News and Blues

Your weekly dose of weird and funny news.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police arrested gunman Christopher Trail for holding six people hostage at a pharmacy in Red Bay, Ala. He let five of them go but kept pharmacist Donna Weatherford, who said he forced her to supply him with drugs. After an hour, he asked for a recliner. Told there was none, he pulled some chairs together and dozed off. Weatherford picked up the shotgun and fled to safety. (

Sons of Beaches

The world is running low on sand, a finite resource that’s the material basis of glass and concrete. Both are vital to construction, the prime user of sand. Sand is also used in detergents, cosmetics, toothpaste, solar panels and silicon chips. Demand is causing riverbeds and beaches worldwide to be stripped bare to provide the more than 40 billion tons of sand that people consume every year. That figure is increasing due to the worldwide construction boom, particularly in the Arab world, whose abundant desert sand is unsuitable for concrete. As a result, criminal gangs in some 70 countries are dredging up tons of sand to sell on the black market. In India, for example, “sand mafias” have killed hundreds of people, including police officers and government officials, to capitalize on demand for sand. “The fundamental problem is the massive use of cement-based construction,” said Ritwick Dutta, an Indian environmental lawyer. “That’s why the sand mafia has become so huge.” (Wired)

Narcissism Follies

Russian authorities reported that a 21-year-old woman was in “serious condition” at Moscow’s Sklifosovsky hospital after she shot herself in the temple while posing for a selfie. Police said the victim was holding the 9mm handgun and pulled the trigger instead of clicking the camera shutter. (Agence France-Presse)

Milking the System

Naica Gibson, 31, an unemployed mother of four in London, withheld 400 pounds (U.S. $615) from her 1,300 pounds (U.S. $2,000) monthly welfare check until she’d saved 4,000 pounds (U.S. $6,150) to travel to Poland for breast rejuvenation surgery. During the two years she saved, she admitted taking some of the money from the food budget but declared she went hungry as often as her children. When she could afford the procedure, she said the plastic surgeon left one breast bigger than the other and both breasts covered by unsightly scars. She’s asking Britain’s National Health Service to pay 5,000 pounds (U.S. $7,687) for corrective surgery. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

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