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Watercooler Stories

March 12, 2013 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

News sites duped by satirical article

BOSTON, March 11 (UPI) -- News outlets including Boston.com and Breitbart.com were duped by a satirical website into reporting economist Paul Krugman had filed for bankruptcy.

Boston.com, run by the Boston Globe, and conservative blog Breitbart.com wrote reports about Krugman's supposed personal bankruptcy using Australia's Format magazine as a source, Politico reported Monday.

However, the Format piece turned out to be based on an item in The Daily Current, a humor website billing itself as "the global satirical newspaper of record."

The erroneous stories were removed from the two sites before midday Monday.

The satirical news article said Krugman was more than $7 million in debt due to an apartment loan and "impulsive spending splurges" on items including "Portuguese wines and British dresses from the Victorian period."

Breitbart sharply criticized The Washington Post last month when its blog ran a story based on a Daily Current article claiming Sarah Palin was joining Qatari-owned news network al-Jazeera.

Breitbart blogger John Nolte wrote if Post blogger Suzi Parker "had a shred of self-awareness, integrity and dignity, she would have changed the headline to 'Too Good To Check,' and under it posted an essay about how shallow, smug, bitterly angry partisanship can blind you to common sense."


Police find marijuana in ice cream truck

ALAMEDA, Texas, March 11 (UPI) -- Police in Texas said they pulled over an ice cream truck with expired registration and discovered suspected marijuana.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said deputies pulled over the purple ice cream truck, which had a cracked windshield, in Alameda Saturday and one of the two occupants fled on foot before being caught by deputies, the El Paso Times reported Monday.

Deputies said Elijah Sanchez, 19, was found carrying two Tupperware containers filled with a substance believed to be marijuana.

Investigators found more marijuana inside the vehicle and Anthony Arellano, 29, was also arrested.

Both men were charged with possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana. Sanchez was also charged with evading arrest and detention.


Kansas weeds out profane vanity plates

TOPEKA, Kan., March 11 (UPI) -- Kansas transportation officials said about 300 of the 61,000 applications for vanity plates are rejected each year.

The Kansas Department of Revenue's Division of Vehicles said its list of banned plates includes nearly 1,200 entries, including curse words, racial slurs, sexual references and slang terms, The Wichita Eagle reported Monday.

Donna Shelite, director of vehicles, said applicants will "go to all kinds of lengths" to attempt to circumvent the list, including using "ph" in the place of the letter "f" or using numbers in place of similarly shaped letters, such as a "5" to mean "s."

Shelite said officials sometimes need to search the Internet or consult with young people to decode the applications.

"There are some I don't understand," Shelite said.

Vanity plates, which can have as many as seven characters, cost $45 in addition to registration.


Lottery winners giving back to community

DEARBORN, Minn., March 11 (UPI) -- Missourians Mark and Cindy Hill, winners of a $587 million Powerball jackpot, are putting some of their riches into community services.

The Hills, who live in Dearborn, said some of the money, which came to $136.5 million after taxes, is going to the nearby community of Camden Point, where Mark Hill grew up, CNN reported Monday.

Camden point has fewer than 500 residents.

The Hills said they are purchasing a new fire station and a ballfield and putting $50,000 toward a sewage treatment plant.

The couple, who both graduated from North Platte High School in Dearborn, said they have started a scholarship fund at the school.

"For some reason [God] put it in our hands," Cindy Hill said, "I think to make sure it goes to the right things."

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