NewsQuirks 717

Curses, Foiled Again
Seattle police arrested Kenneth Eric Roys, 18, for robbing a video store after he returned to the same store two weeks later. A clerk who had been on duty during the crime recognized him. When police arrived, they discovered that Roys was holding an empty, plastic videotape case containing a BB pistol.

Police in Colorado Springs, Colo., arrested Walter Cecil Goins and John Marshall, both 18, and accused them of robbing a motel office. Police followed footprints in the snow from the office to a nearby stairwell, where a police dog took over and led them to Room 421. After knocking and getting no answer, officers phoned the room and announced that the room was surrounded. The suspects surrendered. Detective Dale Fox told the Colorado Springs Gazette that he couldn't recall a case in which robbers held up the same place where they were staying.

Homeland Insecurity
Government and transportation leaders planning how to evacuate the Washington, D.C., area in the event of a terrorist attack admitted that it can't be done, at least not quickly and orderly. The reason, officials told the Washington Post, is that the region's road and transit network, already overburdened during a normal rush hour, can't handle a sudden surge. Pointing out that people trapped in traffic could be exposed to an airborne threat or other types of attacks, officials advised that instead of trying to flee or rush to their families, people prepare themselves to "shelter in place."

Keith Martin, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's choice to head the state's Department of Homeland Security, resigned as managing editor and nightly news anchor of a Lancaster television station in 1990 after it was revealed he was consulting for an arms dealer that was illegally funneling weapons to Iraq. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported that some of those weapons ended up being used against American soldiers during the Gulf War. At the time, Martin was also an officer in the Pennsylvania National Guard. After Rendell nominated him to the cabinet-level post, Martin called the controversy "a tempest in a teapot."

Instant Karma
After Raymond Poore, 43, was found dead on the floor of his mobile home in Winchester, Va., next to his 2-year-old Chinese Shar-Pei, police Capt. David Sobonya said that the construction worker was apparently beating the dog on the head with the butt of a rifle-shotgun when it discharged and shot him in the lower abdomen. Debbie Poore discovered her husband's body when she raced home after he called to say the dog had bitten him, and he was going to kill it.

Occupational Hazard
Crematorium workers in Sweden are increasingly at risk from explosions during cremations. The church newspaper Kyrkans Tidning reported that the blasts are sparked by undetected items such as heart pacemakers, whose batteries ignite in the intense heat, and silicone implants in women who had cosmetic breast surgery. But friends and relatives contribute to the problem by leaving such farewell tokens in coffins as bottles of alcohol, bullets and even fireworks.

Think No Evil
A technique that probes the brain to see if a suspect has specific knowledge of a crime has the potential to become a powerful weapon in national security, according to its inventor. Lawrence Farwell of Fairfield, Iowa, who founded Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories Inc. 12 years ago, explained that brain fingerprinting works by recording split-second spikes in electrical activity in the brain when it responds to something it recognizes. For example, a murder suspect who is shown a detail of the crime scene that only she or he would know would involuntarily register that knowledge, whereas a person who had never seen that crime scene would show no reaction.

Dental Plan from Hell
Authorities arrested two flea market jewelers for practicing medicine without a license after an undercover investigation found that they were using Super Glue to attach gold overlays to people's teeth from the back of their 10-year-old Honda. The investigation was prompted by an anonymous call from a customer who claimed that he'd lost teeth after getting a gold cap from Island Gold's Enterprises, run by Ayud Mohammed and Fahimuddin Khan, both 39. Investigators said the men charged from $150 to $1,000 for the cosmetic procedure. "They could give you a whole rack of gold or just cover a few teeth," Broward Sheriff's Department representative Jim Leljedal said. "They even had gold vampire fangs, if that's what you wanted."

Everything You Know Is Wrong
Fish farming, which has been hailed as the solution to depleted stocks of wild fish, actually threaten the wild species, which are being used to feed the farmed fish. "Four kilos (8.8 pounds) of wild-caught fish are needed to produce 1 kilo of farmed fish," according to a report by the Swiss-based World Wildlife Federation. It pointed out that world farmed production doubled in the past decade to 20 million tons a year, increasing demand for oil and fishmeal, made from species such as blue whiting and pilchards. The WWF suggested the solution is feeding farmed fish vegetable proteins, fish offal or fishing vessels' by-catches, which are often dumped at sea.

Recycling household waste actually harms the environment more than burning it, according to leading Swedish environmentalists, who insist that separating household trash is a waste of time and money. The group includes Valfrid Paulsson, a former director-general of the government's environmental protection agency, Soren Norrby, the former campaign manager for Keep Sweden Tidy, and the former managing directors of three waste-collection companies. Writing in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, they said that using incineration to burn household waste, including packaging and food, "is best for the environment, the economy and the management of natural resources." They pointed out that technological improvements have made incineration cleaner, and the process could be used to generate electricity, cutting dependency on oil.

Emissions pollute the atmosphere, but some actually help prevent the build-up of ozone, which is harmful when present in the air near the ground. Randall Martin, an atmospheric chemist at Harvard University, said his discovery that particulates from diesel engines, industry and burning biomass act to lower surface ozone levels by 25 percent over Europe and up to 10 percent over the United States puts regulators in a bind.

Topsy-Turvy World
Albania, formerly a steadfast opponent of U.S. imperialism, announced that it would send troops to join any U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Prime Minister Fatos Nano also offered U.S. forces the use of Albanian territory and airspace.

Compiled from the nation's press by Roland Sweet. Submit clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.