Mad Minute

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A man has been accused of grabbing a 2 1/2-foot-long (76 centimeters) sword and chasing after another man who asked him to turn down his music, police in Manchester, New Hampshire, said.

A man knocked on the door of Benjamin Layland, 47, on Monday, police said. Layland reportedly became upset and grabbed the sword. He allegedly chased the man down a hall, police said. The man got away and there were no injuries.

Layland was charged with criminal threatening. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately known if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.


March 24 (UPI) -- An Australian snake catcher was summoned to a Queensland home where a resident made a shocking discovery -- a 14.8-foot albino Burmese python on her front porch.

Tony Harrison of Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher said a woman discovered the massive snake on her front porch Monday and summoned him to the scene.

Harrison said the 110-pound snake was the largest animal he has been called to capture in his 26 years of operating his business. He said it was his second-ever call for a Burmese python, a species banned in Australia due to their invasive nature.

The snake catcher told CNN the python was clearly an escaped pet, as it was a "gentle giant" that he dubbed a "pussycat."

"It's been kept in captivity its whole life," he said.

Harrison said he turned the big snake over to local authorities.


March 24 (UPI) -- Residents at a nursing home in Wales passed the time during lockdown by adapting the board game Hungry Hungry Hippos into a life-sized competition with residents in wheelchairs playing the "hippos."

The Bryn Celyn Care Home, which instituted a lockdown March 12 to protect residents an staff from the coronavirus pandemic, posted a video to Facebook showing residents and staff playing a life-sized game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

The video shows residents in wheelchairs being pushed back and forth while using plastic bins attached to poles to try to grab as many balls as possible from the middle of the circle.

"Everyone in the home team and residents are worried about the virus," Michelle Williams​, general manager at Bryn Celyn Care, told CNN. "But we are staying positive and doing what we do every day, which is supporting our residents, and keeping it as normal as possible."


March 24 (UPI) -- An Internet service-finding website is offering someone $1,000 to spend their coronavirus quarantine time binging through the first two seasons of Netflix original series Ozark. said the chosen applicant for the 17-day dream job will be paid $1,000 to watch 20 hours of the series, the first two seasons, in advance of the upcoming third season.

"The lucky fan who lands this gig will be given 17 days to watch 20 hours of Ozark Season 1 and 2 (combined 20 episodes). Then you'll have to complete a checklist to include several familiar tropes that are present in each episode," the website said.

The posting said the opportunity is open to Ozark fans and newcomers alike.

"There no restrictions whatsoever, no background checks for money laundering, and expect zero drug testing. The only thing you must abide by is to apply for yourself and not for someone else," it said.

The winner will also receive a Netflix gift card and Ozark merchandise including an "I build churches" coffee mug.

Applications are being accepted on the website through March 27.


March 24 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia store constructed a pulley machine outside of the building to keep shopping carts sanitized amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Square Market in the City Center area constructed a pulley system outside the store that lifts shopping carts and dips them into giant tubs of liquid sanitizer to ensure they are not spreading coronavirus to customers.

The market, and other grocery stores in the city, are remaining open amid the city and state's stay-at-home orders, as they are considered essential businesses by officials.

"We are glad to have instituted a new practice of cleansing shopping carts and hand baskets frequently," the store said in a Facebook post. "A duplicate system was built for Rittenhouse Market as well."


March 23 (UPI) -- A pair of winning lottery tickets were sold at the same New Jersey convenience store, the state lottery said Monday.

The two tickets winning the New Jersey Lottery's Jersey Cash 5 game were both sold at Morlot Food & News in the city of Fairlawn.

Each winning ticket was worth $24,147 as the two winners split the $54,294 from the drawing on Saturday.

Morlot Food & News will receive $2,000 for each winning lottery ticket purchased at the store.


March 23 (UPI) -- Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering an unusual message of gratitude to state park visitors: "Thank you for not stealing our toilet paper."

An electronic sign at the entrance to Boyd Lake State Park, which thus far has remained open amid the coronavirus pandemic, thanks visitors for not raiding the park's bathrooms for supplies.

"Thank you for not stealing our toilet paper!!!" the sign reads.

Parks and Wildlife posted a photo of the sign to Twitter.

"To those that haven't stolen toilet paper at our #ColoradoStateParks, thank you," the department tweeted.


(Huffington Post) Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar left a legacy of crime and violence in his country ― but his most lasting influence may be on the environment.

Well, not Escobar exactly, but a group of nearly 80 hippos descended from the four he owned that were set free after his death in 1993.

Although the so-called "cocaine hippos" have been accused of wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem, a new study suggests the invasive animals may also "restore ecological functions" lost for thousands of years due to "human-driven extinctions."

In other words, it seems that large herbivores like the hippos in Colombia are playing a biological role similar to that of mammoths, giant sloths and giant wombats during the Late Pleistocene period about 116,000 to 12,000 years ago.

Study co-author John Rowan told the Guardian that Escobar's feral hippos have a diet and body size like those of the extinct giant llamas that used to live in the area, while they share a similar size and semiaquatic habitat with another extinct mammal called the notoungulates.

"So, while hippos don't perfectly replace any one extinct species, they restore parts of important ecologies across several species," said Rowan, a Darwin fellow in organismic and evolutionary biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The study goes against the standard negative view of invasive species.

For example, Escobar's hippos have been accused of polluting lakes with their feces. But study co-author Erick Lundgren pointed out to Gizmodo that hippo poop "plays a keystone role in boosting fishery productivity" in Africa, so maybe it's not all bad.

Rowan acknowledged that the new report may cause some controversy in biological circles, but hopes it encourages people to consider long-term effects when assessing the influence of invasive species on a particular ecosystem.

"Hopefully it ignites a debate on entrenched views in conservation biology and encourages folks to 'take the long view' when thinking about biodiversity's past, present, and future," he told Newsweek. "All we need is an open mind and a little creativity."

The study appears in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.


Santiago (AFP) - A wild puma was captured after it was found wandering around the deserted center of Santiago in search of food, Chilean authorities said on Tuesday.

Chile is under a nighttime curfew due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The puma came down to the capital city from nearby surrounding hills.

"This is the habitat they once had and that we've taken away from them," said Marcelo Giagnoni, the director of the agricultural and livestock service that took part in an operation to capture the puma alongside police and the national zoo.

The puma was around a year old and weighed approximately 35 kilograms. It was transferred to the Santiago zoo to undergo tests.

"The puma is in good health," said Giagnoni.

Last year another wild puma was rescued after perching on a tree in a densely populated sector of eastern Santiago.

It had been surveying people below for more than 15 hours before it was shot with a tranquilizer dart and fell around 18 meters onto mats below.

It was released back into the wild with a tracking device but a few weeks ago it was discovered the puma had died.

Pumas are the second heaviest feline in the Americas after the jaguar and is also known as a cougar, mountain lion, red tiger and catamount depending on where it lives.


March 24 (UPI) -- An Indian drummer broke a Guinness World Record at the age of only 6 years old when he performed 5,500 drum beats in only three minutes.

Devaagyh Dixit, 6, known as India's youngest drummer, was awarded a Guinness World Records certificate for most drumbeats using drumsticks in three minutes when he managed to strike the drum 5,500 times in the allotted time.

Dixit said he has been drumming since he was only a toddler.

"When I had just turned two years old, my father brought a drum set for himself. It so happened that before he could lay his hands on the drums, I picked up the sticks and started playing the drums myself," he told the Times of India.

The boy said he plans to grow up to be a fighter jet pilot, but in the meantime he is practicing every day to improve his drumming skills.