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Romantic proposal turns tragic

David Napper says a wave took his bride-to-be moments before he was to ask her to marry him on the beach of Neskowin, Ore.

Proposal Rock Inn

David Napper says a wave took his bride-to-be moments before he was to ask her to marry him on the beach of Neskowin, Ore.

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Armed robbers snatched $108-million worth of diamond rings, necklaces and luxury watches from a Harry Winston boutique on a posh Paris avenue in one of the largest jewel heists in history, officials said Friday. The gang of three or four robbers threatened about 15 employees with handguns and hit some on the head before taking the jewels from display cases from the store near the Champs-Elysees, a police official said. At least two of the bandits were men wearing wigs and women's clothes, the official said. The robbers also spoke a foreign language at times and appeared to know employees' names when they robbed the store before it closed early Thursday at the height of Christmas shopping season. The boutique on Avenue Montaigne was closed to the public Friday. Employees who came out for cigarette breaks refused to speak to reporters, and three of the five display windows stood empty of their usual wares. A Paris judicial official said Harry Winston declared to insurers that the stolen goods were worth $108-million. The same boutique was targeted in a similar heist last year, when three thieves made off with $28.4-million worth of jewels after forcing employees to open safes.

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For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law. It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog. The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. EPA spokesman Nick Butterfield said the fee was proposed for farms with livestock operations that emit more than 100 tons of carbon emissions in a year and fall under federal Clean Air Act provisions.

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Cases of Guinea worm disease — a horrifying infection that culminates in worms coming out of a victim's skin — have reached an all-time low worldwide, former U.S. President Carter announced Friday. Only 4,410 cases were reported worldwide during the first ten months of this year, all in six African countries. That total is a dramatic drop from the 3.5-million cases in 20 nations that were reported when the Carter Center's eradication campaign began in 1986. It's also less than half the 9,585 cases reported by individual nations in 2007. Nearly 80 percent of the cases in 2008 were in Sudan. Health experts hope that next year may see the last reported cases of the parasitic illness, which would make it the second infection — after smallpox — to be eliminated from the world. Guinea worm occurs when people drink water contaminated with worm larvae. Over a year, one or more of the larvae can grow to 3 feet long. Then they very slowly emerge through the skin, often causing searing, debilitating pain for months. The disease is usually not fatal. There is no vaccine or medicine for the parasite.

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A romantic marriage proposal on the Oregon coast turned deadly for the bride-to-be when a wave swept her out to sea. Police don't suspect foul play in the disappearance Saturday of Leafil Alforque, Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said. Thick fog and dangerous water conditions off Neskowin Beach hampered the rescue efforts, and the search was called off Monday. Scott Napper, 45, had a ring in his pocket and planned to pop the question to Alforque, 22, at Proposal Rock, which got its name from couples ready to marry. Napper said the tide had receded around the rock when the couple began to walk to it, but then a wave around 3 feet high suddenly came in. Alforque, who was only 4-foot-11, was caught by the receding waters. "That's the last I saw of her," Napper said Wednesday, breaking into tears. Napper and Alforque had been dating since they met on the Internet in 2005. Alforque arrived in Oregon on a visa from the Philippines just three days before the fateful trip to the coast.

The Dutch Supreme Court has decided sex shows should be thought of as theater — at least when it comes to taxes. The court ruled Friday that a peep show owner is eligible to pay sales tax at a lower rate because his establishments are a form of theater. The government had argued that they were simply strip shows — and thus taxed at a higher rate. The judges said in their written ruling that because the strippers are on a stage being watched by a paying public their acts are theatrical. The government argued that for the lower sales tax rate of 6 percent — as opposed to 19 percent — to apply there has to be "a cultural performance comparable to a music or theater performance. A peep show doesn't come close." The sex show owner, whose court case goes back to 2002, is expected to be repaid thousands of euros in taxes.

Paris heist: $108M in jewelry

Armed robbers snatched $108-million worth of diamond rings, necklaces and luxury watches from a Harry Winston boutique on a posh Paris avenue in one of the largest jewel heists in history, officials said Friday. The gang of three or four robbers threatened about 15 employees with handguns and hit some on the head before taking the jewels from display cases from the store near the Champs-Elysees, a police official said. At least two of the bandits were men wearing wigs and women's clothes, the official said. The robbers also spoke a foreign language at times and appeared to know employees' names when they robbed the store before it closed early Thursday. The boutique on Avenue Montaigne was closed to the public Friday. Employees refused to speak to reporters, and three of the five display windows stood empty of their usual wares. A Paris judicial official said Harry Winston declared to insurers that the stolen goods were worth $108-million. The same boutique was targeted in a similar heist last year, when three thieves made off with $28.4-million worth of jewels after forcing employees to open safes.

Guinea worm near eradication

Cases of Guinea worm disease — a horrifying infection that culminates in worms coming out of a victim's skin — have reached an all-time low worldwide, former President Jimmy Carter announced Friday. Only 4,410 cases were reported worldwide during the first 10 months of this year, all in six African countries. That total is a dramatic drop from the 3.5-million cases in 20 nations that were reported when the Carter Center's eradication campaign began in 1986. It's also less than half the 9,585 cases reported by individual nations in 2007. Nearly 80 percent of the cases in 2008 were in Sudan. Health experts hope that next year may see the last reported cases of the parasitic illness, which would make it the second infection — after smallpox — to be eliminated from the world. Guinea worm occurs when people drink water contaminated with worm larvae. Over a year, one or more of the larvae can grow to 3 feet long. Then they very slowly emerge through the skin, often causing searing, debilitating pain for months. The disease is usually not fatal. There is no vaccine or medicine for the parasite.

Think of sex shows as theater

The Dutch Supreme Court has decided sex shows should be thought of as theater — at least when it comes to taxes. The court ruled Friday that a peep show owner is eligible to pay sales tax at a lower rate because his establishments are a form of theater. The government had argued that they were simply strip shows — and thus taxed at a higher rate. The judges said in their written ruling that because the strippers are on a stage being watched by a paying public their acts are theatrical. The government argued that for the lower sales tax rate of 6 percent — as opposed to 19 percent — to apply there has to be "a cultural performance comparable to a music or theater performance. A peep show doesn't come close." The sex show owner is expected to be repaid thousands of euros in taxes.

A romantic marriage proposal on the Oregon coast turned deadly for the bride-to-be when a wave swept her out to sea. Police don't suspect foul play in the disappearance Nov. 29 of Leafil Alforque, Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said. Thick fog and dangerous water conditions off Neskowin Beach hampered the rescue efforts, and the search was called off Monday. Scott Napper, 45, had a ring in his pocket and planned to pop the question to Alforque, 22, at Proposal Rock, which got its name from couples ready to marry. Napper said the tide had receded around the rock when the couple began to walk to it, but then a wave around 3 feet high suddenly came in. Alforque, who was only 4-foot-11, was caught by the receding waters. "That's the last I saw of her," Napper said Wednesday, breaking into tears. Napper and Alforque had been dating since they met on the Internet in 2005. Alforque arrived in Oregon on a visa from the Philippines just three days before the fateful trip to the coast.

Armed robbers snatched $108-million worth of diamond rings, necklaces and luxury watches from a Harry Winston boutique on a posh Paris avenue in one of the largest jewel heists in history, officials said Friday. The gang of three or four robbers threatened about 15 employees with handguns and hit some on the head before taking the jewels from display cases from the store near the Champs-Elysees, a police official said. At least two of the bandits were men wearing wigs and women's clothes, the official said. The robbers also spoke a foreign language at times and appeared to know employees' names when they robbed the store before it closed early Thursday at the height of Christmas shopping season. The boutique on Avenue Montaigne was closed to the public Friday. Employees who came out for cigarette breaks refused to speak to reporters, and three of the five display windows stood empty of their usual wares. A Paris judicial official said Harry Winston declared to insurers that the stolen goods were worth $108-million. The same boutique was targeted in a similar heist last year, when three thieves made off with $28.4-million worth of jewels after forcing employees to open safes.

Headline Headline Xj

For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law. It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog. The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. EPA spokesman Nick Butterfield said the fee was proposed for farms with livestock operations that emit more than 100 tons of carbon emissions in a year and fall under federal Clean Air Act provisions.

Headline Headline Xj

Cases of Guinea worm disease — a horrifying infection that culminates in worms coming out of a victim's skin — have reached an all-time low worldwide, former U.S. President Carter announced Friday. Only 4,410 cases were reported worldwide during the first ten months of this year, all in six African countries. That total is a dramatic drop from the 3.5-million cases in 20 nations that were reported when the Carter Center's eradication campaign began in 1986. It's also less than half the 9,585 cases reported by individual nations in 2007. Nearly 80 percent of the cases in 2008 were in Sudan. Health experts hope that next year may see the last reported cases of the parasitic illness, which would make it the second infection — after smallpox — to be eliminated from the world. Guinea worm occurs when people drink water contaminated with worm larvae. Over a year, one or more of the larvae can grow to 3 feet long. Then they very slowly emerge through the skin, often causing searing, debilitating pain for months. The disease is usually not fatal. There is no vaccine or medicine for the parasite.

Headline Headline Xj

The Dutch Supreme Court has decided sex shows should be thought of as theater — at least when it comes to taxes. The court ruled Friday that a peep show owner is eligible to pay sales tax at a lower rate because his establishments are a form of theater. The government had argued that they were simply strip shows — and thus taxed at a higher rate. The judges said in their written ruling that because the strippers are on a stage being watched by a paying public their acts are theatrical. The government argued that for the lower sales tax rate of 6 percent — as opposed to 19 percent — to apply there has to be "a cultural performance comparable to a music or theater performance. A peep show doesn't come close." The sex show owner, whose court case goes back to 2002, is expected to be repaid thousands of euros in taxes.

Romantic proposal turns tragic 12/05/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 5, 2008 9:56pm]

    

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