NewsQuirks 628

Curses, Foiled Again

Police in Fort Worth, Texas, charged Lakount Maddox, 17, with trying to rob a Taco Bell after he pulled up to the drive-through window on a bicycle, brandished what turned out to be a toy gun and demanded money. He also ordered a chalupa. Police responding to a 911 call from a Taco Bell worker found Maddox still sitting on his bike at the drive-through. "He got the money but then waited there while his food was being prepared," Fort Worth Police Lt. Duane Paul said. "He never got his chalupa."

Mensa Reject of the Week

When a man stopped by a convenience store in Covington, Ky., and announced he would be back in 30 minutes to rob the place, clerk James Phillips neither notified the police nor locked the door. "He told me he would stand at the corner, and if he saw a cop car he would shoot me," Phillips said after the robber returned and made off with $200 to $300.

Money Matters

Sir George Mathewson, the head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was robbed at one of his own automatic teller machines. Mathewson was withdrawing cash in London when two men approached him from behind. After noting his PIN and waiting for the machine to return his card, they tapped him on the shoulder and told him he had dropped a five-pound note. When he bent down to look for the bill, his assailants reached over and grabbed his bank card, then fled.

A security guard at a Turkish bank pulled a gun and ordered a teller to empty a safe, then ran outside and began firing into the air. He threw some of the bank notes into the air and handed out the rest to passers-by and shopkeepers. The Anatolian news agency reported the guard acted in response to plans to close the bank, explaining he was depressed at the prospect of losing his job.

Thanks for Nothing

Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry banned foreign women providing humanitarian aid from driving after receiving orders from the ruling Taliban's Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. "It has been seen that some foreign women drive cars in the cities, which is against Afghan tradition and has a negative impact on the society," the proclamation read.

The United Nations ordered aid workers to stop walking in Kabul after they reported being unable to go even short distances from home to work without being threatened by drivers, who shout abuse and make gestures while trying to run them over. Erick de Mul, the United Nations coordinator for Afghanistan, said that whenever aid workers are seen walking or jogging, foreign Islamic militants living as guests of the Taliban "will come in a car and try to run you down."

Family Affairs

Rensselaer County Court Judge Patrick McGrath sentenced Robert S. Gorghan, 51, in Troy, N.Y., to prison for up to 25 years for sexually abusing a girl from the time she was 8 years old, then raping and sodomizing her from the time she was 12 until she reported the crimes at the age of 21. After the sentencing, McGrath performed a wedding ceremony between Gorghan and the victim's mother.

James Dale Duncan was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in Charleston, W.Va., for having sex with his daughter, starting when she was 13. He insisted he acted solely out of benevolence because he didn't want the girl to do the wrong thing and get pregnant with her new teen-age boyfriend. His sister stuck by him, too, assuring the judge, "He didn't do this for pleasure."

Litigation Nation

Gary Munneke, a professor at New York's Pace University School of Law, was lecturing on personal-injury law when he demonstrated a point by pulling a chair from under a student as she sat down. The student, Denise DiFede, responded by suing Munneke for $5 million.

Have Mersey

The distinctive Scouse accent of the Beatles and other Liverpool natives is disappearing, and some experts blame the city's cleaner air, which causes people to produce less catarrh. "Scouse speakers sound like they are permanently blocked, and the folk belief among Liverpudlians was that they always had colds," Andrew Hamer of Liverpool University said. "Over the last 20 years, the percentage of speakers with that particular quality seems to be going down, which coincides with the cleaner air."

What Men Want

A German study found a third of men start thinking about sex as soon as the word bathroom is mentioned. Women, meanwhile, tend to think about washing themselves or freshening up. Only 13 percent of women associate bathrooms with sex.

School Daze

A mob of angry students at a veterinary college in Patna, India, attacked professor Mani Mohan Prasad with hockey sticks, then hurled gasoline bombs at his car when he tried to escape. Police superintendent O.P. Bhaskar told Reuters news agency the attack occurred because Prasad, who suffered major burns, would not let the students cheat on an exam.

Scam of the Week

Federal prosecutors in Miami charged Alphonse Jean Daniel with engaging in an elaborate scheme to rent out homes he did not own. U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis said that when Daniel learned three homeowners moved out of their houses because they faced foreclosure for failing to pay the mortgages, he filed bankruptcy petitions on their behalf without telling them. The action automatically halted the foreclosure proceedings, allowing Daniel to rent out the properties and keep the money for himself.

Extraterrestrial Thrill

Plans are being drawn up for a hotel in space where couples can make love in weightless conditions. The idea for the space hotel, which will feature 500 padded "romance rooms" containing no furniture for couples to fulfill their wildest dreams, follows American Dennis Tito's $20-million trip to the International Space Station. California's Space Island Group, which is behind the idea, said it has already invested millions of dollars into the scheme, which could be up and running within six years.

"At first, the plan was just to open a space hotel," said Gene Meyers, Space Island Group's president. "But our research shows that the real reason couples want to spend a week in space is for fabulous sex."

Compiled from the nation's press by Roland Sweet. Send original clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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