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April 1, 2008 at 6:00 AM
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Couple threaten suit over 'haunted' house

SPOLETO, Italy, March 31 (UPI) -- An Italian couple says they plan to sue the previous owners of their home in Spoleto for not warning them it is haunted.

Gaetano and Stefania Bastianelli said they thought they were getting a bargain when they paid $190,000 for the house, but they were not made aware of its strange history, including a visit from Perugia University's paranormal research team and an exorcism in the 1970s, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

"The ghosts started their haunting on the first night," said Bastianelli, 57. "I woke suddenly at around one or two in the morning. There was water seeping from under the bathroom door. The hot water tap was pouring out boiling water and the room was full of steam. My wife was stunned, because she had turned off everything before going to bed."

Bastianelli said the alleged spirits also caused his lawnmower and his wife's car to spontaneously burst into flames and the sound of rattling chains has frightened the couple's 10-year-old daughter.

He said he has hired a lawyer to sue the previous owner.

"We have a good case," said the lawyer, Antonio Francesconi. "Under article 1490 of Italian law, you have to tell buyers if there is anything wrong. I think that the previous owners will settle out of court."

Man claims arrest was for anti-war T-shirt

LAKE GROVE, N.Y., March 31 (UPI) -- An 80-year-old man says he was arrested at a Lake Grove, N.Y., mall for wearing a T-shirt protesting the war in Iraq.

Don Zirkel, who once served in the Army as well as in the New York Division of Human Rights under former Gov. Mario Cuomo, said he wore his T-shirt -- which features red splotches and the words "4,000 troops, 1 million Iraqis dead. Enough." -- to an anti-war rally outside the Smith Haven Mall, New York Newsday reported Monday.

However, he said mall security approached him after he and his wife entered the food court to seek coffee and French fries. Zirkel, whose nephew recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, said he refused the security officers' orders to turn his shirt inside out or leave the mall, and Suffolk County police were called to escort him from the premises.

Zirkel, who denies police allegations he was distributing fliers in the mall, has been charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. He is to be arraigned May 22.

"I'm being punished for six words that spoke the truth. That's insanity. War is insanity," Zirkel said. "I'm wearing the T-shirt again."

Police: Angry customer crashed into wash

ELMONT, N.Y., March 31 (UPI) -- Police in Elmont, N.Y., say a motorist dissatisfied with his car wash and the business's offer of a free second wash drove his truck into the machinery.

Nassau County police said Assi Touti, 37 complained Sunday to employees of Mr. Hand Car Wash that his Chevrolet Silverado truck was not clean enough after going through the wash, New York Newsday reported Monday.

The employees offered Touti a second wash at no extra charge, but he "reportedly became agitated at having to wait in line longer and for a second time, and intentionally drove his Silverado truck into the car wash's computer control, repeatedly, trapping three employees between that machinery and a fence," the police report said.

Touti has been charged with a felony count of second-degree criminal mischief and three counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Baby kangaroo rescued by dog

TORQUAY, Australia, March 31 (UPI) -- An orphaned baby kangaroo rescued by a dog near Torquay, Australia, has been taken to a sanctuary, the dog's owner says.

Leonie Allan said she was walking her pointer, Rex, Easter Sunday when they came across the carcass of the mother kangaroo, which was killed by a car near Bells Beach, the Melbourne Herald-Sun reported Monday.

"Later, I was working out the front and he started pointing," Allan said. "I was worried he'd found a snake and called him back, but when he returned he dropped the joey at my feet."

Allan said Rex, a 10-year-old dog, was careful not to injure or upset the 4 1/2-month-old kangaroo.

"The joey was snuggling up to him, jumping up to him and Rex was sniffing and licking him -- it was quite cute," she said.

Jirrahlinga Wildlife Sanctuary Director Tehree Gordon praised Rex for his protective behavior toward the joey, named Rex Jr. in honor of his savior.

"It's a lesson that dogs can be raised to be familiar and compatible with wildlife, you just have to teach them right from wrong," she said.

Gordon said Rex Jr. will be released into the wild when he is about 18 months old.

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