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News Quirks 

Published January 15, 2014 at 10:08 a.m.

First Things First

A Pakistan International Airlines flight was preparing for an on-time departure from the Lahore airport to New York City when the pilot learned that the airline’s cost-cutting policy limited the in-flight menu to peanuts, chips and cookies. He demanded “sandwiches at any cost,” even though the catering department informed him they had to come from a five-star hotel in town and that getting them would take more than two hours. The pilot insisted. The sandwiches finally arrived, and the flight took off two and a half hours late. PIA official Mashhood Tajwar said the airline considered the delay “serious” and intended taking action “against those responsible for it.” (ABC News)

Slightest Provocations

Helen Ann Williams, 44, stabbed a man with a ceramic squirrel when he returned home without beer because the stores were closed, according to sheriff’s deputies in North Charleston, S.C. (Associated Press)

Police arrested Dana Allen, 40, for assaulting her neighbor during an ongoing argument over a doormat at their apartment complex in Des Moines, Iowa. The victim said the doormat belongs to her, but Allen kept moving it to her own door. (Des Moines Register)

Anti-Flotation Device

A new submarine built for the Spanish navy turned out to be too heavy and sank when launched. Officials said that the 233-foot Isaac Peral, costing 1.9 billion pounds, was at least 75 tons overweight. Officials indicated that correcting the problem would take two years. (Britain’s Daily Telegraph)

Speak English

During a presentation about proposed traffic improvements in Albuquerque, N.M., project lead engineer Jim Heimann was discussing building a traffic circle when he referred to the “queue” of cars that would form waiting to enter the circle. “This is America,” a woman in the audience yelled. “We don’t say ‘queues’ in America. We say ‘lines.’ We stand in line, we wait in line. We do not queue.” Presenters subsequently abandoned the word “queue” for the remainder of the meeting, although no one objected to repeated use of the British term “roundabout.” (Albuquerque Journal)

Next Step: Uniforms

After reviewing 200,000 video applications, the Dutch nonprofit Mars One advanced toward its goal of sending 40 volunteers on a one-way trip to the Red Planet in 2025 by narrowing the field of applicants to 1,058. The initial cut separated “those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the missions with much less seriousness,” Mars One cofounder Bas Lansdorp said, including “a couple of applicants” whose videos showed them in the nude. (ABC News)

Solution Begets New Problem

E-cigarettes are causing flat tires because smokers are throwing spent nicotine cartridges out car windows as if they were cigarette butts. “We have seen usually one or two a week puncturing the tire,” said Tony Dewildt, manager of Belle Tire in Bay City, Mich. “They’re made out of metal, so when they slash a tire, they usually leave a pretty big gash in it.” Dewildt pointed out that the puncture usually is too big to repair, requiring victims of e-cigarette cartridges to buy new tires. (Flint’s WNEM-TV)

We Have a Wiener

Police arrested Deharra Waters after he ran through a bingo hall in Louisville, Ky., with his pants down yelling “Bingo!” Officers noted that Waters appeared intoxicated but didn’t confirm whether he actually had a Bingo. (United Press International)

Transparent Relationship

Seattle police arrested Lydell Coleman, 36, for having sex with a sandwich-shop window. According to charging papers, which reported the accounts of two women witnesses, after dropping his pants and mashing himself against the cold glass at Sub Shop, “Coleman was observed making sexual motions on the glass window that were described as ‘humping’ and rubbing his genitals against the window.” (Seattlepi.)

Suspicion Confirmed

Researchers who examined 18 studies of links between sugar-sweetened soft drinks and obesity found that 10 of the 12 studies claiming no connection to the soft-drink industry concluded that sugary drinks were associated with obesity and weight gain. Five of the six that reported receiving funding from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association insisted there was insufficient evidence for a conclusion. “I wouldn’t say that industry participation alone is enough to dismiss the study’s results in the whole of nutrition research,” lead author Maira Bes-Rastrollo of Spain’s University of Navarra said, “but…” (PLOS Medicine via the New York Times)

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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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