Norway’s prison system is regarded as among the most inmate-friendly in the world, but convicted mass murderer Anders Breivik is still not impressed. Breivik, serving 21 years for the 2011 bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 77 people, may already enjoy amenities unheard of for a comparable American murderer, but he sent wardens 12 demands in November, including an upgrade of his manual typewriter and his PlayStation 2 (to a PS3, with better access to game selection). He also demanded that his weekly government “allowance” (equivalent of $49) be doubled, and said if the “torture” of his living conditions is not relieved, he would be forced into a hunger strike. (Breivik threatened a similar strike in 2012, citing “inhumane” conditions such as cold coffee, lack of skin moisturizer and insufficient butter for his bread.)
Following alarming reports, the Ohio attorney general’s office began working with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association in December to be vigilant for pet owners who might be commandeering their dogs’ and cats’ pain killers — for their own use. Worse, other reports suggested some owners were deliberately injuring their pets just to obtain the drugs.
The Super Bowl may be the “holy grail” for Las Vegas sports gambling, but outside the United States, horse-racing, soccer and, surprisingly, pro tennis dominate. Tennis provides bettors with 19,000 matches a year (compared to 1,200 NBA games, 2,400 Major League Baseball games and fewer than 300 NFL games), with betting on 400,000 individual games and even on individual points, of which there are nearly 2.5 million, according to a January New York Times dispatch from Melbourne, Australia. In January’s Australian Open, a routine fourth-round women’s match between players ranked ninth and 28th in the world attracted more than $4 million in wagers — on just the first set.
In Chedzoy, England, in January, the border collie spaniel Luce was “re-homed” after Royston Grimstead, 42, learned that she had chewed completely through a wheel arch on his $120,000 Aston Martin. Said Grimstead, “She had this guilty look on her face.”
A magistrates court in Aberystwyth, Wales, convicted Ms. Rhian Jeremiah, 26, of criminal damage in January for biting into the roof of a Fiat 500 during an alcohol-fueled incident last year. Said the car’s owner, “I could hear metal crunching” (but, said Jeremiah’s lawyer, “not quite like” the scene in a James Bond movie featuring the character “Jaws”).
Clare Lally, weary of her three-flight front walk, demanded a wheelchair ramp on her government-subsidized house in Duntocher, England, for her daughter, 7, who has suffered from bulbar palsy since birth, and the West Dunbartonshire Council came through promptly. A front-yard-dominating concrete platform was built in January (costing the equivalent of $67,000), consisting of a 10-level “snake”-style series of ramps with steel railings. Not only does navigating the “snake” take time, but Lally now complains that the ramp has been taken over by neighborhood kids as a skateboard run.
Following an evening of heavy drinking, according to police in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in January, a former schoolteacher, 52, was charged with fatally stabbing his host, 67, during a dispute over whether poetry or prose is the more important literary form.
An alcohol-hammered Troy Prockett, 37, was arrested in January near Hudson, Mass., after his car spun out of control on Interstate 290 and he fled on foot, pursued by state troopers who followed him to a tree, which he had climbed to about 30 feet up. Playing innocent, Prockett asked if the troopers had yet “caught the guy who was driving.” The driver was still loose, Prockett said, even though only one set of footprints led to the tree (but, Prockett explained, that was because the real driver was carrying him piggyback!). Finally, as firefighters were arriving to climb after him, Prockett (according to the troopers’ report) “rambled on about being an owl.”