Watercooler Stories

May 14, 2010 at 6:30 AM
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Russian draft law would punish bad hosts

MOSCOW, May 13 (UPI) -- A draft law submitted to the Russian legislature would impose warnings or fines on Russian hosts who fail to show proper hospitality to foreign guests.

The draft law, submitted to the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, states hosts should be required to provide lodging, medical services and financial aid to invited guests from other countries, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

The draft states Russians could face warnings or fines if they fail to meet the conditions.

Lawyer allegedly fired at census worker

GEORGETOWN, Texas, May 13 (UPI) -- A Texas lawyer was charged with aggravated assault after she allegedly fired five shots from a handgun at a census canvasser.

Carolyn Barnes, 53, of Leander, could face a more serious charge of aggravated assault on a public servant, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Barnes told Kathleen Gittel to leave after the temporary U.S. Census Bureau employee knocked on her door Saturday, Williamson County Sheriff's Sgt. John Foster said.

"She was apparently not getting off of her property fast enough, and Ms. Barnes decided to shoot five rounds in her direction," Foster said.

None of the shots struck Gittel, Foster said.

Barnes has a history of losing her temper with public employees, the newspaper said. She was charged with assault on a public servant in January after she allegedly hit a sheriff's deputy at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin. In 2000, while fighting a traffic ticket, she wrote the Cedar Park Municipal Court clerk saying she would resist any attempt to arrest her "to the death."

A year later, she said the letter was not a death threat: "I've been practicing law since 1984, and I haven't shot anybody yet, not even come close."

Young moose visits Calgary

CALGARY, Alberta, May 13 (UPI) -- A young moose loped around near downtown Calgary, a Canadian city of a million people, before being tranquilized and relocated, wildlife officials said.

The moose, about a year old, was spotted crossing Calgary's 14th Street Bridge over the Bow River and then heading toward busy Memorial Boulevard, necessitating action by wildlife officers.

"It's a safety issue for traffic and citizens, so we tranquilized it and we'll be taking it west," said Fish and Wildlife officer Ken Mackay, who added the moose wasn't hurt.

Joel Defoe told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. the moose appeared stressed and he jumped over a railing to get out of its way.

"That got my attention because, you know, that's not exactly something you see every day," Defoe said.

Hawaiian law blocks pesky 'birthers'

HONOLULU, May 13 (UPI) -- It's now legal for Hawaii to brush off so-called birthers and any others who bug the state about President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law Wednesday a bill allowing the state to ignore repeated requests for Obama's birth certificate, the New York Daily News reports.

Beleaguered state Health Department officials say they still receive up to 20 e-mail messages weekly asking they verify Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. U.S. citizenship is necessary to be president and birthers doubt Obama qualifies, often alleging he was born in Kenya and that there has been a concerted conspiracy to cover it up.

But Lingle, a Republican, recently said on WABC radio she has had Obama's birth certificate verified.

"I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health," Lingle said. "The president was, in fact, born at Kapi'olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that's just a fact."

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