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How bizarre
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-09-03 07:31:28
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Fugitive cow Yvonne gives herself up

bizarre01_400_11A cow called Yvonne who made headlines in Germany has given herself up after three months on the run. Yvonne escaped from a farm in Bavaria, just before she would have been sent for slaughter. Efforts to recapture her failed and she roamed free in forests.  But after finally turning up again on Thursday, the future is looking bright for the daring six-year-old dairy cow.

She has been bought by an animal sanctuary and will live out her years alongside other members of her family. The Gut Aiderbichl sanctuary paid 700 Euros (£617) to take Yvonne off the hands of her former owners - and has taken the lead in finding her. A spokeswoman said they got a call from a farmer near Muhldorf on Thursday and staff was able to confirm the cow was indeed Yvonne by her ear tag. She has since been transported to their sanctuary at Deggendorf in Bavaria, where she was reunited with her two-year-old son Friesi and her sister Waltraud - whom the sanctuary also tracked down and bought. "She arrived at ten this morning and was met by her son Friesi, whom she recognised," the spokeswoman said. "She is calm and doesn't appear to have suffered in any way from her adventures".

Waltraud was with Yvonne when she charged through a 4,000-volt electric fence of a farmyard in southern Bavaria in late May. Waltraud returned the next day, but Yvonne carried on, apparently living alongside a herd of deer and foraging with them at night. She managed to evade a shoot-to-kill order that was ordered after she bolted in front of a police car. The Gut Aiderbichl sanctuary used both Waltraud and a breeding bull called Ernst to try to entice Yvonne to give herself up, but to no avail. The cow's plight became a popular topic in German newspapers and TV - and she was dubbed the "the cow that wants to be a deer" and "the heroine of the summer". But even though Yvonne may not be in the headlines quite so much now she has been captured, she will not be out of sight. The Gut Aiderbichl sanctuary in Deggendorf is open to the public, and staff hope she proves to be a popular draw.


Hacker gets 6 years in prison for 'sextortion' scheme

bizarre02_400_12A California man was sentenced to six years in prison for hacking into dozens of computers, stealing personal information and demanding naked images from female victims in exchange for not releasing the stolen information. Luis Mijangos, 32, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was living in Santa Ana, California, was engaged in "cyberterrorism" and "sextortion," federal prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty to charges of computer hacking and wiretapping in March. He was sentenced Thursday during a court hearing in which two of his victims spoke, and one compared her experience to being the victim of domestic violence.

Authorities said he hacked into more than 100 computers by tricking people to download software that allowed him to take control of their computers. He listened to victims through the computers' microphones, read their emails and watched them through their webcams. He also obtained explicit pictures of many of them. He threatened the victims by saying he would post the pictures on the Internet if the victim did not send him more explicit videos.

"When one victim shared Mijangos 'sextortionate' threats with a friend, Mijangos responded by  posting nude pictures of the victim on her MySpace page," prosecutors said. Forty-four of the victims were juveniles. "We now live in a world gone digital, relying on our personal computers for everything from banking, to learning, to intimate communications with friends and family," said United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. " Mijangos invaded the sanctity of many personal digital worlds and used intimate content to victimize and prey upon unsuspecting victims."


Tiny parks are on a roll in San Francisco

bizarre03_400_22The greatest park in San Francisco arguably is Golden Gate — 1,017 sweeping acres studded with playgrounds and windmills, lakes and museums, a Shakespeare garden, a brew pub and its very own herd of bison. No one could argue that the latest green spaces to grace The City are a far more modest proposal. The two bright-red dumpsters, 16 feet long by nearly 6 feet wide and filled with greenery, have been placed in a busy downtown neighbourhood where they throw a little shade, elicit regular double-takes and fill curbside spots that otherwise would go to cars.

The grandly named "parkmobiles" were rolled out earlier this summer, the first in a fleet of itinerant oases in one of America's densest cities. "The more crowded a city is, the more new ideas come squeezing out of the ferment in a combination of need and opportunity," said Peter Harnik, director of the Centre for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land. "New York and San Francisco are two of the most innovative places." In the last two years, San Francisco — 17,505 people per square mile, compared with Los Angeles' 8,087 — has seen a proliferation of tiny parks carved out along sidewalks and streets. They have become progressively smaller: from plazas and promenades to parklets and now parkmobiles.

When parking spots began turning into parkland, retailers and drivers groused: "So where do we put the cars?" Those who advocate for more green space in the city worried that the miniatures would replace traditional parks. Even former Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. got into the fray, deriding in a recent newspaper column the "overgrown flower boxes" that he said were a magnet for the homeless. "The first one I came across had obviously been used as a bathroom," Hizzoner carped. "The second one I visited, a guy and gal were 'socializing' in the bushes." But proponents argue that even the tiniest of green spaces squirt a little nature into miles of otherwise unfriendly concrete, particularly in a city where only a fraction of the downtown is open space and 70% of the streets are dedicated to private vehicles.


Office workers go to hospital after unwittingly eating pot brownies

Coffee break brought on more than a caffeine buzz for some Victoria office workers who unwittingly nibbled marijuana-laden brownies this week. Victoria police said they received a call Monday of a possible poisoning at a downtown office building on Vancouver Street. Three employees, all at once, had been taken to hospital with similar symptoms, including light-headedness, numbness in the limbs and disorientation.

Investigations led to the office refrigerator and some brownies which, it turned out, had been baked with marijuana. Further inquiries revealed all three workers had eaten the baked treats. The brownies had been brought in by one woman who had discovered them in her freezer at home. Her son had baked the chocolate treats a year ago, stored them in the freezer and forgotten about them. The investigating officer confronted the son, who admitted to baking the brownies. No action was taken even though a criminal charge of possession of a controlled substance or administering a noxious substance could have been laid. However, it is expected that the son will take part in community work to hold him accountable.

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