News Heard 'Round the Water CoolerLast Update on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 3:05 AM EST
from Eyewitness News Online
It wasn't all solemnity at Nelson Mandela's memorial service. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron leaned in to pose for a selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at a vast soccer stadium where Mandela was honored. Obama's wife, Michelle, sat unsmiling next to her husband, out of the picture, which was captured by a photographer at the event. Other pictures taken during the memorial show Obama chatting with the Danish prime minister, and Mrs. Obama talking with her, as well.
Uruguay's Senate has approved the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana, an audacious and risky plan that puts the government in charge of growing, selling and using a drug that is illegal almost everywhere else. Tuesday's vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority united in favor. It now awaits the signature of President Jose Mujica, who wants the market to begin operating next year. Polls say two-thirds of Uruguayans are opposed to a government-run marijuana industry. But Mujica says he's convinced the global drug war is a failure and feels bureaucrats can do a better job of containing addictions and beating organized crime than police and soldiers.
A Los Angeles man who placed prank calls about job openings for prominent professional coaches has been released from jail. Kenneth Tarr was released on $20,000 bail Tuesday, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's booking records. His next court date is set for Dec. 31. The 32-year-old Hollywood man was arrested a day earlier and booked on suspicion of felony eavesdropping for recording phone conversations without the consent of the people on the calls, which is illegal in California. The case had yet to reach the district attorney's office Tuesday. Los Angeles police said their two-month investigation includes coaches from across pro sports.
An Alaska community's sale on eBay of a vehicle used by former Mayor Sarah Palin has caused a stir in small-town politics. The city of Wasilla, just north of Anchorage, auctioned off the 1999 Expedition used by Palin during her second term as mayor on the website. A Fairbanks woman bought it for $10,300, about $8,000 over its value. The city will use the money to replenish its vehicle replacement fund. But Deputy Mayor Colleen Sullivan-Leonard proposed using the funds to restock the local food pantry. That proposal died Monday when Mayor Verne Rupright declined to break a 3-3 council tie. Sullivan-Leonard says it's unfortunate Rupright is capitalizing on Palins' name to fatten city coffers. Rupright says it's just good business when you can get more money than expected for surplus equipment.
A college basketball player who won $20,000 by hitting a half-court shot during an Oklahoma City Thunder game can keep the money. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Tuesday that Cameron Rodriguez could keep his winnings for use as a scholarship. Rodriguez is a sophomore forward for the Southwestern College basketball team in Winfield, Kan. He nailed the half-court shot Nov. 18 during the Thunder's home game against the Denver Nuggets. The NAIA says the decision to use the winnings as scholarship money was a joint recommendation by Rodriguez and the Southwestern College athletic department, which was supported by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The NAIA initially informed Rodriguez that if he kept the money he would lose his amateur status, but Southwestern College appealed.
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