31 January 2008: Dead man walking

A Polish man is being prevented from returning from the dead by Red Tape.

Last August the Polish authorities incorrectly identified a drowned corpse as Piotr Kucy, aged 38, from the city of Polkowice.

Mr Kucy was really alive and well, and showed up a few days after his own funeral, but despite having repeatedly pointed out to government officials that he is alive, he still remains dead in official records.

However, Mr Kucy is quite relaxed about his situation. As a dead person he is no longer liable for tax.

30 January 2008: Fasten seatbelts; unfasten clothes

German holidaymakers will be able to fly nude on special flights being launched this year, according to a travel company.

In the former East Germany, naturism was authorised and naturist holidays were very popular. "We want to make that freedom possible above the clouds too," said the company.

All the passengers will fly naked, but are only allowed to undress once they are in the plane. The pilot and the flight attendants will keep their clothes on.

SaintFM advises anyone taking such a trip to avoid drinking hot coffee when the plane is suffering turbulence.

29 January 2008: Killer wanted

A woman has been arrested after she allegedly tried to hire a hitman to murder her married lover's wife.

The woman used an Internet advertisements site to post the unusual announcement, which got past the site's editors because the wording was obscure. But when respondents contacted the woman she made her meaning entirely clear. She then offered 5,000 dollars for the job and provided the address, name, age and occupation of the man's wife.

She has been charged with three offences, including using the Internet to commit a crime.

28 January 2008: The latest way to stop smoking

No more nicotine tablets and patches: the latest tool to help people stop smoking is a luxurious stretch limousine, according to a new anti-smoking campaign in Austria.

The campaign will tour Austrian shopping centres with a luxury stretch limo, meant to show nicotine addicts how much richer they would be today if their money had not gone up in smoke.

A spokesman for the campaign said "A smoker doesn't want to hear that smoking is bad for you; he already knows that. A person who stops will benefit not only his health but will also feel it in his wallet."

Cost is known to be one of the top three reasons why people stop smoking.

25 January 2008: Emergency! Return to base!

One of Britain's biggest warships has been forced to retreat back to base because of a technical fault in a key component. The ship's fridge.

The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious sailed from Portsmouth on Wednesday to join multi-national operations in the Indian Ocean. But she had to turn back because a refrigeration unit used to store meat was in danger of breaking down.

"It wouldn't be prudent for her to go off with the chance of the unit breaking down while she was a warm climate and then engineers would have to be flown out to her to fix it", a Navy Spokesman commented.

24 January 2008: To cold to walk

The city of Winnipeg, in Canada, has a car theft problem, with more than a dozen vehicles being stolen in the city every day. Many of the thieves are teenagers and the city runs a counselling programme which requires them to attend as often as every three hours, to ensure they are not out stealing cars.

But it's cold in Winnipeg at this time of year, with daytime temperatures dipping to minus 40 degrees Celsius last week, and two of the programme's participants decided it was too cold to walk to the programme.

So to get there, they stole a car.

The local police said "some people make dumb decisions"

23 January 2008: And the winner is ...

Actors Lindsay Lohan and Eddie Murphy have both been nominated for Hollywood film awards, but they won't be pleased about it. Their nominations are for "Golden Raspberry" awards, a light-hearted Oscars-spoof which records the year's worst movie performances.

Lohan was nominated for her starring role in "I Know Who killed Me," a horror film in which she plays both twins. The film also received nominations for worst picture, worst screenplay, worst director and worst screen couple.

And, Eddie Murphy has received five nominations for his film "Norbit," in which he plays a husband and also his grossly obese wife. Murphy received nominations for worst actor, worst supporting actor, worst actress, worst on-screen couple, and worst screenplay.

Another notable nominee in the un-coveted awards was the film "Hannibal Rising", another sequel to "Silence of the Lambs", for which a new category had to be invented: "Worst Excuse For A Horror Movie."

Winners of Razzies, as they are affectionately-known, rarely show up to collect their prize -- a spray-painted plastic statuette in the shape of a raspberry -- which organizers say can be worth almost five dollars.

22 January 2008: The Keystone Robbers

Silent movie fans will be familiar with the antics of the Keystone Cops, whose incompetent efforts to control crime were considered side-splittingly funny 90 years ago. Now villains in Australia have provided a counterpoint, in a bungled robbery which got them described by their trial judge as the Keystone Robbers.

In their attempt to rob a restaurant in Melbourne, they first snatched a bag containing bread instead of the bag of money. Next they ran off towards the wrong car; and then one of the robbers accidentally shot the other in the leg, putting him in hospital for a month.

The police were able to control their mirth enough to arrest the pair, who have now been convicted of armed robbery.

21 January 2008: Mind what you say

When four Lebanese university students didn't enjoy the singing of a woman they met at a party they decided to comment on it on an Internet social networking site called Facebook.

They probably thought no more of it; until police arrived and arrested them on a charge of slander and "violating public morality", following a complaint by the young woman's father.

The students -- all male -- were ordered to be held in preventive detention for a week.

Human rights groups have criticised the actions of the authorities.

18 January 2008: Boomerang comes back

It's well known that boomerangs, thrown properly, come back to the thrower. So you may wonder why one Australian town is now celebrating the return of a boomerang.

The explanation is that in 1983 a visitor to the town's museum stole a boomerang from an exhibition on aboriginal culture. The blade-shaped devices were traditionally used by Aborigines, mainly to hunt animals.

The boomerang was sent by post and the thief has so far only identified himself with the name 'Peter'. He also sent a donation by way of an apology.

17 January 2008: Could you bark that again, please?

Ever wondered why you dog is barking? Is there a burglar in the vicinity or does it just was to play? Hungarian scientists are working on a computer program that may give you the answer.

Their experimental software analyses a dog's barks, and the aim is that it could allow people to better understand what a dog is trying to communicate.

So far the computer only correctly identifies the emotional reaction of the dogs in just under half the tests, but the scientists are confident the software can be improved.

SaintFM thinks that maybe the people most interested in this software would be the burglars themselves.

16 January 2008: The Price Isn't Right

The more something costs, the more people think they enjoy it, according to a study by the California Institute of Technology.

Researchers found that because people expect wines that cost more to be of higher quality, they convince themselves that expensive wines provide a more pleasurable experience than cheaper ones.

In the study, subjects tested samples that were all the same wine, but they were told the samples were wines sold at different prices. They reported more pleasure when tasting the samples they were told cost more, and their brain responses confirmed this.

"We have known for a long time that people's perceptions are affected by marketing, but now we know that the brain itself is modulated by price," said the authors of the study.

15 January 2008: Woof Woof

British police dog handlers are having to learn German to give commands to their new police dogs.

Due to the shortage of locally bred dogs suitable for police work, forces are now importing dogs from Germany for the job. But the imports cannot understand commands in English. "If you say, 'let go' in English, they just look at you like you are crazy," one dog handler reported.

A Police spokeswoman said they are now also repeating the German commands in English, in the hope that the dogs will become bilingual.

14 January 2008: Squealing Neighbours

Worries in China about soaring pork prices have reached new heights in one town, where a man is raising three squealing pigs in his flat.

The man has been keeping the animals on the balcony of his second-floor home since June, and plans to sell the pigs in early February.

Other residents were not happy about their new neighbours.

"Day and night the pigs constantly squeal, and sometimes the steam from the pig manure floats through the window," one said.

SaintFM wonders who's making the most noise - the pigs or the neighbours.

11 January 2008: Workers fired for not smoking

The owner of a small German company has fired three non-smoking workers, because they were demanding a smoke-free environment.

Germany introduced non-smoking rules in pubs and restaurants on January 1, but Germans working in small offices are still allowed to smoke.

The manager of the 10-person IT company said he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions. "I can't be bothered with trouble-makers," he said.

10 January 2008: Bed Blocker Busted

An Austrian man has been caught after faking illnesses and injuries so that he could live rent-free in hospitals for the past two years.

The 59-year-old man faked so many injuries and illnesses that since 2005 he had been able to stay in a total of 93 different hospitals. His scam was estimated to have cost the Austrian healthcare system as much as 70,000 pounds in bed and board during the period.

Described by police as a 'Professional hypochondriac', he has been arrested and charged with welfare fraud.

9 January 2008: Wife-stealing can be expensive

A Mississippi businessman now has to pay more than £350,000 in damages to the man whose wife he wooed away. When the wife gave birth to a daughter it quickly became apparent that her boss was the baby's father, not her husband. Her now ex-husband successfully sued her boss, using an antiquated Mississippi state law permitting a cuckolded spouse to seek damages for "loss of society, companionship, love and affection," as well as "the loss of sexual relations." The boss appealed the verdict, which ordered him to pay 750,000 dollars (that's just over £350,000) to the ex-husband.

In his submission the boss described the law as medieval, treating wives as the property of their husbands.

But the US Supreme Court has now declined to hear an appeal in the case, meaning he must pay up or go to jail.

SaintFM notes that a similar law applies in St. Helena, under the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance, CAP 81.

8 January 2008: Jeremy Clarkson for Prime Minister

Since November 2006 the official Web site of the UK Prime Minister has allowed UK citizens to propose and vote on petitions. And one such petition asks that Prime Minister Gordon Brown resign and hand over power to Jeremy Clarkson, the gruff and opinionated presenter of the BBC TV motoring programme, Top Gear.

Over 30,000 people have signed the petition, making it the sixth most popular posted on the site; more popular even than the one to reduce the tax on petrol.

So far both Mr Clarkson and the current Prime Minister have refused to comment on the campaign.

7 January 2008: Fame comes at a price

Last weeks record oil price jump, hitting $100-a-barrel in New York, was caused by a single trader, seeking personal fame.

The trader has been named by US and British media as Richard Arens who runs a one man oil brokerage.

Arens offered 100,000 dollars on the New York market for 1,000 barrels of oil, producing the much talked of 100 dollars per barrel which sparked anguish across the financial markets.

But fame comes at a price. The level dropped back almost immediately so when he sold on the contract he got slightly below 100 dollars, costing him 600 dollars on the deal.

SaintFM thinks that's a lot to pay just to get featured in our 'And Finally ...' spot.

4 January 2008: Big knickers put out the fire

A Hartlepool woman's ample underwear proved a godsend after her big knickers saved the family home from fire.

Jenny Marsey's son and nephew were frying some bread at the house when the frying pan caught fire. Her son at first made the blaze worse by throwing water on the flames. But her quick-witted nephew saved the day by grabbing a pair of his aunt's knickers from a pile of washing and using them like a fire blanket.

Mrs Marsey said the blue cotton Marks & Spencer knickers were bought a few years ago. "I call them my emergency ones," she said. "They're the ones you wear when you've run out of all your others."

SaintFM applauds the nephew’s quick thinking but thinks that having a proper fire blanket in the kitchen is probably better.

3 January 2008: Caught in the act

Portugal, like many other countries, has just introduced a ban on smoking in public places. The ban came into force on 1st January and was almost immediately broken - by the head of the agency responsible for enforcing the new law.

Antonio Nunes, president of Portugal's food standards agency, was caught smoking a cigar at a New Year party in a casino on the outskirts of Lisbon.

Nunes said in his defence that he didn't know the law included casinos.

2 January 2008: The Party's Over

If you had a quiet family Christmas here are few stories from the festive period about people who didn't.

New Yorkers vented their anger on 2007 by consigning photographs, letters and annoying cell phones to a giant shredder set up in Times Square. The event was called "Good Riddance Day".

A New Zealand woman pulled a Christmas cracker and got more than a party hat and a joke: it also contained a mouse.

In Chicago the local TV newscast was interrupted with breaking news: a car crashed through the station's glass-walled studio while the station was on air. Nobody was hurt but the announcer reported that the studio had become 'drafty'.

Fire-fighters in Australia had to release a man caught stuck up the chimney of an Australian outback pub; but he wasn't playing Santa Claus - Police think his intention was burglary.

And in Malaysia on Christmas Day a football referee sent off a popular player, and then had to take out his gun and fire warning shots in the air to regain order.