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Gift from the sky? Slide falls off plane, into American’s yard

An American woman got the surprise of her life when an emergency escape slide fell off a Boeing 767 and into her yard. "We just heard a loud bang and the house shook and so I went to see what was going on," Andrea Self, who lives in the Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Mesa, told AFP. "When I opened my front door, I saw what looked like a silver tarp lying there, but it had like a sulfur smell so I called the police," she said. The slide, which fell some 2,800 feet (853 meters), landed on an awning and damaged a tree in her yard, the 31-year-old said. "I was just kind of in shock when it happened," Self said. The US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) confirmed Friday that the plane, which belonged to …

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Sticky lawsuit: $400M dispute lingers over Post-it inventor

By CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Alan Amron has invented a battery-powered squirt gun, a digital photo frame, even a laser system that may someday provide a visible first-down line for fans inside NFL stadiums. He holds 40 U.S. patents, but he's most interested in an invention for which he gets no credit: the Post-it Note, that ubiquitous sticky-back product made into a worldwide success by the 3M Company. Amron, 67, says he invented what he called the Press-on Memo in 1973, a full year before 3M scientists developed what later became known as the Post-it Note. Although Amron settled a previous lawsuit against 3M, he's suing again in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. He says the company breached its previous agreement not to take credit. The settlement is …

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Sore, but no taller, astronaut Scott Kelly adjusts to Earth

US astronaut Scott Kelly said Friday he is battling fatigue and super-sensitive skin, but is back to his normal height after nearly a year in space. Kelly's 340-day mission -- spent testing the effects of long-term spaceflight ahead of a future mission to Mars, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko -- wrapped up early Wednesday when they landed in frigid Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. One of the effects of spending such a long time in the absence of gravity was that Kelly's spine expanded temporarily, making him grow 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), only to shrink as he returned to Earth. His twin brother, Mark Kelly, said they were the same height again by the time they hugged in Houston early Thursday. According to John Charles, human research program associate manager for international science …

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Supreme Court justice asks first question in decade

Rarely are Supreme Court proceedings rocked by such astonishment. On Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas broke with a years-long habit of silence by asking a question during a hearing on gun rights -- his first in a decade. An arch-conservative who was ideologically aligned to his friend on the court, the late -- and voluble -- Justice Antonin Scalia, Thomas has become known as the only justice never to open his mouth during oral arguments. But Federal government lawyer Ilana Eisenstein had wrapped up arguments in a case over a law banning those convicted for domestic violence from owning firearms when Thomas spoke up. "Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?" he asked. Heads turned in disbelief. Sitting next to Scalia's empty seat -- which remains draped in black -- …

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Woman bites rare pearl while dining at Italian restaurant

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — A woman bit down on a rare pearl while eating a meal of clams and other seafood at an Italian restaurant in Washington state. KOMO-TV reports Lindsay Hasz and her husband Chris were eating at Montalcino Ristorante Italiano in Issaquah recently when she bit into something hard in her entree. Hasz says she wasn't sure what it was but put it in her pocket and went home to do research. She took it to a gemologist, who determined it was a Quahog purple pearl worth about $600. Ted Irwin of Northwest Geological Laboratory says the find is rare, with only one in a couple million being of gem quality. Montalcino owner Cindy Nardone says she's happy for Hasz. Hasz says she may have the pearl made into a necklace.

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DNA testing reunites Colombian sisters after 30 years

BOGOTA, Colombia — Two sisters separated as young children after an avalanche destroyed their hometown in Colombia have been reunited three decades later. Yaqueline Vasquez Sanchez and Lorena Sanchez were separated in 1985 when a volcano erupted, triggering the avalanche that killed at least 20,000 people. The two sisters were adopted by separate families and didn't know each other's fate. Lorena spent years investigating her origins and was finally reunited with her sister through a combination of DNA testing, a Facebook entreaty and a foundation dedicated to helping the victims of the catastrophe. They met each other as adults for the first time Thursday. The sisters, aged 33 and 39, hugged and marveled at their physical resemblance.

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Pulling buses with his teeth, the Jason Statham of Gaza

The idea of pulling a 12-tonne bus seems a crazy one, and Mohammed Baraka takes a few minutes to prepare himself with his family and friends. Only 20 years old, Baraka is far from a professional muscleman – in fact he is a second-year student in tourism and hotels at the Palestine Technical College in Deir Al Balah, his home town in the Gaza Strip. But he has become something of a local hero, with his feats posted on Facebook and shared widely among Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere. Baraka now dreams of leaving the blockaded territory and becoming a global star. His strength has earned him the nickname  "Gaza's Samson", after the Biblical hero given supernatural force by God to fight his enemies and perform daring feats -- including one where he ripped …

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Top dog: scientists measure canine IQ

Dog owners who think their beloved pets are just smarter than the others might be right, according to a report published in Britain based on intelligence tests on 68 border collies. Researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) and University of Edinburgh said they used a "purpose-built barn" to measure navigation ability, speed and skills in following a pointed arm. One of the tests involved the dogs, who were all from farms in Wales, finding their way to a food reward they could see but was behind a barrier. Another involved offering two plates of food and measuring how quickly the dogs would go to the one with the bigger portion. They said that because "confounding" factors such as drinking, smoking and different socio-economic backgrounds did not apply, it was easier to measure …

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LOOK: Shark swallows shark in Seoul aquarium

Visitors to a giant aquarium in Seoul on Friday were presented with the gory aftermath of a territorial dispute between two sharks, which left one dead inside the mouth and gullet of the other. Staff at the COEX aquarium said the fight between a 2.2 meter long sand tiger shark and a banded hound shark half its size broke out on Thursday evening. Size and power won the day, and by the time the aquarium opened Friday, only the tail of the smaller shark was visible -- poking from the jaws of its larger female tank mate. "The sand tiger shark's instincts are to attack if its territory is threatened, especially during breeding periods," a spokesman for the aquarium said. The shark appeared to have swallowed its victim whole, and the spokesman said it …

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Trump’s hair has stylists shaking their heads

Donald Trump's signature helmet of hair has top stylists shaking their heads and spewing scathing criticism. The Republican frontrunner's do -- which descends down his forehead and ranges in shade from canary yellow to tawny orange depending on the season and lighting -- has become so synonymous with the man himself that it even made it onto a cover of The Economist. "Washington, we have a problem ..." the respected magazine entitled a tongue-in-cheek photo montage showing Trump's tresses suspended from a helicopter hovering above the White House. Indeed, hairdressers to the rich and famous told AFP. Trump's mop is a "cross between an otter's tail and an ear of corn," quipped Frederic Mennetrier, a French coiffeur whose high-end clientele includes reality star Kim Kardashian and Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio. As for the color? "In a …

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