Fourteen employees of a pharmacy in Framingham, Mass., were indicted in December for defrauding the federal government by filling bogus prescriptions (despite an owner's explicit instructions to staff that the fake customers' names "must resemble real names," with "no obviously false names" that might tip off law enforcement). Among the names later found on the customer list of the New England Compounding Center were: Baby Jesus, Hugh Jass, L.L. Bean, Filet O'Fish, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Harry Potter, Coco Puff, Mary Lamb, all of the Baldwin brother actors and a grouping of Bud Weiser, Richard Coors, Raymond Rollingrock and, of course, Samuel Adams. The indictments were part of an investigation of a 2012 meningitis outbreak in which 64 people died.
Two recent innovations to the generations-old Middle East sport of camel racing boosted its profile. First, to cleanse the sport of a sour period in which children from Bangladesh were trafficked to use as jockeys, owners have begun using "robot" jockeys — electronic dummies that respond to trainers tracking the races with walkie-talkies and joysticks (that trigger a whip at an appropriate time). Second, the firm Al Shibla Middle East of United Arab Emirates has introduced Lycra-style, whole-body camel coverings that are believed to enhance blood circulation and, perhaps, racing speed (the fashions are now used only in training and transportation, to lessen camels' "stress"). Ultimately, the coverings may carry advertising.
It was billed as the first-ever art exhibition expressly for nonhuman appreciation — specifically, for octopuses. England's Brighton Sea Life Center featured the five-tank shared display in November (including a bunch of grapes, a piece of Swiss cheese and a plate of spaghetti — exhibits made of ceramic, plastic, wood and rope) that the center's curator promised would, according to an ITV report, "stimulate an octopus' natural curiosity about color, shape and texture."
The Territorial Seed Co. of Cottage Grove, Ore., introduced a plant in 2014 that sprouts tomatoes and potatoes, the aptly named "Ketchup 'n' Fries" plant. Grafting (rather than genetic modification) splices the tomato onto potato plants (to create single plants capable of harvests of 500 red cherry tomatoes and 4.5 pounds of potatoes each).
Britain's Home Office directed in January that the U.K.'s nursery school staffs report pupils "at risk of becoming terrorists," but gave little guidance on what teachers should look for. According to the Daily Telegraph, staffs must "have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge extremist ideas."
"All I'm looking for is what's rightfully owed to me under the (corrections department) contract," said Westchester County (New York) corrections officer Jesus Encarnacion, after having drawn $1.2 million in disability salary over the past 17 years as a result of slipping on a leaf of lettuce on a stairway. When he fell, he jammed his wrist and several surgeries ensued, and when he was finally ready for "light duty" a few years ago, he re-injured the wrist and never returned. Encarnacion now seeks a full disability retirement from the state, but officials maintain that "disability retirement" is for injuries resulting only from the rigors of the job.
Least competent criminals
Police quickly tracking two assault suspects in Holland Township, Mich., in December arrived at a residence at just the moment that suspect Codi Antoniello, 19, was starting to shave his head to alter his appearance. Antoniello's now-Internet-famous mug shot shows him with a full head of hair, minus the perhaps one-fourth on top shorn by electric clippers (shown at http://goo.gl/ofDFQR).
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