Dateline: England—A pub owner in Southampton has found a sneaky political way around England’s new antismoking law. Landlord Bob Beech is hoping to get around the cigarette ban, which went into effect last Sunday, by turning his bar into a foreign embassy. Beech says the Wellington Arms tavern will now be the U.K. base for the tiny, uninhabited island of Redonda—located some 35 miles off the Caribbean nation of Antigua. Earlier last month, Redonda’s official cardinal Edward Elder—a regular at the pub—granted the business consulate status. Redonda’s current ruler is King Robert the Bald, 60, who lives on Antigua. King Robert recently bestowed a knighthood on Beech. As a Redonda embassy, Beech’s pub would be classified as “foreign soil” and would not be subject to British laws. “I have a legal team looking into the legalities at the moment,” Beech told The Sun. “But I am confident.”
Dateline: The Philippines—Police in Manila chased a burglary suspect down a crowded street in the nation’s capital until the unfit criminal signaled for a time out. “He was panting and gasping for air when we caught up with him after a 500 meter sprint,” Erwin Buenceso, one of the arresting officers, said on local radio station dzBB. Buenceso said the man and an accomplice broke into a house in the Philippine capital and stole two expensive mobile phones. Shouts from the residence alerted a neighborhood police patrol, which initiated the foot chase. Several blocks later, the winded criminal signaled for a “time out” with his hands. After he caught his breath, police ignored the international “five-second head start” rule, seized the two stolen phones and took the man to a station for questioning.
Dateline: Missouri—Police say inmates at the Scott City Jail used pancake batter and toothpaste to cover up a hole they dug in their cell wall. The hole was discovered last weekend. No one escaped, but it is believed the opening allowed a female inmate to slip into the adjoining cell where she was able to spend quality time with a male inmate. Police Chief Don Cobb said inmates used a digging tool fashioned from a nail, wire from a light fixture and a toothbrush to remove a cinderblock from the wall. The mixture of pancake batter and toothpaste was made to look like mortar and was used to disguise the secret exit. Exterior walls in the jail are covered in steel plates, a feature that the jail will now add to its interior walls as well. “Unless they can smuggle in an arc welder, they aren’t getting through that,” said Chief Cobb.
Dateline: South Carolina—The Island Packet newspaper reports a Hilton Head man mistook a bale of straw for a dead woman and tried to resuscitate it early last Tuesday. According to a sheriff’s report, the 39-year-old called deputies to the parking lot of Hilton Head Cabanas at 1:49 a.m., saying he had just tried to perform CPR on a dead woman. They arrived to find him talking to a large bale of pine straw. When asked where the woman was, he pointed to the straw, the report stated. The man told deputies five people knocked on his door and wanted to party. A woman asked him to come outside and told him there was a dead woman lying in the parking lot. Deputies believe the man had been drinking. Their report states the man thought it was Halloween and had two empty bottles of bourbon inside his home.
Dateline: Michigan—The 2007 Munger Potato Festival Queen has been sacked—a mere month before she was set to pass her crown onto the next member of Michigan’s royalty. Allison Nowicki, of Hampton Township, was informed in a letter from the Munger Potato Festival Queen Committee that she had not attended enough events in the past year to remain Potato Queen. Nowicki, a sophomore at Lake Superior State University, told the Bay City Times she has missed only one event during her reign. Since she was crowned last summer, she made appearances at the Miss Bay County Pageant, the St. John’s Mint Festival, the Bay County Fair, the Montrose Blueberry Festival and even the Linwood Pickle Festival. “The only one I missed was the [Bay City] St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” Nowicki admitted. “I called the first runner-up and told her I wasn’t going to make it.” Nowicki said she had a mandatory school meeting on the same day and couldn’t make the three-and-a-half hour drive between Bay City and Sault Ste. Marie for both events. Barring any legal action of Nowicki’s part, the Potato Queen title will remain vacant until a new queen is crowned on July 26.