Racing champion pranks driving instructors (+video)

A professional motorsport racer gave driving instructors a ride to remember when she pretended to be a learner driver.

Daschcam video during the lesson shows Leona Chin, Malaysian women's drifting champion propelling a high powered car into a 180 degree spin.

Chin starts off the driving lesson like an inexperienced driver - getting directions wrong and stalling the car, before performing the spin that turns tire rubber into smoke.

The driving instructors are frightened by the stunt but once Chin's real identity is revealed one laughs at the prank.

Another instructor didn't see the funny side however, slamming the car's door saying "You almost killed me."


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US President Donald Trump vows to inflict 'severe punishment' on Saudi Arabia if found responsible for journalist’s murder

US President Donald Trump has vowed to inflict "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it is found responsible for the murder of a Washington Post journalist.

Jamal Khashoggi disappeared 11 days after entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the BBC reports.

The US President today said there would be "severe punishment", but ruled out the possibility of enforcing sanctions which could rule out hundreds of billions worth of arms sales.

"I actually think we'd be punishing ourselves if we did that," Mr Trump said.

"There are other things we can do that are very, very powerful, very strong, and we'll do that. Now, as of this moment, nobody knows what happened - as of this moment.

"We're looking into it very seriously - Turkey is looking into it at a very high level, at the highest level, and so is Saudi Arabia."

Mr Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in order to obtain papers for his wedding - his fiancee waiting outside - but was not seen leaving the building.

The Saudi Interior Minister dismissed claims Khashoggi's body was dismembered as "lies".

Turkish police have been barred from searching the Saudi consulate.

Jamal Khashoggi disappeared 11 days after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Source: BBC

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Giant python disrupts meeting at south China bank after crashing through ceiling

Staff at a bank in south China's Nanning City got the fright of their lives yesterday when a giant python suddenly crashed through the ceiling to interrupt their morning meeting.

The 1.5-metre-long intruder made an unexpected entrance to the bank in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region shortly before 8.15 on Friday (local time), with surveillance video footage showing the snake dramatically falling down on a group of bank clerks who had gathered for a meeting.

The terrified staff members quickly dispersed in horror as the snake slithered its away around the room before nestling itself behind a sofa, clearly showing little interest in opening a new account.

Local forest public security officers and workers from the local wildlife protection station were soon called in to make a withdrawal, utilising professional tools to carefully capture the rogue reptile.

Fortunately, no-one was hurt during the sensational incident, and the bank soon returned to business as usual.

Animal protectors said it's possible the python may have been reared by someone nearby, and believe it was hunting for food when it fell into the bank's interior. Remarkably, it is the second time this Nanning branch has been visited by a snake in the last year.

The animal is currently being kept at the city's wildlife protection centre.

The 1.5-metre long snake fell as staff members were holding a meeting in Nanning City. Source: Associated Press


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At least 27 people dead after torrential rains trigger flash floods, landslides in Indonesia

Torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing at least 27 people, including a dozen children at a school, officials said today.

A flash flood with mud and debris from landslides struck Mandailing Natal district in North Sumatra province and smashed an Islamic school in Muara Saladi village, where 29 children were swept away yesterday afternoon, said local police chief Irsan Sinuhaji.

He said rescuers retrieved the bodies of 11 children from mud and rubble hours later.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency's spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said rescuers and villagers managed to rescue 17 other children and several teachers yesterday and pulled out the body of a child today near Aek Saladi river, close to the school.

A video obtained by The Associated Press showed relatives crying besides their loved ones at a health clinic where the bodies of the children were lying, covered with blankets.

Nugroho said two bodies were found early today from a car washed away by floods in Mandailing Natal, where 17 houses collapsed and 12 were swept away. Hundreds of other homes were flooded up to 2 metres high, while landslides occurred in eight areas of the region.

Four villagers were killed after landslides hit 29 houses and flooded about 100 buildings in neighbouring Sibolga district, Nugroho said.

He said flash floods also smashed several villages in West Sumatra province's Tanah Datar district, killing five people, including two children, and leaving another missing. Landslides and flooding in the neighbouring districts of Padang Pariaman and West Pasaman killed four villagers after 500 houses flooded and three bridges collapsed.

Both North and West Sumatra provinces declared a weeklong emergency relief period as hundreds of terrified survivors fled their hillside homes to safer ground, fearing more of the mountainside would collapse under continuing rain, Nugroho said, adding that dozens of injured people were rushed to nearby hospitals and clinics.

A woman weeps during a prayer for the victims of the September 28 earthquake and tsunami on Talise Beach in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Source: Associated Press

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.

Rescuers search for victims following a flash flood in Mandailing Natal district, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Source: Associated Press


Banksy’s famous shredded artwork goes back on display

The winning bidder for a Banksy painting that self-destructed during an auction last week has decided to go through with the purchase, auctioneer Sotheby's said.

The auction house said a female European collector was the successful bidder, agreeing to pay 1.04 million pounds ($NZ 2 million) for "Girl With Balloon."

But just after the hammer came down, and to the shock of those in the saleroom, the bottom half of the work passed through a shredder concealed in the frame.

Sotheby's said the painting has now been retitled "Love is in the Bin" and authenticated by Banksy's Pest Control agency.

Alex Branczik, head of contemporary art for Europe at Sotheby's, says it is "the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction."

The buyer's identity was not revealed but Sotheby's quoted her as saying: "When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history."

Banksy, who has never disclosed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists.

His mischievous and often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."

"Girl With Balloon," which depicts a small child reaching up toward a heart-shaped red balloon, was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images.

How the artist triggered the shredder is still a mystery, however. Source: BBC