Because perhaps hundreds of Japanese Yakuza gangsters are nearing retirement age, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has drafted rules for the former gambling, loan shark, and protection workers to qualify for benefits, according to a March dispatch from Tokyo in The Times of London. Since organized crime leaves no employment paper trail, ex-mobsters must supply a letter of retirement from their crime boss in order to sign up, although local governments are expected to accept as partial proof gang tattoos, criminal records and demonstrations of missing finger-tips.
CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE
Victoria Lundy, 41, in custody in Chillicothe, Ohio, in January for a barroom shooting, apparently smuggled her gun into the jail at the time of her arrest by putting it inside her vagina. A shot was fired in a holding cell, and according to a fellow prisoner interviewed by the Chillicothe Gazette, the gun had gone off when Lundy sat down on a bench in the cell. No one was hit.
THE REAL OC
When Tamara Anne Moonier filed rape charges against six young men in Fullerton, Calif., in June 2004, she seemed the disconsolate victim of vicious predators. However, shortly afterward, one of the accused gave police a video of the entire incident, and Moonier consequently was indicted in 2005 for filing a false police report and defrauding a victim assistance fund. In February 2006, Orange County Weekly published several pieces of dialogue from the video and described numerous “scenes” in which Moonier is shown laughing (27 different times), dominating action, ordering certain sex acts and positions, complimenting the men’s bodies and barking out exhortations for the men to improve their virility and performances.
CHICAGOLAND SCHOOLS IN CRISIS
The Chicago Tribune reported in March that dozens of blind students in Chicago public schools are nonetheless required to take driver education classes. One sightless but otherwise optimistic student said she resented the requirement because it made her uncharacteristically dwell on something that she can’t do.
Andrew Thurnheer, 45, was elected in January as the highway superintendent in Danby, N.Y., even though he still lives with his parents. He doesn’t sleep in his old bedroom, though; he sleeps in his tree house, 40 feet up, which he built nearly 20 years ago, and which has a generator-powered elevator, a shower and a propane heater, according to a January Associated Press dispatch. And Mr. Kapila Pradhan, also 45, has also been living in a tree for the past 15 years, but that is in a village in Orissa state in India. He apparently sought solitude after a fight with his wife.
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
When the U.S. Department of the Interior was ordered to reimburse lawyers for American Indians $7 million for their successful lawsuit over missing royalty payments on Indian land, the department decided that budget considerations would force it to raise almost half of that $7 million by cutting back programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
BRING THE PAIN
In January in Kyoto, Japan, a 32-year-old nurse was sentenced to more than three years in prison after she was convicted of relieving her overwork-induced stress by tearing off the fingernails and toenails of immobilized patients. MTW