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Watercooler Stories

Published By United Press International
German tax collectors suggest toilet logs

BERLIN, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- German tax authorities have recommended truck drivers keep a log book for the tax office of how much time they spend in the bathroom.

The Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said authorities recommended the 1.5 million truck drivers in the country keep records of how often they go to the restroom and how long they spend on the toilet, so they can accurately determine how much of their income should be written off when their taxes are calculated, The Local.de reported Tuesday.

Uwe Rauhoft of the NVL , a group representing income tax advisers, criticized the scheme as "a ridiculous, costly process."

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Group blasts playground yo-yo ban

LONDON, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A British health and safety watchdog criticized teachers for banning yo-yos on a playground, saying safety concerns are based on myth.

The Health and Safety Executive, a non-governmental public agency, said teachers at the school -- whose name was not reported -- went "over the top" in banning children from paying with yo-yos on the playground, The Sun reported Tuesday.

The organization's "mythbusters" panel, which criticizes organizations for taking safety measures deemed to be based in myth, said there is no real reason to ban the traditional toys.

The group questioned other recent restrictions, including the case of a charity chop banning knitting needles to prevent people from stabbing themselves and airlines ceasing to sell boiled sweets in case passengers choke on them.

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Freed sergeant takes kids to meet 'Santa'

HEREFORD, England, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A British Special Air Service sergeant who nearly spent Christmas behind bars, instead took his two young girls to Finland to meet Santa Claus.

Danny Nightingale, 37 -- who was jailed by a court-martial last month for keeping a 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammo at his Hereford, England, quarters -- said he was able to take his wife, Sally, 38, and daughters Mara, 5, and Alys, 2, to the Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland, after his 18-month sentence was reduced to a suspended 12-month term, The Sun reported Tuesday.

Nightingale said the gun was a gift from Iraqi soldiers and he had forgotten about it due to a brain injury he sustained.

The sergeant said he was pleased to be able to do something special for his girls for Christmas.

"There was a time I thought I'd be spending Christmas alone in jail," he said. "I never imagined I'd be bringing my girls to meet Santa. After all that's happened over the past few weeks that was magical -- the kids' faces were priceless."

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Christmas is best day to bust cheaters

LONDON, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A British divorce lawyer says Christmas Day is the top day for "text message bustings" of unfaithful spouses.

Ayesha Vardag said she has noticed Christmas Day has become the most popular day of the year for suspicious spouses to conduct the "text message bustings" by finding messages sent to or from an unfaithful significant other, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.

"It is really very sad," said Vardag, whose high-profile cases include representing German heiress Katrin Radmacher in her $160.8 million divorce case. "There is a psychological sense of Christmas being the barometer of how a family is doing. But the other thing we find a lot is that there are a lot of text message 'bustings' on Christmas Day, usually because the husband leaves the phone around and the mistress is sending messages.

"We see that a lot ... it is amazing how many times that is what catches people out," she said. "It has just become very obvious and transparent. Husbands will go off and call the mistress and then the wife will wonder where they were or who they were calling, they will either find the number on there or the text message.

"I do wonder whether there is an element of people wanting to get caught because it is an easier way of dealing with it than saying that they want to leave," Vardag said.
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Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa