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Jan. 2, 2008 at 5:30 PM
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Underpants save home from fire

HARTLEPOOL, England, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A fire in a Hartlepool, England, home was prevented from spreading with use of an unusual fire blanket -- a pair of size 18-20 underwear.

John Marsey, 18, and his cousin, Darren Lines, 23, were trying to fry bread in the family kitchen when the fire erupted, The Northern Echo reported Wednesday.

Marsey's attempt to stop the fire by throwing water on it only served to help the blaze spread, so Lines grabbed a pair of Marks & Spencer underwear belonging to Marsey's mother, Jenny, from a nearly laundry pile and doused them in water before throwing them over the fire, extinguishing the flames.

"My ($10) parachute knickers have come in handy for something. We've had a good laugh that they were a bit like a fire blanket," Jenny Marsey said.

"I've got no white sets now, only black ones," she said. "I think if they had been my daughter Sarah's skimpy knickers they wouldn't have done any good."


Sweden hopes 'Made in Jail' makes money

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Sweden's prison officials say they hope the "Made in Jail" label helps the prison system break into profitability.

Business is down for the country's prison factories, where officials report revenues off nearly $32,000 for the last two years, The Local reported Wednesday.

"The idea behind the venture with "Made in Jail" is to lift sales and income," said Anne Marie Dahlgren, of the Kriminalvarden, or the Swedish Prison and Probation Service.

"Made in Jail" is popular in other countries, including the United States, and now the Swedish Prison and Probation Service is hoping for similar success, Dahlgren said. "Made in Jail" recently was registered and launched at a suppliers' convention in Jonkoping.

About 1,000 prisoners in Swedish prisons work for $1.55 an hour in system's commercial activities. Officials attribute the poor financial performance to supervision and security costs associated with prison labor.


Robber's car towed from court

KILMARNOCK, Scotland, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- An optimistic Scotsman left his car parked with a one-hour ticket on it when he went to his sentencing for an armed robbery only to have it demolished.

Detlef Jenkins wound up being sent to prison for four years and the car sat for more than three months outside the courthouse in Kilmarnock, The Scotsman reported. Then the Vauxhall Omega was towed and converted to scrap metal in a crusher.

The Vauxhall had been given a parking citation almost immediately after the initial hour expired, followed by another one later. When its tax disc expired, the car was booted.

A Strathclyde police spokeswoman said police made efforts to find Jenkins' relatives before towing the car.

Jenkins pleaded guilty to holding up the Mosset Tavern in Forres, where he lived, with another man in December 2006.


Little lady a leader of the new year

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- New Zealander Lilieni Fa'amausili-Collins may be young to wear the mantle of world leader, but she does as the probable first baby born worldwide in 2008.

Born at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in a Wellington hospital, the baby girl was due Jan. 29 but opted to enter the world within a minute of midnight, The Dominion Post reported Wednesday. Mother Leata felt labor pains around 9 p.m., went to the hospital around 10 p.m., then gave birth to 7.9-pound Lilieni two hours later.

Mother and daughter were discharged Wednesday, returning to their Strathmore home with dad Paese and siblings Wayne, 17; April, 12; and JP, 2.

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