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Lawyer was not himself when he became an art thief

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Lawyer was not himself

"A Sydney lawyer who stole two paintings from a restaurant has a form of amnesia that caused him to think he was an art thief," reports Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Michael Gerard Sullivan, 54, has pleaded guilty to stealing two paintings from the Katoomba Fine Art Gallery in December, 2008. At the time the gallery was also a restaurant. … During his court case Mr. Sullivan's lawyers tendered two psychiatric reports which concluded he had dissociative amnesia and his actions were totally out of character. The court heard the disorder caused him to take on the identity of an art thief and not remember his actions. Judge Jennifer English accepted the diagnosis, saying Mr. Sullivan had previously lived an exemplary life."

She put the blame on Lisa

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"Pennsylvania State Police said a woman accused of taking complimentary items from a hotel room blamed a non-existent twin sister for the crime," says United Press International. "Investigators said Jennifer Brown, 31, who stayed at the Holiday Inn in Big Beaver, Pa., Aug. 5, is accused of taking $206 worth of items … and the woman blamed her twin sister, Lisa Brown, for taking the items. However, investigators said they could find no record of the twin sister's existence."

When twins are in trouble

"Newspapers are littered with stories of twins who confused police and prosecutors, either intentionally or unintentionally," writes Brian Palmer for Slate.com. "In 2009, a pair of Malaysian identical twins was spared from execution when the judge ruled that prosecutors failed to prove which twin was the true owner of a stash of narcotics. (Drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence in Malaysia.) In February of last year, eyewitnesses insisted that either Orlando Nembhard or his twin brother, Brandon, committed a murder outside an Arizona nightclub. The problem for investigators is that the witnesses disagreed on which twin was the gunman. After holding Orlando for months, prosecutors eventually dropped the charges, because they couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either of the Nembhard twins committed the crime."

An Amish cowgirl

Esther Miller is a mother of six from Sugarcreek, Ohio, says BBC News. "She is also a cowgirl and a professional rodeo rider. Raised in a traditional Amish family where young girls did not join in such athletic pursuits, Esther always dreamed of barrel racing on horseback. When Esther grew up she left the Amish community … Now 37, she has won several competitions in the six years since turning professional. … Her sister Melinda, who remains part of the Amish community, regularly watches her race at rodeos. And Esther says she still speaks German to her horse."

Shut up and eat

"Eva, a restaurant in Los Angeles, is offering a discount to diners who leave their smartphone at the door," says The Daily Telegraph. "Mark Gold, the chef and owner of Eva, said: 'It's about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone.' Mr. Gold isn't the first to try to enforce a 'no smartphones at the table' policy. While he is trying to bring about smartphone-free dining through incentives, the 'Phone Stack' game uses the prospect of punishment to encourage people to do the right thing. The Phone Stack has been growing in popularity in the United States for some time. It's very simple: at the start of the meal everyone places their mobile phone in the centre of the table, face down. The first person to pick up their phone pays the bill for everyone."

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Go ahead and surf, already

"It was nothing like this 3,000 years ago," writes Elinor Zuckerman of Associated Press. "An Israeli attraction meant to immerse tourists in an authentic, ancient biblical experience has outfitted its donkeys with wireless routers. At the historical park of Kfar Kedem in northern Israel, visitors decked out in biblical robes and headdresses ride donkeys through the rolling hills of the Galilee, learning how people lived in Old Testament times. Now they can also surf the Web while touring the land of the Bible on one of the oldest forms of transportation. A device slung around the donkey's neck like a feedbag is actually a Wi-Fi router. The park's manager, Menachem Goldberg, said Wednesday he hopes the melding of old and new will connect the younger generation to ancient Galilee life while allowing them to share, tweet and snap the experience instantly to friends."

Thought du jour

"'Know thyself:' to what depths of vain, egocentric brooding has that dictum led!"

– Norman Douglas,English writer (1868-1952)

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