Odds & Ends
Dateline: China—Ten workers, all too drunk to drive, came up with a novel solution to their problem by pushing their boss’ car three miles home. According to reports, the group had been having an office party at a restaurant in downtown Changchun, in northeast China’s Jilin Province. When the boss, Zhang Fei, announced he was too drunk to drive, his employees were forced to admit they were also under the influence. Allegedly, Zhang did not want to leave his car downtown, so vice president Huang Weiyun suggested they all push him home. It took around 45 minutes to push the VW back to Zhang’s house. Traffic officers said that as long at the car’s engine was not running, it would not be classified as drunk driving under Chinese law. On May 1, the country enacted stiffer penalties for drunk driving. Offenders could face up to six months in jail and a heavy fine.
Dateline: The Netherlands—A TV show called “De Allerslechtste Chauffeur van Nederland” (“Who Is the Worst Driver in the Netherlands”) succeeded beyond its wildest dreams after the host was run over by one of the contestants. Dutch TV personality Ruben Nicolai was filming the show when one of the drivers—identified as Pim—was given the task of driving along a track between traffic cones. Pim, who was accompanied by an instructor and a friend, took his eyes off the road for a moment and veered off the track. The car plowed through the traffic cones, striking a cameraman and Mr. Nicolai. Nicolai was taken to the hospital with a torn lip and a sore shoulder and foot. The accident occurred in January but was broadcast earlier this month on the show’s season finale. “We all had the fright of our lives,” said Nicolai, who has since recovered from his minor injuries. Pim did lose his license over the incident, but the video of him crashing into a TV show host has had more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.
Dateline: Belarus—The Christian Science Monitor has reported on the case of a one-armed man who was arrested and seriously punished in the capital city of Minsk for allegedly clapping in public. According to the paper, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko—often described as “Europe’s Last Dictator”—has cracked down on public protesters. Signs and shouted slogans are illegal at public rallies, so protesters angry over Lukashenko’s policies have taken to holding weekly flash mobs and expressing their public opinion by clapping their hands in public. Ludicrously, though, Konstantin Kaplin, an unemployed man from the western town of Grodno, says he was convicted of applauding in public earlier this month and fined the equivalent of $200—despite overwhelming evidence that, well, he only has one arm. “The judge looked ashamed of herself, and I sympathize with her,” said Kaplin. “She was probably under orders.” The fine is more than twice Kaplin’s monthly pension. He is relying on friends and family to help pay off the fee. Kaplin insists he was only standing nearby and attempting to photograph demonstrators with his cell phone when plainclothes police officers grabbed him. Svetlana Kalinkina, editor of the independent Minsk newspaper Narodnaya Volya, told The Christian Science Monitor that protester arrests have become increasingly absurd under Lukashenko’s crackdown. “There was one case where a deaf and mute person was accused of shouting antigovernmental slogans,” said Kalinkina. “Miracles happen in our courts.”
Dateline: Florida—A Melbourne Beach man was arrested after drunkenly defending accused child-killer Casey Anthony by punching a woman in the face. Police were called to the Melbourne Beach Pier at 11:54 p.m. on the night of Saturday, July 9, after a fight was reported among a group of fishermen. The suspect, 42-year-old Robert Aydin Hakimoglu, saw the officers approaching and promptly jumped into the Indian River Lagoon in an attempt to avoid arrest. According to witnesses, the group of amateur anglers had “started talking about the Casey Anthony trial, and [Hakimoglu] got a little perturbed and started fighting with them,” Melbourne Beach Police Sgt. Rick Dovale told FloridaToday.com. Anthony, a Florida resident, was found not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee earlier this month. Hakimoglu “agreed with the [jury’s] decision and said anybody who didn’t agree with it is not an American,” Dovale said. “And he said he would like to meet [Anthony] and maybe have kids with her.” Police, firefighters and a sheriff’s office helicopter searched the river for more than two hours looking for Hakimoglu. The suspect was later arrested at his parents’ house. “We found him sleeping up in his bedroom,” Dovale said. Hakimoglu was charged with resisting arrest without violence, battery and an alcohol ordinance violation.
Dateline: Florida—A Publix grocery store employee in Jacksonville was severely beaten after he complimented a customer’s T-shirt. Upon spotting Ryan Keys’ Georgia Bulldogs T-shirt, mentally challenged store employee James Wall said, “Hey, I like your shirt.” Keys responded by punching the 26-year-old Wall in the face. According to Jacksonville’s WOKV radio, Wall was punched so hard it knocked his two front teeth out. The teeth were found 10 to 12 feet away from where he was lying. Keys fled the scene with his brother. He was later found at home and arrested and charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest.