Watercooler Stories

By United Press International

Insurer calls NYC high-rise terror target

NEW YORK, March 28 (UPI) -- An animal charity in New York lost its insurance coverage because its office is close to an "identified terrorism target" -- a high-rise apartment building.


Utica National Insurance refused to renew United Action for Animals' workers' compensation coverage because it is across the street from the Lucerne.

"I was dumbstruck," Gary Kaskel, the group's head told the Daily News. "I wasn't even sure what the Lucerne apartments are. I would like to find out who declared this a terrorism target and why."

It turns out the FBI and other law enforcement agencies do not consider the Lucerne high-risk. Neither does the superintendent.

"Ha! Other than a couple of lingerie models, no one famous lives here," he said. "You don't even see limos outside."

It turns out that Utica National used a computer model developed by Risk Management Solutions that designated all Manhattan high-rise buildings as potential targets. If all insurance companies follow Utica's lead, that could make much of the borough uninsurable.


Lawyer says eHarmony violated his rights

OAKLAND, Calif., March 28 (UPI) -- A California lawyer legally separated from his wife has filed suit against an online dating service claiming discrimination because of his marital status.

John Claassen tried to register with eHarmony but was turned down when he truthfully listed his marital status.

"Most people don't file a suit to get a date," Claassen told the San Jose Mercury News. "If I had my druthers, I'd be divorced by now."

The dating service says it has a simple rule -- everyone seeking its help must be legally free of entangling alliances.

"We have to create rules based on what's best for most people, most of the time," a customer service representative told Claassen in an e-mail, adding he would be welcome to register once his divorce is final.

Claassen claims that eHarmony, which is based in Pasadena, violated California law by discriminating against him. He's also ticked off because he only learned that his marital status was a problem after he spent two hours filling out his eHarmony profile.

Germans, Dutch brainiest, French not

BELFAST, Ireland, March 28 (UPI) -- A University of Ulster study indicates the Germans and Dutch are the smartest Europeans while France ranks near the bottom.


In France, the average intelligence score was 94, comparable to Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Serbia, while Germany and the Netherlands posted a brainy 107.

The study found the average intelligence score in the British Isles was, well, average -- 100 -- tying with Norway for eighth place, Sky News reported. Scots averaged a 97 while the English averaged 102, the Scotsman reported.

Professor Richard Lynn, who conducted the study, explained the lower Scots' scores to the tendency of smarter Scots to migrate to England, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Canada.

Elsewhere, Poland's IQ averaged 106; Sweden, 104; Italy, 102; Austria and Switzerland, 101; and Spain, 98.

Lynn said people in urban areas posted higher scores than those in rural areas. Last year, Lynn said his research showed men have higher IQs than women, averaging 5 points better.

Clinton chauffeur an illegal immigrant

NEWARK, N.J., March 28 (UPI) -- An embarrassing hole in security surrounding former U.S. President Bill Clinton turned up when one of his chauffeurs was found to be a wanted man.

Shahzad Qureshi, 42, was in one of three cars awaiting Clinton at Newark Airport last week when a Port Authority policeman happened to check license plate numbers.


The computer came back showing the Pakistani national had skipped a residency-status hearing in 2000, and a deportation order had been issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the New York Post reported.

Qureshi was still in jail Monday awaiting immigration processing, the report said.

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