NewsQuirks 562

Crime Doesn't Pay, It CostsA man who entered a juice shop in Albuquerque, N.M., ordered a drink, handed the clerk $10, then pulled out a handgun and demanded money when the clerk opened the cash register. According to the police report, at the sight of the gun, all the clerks in the shop "panicked, slammed the register closed and ran to a back room where they locked themselves in." The frustrated suspect then left. "Also note," the report added, "the unintelligent suspect did not get any money from the robbery and did not get his drink. The suspect also left his $10 behind that was in the clerk's hand as she ran to the back."Three armed men forced their way into a primary school office in Johannesburg and held up the principal and two secretaries, filling a black briefcase with jewelry, money and the contents of the school safe. South Africa's Press Association reported that when the men turned to flee, one of them grabbed the wrong briefcase, escaping with the principal's bag, which was stuffed with homework.Bovine CorrectnessBureaucrats at the Canadian government's Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa banned human female names for cows in favor of names like Bossy and Rhubarb. "There had been a complaint raised that a cow was called Stephani," noted Michelle Dondo-Tardiff, director of the farm's museum. "It was a verbal complaint from somebody named Stephani."Curses, Foiled AgainPolice investigating vandalism of a church in St. Ann, Mo., arrested five teen-age suspects whom they identified from names provided by neighbors who saw the boys on the church roof, tennis shoes that matched photos of tracks at the scene and handprints on a back door. Investigators also found two school disciplinary progress reports left on the church roof. "That was a very good lead," St. Ann Police Chief Bob Schraeder said.Way to GoJacques Ducuing, the owner of a small zoo near Bordeaux, France, was killed by a four-ton hippo that became jealous of its master's new tractor. Colleagues said the two had a close relationship for 23 years, but that the hippo, named Komir, began acting differently after Ducuing bought his new tractor and began working on it outside Komir's pen. Jean-Claude Marchais, a friend who witnessed the hippo's attack, said Ducuing told him that he "thought Komir was sulking." When Komir escaped from his pen one morning after Ducuing had been riding his tractor, Marchais said Ducuing "rode up on his bicycle to try to persuade Komir to get back into his enclosure, and Komir just opened his jaws and went for him, bike and all. It was all over in five seconds."Police accidentally shot and killed a 47-year-old Polish veterinarian who was trying to subdue an escaped circus tiger with a tranquilizer gun in a Warsaw suburb. Officials said the police were trying to hit the Bengal tiger because they thought it was attacking the man, even though by the time they fired it had been frightened away.Surfing legend Joe Wolfson, 50, who earned the nickname "Dr. 360" for becoming the first to spin on a wave, tried to kill himself two years ago after learning he had an inoperable tumor in his esophagus and right lung. He took sleeping pills and paddled out to sea in an attempt to end his life. He was rescued, however, and took a positive attitude toward life by undergoing chemotherapy and resuming his passion for surfing. In February, Wolfson was killed in an automobile accident on a Los Angeles freeway.Lai Li-nim, 20, tried to kill himself in Hong Kong by sniffing propane from his gas stove. When he awoke the next, he was depressed that the attempt failed and lit a cigarette. The match ignited residual propane, causing an explosion that burned 94 percent of his body. He later died in the hospital.Charles Nicholas Roberts, 91, who suffered from emphysema but continued to smoke, lit a cigarette in his Fort Worth, Texas, home shortly before 5 a.m. The cigarette accidentally brushed against the plastic tubing on his portable oxygen tank, igniting the gas and causing a fire that engulfed the home in minutes. Investigators said Roberts managed to get out safely, but died when he turned around and inexplicably walked back into the house.Joanna Chestine, 36, was lying on a fifth-floor balcony railing at a beachside hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla., when she rolled off and fell to her death.A Swedish man safely escaped from a fire that broke out at a hunting cabin in Klovsjo in December. Unfortunately, according to Stockholm's Aftonbladet newspaper, he didn't save any of his clothes and froze to death while trying to flee naked on a snowmobile.Snowmobiles OptionalMunich psychotherapist Franziska Weber opened the first freezer-therapy clinic, where clients seeking to relieve stress pay $11 to spend up to three minutes barely clothed in walk-in chambers whose temperatures are minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit. Weber said she began offering the treatment when arthritis sufferers, for whom the sub-zero therapy was developed, reported afterwards they had less pain but also lots more energy and a feeling of exhilaration. "The cold triggers the release of endorphins in the brain, which produce a feeling of well-being," she explained. "This then releases natural energy. It's a kind of legal doping."Liquid AssetsAbout 150 students at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., staged a half-hour protest to protest the school's new initiatives to curb binge drinking. Even though the restrictions aren't intended to ban drinking, merely to regulate the amount of alcohol served at campus parties, the protesters insisted the rules violate their rights to drink to excess.Roman Catholic Church authorities banned baby bottles and water containers at the Mass that Pope John Paul II celebrated in New Delhi last November and advised parents to leave their small children home. The ban on bottles at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was necessary for security reasons, officials said, after the church rejected the police department's suggestion that the pope celebrate the Mass behind a bulletproof screen.HMO From HellAfter Wilson Owuor was beaten by thugs, friends of the Kenyan businessman took him to a hospital in Siaya for treatment, but the hospital refused to admit him because he carried no money. According to the East African Standard newspaper, Owuor's friends loaded him onto a stretcher and carried him to the Kenya Commercial Bank so that he could withdraw money.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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