Italy picks the best available Braga for job
No one was more surprised to learn that Francesco Braga had been appointed to the position of junior minister of agriculture in the government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti than Francesco Braga. Sure, he's Italian, but he left the country 28 years ago and is a business professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario. He read about the appointment on the website of an Italian newspaper, and got an email from Agriculture Minister Mario Catania, asking him to check in as soon as possible, reports the Toronto Globe and Mail. Then came a flood of congratulatory messages. It was all very exciting, if confusing. Then it all got cleared up. They meant to appoint Franco Braga, a professor from Rome. That made more sense to everyone.
Witness, officials at odds over kitty
Vicky Gehbauer knows what she saw, and it was a darn black panther. Nevermind that there aren't black panthers running around in the wild around the office building in Covington, La., where she works. In fact, there aren't any in the wild in North America, as far as anyone knows. Gehbauer got a photo of it and it got to state wildlife officials, who determined that it was really just a standard house cat. The official word if that the size of cats can be deceiving at a distance, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported officials as saying. "I don't care what the experts say," Gehbauer said. "I know what I saw. That was not a cat. It didn't belong there."
Robber gets credit for civil stickup
Being kind can be its own reward, but for Franklin Keefer II, the benefit is just a bit more tangible. Keefer stood trial on charges that he robbed the Columbia Bank in Hagerstown, Md., of about $3,500, reports the Herald-Mail there. But because of his demeanor during the crime, prosecutors agreed to let him make a special plea. "Can I have everybody's attention? This is a holdup," court documents quoted Keefer as saying at the June 28 incident. "Can I please have that stack of money?" It was altogether civil. There was no weapon visible. He'll serve two more years in jail, in addition to time served, and have to repay the money.
Cash cleanup was not authorized
The back door of a courier van popped open on Route 19 in Upper St. Clair, Pa., on Wednesday. As a result, more than $100,000 in cash flew out the door, creating a free-for-all situation in which people started gathering the money. "This is not a free-for-all situation," Lt. James Englert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Whoops. Stand corrected. "Obviously, this money is ... bank property." Police said people are getting the chance to return the money before any arrests are made, and the company is offering rewards. Plus, it isn't like they lost all of the $100,000. Employees recovered, like, about $400.
Compiled from wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.