Mum-in-law from hell email is internet hit
BRITAIN: A British woman's email rant at her future daughter-in-law became an Internet sensation on Thursday after she accused the bride-to-be of "uncouthness and lack of grace."
In a withering message entitled "your lack of manners", Carolyn Bourne took Heidi Withers to task over her failures of etiquette and recommended she attend a finishing school "with utmost haste."
Withers, a 29-year-old personal assistant from London who is engaged to Bourne's step-son Freddie, also 29, was so shocked by the email that she sent it on to a few friends.
They forwarded the message to a few others and by Thursday it had been widely circulated on the Internet and appeared in several newspapers, with 60-year-old Bourne coming across as the mother-in-law from hell.
Bourne, who cultivates flowers for a living, berated Withers for her behaviour during a visit in April to the family home in Devon, southwest England, criticising her for staying in bed late.
She also slammed her wish for an extravagant wedding ceremony.
In the email, she told Withers it was "high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you."
Withers' behaviour during the visit was "staggering in its uncouthness and lack of grace," she said.
"If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around," she wrote.
In a detailed list of criticisms, she slammed her for lying "in bed until late morning in households that rise early" and taking extra food during meals "without being invited to."
She also urged the bride-to-be to avoid having an ostentatious wedding ceremony: "No one gets married in a castle unless they own it," she wrote, adding: "It is brash, celebrity-style behaviour."
Bourne suggested her future daughter-in-law would be an ideal candidate for "Ladette to Lady", a British reality TV show in which ill-mannered, drunken women are taught the finer points of etiquette.
Boy, 3, is Britain's youngest criminal
BRITAIN: Police caught a three-year-old boy damaging cars in a street close to his home. He has become Britain's youngest vandal, reports Daily Mail.
The toddler is an astonishing seven years below the age of criminal responsibility, said the paper.
The police could not take any action because of the boy's age as a child becomes responsible for his/her action only at the age of 10.
Daily Mail said: "The disturbing case comes just days after shocking figures revealed that as many as 3,000 criminals, including rapists, robbers and burglars, escaped punishment last year because they are too young to be prosecuted."
The virtual crime wave has sparked demands from people for the Government to mull over lowering the age of criminal responsibility.
The latest case involving the three-year-old comes as a time of increasing concern at the violence carried out by children, said the paper.
Oxford comma 'change' sparks online uproar
BRITAIN: A report that Oxford University had changed its comma rule left some punctuation alarmed, annoyed, and distraught. Passions subsided as the university said the news was imprecise, incomplete and misleading.
Catch the difference between the two previous sentences? An "Oxford comma" was used before "and" in the first sentence, but is absent in the second.
Guides to correct style differ and the issue became heated on Twitter after reports of the Oxford comma's demise.
But have no fear, comma-philes: the Oxford comma lives.
Oxford University Press, birthplace of the Oxford comma, said that there has been no change in its century-old style, and jumped into the Twittersphere to confirm that it still follows the standard set out in "New Hart's Rules".
The only explicit permission to dispense with the Oxford comma - apparently the cause of the alarm - was in a guide for university staff on writing press releases and internal communications.
"It's not new, it's been online for several years already," said Maria Coyle in the university press office. Yet the report caused a Twitterstorm.
"For teaching me that the Oxford comma resolves ambiguity, I'd like to thank my parents, Sinead O'Connor and the Pope," said Twitter user Aaron Suggs, deftly illustrating the potential damage that can be caused to a sentence's meaning.
The kerfuffle at least answered the musical question posed by indie band Vampire Weekend: "Who gives a **** about an Oxford comma?"
Well, people like Heather Anne Halpert: "Are you people insane? The Oxford comma is what separates us from the animals."
It's scorpion on a plane
ALASKA: An airline passenger got a surprise - and some pain - when he was stung by a scorpion during a flight from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska.
Jeff Ellis, who lives in Oregon, told KPTV he was trying to sleep on an overnight Alaska Airlines flight on June 17 when he felt something in his sleeve and tried to brush it away.
He said he felt the crawling again, looked down and saw the culprit.
"I picked my hand up and said, 'Oh, my God. That's a scorpion."'
Ellis said he grabbed the scorpion with a napkin, but not before it stung him on the elbow.
He said it caused a burning sensation.
Ellis was checked by two doctors on board and medics on the ground.
The flight originated from Austin, Texas, where Alaska Airlines officials believe the scorpion got on board.
Ellis said the airline offered him some frequent-flier miles and two round-trip tickets.
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