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Watercooler Stories

  |   July 2, 2012 at 6:28 AM
July 1 brings new, odd laws across U.S.

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- Some laws taking effect across the United States Sunday are a bit odd, such as the banning of releasing feral hogs into the wild in Kentucky, officials said.

A multitude of new laws come into effect annually on July 1 across the United States, and some are a bit unusual this year, CNN reported.

While Kentucky lawmakers barred people from releasing untamed pigs into the wild, Chicago is now allowing taxi drivers to charge passengers a $50 cleanup fee for vomiting in cabs.

In Idaho, law enforcement officials can issue arrest warrants by fax, and Virginia is now accepting a concealed handgun permit as a valid form of identification for voting.


Most bosses don't mind lateness

SEATTLE, June 30 (UPI) -- Being late for work may not be the sin it used to be -- most European and U.S. employers say they don't mind late-arriving employees, a survey indicates.

The survey of 1,000 U.S., British, German, French and Irish employees and employers by Mozy, a provider of data protection, found 73 percent of bosses have a relaxed attitude to time keeping, since they trust their staff is working long before they actually get to the office.

However, this may surprise most workers as more than half of employees are under the impression that their executives definitely will mind if they are late.

The average employer is willing to turn a blind eye to employees being up to 32 minutes late, the survey found.

Russ Stockdale, general manager of Mozy, said the study confirmed the long-held suspicion that the urge to check e-mails first thing in the morning is overwhelming for some -- by 7 a.m., 1-in-5 employees worldwide have already checked their e-mail.

However, some countries prefer a gentler start to the day. One-third of all British employees log on by 6:30 a.m., compared with 18 percent of U.S. employees and 13 percent of French employees.

The global results show that the average employee starts checking their work e-mail at 7:42 a.m., gets into the office at 8:18 a.m., leaves the office at 5:48 p.m. and stops working fully at 7:19 p.m., meaning employees are "in work mode" for nearly 12 hours a day, Stockdale said.


Stolen Dali drawing returned by U.S. mail

NEW YORK, June 30 (UPI) -- A Salvador Dali drawing stolen from a New York gallery was returned by Express Mail -- and the thief e-mailed the tracking number, postal inspectors said.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, alerted by New York police, found the drawing Friday at Kennedy International Airport, The New York Times reported.

"Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio," an 11-by-14-inch drawing valued at $150,000, was stolen June 19 from a newly opened gallery on the Upper East Side, Venus Over Manhattan. Security cameras showed a man with a shopping bag who apparently just took the drawing off the wall and walked out.

"There was a security guard standing right there, so how you don't see a young, sweaty guy with a shopping bag I don't understand," Adam Lindemann, the writer and collector who owns the gallery, told reporters at the time.

Donna Harris, a spokeswoman for the postal inspectors, said stolen art tends to be impossible to sell "because they're hot." She said the gallery got an e-mail with the Express Mail tracking number.


Mafia writer gets asteroid named after him

ROME, June 30 (UPI) -- An Italian journalist and author known for exposing the Naples mafia was honored by having an asteroid named after him, officials said.

Roberto Saviano had asteroid No. 278447 named after him Friday, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Saviano was given the honor by the International Astronomical Union for exposing "the Camorra's organized-crime activities in his 2006 best-seller 'Gomorrah.'"

Saviano received death threats for his novel and was placed under round-the-clock police protection after its publication. "Gomorrah" was later turned into a film and won second prize at Cannes and five European Film Awards in 2008.

"Thank you Dr. Silvano Casulli, who discovered the asteroid, for deciding to name it after me," said Saviano. "Now I'll look at the sky through different eyes."

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