July 07, 2006

LinkNews Digest [07/07/2006]

Grand Theft Loco - North Korea

July 5, 2006: While everyone's attention was focused on North Korean missiles, the real story is the North Korean economy. It continues to fall apart, and more North Koreans are unhappy about that.

Meanwhile, North Korean officials engage in even more bizarre behavior. For example, food and fuel supplies sent to North Korea have been halted, not to force North Korea to stop missile tests or participate in peace talks, but to return the Chinese trains the aid was carried in on. In the last few weeks, the North Koreans have just kept the trains, sending the Chinese crews back across the border. North Korea just ignores Chinese demands that the trains be returned, and insists that the trains are part of the aid program. How do you negotiate under these conditions? (LINK )

5 Year-old Girl Kicks out Bloody Burgular

Little Jacqueline Castillo woke up early Saturday morning to a blood-covered stranger hovering over her bed. Instead of being scared, she said she was mad.

"Because he can't put blood in our house, that's why," Jacqueline said. So, the 5-year-old, who stands less than four feet tall, escorted the burglar to the back door and told him, "Get out of the house."

Police say the burglar was an intoxicated 17-year-old who had tried to get in at least two other homes. Investigators say he found an unlocked window at the Castillo house and climbed in, rifling through drawers in several bedrooms while Jacqueline's brother, mother, and grandmother slept.

"I think it was very brave of her," said Felix Castillo, her older brother. Felix says he is not surprised, because even though she looks sweet, "She messes with me. She's tough and she doesn't leave me alone," Felix said. "She's like a scaring machine." (LINK )
A girl after Melissa's heart...

Another Suspicious Enron Death

First, their main informant is found in his car, with a "self-inflicted" gunshot would to the BACK of the head and it's ruled a Suicide. Now even Criminal Übermensch Kenneth Lay's apparent heart attack ends up being rife with convenience. From the New York Times:
In yet another bizarre twist to the Enron saga, the sudden death of Kenneth L. Lay on Wednesday may have spared his survivors financial ruin. Mr. Lay's death effectively voids the guilty verdict against him, temporarily thwarting the federal government's efforts to seize his remaining real estate and financial assets, legal experts say.

"The death of Mr. Lay in all likelihood will render the government's hard-fought victory null," said Christopher Bebel, a former federal prosecutor based here who specializes in securities fraud.

Mr. Lay testified at his trial that his net worth had declined to liabilities of $250,000, hampered by mounting legal bills and poor-performing investments. But his finances were apparently not so dire. According to legal documents filed at the federal courthouse here Friday, Mr. Lay had holdings in an investment account at Goldman Sachs valued at $6.3 million.

In addition, prosecutors said that Mr. Lay's full-floor luxury apartment in this city's River Oaks district had at least $1.5 million in value that could be forfeited to the United States.

The government's forfeiture effort ahead of the planned sentencing of Mr. Lay and Mr. Skilling this fall, however, has been thrown into doubt, at least in relation to Mr. Lay's assets since the death of a criminal defendant before his sentencing and the appeal process may void the criminal case against him.

"Technically, he was found guilty, but that's extinguished as of today," said Joel M. Androphy, a prominent defense lawyer in Houston. (LINK )
Related: 15 Things to Remember about Kenneth Lay

Invention of the Week: The Flying Manta

Unlike towable watercraft that stay on the surface of the water, this inflatable watercraft and its rider are able to rise above the surface and hover in the air at speeds as low as 23 miles per hour. The 11' wingspan not only allows the craft to fly, it also provides a stable ride for up to two people, with two integrated neoprene seats and footrests. The double-hull design increases stability and strength. A two-position rope bridle gives the rider control of the tilt and direction on the water; an included safety strap can be installed to prevent hovering for beginners or young riders. $499.95(Catalog Link | Killer Video )


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