News of the weird

Stories from Around the World that Failed to Make the Headlines, Selected by William Hartston

Hair: A man in St Paul, Minnesota, has been charged with robbery after trying to cut off a woman's ponytail. Police say that John Sexton, 43, said he had "urges about hair" and admitted trying to get others to trim women's ponytails for him. Lucille Benoit said that she and a friend had been waiting for a bus when a stranger asked whether they wanted to sell their hair. They said no and moved to another stop, but the stranger followed, grabbed Lucille's hair and hacked at it with scissors. Sexton had earlier been questioned about an incident in a restaurant in May in which a prankster had telephoned a restaurant and persuaded a worker to cut off a waitress's ponytail.

Ears: Dutch scientists have found that if you wear moulds that change the shape of your ears, it may disrupt your hearing ability in the short term, but within a few weeks your brain will become used to the new shape and your hearing will become as good as ever. Then if you take the moulds off, you will adjust immediately to the original shape and hear just as well as before.

Faces: According to research published in Nature this week, women are more attracted to men with feminine faces. A study by David Perret of the University of St Andrews used computer-generated images to show that men with feminine facial features are seen as trustworthy and loving as potential fathers; masculine features are seen as cold and dishonest.

Rats: The anti-rat campaign in Vietnam has proved more hazardous to humans than had been expected. In the northern province of Thai Binh, 17 people have been killed this year by electric rat-traps. One man who set such traps has been sentenced to three years' imprisonment after being convicted of indirect intentional manslaughter. Five others are awaiting trial. A police spokesman said that they would not be investigating cases where traps had killed the people who set them, or their relatives. More than 64 million rats have been killed in Vietnam so far this year.

Chickens: An army of 10,000 chickens has been trained in China to help combat a plague of locusts. Attacks by human beings and aircraft have failed to eradicate locust swarms that have infested offices and housing blocks as well as grasslands. A special 60-day training programme has been designed for chickens to help counter the locust threat, and nests have also been placed in affected areas to attract starlings which, it is hoped, will also be effective against locusts.

Dogs: Two women in Milwaukee have started a business called K-9 Potty Patrol to assist pet-owners in the battle against dog poo. Mea West and Katherine Schott have adopted as their motto "Your dog's `business' is our business". Ms Schott explained: "Some people simply don't have the time, and what little time they have off, they don't want to spend scooping up dog doo-doo." The company charges $10 for a typical, once-a-week visit to a residential client.

Clones: The cloning laboratory of Texas A&M University is reported to have accepted $5m from a local millionaire to produce a clone of his pet dog Missy. The laboratory has received some cells from the collie-Alsatian cross, and has been given two years to complete the task. The directory of the laboratory said he expected other rich pet-owners to do the same.

Romania: When Olimpiu Medar, an advertising executive, was killed in a car crash in Bucharest, colleagues in his agency's creative department wanted to pay tribute to his memory in an individualistic way. The result was an obituary in the daily newspaper Evenimentul Zilei that read: "Coffee, cellular telephone, cigarettes, clients, money, dreams, fast, fast, too fast. And Oli is no longer."

France: The town of Perpignan celebrated last Thursday the 33rd anniversary of the day when Salvador Dali declared its railway station to be the centre of the universe.

"We are happy and proud that the Perpignan railway station is the centre of the world," said Lluis Colet, a fan of Dali. M Colet marked the day with an attempt on the record for the world's longest speech. He was aiming to talk for more than 24 hours, with officials ensuring that he didn't stop even when going to the lavatory.

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears