Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 14th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 14th

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- The deputy leader of an Australian political party announced Friday that he was ending his nine-year career in Parliament because he had discovered he had technically never been a senator.
Scott Ludlam, the 47-year-old deputy leader of the minor Greens party, said he was "personally devastated" to learn that he was a citizen of New Zealand as well as Australia, which made him ineligible for the Senate job he has held since July 2008.
The constitution states that a "citizen of a foreign power" is not eligible to be elected to the Australian Parliament.
While lawmakers have discovered they were technically ineligible after elections in the past, Ludlam said nine years later seemed to be a record.
"I apologize unreservedly for this," Ludlam told reporters. "This is an oversight that was avoidable and it's something I should have fixed up in 2006 when I first nominated."
Born in in Palmerston North in New Zealand, Ludlam moved to Perth, Australia, when was 3 years old. He became an Australian as a teenager and said he hadn't realized that New Zealand citizenship "might be something that sticks to you in that way."
He was elected to the Senate three times after stating in nomination forms on each occasion that he was not a dual citizen.
He joked: "I can at least vote in the New Zealand elections in September."
The government could demand Ludlam repay millions of dollars in salary and expenses that he has claimed since 2008.
"I'm hoping common sense prevails," Ludlam said. "If I'd known all along this was the case and I'd just been sprung, maybe they would have a case, but this is as much of a surprise to me as it was to anybody else."

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (AP) -- A Roman Catholic bishop is offering prayers to New York-area commuters facing what's been billed as a "Summer of Hell."
Long Island Bishop John Barres (BAR'-ihs) is posting daily one-minute spiritual messages on a video blog .
Maybe it's working. So far, few widespread problems have been reported following Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's initial "hell" prediction.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre says the bishop is aware that commuters are facing challenges getting to and from New York City this summer. Earlier this week, an infrastructure project began at Penn Station.
Travelers began using alternate stations, buses and ferries as schedules were altered on the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.
The diocese is the country's sixth-largest, with more than 1.4 million Catholics.
 
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DEPOE BAY, Ore. (AP) -- A truck hauling eels overturned on an Oregon highway, turning the coastal road into a slimy mess.
Oregon State Police on Thursday posted a photo on Twitter that showed damaged cars covered by the gooey eels. The agency also posed the question: "What to tell the #drycleaner?"
Meanwhile, the Depoe Bay Fire Department posted a video of workers using a bulldozer to clear the eels from Highway 101.
Police said Salvatore Tragale was driving north with 13 containers holding 7,500 pounds (3,402 kilograms) of hagfish, which are commonly known as slime eels.
As Tragale approached road construction and tried to stop, one container flew off the truck bed and into the southbound lane, while the other containers spilled onto the highway, police said.
The flying container hit one vehicle which then caused it and four other vehicles to be pushed into each other. Police said the people in the vehicle hit by the container suffered minor injuries. No one else was injured.
When hagfish become stressed, they secrete a slime, which can be seen in the photos on the vehicles and on the highway, police said.
The road reopened after the bulldozing and hosing it off was completed Thursday afternoon.

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HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man is accused of biting skin off his father's ear while fighting over money in the woods near their home.
The Standard-Speaker of Hazleton reports that 26-year-old Matthew R. Maslo is also accused of threatening his brother with a knife and ramming a car into the side of his father's house near Hazleton on June 24.
State police say he was taken into custody by seven troopers after a brief struggle.
Maslo is charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and harassment.
He remains in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing.
Court records didn't list an attorney for Maslo.

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - A pregnant raccoon decided to get busy in the backseat of a convertible - giving birth.
Employees at an auto detailing shop in Florida's Manatee County first discovered the mother, who crawled through a plastic cover on the car's window.
Devon Straight, who works with a wildlife rescue group, said they initially found just one baby Wednesday. But when they opened the trunk, there was another newborn.
Straight put the mother and babies into a kennel and released them into the woods.
The Herald-Tribune reports the critters tore up the sun shades on the car and chewed on some shoes.
Straight says raccoons typically have three and five babies per litter. He couldn't find any other newborns and says she may still be pregnant.

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An elephant who was swept out to sea off a Sri Lankan coast has been rescued, according to the country's navy.
The elephant was stranded about 10 miles off the country's northeast coast, The Guardian reported. The friendly giant was caught up in a rip current off the coast and pulled away into the ocean, where it was seen by a patrol boat.
The spotted elephant swimming out at sea was apparently not as incredible a feat as it seemed.
"They're very good swimmers," Avinash Krishnan, a conservation research officer, told The Guardian. "Swimming about 15km from the shore is not unusual for an elephant."
Divers were dispatched to rescue the elephant in what was reportedly a 12-hour process.
Wildlife officials who swam out to the elephant tied ropes to it and gently brought him back to a shallow area near the coast, where The Guardian reported it was released.

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VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis hasn't lost his sense of humor despite a rough few weeks of clamorous exits of top Vatican officials and some other negative headlines.
He has hung a sign on the door of his hotel suite reading: "No Whining." In smaller print the sign continues: "Transgressors are subject to a syndrome of victimization and the ensuing reduction of a sense of humor and capacity to resolve problems. Sanctions are doubled when the violation is committed in the presence of children."
The online Vatican site of the La Stampa daily, Vatican Insider, published a photo of the sign Friday.
In recent weeks, the Vatican's auditor general resigned, its treasurer returned to Australia to face trial for sex abuse and its top doctrine official was dismissed.

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A stifling heat wave in eastern and central China this week has led to a run on the country's beaches - as well as the return of the "facekini."
These pictures show fashion-forward Chinese women packing the beaches in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. 
The "facekini," a balaclava-style fabric head covering, has been a must-have for Chinese beachgoers since it first appeared in  2004. Covering the entire face and head - with the exception of holes for the eyes, nose and mouth - the facekini is ideal for protection from the sun's rays, as well as insects, jellyfish and other irritants.
Apart from its practicality, the facekini also serves a social function. Pale female skin is prized in China, long an agrarian society where a suntan was a giveaway that one performed menial labor as a member of the lower classes.
The woman credited with inventing the garment, Zhang Shifan, told Reuters in 2015 that approximately her shop had sold approximately 30,000 facekinis over the past year.
She's likely to sell more this week, with some Chinese cities recording temperatures as high as 122 degrees Farenheit. According to the Sun newspaper, some cities have resorted to opening their underground bomb shelters to residents wishing to escape the searing temperatures.

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London, England, UK - The new Jaguar E-PACE leapt into the record books Thursday at the Excel Center in London after completing a 50 foot jump complete with a 270-degree "barrel roll", a first for a production car.
The stunt is best known from the James Bond movie, "The Man with the Golden Gun", according to stunt driver Terry Grant, who experienced more than five G's of acceleration during the jump.
The stunt was part of Jaguar's world premier for the E-PACE, the latest compact SUV model from the carmaker.

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(Huffington Post) We see England, we see France ... we see the non-whiteness of your underpants.
When it comes to enforcing its all-white dress code, Wimbledon will get into your pants if it has to.
On Thursday, an umpire made junior tennis player Jurij Rodionov pull part of his shorts down, revealing colored underwear, outlets noted.
Then a tournament supervisor stepped in to confirm the offending unmentionables.
Back to change you go, lad. Rodionov obliged and returned to win his boys singles match over Blake Ellis.
On Wednesday, the boys doubles team of Zsombor Piros and Yibing Wu also ran afoul of the Grand Slam tournament's draconian wardrobe restrictions, according to outlets.
The two were forced to exchange their black underwear (those nonconformists!) for something a tad more, uh, white.
They also triumphed, 6-4, 6-1. 
The stuffed shirts at the All England Lawn Tennis Club have also been persnickety on the women's side, too, reportedly asking Venus Williams to change out of a pink sports bra during her first round match.
 

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