Blog Posts by Claudine Zap

  • World's smallest horse missing in Italy

    Calling Ace Ventura, pet detective: The world’s smallest horse is missing.

    Charly, the pintsize pony, measuring 63 cm (about two feet) tall, is believed to have been stolen last week from the 47th National Horse Show in Città di Castello, in the central region of Umbria, Italy, according to Australia’s

    Police say the tiny equine could be held for ransom and his owner may be asked to pony up a big price for his return.

    Thieves cut through a wire fence last Thursday night around Charly’s enclosure on the fairgrounds. They then escaped through a nearby tobacco field, the Local reports.

    ”The problem is that this pony is so easy to transport because he is so small — like a dog,” a spokesperson from the show told the publication.

    Bartolo Messina, the show pony’s owner, alerted police when he found Charly’s stall empty, according to the Daily Mail.

    "I never imagined having to write this but unfortunately it has happened and I feel empty, violated, destroyed," distraught owner

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  • California wildfire almost catches cameraman

    Darren Smith posted a hair-raising four-minute video of a California wildfire to show just how fast a fire can spread.

    Smith wrote that the video is for “educational purposes” and warned not to try this scary stunt. “This is an example of what not to do during a fire,” he wrote on YouTube.

    The Clover Fire began burning Monday in Happy Valley in Shasta County. At its peak, the flames spread at 500 acres an hour, according to ABC News. Some residents were given only minutes to evacuate.

    Smith saw smoke from the backyard of his home in Happy Valley and drove a few miles over to Cloverdale Road to investigate, according to He stopped to help a family that was scrambling to create a firebreak and move things from the house.

    In the video, a bulldozer can be seen pushing brush back from the property. At first there seems to be enough time to capture some footage and move out. Instead, the flames appear by the house within minutes.

    “Unfortunately the family's property that caught

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  • $40 million raised to complete Flight 93 National Memorial

    The money has been raised; the memorial will rise.

    Twelve years after United Flight 93 crashed into a meadow near Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001, the $40 million capital campaign has been fully funded.

    “We thank and applaud the thousands of individuals and organizations that have helped us reach this profound moment,” Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, said in a statement.

    “It is only through their support and generosity that the Foundation is able to protect, enrich and honor the Flight 93 National Memorial, and all of our country’s more than 400 national parks.” The National Park Foundation is the official charity for the national parks.

    The memorial that honors the 40 passengers and crew who lost their lives on Flight 93 is planned for completion in 2015. The money has already made possible the construction of the park’s Memorial Plaza, Wall of Names, 40 Memorial Groves, Field of Honor, and major reforestation of the landscape.

    The final

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  • Kitten survives 38-mile wild ride in car's wheel well

    Good thing cats have nine lives. One little kitty can count his blessings after he was rescued from the underside of a car.

    “He’s a lucky cat, very lucky,” driver Robert Avery told local station WESH.

    On August 27 Avery thought he heard a frog in the garage of his home. Then he got a look under the car.

    "My son and I jacked the car up, and about 30 minutes later we finally got it out,” Avery said. Instead of a frog, they found a filthy cat wedged above the tire.

    The unsuspecting driver works for the Housing Authority in Daytona Beach but lives 38 miles north in Palm Coast. Avery figured the fearless feline, born wild in a Daytona Beach parking lot, had managed to lodge himself under the car the night before and hitched a ride to his new home.

    The adorable fluffy white kitten with blue eyes was covered in grime. "He was filthy, he was nasty, grease-covered, he was a nasty little fellow,” recalled Avery. Dubbed Butch, the tough little guy, once a stowaway, has stolen Avery’s heart.


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  • Woman attempts to wear only recycled outfits for 365 days

    Christina Dean during her 365-day recycled-clothing challenge (Luke Casey via Redress)

    Christina Dean was standing on top of a pile of garbage at a Hong Kong landfill when the idea came to her: Wear only recycled clothes for a year.

    Despite fashion industry efforts to make clothing production more sustainable, a lot of clothes still end up at the dump. It’s an “urgent problem to encourage consumers to decrease clothing wastage entering landfill,” she wrote to Yahoo News in an email.

    Dean, who is the founder of the environmentally focused fashion organization Redress, and who was at the dump for another project, took a vow to wear only “100% dumped, discarded or donated secondhand clothes” everyday of 2013, except for shoes and underthings, which were her own.

    And we’re not talking about coming up with ten outfits and then rotating. No, no. Dean wanted 365 different looks, a new one each and every day.

    So far, so good. Dean sorts through castaway clothing each month, looking for 30 outfits, which are then photographed at GetRedressed on Instagram. At the end of the year,

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  • What a nightmare: Sleep texting

    Texting while asleep can be a nightmare (ThinkStock)

    Status update: ZZZZZZ.

    Some smartphone addicts are texting and updating social media even when they’re asleep.

    A report from suggests that “sleep texting” is a growing trend — and a total nightmare. The behavior can interrupt sleep patterns, not to mention lead to awkward conversations when friends ask about the cryptic “Bdghj63g+x” text from 3 a.m.

    Elizabeth Dowdell, a nursing professor at Villanova University, heard anecdotal accounts from her students and decided to see if it was a common phenomenon. In April 2013 she conducted a class survey. Out of almost 400 students, nearly one-third admitted to texting while asleep, Dowdell told Yahoo News on the phone.

    Not surprisingly, the activity happens with people who take their phones to bed with them. “The more technology in the bedroom, the less sleep and the less quality of sleep,” she said.

    Students might wake up for a moment, alerted by the beep of an incoming message, and text while only half-conscious. Messages are

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  • Petition demands that female Iranian swimmer's record be recognized

    Fair is fairand fair this ain't.

    Imagine being a competitive swimmer forced to wear head-to-toe religion garb that weighs you down.

    Imagine being required to swim in a second-rate pool because you're a woman.

    And then imagine the gall when some of your fellow countrymen refuse to recognize the very extraordinary things you've still managed to pull off.

    Elham Hasgari doesn't have to imagine, thanks to the Iranian Swimming Federation.

    A petition is calling on the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to require the Iranians to recognize Asghari’s personal record. Her challenging open-water swim of 20 kilometers in 9 hours clothed head to toe in heavy garb has inspired more than 147,000 signatures for her incredible athletic feat to be recognized.

    The 32-year-old, who has been swimming since age five, says she must adhere to a strict Islamic dress code, wearing a flowing, full-body costume when she hits the water. According to the petition, the outfit she designed

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  • Is that a fish in your pocket? Man tries to transport fish in his pants

    Tropical fish (AFP Photo/YOSHIKAZU TSUNO)

    The wet trousers were a fishy giveaway.

    A Vietnamese man attempting to smuggle tropical sea life in his pants was thwarted when New Zealand airport officials noticed his pockets were leaking water, reports Sky News.

    Authorities at the airport in Auckland said that when they stopped the man with dripping slacks they were told first that he was thirsty and was carrying water from the plane.

    A search revealed that the passenger from Australia was carrying seven fish hidden in plastic bags in his pockets.

    The report further revealed that the fish were “all unidentified species of cichlid.”

    "This appears to be a deliberate attempt to smuggle fish into the country without any consideration of the biosecurity risk involved," Ministry of Primary Industries spokesman Craig Hughes said earlier this week. "That's something we take very seriously."

    The water-logged man faces charges under the Biosecurity Act that carry maximum penalties of five years in jail or a $78,000 fine, according to the AFP.

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  • Strongest man lifts 975 pounds

    Warning: video contains some graphic language.

    Don’t try this at home: Sports enthusiast Per Gunnar Roalkvam caught an eye-popping sight when he trained his cam on strongman Brian Shaw lifting a weight 442.5 kilos — almost a thousand pounds.

    In the video, out of Sanyu, China, the weights on the barbell look comically huge — and seem to almost dwarf Shaw.

    Fans can be heard yelling encouragement to him from the sidelines as the strongman contemplates the dead lift. “Pick it up!” And, amazingly, he does.

    That feat led Shaw to place first in the 2013 competition for world’s strongest man. The video shows why the 31-year-old American certainly earned the title — which he also won in 2011.

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  • Bobcat battles dead snake

    You’re innocently going about your business when suddenly you witness a fight to the death, sort of.

    Video captured by M.D./Ph.d. student Christopher Gibson on Salt Lake City's University of Utah campus around 6 p.m. Monday shows a bobcat battling a rattlesnake — except, as the video user points out, the fight appears to be one-sided because the snake is already dead.

    Gibson told Yahoo News in an email that he was driving out of the parking lot of a building after a meeting and noticed the bobcat standing on the side of the road looking intently at something. "I stopped, got out and tried to observe without frightening or disturbing the cat," he said.

    “I saw the bobcat, and then when I got out of the car to take some pictures, I noticed it was quite interested in a snake! The snake was headless by the time I saw it, but this bobcat didn't seem to notice and wasn't taking chances,” Gibson wrote on the YouTube description.

    The video has gotten some attention on the Web. "I think it's

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