example of the difficulties in finding safe and affordable accommodation in the capital, even for those in well-paid jobs.

Hill has been sleeping in his van since September 2015. The Metro article does not say whether he has any plans to move into a des res less mobile and four-wheeled.

SOURCES:
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/?fref=nf
“IT worker saves £1k each month by living in a van in London” – Jimmy Nsubuga, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (4 March 2016) http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/04/it-worker-saves-1k-each-month-by-living-in-a-van-in-london-5734100/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Boscombe, blue van – geograph.org.uk – 1277393.jpg” –  Mike Faherty, geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons (29 April 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boscombe,_blue_van_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1277393.jpg

 

WELWYN GARDEN CITY: Cannabis plant seen growing in council flowerbed

British free tabloid newspaper Metro reports on a very unusual and illegal discovery spotted sprouting from a council-owned flowerbed in the Hertfordshire locality of Welwyn Garden City.

A member of a group called the Welwyn Garden City Cannabis Club took a photo of what appears to be a fully grown cannabis plant nestled among pink flowers in the flowerbed, located across Marsden Road from the Nisa Local Handside Lane convenience store, Metro reported yesterday.

(c) Welwyn Garden City Cannabis Club/Facebook via Metro.

According to Metro, the Cannabis Club were responsible for planting the marijuana, famed the world over for its relaxing and behaviour-altering properties which causes users to mellow out. Although several American states and the South American nation of Uruguay have legalised cannabis for medicinal and minor personal use, the United Kingdom classifies the herb as an illegal ‘Class B’ drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, alongside amphetamines and ketamine.

A spokesperson from the secretive group told local newspaper the Welwyn Hatfield Times that the impromptu appearance of ganja in the council flowerbed was a stunt aimed at promoting the benefits of the plant.

“We can confirm that the cannabis plants found in WGC town centre are not a one off their existence is no accident”, the group revealed to a journalist at the Times.

The club, which agitates for the legalisation of cannabis also said: “These plants are the work of local activists as part of a movement which believes cannabis should be available for medical and recreational use, that we utilise and legalise hemp and replace our polyplastics industry and fossil fuel dependency”

The group also claimed that hemp ‘has over 50,000 uses and benefits that most people are unaware of’.

“We are here to raise awareness of the medical benefits of cannabis and the dangers of legal and pharmaceutical drugs”, group member Luna Tokes said.

Unfortunately for local ‘potheads‘ looking for material to fill their next joint, the city’s govering body and owner of the doped-up flowerbeds, Welwyn Hatfield Council, had the plants uprooted to prevent any ‘further confusion’, Metro states.

It is not the first time illegal vegetation has been added to city flowerbeds. In May 2015, Astana city council in the capital of Kazakhstan mistakenly planted cannabis fields on Astana’s main roads, with drivers treated to several feet wide roadside fields of the drug. Locals were said to have joked that the exotic plants, placed at the junction between Auezova and Dzhangeldina streets, were an attempt to lure in local junkies for processing by the Astana police.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK?fref=nf
“Someone’s going around planting cannabis in Britain’s flowerbeds” – Nicholas Reilly, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (18 July 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/18/someones-is-going-around-planting-cannabis-in-britains-flowerbeds-5302374/?ito=facebook
“Council ‘accidentally’ plants marijuana in city centre flowerbeds” – Harry Readhead, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (27 May 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/05/27/council-accidentally-plants-marijuana-in-city-centre-flowerbeds-5217650/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Someone’s going around planting cannabis in Britain’s flowerbeds” – Nicholas Reilly, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (18 July 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/18/someones-is-going-around-planting-cannabis-in-britains-flowerbeds-5302374/?ito=facebook

TOMMIE WOODWARD: Man dies after jumping into alligator-infested river

A man allegedly screamed “f*** the alligators”  before jumping into a pool inhabited by the reptiles, who then savaged him to death, reports UK newspaper Metro.

Tommie Woodward, aged 28 and of Orange County, Texas, USA was visiting a private marina on the Sabine River in the same state, when he began mocking the creatures before jumping into the marina, where they immediately closed in on him.

Local county official Rodney Price said that Woodward disregarded signs posted at the marina warning visitors against swimming there. He said “He removed his shirt, removed his billfold…someone shouted a warning and he saidblank (expletive) the alligators and jumped into the water and almost immediately yelled for help”

Two American Alligators (Alligator mississippi...
Two American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), Florida, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marina employee Michelle Wright, in an interview with news station KFDM, told how she approached Woodward and warned him against entering the marina’s waters, but to no avail as he decided to take the fatal plunge. She later found his dismembered body floating in the water. “I saw his body floating face down,” she recollected.

“And then he’s out there for a couple of seconds and then he’s dragged back down. And then he come back up still face down and then he gets pulled down again. And then he just disappears.”

Alligators kill their prey by often clamping their jaws around the victim’s neck and dragging them below the waterline in an attempt to asphyxiate them.

Marina owner Allen Burkhart added: “He went under one time, then he hollered (shouted) at her to get out of the water.

‘Then he pulled him down the second time and that was it.

‘I’ve been here all my life and this is the first time something like this has happened. … I’m still in shock.”

Tommie Woodward had relocated to Orange County from St. Louis along with his twin brother and had found a job at a local shipyard. The reason for the plunge which killed him was not reported by Metro.

There are believed to be millions of alligators residing in the southern United States, with Louisiana and Florida states alone having 3.3 million. Most alligators avoid human contact and rarely feed on people, but can attack with often lethal consequences if they feel threatened or alarmed. They normally hunt turtles, fish, mammals and amphibians. In Florida, there are a dozen alligator attacks per year, but fatalities are rare. Only twenty people have been killed by the reptiles in that state in the past 40 years, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK?fref=nf
“Man screams ‘f*** the alligators’, jumps in water and is killed by alligators” – Nicholas Reilly, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (4 July 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/04/man-killed-after-ignoring-warning-signs-and-jumping-into-crocodile-infested-water-5280177/?ito=facebook
“Q&A: How many alligators and alligator attacks are there in the United States?” – Tampa Bay Times (14 August 2011) http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/qampa-how-many-alligators-and-alligator-attacks-are-there-in-the-united/1185694
IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Two american alligators.jpg” – Matthew Field, Wikimedia Commons (26 October 2005) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Two_american_alligators.jpg

ANIMAL TAXIS?: Crow photographed hitching ride on an eagle’s back

British tabloid Metro has reported yet another strange moment where a photographer has caught one animal hitching a ride on another, as a wave of apparent laziness sweeps the vertebrate kingdom. This time, it is a crow perching precariously on the back of a bald eagle while the eagle is in mid-flight, and pretty much owning the situation.

The unnamed photographer was out and about when they spotted the strange aerial goings-on happening several feet above their head. The three photographs were then forwarded to the newspaper by photo agency Media Drum World, as the strange factor sank in across the Pond. The location of the photos is also undisclosed, but the species of eagle depicted suggests they were taken in the United States.

 

 

The first shows the black crow flying in tandem with the eagle as it appears to be closing in on a warm sunny day. The second then shows the brave (or foolhardy, depending on your viewpoint) corvine rodeo participant perching on the eagle’s back – on one leg, leading Metro journalist Nicholas Reilly to comment that the crow rode the raptor like an ‘absolute boss’ – clearly indicating his new-found respect and awe for the plucky little passenger, who normally would be more at home cawing from the tops of chimney stacks than grabbing hold of the king (or queen) of the American skies like it was a errant Uber cab. Reilly also presumably got his breath back and also complimented the crow’s ‘serious landing skills’.

The third in the instalment depicts the respected symbol of American freedom fluttering its massive wings, perhaps in an attempt to dislodge and possibly devour its unwanted passenger. The crow, adopting a similar posture with its own much smaller wings, remains resolutely anchored to the eagle. “Get thee to the Crow’s Nest…where’s that, guv’nor?…..er….as far as the crow flies…”

The fate of the two birds or what happened next is not known, but Metro officially billed 2015 as  the “year of animals effortlessly riding on the back of another animals”.

In March, wildlife photographer Martin LeMay saw a weasel attempt to attack a woodpecker that was perched on the ground. Its quest for an easy meal came hilariously unstuck when Woody decided that the weasel was taking the pee and promptly flew off, with the mammal clinging on for dear life on the woodpecker’s back. Then earlier in June, Richard Jones snapped a North American raccoon hitching a ride across a swamp on the back of an alligator.

While the famous abilities that American backpackers have for thumbing rides from motorists on quiet interstates are well-known to the point of being plot pieces for Hollywood horror films, it seems the animals of the USA have cottoned on too and taking equally risky rides. I wonder how much that eagle will charge for a ride to the local cinema?

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK?fref=nf
“Just a crow landing on the back of an eagle like an absolute boss” – Nicholas Reilly, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (30 June 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/06/30/just-a-crow-landing-on-the-back-of-an-eagle-like-an-absolute-boss-5272998/?ito=facebook
IMAGE CREDIT:
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK?fref=nf

GIF MOMENT: Easter bunny praises spinach diet

Well, as it is the Easter weekend, I’d thought to share with you this GIF spotted on my regular current affairs haunt, the UK tabloid newspaper Metro.

It’s a cuddly rabbit.

That really loves her spinach.

She’s definitely bought into the benefits of a diet of fresh organic greens.

Strangely mesmerising too.

Om nom nom.

HAPPY EASTER!!!

(c) Metro
Dedicated to the memory of Ruby and her children Rab and Bit. RIP.
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Two helpings of spinach a day can knock 11 years off you” – Alison Lynch, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 April 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/01/two-helpings-of-spinach-a-day-can-knock-11-years-off-you-5130024/

LUNCHTIME PUNISHMENT: Oregon schoolchild forced to eat behind screen for lateness

The parents of a six-year old American schoolchild are up in arms against the child’s school after teachers punished the boy for being late to lessons, by making him eat his lunch behind a cardboard screen while forced to sit on a separate table from other children.

Hunter Cmelo’s parents, from Grant’s Pass in Oregon, were running late when they managed to take the first-grader to Lincoln Elementary School, the local primary school in the town. Teachers there punished Hunter by seating him on an unoccupied bench with a folded piece of cardboard shielding him from the eyes of his schoolmates. A set of polystyrene cups with the letter ‘D’ – standing for detention – scrawled on one of them was also placed near Hunter as he sat down to eat.

(c) Facebook via Metro

Pictures of the incident were put up on Facebook by Hunter’s grandmother Laura Hoover, who commented in the British newspaper site of Metro “This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a little first grader“.

His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple of minutes late to school.

‘Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of his control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students.”

The harsh punishment of being segregated from friends at lunchtime has caused considerable distress to Hunter, who was on one occasion taken home in tears by his mother, Nicole Garloff. Hunter’s father, Mark Cmelo, said to local television station KOIN6: “They are shaming him for something that’s not in his control.” Hunter’s parents are reported to be devastated at the treatment of their son by the school.

His mother said the punishment has left her son anxious about attending school, and that a few days ago, he began ‘flipping out’ because they were running late for the school journey. She said that she has experienced car troubles and suffers from the brittle bone condition osteoporosis, which can set her back in the mornings. “It causes a lot of pain and in the mornings it’s especially hard for me to get going,” she said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Lincoln Elementary School have agreed to stop using the cardboard partition in light of the Cmelos’ complaint, but have not said if they will end the policy of separating late students at lunchtime and forcing them to eat alone. According to the Daily Mail, the school received hundreds of complaints and threats after the incident went viral on social media.

A spokesman for the school district said: “The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.

Meanwhile, the school’s superintendent John Higgins, who received a barrage of threatening phone calls, told Newswatch 12 that the “protocol was communicated to parents via newsletter and is intended to provide the students with an above average level of tardiness, supervised additional learning time in a non-distracting setting,

‘It was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.

Principal Missy Fitzsimmons reached out to Hunter’s parents and arranged a meeting this past Thursday to hear the parents’ concerns, including ceasing use of the cardboard partition. Fitzsimmons said: “We are pleased to report the meeting was productive,

‘The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school. All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.”

The school has a roll call of 444 pupils and forms part of the Grant’s Pass School District 7 administration in the Oregon town.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/01/boy-6-forced-to-eat-behind-a-screen-because-his-parents-dropped-him-off-late-5084049/?ito=facebook
“Outrage as six-year-old boy is forced to eat lunch alone behind a screen after his parents dropped him off late to school” –  Lydia Warren, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd (27 February 2015) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2972459/Outrage-six-year-old-boy-forced-eat-lunch-screen-parents-dropped-late-school.html
“About Lincoln Elementary – Mission Statement” – Lincoln Elementary School, Grant’s Pass School District No. 7 http://www.grantspass.k12.or.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=22344&
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Boy, 6, forced to eat behind a screen because his parents dropped him off late” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 March 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/01/boy-6-forced-to-eat-behind-a-screen-because-his-parents-dropped-him-off-late-5084049/?ito=facebook