‘Ethiopia’s national bank has been told to inspect all the gold in its vaults to determine its authenticity.
It follows the discovery that some of the “gold” it had bought for millions of dollars was gold-plated steel.
The first hint that something was wrong reportedly came when the Ethiopian central bank exported a consignment of gold bars to South Africa.
The South Africans sent them back, complaining that they had been sold gilded steel.
An investigation revealed that the bank had bought a consignment of fake gold from a supplier, who is now under arrest.
Other arrests followed, including business associates of the main accused; national bank officials; and chemists from the Geological Survey of Ethiopia, whose job it is to assay the bank’s purchases of gold and certify that they are real.’
‘A Camarillo High School employee has been jailed for stealing snack money from a disabled student.
Ventura County Superior Court Judge James Cloninger sentenced Kristen Rene Santoyo on Tuesday to six months in jail, followed by three years’ probation. She was also pay $285 restitution to the student.
The student’s parents put $5 a day in her lunch box along with her food. The money was for snacks, but her parents say she came home from school hungry.
The 37-year-old Oxnard woman earlier pleaded guilty to felony petty theft and misdemeanor cruelty to a child by inflicting injury. Defense attorney James Harmon says Santoyo took the money to feed a methamphetamine habit.’
‘No person in their right mind aspires to be taken hostage, but now there’s even more reason to avoid the experience. According to a court ruling reached on Thursday in Berlin, Germans who are taken hostage abroad can now be required to cover the costs incurred by their release.
The ruling of the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court is based on the case of Reinhilt Weigel. On Sept. 12, 2003, the Bremen physiotherapist, together with six other tourists, was kidnapped by leftist rebels while visiting the ruined ancient city of Ciudad Perdida in northern Colombia.
After 10 weeks in captivity, she and Spanish fellow hostage Huegun Etxeberria were rescued by helicopter from a jungle hide-out. But there was an unexpected postscript to the story two months after Weigel’s return home, when the German Foreign Ministry asked her to pay €12,640 ($18,735) for the helicopter flight.’
‘Has the Amber Room, the 18th-century chamber decoration the Nazis stole from the Soviet Union in World War II, finally been found? German treasure hunters say they may have solved the decades-old mystery.
Treasure hunters in Germany claim they have found hidden gold in an underground cavern that they are almost certain contains the Amber Room treasure, believed by some to have been stashed away by the Nazis in a secret mission in the dying days of World War II.
The discovery of an estimated two tonnes of gold was made at the weekend when electromagnetic pulse measurements located the man-made cavern 20 meters underground near the village of Deutschneudorf on Germany’s border with the Czech Republic.’
‘A police officer in Hazelwood will have to pay thousands of dollars for getting into it with a firefighter while he was trying to help an accident victim.
News 4 obtained police video that shows the Hazelwood police officer arresting a fire captain while he’s trying to move an injured driver.
It happened on Interstate 270 back in May of 2003.
Officer Todd Greeves wanted a fire truck moved to open up another lane of traffic.
The Robertson Fire Protection District Captain wanted the truck there to protect emergency workers.
Officer Greeves has been ordered to pay $18,000.’
‘Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way.
No one would be able to buy cigarettes without the permit, under the idea proposed by Health England.
Its chairman, Professor Julian Le Grand, told BBC Radio 5 Live the scheme would make a big difference to the number of people giving up smoking.
But smokers’ rights group Forest described the idea as “outrageous”, given how much tax smokers already pay. [..]
He said it was the inconvenience of getting a permit – as much as the cost – that would deter people from persisting with the smoking habit.
“You’ve got to get a form, a complex form – the government’s good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph.
“It’s a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker.”‘
‘Some big companies have had a surprise during their earnings conference calls this quarter — and it has nothing to do with the weak economy.
At least seven times just the past three weeks, a mystery caller has cleverly insinuated himself into the normally well-manicured ritual of the quarterly calls. As top executives of publicly traded companies respond to securities analysts’ questions about their balance sheets, he impersonates a well-known analyst to get called upon. Then, usually declaring himself to be “Joe Herrick of Gutterman Research,” he launches into his own version of analyst-speak.
“Congratulations on the solid numbers — you always seem to come through in challenging times,” he said to Leo Kiely, president and chief executive officer of Molson Coors Brewing Co., on Feb. 12, convincingly parroting the obsequious banter common to the calls. “Can you provide some more color as to what you are doing for your supply chain initiatives to reduce manufacturing costs per hectoliter, as you originally promised $150 million in synergy or savings to decrease working capital?”‘
‘As a former child prodigy blessed with chiselled good looks, they called him the David Beckham of the classical violin. Now he is more likely to be known as the lad with the broken Strad.
David Garrett, 26, one of the nation’s foremost young concert performers, had an accident that every world-class musician must dread: at the end of a concert at the Barbican he tripped and landed on his violin.
The instrument is a 290-year-old Stradivarius, so rare that it would be almost impossible to estimate its value. Certainly there are people who would have gladly paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for it, before its glamorous owner did a turn as Mr Bean.
Now he has a badly damaged violin that will be out of use for at least eight months, and may never sound the same again. He is also facing a £60,000 repair bill.’
‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7″ and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.’
They earn more than I do.
‘A Spanish businessman withdrew a controversial lawsuit Wednesday against the family of a teenage boy he struck and killed while driving a luxury car.
Tomas Delgado had filed a suit asking the dead boy’s parents to pay him €20,000 ($29,400) on the grounds that the collision that killed their teenage son also damaged his Audi A-8.
News of the case sparked outrage in Spain and generated deep sympathy for the parents of 17-year-old Enaitz Iriondo Trinidad. He was riding his bicycle home to a campground when Delgado’s car hit and killed him in August 2004.
Hundreds of people descended on a courthouse in northern Spain in a show of support for the boy’s parents Wednesday. They broke into applause when word came that Delgado had dropped the suit.’
Followup to Driver who killed teen sues for damage.
‘The State Attorney’s Office will decide whether to charge two teens who admit they robbed a 9-year-old Girl Scout selling cookies outside of a Boynton Beach supermarket. [..]
Authorities said that a 17-year-old girl in a hot-pink sweatshirt approached Smith outside of a Winn-Dixie supermarket at Hypoluxo and Jog roads in Boynton Beach Wednesday evening and asked the girl what her favorite cookies were. Police told WPBF that, while Smith was telling the teen about her favorite Cinna-Spins, the teen snatched an envelope containing about $167 off of Smith’s table, hopped into another teen’s car and drove away. [..]
The girls, whose names are not being released because they are minors, told WPBF that they were not remorseful for the crime, and that they did it because they “needed money.”
“We went through all that effort to get it, we got all these charges and we had to give the money back. I’m kind of pissed,” one of the girls told WPBF. [..]
“I’m not sorry, I’m just pissed that I got caught,” the girl said.’
‘Extreme poverty is forcing Haiti’s poorest people to eat dirt.
Mud cookies – made from dirt, salt and vegetable shortening – have become popular among Haitians desperate to stave off hunger, the Associated Press reports.
The cookies – which are occasionally used by pregnant women and children as an antacid and source of calcium – have become a regular meal.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the most disadvantaged in the world.’
‘A speeding motorist who killed a teenage cyclist is suing the boy’s parents over damage to his luxury car, the government says.
Enaitz Iriondo, 17, died instantly in August 2004 when businessman Tomas Delgado’s Audi A8 crashed into him at 100 mph near Haro in northern Spain, an Interior Ministry traffic report said. The speed limit was 55 mph. [..]
Delgado, whose insurance company paid Iriondo’s parents $48,500 in compensation for their son’s life, filed a suit in late 2006 to recover $29,400 in damages to his car and car rental costs, the ministry traffic report said.
“It’s the only way I have to claim my money back,” Delgado was quoted as saying by the newspaper El Pais, which first reported the story on Friday. El Pais said a ruling was expected next week.
Iriondo’s parents were shocked.’
‘A large, mysterious blob has taken over a major sewer line in the city of Lewiston, leaving public works crews stumped as to how to budge it.
According to city officials, the stretch of 12-inch pipe on Main Street backed up on Jan. 13, and the city has been trying unsuccessfully to clear the line ever since.
Deputy Public Services Director Kevin Gagne told News 8 the doughy, 90-foot mass is comprised of grease, flour and rags.’
‘The Iraq war may not dominate U.S. news reports as the carnage drops, but a new report underscores the financial burden of persistent combat that is helping run up the government’s credit card.
“Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.
War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.
“It keeps going up, up and away,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said of the money spent in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded in 2003.’
‘After two nose jobs and thousands of dollars, Debra Dunn hated her face so much that she avoided mirrors, didn’t want to leave the house and hid behind her long hair anytime she had to be out in public.
“Every time I saw myself, I wanted to punch myself in the nose to make it all go away,” said the 40-year-old New Yorker, referring to the five years that followed a cosmetic surgery intended to even out a bump on her nose from a childhood injury. “I just kept thinking, ‘Why did I do this to myself?’”
Doctor after doctor told Dunn her new nose was lovely. “Anyone would kill for a cute little nose like that,” she remembers many of them saying, despite the fact her new nose was so narrow that it whistled when she breathed. But Dunn deeply regretted messing with what nature had given her and felt she no longer bore any resemblance to herself.’
For some reason this guy filmed himself whilst checking the stock market. On this occasion he happens to lose his entirely life savings. Apparently, the stock market fucked him in the arse.
(9.3meg Flash video)
see it here »
‘Two Australians have been jailed for a failed heist which left one of them with a bag of bread rolls and the other with a bullet in the backside.
Benjamin Jorgensen, 38, and Donna Hayes, 36, were sentenced to seven and eight years respectively for the robbery in a Melbourne restaurant.
During the robbery, Jorgensen grabbed what he thought was a bag of money – only to find it contained bread rolls.
He also accidentally fired his gun, hitting Hayes in the buttock.
Judge Roland Williams described the two, who had expected to steal takings worth about A$30,000 ($26,000, £13,000), as a “pair of fools”.’
‘A Canadian prostitute says she bared her cleavage and hiked up her skirt as she drove through the border at Blaine, where her “sure thing” always waved her through with a smile, even though her car was packed full of marijuana.
Minutes later, she’d fool around with the guard at a gas station down the road.
The border guard, Desmone Bastian, says it never happened.
“I’ve never failed to perform my duties,” Bastian told a federal jury Friday in Seattle. “I did my job with a lot of integrity, and a lot of pride.”
Bastian, 31, a U.S. citizen who lives in Surrey, B.C., worked as a U.S. immigration inspector for eight years before being charged in 2006 with taking a bribe — free sexual contact, and sometimes money — in exchange for turning a blind eye when the prostitute, Sandra Maas, would cross the border in his lane.’
‘John and Martha Hucko were found dead in their Colonial Park Drive home on Tuesday night. Police said the couple had intravenous lines with a barbiturate hooked to their ankles, and Demerol was found near the bodies.
Police said the couple’s daughter called them after receiving a suicide note from her father.
The case is being treated as murder-suicide or double-suicide, pending the results of autopsies and toxicology tests, police said.
John Hucko was a dentist and a former anesthesiologist. He had a dental office on Brownsville Road, and his wife worked there as an assistant.’
‘Hands cuffed at his waist and a defeated expression on his face, O.J. Simpson listened to a judge blister him Wednesday for “arrogance or ignorance or both” for breaking bail terms in a robbery case.
“I don’t know, Mr. Simpson, what the heck you were thinking, or maybe that’s the problem – you weren’t,” Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass lectured as she doubled his bail to $250,000. [..]
“I don’t know if it’s just arrogance. I don’t know if it’s ignorance,” she said. “But you’ve been locked up at the Clark County Detention Center since Friday because of arrogance or ignorance – or both.”
Simpson, wearing shackles and a dark jail shirt and pants with orange slippers, grimaced as Glass announced she was doubling his bail. He spoke only when asked if he understood the terms.
“Yes, your honor,” the graying football star said evenly.’
‘Telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau’s repeated failures to pay phone bills on time.
A Justice Department audit released Thursday blamed the lost connections on the FBI’s lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. Poor supervision of the program also allowed one agent to steal $25,000, the audit said.
In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation “was halted due to untimely payment,” the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government’s most sensitive and secretive criminal investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies.
“We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence,” according to the audit by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.’
‘Two New York men wheeled the corpse of their friend around midtown Manhattan in an office chair in a failed attempt to cash his $US355 ($405) Social Security cheque, police said.
Virgilio Cintron, 66, had died of natural causes when two of his friends, David Dalaia and James O’Hare, both aged 65, brought him to a cheque-cashing store in the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood.
“They were trying to pass him off as still being alive,” police spokesman Paul Browne said.’
‘A Colorado inmate who’s escaped twice from a county jail is suing because he says it was too easy for him to break out.
Scott Anthony Gomez, Jr. says guards at the jail abused him and that’s why he attempted to escape.
Gomez alleges he was seriously injured during an escape attempt in January of 2007. He alleges he fell 40 feet while trying to scale down the side of the jail.
His lawsuit says the doors on the jail cells weren’t locked and the ceiling tiles were easy to remove giving him an escape route through the ventilation system. [..]
The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of money, claims authorities “did next to nothing to ensure that the jail was secure and that the Plaintiff could not escape.”‘
‘i have come into the possession of my great grandfathers life work, among being a decorated aeronautical engineer it would appear he dabbled in the lesser accepted sciences. i have almost finished building his masterpiece a 1952 nash rambler time machine. unfortunately my grandfather didn’t live long enough to find an energy source with high enough density to fuel his machine, but i believe i have the problem solved.
serious offers only, i would like to exchange paper money for paper money printed before 1965 (for OBVIOUS reasons!). i will pay 5% of the total currency exchanged, unfortunately i cannot offer transfers of coinage as i am already pushing the weight limit as it is!’
‘One of the most perplexing crimes in US history – in which an unassuming airline passenger hijacked a plane in 1971 and skydived out of the aircraft with $US200,000 in ransom money – has been revived by the FBI.
The bureau has, for the first time, released pictures and information from the case on its website in the hope of resolving the identity and the fate of the passenger known as Dan Cooper.
On November 24, 1971, a man in his mid-40s bought a ticket in the name of D. B. Cooper for a Northwest Orient flight from Portland to Seattle. After take-off, he handed a flight attendant a note saying he had a bomb in his suitcase.
In Seattle, he exchanged all 36 passengers for the ransom money and four parachutes, but kept several crew members on board as he ordered the plane to take off for Mexico City. Over a rural part of Washington state, “Cooper” jumped from the plane with a parachute. Dead or alive, he has never been seen since.’
‘Luther Ricks and his wife worked most of their lives at a steel foundry in Ohio. Not trusting of banks, they say they’ve lived frugally, and managed to save more than $400,000 over the years, which they kept in a safe in their home.
Last summer, two burglars broke into Ricks’ home. He shot and killed one of them. Police determined he acted in self-defense, and cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing. But local police did find a small amount of marijuana in Ricks’ home, which Ricks says he uses to manage the pain of his arthritis and a hip replacement surgery. Ricks was never charged for the marijuana. But finding it in his home was enough for city police to confiscate Ricks and his wife’s life savings under drug war asset forfeiture laws. Oddly enough, the FBI then stepped in, and claimed the money for itself.’
‘Paul Brant considers himself a penny pincher, but his savings in quarters and dollar coins really paid off.
Brant, 70, used more than $25,000 in change to help buy a new Dodge Ram half-ton pickup truck Friday – 13 years after buying another truck with spare change.
“(The old truck) didn’t have four-wheel drive, and living in the country, I figured I better get a new one to help get me through the snow,” he said.
Brant said he was raised to be thrifty. His father always paid in cash and saved up loose change to take vacations.
Brant has been storing his change for years, and estimated he had about $26,000 in coins for Friday’s purchase. In 1994, he bought a Dodge pickup and a Dodge Neon using about $36,000 in quarters.
“As long as you don’t put your hands back in the till, it really adds up,” he said.’
‘I walk out to the table. It’s a family of four.
The father’s a no nonsense military looking kind of guy. Seated across from him in the usual soccer mom getup is his wife. Next to her, facing me, a mass of black curls and inexpertly applied makeup, is her teenage daughter. She smiles at me toothily.
The other daughter sits facing away from me – face obscured by a hanging mane of heavy black hair. Her bejeweled fingers tap impatiently on the table top. Probably embarrassed to be seen eating out with her parents.
“Can I get anyone something to drink?” I ask cheerfully.’