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Villagers open grocery shop inside phone box

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Photo: ROSS PARRY

The charming facility – stocking milk, sandwiches, newspapers and other everyday items – has been set up inside a vacant red phone box next to the site of the village’s former shop.

It is operated according to the “honesty box” principle, with residents leaving payment for any goods they take.

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The tight-knit community of Draughton, North Yorks, was left without easy access to basic items after the post office closed following the retirement of its owners in April 2008.

Lewis Cooke, who runs a newsagent which is four miles away in Skipton, continued to deliver newspapers and tinned items on to the porch of the shop so residents could come and collect their goods.

But after BT made the derelict phone box directly outside the former site of the post office available for just one pound last year it was decided that the parish council would buy it and make unique use of it.

Mr Cooke, 49, said: “The parish council got in touch and explained that they had got this phone box and wanted to use it as a place to leave groceries and newspapers for people.

“I said that would be fine and deliver the things to the phone box every morning just before 7am. I put a list of everything that we have in the phone box and people can just call up and tell me what they want.

“They know that it will be put in the phone box the next day and they can just come by whenever they want and pick it up. Everything has the person’s name on it so they can just collect it and go.

“Customers either pay with a credit card over the phone or by leaving a cheque for me. It has been amazing the way everyone has respected the things that are left there.

“The phone box isn’t locked and people can come and go in there when they want but no one has taken a thing, which just shows how honest everyone around here is.

A shelf was built into the phone box specifically to hold newspapers, while others display the groceries on offer which include jam, milk, tea bags, sandwiches, butter, cheese and biscuits.

Mr Cooke doesn’t charge his customers anything extra for delivery, making the journey especially each morning to drop off what his clients want.

Parish clerk Jane Markham, 50, said the unusual telephone box collection system worked because villagers were so trustworthy.

She said: “It’s a good example of the community spirit of the village, we all look after each other.

“We talked about putting a lock on it, but we decided it wasn’t necessary. People here just want to look after each other.

“When the weather was bad last winter we all helped each other, some of the roads are quite steep so you have to look after the elderly.

“At first the telephone box was used just for newspapers, but it worked so well that two weeks ago we decided to try groceries as well.”

About 70 residents in Draughton, which has a population of just 250, use the telephone box and more are expected to join the new grocery service.

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Alaska cop uses Taser on black bear (AP)

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Fri Jul 23, 3:12 pm ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – An Alaska police officer used his Taser to discourage a small black bear that had gotten into someone’s fish fryer. Lt. Dave Parker delivered a 30-second burst of 100,000 volts to scare away the bear from a house.

Parker told the Anchorage Daily News the bear flipped on its back, flailing its feet in the air, growling and crying until it rolled off the porch. Parker says it shook its head and then quickly bolted away.

Parker hopes the stun gun tactic will keep the bear out of further mischief.

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Two nuns go on run over threat to send them to retirement home

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Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Sister Marie-Daniel, 86, and Sister Saint-Denis, 82, fled their nunnery two weeks ago after convent officials said they were being sent to a remote mountain retreat 250 miles away.

The pair vanished from the Sisters of Saint-Joseph convent in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, on the French Riviera convent, on July 12 and have not been seen since.

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A third 89-year-old nun, Sister Maurice-Marie, has revealed she also wanted to flee but broke her leg four days before the two elderly sisters disappeared.

A convent insider had told France-Soir newspaper that the nuns were furious at being “put out to grass” in a retirement home after 50 years at the nunnery.

They said: “They decided they wanted to jump before they were pushed.

“They would rather take their chances out in the world than have to live out their days in some far away rest home.”

Sister Colette Philibert, the region’s chief nun, said: “All we want is for our two dear sisters to make contact with us and return to the convent.”

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Angelina Jolie left scarred after set accident while filming stunts on new film Salt

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In the film she plays a CIA agent who is accused of being a Russian traitor.

The A-list actress plays a mysterious character performed her own stunts in the film where she plays a character called Evelyn Salt, a CIA officer accused of being a Russian spy who must prove her innocence while on the run.

The movie required her to jump across highway overpasses onto semi trucks, perform hand-to-hand combat and handle a number of different weapons.

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The 35 year-old, whose partner is Brad Pitt, said she sliced open part of her face just above her nose when tumbling into a doorway with a gun.

Speaking at the Comic-Con festival in San Diego, California, she said it had come during a “ridiculously” easy scene, which involved her rolling onto the floor. It has left her with a permanent scar.

“I was bleeding and I have a little scar now,” said the mother of six and UN goodwill ambassador for refugees.

She also thought she had suffered a concussion because she could not hear anything but later realised she was wearing earplugs.

“I couldn’t hear everybody well and I thought ‘oh god, I’ve done it. I have a concussion’. But it turns out, I just still had my earplugs in, so I was fine,” she told audience at the San Diego Convention Centre.

But despite her injury she said she was pleased with how they turned out.

“You can get away with so much in fantasy like bending a bullet, for example,” she said.

“So this one was a nice challenge because we had to work so much harder to convince the audience that all of these things are possible.

“I think these stunts in this movie are better than in other action movies that I’ve done.”

She added: “I love doing action, and I love doing dramatic films, and I’ve never really been able to combine them.”

During her training she was also required to train in martial arts including Krav Maga and Muy Thai.

For her role, she also consulted with a real spy, Mellisa Boyle Mahle, a former US intelligence officer and an expert on the Middle East and counterterrorism.

She was joined by her co-star Liev Schreiber, producer Dino di Bonaventure and director Phillip Noyce to promote the film, which opens later this month.

Her character, a married CIA officer, is accused by a Russian defector of being a Russian spy.

She flees from her CIA colleagues, including her boss (Liev Schreiber) and her main pursuer (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and spends the rest of the movie trying to prove her innocence.

But her actions, many of which result in dead bodies, cast doubt on her motives. It has left the world guessing if she really is a traitor.

The A-list actress, clad in a snug shiny black jacket, side-stepped fan questions about her mysterious character, who may or may not be a Russian spy.

“There’s a real duplicity to her personality,” she said.

“There’s a part of her that’s not necessarily a good guy, and because of certain things that happened to her, she’s a bit damaged.

“She’s not just heroic. She’s not even. She’s not just brave. There’s something a little off about her, and maybe there’s something off about me.”

Schreiber said he was impressed with his co-stars determination to do hr own stunts.

“She wanted to do every stunt, and she did,” he said.

“No CGI in the movie, no stunt double, it’s all her.”

Jolie has starred in movies including Tomb Raider, Girl, Interrupted and Wanted.

She and Pitt starred in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in 2005 and began dating after he divorced the actress Jennifer Aniston that year.

The couple started the Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2006 and have three adopted and three biological children.

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Judge: Ohio man can't form own Indian reservation (AP)

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LIMA, Ohio – An Ohio man who claimed that his American Indian ancestry makes him exempt from city nuisance laws has been ordered to clean up two homes that have fallen into disrepair.

A judge told William Bowersock on Thursday that he has 30 days to take care of the properties in Lima (LY’-muh).

The judge rejected Bowersock’s argument that he had seceded from the local government and formed his own Indian reservation, thereby making him exempt from the city’s property code.

Bowersock says he thinks the city is singling him out and using selective enforcement of property codes to harass him.

Judge Richard Warren said city officials have given Bowersock years to address the nuisance problem and that the rights of the city and Bowersock’s neighbors must be protected.

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Information from: The Lima News, Original article

U.S. blames fax for diplomatic gaffe over Russian (Reuters)

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By Arshad Mohammed Arshad Mohammed – Thu Jul 22, 6:32 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has apologized to Russia for failing to give it prompt notice that a Russian citizen was in U.S. custody and blamed the error on an official hitting the wrong fax button, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

The notification went to Romania instead of Russia, said U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We pressed the wrong button on the fax machine, to be brutally honest,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in his daily briefing, declining to identify which country received the notice. “We have apologized to Russia.”

As part of a major drug bust, Liberian authorities took custody of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko in Liberia on May 28 and he was handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency on May 30.

According to a federal indictment, Yaroshenko flew “thousand-kilogram” shipments of cocaine throughout South America, Africa and Europe. He has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which carries a minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Under standard diplomatic practice, countries typically provide prompt notification if they are holding a citizen of another nation. Diplomats are expected to have access to the prisoners and be able to communicate freely with them.

According to the Russian Embassy, a bilateral agreement dating to 1964 requires the United States to inform Russia when it is holding a Russian within “the shortest possible time.”

Crowley said the United States typically seeks to do so within 72 hours and only realized the notice had gone to the wrong country after that. He said he believed the United States had resolved the matter via an exchange of diplomatic notes.

Russia made no secret of its anger about the case, issuing an unusually harsh statement on Wednesday that accused the United States of violating international law as well as the 1964 U.S.-Soviet pact, which continues to apply to Russia.

“Effectively, we’re talking about a kidnapping of a Russian citizen from a third country,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“In addition, U.S. authorities have not informed the Russian diplomatic missions about Yaroshenko’s detention. The actions of U.S. special services in the forcible and secret relocation of our citizen from Monrovia to New York could only be seen as open lawlessness,” it added.

A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was a U.S. Justice Department official who pushed the wrong button on the fax. Two U.S. officials said the notice went to Romania rather than Russia.

“While he was in our custody, we followed the rules of law and the Geneva Convention regulations regarding treatment of a defendant,” said spokesman Lawrence Payne of the DEA, a part of the Justice Department, declining further comment.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; editing by Todd Eastham)

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Hot weather shrinks size of German fries (Reuters)

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BERLIN (Reuters) – French fries in Germany could be significantly shorter this year due to the heatwave that has baked Germany and much of Europe this month, the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) said on Friday.

Hot and dry weather has led to a meagre harvest of extra-large potatoes used to produce the ideal-length French fry.

“The French fries industry and consumers will have to brace themselves for shorter fries,” said spokeswoman Verena Telaar, adding that smaller potatoes mean that fries will probably be 45 millimetres (1.8 inches) long at best, down from the usual 55 mm (2.2 inches).

Germany produces 11 million tonnes of potatoes a year, about 10 percent of which are turned into French fries.

(Reporting by Max Chrambach; Editing by Steve Addison)

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