TOPS NEWS March 2010


A 30ft x 20ft advertising television screen accidentally showed a pornographic film for 20 minutes, caused a midnight traffic jam in central Moscow as stunned motorists braked to watch the writhing naked bodies.  Police later arrested the hacker.  Drivers recorded the incident on their mobile phones and later uploaded it to YouTube where it became a massive hit.

Cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells are not expected to be widely available until after 2050 because of the high cost of the platinum in their catalysts.  A fuel-cell car needs apx 50 grams of platinum costing apx £2,500.

The A4 in West London was closed after a car hit a street lamp at 3.00 a.m.  Nobody was seriously injured but the road remained closed until 1 pm the next day, causing gridlock for miles around.

Network Rail transported 200 staff by coach from Reading to Coventry because of the high cost of train tickets.

Bounty hunter wheel-clampers are being paid £50 per car immobilised and a commission on the charges to free the vehicle.

A Berlin man was surprised when his car caught fire after he tried to thaw it with a fan heater under the bonnet.

Tye Kuykendall from Georgia, found $200,000 inside a hidden compartment of an impounded car he bought – but found it was counterfeit.   

Taxi drivers applying for their Hackney Carriage licence are being offered the forms in Braille by  Portsmouth City council.  Braille was devised in 1821 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman.

Officials in Preston, Lancs, have drawn up a new code of conduct which tells drivers not to congregate at taxi ranks chatting to colleagues. They are to stay inside their cabs and dress properly in case they make the streets look untidy.   

Michael Mancini, was fined £60 and given 3 points on his licence by Strathclyde Police for blowing his nose while stationary at traffic lights in his car.  

The world's cheapest car, the 624cc, 62 mph, Tata Nano (£1,400) is to be revamped and sold for £133,000.  Code named DC 490, the car will do 124 mph with a 1600cc engine.  “We will be reworking the brakes and suspension systems to take the load off the engine”  said Mr Chhabaria of the Tata Group which owns Jaguar and Land Rover.  

Three motorists had their car clamping fees overturned in court.  Two objected to a £200 fee for ‘towing and removal’ when their cars were not removed and the third who was fined £100 when he parked to pay to release another car.

The Government has ruled that fuel companies must have 3.25% of biofuel in their product this year and 13% by 2020.  However the Renewable Fuels Agency warn that a litre of palm oil (the most used product) creates three times as much CO2 as ordinary diesel when the (Indonesian) forests are burnt down to create plantations.  It takes 840 years for a palm oil plantation to soak up the carbon emitted when a rainforest is burnt.  Last year 127 million litres of palm oil was added to diesel sold to motorists in Britain.

Nottingham City Council has decided one of their zebra crossings in the city centre is too busy and causing bus delays. So City marshals will control the number of people who are allowed to cross at lunch time each day.

The government intends to reduce the UK speed limit for heavy goods vehicles under 7.5 tonnes to 60 mph and for minibuses to 65 mph.

Stagecoach hope to operate five Amfibus as replacement for the Clyde ferry in Glasgow. They are already in use in America, Croatia and India. However during the Trials between Renfrew and Yoker the Amfibus crashed into a ramp and later got stuck on the way to a nearby garage.   

The Road Users’ Alliance claims that bottlenecks, badly designed junctions and lack of motorways is costing the economy £8 billion a year.  Of the £47 billion collected from motorists, only £4 billion is used to improve the roads.

A bus driver pulled over without warning and rolled out a high-visibility jacket as a makeshift prayer mat before removing his shoes, turning to face Mecca and starting to chant in Arabic in Gospel Oak, north London. “When he had finished, he just got back up and set off again – all without any explanation or apology. It was truly bizarre, ludicrous and aggravating.” Muslim drivers have been reminded that they should pray during rest periods between journeys to avoid delays.

Italian police have trouble with a trucker at the Mont Blanc tunnel between France and Italy because he had eaten his discs which showed evidence of breaking Swiss speed limits.

A second hand shoe shop owner stole more than 1,200 pairs of designer shoes from mourners in South Korea who had slipped off their shoes out of respect, according to the national tradition.

Buckinghamshire County Council has received 373 highways-related claims (potholes) in 2 months, 200 more than for the whole of 2009.  It comes after the county’s roads were hit by potholes created and opened up by two major snowfalls. A council chief said only about 20% of claims are successful.

An animal protection group is urging French authorities to build special crossings to save millions of frogs and toads from being squashed on the country's roads.

Bosses at the National Tyre and Autocentre head office tried to terminate a contract with WCPS clampers who have a one-year contract to patrol their site but they will not walk away from the lucrative £150 pounds-a-time release fee.  The garage eventually put a barrier across the entrance to their own car park but the clamping firm are threatening to sue for breach of contract.

An elephant hired for a Hindu wedding in India caused over £200,000 in damage after trying to reach an in-heat female.  He crushed 20 limos attempted to mate with a truck, and smashed through a shopping mall in a 15-hour rampage in New Delhi. 

The Automobile Association, is to send patrols into its members homes answering SOS calls from householders with broken-down boilers, leaking pipes, dripping taps or faulty wiring.   Its fully-trained home patrolmen and women will even erect garden fences, install showers and bathrooms – or just hang a picture. AA members will get a discount on the new home operation but the service will be available to anybody.  The AA says there will be no call-out charge, and that there will be a 24-hour help line.

AA research shows that British drivers have been hit with an 11.46% increase in fuel tax since November, double the average for all Western Europe and now the EU is planning an additional levy on petrol, coal and natural gas.

Britain's only Roman chariot racing track in Colchester, Essex, may be saved after campaigners raised £200,000 to keep it open and buy the land.  

US motorcyclist Seth Enslow’s 183.7ft jump has broken the 10 year-old world record for the longest distance jumped on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. 

Abridged edition edited by Trisha Pilkington