On Feb. 23, Siriporn Niamrin, 49, discovered a large, waxy, oval-shaped lump that smelled of fish and weighed about 15 pounds along the beach near her home in Thailand's Nakhon Si Thammarat province, and was excited to learn it may be a rare substance called ambergris, or vomit produced by sperm whales. The Mirror reported ambergris is highly prized in making perfume, and it might be worth as much as $260,000. "If I really have the genuine ambergris, I can help my community once I find a buyer for it," Niamrin said. "I'm keeping it safe in my house" as she waits for expert confirmation of its authenticity.
Doctor tries to multi-task
Northern California plastic surgeon Scott Green surprised officials in Sacramento Superior Court on Feb. 25 when he appeared for a traffic trial via videoconference from what appeared to be an operating room, the Sacramento Bee reported. As clicks and whirs of medical equipment and suctions could be heard in the background, a courtroom clerk questioned his whereabouts, and Green, dressed in hospital scrubs, admitted, "Yes, I'm in an operating room right now. I'm available for trial. Go right ahead." Despite Green's repeated assurances, Court Commissioner Gary Link was skeptical: "I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient if you're in the process of operating. ... I don't think that's appropriate." The trial was rescheduled for later in March. California's Medical Board said in a statement it was investigating the incident.
Cheetos help crack case
Sharon Carr of Tulsa, Okla., was arrested by officers responding to a residential burglary call on Feb. 26 when she stepped from the shadows in front of the victim's house. Investigators found a window screen removed and a window open, where they allege Carr entered the home but quickly left, leaving behind an empty Cheetos bag and a water bottle. Cheetos residue on Carr's teeth linked her to the crime, reported KTUL-TV, along with testimony from the victim. Carr was charged with first-degree burglary.
On track to safety
Diplomats and their families from the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea, worked around extreme COVID-induced travel restrictions by pushing themselves across the border in a rail trolley to reach their home country on Feb. 25, the BBC reported. The group of eight, including children, traveled 32 hours by train and two hours by bus to reach the Russian border, but trains and wagons cannot enter or leave North Korea, so the embassy's third secretary, Vladislav Sorokin, completed the last half-mile of the journey by pushing the trolley filled with the group and their baggage on train tracks over the Tumen River, where they were met by Russian officials at the border station.
Stowaway cat disrupts flight
EuroWeekly reported that on Feb. 24, a routine Sudanese Tarco airline flight from Khartoum to Doha, Qatar, was forced to turn around about a half-hour after takeoff when a stowaway cat caused a midair emergency. The cat gained entry to the cockpit and became aggressive, attacking crew members, who were unable to restrain it, prompting the pilot to return to the airport. Officials believe the cat got onto the airplane while it was parked overnight in a hangar in Khartoum.
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