Dateline: Russia—Russian soccer fans apparently have a sure cure for a worldwide epidemic. Russians heading to Wales next month to watch a World Cup qualifier match are being urged to down lots of whiskey in order to ward off the H1N1 swine flu virus. “We urge our fans to drink a lot of Welsh whisky as a form of disinfection,” Alexander Shprygin, head of the country’s supporter organization (VOB), told Reuters. “That should cure all symptoms of the disease.” Russia’s Health Ministry has issued a public warning against traveling to Britain because of the spread of the H1N1 virus, but Shprygin said he expected several hundred fans to attend the Sept. 9 qualifier in Cardiff. “Russian fans don’t fear anything or anybody, so this virus will not stand in our way of supporting our team,” Shprygin added.
Dateline: England—An attempt to set a world record for photographing the most bikini-clad women on one beach failed in a spectacular manner when only 42 participants showed up. Organizers at Southend-on-Sea had hoped to set the record by luring some 2,000 bikini babes to the seaside town in Essex. A poor weather forecast the previous day is blamed for the disappointing turnout, reports London’s Daily Telegraph. The event would have raised money for Southend Hospital’s breast cancer drive. Participant Debbie Reynolds, 23, said she thought they would at least break the U.K. record of 320 bikinis. “It was sunny and everything, so we thought we would get a good turnout. But it was very sad when we realized that 42 was the grand total,” Reynolds told the newspaper. “It’s pretty rubbish, I must admit.” The current record of 1,923 bikini-clad women, set in Russia last year, still stands.
Dateline: Connecticut—A 56-year-old woman honored at a 2008 dinner as the “Connecticut Nursing Association’s Nurse of the Year” is now charged with pretending to be a nurse—and for inventing the Connecticut Nursing Association. Prosecutors say Betty Lichtenstein, also known as Betty Trudel, has been working in a doctor’s office in Norwalk even though she does not have a nursing license. According to Lichtenstein’s arrest warrant, the nursing association that honored her with a lavish dinner last November does not exist. “The doctor, his staff and a number of his patients received a letter with the letterhead of the ‘Connecticut Nursing Association,’ ” according to the warrant. “The letter stated there would be a special dinner to honor Betty Lichtenstein [and that she] was to receive a $10,000 personal award and an additional $10,000 was to go to the charity of her choice.” The Hartford Courant reports that the dinner and award ceremony took place on Nov. 30 at the Norwalk Inn and that the doctor for whom Lichtenstein worked was a guest speaker. Forty-one people were in attendance. Now investigators are alleging Lichtenstein spent more than $2,000 of her own money to stage the award dinner. Inspectors with the state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began investigating after a patient complained about Lichtenstein. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted on charges of reckless endangerment and criminal impersonation.
Dateline: Missouri—No shirt, no shoes, no service. That’s the policy at Burger King—even if you’re a baby. The manager of a Burger King franchise in the St. Louis suburb of Sunset Hills kicked a family out of the fast-food restaurant because their six-month-old infant wasn’t sporting proper footwear. Mother Jennifer Frederich pointed out that her child was too young to crawl, much less walk in shoes. The manager, who was standing next to the cashier when the family was placing its order, cited “health concerns” and told the family they could order takeout but could not remain inside the restaurant. He informed Mrs. Frederich that her baby’s lack of shoes was a health code violation. In fact, St. Louis County has no such health code. Six-month-old Kaylin Frederich’s grandmother tried to put socks on the child to comply with the manager’s request, but he threatened to call police. The group ate hurriedly and left. The Burger King corporation later apologized and said it was “retraining” its franchisees on the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy.
Dateline: Texas—An obese inmate was able to conceal a 9mm handgun and two clips of ammo under layers of his own body fat as he was transferred from one jail to another. George Vera, who weighs more than 500 pounds, was taken to the Houston city jail on Aug. 2 after he was arrested for unlawfully labeling and pirating CDs, KPRC TV Local 2 reported. Vera, 25, spent the day there before being transferred to the Harris County Jail, where he managed to keep the weapon hidden between the folds of his skin for another 14 hours. It wasn’t until Vera was stripped and taken to the showers—the final procedure before going to his cell—that the inmate informed officers he had a concealed weapon. Houston Police Union President Gary Blankinship said cadets are trained to “lift up and look under” fat layers on morbidly obese people, but admitted “the officer may not have arrested anyone this big before.” Vera is now charged with possession of a firearm in a correctional facility.