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Nov. 27, 2007 at 6:00 AM
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FBI: Food monitoring report false

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The FBI, saying the story is "too ridiculous" to be believed, denies a report it is monitoring the sale of Middle Eastern food in San Francisco.

The so-called Falafel Investigation was the subject of a Congressional Quarterly article about a "supposed FBI program to monitor the sales of Middle Eastern food products in the San Francisco Bay area in support of counterterrorism intelligence-gathering," John Miller, assistant director of the FBI's Office of Public Affairs, wrote in a letter the agency made public Monday.

He said he never heard of the initiative, so he talked to counterterrorism managers and others who could have some knowledge about such a program.

"Nobody did," he said.

The alleged food monitoring plan, tagged by the article's author as ridiculous-sounding, really is "too ridiculous to be true," Miller said.

"While the story may have been the source of some amusement," he said, "I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on something that touches on something so important as national security and civil liberties."

Rare violin recovered

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- An Indiana musician who had his $100,000 violin stolen got his rare instrument back Monday.

Nicolas Orbovich's violin was made in 1892 by Jerome Squier in Boston, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

"It's got this tremendous balance of different characteristics," said Orbovich, a violinist from Michigan City who plays with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. "You don't want a violin that has too much 'brightness,' or what you might call stridence or tinniness. And you don't want it too mellow either. You don't want it too much either way."

The violin was stolen from his unlocked car Nov. 17 in a Wal-Mart parking lot. He got the antique violin back after somebody reportedly tried to pawn it.

Orbovich said bought the violin for $2,000 in 1985 while a student at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

"Back then, as a student, I didn't have a penny, and $2,000 might as well have been $2 million," he told the newspaper.

Geese enjoy racing alongside car

HANCOCK, Minn., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- It's a bird; it's a plane; no, it's a car with a pair of Canada geese flying along side as it cruises along a private grass runway.

The adult geese -- Apollo and Kennedy -- were raised from day-old goslings by Mary Jo and Marvin Brown of Hancock, Minn.

The geese apparently like to go, go, go and the lawnmower wasn't fast enough to feed their need for what the Browns call "goose games," the Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported Monday.

So Apollo and Kennedy flap their wings alongside the couple's Lincoln Town Car as it tools up and down their half-mile-long grass airstrip. Optimum speed: 34 miles per hour.

Fake cop car puts heat on Milwaukee man

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A Milwaukee man, 19, was arrested for impersonating a police officer after driving a car that had red and blue flashing lights and bars on the rear windows.

Officers said the car, red in color, was outfitted like an unmarked police car. In addition to the interior lights and bars, it had a public address system, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday.

Police spotted the car during the weekend when it passed a squad car. Officers followed and pulled the car over, said Capt. Gregory Habeck.

An 18-year-old female was with the 19-year-old, who was not identified.

Police said they were not aware of any unsolved crimes involving the impersonation of an officer, which is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum nine-month jail sentence.

Topics: John Miller
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