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News Quirks 

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Curses, Foiled Again

A man entered the garage at a home in northwest Chicago and demanded that the resident hand over the keys to her 2012 Honda MDX. She complied, but then fled the garage and closed the door behind her, trapping the man inside. She called the police, who arrived to find Andre Bacon, 21, sitting in the driver's seat of the vehicle with the keys in the ignition. (Chicago Tribune)

Slightest Provocation

Authorities charged Ahmed Nur Adan, 27, with felony assault at a Cass County, N.D., jail after he punched fellow inmate Timothy Lowseth, 26. Adan explained that for the past three days, Lowseth had been coming into Adan's cell, farting and then leaving. Lowseth admitted farting but denied doing so in Adan's cell. (Forum News Service)

Retired police officer Curtis Reeves, 71, asked Chad Oulson, 43, to stop texting during the previews at a movie theater in Wesley Chapel, Fla. When Oulson objected, an argument ensued, and at some point Reeves said Oulson threw popcorn at him. Claiming self-defense, Reeves fatally shot him. (Associated Press)

Sour Note

When Canadian flute virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui arrived in Boston via New York, he found that U.S. Customs officials at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport had searched his luggage, mistaken his 13 instruments for pieces of bamboo and destroyed them. "They told me they were agricultural products," said Razgui, who made them all by hand from hard-to-find reeds. "And now they're gone." (Boston Globe)


Police reported that Shamal Battice showed up at a car dealership in Ocala, Fla., wanting to buy a car. Salesman Anselmo "Chico" Barreto helped Battice, a paraplegic in a wheelchair, get into a 2009 Pontiac G6, whereupon Battice locked the door and started the engine. He then used a folding cane to press down the gas pedal and drive off the lot. Barreto notified the authorities, and Bradford County sheriff's deputies arrested Battice at a gas station trying to refuel the car. (Ocala Star-Banner)

Secret Identities

Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi, whose deafness won him fame as a modern-day Beethoven, acknowledged that he paid a ghostwriter to compose some of his internationally acclaimed symphonies. The ghostwriter, Takashi Niigaki, revealed at a news conference not only that he had written more than 20 pieces for Samuragochi, but also that his employer only pretends to be deaf. "Samuragochi is deeply sorry as he has betrayed fans and disappointed others," Kazushi Orimoto, Samuragochi's lawyer, said while stating that his client wasn't available to meet the press. Asked if Samuragochi had listened to Niigaki's news conference, Orimoto insisted, "There's no way. He can't hear." (New York Times and Wall Street Journal)

Too Big to Care

HSBC bank has imposed restrictions on large cash withdrawals by some of its British customers who cannot prove why they want their money. Customer Stephen Cotton said that when he tried to withdraw £7,000 pounds ($11,695) from his local HSBC branch, the bank declined his request without "a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for" and refused to tell him how much he could have. "So I wrote out a few slips," he explained. "I said, 'Can I have £5,000?' They said no. I said, 'Can I have £4,000?' They said no. And then I wrote out one for £3,000, and they said, 'OK, we'll give you that.'" When he complained, the bank said the new policy took effect in November but declared it "had no need to pre-notify customers of the change." (BBC News)

After the New York Times published a story about rising demand for pigs raised in open pastures, the newspaper's international edition reprinted the story. The Malaysian version included two pictures of the pigs but blacked out their faces. "This is a Muslim country," a representative from the printing company based in Shah Alam said, explaining that pictures of pigs are not allowed. He acknowledged that the authorities had not ordered the cover-up. "What they have done is self-censorship," Hashimah Nik Jaafar, secretary of the Home Ministry's Publication and Quranic Texts Control Division, said, noting that Malaysia has no law prohibiting publication of pictures of pigs. (Malay Mail)

Police investigating a break-in at a gas station in Newington, Conn., said surveillance video showed a station wagon repeatedly backing into the store and breaking the glass doors. The driver jumped out of the vehicle, grabbed a banana from a shelf, ate it and then drove off. Nothing else was taken. (Associated Press)

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Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.


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