Man Jailed For Growing Cannabis Xmas Tree

A man who grew a large cannabis plant to look like a Christmas tree will spend the festive season in prison after police found his home-based drug factory. Ian Richards, 46, made the cannabis plant resemble a festive tree by growing it to 5ft tall and decorating it with brightly-coloured baubles. Police found it along with a small number of other cannabis plants when they raided his home in Aylesham, Kent, last December. Investigating officer PC Darren Dennett said: “By using a 5ft tall cannabis plant as a Christmas tree, Richards showed a total disregard for the law.” A judge at Canterbury Crown Court sentenced Richards to 18 months behind bars for drugs.” w/ photo

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Scotland’s Deep Fried Butter?

“The dessert, made from frozen balls of butter and given a Scottish twist with Irn Bru batter, is already popular in the US. Described as a “heart attack on a plate”, the chefs at The Fiddler’s Elbow in Edinburgh serve the sticky treat with Irn Bru ice cream and coulis. For those wanting an even more potent version of the dish, called Braveheart Butter Bombs, a variation with whisky batter is also available… It is believed to be the first time deep fried butter has been on the menu in Scotland. It first emerged as a snack at the Iowa State Fair in the US earlier this year.” w/ photo

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Spit Build-Up Could Cause Bridge Collapse

The Howrah Bridge in the Indian city of Kolkata is at risk of collapsing because the steel at its base is being corroded by human saliva. Pedestrians who have been chewing betel leaf, areca nut and slaked lime have been spitting on the bridge’s steel hangers, causing them to weaken. The red stains left by the paan mixture – a mild stimulant chewed throughout India – are caked around the metal casings of the bridge. Authorities say the paan-laced spit has reduced the thickness of the bridge’s hangers from six millimeters to three millimeters. In an attempt to save the bridge, port engineers have come up with the idea of covering the steel with fiberglass.” w/ photo

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Man Hides Stolen Food In Pants

A 45-year-old Kannapolis man was arrested after police said he hid nearly $300 worth of smoked turkey, shrimp, ribeye steak and baby-back ribs in his pants. According to a Salisbury Police report, Ronald Eugene Broadway, 709 Evelyn Ave., was charged after police said Broadway was seen pulling the assorted packages from the fly of his pants and sliding them under vehicles in the Food Lion parking lot at 525 W. Jake Alexander Blvd. After taking Broadway into custody, police found he was wearing a pair of sweatpants under a pair of jeans and had taped the bottom of the sweatpants together with duct tape. Officers said they believe the man used the tape to keep the store’s products from falling through his pants legs.” w/ photo

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Man Trapped Under Steamroller?

A man became trapped under an eight ton steamroller as he allegedly tried to steal it. The 25-year-old had to be rescued by fire crews after getting stuck under the roller on Johnnie Cope Road in Tranent at 3.45pm on Sunday. After an hour and a half he was freed and taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary under police escort with a serious leg injury. Three men, aged 25, 26 and 47, have been charged with the attempted theft of the steamroller.” w/ photo

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New French Spelling Rules?

Here’s the good news for those who remember struggling through dictation in French class: French spelling has been simplified. Here’s the bad news: Few have noticed, and those who have don’t like it. An official body that includes government ministers and a representative of the Academie Francaise, the eminent French language institution, issued a new set of rules to simplify the spellings of many words, either to bring them in line with pronunciation or to eliminate exceptions. The changes were made in 1990 — but French media are just getting wind of them. For example, ‘aout’ (August) drops the pointy circumflex accent over the ‘u’. ‘Baby-sitter’ gets Frenchified into ‘babysitteur.’ Bonhomie, which has come into English with that spelling, becomes bonhommie — to reflect its root ‘homme’ (man). Both the new and old spellings remain acceptable, but the new ones are supposed to be taught in schools, so they will eventually — in theory — replace the old.” w/ photo

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Boy Punished For Having Gun-Shaped Pizza Slice

For the rest of the semester, a Rutherford County elementary student has to eat lunch at the ‘silent table’ for allegedly waving around a slice of pizza some say resembled a gun. Nicholas Taylor attends David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville. School leaders say the 10-year-old threatened other students at his lunch table with a piece of pizza with bites out of it so it looked like a gun and when asked about it was initially not truthful. Nicholas’ mother LeAnn calls her son’s punishment ‘absolutely ridiculous’ saying he was just playing around and never said anything derogatory or anything about shooting anyone. ‘The kid across the table from him said it looked like a gun so he picked it up and started shooting it in the air,’ she told Nashville’s News 2 Investigates. Taylor said she learned of the incident when the school sent her a note saying her son was threatening other students.” w/ photos + video

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100-Year-Old Dear Santa Letter Found Up Chimney

“It may have been slightly scorched over the years but a letter to Santa written 100 years ago, which was later discovered in a Dublin fireplace, has the magic of Christmas written all over it. On Christmas Eve 1911, a brother and sister, who signed their names, ‘A or H Howard’, penned their personally designed letter to Santa with their requests for gifts and a good luck message at their home in Oaklands Terrace, Terenure in Dublin. They placed it in the chimney of the fireplace in the front bedroom so that Santa would see it as he made his way into the Howard household in the early hours of the morning. The letter was discovered by the house’s current occupant, John Byrne, when he was installing central heating in 1992. Since then, he has retained it as a souvenir of another time and place but with the stamp of childhood innocence which still exists today. The message to Santa was warm but explicit.” w/ photo

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Croissant Thief On The Loose

Since December 9, the man has robbed five bakeries in the western suburbs of the French capital, police said, each time using the same modus operandi. After placing an order, the man holds up what appears to be a fake revolver, points it at the person behind the cash register and takes his pastries without paying. No one has been injured in the robberies and in each case the value of the goods stolen has been low, at between $10 and $26. Meanwhile in Bordeaux, police arrested Father Christmas. The 53-year-old, who was employed as a Father Christmas at Bordeaux’s Christmas market, was arrested after brandishing a hunting rifle, which was unloaded, at his nephew, who was also his boss. The Sud Ouest newspaper suggested that Father Christmas was angry over unpaid hours and felt swindled.” w/ photo

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