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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hotel bans an entire town

People in the hospitality business see all kinds of guests - there are the quiet ones, there are the polite ones, there are the ones who can cause all kinds of trouble, and there are the ones who you really don't want at your place - they are not worth the kind of nuisance value that they cause. Most hotels shrug off, or maybe blacklist certain guests, but have you ever heard of a hotel having continuous bad experiences with guests from a certain town, and then consequently banning everybody from that town ? Well, read on (link to article):

A motel owner in New Zealand -- fed up with one too many incidents of rowdy behavior -- has banned an entire town from checking in as guests. Steve Donnelly, the owner of the Supreme Motor Lodge in the town of Palmerston North, said he decided to yank the welcome mat for the 16,000 residents of Wainuiomata because "each time they visited, our life became less exciting." "I'm not Santa Claus. I can't figure out who's naughty and who's nice," he said. "So we went ahead and banned all of them."
Donnelly said he banned the town after three groups of people from Wainuiomata checked in on separate occasions over a six-month period, riling other guests at the 51-room hotel. "We have moms and dads who come here with two or three kids to relax," he said. "They don't want some loudmouth spitting on the pavement, flirting with girls and swearing." The "no vacancy" extends to the members of parliament, as Wainuiomata lawmaker Trevor Mallard found out when he came to test the ban.

One does not know the law on this, but to blacklist an entire town, including people who may be law-abiding may not be something that could hold up in a court of law.

What police officers in Britain's do inside the royal palace

For those who were earlier shocked at the separation between Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and some of the lurid tales of affairs and other such juicy stuff that was revealed over the years. However, the concept was still that the Palace was a serious place, and that everything over there would be formal, and maybe a bit boring. However, if you read about the antics of some of the police inside the Palace, you would find that things can get pretty interesting inside the palace (link to article):

Police officers responsible for protecting the British royal family handled firearms when drunk, traded pornography and steroids and sat on Queen Elizabeth II's throne in comical poses, it has been alleged in a London court. At one point Cooper "suggested" there had been a procedure among armed officers at the palace whereby one officer on duty would sleep while the others kept watch for their superior.
The court also heard that officers protecting the royals lost more than £250,000 ($365,800) to a spread betting venture called "The Currency Club," one of a number of apparently successful sidelines Page allegedly set up to clear spiraling debts, PA said. Cooper suggested that McGregor had been "one of those police officers" using mobile patrols to deliver cash to other police officers based in Royal Protection who were involved in financial matters.

The image of police and that of the palace has been totally serious in the past, but maybe no longer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trying to land an airplane in the absence of a pilot

When you are being driven by somebody else, and something happens to the driver, most people will attempt to take over the driving themselves. Even if that fails, there is a good chance that even an accident will not lead to severe injuries; what happens when the controls are more complicated, and the injuries / damages that would happen in an accident are more likely to happen ? We are so dependent on air travel that we do not even try to consider the case of what happens when something happens to the pilot of the aircraft; well in the case of this small craft, there was a passenger who was able to fly the aircraft with some coaching (link to article):

It's a nightmarish scenario straight out of the movies: A passenger is forced to land a plane after its pilot becomes incapacitated. The reality was playing aboard a plane over Florida on Sunday in what the National Air Traffic Controllers Association called "an Easter miracle." The pilot notified controllers that the plane was at 9,000 feet and climbing, said Steve Wallace, Miami Center spokesman for the association. However, a controller at the center tried twice to raise the pilot after that and received no response, Wallace said.
After a few moments, a different voice came over the radio: Passenger Doug White told air traffic controllers the pilot was unconscious and they needed help. His wife and two teenage daughters were flying home to Louisiana with him, he said. He reported the plane's autopilot was on and the plane was continuing to climb from 10,000 feet. White later told the Naples Daily News he has a pilot's license and about 130 hours experience flying a single engine Cessna, but had never flown the larger, faster King Air.

This was a good coincidence, however, one shudders to think what would happen in the case when there was nobody available to pilot the aircraft; the family would have been acute distress at the impending disaster.

Girl forced to choose between parents and country

In a reflection of how law does not take into account human factors, or emotions, a teenage girl was placed in the horrendous position of having to choose between the country where she was born, and her parents (whom she may not be able to physically meet for 5 more years). In a case in Japan, a girl (Noriko Calderon), born to illegal immigrants, was given a choice of staying on in Japan, or returning on with her parents who were getting deported back to the Philippines. Her parents, Filipinos Arlan and Sarah Calderon, were illegal immigrants to Japan in the early 1990's, who then married in Japan and settled down there, and Noriko was born in Japan, and lived there for all of her young life. She is for all purposes a Japanese citizen (but not legally so, being granted a one year visa that will need to be extended annually), speaking only Japanese, and getting educated in Japan's schooling system.
However, her life (and that of her parents) was totally turned upside down one day in 2006 when Noriko's mother (Sarah Calderon) was arrested by authorities and accused of being an illegal immigrant. Her parents fought the legal battle till the end, but Japan is very strict about immigration controls and Noriko's parents lost in the end, finally being deported. And the decision for Noriko was hers to take (stay or go with her parents) (link to article):

Arlan found a stable job working for a construction company. Noriko grew up Japanese, attending school and never learning her parents' native language. Noriko, like many Tokyo girls her age, loves hip-hop and hopes to be a dancer or a teacher at a dance school someday. But her future in the only country she's ever known went into limbo when Japanese immigration authorities arrested her mother in 2006.
Japan's Immigration Bureau in a statement to CNN said the couple's illegal presence in the country as an "extremely malicious" violation that "shakes the foundation of Japan's immigration control." But when it came to 13 year old Noriko, the government gave the girl a choice: Her country or her parents. "Japan is my homeland," says Noriko, when asked why she is choosing to stay behind. She will move in with an aunt, allowed to stay in Japan under a visa that the government will reassess yearly. Her life, say her parents, will be better in Japan. She'll have schooling and the dreams a big city like Tokyo can offer her, versus the impoverished farm community her parents will move back to in the Philippines.

However heart-breaking the story, this is not a story that happens rarely. Such scenes are repeated in Japan and many other countries on a regular basis. Some countries are more liberal, allowing people to see a path for becoming citizens when they have been in the country for a long time; in other cases, it is equally traumatic when the child gets automatic citizenship due to having been born there, while the parents get no such benefit and are deported back to their original countries.
One slight twist happens in some such cases when the families do not retain any papers of their original country's citizenship, and their original country refuses to take them, asking for proof that these people were indeed their citizens in the first place.

One tree destroys home, another warns

In huge storms, the speed of wind is many times enough to blow down trees; in many case, these falling trees cause a lot of damage - they can destroy vehicles on which they fall, they can break down large sections of houses if they fall on the house. What happens when a person is inside the house when a tree falls on the house ? Nothing good happens; in some cases, the result can be fatal. However, would you believe that a falling tree actually saved a person from another such falling tree ? Read on (link to article):

Kiefer was sitting on his sofa Monday morning while a brief but intense windstorm blew through the Atlanta, Georgia, area, including Decatur. He heard a tree crash in his backyard and got up to investigate. That tree knocked down a chain-link fence, and Kiefer was getting worried about several other large backyard trees that were swaying in the wind.
"Couple of hours ago my knees where shaking pretty good," he admitted. But, he said, God was looking out for him. "Actually, he saved my life," Kiefer said. "When I came outside to investigate that noise, that was my warning to get up off that couch. And then, not to go back in the house when it got real windy, but to stand right there where that tree stopped. There are no coincidences."

To be in such a life threatening moment, and then realize that you are saved due to some act of providence is enough to bring back the belief in a god or guardian angel looking out for you.

What not to do while driving

When driving, what are some of the key things that people are advised ? You should be sober, capable of driving, and not getting diverted. So this means no driving while under the influence of alcohol, no talking on the phone, and certainly no involvement in sexual activities. People found involved in any of these activities are liable to face action, and maybe even jailed (and these also have an impact on their driving record). So what do you about a person who does more than one of these at the same time (link to article):

A Seattle man was arrested for drinking under the influence of alcohol and having sex while driving last weekend, the Washington State Patrol reported. The incident happened when a state trooper noticed a sport utility vehicle drifting between lanes and driving at unusual speeds, sometimes speeding up then slowing down to well below the speed limit on Interstate 90, near Bellevue’s Bellevue Way, about 1:20 a.m. Friday.
State trooper Jeff Merrill, who wrote the news release, said in an interview Wednesday that „embracing while driving“ is a misdemeanor. In this case, the woman said she was performing oral sex on the driver while he was driving.

This guy was under the influence of alcohol, and was having oral sex performed on him, and was driving at the same time. Not only is he a risk to himself and other occupants of the car, but a serious risk to other people on the road; no way should such a person be allowed to continue driving.

Having sex while driving

When the passion strikes you, there is a strong urge to engage in amorous relations. So, for example, people have been known to initiate sex in varied locations, including different parts of the house, and even in public (there was this couple in Dubai who were prosecuted for having sex on the beach, and had to spend some prison time). However, in some situations, the behavior of people gets downright weird when it comes to sex. Consider the following case:

A SPEEDY lover faces a big fine and the loss of his licence after police caught him having sex with his girlfriend while travelling at 133km/h on a motorway. The 28-year-old man and his 22-year-old girlfriend were caught in the act by Norwegian traffic police on the E18 highway, some 40km west of Oslo, on Easter Sunday.
“It was veering from one side to the other because the woman was sitting on the man's lap while he was driving and doing the act, shall we say,” said Tor Stein Hagen, a superintendent with Soendre Buskerund district police. “He couldn't see much because her back was in the way. Why they did it on a highway with such a high risk we don't know.”

This couple was indulging in something that was downright stupid, and will have to suffer because of their actions. Having sex while driving (that too at high speed) is extremely dangerous, not only to themselves, but to others on the road as well.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Man steals a plane from Canada and lands it in the US

You would have heard of somebody stealing stuff from houses and running away undetected, or maybe even stealing a car and eventually getting caught. In some cases, you see those chases on TV where a criminal or a suspect is being chased by police, and either the criminal gets away, or police catches the person. But have you ever thought of a case where a person steals a huge plane, and then runs away ? There is no airborne police to catch such a person - so how do you catch such a person ? Well, in these times, when a plane is a security risk if in the wrong hands, you catch such a person through using fighter jets (link to article):

A pilot stole a plane in Canada on Monday afternoon and, with American jet fighters in pursuit, flew it all the way to Missouri before landing on a road, the authorities said. The single-engine, four-seat Cessna, stolen in Thunder Bay, Ontario, about 2:30 p.m., was intercepted by fighter jets over Wisconsin, where it prompted the evacuation of the State Capitol.
It kept flying south after the pilot failed to respond to radio calls and other signals. The pilot finally landed the plane on a road in Ellsinore, in southeastern Missouri, said Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

How easy it to steal a plane ? This is not a cellphone or some other small item that can be easily stolen; this is a plane that caused the damage in the WTC attacks and when fully loaded with fuel, can cause large damage (even if a small plane).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Man gambles wife, loses her to friends ..

It was a different time and age when there used to be a belief that women were the properties of men, and could be done as they wished. Similarly, it was a concept of the medieval ages of some societies that a wife was the property of the man, and was like any other item in the house to be done with as wished (although sadly, many Islamic cultures (and the Taliban) believe this to be true, and their behavior to women in their control is that of an owner). Consider the case of a man who staked his wife in a gambling game, and then lost her to his friends. When the friends won, they exercised their ownership rights by keeping her in custody and raping her for a week (link to article):

A man allegedly staked his wife in gambling after he lost his money and possessions to his friends in Baran district of Rajasthan. The 25-year-old woman told the police on Friday that she was repeatedly raped by her husband's friends who kept her hostage for a week.
"She said that on March 25, Ojha was playing cards with his friends. He lost all his money but continued playing and when his friends refused to lend him any money he staked her and lost,'' said the in-charge of Bapcha police station, Ramkishan Meena.
On March 26, Parasram and the two others allegedly kidnapped her from the house and took her to a nearby forested area where they gagged her, tied her hands and raped her.

A sad scene, what can you do when a person who is a partner in marriage does this to you ? Now it is a police case, and all involved are likely to pay for their actions.

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