Dateline: Afghanistan—A young girl became the first fatality in her country’s ongoing propaganda war when a crate containing public information leaflets fell on her. The crate was dropped from a British RAF transport aircraft over Helmand province on June 23. The crew of the RAF C-130 Hercules had been flying over rural parts of the province to try to reach local people with a leaflet campaign. The boxes of leaflets are supposed to open in midair, scattering the literature over a wide area. “But on this occasion, one of the boxes failed to open, and the young girl was hit,” an official with the U.K. Ministry of Defence admitted last week. The Ministry called the incident “highly regrettable” and is investigating. MoD officials weren’t sure what type of leaflets were involved, but typical topics include basic safety warnings about improvised explosive devices and “land mine awareness.”
Dateline: England—London’s Daily Mail reports that two drunken troublemakers picked the wrong transvestites to harass during a recent night out on the town. Dean Gardener, 19, and Jason Fender, 22, were walking along The Kingsway in Swansea, South Wales, when CCTV cameras caught them confronting two men in wigs, short skirts and high heels. Unfortunately, the “transvestite” targets were a pair of professional cage fighters on their way to a costume party. The bare-chested Gardener was seen on CCTV video yelling at one of the men in a pink wig, black skirt and tube top, then throwing a punch. The punch missed and the second man, dressed in a sparkly black dress and matching wig, stepped in and delivered two quick jabs to the drunken bullies. The fighters teetered away on their high heels, pausing only to pick up a clutch purse they dropped during the short melee. Gardener and Fender eventually staggered to their feet and weaved along The Kingsway. CCTV cameras tracked them and the drunken duo was soon arrested by police. Both Gardener and Fender pleaded guilty to using abusive words and behavior. Mark Davies, arguing for the defense in court earlier this month, said, “You know it cannot have been a good night when you get into a fight with two cross-dressing men.” Gardener and Fender were sentenced to four months’ community service and electronic monitoring.
Dateline: Iowa—Clerks at a convenience store that had been robbed twice in the last few months were so jumpy they simply threw money at a man they assumed might be robbing the place. Last Thursday night, workers at Five Star Snacks in Waterloo were confronted by a rambling man who had his hand in his pocket. The clerks promptly stuffed all the cash in the register into a bag and threw it at the man, later identified as 32-year-old Tory Bradford. According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Bradford ignored the money and walked out of the store. Patrol officers later found Bradford in the street near the store. He reportedly had watery eyes and slurred speech. Bradford was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and interference—but not for armed robbery.
Dateline: South Dakota—Two years after it shut its doors, an abandoned meat-packing plant has been emptied of its meaty contents. Bridgewater Quality Meats was closed by owner Ilan Parente in January of 2008 when the business was moved to Dawson, Minn. For unknown reasons, Parente left behind some 44 tons of kosher bison meat when he skipped town. The meat survived thanks largely to the brutal chill of two South Dakota winters, but electricity to the plant was cut off last December. As the area thawed, the meat began rotting. By the middle of summer, the entire town of Bridgewater was suffused with the smell of rotten bison. “This is a small town. We have just over 600 people, so that stench was enough to overwhelm the entire town. Not just this street,” Mayor Marty Barattini told the Associated Press. Fed up with the stink, a team of 18 city and county workers entered the plant and spent weeks hauling off the mostly liquified meat in five dump trucks and three extra-large trash bins. Three months after the cleanup, the building’s owner still hasn’t paid the $11,151 cleanup bill or the $14,085 in property taxes he owes.
Dateline: Idaho—The Idaho Spokesman-Review recently reported on the case of 87-year-old Coeur d’Alene resident Violet Bishop, who accidentally munched her own hearing aid while snacking on Halloween candy. Bishop was about to crawl into bed and watch an episode of “Dancing With the Stars” when she got a craving for chocolate. She went to her kitchen and broke out a stash of Milk Duds she was saving for Halloween. “I took the box with me and went to my bedroom,” Bishop told the Spokesman-Review. “I reached for my Milk Duds and poured a couple of morsels in my hand and and threw them back and started to munch. As I enjoyed the chocolate and caramel taste, it appeared that one of my Milk Duds was not as fresh as the others. One was rather crunchy and I could not get it to soften up, no matter how hard I tried.” Turns out the senior snacker’s hearing aid fell out and into the box of candy. It cost Bishop $199 to get the device cleaned and repaired.