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Stop Me Before I Drive Again



Curses, Foiled Again
Billy Floyd Norris, 33, called 911 to report his roommates had robbed him, but when police arrived at his house in Hanceville, Ala., they found a working methamphetamine lab and arrested Norris.

• When a woman called 911 to report a man who tried to rob her at gunpoint was in hot pursuit outside Edwardsville, Ill., the dispatcher gave her directions to a nearby sheriff’s department. The suspect followed. The Belleville News-Democrat reported that Carleous Clay Jr. 26, realized too late where he was headed and was arrested.

Homeland Insecurity
People on the government’s terrorist watch list tried to buy guns 963 times last year, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. Federal authorities approved 865 of those purchases, including one case where a listee was able to buy more than 50 pounds of explosives. “This is a glaring omission, and it’s a security issue,” Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., told The New York Times. Lautenberg introduced legislation in 2007 to block gun sales to people on terror watch lists, but the measure stalled under pressure from the National Rifle Association, whose position is that showing up on a terrorist watch list is no reason to deny someone a gun.

Cook County of the Balkans
On the eve of general elections, Albania’s main opposition Socialist Party charged that too many dead Albanians were registered to vote. “Over 17,000 Albanians, almost the equal of two lawmakers’ seats, are aged from 90 up to the age of 159 of Shqype Hasibja,” Socialist electoral affairs chief Kastriot Islami pointed out, indicating that 5,000 voters were older than 100 and 3,300 voters older than 110. The Interior Ministry acknowledged that some citizens older than 100 were eligible to vote but said they cannot be removed unless they are declared dead, adding, “We think the claim of the Socialist Party to consider as dead any citizen over 90 years old is unreasonable.”

Stop Me Before I Drive Again
Zackary Lester Johnson was driving in Athens, Ga., when he flagged down a police officer and inquired if there were any warrants for his arrest. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the officer asked for his driver’s license, but Johnson handed him an ID card. The officer checked, found Johnson’s license had been suspended and arrested Johnson, who said he “was aware of that fact, and that it would probably be best if he went to jail.”

The Pious Is Right
Turkish television station Kanal T announced the impending debut of Penitents Compete, a game show where Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist spiritual leaders try to convert 10 atheists. Converts will win a pilgrimage to a holy site of their new faith: Mecca, the Vatican, Jerusalem or Tibet. “We are giving the biggest prize in the world, the gift of belief in God,” Kanal T chief executive Seyhan Soylu told Reuters. “We don’t approve of anyone being an atheist.” At least 200 people have applied to compete, and a team of theologians will ensure that the contestants are truly nonbelievers and not just seeking fame or a free vacation.

The show has drawn protests, but the real snag has been the refusal of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate to provide an imam, declaring, “Religion should not be a subject for entertainment programs.”

Only the Loanly
A Latvian loan company is helping people through hard times by lending them money with only their soul as collateral. Applicants need give only their first names and don’t have to show any documents, according to Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34, the public face of the Kontora loan company, who said his company is trusting borrowers to repay the high-interest, short-term loans and vowed not to use strong-arm collection tactics if any don’t. “If they don’t give it back, what can you do?” Mirosiichenko told Reuters.

“They won’t have a soul, that’s all.”

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.