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The skinny

The skinny: Paris Metro cheaters say solidarity is the ticket

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Metro cheaters say solidarity is the ticket

The fare dodgers who jump the turnstiles or sneak in through exit barriers on the Paris Metro are practically as much a fixture of the city as the subway itself. Those who get caught without a proper ticket, though, face fines of up to $60. So what's a poor freeloader to do? The answer, in the land that gave the world the motto "All for one, one for all," is as French as it is ingenious: They've banded together to set up what are, essentially, scofflaw insurance funds. For about $8.50 a month, those who join one of these raffish-sounding "mutuelles des fraudeurs" can rest easy knowing that if they get busted for not paying to use public transit the fund will cough up the money for the fine. It provides a little peace of mind, however ethically dubious, in a time of economic uncertainty.

ATV vs. nudity

In a flash, there was silence

Marika De Florio was tired of her neighbors' 5-year-old grandson driving a loud all-terrain vehicle for hours on her quiet street in Seeley's Bay, Ontario. So she found a solution under her shirt. The moment the child throttles up, De Florio, 56, goes out topless, and the boy's horrified grandparents rush him into the house. "I need some peace. I can't believe I did this, but they pulled the kid inside and then called police because of their small-town mentality," De Florio told Canadian media. The police have no problem with her lack of attire. "There is not a criminal charge for that . . . not since 1996," said Toronto police Constable Isabelle Cotton.

School for thought

Some grown-ups need a time-out

Kids who completed kindergarten from Puesta del Sol Elementary in Victorville, Calif., on Wednesday need to sit their parents down and have a serious talk. It was the kids' day to feel good, but brawling parents interrupted the graduation ceremony and officials placed the school on lockdown. Witnesses told the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office that some moms got a verbal argument going. Dads joined in, and it quickly got physical in a field near the ceremony. There were no arrests and no one reported injuries. No children were hurt. Physically, anyway.

Feline foul

Kitties don't need a car ride

The legal saga of Patricia Edwards, lover of cats, has wound to an end. Edwards, of Pierre, S.D., had 15 cats. She loved them so much she took them out in her car. When she nearly backed into a patrol car, the officer seized them. A court said the officer did the right thing. But Edwards, who really loved those cats, appealed the transfer of their ownership to a humane society for adoption. Sadly for her, the South Dakota Supreme Court in a 3-2 decision Thursday ruled that the officer acted correctly, and that the felines interfered with Edwards' ability to see where she was going.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.

The skinny: Paris Metro cheaters say solidarity is the ticket 06/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 24, 2010 11:13pm]
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