Familiarity Breeds Attempt | News Quirks | Salt Lake City Weekly
Support the Free Press | Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984. Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

News » News Quirks

Familiarity Breeds Attempt



Curses, Foiled Again
Rocco Tumbarello, 41, stole stuff from a home in West Boynton, Fla., authorities said, but he didn't get far. He lives across the street. The victim came home to find had his 42-inch TV and his mother's laptop gone, the sheriff's report said, and spotted his neighbor "running across the street with his television in his hands." (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The civil marriage of Zubair Khan, 48, and Beata Szilagyi, 33, was exposed as a ruse to skirt British immigration laws when Khan couldn't remember Szilagyi's name. He delayed the ceremony to call his marriage broker for the name. The suspicious registrar called authorities, who arrested bride and groom for what Home Office immigration official Andy Sharpe called "a farcical, but nonetheless serious attempt." (New York Daily News)

Nothing to Fear Here
The month after an inebriated government employee crashed a small drone on the White House lawn, the Secret Service announced plans to test its own "unmanned aircraft systems" to help protect the White House from drone attacks and other incursions. "I don't think we're talking about a battle of drones in the skies," Michael Drobac, executive director of the pro-drone Small UAV Coalition, said. "This isn't Battlestar Galactica gone drone. I think this is simply an ability to monitor. I'm confident they're not intending to use weaponized drones." (The Washington Times)

Hot Pockets
Erik Johnson spent 10 days in a hospital burn unit in Lindenhurst, N.Y., recovering from second- and third-degree burns after his iPhone exploded in his pocket. "I bent over to get keys, and all I heard was a 'pop' and, after a little 'ssshh,' smoke coming out and just, like, an instant burn," Johnson said. "My leg just starts going on fire, try to get it out, can't get it out. I was literally jumping up and down to get the phone out of my pocket, but I had dress pants on. I think the phone melted my pockets shut so I couldn't get into it, and I had to rip my pants off. A couple of people actually said they could smell my body burning." Apple said it is looking into the case. (CNN)

It Happens
U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted job opportunities for doctors to help monitor suspected smugglers' bowel movements at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Applicants must be available around the clock to use X-rays to examine body cavities of suspected "swallowers." If drugs or other contraband materials are detected, "the detainee may be held for a monitored bowel movement (MBM) to wait the passage of the contraband," according to the CBP, which uses a high-tech toilet to recover the material from the waste passed by the suspected smuggler. (The Washington Times)

Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest is causing pollution and threatening to spread disease, according to the head of Nepal's mountaineering association. Ang Tshering told reporters more than 700 foreign climbers and guides spend two months climbing the world's tallest peak during the brief climbing season, leaving feces and urine at four camps where they stay to acclimate themselves to the altitude. "Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there," Tshering said, adding the waste has been "piling up" for years. (Associated Press)

Familiarity Breeds Attempt
Christopher Miller, 41, served 15 years in prison for robbing three businesses, including a Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River, N.J. The day after he was paroled, he returned to the same Stride Rite store and robbed the same clerk, who had been notified of Miller's release. Miller pleaded guilty and faces 10 to 20 years in prison. (NJ.com)

Pharmaceutical Follies
Mary McKaig, 54, asked a Florida court to void her online bid of $100,500 for a foreclosed home because she was under the influence of "judgment-altering" prescription diet pills. After her bid was accepted, McKaig discovered the property has more than $400,000 of debt. "The diet pill seems like a convenient excuse for not doing their research before bidding," said Lloyd McClendon, CEO of RealAuction.com, which handled the transaction. (ABC News)

Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix, which carries the FDA's strongest warning label, following reports of suicidal tendencies and violent or bizarre behavior among patients, now will add an FDA warning that the drug can intensify the effects of drinking alcohol, sometimes leading to aggressive behavior or amnesia. The new warning follows Pfizer's proposal that the FDA remove the old warning based on the company's findings suggesting the drug doesn't increase those problems. (CBS News and Associated Press)

Drug companies boost sales with promotional campaigns to create awareness of medical conditions that their drugs treat. A recent example is Vyvanse, which the Food and Drug Administration approved to treat binge eating, even though it previously forbade its maker, Shire, from promoting Vyvanse as an obesity drug because of its amphetamine content. Immediately following approval, Shire donated $100,000 to the nonprofit Binge Eating Disorder Association and paid retired tennis player Monica Seles to appear on television talk shows to share how she once secretly devoured food. The American Psychiatric Association officially recognized binge-eating disorder in 2013, opening up the new market for Vyvanse. "Once a pharmaceutical company gets permission to advertise for it, it can become quite widely prescribed, and even tend to be overpriced," said Dr. B. Timothy Walsh, professor of psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University. (The New York Times)

Nut-Job Update
Cho Hyn-ah, the former Korean Air vice president who ordered a plane back to its gate after a first-class flight attendant served her macadamia nuts in an unopened package instead of on a plate, received a year in prison for violating aviation safety law. Park Chang-jin, the steward who was removed from the plane, said Cho, one of South Korea's wealthiest women, forced him and the junior attendant to apologize on their knees, "like slaves in a medieval era." (The New York Times)

Reply-All Fallout
After Ameren Missouri asked regulators for a 10-percent rate hike so it could collect an additional $264 million a year, the St. Louis-based utility "inadvertently" sent an e-mail intended only for Public Service Commission staff members to all parties involved in the negotiations—including consumer and business representatives—saying it was willing to lower its rate request to more than $100 million below its original proposal. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Compiled from news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.