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News Quirks 

Published October 16, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A city bus driver in Barrie, Ontario, who searched a knapsack that a passenger had left behind, hoping to discover the owner’s identify, found it contained about a pound of marijuana. Soon after, the knapsack’s owner called Barrie Transit looking for his property. When he showed up to claim it, police were waiting and arrested the 21-year-old Port McNicoll man. (Barrie Examiner)

Techno Follies

A glitch in the Apple Maps app on newer iPhones and iPads directs users to a runway at Alaska’s Fairbanks International Airport instead of to the passenger terminal, according to airport official Angie Spear, who noted that twice in September, drivers continued across a runway in use. Drivers assume they’re being properly directed, Spear explained, because they can see the terminal building. (Associated Press)

A Google Street View car hit a bus while taking photos for Google Maps and Google Earth in Bogor, Indonesia. Police said the driver appeared to panic and tried to drive off, but hit a second bus and then a truck. “We take incidents like this very seriously,” Vishnu Mahmud, Google’s head of communications in Indonesia said. (Agence France-Presse)

Way to Go

A 68-year-old man who broke his ankle while hiking in rough terrain was being lifted by a winch into a helicopter when he apparently slipped out of the rescue sling and fell 100 feet to his death. “I understand he was at the door of the helicopter, and they were attempting to get him into the helicopter,” Ambulance Victoria chief executive Greg Sassella said, acknowledging that “helicopter operations are high risk.” (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Helicopter pilot Carl Enlow, 69, died while giving rides at a fair in Bloomsburg, Pa. Organizers said the veteran pilot had exited the chopper, but his hat blew off. When he reached for it, the spinning rotor struck him. (Associated Press)

Paint It White

Canada’s military is testing a stealth snowmobile intended for secret missions in Arctic regions. The Department of National Defence’s top priority for the $620,000 (US$599,000) prototype vehicle is silence, which it achieves by switching from its gasoline-powered engine to a “silent mode” electric motor. Arctic policy expert Michael Byers, who teaches international law at the University of British Columbia, suggested that technology-obsessed defense officials have “been watching too many Bond movies” and questioned the necessity of developing such a vehicle. “I don’t see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada’s North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them,” he said. (Canadian Press)

Things Going Better

The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to offer water, electricity and internet connections in 20 countries by erecting 150 kiosks that company official Serena Levy called “a downtown in a box.” Ideally, the company said, women will run the kiosks, which may also sell Coke products. (New York Times)

Seeing Isn’t Believing

Having been declared dead in 1994, eight years after disappearing from his home in Arcadia, Ohio, Donald Eugene Miller Jr. resurfaced in 2005. In early October, Miller, now 61, went to court to have the ruling changed, but Hancock County Judge Allan Davis denied the request, citing a three-year limit on appeals. “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” Davis said, calling the case a “strange, strange situation.” (Findlay’s Courier)

Mother of the Year

Authorities in Akron, Ohio, accused Deanna J. Hillyer, 31, of helping her two sons, ages 15 and 11, attack two brothers, 22 and 18, who refused the 11-year-old’s demand for a cigarette. Police said the mother used a metal tire pressure gauge to hit the younger brother in the face and did nothing to stop her sons from knocking both men to the ground with a bicycle and then kicking them. “A normal mother would tell her kids to get in the car and go,” a witness said, “but she got out of her car and got right into their faces.” (Akron Beacon Journal)

Things That Go Boo

Major retailers, including Walmart and Amazon, removed a Halloween costume showing Osama bin Laden wearing a white turban and full beard after a Sikh advocacy group complained the costume “perpetuates negative stereotypes about turbans and beards that have led to violence and discrimination against Sikhs and other minorities.” (Salt Lake City’s Deseret News)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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