Offbeat
Latest stories
Refracted Rays from Nutella Jar Blamed for UK House Fire

London's firefighters say sun rays refracted by a Nutella jar likely caused a house fire.

The city's fire brigade says investigators believe the glass jar — which had been emptied of the hazelnut spread — had been placed on a window sill and refracted sunlight, setting blinds alight.

W140 Full Story
China Media Pooh-pooh Japan's Luxury Lavatories

The built-in bottom washers and pre-warmed seats of Japan's luxury toilets have become the latest flashpoint with China, as Beijing's state-run media launched a thunderous tirade against them Thursday.

The Global Times, which is affiliated with the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, devoted the editorial in both its English and Chinese editions to the subject, under the headline: "Popularity of Japanese toilet seats overstated".

W140 Full Story
Sidewalk Sinkhole Swallows S. Korean Couple

Concerns about public safety standards in South Korea have been fueled by shocking CCTV images of a young couple being swallowed up by a sinkhole that opened at their feet on the sidewalk in Seoul. 

The footage, which has gone viral on social networking sites, shows the couple plunging through the paved sidewalk, shortly after alighting from a bus in the South Korean capital, as other passers-by look on in horror.

W140 Full Story
Giant Rio Confection Takes the Cake

Revelers at Rio's 450th birthday party bash this Sunday are licking their lips at the prospect of devouring a slice of a 450-meter-long (1,500 feet) cake.

And if the 2.1 tons of sugar don't give you a head rush, the scale of the ingredients will: 2.5 tons of flour; 3,000 eggs; 1,000 liters of milk -- and as much again of whipped cream.

W140 Full Story
A Night with Godzilla? In Japan, Anything is Possible

If you've ever wanted to sleep with a giant lizard -- and let's face it, you only live once -- one Japanese hotel has just the thing with its soon-to-be opened Godzilla Room.

Hotel Gracery in Tokyo's buzzing entertainment district of Shinjuku offers the chance to catch some shuteye under the watchful gaze of a man-size atomic mutant as he stomps on a miniature Japanese capital in the corner of your room.

W140 Full Story
Rescued Sea Turtle Flown from Oregon to California

A sea turtle that was rescued from frigid Northwest waters and treated at the Oregon Coast Aquarium has caught a ride back to California on a Coast Guard training flight.

The aquarium in Newport says the endangered olive ridley turtle named Solstice hitched a ride Tuesday on a Coast Guard C-130 and will complete her rehabilitation at SeaWorld in San Diego.

W140 Full Story
Australian RSPCA Seizes 150 Pets Hoarded in Canberra Home

Some 150 pets including mice, rats and guinea pigs have been found in an Australian home, an animal welfare group said Wednesday as it warned about the hoarding of animals. 

The RSPCA said the small creatures, which also included ducks and other birds, were seized from the house in the capital Canberra.

W140 Full Story
Fake Jim Carrey Muscles in on Czech Film Awards

The Czech film academy was left red-faced after being hoaxed into allowing a man impersonating Hollywood funnyman Jim Carrey on the stage as a special guest at its annual awards ceremonies.

"We were the victims of an elaborate hoax," the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) said about the embarrassing bungle that hit the prestigious "Cesky Lev" (Czech Lion) awards ceremonies over the weekend.

W140 Full Story
Critics Tear their Hair over Malaysia PM's Wife

The wife of Malaysia's prime minister, who is widely mocked over reports of her taste for luxury, drew fresh scorn on Tuesday after she complained about the rising cost of house calls from hairdressers and tailors.

Rosmah Mansor, 63, is a controversial figure in Malaysia, where she is routinely portrayed by critics as out of touch with ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet.

W140 Full Story
LED Traffic Lights Just Too Cool for Snowy Japan

Energy-saving LED traffic lights seemed like a cool way to cut back on electricity costs, but Japanese police said Monday they might just be too cool -- because they don't melt snow.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) account for around 45 percent of all of Japan's stop-and-go signals and that proportion is growing as local authorities cotton on to their economizing possibilities compared with regular incandescent lights.

W140 Full Story