As leaders worldwide search for ways to encourage people to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, officials in Indonesia are taking advantage of its citizens' superstitions, Reuters reported on April 13. Kepuh, a village on Java island, is employing village residents to dress as "pocong," or the trapped souls of the dead, in Indonesian folklore. The ghostly figures, wrapped in white shrouds with their heads covered and dark-rimmed eyes peering out, surprise unsuspecting pedestrians, then disappear into the night. The strategy appears to be working: Villagers have been seen running off in fright when the pocong appear. "People will not gather or stay on the streets after evening prayers," resident Karno Supadmo said.
Olive Veronesi, 93, of Seminole, Pennsylvania, wasn't shy about letting loved ones know what she needed during the lockdown. "I need more beer!" read a sign she held up, along with a can of Coors Light. A relative posted Veronesi's photo to social media, KDKA reported, and her predicament went viral. "I have a beer every night. ... I was on my last 12 cans. You know what, beer has vitamins in it. It's good for you, only don't overdo it," Veronesi said. On April 13, she got her wish: Molson Coors delivered 10 cases of her favorite brew to her front door. Her new sign reads, "Got more beer!"
Names in the News
• A baby born on April 6 in Sheopur, Bhopal, India, will carry a special name with him through his life: Lockdown. Manju Mail, his mother, confirmed to hospital staff: "Yes, he is Lockdown, as he was born during the lockdown period." Her husband, Raghunath, told The Times of India: "It is a significant name. The whole world using lockdown as a means to stem this pandemic. We should not take Lockdown lightly."
• Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, India, another couple blessed their twins, born March 27, with timely names: Corona and Covid. Preeti Verma, 27, told the Press Trust of India her children's names symbolize triumph over hardships. "Indeed the virus is dangerous and life-threatening, but its outbreak made people focus on sanitation, hygiene and inculcate other good habits," she said.
The Continuing Crisis
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies responded to a home in Saugus, California, on April 7 after a dispute over toilet paper turned violent, CNN reported. A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged with battery after his mother told deputies he had punched her. Sheriff's department spokesperson Shirley Miller said the man had accused his mother of hiding toilet paper, which she admitted to deputies, saying her son was using too much. "This is the first arrest I've heard of that started out over an argument over toilet paper," Miller said.
Getting the Message Out
Civic-minded car designer Kanyaboyina Sudhakar of the Sudha Cars Museum in Bahadurpura, India, has built a one-seat vehicle in the shape of the coronavirus "so that awareness can be spread on social distancing," he told The Times of India on April 8. The six-wheeled Corona Car can go about 25 mph and took Sudhakar 10 days to build. "I have always made cars to give back to the society in my own way," Sudhakar said. "(I)t is important to tell people to stay home and stay safe, and the coronavirus car is meant to convey the message."
As tornadoes bore down on the Southeast on April 12, an unnamed family sought safety in a storm shelter in Crossville, Alabama, but said they were turned away when they had only one face mask. The woman told WHNT a man who opened the door asked if they had masks. "I said I have one mask," the woman said. "He motioned no and shut the door." The family ran back to their car and looked for shelter elsewhere. Crossville Mayor Tera Fortenberry had posted the face coverings requirement on Facebook, but the family didn't see the message. After the story became public, masks were donated to the town anonymously.
A man in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, England, set out to build a deck in his back garden in early April and uncovered a mystery. As John Brayshaw, 40, began digging post holes, he unearthed an automobile buried on its side, Yahoo News UK reported. "I thought it was an old air raid shelter at first, then I saw the roof," Brayshaw said. "Then I kept digging and saw the door, the steering wheel and realized it was a full car, complete with the registration plate. The only thing that was missing was the wheels." Brayshaw, who has owned the home for about six months, believes the 1955/56 Ford predates the previous owners, who resided in the home 50 years.
• Davis, California, resident Shaun Lamar Moore, 40, was arrested on April 12 and charged with burglary after allegedly stealing a specimen that was waiting to be tested for COVID-19 from the Sutter Davis Hospital. Authorities said hospital employees reported a person had entered the facility April 11 and removed the specimen, Fox News reported. That evening, police were alerted that a sealed COVID-19 specimen was found in a shopping cart at a nearby CVS store. Police Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov said the specimen "hadn't been opened or tampered with based on the security seals. ... Although the incident is very serious, detectives do not believe (Moore) intended to harm himself or others," he added.
• Kevin Fallon, 30, of New York City reportedly sent warnings to friends and family on April 9 that he intended to blow up a bronze statue in Central Park depicting characters from Alice in Wonderland, according to court documents. On April 11, he allegedly followed up with photos of a pipe bomb and ammunition, along with threats: "This is going to hurt. None of you are safe. I am lethal." At his mother's request, NYPD conducted a wellness check at his apartment that day and found three bombs, ammunition and knives that had been taped together, authorities said. The New York Post reported the bombs were found to be nonfunctional, and later that day, Fallon was found at a hotel in the city, where he was taken into custody and charged with making a terroristic threat.
A new study has found the presence of a parasitic worm called Anisakis, or herring worms, in raw or undercooked seafood has increased 283-fold since the 1970s. Study co-author Chelsea Wood, assistant professor in the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, said most people who've eaten the worms think they have food poisoning. The symptoms are much the same, she told United Press International, and they disappear after the worm dies in a few days. But the worms can reach 0.8 inches in length and are visible to the naked eye, Wood noted. While fish processors and sushi chefs are adept at removing the worms, she suggested cutting sushi in half and inspecting each piece if you're concerned.
Least Competent Criminal
Furquan Muhammad, 22, started his very bad encounter with law enforcement on April 11 when he sped off after being pulled over in Monroe County, Georgia, for not having a license tag, authorities said. Georgia State Patrol spokesperson Lt. Stephanie Stallings told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that as the car sped by, troopers saw "there were other passengers in the fleeing vehicle that appeared to be children." The chase went on through four counties, until Muhammad crashed into a state trooper's car, which then caused a chain reaction involving four police vehicles and injured two troopers, according to authorities. Along with Muhammad in the car, deputies said they found four children (ranging in age from 9 weeks to 15 years old), marijuana, Xanax pills, a firearm and $2,000 in cash. Muhammad was arrested on multiple charges.
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