Brickbats

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Parking officials in Bern, Switzerland, have received complaints that men are using extra-large parking spaces reserved for women. Legally, they can't prevent men from taking the spaces, but parking officials hope to deter men by painting the spaces pink and adding flowers.

When London police refused even to send an officer to investigate a burglary at his home, Otto Chan put up posters offering a reward for anyone who returned his things. When police saw the posters, they threatened to arrest Chan for trying to buy stolen goods.

In Wales the Gwynedd County Council has informed Jeanette Gordon-Crawley and her husband, Gordon, that they are under investigation for smoking in their own home. A council official says a neighbor complained she could smell the smoke. "We can't see how smoke from our house could possibly get into the house next door," Gordon-Crawley said. A council spokesperson told a local newspaper, "We are duty-bound to investigate."

When Kate Burgess and her boyfriend were returning from Mexico to Canada, they had a layover at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. Burgess had put her bags on the conveyor belt and was starting to walk through the security checkpoint when an alarm sounded; a Transportation Security Administration worker said, "That's it, call police," and other TSA personnel surrounded her. Only after she started to have a severe asthma attack did a supervisor tell her it was an April Fool's Day joke.

Six female students at Tennessee's Sequatchie High School have been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. School officials say they found a list of 300 names, mostly fellow students and faculty members but also including Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and the Energizer Bunny. And the students posted some material on MySpace that included the word kill. Authorities put the two together and charged the girls.

Matthew LaClair recorded David Paszkiewicz, his American history teacher at New Jersey's Kearny High School, telling students they belonged in hell if they did not accept Jesus as their savior. After the recordings were broadcast on TV news, Kearny School District officials took swift action. The district president said teachers would receive instruction on the separation of church and state —and the school board banned students from recording classes without the instructor's permission.

A Florida court has found Tracy A. Thomas guilty of harboring ducks. Thomas says she leaves her garage door open so her cats can get in and out. But the judge found she was allowing ducks to come into the garage; he also told her she could be prosecuted for breaking a city law against allowing cats to roam freely. Thomas faces a fine of up to $500, but the judge says he will waive the fee if she keeps her garage door closed.


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