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How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-01-23 10:46:28
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France warned by EU court over rare hamsters

bizarre01_16A top EU legal adviser has warned the French government that it must do more to protect endangered hamsters living near Strasbourg in eastern France. France could be fined if the European Court of Justice rules that it has failed to heed a final warning from the European Commission in 2008.Numbers of Great Hamsters of Alsace are dwindling. The Commission says only 298 burrows were found in 2010, down from 1,167 in 2001.

Farms and roads threaten their habitat. The hamster's last remaining habitat in France is the Lower Rhine department, near Strasbourg. Hamster numbers are calculated on the basis of one hamster per burrow. "If agro-environmental measures were put in place, in 2008, to protect the Great Hamster [Cricetus cricetus], they are incomplete at this stage," EU Advocate General Juliane Kokott said.

Her opinion on the case has been handed to the judges. In most cases the judges accept the advocate general's opinions and the court's rulings are binding on EU member states. The Commission wins most infringement cases against states for alleged breaches of EU directives. In 2008 the Commission called on France to do more to "combat the agricultural practices and the urban sprawl that are destroying the animal's natural habitat". According to Ms Kokott, French conservation measures apply to only 60% of the areas inhabited by the Great Hamster.


Old-timer gets ax 'over 24 cents'

bizarre02_10An 80-year-old Queens Home Depot supervisor with a stellar record says she was canned and replaced with younger workers over a measly 24 cents, according to an age-discrimination suit. Ellen Strickland, a 19-year employee, was fired from the Ozone Park store in September for buying four 6-cent screws in order to get cash from her bank account, she said. But because she didn't take the screws, the store's inventory was altered and she was canned, according to court papers.

Strickland's "actions resulted in manipulation of inventory," the company said, according to the documents, filed in Queens Civil Court. Strickland, who didn't carry cash with her, would typically buy a pack of gum for $1 plus tax at her register and get $40 cash back in order to avoid ATM fees. After one of the other associates saw what she was doing, they told her there was an even cheaper way to get cash. "All the other cashiers were purchasing a screw for 6 cents and then doing the cash back," said Strickland, who held the store's perfect attendance record.

The octogenarian, who supervised the self-checkout section, tried the new system on her own register four times, but the store's loss-prevention manager called her in for a meeting on Sept. 1. "Apparently, I wasn't supposed to do that," she said.  "They told me it was a company infraction and inventory was screwing up," said Strickland, named the friendliest cashier last year. The next day, after a "full investigation," she was fired. "They told me there was no chance to be rehired . . .I was fired in less than 24 hours."

"For 17 years, I've handled millions of dollars for the entire region in Queens, and they fired me for 24 cents," said Strickland, who was rated as a "valued associate" and "top performer" in her last evaluation just three days before she was given the boot.


Arrest made after robbery at Wendy's

bizarre03_400_15Lacey police arrested a man on Golf Club Place Southeast on Friday afternoon after he allegedly robbed the Wendy’s fast food restaurant on Sleater-Kinney Road at gunpoint. 
The man entered the Wendy’s, started waving a gun around, and announced “this is a stickup,” according to Lacey police Lt. Jim Mack. No one was injured during the robbery, which occurred about 2:45 p.m.

Responding Lacey police arrested Ricky Dante Pinkney at gunpoint on Golf Club Place shortly after the robbery and recovered a loaded handgun and cash thought to have been stolen during the robbery, Mack said. Pinkney, 28, was booked at the Thurston County Jail on Friday on suspicion of first-degree robbery.

The eatery was closed Friday afternoon as Lacey police interviewed witnesses. They told police that Pinkney had been inside the Wendy’s earlier Friday, inquiring about a job application, Mack said. Employees at Wendy’s declined to comment Friday. Mack said robbery witnesses were upset by the suspect wielding his gun in a threatening manner.


Driver crashes into two cars, two homes

Bizarre moments is something our world never misses so here some of the latest. Residents of one Lithonia neighborhood got an abrupt awakening Wednesday morning as something came crashing down their street. Many of them were surprised to find out that the big bang was closer to home than they expected. "I just ran screaming, and I turned around and was like, that's a car!" said Tomieka Mims, a homeowner in the Walnut Creek subdivision.

At around 6 a.m. Wednesday, a woman driving a 1995 Honda Accord lost control of her car in her subdivision and ran into a neighbor's house, then two other cars, before crashing into Mims' bedroom and dining room. Many residents thought the noise was caused by a tornado. "I heard this loud boom, and my house just shook," nieghbor Cassandra Goodman said. "We all were like in a daze and shock, because you just can't believe that somebody tore through the neighborhood, accident or not, and caused that amount of damage," Mims said. "The sliding glass door is everywhere. My table was covered with plaster and glass. Everything was just pushed to the right; she just pushed everything to the right. I'm just in awe."

Police do not believe alcohol was involved in the wreck. Nieghbors said the woman told them that she just lost control of her car. Residents say they are not upset with her. "I really don't have any ill will towards her, accidents do happen, it's a freak accident," Mims said. "She has to be hurt, because she hit two houses and two cars," Goodman said. "I left a note on her door, hoping that she would answer and go to the hospital."

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