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By United Press International   |   May 31, 2005 at 11:19 PM   |   Comments

Bingo addiction lands Welsh woman in jail

CARDIFF, Wales, May 31 (UPI) -- A Welsh Department of Work and Pensions employee was in jail Tuesday for stealing more than $40,000 to fund her "out of control" addiction to bingo.

Julie Evans, 45, of Nantyffyllon, Wales, was jailed for eight months for taking up to $180 a day for a year from her government employer at Bridgend, Wales, to fund her gambling habit.

"My wife was always very honest and very hard working," husband Stewart Evans told the South Wales Echo on Tuesday. "She's not a bad person. She just got addicted."

"I didn't know she had a problem until the police got involved," he said.

When police arrested Evans in March, she told them her addiction to bingo and amusement games was "out of control."

Peruvian 'mermaid' gets operation

Man chooses church over jail sentence


Peruvian 'mermaid' gets operation

LIMA, May 31 (UPI) -- A Peruvian girl with a rare condition known as Mermaid syndrome underwent surgery Tuesday to separate her legs, which are fused together.

Milagros Cerron was supposed to have the surgery earlier this year, but the procedure was canceled several times due to recurring infections.

Milagros (which mean "miracle" in Spanish) is one of only three people known to have survived more than a few days, El Comercio reported.

Her condition has left her with legs that are fused together down to her feet, giving her the appearance of a having a fish tail.

Doctors said Milagros will need additional surgeries in the coming years to repair her digestive system and genitals.


Man chooses church over jail sentence

LONDON, Ky., May 31 (UPI) -- Scott Hays had three sentencing choices in London, Ky., after pleading guilty to a drug charge: go to jail, go into rehab or go to church.

He chose church.

The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal said Judge Michael Caperton, a devout Christian, believes church attendance might help people convicted of crimes to find spiritual guidance.

He told the newspaper: "The goal is to help people and their families. I don't think there's a church-state issue, because it's not mandatory and I say worship services instead of church."

But some civil libertarians and constitutional scholars told the Courier-Journal that Caperton's unusual sentencing procedure raises serious constitutional problems.

A Louisville American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, David Friedman, told the newspaper: "The judge is saying that those willing to go to worship services can avoid jail in the same way that those who decline to go cannot. That strays from government neutrality towards religion."

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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