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Weird National Briefs (03/17/2021)

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The high life aquatic

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police announced Friday that they seized a homemade narco-submarine able to carry up to 2 metric tons (2.2 tons) of cargo.

Police came across the 9-meter-long (30-feet-long) craft last month while it was being built in Málaga, on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, during a broader international drug operation involving five other countries and the European Union crime agency Europol.

The 3-meter-wide (10-feet-wide) semisubmersible craft is made of fiberglass and plywood panels attached to a structural frame, has three portholes on one side and is painted light blue. It has two 200-horsepower engines operated from the inside.

Rafael Perez, head of the Spanish police, said the vessel had never sailed.

“We think it was going to go into the high seas to meet a mother ship (to) take on board the drugs,” probably cocaine, before returning to Spain, Perez told reporters.

“It is like an iceberg,” he said of the vessel’s structure. “In practice, nearly all of it goes under water apart from the top, which is the only part of it that would be seen from another ship or a helicopter.”

Similar drug-smuggling vessels have in the past been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, especially off Central and South America. They sit low in the water to escape detection and rarely are able to fully submerge.

The wider police operation against the alleged international smuggling ring netted hundreds of kilos of cocaine, hashish and marijuana in various places in Spain, with 52 people arrested.

Spanish police said in a statement that police in Colombia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Portugal also were involved in the operation.

TME – The finest kind of party sub.

Bowled over

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A video taken by a camera-equipped drone buzzing through the nooks and crannies of a historic Minneapolis bowling alley has attracted hundreds of thousands of views online.

The drone in the 1 1/2-minute video at Bryant-Lake Bowl follows bowling balls down the alley and takes viewers behind the alley’s reset mechanism, back out onto the floor and into the bar.

The video is the work of 25-year-old cinematographer Jay Christensen, produced by Minneapolis-based Rally Studios and directed by Anthony Jaska, the Star Tribune reported.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” filmmaker James Gunn tweeted the clip to his 800,000-plus followers, saying he wanted the filmmakers “to come with us to London later this year when we shoot Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

Christensen, who lives near the bowling alley, was struck by the destruction and rebuilding along Lake Street following last year’s rioting after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“It made me think, what’s the future of Lake Street going to look like?” he asked. “Bryant-Lake Bowl is a staple in the community, and not having it be that way didn’t sit well with me.”

He approached the bowling alley’s owner, who let them shoot after-hours because of coronavirus restrictions. Christensen and Gunn said they were just having fun putting the film together this month and never expected all the attention.

TME – No snark – that video is incredible and you should find it and watch it.

Vitalizer signs

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities on Friday banned the sale and use of a New Age ‘water vitalizer’ device amid concerns that it is interfering with amateur radio signals.

The Federal Network Agency said it had received numerous reports that the device, sold by Swiss company Wassermatrix AG as a way to “activate” the body’s self-healing powers, was transmitting on the frequencies allocated for ham radio users.

The agency said owners of the 8,000-euro ($9,540) device, which has been sold more than 2,400 times in Germany, are allowed to keep but not use it.

Wassermatrix AG didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

TME – Sound waves, water waves – it’s all connected. Or something.

Wurst case scenario

BERLIN (AP) — German police say they have solved a nine-year-old burglary after DNA found on a half-eaten piece of sausage matched that of a man detained in France over an unrelated crime.

Police in the western town of Schwelm said Thursday that the sausage belonged to the victim, and the suspect — a 30-year-old Albanian citizen — appeared to have helped himself to a bite during the March 2012 break-in.

It wasn’t clear what type of sausage — known in Germany as wurst — the burglar had nibbled, though police said it was a hard variety.

Investigators were recently alerted that French police had taken a matching DNA sample from a man involved in a violent crime.

But Schwelm police said the suspect remains free and, in the wurst case, he may escape punishment. The statute of limitations on the burglary has expired, meaning he will likely not be extradited to Germany.

TME – Sounds like a case for Hog-cule Pork-roit.

Das bedbugs

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) – The USS Connecticut, one of the most elite submarines in the Navy, is beset with a bed bug infestation. Efforts to quell the infestation on board the vessel, moored at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, are ongoing, a Navy spokeswoman confirmed.

Navy entomologists found the insects in the perforated bulkheads between bunks on board the Seawolf-class submarine, which carries a crew of more than 100 men.

The Navy said the bed bugs were only discovered recently. But several family members of sailors told the Kitsap Sun they believe the infestation has been a problem for a year.

Cmdr. Cindy Fields, spokeswoman of the Navy Pacific Fleet’s submarine force, said bed bugs were first reported in December and only on Feb. 19 did Navy entomologists find them on board. Inspections for bed bugs on the boat have continued daily since then, Fields said.

When the bed bugs were reported in December, Fields said that the entomologists from Naval Hospital Bremerton “found no indication of bed bugs on more than one occasion.”

“Navy criteria for treating submarines or ships requires physical presence of bed bugs to establish existence,” she said.

But sailors’ families told the Kitsap Sun that efforts to rid the boat of bud bugs have yet to be successful. When treatments for the bed bugs began, crewmembers at times slept in vehicles outside the submarine until a temporary structure was opened near Connecticut’s mooring area, one family said. They also feared sailors required to sleep on board could be bringing home bed bugs to their families.

TME – Wouldn’t they be more like bunk bugs?

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 March 2021 09:08

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