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News Quirks (11/19/14)


Published November 19, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Alan Knight, 47, denied robbing his neighbor in Swansea, Wales, and avoided prosecution by pretending to be "quadriplegic and in a comatose condition, bed-bound at home" after a neck injury, authorities said. They uncovered the ruse by tracking his supermarket loyalty card. Surveillance footage of Knight walking and driving confirmed their suspicion. (South Wales Evening Post)

Daniel Rice, 21, wanted for theft in Iowa, was captured in rural Rock Island County, Ill., after he called the sheriff's office there to report being pursued by as many as 30 coyotes. Deputies who found him recognized him as a wanted fugitive and returned him to Muscatine County authorities. (Moline's WQAD-TV)

Risky Art

City officials removed a $559,000 sculpture from outside a recreation center in Calgary, Alberta, after it caused the sun to singe an art lover's jacket. "It's a beautiful, shiny object, and that, I think, is part of the problem," Sarah Iley, the city's art and cultural manager, said. The steel artwork, titled "Wishing Well," has hollow hemispheres for people to enter and send it text messages, which it translates into a light and sound display. Iley said the mirrored concave interior directed an intense, narrow ray at the visitor's jacket. The incident prompted officials to return the sculpture to the artist to fix it. (Calgary Herald)

Way to Go

Soccer player Peter Biaksangzuala, 23, died after scoring a goal playing for India's Bethlehem Vengthlang team by celebrating with a backflip. He broke his spine and spent five days in intensive care before succumbing. (Britain's Independent)

When a twin-engine plane taking off from an airport in Wichita, Kan., lost power, it crashed into a building that FlightSafety International uses to train pilots. Investigators reported that three of the four people killed were inside a flight simulator, which duplicates flying situations without the risks of actual flying. (Wichita's KSNW-TV)

Traffic Court

Thailand's ruling junta said it would pay traffic police officers to refuse bribes. "We want to change perceptions and practices and to reward those who show they are clean," Police Major General Adul Narongsak said after awarding two officers $310 for refusing a $3 bribe. "We encourage people to take photographs as evidence." (Reuters)

Playing Doctor

Walter Fisher filed a $100,000 lawsuit against Ontario's William Osler Health System, which oversees Brampton Civic Hospital, as well as his doctor and several people and companies connected with the television show "Saving Hope." Fisher said a man and woman watching the doctor perform his rectal exam were wearing medical attire but, he later learned, were really actors on the show. While lying on his back, "he could feel more than one set of hands on him," Fishers' lawyer said. (Toronto Sun)

Negative Altitude

Ivan Trifonov, 70, became the first person to fly a hot air balloon underground. The Austrian pilot descended to the bottom of Croatia's 675-foot-deep Mamet Cave after maneuvering through the 200-by-230-foot entrance. "I don't believe this is going to be repeated by anyone ever again," Trifonov declared after his 25-minute flight. (Britain's Guardian)


A British schoolgirl assigned to gain work experience at a hardware store set it on fire, causing $1.6 million worth of damage, but her attorney insisted his client hadn't "intended to harm anyone" but "got a bit bored." John Mohammed told Warwick Crown Court the girl "thought it would cause some disruption, sufficient for her to be able to go home." (Britain's Express)

Sneaky Small

Pennsylvania authorities charged Eric C. Opitz, 45, with fraudulently obtaining human growth hormones by claiming they were prescribed for treatment of pituitary dwarfism. Children with that condition typically don't reach 5 feet by the time they're adults. Opitz is 6 foot 3 and weighs 450 pounds. (

Space Invaders Beware

The U.S. government changed its mind about dismantling old nuclear weapons scheduled for retirement next year, deciding they're an "irreplaceable national asset" that should be saved to "use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids," according to the National Nuclear Security Administration. The plan is one of several ways the Obama administration has focused on asteroid defense. (The Seattle Times)

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