Dog survives surgery to have Christmas decorations removed from his stomach

Christmas is a time for overindulgence. But this hungry hound took it too far when he swallowed a foot of fairy lights. Charlie, a seven-year-old crossbreed dog from Southampton, had to be rushed to the operating table and saved by a team of vets who performed life-saving surgery on him.
Owner Sharon Fay, who refers to her dog as the ‘light of her life’, became concerned when she noticed bits of wire sticking out of Charlie's faeces in the garden. The 45-year-old said: ‘I hadn't even noticed that the lights had been chewed at this stage but it quickly became clear what had happened. ‘Back in March he ate one of my scarves and needed an operation to remove it, but I thought it was just a one-off incident as he hadn't shown any signs that he was going to be a repeat offender. I've had dogs all my life and have never known a dog act like this before.’ An X-ray shed light on Charlie's problem - the tangled remains of the decorations showed up in his stomach and would have proved fatal if they were not removed.
PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Sophie Bell said that she had never seen a case like this before. ‘Over the years I've seen plenty of cases of dogs swallowing strange objects - socks, dummies, rubber ducks, but it's the first time any of us have treated a dog that has actually eaten fairy lights,’ she said. ‘A foreign body of this nature could easily have caused severe internal injuries so Charlie was very, very lucky. He was also fortunate that the glass didn't cut his mouth or throat. And he could have been electrocuted if he'd bitten through the wire when the lights were switched on.
‘With the Christmas season upon us, I'd advise owners to keep any edible items out of reach of inquisitive pets to avoid them from becoming ill over the festive season.’ Charlie returned home and has since gone on to make a full recovery, much to the delight of his owner. Ms Fay said: ‘I'll certainly be keeping an extra close eye on him from now on and have Charlie-proofed my house now.’ PDSA is advising pet owners to be extra cautious this Christmas. Its vets see many cases of pets getting their paws on inappropriate festive items every year, ranging from Christmas decorations, chocolate and cocktail sticks to toys, balloons and bones.

'Jesus was gay'! Church sparks outrage with claim son of God 'should come out'

It is the season of glad tidings and forgiveness. But many Christians living in Auckland, New Zealand, are struggling to find goodwill in their hearts for the latest in a series of controversial billboards coming out from the Church of St Matthew in the City. 'It's Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out', the sign proclaims, with an image of baby Jesus as a toddler in a manger, surrounded by a rainbow halo. The billboard was put up by the Reverend Glynn Cardy, who said it was meant to 'lift' the humanity of Jesus. But it is likely to face the same fate as last year's controversial poster - torn down by angry locals.
The Rev's message, while presented in a controversial manner, is to ask if it would change anything for the faithful if Jesus had been gay. He points out that there is no indication about Jesus's sexuality: 'The fact is we don't know what his sexual orientation was.'
This isn't the first time the church has erected a controversial billboard. Last year the church erected one showing the Virgin Mary looking shocked at the results of a pregnancy test. However it did not last long, after an angry protestor tore it down. But Cardy did not mind, especially as the image had already gone viral, seen by millions of people. He said: 'In the internet age though the image will be out there forever. They can do what they want to it.' On this year's billboard, Rev Cardy said that, as homosexuality was not a word until the 1800s, any mention of it in the Bible or other documents would have mistranslations. Fellow Reverend Clay Nelson said the billboard tries to humanise Jesus by getting people to think about the challenges he would have had growing up. He added: 'Some scholars have tried to make the case that he might have been gay. 'But it is all conjecture. Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter? 'There is almost nothing in the record of his teachings about sexuality while there is plenty about the perils of being rich. Certainly he always supported the marginalised in society.'
It is not the first time billboards have caused an outrage. In the UK, the gay lobby group Stonewall's bus poster campaign stating 'Some people are gay. Get over it' has raised debates over how far advertising should push a viewpoint. It has led to some controversy, including one Christian bus driver from Rotherham who left a bus-full of angry passengers waiting as he would not drive a bus with the banner on the side. Earlier this year, London Mayor Boris Johnson blocked a Christian group from running a 'Not gay and proud: Get over it' campaign on London buses.

Hilarious snap of cat that look alike Batman

A new dark knight detective has been prowling the rooftops and alleyways of Gotham City: Catman! Reddit user Hamsternose has posted a picture of a cat which bears a striking resemblance to Batman, the wildly popular superhero immortalised in film, video games, animation, TV, a stage show and, of course, comics, The cute, yet mildly intimidating, image took the internet by storm and at one point was even trending on Twitter.
Users of social media sites posted comments like 'now we know what happened to Robin' and 'can we somehow breed more?' However, Bruce Wayne's feline alter ego hasn't quite won over everyone who has seen it. One Reddit user posted: 'This is the most frightening thing I have ever seen.'
Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger and made his debut in 1940. Since then he has become of of the world's most beloved superheroes and has even starred in one of the biggest box office smashes of all time. The Dark Knight, featuring Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as his nemesis the Joker, made over $1billion.

An African Python Swallows An Entire Wildebeest

This is the incredibly rare moment an African python was caught on camera trying to eat an entire wildebeest. The massive snake looked like its eyes were bigger than its belly when it was discovered in the South African bush swallowing the massive meal. It is thought to be the first time this behaviour has been caught on camera as the python - which can grow up to 16 foot - was believed to try for much smaller prey. The gruesome encounter was photographed at the Welgevonden Game Reserve, South Africa, by manager Rudi Hulshof.
Rudi, 35, said: 'This was the first time I had ever seen something like this, and I have been working as a game ranger for 15 years already in South Africa, and have also travelled to other African Countries. 'This is an incredibly rare sighting, and is by my knowledge the first time that it has been recorded, let alone photographed and documented that a Southern African python catches prey as big as the blue wildebeest, albeit a wildebeest calf. 'Herpetologists I have consulted are all impressed, and dumbfounded by the images when they have seen them.'
He added: 'It is not uncommon for pythons to catch live mammal prey, but this would usually consist of smaller species like hares, rabbits, impala lambs, duiker antelope, squirrels, birds, rats, cane rats and rodents etc. 'But to have managed something so big is mind boggling. This can be seen by how the python needed to really stretch its mouth to the limits to try and swallow the prey. 'I have been photographing wildlife for the past 15 years while I have been working in the industry, at various lodges and game reserves spread around South Africa.' Rudi said he came across the unusual encounter quite by chance while actually looking for lions and leopards. He said: 'I decided to investigate the area in the afternoon arriving at the spot where the alarm calls were heard hours before, I stopped and scanned the area with my binoculars, seeing only a few scattered Wildebeest, and a herd of Impala. 'The impala were staring down the back of a ridge drop off about 150 metres away, and it was enough for me to think there could have been a leopard or pride of lions feeding on something just out of sight. 'I took my rifle, left the guests on the vehicle and walked in to try and establish if it was in fact what I thought, and if I would be able to walk clients in safely to view the action.
'I however found nothing, and just as I turned to return to my guests, I saw this snake lying on the ground. Moving closer I saw that it was swallowing the Wildebeest calf, aged about two months old. 'I almost could not believe what I was seeing, and being someone normally really composed, my guests must have thought the worst, because I sprinted back to the road as fast as my legs would allow. 'I simply had to retrieve my camera and get pictures, and allow my guests to get pictures, before the sun set, which was only a few minutes away. 'I just told the guests to follow me with their own cameras, not letting the secret out just yet, and led them to the sighting. 'We watched for about 30 minutes, before descending darkness forced us to leave, and return to the car, all speechless at what we had just witnessed. 'We returned the following morning, first thing, but found nothing. No tracks, no scuff marks, no python and no prey. Everything was gone, and because it had rained, we could not read any tracks to see which way the snake may have slithered off.'

Building That Plays Music And Singing in the Rain to Attract Tourist

This singing wall has tourists braving stormy weather to listen to its music, composed only when skies are grey. An intricate system of drains and funnels is attached on the outside of a colourful house in Germany and when it rains the entire building becomes an instrument. The house is located in Neustadt Kunsthofpassage, an area of Dresden part of an arts project called the Courtyard of Elements.
The singing house was created by sculptor Annette Paul and designers Christoph Rossner and André Tempel, who all live in the musical home. Ms Paul said she was inspired by her home in St Petersburg where she would listen to the ‘rain theatre’ of the pipes outside her home. The Courtyard of Elements also have a yellow façade with aluminum panels representing the light, and a green one adorned with giraffes and monkeys representing the animals. Neustadt Kunsthofpassage has a total of five courtyards, including the ‘Courtyard of Metamorphoses and the Couryard of Mythical Creatures’.

Man Caught in Cross-Dressing in UAE after a woman spotted his moustache

A cross-dressing man was arrested in a 'ladies only'-park in the United Arab Emirates after his moustache gave him away. The man was wearing a black abaya, covering his face with a headscarf, when he visited a park in the the Sharjah emirate to ‘perv’, a police statement said. The Indian national was spotted by a woman who saw his moustache and reported him to the police.
An official at Sharjah Police said: 'The suspect was caught wearing women’s clothes. The park was exclusively for women on that day. 'He was walking around the park in the abaya enjoying his time there.' The man will be charged with cross-dressing, an illegal act in Sharjah. Upon his arrest Sharjah Police discovered that the Indian national did not have a legal visa and will also be charged with staying illegally in the country.
Sharjah is considered the strictest of the United Arab Emirates and it is the only emirate where alcohol is completely banned. Their ‘Decency and Public Conduct Rules and Objectives’ came in to force in 2001 and dictates a conservative dress code for men and women. It also includes a ban on unmarried men and women being alone ‘in public places, or in suspicious times or circumstances’

British mother tells of horrific jellyfish stings in Thailand that have left her scarred for life

A mother has told how she feared she was being eaten by a shark when she was stung by a jellyfish just hours after arriving at a luxury resort in Thailand. Sam Webster, from Solihull, suffered third degree burns and was left with horrific scarring when she fell from a banana boat and was attacked by the dangerous sea creatures. The 37-year-old said the stings felt like 'hundreds of razors' being sliced through her leg, leaving her close to drowning before her partner jumped in to save her.
She spent the rest of her trip in hospital and since returning to the UK has undergone two operations and faces further skin grafts to repair her leg. Now Ms Webster, who had to take four months off from her job as a council manager, wants to warn other Brits travelling to Thailand. She said: ‘I am scarred for life but just pleased to be alive and relieved that it wasn’t my daughter that got stung. ‘The pain was so bad I honestly thought I had been attacked by a shark. I’ve been through months of hell since this happened. I never realised a jellyfish sting could be so life changing. I want to warn others.’ Ms Webster had arrived in Thailand and taken her six-year-old daughter Ella on a banana boat ride to cool down after their trip, while partner Dave Stanley, a sales manager, watched from the shore. After zipping around the ocean, Ms Webster fell off the ride into the water and was waiting for the driver to turn round and get her when she was stung. She says: ‘One minute I was laughing and splashing about, the next it felt like hundreds of razors were being sliced through my leg. ‘I was screaming and panicking so much I started floundering in the water. I thought if I wasn’t eaten I would drowned anyway, but luckily my partner saw and dived in to pull me back to shore.’ Her calf was covered in huge red blisters and locals crowded round, some pouring cold drinks on her leg. Ms Webster says: ‘I heard them saying it was a jellyfish sting but I was in shock. It felt like my leg had been dipped in acid.’ A local policeman drove her to a nearby clinic in his pick up truck and she was treated with antibiotics and painkillers and taken back to her hotel to rest. The next morning, Ms Webster tried to ignore the pain in her leg as the family had booked a rainforest excursion and her daughter was looking forward to feeding elephants. ‘It was the trip of a lifetime, the highlight of our visit and I didn’t want to spoil it. I thought a jellyfish sting couldn’t be that bad,’ she explains. But during the drive, her leg started to swell and the red blisters turned black. She says: ‘Dave was looking very worried and insisting I needed to be seen but by now we were deep in the rainforest.’
With the help of their guide, Ms Webster was taken to a tiny hospital in the rainforest where lizards scampered up the walls. ‘Of course I didn’t expect the standard of hospitals we are used to at home but I was shocked to see the wildlife inside. There were no sheets and blood on the floor. I was terrified.’ Mr Stanley spoke with their tour operator who arranged a transfer to a bigger private hospital in Phuket. He stayed with Ms Webster’s daughter Ella at camp while her mother was taken by ambulance on the six-hour journey. It was there medics confirmed she had suffered third degree burns caused by a jellyfish sting. 'I was admitted for a week and they started clearing the spines out of my leg. It was agony. I insisted Dave and Ella stay at the hotel, I didn’t want to spoil their trip. There was no phone reception so I couldn’t even speak to them. 'It was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime but I had to lie in bed watching English war films.’ Three days into her stay an earthquake rocked the hospital. ‘I was starting to think my time was up when the nurses ran in to evacuate me. It couldn’t have gotten any worse.’ Thankfully nobody was hurt and after seven days as an inpatient, she was reunited with her daughter and partner. They flew back to England and Ms Webster was admitted to hospital immediately. Surgeons removed the top layer of skin and weeks later she had a second operation to remove the damaged tissue underneath. She spent the next three months recovering from the surgery on crutches and has only recently been able to return to work as a manager with the local council. She said: ‘It was meant to be the trip of a lifetime but it turned into a real nightmare. ‘I’ll never be able to wear shorts again and will need skin grafts in the future to help the scarring but knowing what I know now about jellyfish stings I was lucky. I could have died. ‘I won’t ever be able to wear shorts or a bikini again. My leg is a mess. ‘I want to warn others travelling in Thailand so it doesn’t happen to them. I honestly wish we had gone to Cornwall or Weymouth instead.’

World's strongest boy does push ups while balancing on glass bottles

The world's strongest boy doing push ups while being held up on the tops of glass bottles shows that he continues to challenge himself.

The clip, released on YouTube Friday, shows seven-year-old Giuliano Stroe balance his hands and feet using green glass bottles.

Once he steadies himself on the small bottle tops, he proceeds to do 12 push ups.

This is not little Giuliano's first brush with fame.

The exceptional pre-schooler performed the fastest ever 10m hand walk with a weight ball between his legs in 2009 and was put into the Guinness Book of World Records for the feat.

Father Iulian Stroe, 36, previously said: 'He has been going to the gym with me ever since he was born. I always took him with me when I went training.'

Mr Stroe now trains both Giuliano and his younger brother Claudiu in their family home in Romania.

He added there is no danger of the youngster harming himself, saying: 'I have been training hard all my life myself.

'He is never allowed to practice on his own, he is only a child and if he gets tired we go and play.'

Giuliano, the oldest of four children, says his stardom has not gone to his head and he still enjoys normal kid stuff like painting, watching cartoons and playing in the park when he is not weightlifting.

But it seems he has picked up a taste for fame during his incredible exploits, revealing he enjoys it when he is applauded after performing.

In the four days since the latest video was posted, it has been viewed 146,622 times.

And, in terms of applause, he is getting a mixed bag of virtual appreciation, with 245 'likes' and 169 'dislikes'.

Bee-eating bear who's clearly got life licked

At first glance, this bear looks like she has taken a shine to the bark of the tree she is lazing about in.

But the amusing image is in fact the creature's best attempt at stifling a yawn as she woke up from a snooze at Miami Zoo in Florida.

Photographer Adrian Tavano captured Kala, a 19-year-old Malayan sun bear, as she emerged from a nap and opened her mouth.

Sun bears usually employ their tongue, which can reach up to ten-inches, to eat termites hidden deep inside trees.

Mr Tavano, 39, from Miami, said: 'The bear exhibit is very nice and visitors have a clear view of the animals.

'Kala loves to sleep on top of this tree, which was about 20 metres from where I was.

'I think she had just woken up and had a yawn, so she is not licking the tree but it looks like it.'

Pet cat spends 24 hours on a road sign 50ft off the ground

A curious cat used up all of its nine lives after getting stuck on a 50ft-high traffic sign above a busy motorway.

Police and animal lovers launched a major rescue operation after the puss spent 24 hours trapped on the sign alongside the M4.

Traffic officers set up a rolling roadblock as a crane was brought in to reach the frightened moggy.

Scaffolder Hugh Norville, 47, who went up in the crane lift, said: 'I was shocked when I saw him up there - you certainly don’t expect to see a cat perched above the M4.

'But we couldn’t have just left him up there. He was cold and scared, he could have died, I wasn’t going to let that happen.'

Brave Hugh climbed onto the concrete sign platform at Briton Ferry, near Swansea, armed with a tin of cat food to tempt the pet down.

He said: 'He was well-looked after - what made him climb onto the sign is a complete mystery.

'But whoever owns him should re-name him Lucky because he’s used all his nine lives up in one go.'

The cat was handed over to the RSPCA who returned him to his relieved owner today.

A spokeswoman said: 'The cat was well and truly stuck - but everyone pulled out all the stops to bring him down.

'It just just goes to show what a nation of animal lovers we are.'

Carving out a niche for himself, the artist uses chainsaw to create his masterpieces on TREES

A master craftsman has carved out a unique niche for himself turning trees into works of art using a heavy duty chainsaw.

Andy O'Neill, 40, spends days at a time creating each of his remarkable tree treats by carving the sculptures from felled logs.

Once completed, each piece of his art can fetch anywhere between £300 to £5,000 a time.

Andy is currently working at the National Pinetum in Bedgebury Forest, Kent - where he is carving seven sculptures including an enormous adder, a roman shield and sword and some other intricate designs, all with his trusty chainsaw

Wood carver Andy hails from Bristol but is currently living in a caravan in Bedgebury Forest, said: 'I've been doing this for four years and it's really something I love.

'As a schoolboy I wanted to do woodwork for O Level, but they didn't have enough pupils to make up a class, so I did art instead.

'I became a graphic designer and then a tree surgeon after leaving school, but wanted to carve myself a different path and combined my art with my love of forestry.

'My tallest creation was a 25ft tall totem pole that I carved out of a condemned beech tree - that was a real labour of love.

'As an artist I am in my own bubble - I've created my own style as I go along.

'Using a chainsaw instead of a paint brush puts me apart from most other artists straight away.'

In the New Year, visitors to Bedgebury's National Pinetum will be able to see Andy's chainsaw masterpieces at the free to enter forest.

The Pinetum is a recreational and conservational arboretum and was established as the National Conifer Collection in 1925 and is now recognised as the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world.

The collection has over 10,000 trees growing across 320 acres (1.3 km2), including rare, endangered and historically important specimens of pines, conifers and firs.

Bedgebury National Pinetum conducts conservation work and is home to some 56 vulnerable or critically endangered species along with Andy's astonishing art work.