THE WEEK THAT WAS...
A deluded duck in England thinks she is a dog, and insists on going out for a walk on a lead like other pooches. Essy, a nine-month-old Cherry Valley duck, enjoys walkies with owner Steph Tuft and her other dogs, Rachka and DD.
Bob Dylan may have famously sang Blowin' in the Wind, but some of his California neighbours were singing a new tune this week about what is blowin' in the wind from his Malibu toilet. A family living near the 67-year-old folk and rock icon's house in the posh California beachside community of Malibu have complained to city officials about an outdoor portable toilet, which is apparently used by guards on Dylan's compound. Cindy and David Emminger say the toilet wafts fumes from waste treatment chemicals, and that the smell carried by breezes from the Pacific Ocean makes their family feel ill.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has ordered the opening of the isolated country's first Italian restaurant, despite the nation's continuing struggle to feed its 24 million people. Kim - a reputed food connoisseur - sent North Korean cooks to Naples and Rome last year to learn how to reproduce authentic Italian pizza and pasta after "repeated trial and error". The country's government reportedly buys wheat flour, butter and cheese from Italy for the restaurant.
Scientists in the Middle East have invented a device that sends text messages to farmers or homeowners when plants need a drink. It has been developed to help cut water usage and avoid damaging plants or crops. Dr. Eran Raveh and Dr Arie Nadler have spent seven years perfecting the sensor. It gauges water levels in the plants and sends real time text alerts to mobile phones or computers when levels get too low. The sensor works on a similar principle to a 'walkie-talkie', collecting water-level data via a series of metallic nails inserted into plant stems.
US President Barack Obama has apologised for a gaffe in which he described his bowling skills as akin to participants in the Special Olympics. Obama made the comments during an interview on The Tonight Show with host Jay Leno, the first time a sitting US president had been on the show. Soon after the interview, Obama telephoned Special Olympics chairman Tim Shriver to apologise. The Special Olympics is a sports programme for people with intellectual disabilities.
From IT labs to photo grabs, a Japanese humanoid robot will soon be strutting her hard- and soft-ware stuff on the fashion catwalk. The sleek HRP-4C runs on battery-powered motors located in her body and face, allowing the expressions, gait and poses of a supermodel, but on a silver and black frame. The current 43kg, 158cm Cybernetic model has slimmed-down from an earlier 58kg robot ahead of its Tokyo fashion show debut on March 23.
San Diego police said earlier in the week some narcotics suspects led officers on a wild chase, throwing cash out of their truck's windows as passers-by ran onto the roadways to grab the bills. At several points during the pursuit, the suspects flung cash out of the truck's windows, prompting passers-by to run onto the roadways to grab the money. The driver finally stopped in the middle of the road and the suspects were arrested. Officers retraced the route, trying to collect the scattered money.
Iraq has received its first group of Western tourists since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said on Thursday. The group of eight holidaymakers - five Britons, two Americans and a Canadian - arrived on March 8 and toured Iraq's landmark historic sites, including the Biblical city of Babylon, fabled home to the Hanging Gardens. Their three week trip was organized by a British adventure tour operator, ministry spokesman Abdul Zahra Al Telagani said.
A beaver caused chaos on the border between Canada and the USA when it wandered onto the road. Cars were forced to swerve and a traffic jam quickly formed as the animal showed no regards for the rules of the road. After changing lanes without signalling or checking his mirrors, the smiling beaver was eventually persuaded to get back on to the pavement.
An Australian teenager wearing baggy trousers and no underwear was fined after his pants fell down just as a female police officer was walking past, a newspaper reported on Thursday. Trent Joseph Wroe, 19, was fined A$250 and ordered to wear a belt, after the incident in Mooloolaba in the northern Queensland state. Police told a magistrate's court that Wroe deliberately bared his buttocks, but Wroe said he was wearing a pair of borrowed trousers which were too big and fell down in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Berliners plan to topple a two kilometre-long chain of giant "dominoes" along the path of the wall that once separated communist east from the west, to mark the 20th anniversary of its fall. At a ceremony on November 9, the day in 1989 on which crowds of east Germans swept through the wall and began tearing it down, the slabs will be pushed over. The "dominoes" will be decorated by young people from Berlin and abroad in a myriad different styles.
Cameras have revealed how "armed" chimpanzees raid beehives to gorge on sweet honey. Scientists in the Republic of Congo found that the wild primates crafted large clubs from branches to pound the nests until they broke open. The team said some chimps would also use a "toolkit" of different wooden implements in a bid to access the honey and satisfy their sweet tooth. Chimps' love of honey and their ingenuity at accessing it are well known amongst primatologists - previous studies have revealed how the great apes can fashion sticks to dip into or prise open nests.
A guilty customer who fled a curry house without paying has finally coughed up the cash - 13 years later. The mystery diner left an Indian restaurant in Swansea, Wales, without paying for the 10 pound meal back in 1996. Now it seems his conscience has finally caught up with him after he sent police 60 pounds cash and an anonymous letter asking them to settle the bill. But he left officers with some detective work to do. He could not remember the name of the restaurant and just described its location on the seafront. Police narrowed it down to one venue - but found the building was knocked down a couple of years ago.
Canadian researchers said this week they have discovered North America's smallest known dinosaur, a pint-sized predator half the size of a house cat and cousin to the ferocious Velociraptor, which roamed in what is now Alberta 75 million years ago. Hesperonychus, whose name means "western claw", prowled southeastern Alberta in Western Canada during the late cretaceous period, running on two legs, eating insects, small mammals, or whatever else it could find. Researchers said the dinosaur resembled its cousin Velociraptor, a hunter with a fierce reputation and a killer claw similar to that of Hesperonychus.
An entire English village, complete with 22 houses and cottages, two blacksmiths and a cricket pitch, goes on sale this week. The charitable trust which owns Linkenholt in Hampshire, southern England, has decided to sell up and use the capital it raises elsewhere. The asking price when Linkenholt goes on the open market on Wednesday is 22-25 million pounds. The archetypal English village is nestled in rolling countryside and boasts a manor house, old rectory and clock tower and is part of a 2,000-acre estate.