Crazy World: Termites munch through $222,000
Termites eat millions of Indian rupees in bank
Picture for illustrative purpose only. (AGENCIES)
INDIA: It was an all you can eat buffet at the bank.
An army of termites munched through 10 million rupees ($222,000) in currency notes stored in a steel chest at a bank, police in northern India said Friday.
The bank manager discovered the damage when he opened the reinforced room in an old bank building on Wednesday, police officer Navneet Rana told The Associated Press.
"It's a matter of investigation how termites attacked bundles of currency notes stacked in a steel chest," he said. The money was put in the chest in January.
The termites had damaged bank furniture and documents in the past.
The police have registered a case of negligence against bank officials in Barabanki, a town 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh state capital. In India, police register a case before opening an investigation.
Some NY cab drivers to wear bulletproof vests
NEW YORK: New York City livery cab drivers, often called to crime-ridden neighborhoods that yellow taxis tend to ignore, are being armed with bulletproof vests, an advocacy group said on Tuesday.
Citing some deadly attacks on the drivers the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers distributed the vests on Monday and drivers started using them immediately.
Priority was given to drivers working the night shift in areas where statistics showed high incidence of attacks -- chiefly in outlying parts of boroughs outside Manhattan.
Livery cabs must be hired ahead of time and do not pick up passengers off the street, unlike the more well known yellow taxis that cruise New York City streets looking for fares.
One dozen vests were donated by New York-based security firm Security USA, adding to another 20 or so protective shields that had been previously donated by retired police officers.
The company said it expects to expand the program to meet a clear need.
"It's just been amazing, all the calls we've been getting from livery drivers" since the new vests were distributed, Security USA spokesman Clark Pena said on Tuesday.
"We want to continue this, and will do our best to get as many drivers fitted as we can," Pena said, adding that he was reaching out to other security firms and had gotten a positive, enthusiastic response.
The company donated the $400 vests after being contacted by taxi federation head Fernando Mateo.
A spokesman for the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission, which regulates metered cabs, livery and other for-hire cars, declined to comment on the program.
Driving a taxi or livery car can be one of the city's more dangerous jobs, the group noted, as robberies sometimes turn violent.
Among the livery drivers killed or wounded on the job were Cesar Santos, who was fatally shot in the Bronx last June during a dispute with a fare who refused to pay; Trevor Bell, 53, who died in December when he was shot in the head during a robbery in Queens; and Julio Lora, who was paralyzed after being shot in the Bronx this month.
The vests will not protect drivers from head wounds, but the group said the vast majority of attacks stem from knife attacks or gunshots to the drivers' lower back or side.
Drunk driver on way to 'test teeth' at KFC
Picture for illustrative purpose only. (AGENCIES)
MELBOURNE: A woman caught drink-driving has told Melbourne police she was on her way to try her new teeth on fried chicken.
The 55-year-old from St Kilda East was caught outside the Prahran Police Station on Friday night and recorded a reading of 0.052.
It was her second offence in 10 years and she received an automatic loss of licence.
Police say the woman said she had decided to drive because she wanted to try out her new false teeth on KFC.
Also in Melbourne, police pulled over a vehicle at Prahran on yesterday with two males standing on the back seats protruding from their waist up through the sunroof. Police fined the two almost $360 each and the driver $480 and gave him six demerit points.
And early today they pulled over a lone learner driver at Lynbrook after clocking him at 132km/h.
Man tries to hijack flight with nail file
ITALY: Cabin crew successfully overpowered a man who tried to hijack a Paris-Rome plane and take it to Libya.
Valeriy Tolmashev, from Kazakhstan, approached an air hostess on the Alitalia flight and held a small knife or nail file against her neck.
The 48-year-old, who appeared agitated, said he wanted the plane to land in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
He was quickly overpowered by four stewards and passengers who wrestled him to the floor before frogmarching him back to his seat where he was given a sedative.
The flight arrived in Rome's Fiumicino airport and Mr Tolmashev was handed over to police. All 131 passengers on the flight were safe.
The hostess, traumatised and slightly bruised in the neck, was treated at the airport.
Her condition was not giving rise to concern, Alitalia officials said.
Sources said Mr Tolmashev was an adviser to Kazakhstan's delegation at UNESCO, the UN educational, scientific and cultural organisation, in Paris.
He had not reserved a hotel in Rome and could not give an address where he was to stay in the Italian capital.
Checks were under way with the French police.
It is not known what his motives were. He had no police record or known links with international terrorism, according to Italian investigators.
Busy expectant moms hire baby planners to prepare
NEW YORK: New Yorker Melissa Garden learned she was pregnant with her first child last year just as her communication director job at New Meadowlands Stadium hit full throttle.
When exactly, she wondered, would she squeeze car seat and stroller shopping into 70-hour work weeks packed with concerts and prepping for the Jets and Giants season openers?
Garden opted to hire professional baby planners who, much like the better-known niche of wedding planners, came armed with expertise to ready the overwhelmed, soon-to-be mother for her big day -- her son's arrival.
"I had no time to think about what I needed to do to prepare," said Garden, 39. "They pulled everything together for me."
Others have gotten their first glimpse into the burgeoning baby planning industry this month with the premiere of Bravo's reality series, "Pregnant in Heels."
The show stars Rosie Pope, a self-described maternity concierge who caters to "million-dollar mamas" living on Manhattan's upper east side. One couple requests a focus group to help pick the perfect baby name, and another expectant mother gets her hair and makeup done from her hospital bed.
It might make for entertaining TV, but baby planners around the country said the over-the-top demands don't reflect their reality.
Their typical clients are stressed-out, high-powered executives; new mothers without a local support network; and brainy types who seek safe, eco-friendly products but don't know where to start.
"It used to be you had a few choices and that was it," said Sharon Cichy, co-founder of Capital Baby Planners in the Washington, D.C., area. "And now there are so many choices."
For $50 to $150 (S$61.74 to S$123.48) an hour, baby planners explain the essentials. Most are mothers themselves, so their research is backed by first-hand experience.
They childproof homes, consult on baby gear and suggest childcare options. They help pick out bedding, set up nursery furniture and demonstrate how to wear a baby carrier.
Some walk through baby stores with couples to help them register for gifts or bring products directly to clients' homes so they can decide what they like best.
"It's hard (for pregnant women) to get around to all the stores," said Melissa Moog, who owns Itsabelly Baby Planners in Portland, Oregon, and is pregnant with twins.
"You're exhausted, you're swollen. You just want a little bit of help."
April Beach's Sweet Pea Baby Planners in Denver specializes in "complete baby planning." She guides clients through everything from choosing gear and a birth plan to creating nurseries that nourish sleep and stimulate play.
"It's very important to make sure the house is set up properly," said Beach, on call for clients during the two weeks around their due dates.
Beach and Moog, founders of the International Baby Planner Association, aren't sure how many people have joined their field. Their organization began with seven members in 2007 and has grown to more than 100, and they get calls from new baby planning and maternity concierge businesses each day.
Baby planners aren't just for the wealthy, they said. As important to telling people what they need to buy is steering them away from what they don't need.
"My logic was, if it's the most expensive, it must be the best," said Karen Whitt, a 42-year-old division president for a public real estate company and first-time mom in Falls Church, Virginia.
But Cichy warned her that the priciest products weren't always ideal. And the baby planner offered tips such as setting up a mini changing station in the den so Whitt doesn't have to climb stairs each time her infant son needs a clean diaper.
"She really allowed us to very quickly acclimate to having a baby in our lives in a way that made it easy for us to live day to day," Whitt said.
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