Dispatches > The Buzz

Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Abortion: All the rage," May 8, 2004

Suicidal siesta

Mexican Jorge Lozano Lopez survived being run over by a train, but he won't be able to tell anyone what it was like. That's because he slept through it.

The Reuters news service reports that the 32-year-old electrician had fallen asleep drunk on railroad tracks on April 21, and even a fast-approaching train's frantic whistle and screeching brakes couldn't awaken him. The train's undercarriage passed over Mr. Lozano Lopez's body but missed him by a few inches, leaving him unharmed. He didn't wake up until after paramedics arrived.

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Mr. Lozano Lopez told the newspaper El Norte that he thought he drank six beers: "But who knows how many more there might have been. I don't remember."

Welcome home

A Japanese travel agency is billing three civilians who were held hostage in Iraq $7,000 apiece for their airfare home and other expenses. The Japanese government and public are outraged-but not at the travel agency. The former hostages have received a chilly reception back home in Japan for disregarding a government request that civilians not go to Iraq. "If you go to a dangerous place like that, your loss of life is your responsibility," said chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fakuda at a news conference. "You have to be prepared for something like that."

Captain crunched

In what one British military officer calls "a shocking security disaster," a 35-year-old woman was able to successfully pose as a captain at a Royal Air Force base for five months. The Sun newspaper reports that Kelsey McMillan, dressed as a captain, arrived at the RAF Valley base in north Wales in October, saying she was an army medic there for training. The paper says she moved into officers' quarters, ran up a $530 bar tab, and traveled on RAF helicopters during missions. The military didn't discover the hoax until Ms. McMillan applied for a transfer to a different base.

Ramen noodle chic

What do upper-class Japanese diners and budget-conscious American college students have in common? A taste for the simple "ramen" noodle. The Japanese are reportedly flocking to new upscale ramen restaurants, even waiting over an hour to get in. "The 'stylish ramen' stores have really boomed," said Masahiko Ichiyanagi, who writes a "ramen column" for the magazine Tokyo 1Week. "The result is that it's now recognized as a legitimate leisure activity."

I'm just a crook

Theodord Ceja allegedly stole the identity of Jose A. Fabela and produced a driver's license with Mr. Fabela's name on it after an Indiana state trooper pulled him over for speeding. What Mr. Ceja didn't realize is that Mr. Fabela is wanted in Texas for attempted murder. Mr. Ceja spent several hours in jail as police sorted out his true identity and now faces charges of identity deception and false informing. State police 1st Sgt. Brent Bible said the case shows that identity thieves risk reaping what they sow: "The suspect can just as easily become a victim of his or her own crime."

Beer nut

Huntington Beach, Calif., bartender Martin Jimenez says Ronald Langdale looked and acted like any other customer at his bar on April 23-except that he had a plastic bag full of money. It turns out that Mr. Langdale minutes earlier had allegedly robbed the Bank of America branch in the same shopping center as the bar and decided to stop for a beer during his getaway.

Mr. Jimenez says Mr. Langdale ordered a beer and was "silent" and "very pensive" until police arrived and the alleged robber turned pale, giving up without a fight. Police Sgt. Mike Mello, a 21-year police veteran, said this was the first known getaway disrupted by a beer break: "In all my years, we've never had one of these."

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