Apr 19, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

England

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11Unidentified Black Circle Seen In The Sky Over Warwickshire, England, Then Disappears

A 16-year-old English girl was shocked when she saw a giant black ring in the sky and captured it on video.

Georgina Heap was playing tennis with her mother Jo in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire in England when she looked up at the sky and saw a mysterious black ring, the Daily Mail reported.

The ring remained in the sky for nearly three minutes before it disappeared completely.

Heap, who is studying for her General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), said the circle was “the weirdest thing I have ever seen.”

“I looked up at it and thought ‘what the hell?’, it was amazing,” she told the Mirror. “It was just floating there like a cloud and then it disappeared. It wasn’t birds either. There were about ten of us who stopped what we were doing and watched.”

She took a photo of the circle on her iPhone but so far, experts have not been able to offer explanation for the unusual black mark.

Even though the circle looked like a giant smoke ring, Warwick Fire and Rescue service said there were no reports of fire around that time.

The Met Office also said it did not believe the ring was related to the weather.

Nick Pope, an expert on UFOs and a previous government adviser on unexplained phenomena, said he believed the circle to be “organic.”

“It’s a truly bizarre image. It looks like a smoke ring, but I can’t see where it could have come from. Other alternatives would include some sort of unusual meteorological phenomenon,” he explained.

“One other possibility is that the shape is made up of millions of bees or other insects, but I've never heard of insects behaving in this way before, so if this is the explanation, it’s a real-life X-File.”

However, research done by WTSP 10 News found that rings seen over Pinellas County, Fla., in October 2013 and around Chicago in 2010 were very similar to the one spotted in England. Except what caused the rings – and others like it in Texas and Oklahoma – are from electrical transformers blowing up.

An example of a transformer explosion in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago can be viewed below:

11School Threatens To Unenroll Kids For Missing Class To Attend Grandpa’s Funeral

An English primary school sent a letter warning parents that their children could lose their enrollment after they missed class to attend their grandfather’s funeral.

Sheffield's Handsworth Ballifield Primary School told Andrew and Danielle Overend-Hogg that their three children weren’t authorized to take an absence when they missed school to attend the funeral in Cumbria, about three hours away.

Teagan, 9, Isla, 5, and Elsie-Mae, 3, could lose their spots if they miss class again.

New government education regulations passed in the UK last August say that children can only miss school for "exceptional circumstances.”

Ballifield head teacher Sheila Hague says the warning was issued in compliance with the new guidelines.

"It was a standard letter that was sent out, which is rather black and white, but we followed guidelines which cover all our family of schools in this area," Hague said.

The children’s father said the loss of their grandfather was a stunning blow after the kids lost their grandmother just eight months earlier.

"It's almost as if they are saying if you have to suffer the death of a grandparent it should happen out of term time," Andrew Overend-Hogg said. "I'm really disgusted. If it's all about Government regulations then it seems the grief of a family has no relevance at all."

"We are sorry the family feels upset but we have tried to be flexible, taking into account the previous good attendance records of the children," Hague said. "But we also have to be careful not to open the floodgates to other situations that may occur."

Parents have pointed out the absurdity regarding child absences after a head mistress of a Leicestershire primary school, Vina Pankhania, took off an entire month to get married, while parents continue to be fined.

Sources: The Telegraph, Daily Mail

11Parents Could Face Jail For Not Loving Children Under New Law

Parents who do not give their children enough love and affection may spend time in jail.

Under the UK's new “Cinderella Law," child neglect now includes “emotional cruelty.”

According to The Telegraph, the UK Government will announce the law change in early June.

The change will update current laws that criminalize assault, abandonment or exposing a child to suffering or injury.

Now, parents could go to jail for up to 10 years if they deliberately harmed a child’s “physical intellectual, emotional, social or behavioral development."

The Telegraph reports this would include ignoring, not showing love and damaging emotional development.

The law change also criminalizes making a child witness violence in the home, forcing a kid to be a scape goat and degrading punishments.

The new law is coming into effect because 1.5  million British children reportedly suffer from some sort of neglect. Police hope the change will allow them to intervene earlier before a child is physically or sexually abused.

“Our criminal law has never reflected the full range of emotional suffering experienced by children who are abused by their parents or carers,"
Robert Buckland, a Conservative MP and a supporter of the law, told The Telegraph.

"The sad truth is that, until now, the Wicked Stepmother would have got away scot-free,” added Buckland.

According to News.com.au, the effort to criminalize emotional abuse began in 2012 by Action for Children, a UK charity.

A spokesman for Action for Children says the changes are “monumental step” in protecting children.

Sources: News.com.au and The Telegraph

11Fake It To Make It: Man Pretends To Be Mayor, Fools Entire Town

A man who calls himself James Billington used Twitter to fool an entire town in England into believing he was their mayor.

Under the Twitter handle @mayorofstafford, it says Billington is "delighted to be representing the town of Stafford & surrounding areas."

He posted pictures of himself wearing a mayoral chain, performing a ribbon cutting ceremony at Alton Towers Theme Park and passing out “I’m the mayor of Stafford!” buttons.

In another photo he’s cheering on runners in a half marathon. He wore a livery collar in photos where he congratulated elderly residents on their birthday.

Since his first tweet on March 8, locals, politicians and businesses were all fooled. Apparently no one remembered they already had a mayor. Her name is Angela Loughran.

It wasn’t until the town council spotted the hoax that the town realized they were duped.

"I feel so stupid, I believed [James Billington was mayor.] How many people know the name of their town mayor? There was no reason to disbelieve him," said Stafford resident Bal Singh.

The council has requested the Twitter account be shut down, but it’s still alive and well, perhaps because Billington is not doing anything illegal. He's not impersonating a real person, only lying about his position. Twitter users are allowed to make parody accounts.

In fact, Billington’s tweets are quite friendly and encouraging. 

The account has more than 550 followers.

The Midlands town has a population of 122,000.

Sources: UPI, Daily Mail

1119-Year-Old Dies Of Cervical Cancer After Being Denied A Smear Test For Months

A 19-year-old woman from England has died from cervical cancer after being denied a potentially life-saving smear test early on when her symptoms started because she was too young. Now, the woman’s mother is fighting to get the minimum age of smear tests lowered from 25 to 16.

Sophie Jones had been complaining of severe stomach pains for a while, starting in February 2013, but every time she went to the doctor, she was told that she was too young for a smear test and too young to get cervical cancer. At one point, the young woman was told she had Crohn’s disease and was referred to a gastroenterologist.

“Sophie knew something was wrong,” said her mother Peri. “She knew her body was telling her something. But because of her age, it wasn’t even considered.”

Months of pain and discomfort went by, and each time she went to the doctor, she was told that there was no way she had cervical cancer. According to reports, it’s extremely rare that anybody in their teens is diagnosed with the disease.

Finally, this past November, Jones was seen by a gynecologist, and sadly, she was told that she had cervical cancer and that it had spread all over her stomach. At that point, it was too late. Sophie Jones died this week.

“Sophie was still in high spirits even on the morning she died,” said Sophie’s sister Stephanie. “She was just the life and soul of everything. This should never, ever have happened to her.”

Now, Jones’ mother Peri is fighting to get the British government to allow women as young as 16 to be given smear tests if they request one. While there are certainly some people who disagree with young women being given smear tests, the support that the grieving mother has received is overwhelming. England’s Prime Minister David Cameron has even commented on the case, saying, “Something seems to have gone wrong,” and vowing to help do something about it.

11Woman Sentenced To Just Two Years In Prison After Raping Boy 50 Times

A 21-year-old woman convicted of raping an eight-year-old boy over 50 times was sentenced to just two years in prison on Tuesday. The presiding judge says he gave the offender, Loren Morris, a lenient sentence because she stopped the abuse on her own accord.

"I take into account what has been said to me and the fact that you stopped the activity yourself," Judge Robert Juckes said in court. "You realized it was wrong rather than being caught and forced to stop."

The abuse started five years ago when Morris was 16 years old and her victim was eight. Morris admits she forced sex on the child over 50 times over the course of two years. Her abuse was brought to light after the boy was heard talking about his sexual history at school.

Morris’ defense attorney, Antonie Mullers, said the woman is having trouble coming to terms with her offenses.

"Her immaturity at 21 means she cannot accept the facts yet," Mullers said. "She accepts her conviction but with time will accept more."

Morris was seen on camera grinning from ear to ear before her court hearing on Tuesday.

In addition to her prison sentence, Morris is forbidden from having any contact with a child without the parents’ permission. She will be placed on the U.K. sex offender registry for the next 10 years.

Sources: Huffington Post, Mirror

11Man Arrested For Locking Wife in Shed After She Sang "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" About His Mom

In an unfortunate display of double-sided domestic abuse, a man was arrested for assaulting his wife by locking her in the couple’s backyard shed. 

The man, 42-year-old Andrew Salmon, admitted to police that he had attacked his wife Beverley at their home in Truro, England, UK. The fight began after Beverly mocked the death of her husband’s mother with a Wizard of Oz reference by repeatedly chanting “Ding dong, the witch is dead.” 

According to the Daily Mail, Andrew Salmon reacted by punching his wife, twisting her breasts, and ultimately locking her in an outdoor garden shed. Beverly managed to climb out the window of the shed and make her way back into the house, where the fight continued. 

After admitting his guilt to the local police, Salmon expressed his feelings of regret. 

“I was provoked, but I am sorry for what I have done to my wife and regret everything I did,” Salmon said. 

Still, the man pleaded guilty. He is scheduled to be sentenced at some point next month. 

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11Grieving Sons Attempt To Unlock Deceased Mother's iPad And Told By Apple They'd Need A Court Order

When 26-year-old Josh Grant buried his 59-year-old mother Anthea, he didn’t expect that he’d add a battle with tech giant Apple to his list of things to deal with.

At their mother’s funeral, Grant and his brother Patrick realized that they never asked their mother what her Apple ID password was so that they could get into her iPad. When Grant reached out to Apple to explain the situation, they denied his request for information, saying he needed “written permission” from his newly deceased mother.

Grant and his brother again attempted to explain that their mother had just recently died of cancer and that, obviously, she was unable to write them a letter. Apple then asked the brothers for a copy of Anthea’s death certificate, her will, and a letter from their solicitor. Apple later went even further and requested that the grieving sons get a court order to unlock the woman’s beloved iPad, citing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as reason.

Grant, who is from London, wrote on his blog that although he was once an Apple fan, he is now turned off by their lack of compassion.

“I have always been a fan of Apple but this incident has changed my opinion of them completely,” Grant wrote on his blog Musnt’t Grumble. “Their utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness has been astonishing. For a company that sells itself on the idea we are all part of one big Apple family, they have been very cold. Understandably, my brother has given up and we now have a redundant iPad. If anyone has any suggestions for an unusable iPad please do send them in. I’ve suggested illuminated placemat and shiny paperweight.”

Josh and Patrick Grant became executors of their late mother’s estate when she passed away on January 19.

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11Drivers Sickened By Whale Carcass Transported On Busy Highway: ‘Blood And Guts Dropping’

Drivers in England were disgusted as a flatbed truck transported a rotting 50-foot giant sperm whale down a major freeway in broad daylight this week.

Driver Mark Stephens, 41, described the “unbelievable” stench coming from the carcass as it road fown the A2 towards Canterbury in Kent.

“There was a Land Rover in front and behind, flashing orange lights and this massive whale with its head and tail chopped off. There was blood and guts dropping off the back and everything,” Stephens told the Telegraph. “The smell was unbelievable. I’ve worked near an abattoir and that smelled bad, but this was something else.”

The whale was being taken to a landfill after it lay beached near Seasalter on the North Kent coast for a week.

“It was incredible really,” Stephens said. “You would have thought, given the state it was in, they would have transported it at night. I don’t think I’ll see anything like that again.”

Danny Groves, spokesman for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, told the Telegraph whale and dolphin carcasses are transported to landfills every year.

“It’s very hard to put an exact figure on the numbers, but it’s fairly common,” he said. “They have to be taken to landfill sites because they’re a health hazard. We advise people not to touch these animals if they come across them on a beach.”

Sources: New York Daily News, Telegraph

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11British Man Lodges Formal Complaint Against Prostitute Who Refused Service

A British man filed a formal complaint with a London borough council when a prostitute refused to have sex with him.

The unidentified man traveled from North London to the Borough of Harrow to visit a brothel. He filed the complaint with the Harrow Council after an eastern European prostitute he approached turned him down.

“The gentleman seemed very aggrieved,” a council source told the London Evening Standard. “He told us he believed he had been refused and was angry about the fact. He insisted that prostitutes shouldn’t be able to behave like that.”

“He filled in the form pretty seriously and gave us his contact details,” he added.

Officials, however, told him there isn’t a law that covers his complaint.

“Prostitution may be the oldest profession in the world, but a complaint of this sort is a new one on us. The trading standards manual doesn’t really cover it,” said Councillor Susan Hall.

Meanwhile, the brothel is currently being shut down.

“I would like the gentleman involved to visit Harrow again, but perhaps this time he could enjoy some of our more wholesome pursuits – like our wonderful open parks, leisure centers and historic churches,” Hall added.

Sources: London Evening Standard, New York Daily News

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