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Quick Takes

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A thin blue blur

A Swedish police officer who assaulted a mo-ped driver he had hit with his car-and handcuffed a man suffering from a stroke-is not guilty of "grossly neglecting his commitments to his employer," according to a police disciplinary board. So he is returning to the force in Stockholm. The officer, whom the board did not identify because of privacy concerns, was convicted and fined in 2000 for reckless driving and assault in the mo-ped incident. He was also convicted and fined for breach of duty after handcuffing a man he thought was drunk but was actually having a stroke. After his convictions, he was reassigned to Sweden's police academy. Part of his job there: teaching recruits how to handle personal conflict.

Euro trashed

Any mystery surrounding the euro's rise in value against the dollar may be solved. The Institute for Biomedical Research, a Nuremberg think tank, last week reported that 9 in 10 euro banknotes in Germany contain trace amounts of cocaine, apparently residue left by users who rolled up the notes to snort the drug. A 1999 study showed that 99 percent of banknotes in London were contaminated with the drug.

British "standards"

The Phoenix Dance Theater in Leeds, northern England, is in hot water with Britain's Advertising Standards Authority for publishing a leaflet with naked dancers on it. But the problem wasn't with the content of the leaflet; it was with the content of the show. "Readers were likely to expect that the performances contained naked dancers," the agency said, and since the dancers were clothed, the leaflet amounted to false advertising.

Fun with Fidel

Cuban-American radio announcers Joe Ferrero and Enrique Santos apparently caught the "big, big fish" they were angling for. The Miami-based duo say they conned Cuban dictator Fidel Castro into thinking he was talking to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last month, and they played the gag on the air. They kept Mr. Castro on the air for about four minutes by playing snippets of a tape recording of Mr. Chavez. Mr. Castro responded to the snippets, thinking he was in a real conversation, until Mr. Santos broke in and called him an "assassin." Mr. Castro responded with a string of obscenities. "For the first time in history we've managed to have Fidel Castro react in a way, I think, no one has heard him react before," Mr. Santos said later. The duo successfully performed a similar gag on Mr. Chavez in January.

Mowing while intoxicated

A German court fined a 45-year-old gardener 400 euros and banned him from driving for three months as punishment for drunk driving-but the perp did not commit the crime on the autobahn. Police nabbed him when he was parking his lawnmower, which has a maximum speed of four miles per hour. He admits having drunk a bottle of wine before operating the vehicle but still plans to appeal the ruling.

Pets most fowl

Are chickens coming home to roost in suburbia? Associated Press writer Eric Tucker reports that raising chickens is the latest trend in suburban pet ownership. "It's quite aesthetically pleasing to watch the chicken wander around the yard," said Gail Herrine of Bala Cynwyd, Penn. "My husband was not particularly interested in having chickens ... but when he comes home and they're wandering around, there's something really cool about it, having fowl in the yard."

Will Milosevic get the boot?

Slobodan Milosevic wants to work in a Pennsylvania boot factory. Whether he will be able to do so depends on how the 45-year-old immigrant from Yugoslavia-who shares his name with the former Yugoslavian strongman-fares in court. Mr. Milosevic dodged military service in Kosovo by coming to the United States in 1992 and began working in the Lebanon, Pa., factory, but immigration officials reject his claim that he would face persecution in his home country and want to deport him. His wife, U.S. citizen Robin Milosevic, claims that an official said Mr. Milosevic would have a better case if he changed his name: "My husband is not guilty by association with his name."


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