May 26, 2006

LinkNews Digest [05/26/2006]

School Field Trip Arrested

A teacher who took his class on a school trip to a historic cathedral was arrested for giving unlicenced tours.

The group, from Budapest in Hungary, were in St Michael's Cathedral, in the Slovakian capital Bratislava, when they were all arrested.

Slovakian police said the teacher had broken the law by not having a licence to give guided tours and that the pupils had broken the law by listening.

They were freed hours later after officials from the Hungarian Embassy intervened. (LINK )
I hope those kids learned their lesson! I bet they'll think twice before LISTENING to a teacher again!

Feds Stop Collecting Tax to Pay For Spanish-American War

The Treasury Department said Thursday that it will no longer collect a 3% federal excise tax on long-distance calls and would refund about $15 billion to taxpayers.

The tax was imposed in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War. It was designed as a tax on wealthy Americans, back when phone service was considered a luxury. "It's not often you get to kill a tax, particularly one that goes back so far in history," Treasury Secretary John Snow said.

Treasury said it was conceding its battle to uphold the tax after five appeals courts declared it illegal because of changes in the way long-distance calls are billed. Phone companies and cellular carriers must stop billing for the tax Aug. 1. Individuals and businesses can file for refunds next year on their 2006 tax returns for excise taxes paid on long-distance calls since March 1, 2003. Individuals who don't have phone bill records can seek a standard refund that has yet to be determined.

Snow urged Congress to repeal the local-phone excise tax, as well. (LINK )

Hacking DOT Electronic Signs (Or .HACK//Sign)

I drove my car down the road to the next sign, which was in the same condition: unlocked, with the admin password clearly written in thick black Sharpie. I quickly set about reprogramming the hapless device, and was about halfway done when I heard, to my horror, the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps.

I decided to simply stay bent over the keyboard, calmly typing away, fairly sweating forth an attitude of "I know what I'm doing, I'm supposed to be here."

The footsteps got closer, and then, oddly enough, continued in place. A breathless male voice said, "Uh ... hello?"

I stood up and turned around. It was a jogger, still running in place. I smiled disarmingly, and returned the greeting. "Have you checked the other sign yet?" he panted.

A moment of shock ran through me. "Not just yet," I replied, glibly, still debating whether I could get away with a hasty retreat. "What's up?"

He gestured northward, towards the location of my first electronic victim, and shook his head. "It's saying something really weird. It's like, in another language or something. I think it must be broken." I could feel my pectoral muscles quivering, as I harshly suppressed a crippling fit of the giggles. Somehow, I managed to keep a straight face. "I'll probably get to it next," I said reassuringly. "Thanks for letting me know." The jogger nodded, turned, and continued up the hill. (LINK )
This would explain the sign on I-85 last year that read "Git 'Er Done!"

It's no "Mr. Plow" Jacket, But...

Hugh Jackman says his wife makes him dress in his Wolverine outfit in the bedroom to spice up their love life.

The Australian actor says Deborra-Lee Furness wouldn't let him part with the costume after he finished making the third X-Men movie.

He told Contact Music: "I feel a bit silly in that outfit but, believe me, my wife, really, really likes it.

"They'll have to make a new one for the next movie because she won't let me part with it." (LINK )

Canadian Hockey Fans Drink Town Dry

As the Oilers battle their way to the Stanley Cup finals, bar owners in Edmonton are scrambling to keep beer on ice for thirsty hockey fans.

A report in the Edmonton Sun says managers of bars on Whyte Avenue, known as the Blue Mile during the hockey playoffs, have had to place emergency orders for beer. John MacDonald, manager of Hudsons Tap House, sent his staff out to the local liquor store to replenish supplies on Sunday, when Edmonton beat Anaheim 3-1. Liquor suppliers have also told him that it's busier now than it is at Christmas, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year.(LINK )

Not...urk...Helping...your...ack...Case!

BOSTON (Reuters) - A man charged with murder in Massachusetts was so angry with his lawyer's performance he attacked the attorney in court, trying to strangle him as a shocked judge looked on, Boston radio reported on Wednesday.

"I think he just didn't like the way some of the rulings the judge was making was going yesterday morning," attorney Bruce Carroll told WBZ Radio of the Tuesday morning attack by defendant John Gomes in Boston's Suffolk Superior Court.

"He eventually stood up, started saying something and reached over and grabbed me by the throat," said Carroll.

Several officers intervened before the 6-foot, 250-pound Gomes was separated from Carroll, the radio reported. Carroll had tried to withdraw from the case last week but the judge denied his request (LINK )


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