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Curses, foiled again

A German teenager caught shoplifting in Verden found himself in even more trouble because the address he gave police turned out to be the home of one of the investigating officers. "It was a complete coincidence," a police official told Reuters after the 18-year-old boy admitted lying. "The thief gave that address because he'd once lived in the house. The policeman was the guy who moved in afterwards."

When Allahmanamjad Barbel, 21, walked into a police station in Barnstable, Mass., asking for help removing a pair of handcuffs, he explained that his sister had slipped them on him at a child's birthday party as a prank. The Cape Cod Times reported that before confirming his story, officers ran a check and, according to Sgt. Sean Sweeney, discovered Barbel had at least four outstanding warrants. He was promptly arrested.

Ups & downs

Eighteen years after Russia stopped giving medals to women who bore at least 10 children to serve the nation, the government has resumed rewarding fertility. Facing a potentially disastrous population decline, the government launched a publicity campaign urging people to have larger families. In a live television broadcast from the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev awarded the Order of Parental Glory to eight families he congratulated for "setting an example for all society."

Following an announcement that Singapore would double government spending on incentives to boost the birthrate, lawmaker Loo Choon Yong told the legislature that because people were not taking advantage of their free time to produce more babies, more of them should work six days a week instead of five. "We should accept that as a people, our procreation talent is not our forte," Loo said.

Lucky loophole

Cleveland attorney Blake Dickson appealed a ticket he received for a violation recorded by one of the city's 41 red-light and speed cameras by pointing out the law specifies that the "owner of the vehicle shall be eligible for the penalty." Dickson was ticketed for driving a leased vehicle and argued in Ohio district court that "the lessee of the vehicle is not liable under this Cleveland code section." He won.

Victimless crimes

David Kocmit, 27, told Cleveland police he was attacked outside a strip club by three black men who called him a racial slur and then beat him. He suffered a broken leg and was taken to the hospital. The Plain Dealer reported that detectives investigating the incident as a felonious assault and hate crime reviewed surveillance tape and determined that Kocmit was not assaulted but broke his leg when he slipped and fell in the parking lot. "We don't need to fabricate racial strife," police Lt. Thomas Stacho said. "There is enough of it in America and in Greater Cleveland."

A 17-year-old boy who lost his right hand and leg in an explosion told police in Latrobe, Pa., that the blast occurred in his backpack after unknown people threatened him. Investigators said the boy later admitted he had been playing with a large firecracker in his grandmother's house and kept lighting and extinguishing the fuse. When the fuse wouldn't go out, police said he put the firework between his thighs and covered it with his right hand to muffle the explosion.

Police summoned to a store in Kingston, Ontario, found a man with "a very swollen lip, a bloody nose, maybe a broken nose," according to Staff Sgt. Mike Attwood. The 34-year-old man said two men had jumped him and beat him while trying to steal his wallet. After he gave a detailed description of the attackers, police launched a search for the pair but found no one. Then they began to notice inconsistencies in the man's story. Under questioning, he admitted concocting the story, saying he beat himself to get a day off from work. "I can only assume," Attwood told the Whig-Standard after the man was charged with public mischief, "that they didn't have a great sick plan where he works."

Fire when ready

The father of a 9-year-old boy admitted shooting his son in the buttocks with a BB gun at their home in Dane County, Wis. Sheriff's detective William Hendrickson said the father explained he was trying to watch television, but the boy was standing in front of the TV blocking his view and didn't move when told to. Madison's Capital Times reported the 36-year-old man said he happened to be holding a BB gun resembling an M-16 assault rifle, so he aimed at the boy's rear pocket, which he thought would provide more padding, and fired. After being hit, the criminal complaint said, the boy "jumped somewhat and moved away from the TV."

The Arkansas House approved a bill allowing concealed handguns in churches. The measure, which passed 57-42 and headed to the Senate, removes churches and other houses of worship from the list of private places where concealed handguns are banned, leaving only bars. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Beverly Pyle, who told the Associated Press she introduced the measure after a series of church shootings across the country, said individual churches would be permitted to decide whether to allow the concealed guns.

Nathan Perry, a Baptist preacher in Fordyce, presented legislators with a petition from 40 preachers who support the bill. "It's not about gun rights," he insisted. "It's about church rights."

No-rebate policy

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that Pasqualino Cornelio must continue paying child support to his ex-wife, even though DNA tests prove he isn't the biological father of her 16-year-old twins. The couple separated 10 years ago. Cornelio accused his wife of providing "incomplete and misleading information" about an extramarital affair that led him to believe he was the twins' biological father. Anciolina Cornelio told the court she couldn't remember having an affair, blaming the memory lapse on medication she was taking at the time. "While the failure of Ms. Cornelio to disclose to her husband the fact that she had an extramarital affair and that the twins might not be his biological children may well have been a moral wrong against Mr. Cornelio," Justice Katherine van Rensburg wrote, "it is a wrong that does not afford him a legal remedy to recover child support he has already paid, and that does not permit him to stop paying child support."

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