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Publication: Syracuse New Times
Date published: November 10, 2010

Curses, Foiled Again

Three women ran from a Waffle House restaurant in Springfield, Mo., without paying their $39 check, but they didn't get far before one of them returned, asking for the three purses the women had left behind. She fled when the manager told her she'd have to wait, but the purses contained the women's identification. (Springfield News-Leader)

San Francisco police needed only nine minutes to track the man they said snatched an Apple iPhone from a woman's hand and fled on a bicycle. The phone was being used to test a new, real-time GPS tracking application, which led officers to Horatio Toure, 31, whom the victim identified as the thief. (San Francisco Chronicle)

After Lori Shannon Turner, 39, complained loudly at a McDonald's restaurant in Spartanburg, S.C., that she hadn't received a sandwich she ordered and demanded another one, a sheriff's deputy who arrived on the scene noticed Turner had a large grease stain on her pants. When a female officer was called to the scene for a search, Turner removed the missing sandwich from her pants. (The Herald Journal)

Mensa Rejects of the Week

An 11-year-old boy from Laval, Quebec, was hospitalized in critical condition after being pierced in the head by a metal pole thrown by a 17-year-old boy, according to police Sgt. Francois Dumais, who noted the pole was the type used to mark property lines for snow removal. "Both of them were playing a type of baseball," Dumais explained. "They were throwing the metal pole, and the other one was trying to hit the pole with a stick." (CTV Montreal)

Pretenders to the Throne

Japanese authorities admitted losing track of Tokyo's reigning oldest woman just days after police who searched the home of the city's oldest man found his mummified body. Fusa Furuya, reportedly 113 years old, had been registered as living with her daughter, but when officials went to the address, her daughter told them she hadn't seen or heard from her mother since moving into the apartment in 1986. When police found the body of Sogen Kato, officially listed as Tokyo's oldest man, the week before, they concluded he had been dead for more than 30 years. (BBC News)

Follow the Leader

Firefighters who rescued two men from an industrial clothes dryer in Charlotte, N.C., said the first man crawled into the dryer to free an item that was jammed but was overcome by the heat. A second man went in to rescue him, but the heat overcame him, too. A third worker called for help. Thirty firefighters needed a half-hour to free the two victims. (The Charlotte Observer)

Four men and five young children were in a boat on Idaho's American Falls reservoir when one of the men thought it would be funny to push another man overboard. "But apparently, he couldn't swim, so he was immediately in distress," Power County Sheriff Jim Jeffries said. "The second man jumped in, and so then there were two of them in distress in the water, so the third jumped in, and there were three in distress." The last man grabbed a life jacket but just held it instead of putting it on when he jumped in to save the other three, Jeffries said, noting that breezy weather caused the boat to drift away from the struggling men. Meanwhile, one of the children found a cell phone and called for help, but rescuers couldn't find any of the men or their bodies. (Associated Press)

Homeland Insecurity

Tourists will no longer be able to watch maple syrup production from the factory floor of Maple Grove Farms' processing facility in St. Johnsbury, Vt. General Manager Steve Jones said Maple Grove can't afford to comply with post-9/11 security guidelines requiring visitors to be physically separated from production equipment. (Barre-Montpelier Times Argus)

Making Immigration Pay

Montenegro, population 600,000, began offering citizenship to everyone who invests more than $662,650 in the country. The government said its "economic citizenship program" is designed to encourage businesses to move to the tiny Balkan nation, but opposition leader Nebojsa Medojevic argued it would "only attract tycoons and corrupt politicians on the run." (Reuters)

Dutch Swingers

A Dutch zoo invited Olympic gymnast Epke Zonderland to teach its orangutans how to swing through the trees. Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen recently renovated its orangutan enclosure so the primates can swing from tree to tree as they do in the wild, but they apparently have been caged so long that they've lost the knack. "It is said that we can learn from apes how to climb, but this time they've asked me to get the apes back into the trees," Zonderland, who competed in the high-bar event at the Beijing Olympics, told Dutch radio station BNR. (Reuters)

No Squatting at Ground Zero

After attending a cultural awareness course run by a Muslim community activist in England, managers of a Rochdale shopping mall installed two squat toilets. A familiar sight in parts of the Middle East and Asia, the toilets require users to squat over a hole in the ground and are favored over flush toilets because they don't need expensive plumbing and allow users to assume a natural posture that proponents claim offers health benefits. The installation at the Exchange mall followed a class by Ghulam Rasul Shahzad, who received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in June. The change didn't sit well with Conservative MP Philip Davies, however. "We in Britain are rightly proud of our toilets," he declared, "and the onus is on people who come to this country to appreciate them for what they are" (Britain's Daily Mail)

An Inconvenient Truth

Hotter-than-usual weather in Germany this year resulted in a disappointing potato harvest, resulting in potatoes used of make french fries that are only 1.8 inches long instead of the usual 2.2 inches. "The french fries industry and consumers will have to brace themselves for shorter fries," said Verena Telaar of the German Farmers' Association. (Reuters)

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