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The skinny

The skinny: Prison, fines await Romanian witches if predictions flop

Telling misfortune

Witches to see prison, fines if future slips up

There's more bad news in the cards for Romania's beleaguered witches. A month after Romanian authorities began taxing them for their trade, the country's soothsayers and fortune tellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their predictions don't come true. Superstition is a serious matter in the land of Dracula, and officials have turned to witches to help the recession-hit country collect more money. Witches argue they shouldn't be blamed for the failure of their tools. "They can't condemn witches, they should condemn the cards," Queen Witch Bratara Buzea complained.

Lapse of manners

Courtly bandit is quickly busted

Good manners get you noticed everywhere, but that's not always good. Authorities have made an arrest in a weekend convenience store robbery that a Seattle store owner found remarkable for the robber's politeness. Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's Office said officers quickly identified a suspect from tips received after surveillance video of Saturday's robbery was shown on TV. The suspect pulled a gun and asked White Center Shell station owner John Henry for a favor — empty the till: "I'm robbing you, sir," he explained. He took $300, apologized and said he had bills to pay and children to feed. Urquhart said the 65-year-old suspect was previously convicted for armed robbery and forgery.

Her wings are clipped

Burglar, 84, caught in slow getaway

Hungary's notorious octogenarian thief is not ready for retirement. Police say "Flying Gizi," whose criminal record goes back to the 1950s, is again in custody for suspected theft. Fejer County Police spokeswoman Agnes Szabo said Tuesday that Gizella Bodnar, is suspected of taking some 15,000 forints ($75) from a home in Bicske. Bodnar, 84, who has been convicted of over 20 crimes and has spent nearly 18 years in prison, got her nickname because she enjoyed taking domestic commercial flights after successful break-ins. This time, she got only as far as the Bicske train station before the police found her and the missing cash she took from a wallet on the living room table.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.

The skinny: Prison, fines await Romanian witches if predictions flop 02/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 9:53pm]
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