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News » News of the Weird

Gaming the System

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Gaming the System
In Taiwan, where companies are required to give newlyweds eight days of paid leave, an unnamed bank employee in Taipei used a loophole in the law to claim 32 days of leave over 37 days last year, reported Agence France-Presse on April 21. The man and his wife got married four times and divorced three times, claiming eight days of leave for each wedding. The bank complained to the city labor department, which sided with the employee and fined the bank about $670 for violating the regulation, sparking public criticism. The labor department later revoked the fine "to recognize a mistake and improve," it said.

• An unnamed civil servant in Italy is accused of collecting full pay at his job at Ciaccio hospital in Catanzaro since 2005 even though he never showed up for work. The man is also accused of threatening his supervisor if she filed a report against him; she later retired and none of her successors noticed his absence. The BBC reported authorities discovered the alleged fraud as part of a wider investigation into absenteeism in Italy's public sector, and six managers at the hospital are also under investigation. The truant worker reportedly collected about $650,000 over the years.

Fine Points of the Law
Caron McBride, 52, applied to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to change her name on her driver's license after getting married in November, and was told to call the Cleveland County District Attorney's office in Oklahoma, where she learned she was wanted there on a charge of felony embezzlement for failing to return a VHS tape of Sabrina the Teenage Witch to a Norman video store in 1999. "I thought, this is insane," McBride said, but prosecutors accused her of "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously embezzle(ing)" the tape, valued at $58.59, according to court documents. The Washington Post reported McBride had no memory of renting the tape but guessed the man she lived with at the time must have gotten it for his two young daughters. On April 23, prosecutors in Norman said they would drop the charge and expunge McBride's record.

Jungle Justice
A man suspected of poaching rhinos in South Africa's Kruger National Park was trampled to death by a herd of elephants on April 17, according to park authorities. Managing Executive Gareth Coleman praised the park's "successful weekend in the fight to keep our rhinos alive" as rangers arrested five suspects, carrying hunting rifles and an ax, in a continuing crackdown on poaching, reported The Washington Post. (Bonus: A skull and a pair of pants were all that remained of a suspected poacher killed by an elephant and eaten by lions in the park in 2019.)

Awesome!
Police in the Hradec Kralove region of the Czech Republic were stunned when a man turned in a Soviet T-34 tank and an SD-100 artillery gun as part of a nationwide weapons amnesty program designed to legalize guns that had not been registered. Prague Morning reported on April 10 that the man was a collector of historic weaponry and has owned the 1950s-era tank, which had been painted pink, since the 1990s. Authorities checked the tank and gun to confirm they have been properly deactivated, and the man was allowed to keep them in his collection. The amnesty campaign continues until July.

Creme de la Weird
Anna Marie Choudhary, 33, of Boone, North Carolina, was sentenced March 31 in West Virginia to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, ending a case McDowell County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dennie Morgan called the "craziest" his office has ever seen. Choudhary had been arrested, along with her father, Larry Paul McClure Sr., 55, of Pendleton, Kentucky, and her sister, Amanda Michelle Naylor McClure, 31, of Chicago City, Minnesota, in connection with the 2019 murder of John Thomas McGuire, 38, boyfriend of Amanda McClure, reported the Watauga Democrat. According to Morgan, McClure and his daughters "tortured" and killed McGuire on Valentine's Day 2019 and buried his body. Later, convinced McGuire was still alive, they exhumed the body and drove a stake through it before dismembering and reburying it. Larry and Amanda McClure then went to Virginia, where they were married, Morgan said. Larry McClure confessed to the murder after being arrested in Kentucky on unrelated charges. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without mercy. Amanda McClure pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years.

Opportunity Knocked
Kelyn Spadoni, 33, of Harvey, Louisiana, was fired from her job as a dispatcher for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office after she was arrested on April 7 and accused of refusing to return more than $1.2 million mistakenly deposited in her brokerage account by Charles Schwab & Co., said sheriff's office spokesman Capt. Jason Rivarde. According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, Schwab meant to transfer $82.56 into Spadoni's account in February, but instead transferred $1,205,619; when Schwab tried to correct the error the next day, it was told the funds were not available. NOLA.com reported Spadoni is suspected of moving the money and using some of it to buy a new house and an SUV, but authorities have been able to recover about 75% of the money, according to Rivarde.

Canine Chronicles
Newsweek reported a dog lover in Hobbs, New Mexico, who identifies himself as girthbrooks1994 on TikTok, couldn't figure out why the English bulldog he'd been given didn't respond to any of the commands he gave it until he tried something different—Spanish. Now named Senor Snax, the dog is shown on posted videos readily obeying commands such as "dame la mano" and "sientate" ("give me your hand" and "sit down"). "He's a bien boy and very spoiled," says the proud owner.

• The Edmonton Fire Rescue Service in Alberta, Canada, was called out on April 20 by reports of a dog driving a car down Guardian Road, United Press International reported. Firefighters determined the dog had been left alone in the car and accidentally shifted it into neutral, allowing it to roll along the road. They were able to stop the car and rescue the dog without incident.

Tribute
John Hinkle, 39, a two-time NCAA bowling champion for Western Illinois University, shot a perfect 300 game on April 12 at Landmark Lanes in Peoria, using a ball containing his father's ashes. Because he bowls with two hands, Hinkle said he is allowed only two holes in his bowling ball, so he had the thumb hole filled with some of his father's ashes after the elder Hinkle, who introduced him to the sport, died in 2016, United Press International reported. "I had tears in my eyes in the 11th and 12th frames. I couldn't tell you where that last ball went," Hinkle said. "He was there."

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