Dateline: Germany--A seven-member family is facing eviction from their east Berlin apartment after neighbors complained about the family’s loud prayer sessions, which are keeping the entire building awake at night. Neighbors told the German newspaper Bild the screams and singing that emanate from the family’s second-floor apartment sometimes begin as late as 2:30 a.m. and can be heard as high as the building’s fifth floor. “We have our work in the morning and need our sleep,” said taxi driver Horst Berghahn, who lives on the third floor. Berghahn said he has asked the family to lower the volume several times since they moved into the building 10 months ago, but has seen no result. “I really don’t want to disturb the neighbors, but the high volume is needed in the battle against the devil,” Pierre D., the 42-year-old father of the Christian family, told the newspaper. He is fighting the eviction in court.
Dateline: Sri Lanka--A peace rally in the capital of Colombo last Thursday devolved into a violent brawl as Buddhist monks rumbled with one another in a saffron-robed free-for-all. Organizers said there were about 1,000 people in a city park, listening to a range of speakers call for an end to hostilities in the religiously divided nation. Things took a turn for the worse, however, when a group of hardline monks opposed to concessions to Tamil Tiger rebels mounted the stage and erected banners. The majority Buddhist Sinhalese monks, allied with President Mahinda Rajapakse, argued that the government was too soft on minority Tamils--some Hindu, some Christian--who are demanding a separate homeland. According to witnesses, some more moderate antiwar monks were already on the stage, and fists began to fly. Other religious leaders on the platform reportedly found themselves dragged into the melee. No one was seriously hurt.
Dateline: Indiana--According to a report on South Bend’s WSBT News22, a 21-year-old man suffered severe burns to his face and head after igniting a “mortar-style” firework that he taped to an old football helmet and placed on his head. Police said Kaleb Spangler of Bloomington attempted the stunt “while drinking” (no kidding) at a party along Indiana 46 between Bloomington and Nashville early last Saturday morning. His girlfriend said Spangler came up with the idea of duct taping the large firework to the old football helmet. He then put it on his head and ignited it. She told police she saw a “large flash,” then saw Spangler on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the head. The helmet was destroyed by the blast. Spangler was taken to Bloomington Hospital, where he was treated for severe burns, laceration and a concussion.
Dateline: Indiana--According to the Marion Chronicle-Tribune, a group of 10 to 15 masked individuals entered a Taco Bell at 3244 S. Western around 10:46 p.m. last Tuesday to return a three-year stash of fire sauce packets. Police say the masked men were toting six 40-gallon trash bags filled with an estimated 25,000 individual packets of taco sauce. A note left with the sauce--which likely weighed more than 400 pounds--said the group had been accumulating the spicy packets for the past three years, storing them in the trunk of a car. According to the note, the condiment hoarders thought about using them for a practical joke or selling them on eBay, but conscience got the better of them, prompting them to return to the fast food restaurant. An official police investigation into the matter has been suspended. “It looks more like a prank than it does anything else,” Deputy Police Chief Cliff Sessoms told the Chronicle-Tribune. “But not a very funny one.”
Dateline: Massachusetts--AOL is going on an old-fashioned treasure hunt. Internet giant America Online announced last Tuesday that it intends to search for gold and platinum bars the company suspects are buried in the yard of Davis Wolfgang Hawke’s parents. The family, which lives in Medfield, has said it will fight to oppose AOL’s plans. Last year, AOL won a $12.8 million judgment in U.S. District Court in Virginia against Hawke for violating federal and state anti-spam laws by sending unwanted e-mails to AOL subscribers. So far, AOL has not been able to find Hawke, who did not show up in court, to collect their money. To win a judge’s permission for the treasure hunt, AOL submitted receipts reflecting large purchases by Hawke of gold and platinum bars. The company indicated it believes Hawke buried the loot on his parents’ property using a shovel. Hawke’s mother, Peggy Greenbaum, admits her son once confided in her that he bought gold--rather than expensive cars or homes--because it would be more difficult to seize in lawsuits. She believes, however, that he buried the loot in the White Mountains, 130 miles north of Boston. “There’s absolutely no reason for them to think that Davis Hawke would be stupid enough to bury gold on our property,” Greenbaum told reporters. Greenbaum maintains that she has not heard from her son in more than a year, and plans to challenge AOL’s excavation in court.