NewsQuirks 601

Sidewalk Rage

Aiming to reduce aggressive behavior among pedestrians on London's busy
Oxford Street, merchants proposed dividing sidewalks into fast and slow
lanes. Slow walkers straying into the fast lane would be fined 10 pounds
($14.34). "In an ideal world, there would not be any regulations," Rhona
Harrison, a spokesperson for the merchants, said. "But there are too many
people, and there is too little space."

Least Convincing Disguise of the Week

Police in Haverford Township, Pa., arrested Clayton Lindsay, 22, when he
tried to buy a new car using credit cards that had been stolen from a woman
in Downington. Although Lindsay pretended to be the victim by dressing as a
woman, police pointed out he is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds.

Second-Hand Smoking Hazard

A 35-year-old man in Moenchengladbach, Germany, decided to commit suicide
when his girlfriend left him. He turned on the gas in the cellar of his
apartment building he shared with two other families, but had second thoughts
and turned it off. After returning to his apartment, he lit a cigarette,
unaware that the building was still full of gas. The blast destroyed the roof
and several walls, according to police, who took the man into custody.

Now What?

Nicotine patches and gum aimed at helping people quit smoking may
themselves cause cancer, according to researchers at the University of
Minnesota Cancer Center. "Our research provides scientific evidence that
nicotine products designed for long-term use may not be safe," Stephen Hecht
told New Scientist magazine, indicating this is the first time that nicotine,
rather than other chemicals in tobacco, has been linked to the disease.

Rules Are Rules

Earl Misch, 65, quit his job as a top-selling real estate broker to
realize his life-long goal of becoming a Chicago police officer. He spent
less than a year on the force when the City Council enacted a mandatory
retirement age of 63, forcing Misch to retire.

State inspectors near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, stopped two U.S. Government
water trucks en route to fight wildfires in Montana and discovered the trucks
were one and two tons over the 17-ton highway limit. After issuing $100
citations, the inspectors wouldn't permit the drivers to continue until they
had dumped enough water to get below the limit.

Never Mind

Sheriff's deputies in Stafford County, Va., arrested Paul Gilbert Smith,
43, after they said he pulled down his pants and mooned them from his motel
window while they were talking to a woman, then extended an arm and displayed
his middle finger. Sheriff Charles Jett said the man told the deputies that
he heard police were conducting sobriety checkpoints, and he was "intoxicated
and feeling cocky." At the time, Jett noted, the deputies were not conducting
sobriety tests.

Bright Side: Frequent-Flyer Miles for Next-of-Kin

A post mortem of Emma Christofferson, 28, who died minutes after getting
off a flight from Australia to London, concluded that she was the victim of
"economy class syndrome." The condition, technically called deep vein
thrombosis, is often caused by long periods spent in cramped conditions, such
as the packed seating found in the economy class section of airliners.
Christofferson's Qantas flight via Singapore traveled 12,000 miles.

Better Late Than Never

Nearly 30 years after the Attica prison riots, the government finally
mailed settlement checks to surviving inmates who claimed they were brutally
beaten when New York State police retook the prison. The checks ranged from
$6,500 to $125,000, depending on the severity of the inmate's injuries.

Out of Their Element

Shortly after Keevis and Tiffanie Holland, both 18, were married, they
beat a 64-year-old woman in Irving, Texas, and stole her car, police said.
Living off the victim's stolen credit and gas cards, they drove to Chicago,
then headed east. After a snowstorm hit Buffalo, police in nearby Clarence,
N.Y., found the Cadillac stuck in the snow and discovered it was stolen. When
they searched the car, they came across a business card from a local motel,
where they found the Hollands.

Lest We Remember

London Mayor Ken Livingstone proposed that two statues memorializing
19th-century British generals Sir Charles James Napier and Henry Havelock be
moved from Trafalgar Square and replaced with people "that ordinary Londoners
and people from around the world would know." Among those objecting to the
change was Niall Ferguson, a history professor at Oxford University. "It is a
sure sign that a country is a banana republic," he told the Associated Press,
"when the statues in the squares are changed every 30 years or so to conform
with current political thinking."

Culture Secretary Chris Smith announced that a statue of Sir Walter
Raleigh is being moved from its prominent central London location to distant
Greenwich to make way for a monument to the women of World War II. Noting the
scholar, warrior and explorer is "a figure of enormous importance," Smith
explained the statue of the man who spread his cloak over a puddle so that
Queen Elizabeth I could keep her feet dry, is "dwarfed and out of place" in
its present location.

Savings Pay Dividend

Zurich's Electric Power Co. reported that as many as 200 of the 600
clocks it controls around Switzerland's financial capital were set back two
hours at the end of daylight savings time instead of the intended one hour.

Curses, Foiled Again

Christopher Cush, 23, flagged down a Spotsylvania County, Va., sheriff's
deputy when his car ran out of gas. While the deputy was driving him to a gas
station, Cush gave him a name that did not turn up during a routine check.
Suspicious, the deputy had another deputy check the disabled car and found it
had been reported stolen, according to Maj. Howard Smith, who announced
Cush's arrest.

Chicago police charged Marque Love, 19, with bank robbery after a teller
told investigators the robber's blue-gray suede shoes were the same as those
Love had worn when he once worked at the bank. Police who arrested Love a few
hours after the robbery said they found the stolen money in his pockets.

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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