And… In the News

Wisconsin man finds 3.92-ct white diamond

AP Wire

MURFREESBORO, Ark. – A Wisconsin man digging at an Arkansas diamond park with his fiancee Tuesday found a 3.92-carat white stone, but the rock will go into his collection because his betrothed already has a ring and a setting.

Eric Blake, 32, of Appleton, Wis., spotted the stone along a trail at the Crater of Diamonds State Park when he set down a 70-pound bucket of mud that he was carrying to a wash basin. “I put the bucket down to switch hands. I looked down and there it was,” Blake said.

Blake found a 1.49-carat stone Monday. The larger one is big enough to fashion into jewelry but Blake hadn’t decided whether he will have it placed into a setting. “I only found it an hour ago,” he said.

Blake, a carpenter, said his grandfather had taken him to the state park about 15 years ago and that he returns two to three times a year. “We usually find something,” he said.

His fiancee, Susan Gabrielson, who has “only one carat on her finger” — her daughter Sayde and Susan’s sister Sarah accompanied Blake to the park this week. Susan found a 1.47-carat stone and some smaller gems Monday.

“We’re going back out today. We’ll take a lunch and then go back into the field,” Blake said.

More than 700 diamonds have been found at the park this year.

The Crater of Diamonds park is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public and visitors can keep the stones they dig up. The largest diamond ever found in the United States, the 40-carat white diamond named Uncle Sam, was unearthed in 1924 at the Murfreesboro park.

Suspected robber gets stuck in air shaft robber_stuck.jpg

SILVER SPRINGS SHORES, Fla. – A suspected thief trying to help himself to convenience store goods instead wound up crying for help after becoming stuck in an air shaft for 10 hours.

Jeffery Mumani, 25, was rescued Tuesday. He removed an air conditioning cover at a CVS store Monday night and tried to enter the store via the shaft but became trapped, Marion County Sheriff‘s Capt. James Pogue said. He began calling for help about 8 a.m. Tuesday.

“I heard a cat in the thing. I was trying to chase the cat,” Mumani told the Ocala Star-Banner. He denied attempting to steal prescription drugs. “No, sir, it’s a feline cat — a little animal.”

It took firefighters an hour and a half to rescue Mumani, but he suffered only minor cuts and was in stable condition, Fire Rescue spokeswoman Heather Danenhower.

Mumani has been charged with commercial burglary, possession of burglary tools and felony criminal mischief, Pogue said. Online records with the Florida Department of Corrections indicate Mumani has previous convictions in South Florida for burglary and drug-related crimes.

He was convicted in Palm Beach County for possession of the prescription painkiller Oxycontin, according to a Marion County Sheriff’s Office report. Mumani also was arrested earlier this month on an arson charge.

Woman in wheelchair takes highway shortcut

BERLIN (Reuters) – An 81-year-old German woman driving to a cemetery in her electric wheelchair decided to take a shortcut and drove the wrong way down a highway.

The wheelchair had been traveling at about four miles per hour. Vehicles on German motorways must clock at least 37 miles per hour, and there is no upper speed limit on some sections.

Motorists spotted the woman and notified authorities, who escorted her to safety.

“She told us she got lost and wanted to avoid taking a big detour,” a police spokesman in the southern city of Nuremberg said.

Children play with high-explosive shell

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Children played with a high-explosive World War Two shell at a playground in the Dutch town Barneveld for months before authorities were warned and removed it, Dutch police said Sunday.

The police called in a unit specialized in clearing explosives, which detonated the shell in a safe area on Saturday.

Looking for attractive people? Don’t go to…

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Philadelphia is home to the least attractive people in the United States, a survey of visitors and residents showed on Friday.

The city of more than 1.5 million people was also found to be among the least stylish, least active, least friendly and least worldly, according to the “America’s Favorite Cities” survey by Travel & Leisure magazine and CNN Headline News.

About 60,000 people responded to the online survey — at www.travelandleisure.com — which ranked 25 cities in categories including shopping, food, culture, and cityscape, said Amy Farley, senior editor at the magazine.

For unattractiveness, Philadelphia just beat out Washington DC and Dallas/Fort Worth for the bottom spot. Miami and San Diego are home to the most attractive people, the poll found.

But Farley pointed out the results don’t mean people in Philadelphia are ugly or the city is a bad place to visit.

“We were asking people to vote on attractiveness, not unattractiveness. Travel & Leisure editors believe there are a lot of attractive people in Philadelphia,” she said.

“The relative attractiveness of its residents is only a minuscule factor in evaluating a city’s merit.”

Philadelphians’ self-esteem has been undermined by national surveys showing they are among the fattest people in the United States. The American Obesity Association ranked the city in the top 10 for overweight people every year between 2000 and 2005.

And sporting pride in a city known for the fierce loyalty of its fans has been hurt by not having had a national champion in any of its four main sports since the 76ers won the National Basketball Association title in 1983.

Bonfire event banned in Guy Fawkes’ home town

LONDON (Reuters) – A bonfire celebration in York, the home town of Guy Fawkes, has been banned on health and safety grounds, the local council said Tuesday.

Thousands were due to attend the spectacle on the 402nd anniversary of Fawkes’ failed plot to blow up parliament.

But York City Football Club was told their ground was too small to ensure spectator safety, a decision which left the head of the cathedral city’s tourist board “lost for words.”

York Council’s head of licensing, Dick Haswell, declined to be interviewed Tuesday.

But in an emailed statement he defended the decision, saying it was made on health and safety grounds.

“Because the football club was proposing to hold a firework display in a certified sports ground, legally, they had to apply to York’s Safety at Sports Advisory Group for a Special Safety Certificate,” he said.

“Unfortunately the ground was not large enough to provide the necessary distance between the area where fireworks could fall and spectators.”

The chief executive of York Tourism Board, Gillian Crudass, said she was “lost for words” at the council’s decision.

“We are very much disappointed because it is a British tradition,” she told Reuters.

“It attracts a lot of interest not just from local people, but also from visitors from all around the country who come for a short break — as well as international interest.”

A spokesman for the football club declined to comment.

Guy Fawkes was born in April 1570 in Stonegate, York and was in charge of executing the Roman Catholic plot to blow up parliament and the protestant King James 1 during the state opening of parliament on November 5, 1605.

The plot was uncovered at the last minute and Fawkes was caught and executed early in 1606.

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