Odds & Ends
Dateline: India—A village council in the northern district of Muzaffarnagar has ordered all unmarried girls to stop carrying or using cell phones. It is believed this move will prevent local girls from running away with their boyfriends and getting married. Spokesperson Rajender Malick told the Indian media that the village council in Lank “imposed a ban on the usage of mobile phones by unmarried girls to prevent them from eloping with young boys against the wishes of their parents.” The Lank village council decided unmarried boys could use mobile phones, but only under parental supervision. According to police, 34 couples in the Muzaffarnagar district eloped last month. Among those who eloped, eight were reported beheaded by their families in “honor” killings. In some cases, it is the village councils themselves who have ordered the punishments. The local women’s rights group Disha said banning cell phones for unmarried females demonstrated the council’s archaic mindset, and warned it could put girls at a disadvantage. “These help in easy communication, which in turn help these youth to get jobs. One cannot discriminate use of these contraptions on basis of sex,” Disha president K.N. Tiwari told reporters.
Dateline: Germany—A teenager in the midst of a Big Mac attack tried to go through the drive-though at a McDonald’s in a tractor and ended up causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. According to the Romanian Times, 17-year-old Benji Bauer was working on a farm near the west-central German town of Velbert when lunchtime rolled around. Jonesing for some fast food, Bauer “borrowed” the 12-ton tractor, which was equipped with front and rear plows. When he tried to pull up to the McDonald’s window, he knocked over garbage cans, signs and demolished several landscape plantings. Once he realized what he had done, Bauer tried to flee the scene. Police easily caught up to the farm vehicle and charged Bauer with fleeing the scene of an accident. The teen now faces a $4,700 fine for damages.
Dateline: Venezuela—A former Miss Universe from Venezuela continues to give beauty queens a bad name. Alicia Machado, who took the Miss Universe crown in 1996, was forced to shut down her Twitter account after she gave a poor Asian geography lesson. Presumably concerned over North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island, Machado made a digital plea to her followers. “Tonight I want to ask you to join me in a prayer for peace, that these attacks between the Chinas do not make our situation worse,” she wrote via her @aliciamachado77 account. A flood of insults and corrections—most pointing out that there’s no such thing as North and South China—caused Machado to close her Twitter feed. “I have a lot of psychopaths on the account and it’s best I start another one, kisses,” wrote Machado in her sign-off post.
Dateline: New York—The Daily News reports that some robbers held up the owners of a Staten Island pizzeria and made off with a bag full of dough—but not the spending kind. According to court papers, 25-year-old Salvatore LaRosa and an accomplice followed the owners of Brother’s Pizzeria from their business to their home. In the driveway of the house, the masked bandits pointed guns at the owners and demanded they turn over the bag they were carrying. The thieves assumed the bag held the day’s proceeds. However, according to the criminal complaint, “the bag that was stolen contained pizza dough.” LaRosa, who was the subject of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into organized crime earlier this year, turned himself in to federal authorities. He was recently released on $1 million bail and is awaiting trial on a string of crimes, including the infamous dough robbery.
Dateline: Oregon—A young man’s request to use the phone at a Eugene police station has led to his arrest. According to the Register-Guard newspaper, 23-year-old Nathan Alan Bramlage entered the police station lobby on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 24, and asked to borrow the telephone so he could call his parents. While doing so, an officer working behind the desk recognized Bramlage from surveillance footage of a Wells Fargo bank robbery committed just the day before. Detectives followed Bramlage and arrested him two blocks away. “I just assume that he didn’t believe that we’d recognize him,” Det. Ralph Burks told the Register-Guard.