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Home / Articles / Opinion / News Quirks /  Democracy in Other Lands
News Quirks

Democracy in Other Lands

By Roland Sweet
Posted // January 30,2012 -

Curses, Foiled Again
Police identified Keith A. Rebori, 23, as their suspect in the robbery of a pharmacy in East Stroudsburg, Pa., after they found a backpack near the scene that matched the one a surveillance video showed the robber carrying. It contained the holdup note and Rebori’s birth certificate. (Pocono Record)

• Irish police accused Jason Glennon, 36, of burglarizing a house in Dublin. When the homeowner confronted him, Glennon ran but left behind a backpack and a mobile phone he’d previously stolen from a car. Police said he’d used the phone to snap his picture, which they recognized owing to his 53 previous convictions. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Democracy in Other Lands
A federal court in Brazil sentenced politician Talvane de Albuquerque to 103 years in prison for ordering four of his aides to kill congresswoman Ceci Cunha so he could replace her in the Chamber of Deputies. Albuquerque was Cunha’s alternate and would have assumed her seat. Albuquerque was also convicted of ordering the murders of Cunha’s husband and two of her relatives. (Associated Press)

Problem Solved
Following a rash of thefts from cars and trucks in a Detroit neighborhood, police banned street parking in the area. (Detroit Free Press)

Hard Sell
Police arrested door-to-door salesman Jerad Michael Arnold, 22, after a woman reported he forced his way into her home in Boone, N.C., and refused to leave unless she either “submitted to drug use and sexual activity” or bought a magazine subscription. She opted for the magazines but called 911 as soon as Arnold left. (Bristol, Va.’s WCYB-TV)

Snakes on a Plane: The Prequel
Airport screeners in Argentina detained a Czech man who tried to smuggle 247 boa constrictors, poisonous pit vipers and coral snakes, lizards and spiders aboard a flight from Buenos Aires to Spain. Authorities said Karel Abelovsky, 51, had the animals in his over-loaded suitcase, which screeners opened after noticing its contents wriggling around. (Associated Press)

Head Games
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, which has been deployed to the Arabian Gulf since May, have had to deal with toilet outages that have become so frequent crew members complain they sometimes cannot find a single working commode. Bush sailors told the publication Navy Times that they’ve resorted to urinating in showers, sinks and bottles, and that some crew members have developed infections after resisting urges to use the bathroom. Explaining that the problem lies with the vacuum system that pulls waste through the ship’s 250 miles of pipe, Navy officials pointed out that clogs can cause a loss of vacuum. They blamed most of the outages on sailors flushing “inappropriate material or items” down the ship’s toilets. (Norfolk’s The Virginian-Pilot)

Whatever It Is, We’re Against It
Republicans determined to curb government regulatory acts introduced three measures in the House of Representatives specifically intended to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting farm dust, one of which passed, 268-150. Obstructionist Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., even wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Post decrying the “EPA’s proposed regulations,” and Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, declared, “Where’s the EPA going to be next, checking under my bed for dust bunnies?” Despite the outspoken opposition, the EPA has repeatedly insisted it issued no new rules restricting farm dust and has no plans to regulate that pollution. (The Washington Post, Associated Press)

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Cary Dolego, 53, a write-in candidate for governor of Arizona in 2010, traveled to Ukraine to meet a potential bride, only to find himself the victim of an online dating scam. Dolego stayed, however, even though he was broke and forced to sleep in public parks in Chernivtsi. “I need a special lady,” he explained, “a Ukrainian lady, so that we can start a life together.” (Associated Press)

Invitation to Invasion
A floating fence intended to stop terrorist attacks and protect Canadian navy ships has been dismantled after it was weighed down by mussels and kelp and battered by waves in Halifax harbor. The mile-long orange fence, which cost $3.5 million Canadian, was designed with hard plastic teeth jutting 5 feet into the air to thwart small boats carrying explosives. Dennis Smith of Whispr Wave, a New Jersey company that has built similar floating fences for navies around the world, said the Halifax barrier was under-engineered from the start and unable to withstand the “constant 24/7-365 pounding” from the waves. (CBC News)

Novel Solution
To deal with stares that greet foreigners traveling in Tokyo, Iceland native Arni Kristjansson, 29, created a fake cover to fit over whatever book he happens to be reading on the train. Its title, in Japanese, is, Why Do Japanese People Stare at Foreigners? Kristjansson, a DJ and musician, said most people’s reaction to his non-confrontational approach is laughter. “When I explain the idea,” he said, “they realize that a 300-page book on why Japanese people stare at foreigners is pretty ridiculous.” (CNN)

Coping Mechanisms
Scott Ritter, 50, a former United Nations weapon inspector in Iraq who became an outspoken critic of the U.S. invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to at least a year and a half in a Pennsylvania prison after he exchanged explicit online messages with a detective posing as a 15-year-old girl and then performed a sex act on himself in front of a webcam. Ritter’s attorney, Gary Kohlman, explained that his client’s sexually explicit chats were his way of coping with depression over being called unpatriotic for criticizing American policy on Iraq. (Associated Press)

• Still angry three years after being fired from his job as a mental health counselor in Rockland County, N.Y., Michael Davitt, 54, protested his treatment by dangling on a rope ladder from the Tappan Zee Bridge for more than three hours. He waved a banner that accused Rockland officials of a “cover-up” and “retaliation.” County spokesperson Ron Levine called Davitt’s action “a very strange way of making a point.” (Associated Press)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

 
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