Murder "contracts" are ubiquitous in novels and movies, but an actual murder contract cannot be enforced in U.S. courts. However, a recent "contract" case in Norway (according to the Norwegian newspaper Varden, as reported on Vice.com) came down hard on a hit man who got cold feet. The hit man, who stalled repeatedly, was finally sued by the payer, who won a jury verdict (later set aside) for the unrequited killing. Then, because the hit man had attempted to extort even more money from the payer (to find a substitute killer), the hit man was fined the equivalent of $1,200.
Sapearya Sao, then 25 and sober that night in 2013 in Portland, Ore., was rammed by a drunk hit-and-run driver (Nathan Wisbeck), who later rammed another drunk driver — but Sao finds himself defending the lawsuit by the two people injured in Wisbeck's second collision. Sao recently settled the lawsuit brought by that second drunk driver, but still faces a $9.8 million lawsuit brought by the estate of the second drunk driver's late passenger, which argues that if Sao had not pursued Wisbeck in an attempt to identify him, the second crash would not have occurred. (Of course, that crash also might not have occurred if the second driver — 0.11 blood alcohol — had been sober.)
Unclear on the concept
About three-fourths of the 1,580 IRS workers found to have deliberately attempted to evade federal income tax during the past 10 years have nonetheless retained their jobs, according to a May report by the agency's inspector general. Some even received promotions and performance bonuses (although an internal rule, adopted last year, now forbids such bonuses to one adjudged to owe back taxes).
Is this a great country or what?
Lightly regulated investors' "hedge funds" (the province of wealthy people and large institutions) failed in 2014 (for the sixth straight year) to outearn ordinary stock index funds following the S&P 500. However, at hedge funds, underperformance seems unpunishable — as the top 25 fund managers still collectively earned $11.62 billion in fees and salaries (an average of over $464 million each). The best-paid hedge fund manager earned $1.3 billion — more than 48 times what the highest-paid major league baseball player earned.
Body cameras for police officers is yesterday's news. At the Sanmenxia canyon rapids in China's Henan province, the issue is body cameras for lifeguards. The all-female White Swan Women's Rafting Rescue Team has complained recently about swimmers deliberately throwing themselves into the water so they could scream for help — in order to fondle the women when they arrived to save them. Attaching cameras to the women's helmets and legs is expected to deter perverts.
Pets with issues
Benno, the Belgian Malinois, of Mountain Home, Ark., has eaten a ridiculous series of items over his four years, but his latest meal, in April, was 23 live rounds of .308-caliber bullets (all swallowed after Benno had partially gnawed them). Among Benno's other delicacies: a bra, lawn mower air filter, TV remote, styrofoam peanuts, wallboard, magnets and an entire loaf of bread still in the wrapper.
Owner Aaron Rouse was feeding his python, Winston, a tasty rat in May, using barbecue tongs, when Winston got hold of the tongs and would not let go. Rouse, of Adelaide, Australia, decided not to engage in a tug-of-war, but when he returned (believing Winston would see no food value in the metal clamps), the tongs had been swallowed and were halfway through the snake's bloated body. After taking X-rays (that of course became Internet attractions), a veterinarian at Adelaide University removed the tongs surgically.
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