May 11, 2007

LinkNews Digest [05/11/2007]

What Do You Mean I'm *NOT* Dying???

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man who went on a wild spending spree after doctors said he only had a short time to live wants compensation because the diagnosis was wrong and he is now healthy -- but broke.

John Brandrick, 62, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago and told that he would probably die within a year. He quit his job, sold or gave away nearly all his possessions, stopped paying his mortgage and spent his savings dining out and going on holiday.

Brandrick was left with little more than the black suit, white shirt and red tie that he had planned to be buried in when it emerged a year later that his suspected "tumor" was no more than a non-life threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

If he can't get compensation, he is considering selling his house or suing the hospital that diagnosed him. The hospital has said that while it sympathizes with Brandrick, a review of his case showed no different diagnosis would have been mad(LINK )

Canadian Quarter Triggers Spy Warnings

WASHINGTON -- An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind the U.S. Defence Department's false espionage warning earlier this year, The Associated Press has learned.

The odd-looking, but harmless, "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors travelling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

The silver-coloured 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy -- Canada's flower of remembrance -- inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

The supposed nano-technology actually was a conventional protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red colour from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead.(LINK )

Vegans Couple Starves Infant to Death

TLANTA (AP) - A vegan couple were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for the death of their malnourished 6-week-old baby boy, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.

Superior Court Judge L.A. McConnell imposed the mandatory sentences on Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31. Their son, Crown Shakur, weighed just 3 1/2 pounds when he died of starvation on April 25, 2004. The couple were found guilty May 2 of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. A jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

Defense lawyers said the first-time parents did the best they could while adhering to the lifestyle of vegans, who typically use no animal products. They said Sanders and Thomas did not realize the baby, who was born at home, was in danger until minutes before he died.

But prosecutors said the couple intentionally neglected their child and refused to take him to the doctor even as the baby's body wasted away. "No matter how many times they want to say, 'We're vegans, we're vegetarians,' that's not the issue in this case," said prosecutor Chuck Boring. "The child died because he was not fed. Period." (LINK )

Panty-Headed Bandit Robs Bank with Lighter

INWOOD, W.Va. - A thief covered his face with a pair of blue women's underwear and used a pistol-shaped cigarette lighter in a botched robbery of a convenience store, police said. "I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried," State Police Sgt. T.C. Kearns told The Journal in Martinsburg.

The cashier at first thought it was a joke and refused to give the man any money, so he ran to a Jeep Cherokee and drove away at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, Kearns said. A few minutes later, police stopped a vehicle matching that description and took two men into custody. Police later charged Steven Clay Stephenson, 34, of Ranson in the convenience story robbery.

Kearns said police found a pistol-shaped lighter while searching Stephenson. The underwear was recovered nearby. Stephenson is charged with nighttime burglary, attempted robbery, first-offense driving under the influence, petit larceny and improper registration.(LINK )


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