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Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 12:01 am

Personal pronouns

Newsquirks 12/26/13

Curses, foiled again
• Police investigating 15 home burglaries in and around Lakewood, Colo., identified Brandon Campbell, 27, as their suspect because he was wearing a GPS ankle monitor that placed him at the crime scenes. “I would say it’s a prosecutor’s dream to have GPS,” Arapahoe County Deputy Prosecutor Chelsea Koch said. “That’s an excellent piece of evidence to put him at every single burglary at the time it was burglarized.” Campbell was wearing the ankle monitor after being convicted of trying to steal a GPS navigation device. (Denver’s KCNC-TV)

• Police trying to locate Rolando Lozano, who they suspected of burglarizing 17 cars in Rosenburg, Texas, appealed for public help by posting his picture on their Facebook page. He responded with a taunt: “catch me if u can muthasuckas.” Tips from the community led them to Lozano within 15 minutes of his post. (The Huffington Post)

Personal pronouns
• Germany became the first European country to allow parents of babies with characteristics of both sexes to leave the gender blank on birth certificates, creating a new category: “indeterminate sex.” The policy change is intended to avoid pressuring parents to decide on a gender quickly to register the new child with the authorities. The interior ministry said German passports, which now list holders as M for male or F for female, will have a third designation: X, for intersex holders. Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan also officially recognize a third gender. (BBC News)

Didn’t see it coming
• Claiming to be a psychic, Stephanie Thompson took more than $115,000 from a client, telling her the money was cursed and that she would return it after cleaning it. Instead, Thompson lost the money gambling, police in Boca Raton, Fla., said after arresting her. (Miami’s WPLG-TV)

Building inspection follies
• Sweden’s National Housing Board ordered a hotel made of ice to install fire alarms. The Ice Hotel has been rebuilt every year since 1990 in Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna, using chunks of ice from the Torne River. Because each year’s building is new, it must abide by the current building code. (Sweden’s The Local)

Short attention span
• People were curious when the letter “A” recently appeared next to the 180-foot-tall “N” that has lasted 100 years on the side of a mountain beside the University of Nevada, Reno, until Brent Wilbur admitted adding the second letter. “I was trying to write a woman’s name, ‘Tina,’” he explained, noting that was the name of a woman he dated four years ago but still loved. He started with the “A” but said that after spending five and a half hours to create that he “just ran out of steam” and quit. (Reno’s KOLO-TV)

No surprise
• The publisher of a calendar of traffic circles in Wales that was a surprise best-seller in 2012 returned this year with a new calendar: “Fast Disappearing Red Telephone Boxes of Wales 2014.” It failed to sell a single copy, according to publisher Kevin Beresford, who lamented, “Not even the most patriotic Welsh person wants to buy a copy.” (BBC News)

Oops!
• A Boeing 747 cargo jet heading to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., mistakenly landed eight miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. McConnell has parallel north-south runways, 12,000 feet long. Jabara has no control tower and a single north-south runway, 6,101 feet long, much shorter than is ideal for a 747. After being turned around on the 100-foot-wide runway, the 235-foot-long jumbo jet successfully took off the next day and landed 15 minutes later at its intended destination. (NBC News)

Justice is the name, justice is the game
• Prosecutors in Williamson County, Tenn., filed a motion objecting to defense attorney Drew Justice referring to them in court as “the government,” arguing that “such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State’s attorney seem oppressive and to inflame the jury.” Justice filed his own motion, demanding that his client be referred to not as “the Defendant,” but as “Mister,” “the Citizen Accused” or “that innocent man” — since all defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty. Justice also stated that he should be addressed as “Defender of the Innocent, “Guardian of the Realm” or “Captain Justice.” Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley rejected the prosecution’s motion, saying the word “government” wasn’t derogatory. (Nashville’s The Tennessean)

Pay-as-you-go getaway
• Police pursuing a Car2Go vehicle going 75 mph in a 60 mph zone in Austin, Texas, reported that the driver crashed and fled on foot. Car2Go is a car-sharing service whose members can rent Smartfortwo vehicles by the minute wherever they’re parked. The driver spotted another Car2Go vehicle and took off, but after it turned down a dead-end road, police arrested driver Richard Delarosa, 33. A Car2Go official said the company would “evaluate” his membership status. (Austin’s KXAN-TV)

Drone on
• Officials at Georgia’s Calhoun State Prison reported that a small drone flew over the facility and dropped contraband tobacco products inside the gates. Sheriff Josh Hilton said a search of nearby woods turned up a car, which contained the aerial vehicle and two pounds of tobacco, and four individuals who were charged with delivering the contraband. (The Washington Times)

Nipping population growth in the bud
• Having legalized euthanasia for adults in 2002, Belgium’s government is now considering extending the right to children and adults with early dementia. There were 1,432 recorded cases of euthanasia in Belgium in 2012, 25 percent more than in 2011. (Associated Press)

Lest we forget
• Organizers of a parade honoring British military veterans told war hero Albert “Dusty” Miller, 89 that he can no longer serve as parade marshal because he’s too old. Miller, a decorated Royal Navy veteran, had been a parade marshal for the Royal British Legion for nearly 40 years, but said he was told he was being dismissed “because of insurance and that I should have stood down when I was 85.” (Britain’s Daily Express)

What’s cooking?
• Firefighters responding to a call at a Denver home learned that a child’s car seat with a baby girl about 11 months old had been placed on the stove, and “a short time later the chair ignited, burning the child” on the backside, police reported. It was unclear whether the stove was turned on or was still hot after being recently turned off. Neighbors said they believed the homeowners were operating an unlicensed day care. (Denver’s KMGH-TV)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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