The weird workplace

Be afraid or it's not robbery; Not-so six feet under; Time to liberate the pasta; Hickery dickery dock; Fine feathered friends

Be afraid or it’s not robbery
TORONTO — When is a bank robbery just a theft? Apparently, a teller’s actions can play a role in that determination, or so said a judge in a recent criminal trial who found the bank teller was too sympathetic, according to the National Post. Jorge Luis Oliveiros Ortega gave the teller a note saying, “This is a robbery, give me the money, my mother is sick.” He then took $600 from the teller and left. In her testimony, the teller said she felt no fear at all, for herself nor anyone else, and she handed over the money “because he asked for it and also because she felt sorry for him, given that he looked so young and his mother was sick,” according to the judge. But a bank robbery is only a robbery if the teller is scared — with violence or threats of violence — and in this case the teller felt something closer to sympathy or pity, said the judge. “When someone walks into a bank and hands a teller a note demanding money, it is usually considered to be a robbery,” the judge wrote. “But in the unique circumstances of this case, it was just a theft.” The teller had a thick skin, said the judge. “While others might have reasonably been frightened, she did not experience any fear at all… There was no robbery.” Instead, Ortega committed the less-serious crime of theft under $5,000, to which he pleaded guilty.

Not-so six feet under
GUANDONG PROVINCE, CHINA — Meeting quotas can be tough, no matter what job you have. But two officials in China took their job requirements a bit too far recently — they were arrested after buying corpses from local grave-robbers and having them cremated as a way to fulfill state-mandated quotas for funeral practices. The duo allegedly paid a grave-robber $489 each for 10 exhumed corpses, according to the Washington Post. Many locals in China secretly entomb their kin to avoid state laws regarding burial and many families prefer to bury their deceased loved ones intact, rather than having them cremated. But China has limited arable land and the government discourages communities from taking up more space for cemeteries — so body-snatching is a lucrative business, said the Post.

Time to liberate the pasta
NEW TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN — An Italian restaurant in New Taipei City came under fire recently when it named one of its pasta dishes “Long Live the Nazis.” The name was meant to help customers make the German connection to the pasta dish, in which German sausage is the primary ingredient, said Chao Ya-hsin, manager of the Rockmill restaurant. There was also a pizza that went by the same name, according to China Real Time. “When we were deciding on a name for this pasta dish, it never occurred to us that the word Nazi would stir up such controversy,” said Ya-hsin, adding that the restaurant did not have any complaints since it introduced the dish a year ago. “In fact, it is considered one of our most popular dishes.” But, after a local TV station did a story about the dish, the restaurant faced many complaints and both Israeli and German representatives were
unhappy with the name of the dish, saying it showed a lack of understanding about history and the Nazis’ slaughter of Jews, according to the European Pressphoto Agency. The restaurant has since changed the name of its dishes to “Long Live Purity.” “We hope, from now on, customers who eat this dish will enjoy it in sheer joy,” said Ya-hsin.

Hickery dickery dock
OSLO — Airline pilots have to go through all kinds of control and safety checks before their flight leaves the runway, but one airline faced an unexpected delay recently. A Norwegian Air Shuttle was forced to delay a flight from Oslo to New York by five hours because of a hunt for a mouse in the cockpit, according to Reuters. “We had to make sure that no cables or wires had been chewed,” said spokesperson Charlotte Holmbergh. “This does not happen very often but it does happen from time to time.” The only European budget carrier to fly long-haul routes, Norwegian has faced several technical troubles with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, leaving passengers stranded at airports from Bangkok to Florida. And since it runs so many flights, even small delays can cause significant schedule disruptions. “At least the mouse was caught,” said Holmbergh.

Fine feathered friends
LONDON, U.K. — Health-care workers at retirement homes are pros when it comes to bedside care and companionship. But workers at some retirement villas in the United Kingdom are making friends with a different bird altogether — literally. Chickens, apparently, make wonderful companions to the elderly, according to an article in the Telegraph. Owen Turnbull, 84, lives with his 82-year-old wife along with 70 other residents, 13 hens and 15 chicks. Along with practical poultry-keeping, there are hen-based activities such as art, dance and singing. HenPower is aimed at men (although it is also open to women) who are vulnerable to depression in care homes and the chickens are meant to help them tackle loneliness and isolation. A study by the University of Northumbria found the male participants all reported improved well-being and reduced depression and loneliness. In one dementia care home, violent incidents by residents were down 50 per cent since the hens had arrived, and the use of antipsychotic drugs was also reduced.

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