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May 23, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Misspelled mugs buried in concrete

CANBERRA, Australia, May 23 (UPI) -- Australian officials told a Senate hearing 198 mugs misspelling the U.S. president's name were broken and used in concrete "mafia style."

Bronwyn Graham with the Department of Parliamentary Services told the hearing Monday 200 mugs were made for President Barack Obama's 2010 visit the country, but they were pulled from the gift shop after a journalist purchased two of the cups and pointed out the president's name was misspelled as "Barrack," The Sydney Morning Herald reported Tuesday.

Graham said the remaining mugs were broken into pieces and mixed in with concrete used for construction projects on the Parliament House loading dock.

"The last thing we wanted was for the fragments to be found on a garbage tip somewhere," Graham said.

Sen. John Faulkner with the Labor party described the disposal as a "mafia-style execution."

"You haven't buried any other mistakes in concrete, have you, Mr. Kenny," he asked David Kenny, deputy secretary of the department.

Man wants banned gators in courtroom

COLUMBIA, Mo., May 23 (UPI) -- A Missouri man banned from bringing his alligators back into Boone County wants the gators to be allowed in a courtroom for his animal abuse trial.

Ken Henderson, 67, of Kansas City, faces17 counts of animal abuse after Columbia/Boone County Animal Control officers searched his van last June while it was at the Boone County Fairgrounds and seized seven alligators of various sizes, The Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune reported Tuesday.

Six of the alligators were returned to Henderson, but he was ordered not to bring them back to Boone County.

Kevin O'Brien, Henderson's lawyer, said he wants the alligators to be allowed in the courtroom during the trial to show the jury that the reptiles are domesticated. He said Henderson and his alligators have appeared on the cable network Animal Planet.

"We would like to show the jury that these are not normal alligators. He cares for them just like a dog owner cares for their pet. … They even sit on his lap," O'Brien said.

Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Haigh said bringing gators into the courtroom would raise safety issues and "literally turns the case into a circus."

"I don't see how it will be relevant to show the jury how the animals conduct themselves presently," Haigh said. "This case is about the events and circumstances of a year ago."

Man uses Buddha to smash windshield

OAKLAND PARK, Fla., May 23 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said they arrested a man accused of using a statue of Buddha to smash his roommate's windshield during an argument.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said Alexander Galarza, 27, of Oakland Park argued with the victim, Todd Wilsey, and Wilsey's sister shortly before 7:30 a.m. Sunday before smashing Wilsey's computer and knocking over his sister's dresser, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Wilsey said Galarza struck him in the chest then threw the Buddha sculpture through the windshield of his Volkswagen, which was parked in the driveway.

Deputies estimated the damage at $300.

Galarza was arrested and charged with battery and criminal mischief.

Ex-CNN exec fined for dog feces prank

COVINGTON, Ga., May 23 (UPI) -- A former University of Georgia instructor who worked as an executive at CNN was fined $180 for shoving dog feces into his Georgia neighbor's mailbox.

Covington police said a surveillance video recorded Bob Furnad stuffing the canine droppings into the mailbox owned by neighbors Benjamin Dameron and Ralph Miller, WGCL-TV, Atlanta, reported Tuesday.

Police said Furnad admitted to the incident and told officers he stuffed the feces into the mailbox as part of an ongoing dispute with his neighbors.

However, Dameron said he and Miller have "no clue" why Furnad would target them with the prank.

Police said Furnad was issued a $180 fine.

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