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The skinny

The skinny: Alcoholic energy drinks being recycled into ethanol for vehicles

Cars going Loko

Happy hour coming up at gas stations

Will it keep our cars and trucks going and going? Four Loko and other alcohol-laced energy drinks are being recycled into ethanol, which will then be blended into gasoline. The Food and Drug Administration announced a crackdown on the sale of the high-alcohol, caffeinated malt beverages in November, warning the drinks were dangerous and caused users — mostly college-age and underage drinkers — to become "wide-awake drunk." MXI Environmental Services of Virginia, a major recycler, distills the alcohol from the drinks, then sells the fuel to be blended into gasoline. No word on if will keep our vehicles purring.

No more exemptions

Dutch prostitutes fall into tax net

Tough economic times are causing European authorities to look for new revenue in the most unlikely places. In Romania, witches and fortune-tellers have been ordered to start paying taxes. Now prostitutes in the Dutch city of Amsterdam will receive calls from that unwelcome visitor, the tax man. About 3,000 sex workers will have to start paying taxes, the daily Het Parool reported Thursday. Officials intend to conduct surprise "audits" by visiting the city's red light district and checking on the number of clients and rates charged by the prostitutes. Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in 2000, but few prostitutes paid taxes. From this year on, they will be treated like any other business, the newspaper quoted a Finance Ministry spokesman as saying.

Holdup hiccup

Robber wants loot in $40s and $60s

Police in the Phoenix area are looking for a bank robbery suspect they've dubbed the "$60 Bill Bandit" because he once asked a teller for $40 and $60 bills — denominations that aren't printed. The robber is wanted in connection with four bank robberies in four cities since October, KTVK-TV reported Thursday. The most recent holdup was Dec. 23, when the man robbed a Bank of America branch. Police say the nickname comes from the robber earlier asking a teller for all the $20s, $40s and $60s in the bank.

Home alone

Robbery suspect makes 911 call

Police in Delaware say a man broke into a house, got drunk and couldn't make his way back outside — so he called 911 for help. John Finch, 44, was trapped in the home in part because he had broken into it before, back in April, New Castle County police said. That led the homeowner to change the locks so that a key was required — even inside. No one was home when Finch broke in again, through a rear window. He stayed for a few days, drinking three bottles of gin and two bottles of whiskey. When he tried to leave Wednesday, he was too drunk to climb back out of the window and called 911. He's currently staying at the county jail.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.

The skinny: Alcoholic energy drinks being recycled into ethanol for vehicles 01/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 8:29pm]
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