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May 2008


19 May 2008

Charles Ray Fuller apparently thought it was a good idea to try to cash a cheque for $360 billion, which he told the bank staff his girlfriend's mother had provided so that he could start a record label. The 21-year-old Texas man was arrested after the bank verified that the owner of the account had not written such a cheque. Fuller faces charges of forgery and of illegal possession of the weapon and marijuana found on him at the time of his arrest.

An employee at DRS Technologies in northwest Florida got his arms stuck in a press-like machine and was unable to free himself. No-one else was around. He shook his mobile telephone from his belt and managed to kick off one of his shoes. He rang emergency services with his big toe. Rescuers used a thick metal bar to break the machinery's hold on him, and he was airlifted to a Pensacola hospital.

Swiss daily Blick reports on three friends who were staying in a hotel in Cadempino, in the canton of Ticino. Returning to the hotel room at the end of the evening, one of the men went to sleep while the other two decided to engage in a contest to see who could spit the furthest from the balcony. The 29-year-old Swiss man who had suggested the spitting contest took a running start from inside the room, hoping to get greater distance on his spit. He ended up in the street below and died in hospital.

A police officer looking for 90-year-old Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth visited her home in Wisconsin and was assailed by the smell of incense and decomposing flesh, accompanied by recordings of hymns. Middlesworth's body was found on the home's only commode. The elderly woman's daughter, Tammy Lewis, said that she had rung self-proclaimed bishop Alan Bushey for advice when Middlesworth passed out two months earlier. Bushey, 57, told her not to move Middlesworth. He later explained that Lewis simply needed to pray hard and God would raise her mother from the dead. She and her two minor children thus began praying a great deal and using makeshift toilet facilities.
The younger of Lewis's two children, age 12, told a detective that he had considered running away from home and that Bushey had warned him that demons were simply trying to make it look as if Middlesworth wouldn't come back to life.
The children have been placed in foster care, and Lewis and Bushey are in custody.

Delivery worker Bruce Pitts began to worry when an elderly couple's newspapers began to pile up outside their St. Louis home. After his route, he returned to the home with his wife and entered via an unlocked side door. Less than a metre from the door were the couple: 77-year-old Fred Roberts had died of a heart attack some days earlier after mowing the lawn, and his wife, 84-year-old Blanche, was lying with her right leg trapped under his body. When she was freed from beneath Fred, whom Pitts described as a 'good-sized man' and whom Blanche described as 'sleeping', she needed only water.

When police visited an unemployed man in Nagoya, Japan, after he had an argument with his lover, the man came to greet them with an 18-litre can of kerosene, about a third of which he proceeded to pour over his head. When the 45-year-old man threatened to ignite a cigarette lighter, officers took him to the police station, where he refused to take a breathalyser test, instead demanding a cigarette. An officer bought him a pack of cigarettes from a vending machine and left them on the interrogation room table. Another officer gave the man a lighter. Officers who later started questioning the man said that he stood up and suddenly burst into flames. He died several hours later. There were cigarette butts on the floor, but the police aren't sure what happened or whether the man intended to catch fire.
Atsuta Police Station Deputy Chief Michiharu Kondo said of the officers' conduct: 'It was wrong not to get him to change his clothes and to have given him permission to have a cigarette in the smoke-free police station.'

A restaurant in New Zealand's Queenstown on South Island sold mulled wine to Sarah Ferguson. When the drink caused burning of her mouth and lips, she spat it out and cafe worker Bethany Sim offered to test it. Sim had a similar experience. An investigation revealed that 24 litres of dishwashing fluid had been delivered in a container previously used for Mountain Thunder mulled wine, with the obvious results. A court heard that the sodium hydroxide in the solution left Sim with burns and possible scarring of the throat and esophagus. The company will be sentenced next month.

Justin Hill, 42, entered the path of an oncoming car as he pulled in at his Tennessee trailer home. His wife heard the crash and ran outside, leaving the kitchen stove unattended. The home was on fire within minutes and suffered extensive damage. Hill was treated at the local hospital and released. He has also earned a traffic ticket in connection with the incident.

Gokhan Mutlu decided to travel from San Diego to New York on a stand-by travel voucher given to him by a friend who worked for JetBlue Airways. An air stewardess took the final seat on the flight, but the airline said she would sit in the employee jump-seat, allowing him to take the flight. About 90 minutes into the journey, the woman complained that the jump-seat she had been assigned was uncomfortable, and she was given Mutlu's seat. He says that the pilot told him to 'go hang out in the bathroom'. About three hours later, some time after the plane had encountered turbulence, Mutlu was told that he could return to his original seat, he says.
Mutlu is suing the airline for more than $2 million, explaining that the toilet has no safety belt or harness, placing him in danger in violation of federal law. JetBlue have offered no comment.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, a car with a 'No Parking' sign and post hanging from its front end entered a car park. Someone noticed this and summoned the police, who found a 23-year-old local woman asleep inside. She was arrested on marijuana-related charges, and at last report officers still weren't sure where she had hit the sign.

The Vancouver Sun reports that an immigrant family leaving the Philippines for Canada were running late for their connecting flight at the Vancouver airport after having to unpack and repack all of their bags. Separated from his wife and son and two of the boy's grandparents, Jon Parreno assumed that the 23-month-old boy was with them. They thought the child was with Parreno. While the boy wandered around, his family were sitting in different sections of the aeroplane, still unaware that he wasn't on board.
As the boy was a 'lap baby', he didn't have a separate boarding pass and thus there was no indication that anyone had missed the flight. Staff figured out part of the story only after finding an agent who speaks Tagalog. By process of elimination, Air Canada staff determined what flight his parents were on. The airline gave Parreno a complimentary set of flights to collect the boy.

Officials preparing for a flower festival in Ibaraki, Japan, were surprised to find that about one fifth of the flowers in their five-hectare poppy field were opium poppies. A spokesman for the municipal government department overseeing the festival said: 'I thought they were a little ugly but didn't realize it was opium. We had the same flowers growing here a few years back, too.' He indicated that a mistake was probably made with imported seeds. City officials pulled several hundred thousand poppies and burned them.

David L. Bingham of south-west Ohio says that he planned to be buried next to his mother. Visiting her grave recently after a two- or three-year gap, he found that another David Bingham had been buried in his cemetery plot in 2006. The cemetery have offered to move Bingham's mother, move the other body, or bury Bingham's cremated ashes in his mother's grave. He says that none of those options satisfies him.

One of Carol Race's children has been legally barred from attending church. Saint Joseph Church in Bertha, Minnesota, has been granted a two-year restraining order against the Race family on account of Adam, a 13-year-old autistic boy described by parish priest Father Daniel Walz as having caused 'repeated disruptions in church' over the last three years, including urinating, regularly spitting, and striking a child during services. Walz said that the Races, who sometimes must bind the 100-kilo Adam's hands and feet in order to keep him under some control, have refused to sit somewhere else during Mass. Adam's mother says the boy has been making progress and that 'autism is a reality'.

McKinney High School in Texas requested that Lifetouch National School Studios make all photographs of students in the school's yearbook similar - heads the same size and eyes at the same level. What they received involved rather more changes. Some heads were put on different bodies, necks were stretched, a girl's arm was removed, and another girl's head was placed on what appeared to be a nude body with the chest blurred. A spokesman for Lifetouch called these changes 'an unfortunate lapse in judgment' on an employee's part but indicated that malice was probably not involved. The school will not be charged for reprinting of the yearbook, which students are preparing once more for printing.


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