World in Briefs: More News. Less Reading.

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Here’s the nutty news for May, 2010.  Among other things, middle-aged and elderly men in China are turning to drugs so that they have sufficient energy to play all-night games of Mahjong…

England

The Department for Work and Pensions in Carlisle, England is under fire for a new creative way to deal with phone calls during the short-staffed midday period.  Workers were instructed to pick up the phone, talk as if they were an answering machine, and then immediately hang up.  The reported script was “Due to the high volume of inquiries we are currently experiencing, we are unable to take your call. Please call back later.”

United States

Would-be burglar Travis Neely was foiled in his attempts to steal a car in Lake City, Florida.  While inside the car he was confronted by the owner who used a remote control device to lock the door, preventing Neely’s escape.  After multiple attempts on Neely’s behalf to open the door that were thwarted by the owner’s re-locking of the door, he gave up and was arrested by police.  He is currently awaiting trial for auto theft.

Papua New Guinea

Two people were recently killed in a tribal conflict that initiated when a pornographic text message was sent from a member of one tribe to another by a jealous boyfriend.  Upon discovery of the text message one tribal gang attacked another, resulting in the two deaths. No word at press time if Twitter was involved.

Fiji

A delegation of French reporters were recently stunned by their visit to the Fijian court system.  Instead of a court stenographer typing on a computer, legal matters are recorded by everyday reporters who take notes by hand.  Court proceedings were frequently interrupted by weary-handed writers who asked for judges and lawyers to talk slower so that they could catch up.

China

Methamphetamine use in on the upswing in Shanghai, however, police report that an unexpected cross-section of the population is engaging in drug use. Middle-aged and elderly men are turning to drugs so that they have sufficient energy to play all-night games of Mahjong, a game similar to dominoes. Drug use is especially heavy in the Shanghai suburbs in parlor houses that double as drug distribution centers.

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