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December 27, 2009
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Odd News: Paper airplane virtuoso tests record aloft

TOKYO (AP) - In the world of competitive paper airplane throwing, a 20-second flight is exceptional, 25 or better is world class.

Thirty is the stuff dreams are made of.

Only one man - Japanese paper airplane virtuoso Takuo Toda - has ever come close to breaking the 30-second barrier. On Sunday, he set a world record for a hand-launched plane made with only paper, but fell just short of the 30-second mark.

Toda is flying a 10-centimeter-long craft of his own design.

"I felt a lot of pressure," he said after his paper airplane fly-off at a Japan Airlines hangar near Tokyo's Haneda Airport. "Everything is a factor - the moisture in the air, the temperature, the crowd."

Toda, an engineer, is the head of the Japan Origami Airplane Association and is virtually unmatched in his ability to fold paper aircraft.

In keeping with traditional rules of the ancient Japanese art of origami, he uses only one sheet of paper, which he does not cut or paste.

Toda said that the secret to throwing a paper airplane is to aim upward - not straight - so that it has time to gain altitude and slowly circle back to the ground. Toda appeared to be on his way to a record Sunday, but his second and best throw was ruled a foul because it hit a passenger jetliner parked nearby.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Police picked up two naked men on a late night bike ride in a New Zealand town but let them off with a warning: put on helmets.

"They were wanting to experience total freedom," said Senior Constable Cathy Duder, who stopped the pair about 10 p.m. on a recent night in the beach resort town of Whangamata. She told them: "You may experience total confinement. You should head home and get helmets."

The duo turned tail and headed directly back to their house, Duder told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said she did not see them again during her shift, and it was not known if they donned helmets and resumed their ride.

Public nudity can attract a charge of offensive behavior in New Zealand, but Duder said she cut the two men a break.

"It was dark and there was no one else around. They were jovial young men who had not intended to cause offense," she said.

She described the two as "happy young men in their mid-20s ... they appeared to be as sober as two judges."

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) - A Maine man accused of taking a cash machine from a convenience store and driving off with it in the back of a pickup truck faces charges including aggravated assault.

Scarborough police who arrived at the convenience store late Sunday found the front door had been ripped off, and soon spotted the pickup with the ATM in the back. Police say the truck backed into a police cruiser and then sped off.

Arrested after a short pursuit was 31-year-old Brian Andrews of Old Orchard Beach, who was driving a stolen truck.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A woman in South Korea who tried to pass the written exam for a driver's license with near-daily attempts since April 2005 has finally succeeded on her 950th time.

The aspiring driver spent more than 5 million won ($4,200) in application fees, but until now had failed to score the minimum 60 out of a possible 100 points needed to get behind the wheel for a driving test.

Cha Sa-soon, 68, finally passed the written exam with a score of 60 on Wednesday, said Choi Young-chul, a police official at the drivers' license agency in Jeonju, 130 miles (210 kilometers) south of Seoul.

Police said Cha took the test hundreds of times, but had no specific total. Local media said she took the test 950 times. Now she must pass a driving test before getting her license, Choi said.


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The Post Independent Updated Dec 27, 2009 06:04PM Published Dec 27, 2009 06:02PM Copyright 2009 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.