Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  July 6, 2005 at 6:30 AM
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German official wants jobless to play enemy

BERLIN, July 6 (UPI) -- Germany's defense minister has suggested that some of the country's 5 million unemployed could be put to work as enemy soldiers and villagers in military training exercises.

Deutsche Welle reports Peter Struck believes using civilians instead of soldiers would save money since soldiers have to be paid even when they are playing Bosnian civilians. With as many as 400 people required to play enemies and non-combatants in a single exercise, it would provide a lot of jobs, although short-term ones.

The response has been mixed.

"The job market for acting demonstrator is quite limited," Horst Schmitt, a spokesperson for the German Employment Agency, told the newspaper. "We want to turn the unemployed into qualified workers."

Urlich Adam, a Christian Democrat member of parliament, said he hoped Struck was not trying "to make fun of the unemployed."

NYC paid to house dead AIDS patients

NEW YORK, July 6 (UPI) -- New York City paid hotels more than $180,000 to house AIDS patients who had died, according to a city audit.

The Daily News reports that the payments for the dead were part of a total of more than $2 million in dubious payments uncovered by Controller William Thompson. In 2003, the city's Human Resources Administration paid $34 million to single-room-occupancy hotels for housing homeless people with AIDS.

Thompson discovered that $1 million was paid hotels for clients not properly registered and $456,000 for clients no longer staying in hotels. There was also $118,000 in duplicate payments and $20,300 paid a hotel owner who had submitted a bill for $2,300.

In some cases, the city continued to pay for the dead for more than a year afterwards. One hotel continued to submit bills for 18 months to two years after three of its residents died.

Sharapova is most-downloaded celebrity

NEW YORK, July 6 (UPI) -- Internet celebrity search site Celebopedia.com said tennis star Maria Sharapova was its most searched-for celebrity last week for a second straight week.

The Web site said the 10 most-searched celebrities included pop star Jessica Simpson at No. 2, followed by actress Jennifer Garner, model-tennis pro Anna Kournikova and actress Nicole Kidman.

The rest of the Top 10 were: actress Angelina Jolie, model Vida Guerra, "Star Wars" star Hayden Christensen, R&B diva Beyoncé and actress Lindsay Lohan.

84-year-old tennis coach goes back to work

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., July 6 (UPI) -- The tennis coach at a California college has come out of retirement for the second time, this time at the age of 84.

Paul Xanthos, who taught himself to play more than 70 years ago with a book and a used racket, may be the oldest working coach in the country, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

Xanthos retired from Pierce College in Woodland Hills in 1993 after coaching for almost 30 years and compiling a record of 550 wins, 94 losses and 23 conference championships. He returned for a year in 1999 and now he's back again.

"I still dream I'm coaching and teaching tennis," he said.

Xanthos will be working with one of his former students, Rajeev Datt. Datt, who describes Xanthos as "old-school," believes that their coaching styles will be complementary.

Comsmetic sales get French accent

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Cosmetic manufacturers are using French to court U.S. consumers who associate the language with sophistication and glamour -- even if it is spelled wrong.

Marketing experts said manufacturers are seizing the moment to enhance their packaging with non-English words and phrases as U.S. cosmetic exports soared 41 percent in 2004.

Kiss My Face Corp., Gardiner, N.Y., plans to repackage its entire line with French and English.

"Even though we're a tiny company, it gives it a little more credibility," Marketing Director Herberto Calves told the Washington Post. "If this product is accepted there, it's good enough for here."

Eyebrow product maker Ardell, Los Angeles, has reworked all packaging to include English, French and Spanish to satisfy one of its biggest U.S. buyers, Sally Beauty Supply.

But one beauty store clerk who knows French is put off by misspellings and made-up words.

"Ooh, when they make it up, or they spell it wrong, or they use the wrong gender, le and la? I hate that," the clerk said.

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