Watercooler Stories

Aug. 23, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Mom makes boy wear 'thief' sign

TOWNSVILLE, Australia, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Residents of an Australian city said a mother forced her young son to sit in public wearing Shrek ears and a sign proclaiming him to be "a thief."

Witnesses said the boy, who appeared to be about 10 years old, spent nearly an hour Sunday sitting near a Townsville water park wearing the ears and the sign while his family ate lunch nearby, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

"Do not trust me. I will steal from you as I am a thief," the boy's sign read.

Diane Mayers, who has worked with Child Safety Services in the past, said she was so "horrified" when she saw the boy that she immediately notified the department.

"A lot of people walked past and were laughing at him, including boys who would have been his age," Mayers said. "At one point, the boy had taken off the Shrek ears. My daughter walked past and heard the mother say, 'Put them back on or I'll smack your head in.'"

Mayers said she feared the long-term effects from the public humiliation would be worse than the potential effects from physical abuse.


Finland's True Finns party drops 'true'

SAARIJARVI, Finland, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A Finnish political party announced it is changing its official English-language name from True Finns to The Finns.

The party, which said its Finnish-language name, Perussuomalaiset, will not be affected, said Sunday it is changing the English version of the name to reflect its aims to promote the interests of ordinary Finnish people, the Helsingen Sonomat reported Monday.

Finnish law requires political parties to have names that distinguish them from other registered organizations, but Arto Jaaskelainen, head of elections at the Ministry of Justice, said the rules do not apply to English-language names because they are seen as unofficial.

The Helsingen Sonomat said most commentators on its Web site seem to oppose the change, with some taking issue with the implication that the party claims to be the only one to represent the entire population of the country. Other commentators predicted the name change would cause confusion when references to The Finns are mistaken for references to the country's general population.


'Bomb' in Sweden was a pen wrapped in tape

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Swedish police said a suspected bomb found in a Stockholm neighborhood turned out to be a pen covered in several layers of green tape.

Stockholm officers cordoned off the area around the object, discovered Sunday at the side of a road in the Skondal section of the city, and bomb technicians who removed it from the scene for further study discovered it was harmless, The Local reported Monday.

Police said a forensic investigation was being carried out to determine whether the green tape wrapped around the pen matches the tape wrapped around explosive devices recently found in the area.


Protests demand equal topless rights

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The Raelian Movement, which teaches that life on Earth was created by aliens, had its fourth-annual "GoTopless Day" protests in several U.S. cities.

GoTopless.org, founded by the movement's spiritual leader, Rael, organized protests Sunday in locations including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Women participating in the protests were urged to go topless while men were encouraged to cover their chests to illustrate the slogan, "Topless equal rights for all or none."

"It's no more ridiculous than women having to wear tops at all times in this double-standard topless battle that's being waged in public and in the courts," said Nadine Gary, a Raelian priestess and president of GoTopless.org based in Las Vegas.

"After four years, our national protests are starting to bear fruit, for a growing number of women across the country are reaching out to us. They're beginning to feel empowered by our demonstrations and the constitutional message we bring."

Gary said the cause is backed up by Raelian philosophy, which holds humanity was created scientifically by an advanced race of extraterrestrials.

"They created us in their image very scientifically, through genetic engineering," Gary said. "So how can the human body, a masterpiece, be perceived with shame?"

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