BOWDOINHAM, Maine — It's not quite winning the lottery, but the odds
are about as remote: A lobsterman off the coast of Maine recently hauled
in an almost perfectly two-tone lobster — half orange, half brown.
The chances, according to scientists, are approximately 1 in 50 million.
looked as if someone had taken painter's tape and run it from proboscis
to tail, then spray-painted one side. It's a perfectly straight line,"
said Alan Lishness, of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. "You don't
usually see such hard edges in nature."
American lobsters are typically greenish-brown in color, and become red only after boiling.
lobster was caught by Jeff Edwards, a lobsterman from Owl's Head, who
kept it to show friends and family and then brought it to Ship to Shore
Lobster Co., a local fisherman's wharf, according to co-owner Anna
"We've had blue ones and calico ones, but we'd never seen anything like this," said Mason.
photographing the lobster, the lobsterman donated it to the Gulf of
Maine Research Institute, a nonprofit marine science center in Portland,
which keeps lobsters in a tank for children's education programs.
one just stops people in their tracks," said the institute's Lishness.
"Even people who've seen thousands of lobsters just can't believe it."
said the split-colored lobster is far more uncommon than the yellow or
blue lobster, which both make occasional appearances along the Maine
Coast, but is at least twice as likely to turn up in a lobster trap than
an albino, the rarest of all lobster mutations.
Yet, despite its two-tone rarity, perhaps the fact that a Halloween-colored lobster also turned up last October speaks to the recent lobster harvests.
The University of Liberia.
Number of applicants this year: nearly 25,000. Number gaining admission: zero.
MONROVIA, Liberia - The "epic fail" of every single candidate in the admission exam
provoked bafflement, consternation and heated debate on Tuesday, with some
convinced that flaws in Liberia's education system had
been brutally exposed. A government minister likened it to "mass
At first it appeared there would no freshers at west Africa's oldest degree-granting
institution when the new academic year gets under way next month. But then an
intervention by president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf forced the university to back
down and give places to a lucky 1,800.
According to university officials, the applicants lacked enthusiasm and did
not have a basic grasp of English. Spokesman Momodu Getaweh told the BBC's
Focus on Africa programme that the university stood by its decision
and would not be swayed by emotion. "In English, the mechanics of the
language, they didn't know anything about it. So the government has to do
Liberia was devastated by a bloody
civil war in the 1990s and the rule of president Charles Taylor, but
Getaweh said the country was running out of excuses. "The war has ended 10
years ago now. We have to put that behind us and become realistic."
The current president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, recently admitted that the
education system was "in a mess" and in need of reform. But this is
the first time that all students who took the exam, which entails payment of a
$25 (£16) fee, failed.
The Voice of America (VOA) reported that the university hired
a private consultant to manage and administer this year's entrance exam.
The consultant, James Dorbor Jallah, told the VOA: "There is a
perception in our society largely that once you take the University of Liberia
admission exam, if you do not pay money to someone, or if you do not have
appropriate connections, you would not be placed on the results list. So, the
university has been grappling with how they could manage the process whereby
people's abilities would be truly measured on the basis of their performance in
Liberia could draw a lesson from the mass failure, he added. "For the
country as a whole, I think this is a clarion call that we need to all see that
the king is moving around naked and not pretend as though the emperor has his
finest clothes on."
Earlier, Etmonia David-Tarpeh (photo), the national education minister, expressed
doubts over the dismal showing.
"I know there are a lot of weaknesses in
the schools but for a whole group of people to take exams and every single one
of them to fail, I have my doubts about that," she told the BBC.
"It's like mass murder."
David-Tarpeh said she knew some of the applicants and the schools they went
The University of Liberia was established in 1862 as Liberia College and
became a university in 1951.
DAWSON CITY, Yukon, Canada - An
American swallowed the toe in Downtown Hotel in Dawson City bar. A place famous for Sourtoe Cocktail .
The American swallowed his drink with the toe in it, put five hundred
dollars on the table.
The toe is part of a famous Dawson City tradition which involves drinking a
shot of whisky. The toe is usually dropped into the glass and the drinker must
have the toe touch their lips.
The posted "fine" for swallowing the toe was $500.
Terry Lee the "toe captain" in the bar that night. says he was told
the man is an American who had been living in Dawson for the summer. The man
was said to have just picked up his rent deposit because he was leaving town.
Lee says it's not the first time the toe has been swallowed but he believes
this is the first time it was deliberate.
The fine for swallowing the toe has now been raised to $2500.
Lee says the tradition will continue as the bar had a backup toe. Over the
years, more than eight toes have gone missing or been stolen or destroyed.
It's estimated that more than 60,000 people have paid for the privilege of
drinking a shot of Yukon Gold whiskey featuring this genuine human toe.
Lee says he and the hotel, which owned the last toe, are hoping another one
will be donated.
KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - A group of about 20 heavily-armed gunmen abducted a
fisherman and demanded to be guided to a holiday resort on Pulau Mabul,
in Sabah Malaysian Borneo. However they were taken to an army camp on the island instead.
The incident began when the fisherman, who was in his boat, was
approached by a speedboat off Pulau Umadal at about 6.30pm on Tuesday.
Garbed in dark clothes and armed with shotguns and pistols, the
gunmen forced the fisherman to board their vessel and guide them towards
Pulau Mabul where several resorts were located.
Upon approaching the island, the gunmen spotted a number of red
lights on the shore, which fisherman said indicated the location of a
As they got closer, the gunmen realised that it was a military camp
and quickly turned their vessel around, heading towards Philippines
The gunmen then spotted another fishing boat with eight men on board and forced them to board their vessel as well.
After several hours, one of the gunmen asked the nine fishermen what their race and religion were.
When told that all were Suluk and Muslim, the gunmen guided their
boat close to another fishing vessel before ordering them to jump into
When contacted, Semporna district police chief Deputy Supt Mohd
Firdaus Francis Abdullah said the incident occurred between 6.30 and
9.30pm on Tuesday.
"All victims were fishermen from around Semporna. As soon as they
were freed and reached shore, they reported the incident to us,” he
"We are trying to determine where the group originated from based on the
information from the abducted fishermen," Firdaus added.
MUMBAI, India - Fed up with daily sexual harassment of women on their beat, a team
of female constables in India have taken to incognito motorbike patrols to
banish loitering men from public places.
Jyotipriya Singh, additional superintendent of police in the western city of
Kolhapur, led the initiative with her deputy last week, scouring the streets
and targeting youths hanging around for no reason, especially on college
“We took a drive and checked various public places and we went in civilian
dress so we could see who was loitering around,” Singh told AFP. “Women were
getting lewd remarks.”
Video footage on local news websites shows young men running away from the
female plainclothes police and their male colleagues, who chase and slap the
miscreants in return.
Singh said they took action against 88 males — either by giving warnings to
them or their parents, or alerting other local police stations.
“The people are so happy about the drive, as they are daily getting
harassment from these bystanders,” Singh said.
Sex crimes in India have been in the spotlight since the fatal gang-rape of
a student in New Delhi in December sparked nationwide anger, which was
reignited last week with another gang-rape of a young woman in Mumbai.
Earlier this year, India passed a tougher law against rape, but Singh
strongly believes that preventive action against sexual harassment is key.
She has called on police stations in the city in Maharashtra state to raise
awareness, hold workshops and encourage women to come forward about harassment.
The idea of the patrol, she said, was to check these initiatives are
working, but she remained tight-lipped about the timing of future crackdowns,
saying that a “surprise element” is important to be effective.
“If we can prevent molestation with this drive, I think we can prevent a
future rape,” she said.
One of Indonesia’s most influential Islamic groups is urging the government
to cancel the Miss World pageant scheduled for next month, saying the exposure
of skin by women in a competition violates Muslim teachings, an official said
A top-level meeting of clerics was held earlier this month by the Indonesian
Ulema Council to respond to protests from some groups over Indonesia’s hosting
of the event, even after organisers agreed to cut the bikini competition and
instead outfit contestants in more conservative sarongs, council chairman
Amidan Shaberah said.
“Our position is clear, we reject Indonesia being the host of Miss World,”
Shaberah said. “Because exposing their bodies in a contest is against Islamic
The council is an influential Islamic body that often issues fatwas, or
edicts, including controversial rulings against smoking and yoga.
legally binding, many devoted Muslims follow such decrees because ignoring them
is considered a sin.
DAMASCUS, Syria - The Syrian government has warned the US not to launch any military action against the country over an alleged chemical-weapons attack earlier in the week, saying that such a move would set the Middle East ablaze.
Saturday’s statement by Omran al-Zoubi, Syria's information minister, came on the same day that US President Barack Obama held a meeting with his top military and national security advisers to explore options to resolve the Syrian crisis.
Thousands of people suffered neurotoxic symptoms and 355 of them died following Wednesday’s alleged chemical-weapons attack in Damascus, aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Saturday.
The development has put on pressure the US to look into various options on Syria as Obama defined the use of chemical weapons as his “red line” in the crisis.
World powers have repeatedly urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to allow UN chemical weapons inspectors to examine the sites where chemical weapons were allegedly used.