Dateline: England—A British couple is suing the Safeway grocery chain for injuries caused to their pet dog by an unwelcome supermarket flier. Gordon and Susan Musselwhite say that Muffin the dachshund dislocated a disc in his spine when he jumped to snatch the supermarket leaflet, which had been stuffed into the couple's mail slot. The injury allegedly resulted in surgery to remove the disc, which ended up costing the couple more than $3,500. Mr. Musselwhite, 62, and his wife are now preparing to take the supermarket chain to court. Safeway has rejected liability and is refusing to pay damages.
Dateline: England—A rare Norwegian robin was spotted recently. Unfortunately, the avian visitor was identified while in the mouth of a bird-lover's cat. The cat's owner wrote to a bird charity to report the unusual sighting in her garden north of London, but was forced to confess that it was dead at the time. The unlucky bird was one of only 30 Norwegian robins known to have made the 400-mile flight to Britain since 1919.
Dateline: Thailand—An aged elephant in Thailand is believed to be the world's first pachyderm to be fitted with a pair of prosthetic teeth. Morakot, an 80-year-old pachyderm in captivity at a park in the western province of Kanchanaburi, had been unable to chew her food because she had lost her teeth, the Bangkok Post quoted Dr. Somsak Jitniyom as saying. The animal was kept alive with injections of saline solution, vitamins and antibiotics, but had grown week in recent months. Somsak fashioned the ailing elephant a U-shaped denture about six inches wide, made from stainless steel, silicone and plastic, and fitted her with it last Monday while she was under sedation. Elephants have four sets of teeth in a lifetime, but often die of malnutrition after they lose their last molar. Although animal dentists have fitted replacement tusks onto elephants, Somsak was unsure if anyone else had previously made a full set of dentures for an elephant.
Dateline: Kentucky—Police in Owensboro, Ky., have charged Melissa Jane Wink, 36, with stealing 50 glass eyeballs from a hospital on Christmas Eve. A surveillance camera recorded the theft of the antique eyeballs, which were in a display case in the lobby of the Owensboro Medical Health System. The eyes, valued at $2,500, were a gift to the hospital from Owensboro physician Barney Elliot, who bought the eyes from a dealer in South Carolina 10 years ago. Police Detective Ed Krahwinkel said he wasn't sure why someone would steal the glass eyes since there isn't a high demand on the black market for them. Wink was charged with theft by unlawful taking over $300.
Dateline: New York—Two men wearing bandannas over their faces and carrying a sawed-off shotgun tried, rather unsuccessfully, to carjack a woman's vehicle in Rochester last Friday night. The men approached the woman at about 8:05 p.m., Lt. John Koonmen of the Rochester Police Department told the Democrat and Chronicle. They got into the vehicle and made the woman hand over her bank card and security password. Unfortunately, the two car thieves quickly realized that the vehicle was a stick shift. Since neither of them could drive a stick shift, they forced the woman to drive them to several mini-marts, possibly in an attempt to get money, Lt. Koonmen said. After about an hour, the men told the woman to drop them off in an alley in southwest Rochester. She did, and then returned to her own neighborhood to report the crime. The woman was shaken up, but not physically injured, police said.
Dateline: Tennessee—Hourly employees at a soon-to-be-closed Dan River textile plant in Sevierville started receiving their severance packages this week. The unconventional package consisted of a Dan River baseball cap, a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart, a plaque, a calculator and three redheaded Barbie dolls. The Sevierville plant is slated to cease operations this week due to what the Virginia-based parent company calls a struggle to compete with Asian textile producers. “It's a shame that Dan River has been around all these years and this is all they can give to the employees that mean the most to the company,” one employee, who asked not to be identified, told The Mountain Press. Employees apparently became upset at the rumor that their severance package included dolls. The rumor turned out to be true, however, when employees were sent to the personnel office to collect their farewell toys. Some of the dolls ended up in the manufacturing plant's trash cans.