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    Planet Kaleidoscope

2006-03-18 07:16

Germany 'It's all work at office parties'

Employees at office parties are considered to be at work until the boss leaves, a German court ruled in the case of an employee seeking damages for a head injury sustained at a company Christmas celebration.

The case came before the social affairs court in Frankfurt after an insurance company refused to pay disability to a man who suffered severe skull damage after slipping on the steps of a restaurant at his office Christmas party.

The court ruled the company's accident insurance would have to pay disability to the man because he was technically still at work, the court said in a statement on Thursday.

"Up until the end of a work-related gathering, accident insurance coverage continues until it is officially over. If this time is not fixed, participants can assume it continues as long as the senior employee is present," the court said.

United States

Like stealing candy from a baby

A Los Angeles man and woman were each sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday for stealing a gold chain from around the neck of a 5-year-old girl in January.

Julio Cesar Beltran, 18, and Patricia Serrano, 31, each pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree robbery and were given two-year sentences by a Los Angeles judge, prosecutor June Chung said.

A videotape captured Beltran leaping from a car being driven by Serrano and grabbing two chains on the girl's neck as she stood in front of a meat market, Chung said.

Serrano ripped one of the chains off the girl, giving her a 20-centimetre cut, she said. The couple admitted to police that they later pawned the necklace for drug money.

Men arrested after 911 Call

Two men were jailed on arson complaints after one of them hit the wrong button on a cell phone, giving 911 dispatchers an account of a plot to set a vehicle on fire.

Enid police Captain Jim Nivison said from that call, 911 dispatchers and a shift supervisor listened for nearly 4 hours to the two Enid natives as they drove across town, first planning to steal an acquaintance's car, then deciding to build an incendiary device out of a light bulb to burn the car up.

Johnny Ray Miller, 48, was arrested on complaints of third-degree arson and transporting an incendiary device. Robert A. Patterson, 24, was arrested on complaints of third-degree arson and manufacturing an incendiary device. Both also were jailed on conspiracy complaints.


'Mr and Mrs Smith' in reality

A Mexican couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said on Monday.

In scenes taken straight out of hit romantic comedy "Mr and Mrs Smith," starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Juan Espinosa and Irma Contreras fought until their house blew up in a homemade gasoline bomb explosion, Milenio said.

Police called to the home in the indigenous Mayan Indian town of Oxkutzcab, in the southeastern state of Yucatan, and arrested Espinosa. Contreras was taken to hospital with third-degree burns.

In the violence-filled movie about the fictional Smiths, Pitt and Jolie play married assassins ordered to kill each other.


Gourmet banned from Rome

A 42-year-old gourmet food junkie has skipped out on her restaurant bill so many times that she has been banned from the city of Rome, police said on Monday.

The hungry culprit has struck at some of Rome's fanciest restaurants ordering expensive wines, three-course meals and then feigning surprise when the check arrives.

"She came in here and racked up a 70 euro (US$83.52) lunch bill," griped Giovanni Cappelli at Il Chianti restaurant, which specializes in Tuscan food, "Then she said her wallet was in her other purse."

Police identified her only as DN, a resident of the nearby town of Viterbo, and said she had continued to sneak into Rome despite a five-year ban from the city.

(China Daily 03/18/2006 page6)


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