Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Daniel of the Year," Dec. 15, 2007

Peace team

Where guns, tanks, and diplomacy have failed in Sudan's Darfur region, India hopes a group of battle camels will help bring some peace to the war-torn region. The Indian army plans to contribute 60 battle-trained camels to help along the supply lines in the arid regions of western Sudan. With Western nations hesitant to commit pricey helicopters to the cause, the low-cost camels would work well to transport UN peacekeepers and supplies around the dangerous region, an Indian military official said. "Our camels move up to [50 miles] with short breaks carrying ammunition and two mounts and they would be perfect," one Indian commander told the Agence France-Presse. "I would be happy to lead them into Sudan."

Chicken feed

It took more than 25 years, a barn raising, and one chicken for Aaron Giles' lost identity bracelet to finally find its way home. The 31-year-old Massachusetts man can't remember exactly how he lost his engraved metal bracelet, but guesses it slipped off his wrist when he was 4 or 5 playing in his grandfather's barn in Minnesota. Giles quickly forgot about the bracelet, and the barn he lost it in was eventually razed and the materials used in the construction of a chicken barn 45 miles away. Years later while butchering chickens, Brittany McDonald discovered the lost bracelet in a bird's gizzard and used the contact information to track down Giles' father and return the bracelet. As well as Giles can reason, his bracelet became stuck in the building materials used for the chicken farm before making an unlikely return home.

Life in the fast lane

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A need for speed has earned a Scottish man a lifetime ban from an electric scooter rental shop in Lanarkshire. Allan Redford, 57, says he often rents mobility scooters during expeditions with his 82-year-old mother at a local shopping center. But Redford says he was banned from renting the scooters after store managers saw him "excessively speeding" on closed circuit television. "I've effectively been accused of acting like a boy racer. But how can you speed on something that takes about a week to go from 0 to 60?" Redford told the East Kilbride News. "When I tell people I've a speeding ban on a mobility chair, they look at me in disbelief and then start laughing. It's humiliating."

Fighting back

Santos Zelaya picked the wrong victim when he broke into 72-year-old Reinaldo Herrera's home, brandished what appeared to be a handgun, and knocked down all the Christmas decorations in a Nov. 27 incident, Westbury, N.Y., police said. When Zelaya knocked Herrera down, the elderly grocery store worker fought back. Herrera pummeled the 21-year-old intruder, who eventually fled. Police quickly captured Zelaya-Herrera's own nephew who allegedly specifically targeted his elderly uncle-and charged him with robbery and burglary.

Blushing bride

A pair of Islamic terrorists in Iraq may have brought new meaning to the idea of a shotgun wedding. Iraqi soldiers working a checkpoint grew suspicious of the passengers in a convoy when they looked inside one vehicle to see a purported bride and groom accompanied only by young men. The Iraqi soldiers working north of Baghdad grew even more suspicious when they lifted the bride's veil and saw stubble. The wedding subterfuge turned out to be a failed attempt by two wanted terrorists to slip past authorities.

Glad tidings

Loud refrains of Christmas carols landed a group of 29 schoolchildren in Wales in hot water when security guards at a Llandudno shopping center phoned the cops because the children were singing too loudly. But instead of busting the kids, the first officer on the scene of the Nov. 25 incident offered to join the caroling. Managers for the shopping center quickly apologized for the incident and invited the schoolchildren back for the next weekend.

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