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News Quirks 

Published March 31, 2010 at 5:36 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

A woman who police said tried to rob two credit unions in Memphis, Tenn., fled empty handed both times because tellers couldn’t figure out what she wanted. The first attempt ended with the frustrated robber throwing her holdup note at the teller and running away after the teller couldn’t understand her mumbling. A few hours later, a teller at the second credit union kept asking the woman fumbling in her purse what she wanted. Finally, she produced a note. When she also pulled a gun, the teller left. The woman ran outside, tripped and fell, dropped her gun, then got into a car and drove off. (Commercial Appeal)

Alerted by neighbors that someone was breaking into their car, a couple in Lake City, Fla., used their entry remote control to lock the thief inside. “So every time he tried to get out of the car, the owners just kept hitting the lock button on their key fob, and eventually he gave up trying to get out,” Columbia County sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Seifert said after Travis James Neeley, 19, was arrested. (Gainesville Sun)

Get ’Em While They Last

The Hump, a Japanese restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., known for its exotic sushi, admitted serving whale meat after federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against the restaurant and its chef, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto. The action followed an investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the federal Customs and Border Protection agency, prompted by the team behind the Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin hunting, The Cove. “Someone should not be able to walk into a restaurant and order a plate of an endangered species,” U.S. attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said. (New York Times)

Canada’s Parliament reacted to a European Union ban on seal products by serving seal hors d’oeuvres and main dishes at its restaurant. Two dozen lawmakers attended a luncheon to eat seal and listen to speeches endorsing Canada’s annual seal hunt. “This support begins on the plates of Canadians,” federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea proclaimed while dining on medallions of double-smoked, bacon-wrapped seal loin in a port reduction. (Reuters)

Self-Service Follies

A 46-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving in South Bend, Ind., after other motorists reported their vehicles were struck by a hose from a gasoline pump dangling from the gas tank of his truck. An employee at the gas station said the man bought gas with a credit card but then drove off with the hose still attached to the vehicle. (South Bend Tribune)

Faith-Based Initiative

Selective brain damage might influence spiritual and religious attitudes, according to an Italian study of patients before and after surgery for brain tumors. Researchers interested in linking brain activity and spirituality focused specifically on the personality trait called self-transcendence, which is considered a measure of spiritual feeling, thinking and behavior. Reporting in the journal Neuron, the researchers said they hoped their findings could lead to new strategies for treating some forms of mental illness. (Science Daily)

Tell a Friend

Israeli military authorities called off a planned raid on a West Bank village after one of its combat soldiers posted the raid’s time and location on his Facebook page. The soldier was court-martialed and sentenced to 10 days in prison. Prior to the leak, the Israeli military had launched a public information campaign warning of the hazards of sharing military information online. In military bases, posters show a mock Facebook page with images of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Below their pictures and a Facebook friend request, the slogan reads, “You think that everyone is your friend?” (BBC News)

Stuck in the Past

Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States after the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to label as “genocide” the killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I. The symbolic resolution passed 23-22. The United States previously condemned the killings of 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians between 1915 and 1918 but refrained from calling them genocide to avoid straining relations with Turkey, a key Muslim-majority ally in the Middle East. President Obama promised during his campaign that he would recognize the events as genocide but backed down from using that term in his message last year commemorating the killings. (Agence France-Presse)

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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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