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 & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit