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Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Monday, May 19, 2008

The 10 smartest animals

How do humans compare to other intelligent creatures?

1 /10
Chimps are almost like us
Tetsuro Matsuzawa / AP

Chimps are almost like us


If we humans possess intelligence, chimpanzees must have some as well: Our genomes are at least 98 percent identical. Chimps make and use tools, hunt in organized groups and engage in acts of violence. Wild troops have distinct behaviors and customs. Field observations and lab experiments show chimps are capable of empathy, altruism and self-awareness. In the experiment pictured here, chimps performed better than humans on a number memory test.

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Now cash-strapped families abandon their pets - because they can't afford to care for them

Home-owners are abandoning their pets as they struggle to cope with the rising cost of living.

Animal rescue centres have found themselves inundated with dogs, cats and rabbits from those who can no longer afford to care for them.

The RSPCA's largest rescue centre, the Stubbington Ark in Fareham, Hampshire, is nearing capacity at 570 animals.

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Pets are being abandoned as homeowners struggle with the cost of living

Vanessa Eden, a worker at the centre, said: "We have had people bringing in their pets because they can no longer afford to pay their energy bills, let alone vet bills or pet food."

Older animals and those with long-term medical problems are the most likely to be dumped because they need expensive treatments.

Freshfields Animal Rescue in Liverpool has seen a steady rise in dumped pets in the past six months.

Trustee Marge Albert said: "There has been an increase in the number of people handing in their pets because they can no longer afford them.

"When times get hard people look at their finances to see where they can make cutbacks and the family pet is often an easy target.

"The problem is likely to get worse over the summer as people jet off on holiday and realise it is going to cost them a couple of hundred pounds to put their pets in kennels."

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Ah Poontus Drunk Jackie Chan


Man 'sprays supermarket food with urine'

Vegetables
Vegetables sprayed with urine are probably best left alone

Two major supermarkets were cordoned off by police today after a man shocked shoppers by allegedly spraying urine on the food.

The raider entered Morrisons in Glevum Way, Gloucester at around 11.20am and fired a "foul-smelling substance" - thought to be urine - on meat, salad and fruit.

He fled the store and went to Tesco four miles away in Quedgeley, where he again terrified customers and staff by spraying the fluid on produce.

A 42-year-old man from Gloucester was arrested at the Tesco store on suspicion of causing criminal damage and remains in police custody. One man is thought to be behind both incidents.

Police do not believe the substance poses a risk to public safety but the shops have been sealed off while Environmental Health officers carry out inspections.

Staff are waiting in canteens of both stores, which are shut, and witness statements have been taken from several customers who saw the discharge of the liquid.

A Gloucestershire police spokesman said: "It is alleged that a man was spraying a foul-smelling substance, thought to be urine, on the foodstuffs, including the salad bar, fruits and meat.

"The device he was using is described as a kind of tube. Clearly this is a very unusual incident. A man has been arrested and a full investigation is under way. We are appealing for any witnesses who have not already contacted us to come forward.

"The substance is believed to be of no threat to public safety."

Officers say they have no clues about the motive.

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Man Leaves Toddler in Car During Strip Club Visit

GLENDALE - A man accused of leaving a toddler in the car as he spent time in a Glendale strip club was arrested Saturday on charges of neglect.

Police say Alan Baxter, 20, was asked by his girlfriend to take her daughter out to get a bite to eat but instead he took a detour to Shotgun Willies' strip club on Colorado Blvd. leaving the child in the car with the window cracked three inches.

A clerk at a nearby adult store saw the child in the car and called police after 20 minutes. Police found the child "cowering" in the back seat of the car - scared and hungry.

Witnesses described the man they saw leaving the car and going into Shotgun Willies and police went into the club and found Baxter. Baxter initially denied driving to the club or having a child waiting for him in the car.

He admitted to the incident when police questioned him about knowing the owner of the vehicle - his girlfriend.

When the child's mother was contacted about the incident police say she was upset and very concerned for her daughter.

Authorities bought the child McDonalds as they waited for the mother to come and pick her up.

Police say the temperature was in the mid-50s when the child was found.

The child's mother had given Baxter $20 to buy food for her daughter. Baxter had instead used the money for his cover charge and a beer in the club. He told police he intended to use the remaining $16 in dollar bills as tips for the strippers.

Shotgun Willies is a 21-and-over bar, the person who accepted Baxter's ID even though he was 3 weeks shy of his 21st birthday was immediately fired.
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Pictured: Inside the cockpit of the oldest surviving Lancaster bomber

It was the most daring air raid the world had ever seen.

The RAF's elite 617 Squadron, nicknamed the Dambusters, flew 19 Lancaster bombers into Nazi Germany and destroyed two Ruhr valley dams with their revolutionary "bouncing bombs".

On the 65th anniversary of Operation Chastise, as the mission was codenamed, this picture shows the cockpit of the oldest surviving Lancaster, S-Sugar.

Now on display at RAF Hendon, she flew in 137 Second World War raids – more than any other aircraft.

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The cockpit of S-Sugar, the oldest surviving Lancaster

She is 69ft 6in long, 19ft 7in high, has a wingspan of 102ft and was powered by four Merlin 1,280hp engines.

She had a top speed of 287mph, carried a crew of seven and could drop up to 22,000lb of bombs.

The crew comprised a bomb aimer, who lay in the nose of the plane, the pilot, who sat behind and above him, with a flight engineer on a collapsible "dicky" seat to his right.

Behind were a navigator, radio operator, mid-upper gunner and rear gunner.

RAF Hendon's Richard Simpson said: "The Lancaster is an iconic plane and this one is particularly important. It's the oldest, and has the greatest operational history."

Originally called Q-Queenie, S-Sugar did not take part in the Dambusters raids of May 16, 1943, when the Lancasters flew just 60ft above the water before dropping their deadly cargo.

Eight aircraft were lost that day and 53 of the 133 men who took part did not return.

A new book about the Dambusters, Breaching The German Dams: Flying Into History, was published on Friday and is available from RAF Hendon.

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Woman sentenced for having son dress up as Scout

EASTON, Pa. (AP) -- A former Bethlehem woman will serve up to 23 months in prison for having her 7-year-old son dress as a Cub Scout to collect money for a nonexistent cause.

Sally Ann Gombocz, 51, told a Northampton County judge she wanted to apologize to anyone she hurt. She previously pleaded guilty to theft by deception and corruption of a minor.

Gombocz had her son dress as a scout in 2003 and tell people he was raising money for a camping trip. A prosecutor says the family collected $69.

Gombocz was sentenced Friday to six to 23 months in the county jail. She also was fined $2,000, ordered to perform community service, take parenting classes, have psychological counseling and submit to random urine screens. She also must pay restitution.

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