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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Two men tried to rob a man coming out of a convenience store in Medford, Ore., but fled when their intended victim ran back inside the store to call police. Officers arrived and were investigating, when the would-be robbers returned in time for witnesses to point them out. Police arrested the two suspects, 19 and 20 years old. (Associated Press)

Police looking for a man who stole two phones from a convenience store in Orem, Utah, apprehended suspect John White after he flagged down the investigating officers to ask for directions. They noticed that White matched the description given them by the store clerk and said the address he asked about was the same as that on a slip of paper the thief had left behind. (Associated Press)

War Is Hell

The U.S. military command in Afghanistan is shutting down fast-food outlets at Kandahar Airfield, claiming that Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Orange Julius and T.G.I. Friday’s use valuable resources, like water and electricity that are needed to run an efficient military operation. “This is a war zone — not an amusement park,” Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall said. “Supplying nonessential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops who are in the fight each day need re-supply with ammunition, food and water.”

Canadian coffee-and-doughnut outlet Tim Horton’s won’t be affected. “Kandahar Airfield Tim Horton’s is an initiative to support our men and women in uniform for serving in Afghanistan,” Canadian Defence Department official Megan MacLean said. “There are no plans to close the Tim Horton’s.” Canada’s troops are scheduled to leave the war zone in July 2011. (Reuters)

After U.S. and Afghan troops killed two pregnant women and three other innocent civilians during a night raid on Gardez, Vice Admiral William McRaven, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, apologized to Mohammad Tahir, the father of one of the women and brother of two men killed, by offering him two sheep. Tahir, who had vowed to become a suicide bomber to avenge the deaths, accepted McRaven’s apology. (ABC News)

Monkey with a Monkey on Its Back

After spotting a rhesus macaque that has been loose in Florida’s Hillsborough and Pinellas counties for more than a year, authorities shot the monkey twice with tranquilizer darts, but it escaped again. “The drugs just don’t seem to affect him for whatever reason. We’ve increased the dosage every time that we’ve shot him,” wildlife rehabilitator Vernon Yates said. “What we’re really doing is turning him into a drug addict.” (The Tampa Tribune)

Chutzpah

Facing grand larceny and identity-theft charges after embezzling more than $800,000 from the Kingston, N.Y., law firm where she worked as a bookkeeper, Mary Merton, 43, pleaded with the lawyers to let her keep her job. “I do not want to put you on the spot, but I would ask that you consider keeping me employed,” Merton wrote to the firm’s Richard Riseley and Michael Moriello. “Not because of the money, but because I truly enjoy my job and want to continue to work for the both of you to make up for my imperfections.” A forensic accounting put the total stolen at $807,399, which court documents indicated Merton used for vacations, premium cable TV at her New Paltz home, manicures, dinners and a race car for her husband. (Middletown’s Times Herald-Record)

The Emperor’s New Gym

A new $25 million high school gym in Akron, N.Y., will need additional money to install privacy screens for the locker rooms, according to school board members. The vestibule-style entrances from both the gymnasium and a hallway are at the center of the male and female locker rooms, providing a glimpse of students moving from the showers on one side to the locker areas on the other. The entrances have automatic closing doors, but school board members Kevin Stone and Patricia Buckley said staff monitors couldn’t be counted on to be sure the doors aren’t held open. “The first time a person looks in there and sees a naked kid,” Stone said, “we’re going to have a problem.” Adding privacy screens for the vestibule entrances will cost about $1000 each. (The Buffalo News)

Spoilsport of the Week

New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) introduced a bill that would ban restaurants from using salt “in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers.” Ortiz said the measure would give consumers “more control over the amount of sodium they intake.” Offenders face fines of $1000 for each violation. (Fox News)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

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

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