Watercooler Stories

By United Press International   |   Dec. 27, 2004 at 6:30 AM   |   0 comments

Britain may grant tax breaks for 2nd wives

LONDON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- British tax officials are considering breaks for Muslims who are allowed as many as four wives under religious rules to make taxes more "family friendly."

Existing laws allow deductions for only one wife for inheritance tax purposes but Muslim activists are asking Inland Revenue to relax the rules, the Times of London reports.

"Wives and immediate children should be exempt from inheritance tax," Ahmad Thomson, of the Association of Muslim Lawyers, told the Times. "If the government is family friendly, they should change a tax which is unfairly hitting minority religious values."

British law currently bans marrying more than one spouse at a time and such action could result in bigamy charges. Muslim women with second-, third- and fourth-wife status are considered mistresses under the law and have no legal or tax rights.


Stranger doles out $20,000 Christmas cash

DENVER, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Denver's Samaritan House homeless shelter was clueless Sunday as to the identity of a stranger who handed out $100 bills to nearly 250 residents.

"He told us that he had been down in the past and he had some hard times and he wanted to give something back," said Brian Jones, a shelter residential coordinator on duty Christmas Eve, when the man made his delivery. "But that's as much as he would say."

Shelter managers estimate the stranger, who said he was once homeless, distributed a total of $20,000 to $25,000 to the shelter's residents, the Denver Post reported.

The Good Samaritan was accompanied by a man who appeared to be a bodyguard.

Franciscan Friends of the Poor, which is raising money to build a 4,500-square foot homeless shelter in Denver, also got a large anonymous gift of cash just before Christmas, 9News reported. The Franciscans received a box containing $20,000 and a note suggesting the money be used "For Your New Building."


Divers may have discovered lost ship

CHICAGO, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A team of Chicago divers believed Sunday they may have found a sunken ship that disappeared on Lake Michigan over 100 years ago.

The ship is missing key evidence that could identify it -- identification numbers, crew rosters, and human remains -- but the divers said the ship's dimensions; 132 feet long, 26 feet wide and 9 feet deep; match those of the Hume, the Chicago Daily Southtown reported Sunday.

"Sure, there are other possibilities," said diver Tom Palmisano. "But the size fits."

"Since there are not any numbers or names on this ship, it would be nice to have a picture or two," Palmisano said. "There will be photos, somewhere. Hopefully, we can identify the ship by an image."

Palmisano was joined in his underwater excursions by Jeff Strunka, Bud Brain, and Bob Schmitt. Chicago salvager A&T Recovery hired the divers after noticing the wreck in sonar readings.

The Hume was last seen May 21, 1891, en route to Muskegon, Mich.

The company that owned the ship has long since gone out of business. However, if an insurance policy was paid on the Hume, it could still be claimed by the insurer.


Japanese group gives up swastika-like logo

TOKYO, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A Japanese martial arts group has decided to give up a logo that looks too much like a Nazi swastika.

Kyodo News reports that the Shorinji Kempo Federation Foundation has been using the symbol for four decades. But it has found that a symbol that looks like a reversed swastika has hampered its efforts to build strength abroad. The federation has been unable to register the symbol in the United States and a number of European countries.

The symbol is, in fact, much older than the swastika. It is a Sanskrit sign that means "good deeds" and is known in Japan as "manji."

Topics: Brian Jones
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