Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Tasmania— A man who tried to rob a service station was told by the unimpressed clerk he’d have to come back with more firepower.

Tasmania’s daily
Mercury reports that 27-year-old John Maxwell Newall pleaded guilty last week in the Supreme Court in Hobart to one count of stealing. According to court transcripts, the father of two was at the end of a four-day amphetamine bender when he walked into a service station last March and said, “I want the money.” The clerk wasn’t intimidated by the unarmed robber, however, and told him, “You need a weapon. I have to fear for my life. You can’t just have the money.” Newall ignored the helpful advice, however, and snatched $400 from the register when the attendant opened it to serve another customer. “Sorry, I have no choice,” said Newall. “I have to do it.” Newall took the money to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant where he bought a hamburger before heading to a casino. He lost the remainder of the cash on video poker machines. He was arrested the following day after police identified him from surveillance footage. Justice Alan Blow sentenced Newall to two months in jail on top of sentences he is currently serving for unrelated offenses.

Dateline: Zambia— Was it political commentary or just the call of nature? An unidentified monkey urinated on Zambian President Rupiah Banda as he spoke to reporters at a news conference last Wednesday in the capital city of Lusaka. “You have urinated on my jacket,” shouted Banda after looking up and spotting the simian playing in a tree just above his chair. “Perhaps these are blessings,” the president optimistically told onlookers. The audience of journalists and diplomats gathered at the State House presidential offices reportedly laughed off the animalistic insult. According to local news sources, several monkeys have taken up residence around the grounds of Banda’s residence and office. There are also several species of antelope and birds living on the State House grounds.

Dateline: Russia— According to the Austrian financial paper Wirtschaftsblatt , a Russian company is offering pirate-hunting cruises for wealthy tourists. Clients pay more than $5,000 a day to patrol the dangerous waters off the Somali coast in hopes of being attacked by raiders. When attacked, they can retaliate with grenade launchers, machine guns and rocket launchers. Passengers who pay an extra $15 per day for an AK-47 and 100 rounds of ammo are protected by a squad of ex-special forces troops. Grenade launchers run an extra $175 a day, but come with three grenades. The luxury pirate-bait yachts sail through the Gulf of Aden from Djibouti to Kenya. The ships deliberately cruise close to the coast at a speed of just five nautical miles in an attempt to attract pirates. “They are worse than the pirates,” Russian yachtsman Vladimir Mironov told Wirtschaftsblatt . “At least the pirates have the decency to take hostages, these people are just paying to commit murder,” he continued.

Dateline: Austria— Rains in Central Europe were so heavy last week they dredged up a Russian tank from World War II and washed it ashore on the Danube River. The record-setting rain, coupled with increased boat traffic, is believed to have dislodged the still-intact tank after 65 years of submersion. “It’s incredible to think that it has survived all this time in one piece,” said Tobias Kappel of the Vienna War Museum. “The rain isn’t all bad, obviously, if it delivers us treasures like this every once in a while.” Munitions experts in the town of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg had to deactivate 50 live shells, grenades and machine gun rounds before the vehicle could be taken to the military museum in Austria’s capital.

Dateline: Wisconsin— A TV anchorwoman in La Crosse has been granted a temporary restraining order against her morning show co-host. WXOM-TV morning news anchor Amy DuPont testified last Tuesday she received 21 harassing e-mails over two years. She said the person, identified in the e-mails as “Mario,” wrote that he was sick of hearing about her child and that she was bad at her job. La Crosse County sheriff’s Capt. Kurt Papenfuss told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that an investigation earlier this year traced the e-mails back to a computer at co-host Zach Brown’s home. Brown’s roommate Jonathan Edwards admitted to sending the harassing e-mails. Edwards said he did it because DuPont was “mean” to Brown. Brown, who also worked as a meteorologist at the station, said he knew about the e-mails and asked his roommate to stop. Brown was ordered by the court to stay 100 feet away from DuPont and her child for the next five years. WXOW-TV news director Sean Dwyer said Brown no longer works at the station.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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