November 21, 2005

LinkNews Digest [11/21/2005]

It Took America to Merge Rudeness with Robbery

When it comes to multitasking, it's hard to beat the woman who can rob a bank and never interrupt her cell phone conversation.

In an act of either incredible cool or something much more sinister, a young woman has robbed four Wachovia bank branches in Northern Virginia in recent weeks, all while seemingly immersed in cell phone chats, police say. In the most recent holdup, on Nov. 4 in Ashburn, video footage shows the woman to be almost uninterested as a teller hands her a stack of cash, and she continues talking on her phone as she turns and walks out of the bank.

"This is the first time that I can recall where we've had a crime committed while the person was using a cell phone," said Loudoun County sheriff's spokesman Kraig Troxell, echoing comments by officials from other law enforcement agencies. "The question would be whether anyone is on the other end of the line or not."

The cell phone bandit first struck in Vienna on Oct. 12. A woman in her twenties with dark hair, about 5 feet 2 to 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 120 to 130 pounds, walked in carrying a box and talking on a cell phone. She moved directly to the teller counter and displayed the shoebox-size box, which had a note taped on it demanding cash. Police would not disclose the wording of the note.

As in the other cases, the robber exchanged few or no words with the teller, because she apparently was busy talking to someone else. She scooped up the cash, started walking and kept talking. (LINK )

The Rest Home for Me

DUBLIN (Reuters) - A nursing home in Ireland has hit on a cheering way to keep up the spirits of its elderly patients -- by providing its own pub.

St Mary's Hospital in County Monaghan, near the Irish border with Northern Ireland, believes ready access to a good pint may help its patients -- average age 85 -- actually live longer.

"We would say the whole social aspect of life does extend the years -- it means the patients aren't bored to death," Rose Mooney, assistant director of nursing told Reuters.

The pub, which opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. and charges normal bar prices, had also led to an increase in the number of visitors, she said. (LINK )

ANOTHER Patient Being Eaten By Ants?

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - A woman receiving treatment for diabetes at a state-run hospital in eastern India lost one of her eyes after ants nibbled away at it, officials said on Tuesday.

The patient recovering from a post-surgery infection shrieked for help as the ants attacked her on Sunday night, but nurses told her it was normal to feel pain from the infection. On Monday, the patient's family saw a gaping hole with swarming ants in it when they lifted the bandage on her left eye.

Scampering rats and stray cats and dogs sharing bed space with patients are not uncommon sights at India's overcrowded state-run hospitals that are used by millions of poor and middle-class people. (LINK )

Mercedes Demo Crashes, Literally

The new Mercedes S class has a sophisticated radar-based braking system - when it works. A TV demonstration ended up in a 3-car pile-up when the S-class' safety radar failed.

A German television channel got a bigger scoop than they bargained for when Mercedes showed up with three of their flagship vehicles - only to crash them into each other when a safety demonstration failed.

In the programme, Mercedes drives 3 S-classes behind each other. The first car hits the brakes, and the two following cars brake down automatically, to avoid a crash. In theory. In practice, the first car braked, and the two others continued right into the back of each other, resulting in a 3-car pile-up at the test site.

According to a German news site, the blushing Mercedes security engineers soon discovered the problem: The test had been done in a hall which was made of steel. This confuses the radar, and the system doesn't work properly, causing more than £150,000 worth of cars to crumple into each other. (LINK )

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