Watercooler Stories

By United Press International   |   Jan. 21, 2005 at 6:30 AM
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Man charged with faking injuries

WEST NEW YORK, N.Y., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A West New York man is accused of cutting his mouth with a razor and stuffing staples in a sandwich to try and win money from McDonald's.

Jose Rodriguez was accused of supplying a false report and tampering with or fabricating evidence, the Jersey City Journal reported Thursday.

The incident followed a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Beatriz Bermeo against the same McDonald's restaurant, in which she claimed she ingested five needles that were inside her chicken sandwich.

In the latest incident, police responded to a call that someone had bitten into a sandwich containing a sharp object. They arrived at the McDonald's to find Rodriguez bleeding from the mouth.

Police said Rodriguez created a scene, showing other customers and police the sandwich, which had staples and a paper clip protruding from it. He was later treated at a hospital.

Police said their subsequent investigation revealed the incident as a scam.

Officials seek to stop cadaver thefts

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- University of California medical school officials say barcodes on cadavers might stop the illegal sales of bodies.

Attempting to stop repeated scandals related to missing bodies, officials announced a plan to better keep track of the cadavers, not only using barcodes or radio-frequency identifiers, but also video cameras at loading docks, the Los Angeles Times said Thursday.

With reforms in place, officials said, they plan to ask a judge in March to reopen the body donor program at UCLA medical school, a year after it was temporarily closed after authorities uncovered the illegal sales of hundreds of cadavers at the school.

Under the reform plan presented to the UC regents at their meeting in San Francisco, the university would centralize the management of the willed body programs at its five medical schools and significantly strengthen security and record keeping.

Math teacher sued over homework

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A Milwaukee high school student and his father are taking the legal route to stop the student's math teacher from giving homework during summer vacation.

The lawsuit by Whitnall high school student Peter Larson and his father, Bruce, argues school officials have no legal authority to make students do homework over the summer because the state requires only a 180-day school, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"These students are still children, yet they are subjected to increasing pressure to perform to ever-higher standards in numerous theaters," says Bruce Larson.

Critics say the schools and courts need a break from lawsuits such as the one brought by the Larsons.

"If I were a judge, I would not only dismiss the lawsuit, I'd levy a fine against the father for misusing the courts," says Philip K. Howard, a lawyer and legal reform advocate based in New York City.

Peter says his summer vacation was stressful because he had to do math homework in addition to a summer job as a camp counselor that often exceeded 40 hours a week.

Whitnall School District Superintendent Karen Petric says the district tried to resolve the matter but to no avail. She sees no reason for Larson to sue his teacher.

Trump gets entry in World Book

CHICAGO, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- After 13 years of keeping "The Donald" waiting, the Chicago-based World Book has decided to put the real estate and casino mogul in the encyclopedia.

World Book editors had rejected an entry for Donald Trump since 1991 but his biography has been added to the encyclopedia's online reference center and Trump appears in the 22-volume print edition of the 2005 World Book published in December.

Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, James Bond, swimmer Michael Phelps, author Don DeLillo, baseball great Jim Palmer, composer Carol King and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson all were added to the 2004 edition of The World Book Encyclopedia.

The 2005 edition includes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, singer Wayne Newton and actors Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe.

Editors said Trump's hit television show "The Apprentice" helped him show the staying power required for an encyclopedia entry.

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