Bizarre: Man chops off ex's nose for remarrying

Plus: Parent punishes daughter for Facebook rant by shooting at laptop

Man chops off ex-wife's nose for marrying again

JAIPUR: A man in India chopped off his ex-wife's nose in a fit of rage. He and six other men barged into her home in the historical Chittorgarh district in the Indian state of Rajasthan and committed the horrible crime.

The woman's crime, if it can be termed that, was that she dared to remarry, reported Press Trust of India.

Police officials have yet to apprehend anyone for the heinous crime.

 

Now cops recruit robbers to help

COPENHAGEN: What to do when burglaries get out of hand?

In Denmark, police think they might have the answer: Turn to the experts themselves, the housebreakers.

Northern Zealand police spokesman Finn Bernth Andersen says burglars caught red-handed in the district will be asked to participate in an anonymous questionnaire about their profession.

The region, which has seen a 60 percent annual surge in break-ins in some areas, will ask robbers questions about their typical targets, motives and disposal methods for stolen goods.

Bernth Andersen conceded that police are not sure of the project's success but said Thursday "we'll do anything we can to lower the number (of burglaries)."

The project is planned to last a few months.

 

Man cooks and eats cats

CALIFORNIA: In a case that has shocked even investigators, a California man is in jail for allegedly cooking and eating cats.

Jason Louis Wilmert is being held in the Kern County Jail on charges alleging animal cruelty and using a pet or domesticated animal for food. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Neighbors called sheriff's deputies when they heard cats wailing and screeching at the 36-year-old's house in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale.

Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt says he has "never seen anything like this."

Pruitt says investigators found evidence that led them to believe "he had the intent to use a cat for food," but he couldn't comment directly on the evidence. The case has been sent to the district attorney.

 

Missing potato peeler causes security scare in prison

UK: Celebrity chef Ramsay Gordon was shooting in a high security prison when he inadvertantly caused a scare by misplacing a potato peeler.

Guards looked for the potential weapon for over two hours. Finally, when the fine toothcomb search led to a dead end, the television crew were asked to check their inventory. The crew members realised that they had never bought the peeler and there was an error in their equipment records.

A source told UK's Mirror that a potato peeler could be a devastating weapon in a tough prison like Brixton Prison.

The security guards got down to search the prison grounds as soon as the crew members reported that they thought they could not find that one single potato peeler. Shotting in tough prisons is a tedious task and all the security rules and regulations have to be followed strictly. This means keeping an inventory of every single thing that goes inside the prison.

The crew members had thought they had brought 12 peelers while they only had 11. However, they had miscalculated. The blunder made the prison authorities furious.

Ramsay is filming a series for a television channel where he teaches crooks how to cook.

 

Laptop-shooting father draws reprimands

NEW YORK: It's classic parent-teenager strife, revamped for the internet age: A 15-year-old takes to Facebook to curse her parents and complain about chores and the pressures of youth. Her disgusted father videotapes and posts a lengthy rebuttal punctuated by nine gunshots as he empties his pistol into her laptop.

The bizarre tech-xecution has garnered more than 26 million views on YouTube and tens of thousands more on Facebook, touching a nerve with others tired of their kids' attitudes but also drawing backlash from parents who have kept such desires in check, people who believe the father is the one being childish.

"It represents a fantasy scenario for parents," said Anthony Rotolo, a Syracuse University professor who specialises in social media.

The furore began when Tommy Jordan of Albemarle, North Carolina, aired his feelings in the video he posted last week. Sitting in an Adirondack chair on an expansive stretch of grass, Jordan is wearing jeans, a plaid shirt and a wide-brimmed hat, a lit cigarette between his fingers.

Then he launches into his diatribe, quoting from his daughter's Facebook post, in which she told her parents "I'm not your damn slave," "I'm tired of picking up after you," and "You know how hard it is to keep up with the chores and schoolwork? It's freaking crazy."

Jordan is clearly infuriated by his daughter's suggestion that she be paid for her chores and disturbed by her decision to go public with her criticism.

"You don't have to worry about buying a new laptop battery. You don't have to worry about buying a new power cord. You don't have to worry about buying a new camera. Because you won't be using any of them till probably college," he says in the video. "I don't know how to say how disappointed I am in you and how disrespectful you were to every single adult in your life. But, kid, you've got it easy, way easy. It's about to get harder."

Rising from his chair and picking up the video camera, he settles the image on the laptop, set on a patch of dirt among the grass. He shows his .45-calibre gun for the camera, then fires nine rounds into the computer.

"I hope it was all worth this," he says to her.

Jordan has not given any interviews to reporters.

Other parents have been eager to weigh in on his outburst.

Sonia Carballo, 37, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, found herself laughing aloud when she saw the video last week. Her three children — ages nine, 13 and 16 — air similar complaints that their mother is too strict, that she doesn't understand, or that they have too many chores.

"He's a parent after my own heart," said Carballo, an insurance claims processor. Dr David Reiss, a psychiatrist who's interim medical director at Providence Hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts, said the teen was expressing normal emotions of someone their age.

 

Man asked to pay $10,000 to get back stolen car

KUALA LUMPUR: A man whose car was stolen in Kuala Lumpur received a ransome note via a text message on his mobile.

The owner's car was stolen in January from a carpark while he was away only for about a quarter of an hour.

According to Asiaone.com, the ransome note said: "I know where your car is but I need money."

The messenger claimed that the car was stolen by his syndicate and he was open to returning the car provided the owner paid up about ten thousand Singaporean dollar.

The owner is in a fix and cannot decide if he should pay up or not.

 

Spies stumped by Charlie Chaplin mystery

LONDON: They foiled plots and cracked Nazi codes, but Britain's spies were unable to solve the mystery of Charlie Chaplin's birth.

Although the entertainer is celebrated as one of London's most famous sons, newly declassified files reveal that Britain's MI5 domestic intelligence service found no records to back up Chaplin's claim that he was born in the city on April 16, 1889.

Uncertainty about Chaplin's origins linger to this day — a mystery Chaplin himself may have helped to nurture.

The previously secret file, released Friday by Britain's National Archives, shows that MI5 investigated the silent film star in the 1950s at the request of U.S. authorities, who had long suspected him of communist sympathies. MI5 historian Christopher Andrew said the FBI's red-hating chief, J. Edgar Hoover, privately denounced Chaplin as "one of Hollywood's parlor Bolsheviks."

To the spies' surprise, there was no record of the performer's birth.

"It would seem that Chaplin was either not born in this country or that his name at birth was other than those mentioned," MI5 concluded.

Chaplin's life is a Dickensian rags-to-riches story. Raised in London in a family of music-hall entertainers, he moved to the United States in 1910 and became one of Hollywood's first megastars with his shabby, bowler-hatted everyman persona, the Little Tramp.

He was a box office sensation in movies such as "The Gold Rush," ''City Lights" and "The Kid," but his left-wing friends and activities alarmed the FBI, which began tracking the actor in the early 1920s.

In 1952, as fears of Soviet infiltration raged in the U.S., American authorities asked MI5 to investigate Chaplin's political allegiances and personal background, including a long-standing rumor that Charlie Chaplin was an alias and the performer's true name was Israel Thornstein.

But British spies could find no trace of him in the birth records at London's Somerset House under Chaplin, Thornstein or Harley, his mother's stage name.

The spies also checked French records amid rumors that he might have been born in the town of Fontainebleau — but that, too, drew a blank.

Elsewhere in the file, agents speculate that Chaplin might have Russian roots. There was an allegation that he had once spoken of "going back to Russia."

"This might refer to paying another visit, or it might denote his origin as Russia," noted senior MI5 officer W.M.T. Magan, speculating that Chaplin might have come from a Jewish family fleeing pogroms at the end of the 19th century.

Film historian Matthew Sweet said rumors about Chaplin's roots had been swirling well before the 1950s. The French claim stemmed from a fan magazine article from the 1910s that suggested Chaplin was born while his performer mother was on tour. The idea he was Jewish appears to have been an assumption by some fans that came to be widely believed. Chaplin did little to correct the record.

"The borderline between fact and fiction about celebrities was much less clearly policed than it is today," Sweet said.

MI5 seemed content to let the mystery of Chaplin's birth remain. British agents were skeptical of American claims that the star was a communist threat, with John Marriott, the head of MI5's counter-subversion branch, calling the U.S. allegations "unreliable."

"It is curious that we can find no record of Chaplin's birth, but I scarcely think that this is of any security significance," he wrote in 1952.

The U.S. thought differently and Chaplin was refused re-entry to the United States in 1952. He settled in Switzerland and lived there until his death in 1977.

The dossier shows MI5 continued to track Chaplin for several years. It contains newspaper clippings about the actor, snatches of conversation from suspected radicals who knew him and letters sent from Russia to "Comrade Charly Chaplin" via the communist magazine Challenge.

But by 1958, MI5 had concluded Chaplin was not a threat.

"We have no substantial information of our own against Chaplin, and we are not satisfied that there are reliable grounds for regarding him as a security risk," the agency noted. "It may be that Chaplin is a Communist sympathizer but on the information before us he would appear to be no more than a 'progressive' or radical."

Nonetheless, a taint of impropriety lingered. Files released in 2002 showed that the British government blocked a knighthood for Chaplin for nearly 20 years because of American concerns about his politics and private life — he was married four times, twice to 16-year-old girls. He eventually became Sir Charles Chaplin in March 1975, two years before his death at age 88.

Chaplin's origins remain cloudy, although the 1891 census records the then 2-year-old as living in south London with his mother and elder brother Sydney.

Evidence unearthed last year added another layer of mystery.

In a locked drawer of a bureau left behind after Chaplin's death, his family found a letter from a man in England named Jack Hill. It claimed Chaplin had been born "in a caravan (that) belonged to the Gypsy Queen, who was my auntie" in a Roma community near Birmingham in central England.

Chaplin had alluded to Roma roots in his autobiography, writing that "Grandma was half-Gypsy. This fact was the skeleton in our family cupboard."

Sweet said the letter was not proof of Chaplin's birthplace but evidence he cultivated the mystery of his origins.

"It is very widely accepted that he was born in London in 1889, but the piece of paper just isn't there," Sweet said.

"That letter is not proof that he was born in a Gypsy encampment. It is proof that he was terrifically attracted to the idea of that story, enough to keep the letter and lock it away and think of it as something important.

"The idea of the mystery of his own birth is something that he quite enjoyed, I think."

 

Violent videogame boosts vision in some adults

VANCOUVER:  Playing a videogame that involves shooting enemies on a battlefield has helped some adults who were born with a rare eye disorder improve their vision later in life, scientists said Friday.

The research shows that some sensory abilities that may seem permanently impaired can be improved in adulthood, according to lead investigator Daphne Maurer of McMaster University in Canada.

Maurer and colleagues followed children born with a rare cataract disorder in both eyes that required surgery and corrective contacts. All were deprived of normal vision as infants between three and 10 months.

As these children grew to adults, their vision improved but never reached 20/20, and they showed some deficits in face perception, sharpness, direction of motion, peripheral and binocular vision.

Since previous research on people with certain eye disorders had shown improvements after playing a type of videogame known as a first-person shooter, in which the player wields a gun and blows up foes, Maurer decided to try it on her subjects.

Six patients between the ages of 19 and 31 were tracked for a period of one month, in which they played the Electronic Arts (EA) videogame "Medal of Honor" for a total of 40 hours - no more than two hours a day, five days a week.

Five of the six showed improvement in their vision, each moving closer to 20/20 from baseline ranges of 20/32 to 20/100, with improved ability to recognize faces, see small print and judge the direction of moving dots.

"About two-thirds of the things we measured improved simply from playing an action videogame," Maurer told reporters at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual convention in Vancouver.

For the average person, that's about the same as being able to read two lines smaller than they presently can on an eye chart, she added.

"I think it tells us that the visual nervous system is still plastic enough to either form or reveal connections in adulthood... and we suspect that might be true for any kind of visual defect."

Maurer, who said she is not a "gamer," admitted some reticence to asking people to play a violent videogame for her study.

"Certainly we don't relish ask adult patients who are nongamers to play a first-person shooter for 40 hours," she said.

"They know what they are getting into and they know there is a small risk they may become addicted to such games as a result of our intervention. That is why we limit them to 10 hours a week and no more than two hours a day."

However, the visual benefits of the game were so great that it made the effort worthwhile, she said.

The fast-paced game requires players to monitor what is right in front of them and what is in the periphery, increasing levels of dopamine and adrenaline that may make the brain more flexible to improvements in visual acuity.

"It is also called adrenaline for action, because you not only have to make a judgment based on what is going on on the screen but you have to act on it and you have to act on it from a real world perspective," she said.

"So we think the manufacturers built into these games the effective ingredients for retraining the visual brain in adulthood."

Now, Maurer and colleagues are working on creating their own videogame for patients, gleaning the same characteristics of Medal of Honor but adding some elements to train people's brains to improve binocular vision.

"We are currently as a network (with other scientists) building our own game which we hope will be even better because it won't be violent," Maurer said.
 

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