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BEER, FISHING MUST NEVER BE SEPARATED

GOVERNMENT AT WORK

The Australian government is planning to ban alcohol in parts of the country, and the government of the Northern Territory is worried that may include rivers there. And that just won't work. Seems that fishing is a very popular pastime there, and some people like to maybe have a beer when they fish. Officials there have sent a fax to Prime Minister John Howard on the issue. "We want to stand up for the rights of Territorians, particularly when it comes to fishing," Licensing Minister Chris Burns said. Chief Minister Clare Martin said that not allowing people to have beer while fishing just wasn't "practical."

TRAIL IS DRY

They stole the pool ... and the water

It's one thing that someone came into Daisy Valdivia's back yard in Paterson, N.J., early Wednesday morning and stole her pool. But something else is bugging her. "I just want to know what the heck they did with the water," she said. The concrete pad that the hip-high, 10-foot diameter pool was sitting on would seem to show no clues as to where the 1,000 gallons of water went. She also couldn't figure out why nothing else was stolen. "We have two grills, chairs, umbrellas, they're much easier to take," she told the North Jersey Herald News. "Someone took a little time and effort thinking about this," said Lt. Anthony Traina of the Paterson Police Department. "That tells us something, too." But he did not say what.

CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING

Never spend $34K trying to win $36K

For all you students who think you'll never use math again after school, beware the cautionary tale of Leszek Wojcik. The bus driver in Slupsk, Poland, really wanted to win a contest that had a $36,000 prize. So he sent about 38,000 text messages to enter the contest. At 86 cents per text. And he didn't win. That sound bad enough? It gets worse. He did it on his company cell phone, and policy dictates he keep that bill to $5 a month. So, when his bill came in close to $34,000, he was fired.

YOU WERE JUST HERE

N.Y. man arrested 3 times in 3 hours

Consider it a natural hat trick for Kevin Rich. The 40-year-old from Oneida, N.Y., was arrested just after midnight on Sunday morning and charged with soliciting money and loitering. A little more than an hour later, he was walking and stepped out in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to slam on his brakes. The driver was an off-duty cop, which means it wasn't just scary, but a disorderly conduct charge. Then at 2:30 a.m., he told some people he needed money for gas, but since he had no car, police decided that was another soliciting charge.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at jwebster@sptimes.com.

THIS JUST IN

"If I can get this straight, Alberto Gonzales is saying there are problems, of which he cannot speak, for which he is responsible, yet not to blame, and that he is the only one who can clean up the mess that he can neither confirm nor deny exists?"

Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, on the attorney general's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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