The Weird Week in Review
Borscht-Eating Bear Menaces Couple
A couple living near Ust-Ilimsk in Siberia made a batch of borscht, or beet soup. The soup cooled in the kitchen while the couple went to bed in their separate bathhouse, where they have been staying during house remodeling. The smell apparently traveled, and the couple were awakened to find a bear was breaking the windows of their home -and then went inside to eat the borscht! The bear caused extensive damage to the home. Police arrived to find the bear in the garden. A warning shot scared it back into the woods, but the bear didn't seem to mind because all the borscht was gone by then anyway.
“Too Intoxicated” Murder Defense
Convicted drivers in three separate murder cases have lodged an unusual appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals. Each was driving under the influence of alcohol when they caused an automobile crash that resulted in a death. Their argument boils down to: they cannot be held responsible for the crash because they were "too intoxicated to understand their threat to public safety." The court is expected to make a ruling on the defense next month.
Fire Station Burns Down
It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it makes the global news. Around 70 volunteer firefighters in Saterland, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, responded to a fire call and arrived to find their own fire station burning down!
But by the time the volunteer fire fighters arrived at their station, which was just five years old, the blaze had already consumed the building, making it impossible for them to enter.
Despite their best attempts to control the flames from outside, the 70 volunteers were forced to watch on helpless as the entire building was destroyed.
No one was injured. The damage is estimated at about five million euros.
Don't Wear Obsession Cologne in the Jungle
Camera traps are a great way to observe wildlife species, but it's still a waiting game, and wildlife biologists have learned some tricks to get those animals to pose for the camera. In the case of jaguars, a dab of perfume helps. According to biologist Miguel Ordeñana, the big cats are particularly attracted to Calvin Klein Obsession for Men. It contains civetone, or its synthetic analogue, which is a natural scent-marker. Biologists think the jaguar may want to mark over it with its own scent. Obsession also contains vanilla, which may spark curiosity. Keep that in mind as you pack for your next wildlife safari.
Rabbis Arrested on Kidnapping Charges
Rabbi Mendel Epstein and Rabbi Martin Wolmark have been arrested in Brooklyn along with eight co-conspirators in a sting operation. They are accused of plotting to kidnap a man and torture him until he agreed to relinquish his wife in a religious divorce. They did not know that the woman who hired them was an FBI agent. In the Orthodox tradition, a divorce is not official until the husband agrees to release the wife from the marriage, which is sometimes strongly encouraged by religious officials.
According to police, Epstein and Wolmark appear to have taken these types of solutions to unprecedented extremes. Authorities say the two charged women $10,000 for a rabbinical decree permitting violence against their husbands, and $50,000 for a full service kidnapping, in which the rabbis and their cronies took care of the violence themselves.
The ten men arrested are being held without bail.
Cats in Wheelchairs Must Be Leashed
Yvonne Steel of Melbourne, Florida, has a cat named Pooh Bear whose hind legs are paralyzed. She puts him in a wheeled device and takes him to a park for exercise every day. Brevard County Animal Services issued her a ticket because Pooh Bear was not on a leash. Capt. Bob Brown of the service said she had been warned that the leash regulation applied to all animals, even disabled cats. The ticket totaled $230, although it also included a fine for her unleashed chihuahua and a rabies vaccination violation.