Tree endangered by sex-enhancement rumor
KAMPALA, Uganda, July 25 (UPI) -- The alleged ability of the citropsis articulata tree to enhance a man's libido and virility has it facing extinction in the East African nation of Uganda.
Based on nationwide rumors, the roots of the tree known as omuboro have been seen as a sexual medication and now many researchers have begun warning Ugandan officials the demand for the all-natural item may soon surpass the nation's supplies, the BBC said Wednesday.
Researchers offered their warning regarding the tree's troubled future during a recent symposium in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
An employee at Uganda's Makerere University, who wished to remain anonymous, said the alleged sexual enhancer even has been embraced by some local professors.
"I actually know a number of professors who have recommended it and during our field research, locals also recommend it," she told the BBC.
"Some of them are open and tell you that they have used it and it's very good."
Paralyzed woman offers foregiveness
EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 26 (UPI) -- A man avoided a jail term in Scotland because the woman left paralyzed when hit by a traffic cone he tossed from a bridge offered her forgiveness in court.
Instead of incarceration, Andrew Smith, 30, of Australia is to perform 180 hours of community service, The Scotsman reported Wednesday.
The woman he injured, Kate Flannery, 24, suffered a broken skull and three fractured vertebrae when injured while chatting with friends outside a pub last November. She is recovering but is expected to have weakness in one or more limbs the remainder of her life.
But the postgraduate occupational therapy student from Ireland told Edinburgh High Court she bore no ill will toward Smith and didn't want to see him go to jail. Judge Lady Dorrian responded by saying Smith, who had been drunk at the time of the accident, had been "stupid, thoughtless and showed a degree of immaturity not to be expected of someone of his age." But she noted there had been no intent to harm anyone.
Dorrian said she had "nothing but admiration" for Flannery.
"She has shown great courage, fortitude and strength of character in the way she has dealt with her injuries," she said.
Man's love of reading costs him his home
WILKES-BARRE, Pa., July 25 (UPI) -- A bookstore owner's obsession with the written word has cost him his Pennsylvania home after local officials deemed his book collection a fire hazard.
Authorities in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., condemned John Puchniak's apartment this year when a routine inspection raised concern the bookstore owner's collection of nearly 3,000 texts could cause a fire, The (Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader reported Wednesday.
Puchniak now resides in a local hotel, while attempting to limit the stacks upon stacks of books that decorate his condemned apartment.
But even if he can restore the apartment to acceptable living standards, Puchniak has said he cannot afford to appeal the city to reopen his home.
Attorney Jim Hayward has become a champion for the troubled literary fan, attempting to convince local officials to let the 59-year-old store his growing collection as he sees fit.
"Their (the city's) priorities are wrong. This is not the guy they should be going after," he told the newspaper. "The average person may not agree with how John stores his books, but does that mean it's wrong?"
Fluffy the boa constrictor is missing
MEMPHIS, July 25 (UPI) -- A 5-foot-long boa constrictor named Fluffy is missing in Memphis, but its concerned owner says the natural predator is harmless.
Dana Shields said Fluffy managed to escape from her yard this month near the Galloway Golf Course, but she urged residents not to let the snake's looks fool them, The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported Wednesday.
"He's not a threat," said Shields, 39. "He can't eat anything larger than a rat. I just don't want someone to hurt him."
Shields said while the boa constrictor would occasionally wrap itself around her neck, it was done out of love and not for food or sport.
But she does recognize the effect Fluffy's appearance can have on strangers, perhaps explaining why he hasn't been returned since disappearing July 8.
"People screech to a halt when they see him," Shields said.
Shields has offered a $300 reward for Fluffy's return.