Watercooler Stories

By United Press International
Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

Report: Germans are most pessimistic

BERLIN, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- German citizens are the most pessimistic of all Europeans about the future, the German Statistics Office reported.


Young people and eastern Germans have the most pessimistic views, but most Germans have negative views of their current living situations, Deutsche Welle reported.

Social Science Research Center director Jurgen Kocka said the discrepancy between Germans' reality and their pessimistic views is likely due to the fact that their standards of life are significantly higher than their European counterparts'.

The study showed that only 29 percent of Germans believe their income is enough for a comfortable lifestyle -- vastly lower than Sweden's 54 percent and the 64 percent reported in Denmark.

The report found that most Germans are dissatisfied with their country's attempts at democracy and would support socialism as a possible alternative, Deutsche Welle said.


Tailgate theft on the rise

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Theft of third-row seats and tailgates from American-made trucks and sport utility vehicles is on the rise, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

Police have been encouraging truck and SUV owners to mark tailgates and seats to prevent thefts. Older-model trucks are said to be particularly vulnerable because the tailgates do not come with locks.

While pick pocketing and bicycle thefts have decreased, vehicle burglaries are on the rise -- increasing by 10 percent in 2004, the FBI reported.

Police said tailgates can cost as much as $1,000 to replace.

The trickle effect of these thefts is higher insurance premiums, the Daily News said.

Volunteer cleanup sets Guinness record

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Guinness Book of Records has recognized a one-day trash collection by volunteers in California as the largest of its kind in history.

The statewide volunteer effort Saturday saw an estimated 800,000 pounds of trash collected from over 750 sites in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The event was coordinated with an effort to help remove garbage from the world's seas by the Ocean Conservancy. Environmental experts said the record-setting outing was only the beginning.


"The trash collected on Coastal Cleanup Day is just the tip of the iceberg," David Lewis, one of the heads of Save the Bay, told the paper. "It's one day, and trash is flowing into the bay every day. We're getting just a fraction of what's out there."

One kidney and 20 years later, couple wed

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- In 20 years of friendship of New Orleans ministers Sue Allen and Antonio Miller have shared not only a kidney transplant, but also, eventually, wedding vows.

Allen and Miller didn't have a clue how intertwined their lives would become when they met in the mid-1980s, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. They became friends after meeting at church, and when she experienced renal failure in 2002, Miller offered his kidney.

She had no family members who might match.

He helped her care for her mother, sister and husband -- now all deceased -- and moved into her home to care for her when she was on dialysis.

The transplant occurred in 2003, two weeks after her husband's death, the newspaper said. In 2004, after they met other donors and recipients at a Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency outing, Allen and Miller volunteered for LOPA and the National Kidney Foundation.


They also used their television program, "Garment of Praise," to educate the public, particularly the African-American community, about organ donation.

When Hurricane Katrina struck, the two evacuated to Baton Rouge. Allen's home was destroyed and she said she wanted to give up. Miller, however, had other plans -- including a marriage proposal.

They were married in March.

Latest Headlines