fame and fortune
he gets much too creative with his taxes
An Indonesian taxman caught bribing his way out of prison and watching a tennis match on the resort island of Bali clumsily disguised in a black wig and sunglasses was sentenced to seven years behind bars for corruption Wednesday. Gayus Tambunan, 31, admitted during his five-month trial to pocketing at least $2.7 million from dozens of big companies so they wouldn't have to pay the state. But it was the alleged involvement of everyone from senior police and immigration officials to prosecutors and judges that captured the attention of the nation of 237 million people. Tambunan's sheer audacity made him a favorite topic on social networking sites: Authorities confirmed he bribed his way out of prison at least 68 times since his arrest almost one year ago.
Poe mystery man a no-show again
The mysterious ''Poe Toaster'' failed to show up at his namesake's Baltimore grave Wednesday morning. And the curator of the Poe House and Museum is about ready to give up on the ghost. "I will be here in 2012, but that will be it," said Jeff Jerome, who stayed by Edgar Allan Poe's gravesite until 5:45 a.m. "If he's a no show, I will officially pronounce the tradition dead." For some 60 years, the toaster would appear on Poe's birthday to pay tribute to the Boston native who died on Oct. 7, 1849, in Baltimore. He would leave three red roses and a bottle of cognac, then quietly disappear into the night. Last year's no-show was the first since at least 1949.
Fair and balanced liberal coverage
Berkeley, Calif., facing $252.8 million in deficits for pensions, disability and worker's compensation but with a tradition of progressive politics, may set aside $20,000 a year to reimburse municipal employees for sex-reassignment surgery. Providing the funds on a first-come, first-served basis is an effort to be "fair and equitable" to all employees because the city's health insurance carriers don't offer the benefit, according to a report to the council. Berkeley resident Kathryn Steuerman urged members to ignore critics who said filling potholes was more important than funding the surgery: "Gird your loins against such false dichotomies. Go forward with all possible haste." The plan is set for a vote Feb. 15.
Fake sale leads to real trouble
Police say a Boston man picked the wrong mark when he tried to sell him fake gold jewelry at a grocery store. The man approached William Pace on Sunday and offered to sell him a bracelet and chain marked as 14 karat gold for $100. Two problems: Pace is the police chief in Randolph, Mass., and he owns a jewelry store. The suspect, identified as Johnnie Butts, will be issued a summons to appear in court on a charge of attempt to commit larceny by false pretense.
Compiled from Times wires