Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Death blow," June 17, 2006

A fowl prank

A senior prank at a Maine high school didn't just cause laughs by some, but also the shutdown of Community High School in Fort Kent for a few days. Now six seniors from the school will face charges of trespass and criminal mischief after they released 10 goslings and 45 chicks throughout the school on June 1. No birds were harmed, but the resulting mess resulted in school being closed two days for cleanup. "It's comical when you start thinking of chickens in your school," said the principal, "but it's just another chapter in the book of school administration."

Throwing the book at him

Asante Kahari had an awful tough time defending himself against federal charges of using the internet and a check fraud scheme to swindle a woman out of $39,000. The prosecution's Exhibit A: Mr. Kahari's book, The Birth of a Criminal, an autobiography. Mr. Kahari's defense attempted to keep the book out of evidence at the trial but failed. Last month, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his appeal. "One is less believably an innocent dupe when he has called the scam the 'sweetest hustle in the world,'" the court wrote.

Up and away

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Shouldn't breaking out of prison be tougher? Instead of staging a sneaky, Shawshank-style jailbreak, an inmate at the high-security Korydallos Prison in Athens, Greece, just walked onto a helicopter that had landed in the middle of the prison compound and was whirled away to his new life on the lam. The inmate, Vassilis Paleokostas, 40, was serving a 25-year sentence for bank robbery and kidnapping. "The guards thought it was a surprise inspection by ministry officials and did nothing," a police official said.

Cash and carry

An Austrian tax collector must have had quite a scare when he left a restroom a bit poorer than he came in. He didn't lose his wallet. He just left a black attaché case filled with $28,000 in cash on the toilet seat. So far, no one has returned the case to police in the Austrian city of Graz. No word on exactly what the man was doing with a briefcase filled with $28,000 or how upset his potential business partners were when he lost the case.

'Daggy' solution

Officials in a Sydney, Australia, shopping district are hoping that Barry Manilow will scare away hooligans, or "hoons," whose loud cars and music drive away paying customers. The plan: Pipe the crooner's music into the Rockdale district and hope that the unruly youngsters would rather leave than listen to "Mandy" and "Copacabana." A similar plan worked several years ago when a different district used Bing Crosby music to disperse teenagers. "Daggy," or unfashionable, music "is one way to make the hoons leave an area because they can't stand the music," Rockdale councilor Bill Saravinovski told the Daily Telegraph.

Food fight

Instead of working on maneuvers, the Indian army is busy putting down an insurgency-a different sort of insurgency. The Asian nation dispatched its armed forces to help quell an invasion of rats that has destroyed so many crops that officials in the northeast section of the country fear famine in addition to spread of disease. According to government officials, the army will help with mass poisonings and community education.

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