Odds & Ends
Dateline: Tokyo—In a shocking discovery, police in Tokyo have found that the city’s oldest living man has been cheating the record books, having passed away some 30 years ago. Police visited the home of 111-year-old Sogen Kato at the request of ward officials who were updating their list of centenarians for Japan’s upcoming Respect for the Elderly Day. Welfare officials reportedly tried to meet with Kato since early this year, but his family repeatedly chased them away. Officials grew suspicious and asked police to investigate. After forcing their way into the man’s house, police found the mummified body of Kato lying on his bed wearing pajamas and covered in a blanket. The man’s granddaughter told investigators Kato holed up in the room about 30 years ago after declaring he wanted to be a living Buddha. It is believe he passed away soon after. Tokyo police are investigating the possibility that the family covered up Kato’s death in order to receive pension money. According to records, Kato was born July 22, 1899.
Dateline: India—India’s Supreme Court has criticized the country’s last Census as “callous” and “totally insensitive” for lumping housewives into the “economically nonproductive” category alongside prostitutes, beggars and prisoners. According to a report in The Times of India, the judicial censure came after two justices agreed to increase the compensation awarded to a man whose wife died in a road accident. The National Insurance Company was originally ordered to pay Arun Aggarwal a very small amount of money after his wife’s death because, under Motor Vehicle Act provisions, she was listed as having no income. “This bias is shockingly prevalent in the work of the Census,” Justice A K Ganguly said in the ruling. “In the Census of 2001, it appears that those who are doing household duties like cooking, cleaning of utensils, looking after children, fetching water, collecting firewood have been categorized as non-workers and equated with beggars, prostitutes and prisoners who, according to Census, are not engaged in economically productive work.” India is in the midst of its 2010 Census, gathering information on an estimated 1.2 billion people. There has been no official word whether housewives, whom the Supreme Court dubbed “invaluable,” will be recategorized. In its ruling, the Supreme Court did urge India’s Parliament to amend statutory rules.
Dateline: Canada—Two police officers in British Columbia made an easy arrest after a robber cut in line in front of them at a coffeehouse and then demanded money from the cashier. The incident took place on July 24 at a Starbucks in New Westminster. The officers were heading into the coffee shop across the street from their station house when they stopped and had a brief conversation with an unnamed 43-year-old man outside the business. A short time later, the officers were inside, waiting to order when the man with whom they had just spoken walked up to the register, threw a drink at an employee and demanded money. “[The officers] looked at each other in astonishment that someone would attempt that with two uniform officers in the room,” police spokesperson Sgt. Bruce Carrie told CTV News. The unnamed man was taken to the ground and arrested.
Dateline: Illinois—An auction of grisly Elvis Presley memorabilia has been halted, disappointing hundreds of music fans hoping to get their hands on instruments used by Elvis’ mortician. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers of Chicago had scheduled an auction for Aug. 12—four days before the 33rd anniversary of The King’s death. The auction was to feature rubber gloves, forceps, needle injectors, an arterial tube, aneurism hooks, eyeliner, lip brushes and a toe tag marked “John Doe”—all of which were employed by an embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home to ready Elvis’ body for burial back in August of 1977. The action was put on hold, however, when a telephone call from a reporter at The Commercial Appeal determined the items’ questionable provenance. “Due to questions of ownership, the retired embalmer and his son have decided to turn over the property to the Memphis Funeral Home and its parent company, Service Corporation International, with the intention of donation,” auction company owner Leslie Hindman said in a post on her website. The funeral home said the items were taken without consent. “[The people who run the funeral home] thought the embalmer was dead, but he’s not. He’s in his 80s,” Commercial Appeal reporter Michael Lollar told AOL News. “They contacted him and told him he can’t sell the items.” The funeral home’s president, E.C. Daves, is reportedly waiting for word from the Presley estate on what should be done with the items. It is likely they will either be donated to a funeral history museum in Houston or destroyed.