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Truth is the only merit that gives dignity and worth to history. ~ John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

January 10, 2009

Police say masked man waited in line to rob bank

In this booking mug shot released by Stow (Ohio) Police Department, Feliks AP – In this booking mug shot released by Stow (Ohio) Police Department, Feliks Goldshtein is shown, Thursday, …

STOW, Ohio – A man may have tipped his intentions when he stood in line at an Ohio bank wearing a ski mask before staging a holdup. Police in Stow near Akron said 24-year-old Feliks Goldshtein of Highland Heights was arrested minutes later on Thursday following a brief car chase.

Police said the teller asked the man to take off the mask before being served. At that point the man displayed what turned out to be a toy gun and told the teller to give him all the money.

Police Captain Rick Myers said it’s unusual for a masked robber to wait in line at a bank.

Goldshtein was being held at the Summit County Jail Friday on charges of aggravated robbery and failure to comply with a police order. He had an afternoon court appearance scheduled.


Oh Grandmother, what a rubbery face you have!

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A Chilean man tried to steal $80,000 from his 82-year-old grandmother by disguising his 21-year-old girlfriend as the elderly woman and having her withdraw money from the bank, but the plot was foiled.

The man falsified his grandmother’s identity card and his girlfriend wore a latex mask. They might have gotten away with it if it weren’t for a bank worker who called the grandmother’s home and learned she was visiting relatives in Venezuela.

“She acted like an elderly woman, was dressed as elderly woman and moved like one. It was a good impersonation,” Victor Mellado, head of client service at the Banco de Chile in the port city of Talcahuano in southern Chile told local television.

The pair have been arrested by the police for attempted fraud and falsification of documents and face a maximum of up to three years in jail if convicted, prosecutor Jose Orella said.

(Reporting by Monica Vargas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


NYC eatery grants freedom to lobster centenarian

In this photo released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, AP – In this photo released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, ‘George,’ a live 20 pound …

NEW YORK – A 140-year-old lobster once destined for a dinner plate received the gift of life Friday from a Park Avenue seafood restaurant.

George, the 20-pound supercentenarian crustacean, was freed by City Crab and Seafood in New York City.

“We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace,” said Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said the group asked City Crab to return George to the Atlantic Ocean after a diner saw him at the restaurant, where steamed Maine lobster sells for $27 per pound. George had been caught off Newfoundland, Canada and lived in the tank for about 10 days before his release.

Some scientists estimate lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. PETA and the restaurant guessed George’s age at about 140, using a rule of thumb based on the creature’s weight.

He was to be released Saturday near Kennebunkport, Maine, in an area where lobster trapping is forbidden.

Computer geeks learn to flirt

BERLIN (Reuters) – Even the most quirky of computer nerds can learn to flirt with finesse thanks to a new “flirting course” being offered to budding IT engineers at Potsdam University south of Berlin.

The 440 students enrolled in the master’s degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection.

Philip von Senftleben, an author and radio presenter who will teach the course, summed up his job as teaching how to “get someone else’s heart beating fast while yours stays calm.”

The course, which starts next Monday, is part of the social skills section of the IT course and is designed to ease entry into the world of work. Students also learn body language, public-speaking, stress management and presentation skills.

“We want to prepare our students with the social skills needed to succeed both in their private life and their work life,” said Hans-Joachim Allgaier, a spokesman for the institute at Potsdam University where the course is being offered.

(Writing by Anna Brooke; Editing by Nick Vinocur)

Army recruiting at the mall with video games

Peter Reale plays a round of Reuters – Peter Reale plays a round of ‘Call of Duty 4’ in the computer area of the U.S. Army Experience center …

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The U.S. Army, struggling to ensure it has enough manpower as it fights wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is wooing young Americans with video games, Google maps and simulated attacks on enemy positions from an Apache helicopter.

Departing from the recruiting environment of metal tables and uniformed soldiers in a drab military building, the Army has invested $12 million in a facility that looks like a cross between a hotel lobby and a video arcade.

The U.S. Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills shopping mall in northeast Philadelphia has 60 personal computers loaded with military video games, 19 Xbox 360 video game controllers and a series of interactive screens describing military bases and career options in great detail.

Potential recruits can hang out on couches and listen to rock music that fills the space.

The center is the first of its kind and opened in August as part of a two-year experiment. So far, it has signed up 33 full-time soldiers and five reservists — roughly matching the performance of five traditional recruiting centers it replaced.

The U.S. military says it has been meeting or exceeding its recruiting and retention goals, with 185,000 men and women entering active-duty military service in the fiscal year that ended on September 30 — the highest number since 2003.

Defense officials say the recession and rising unemployment were likely to boost recruiting.

The Philadelphia center lures recruits with a separate room for prospective soldiers to “fire” from a real Humvee on enemy encampments projected on a 15-foot-high (4.5-meter-high) battleground scenario that also has deafening sound effects.

In another room, those inclined to attack from above can join helicopter raids in which enemy soldiers emerge from hide-outs to be felled by automatic gunfire rattling from a simulator modeled on an Apache or Blackhawk helicopter.

The Army is not simply looking for new recruits, said First Sgt. Randy Jennings, who runs the center. It also aims to dispel misperceptions about Army life.

“We want them to know that being in the Army isn’t just about carrying weapons and busting down doors,” said Jennings, who wears slacks and a polo shirt rather than a uniform. About 80 percent of soldiers are not involved in direct combat roles, he said.


Jesse Hamilton, a former Army staff sergeant who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, said the use of video games glamorized war and misled potential recruits, calling it “very deceiving and very far from realistic.”

“You can’t simulate the loss when you see people getting killed,” said Hamilton, who left the Army after his Iraq tour and is now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

“It’s not very likely you are going to get into a firefight,” he said. “The only way to simulate the heat is holding a blow dryer to your face.”

The center is an experiment in boosting urban recruitment, which has traditionally lagged behind that of rural areas.

Eddie Abuali, 20, who was waiting to take an Army aptitude test, said he felt more comfortable in the center than he would in a traditional recruiting office. “It’s a more relaxed environment,” said Abuali, who plans to join the Army when he graduates from college. “You don’t feel like you are being pressured.”

Project manager Maj. Larry Dillard said recruitment was more difficult about two years ago when the United States was struggling in Iraq and jobs at home were easier to get.

“Now the news coming out of Iraq is better and we are in an economic downturn. It will be easier,” he said.

(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Daniel Trotta)


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