NewsQuirks 467

Blame the MessengerWhen an unexpected snow storm hit Moscow in April, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov reacted angrily by canceling the city's contract with the Federal Weather Service.Wrong Arm of the LawPolice in Tampa, Fla., said that when they ticketed a black BMW parked at an expired meter a block from police headquarters, they failed to notice there was a dead man inside. Victim Robert Enlow, 69, was bound and gagged and had been shot several times in the head. A second parking meter officer noticed the body in the back seat hours after the first ticket was written.Washington, D.C., police who stopped Jeannie Whitt for a seat-belt infraction impounded the blue-gray Chrysler Lebaron after Whitt couldn't produce her vehicle registration. Two days later, Whitt called the impoundment lot to try to get the car back but was told her car had never been there. The Washington Post reported that Lt. Beverly Medlock told Whitt one of the officers who stopped her took the car to the impoundment lot, but it was closed. They drove it back to where they had stopped Whitt and parked it. Whitt said that the officer also left the keys in the car, which was stolen.When police in Bergen County, N.J., spotted three men in a rowboat on Newark Bay wearing bright orange windbreakers and pants, they mobilized all possible forces, including tracking dogs, to help apprehend the men, who they assumed, because of the men's clothing, were escaping from the Bergen County Jail. When the men were captured, officers discovered they were scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency taking water samples.Overdoing ItHundreds of Greek Cypriots who broke a 50-day fast with a traditional Orthodox Easter feast had to be treated at hospitals for overeating. Dr. Costas Antoniades said that of about 1,000 patients treated at emergency rooms on the island over the Easter weekend, more than 200 were suffering from colic or gastric symptoms associated with eating too much.An Easter egg hunt at the World Harvest Church in Daytona Beach, Fla. attracted some 5,000 people but turned into a free-for-all when parents trampled children in a determined effort to beat the youngsters to a pile of thousands of artificial eggs containing Bible verses and candy. Some children complained that grown-ups confiscated eggs from their baskets. "This isn't an Easter egg hunt," said onlooker Joe Vetter. "It's an Easter egg massacre." Even so, church spokesperson Ryan Julison called the event a success, adding that next year the church will make sure everyone understands it is for children, not adults.Curses, Foiled AgainPolice Officer Dave Cronin pulled over a 33-year-old Oakland, Calif., man for a minor traffic violation in February, but when he found out the man was driving on a suspended license, he called for a tow truck. During a subsequent search of the car, Cronin found a note in the glove compartment: "This is a robbery. Give me stacks of 50s and 100s." The note matched one used in a bank robbery last October.Turnabout Isn't Fair PlayThe Boston Globe newspaper objected when city police attacked its bid for a Pulitzer Prize for a series about police corruption by citing information in the paper's confidential application. When police said they obtained the application from "an anonymous source," Globe editors accused them of abusing their power by snooping into the paper's private correspondence.Going the Extra MileSanjay K. Soni, 35, an engineer in Dayton, N.J., told his wife he was taking his daughters with him as part of "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" in April. When they had not returned by 7 p.m., his wife Sona Soni paged her husband, who explained he was running late and would be home within the hour. Instead, he and the girls, ages 3 and 7, boarded a flight to India, according to police in South Brunswick Township, who quickly notified Interpol. British authorities arrested Soni after his flight landed in London for a brief layover. Sona Soni told police the incident may have been prompted by recent marital problems.Shotgun ApproachSouth Africa announced it will shoot all pigeons in its Northwest diamond- producing area because the birds are being used to smuggle gems out of the country. "Diamonds are leaving the country in a manner which is extremely worrying," said Manda Msomi, who chairs Parliament's public enterprises committee. Diamonds are being strapped onto the body of pigeons and flown out of the country. The law now is to shoot all pigeons on sight."Look Before You LeapAn Irish man who urinated on a parked car was arrested when the car turned out to be an undercover police car with two officers inside. "I got out and he knew me," officer Leo Randles testified in Tralee Court. "He finished his business and became very abusive verbally and I had to arrest him."Lover's DiscountRailroad officials in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein offered half- price fares to couples who kiss at the ticket window. "With this ticket, we want to say to all young people that riding the train should not just be comfortable but fun, too," said railway business manager Goetz Dietsche, adding that participating couples must wear special identification stickers for their journey and be prepared to kiss on demand for conductors.Money Heals All WoundsThe parents of septuplets born Jan. 14 in Abha, Saudi Arabia, separated in April because the father, Abdullah Mohammed Ali, said his wife's family became angry at him after her picture appeared in Saudi magazines and on television with the seven babies showing her face not covered with a veil. As a result, he said, the parents of Hasna Mohammed Humair refused to allow their daughter to return to her husband's home. Two weeks later, the septuplets' parents were together again after Crown Prince Abdullah gave the father $530,000.


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