World briefs – December 30

A Wisconsin man has earned bragging rights as the champion liar of 2010 with this line: “I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.”

Liar’s club honours Wisconsin man for line

MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin man has earned bragging rights as the champion liar of 2010 with this line: “I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.”

David Milz, 49, told The Associated Press he came up with the one-liner over the summer when he was joking around with colleagues. He thought it might be good enough to win the Burlington Liars Club’s annual contest, but the call he received Wednesday was still a surprise.

“I was just shocked when I heard I won,” the Bristol man said. “Hey, it’s a resume builder.”

The liars’ club started in 1929 as a lighthearted way to honour the creativity and humour of good exaggeration. A lifetime membership costs $1, but anyone can submit fibs for free.

About 500 entries came in this year from around the United States, with most from the Midwest, club vice-president Ed Impens said. He and two other judges sifted through the entries this week and each made a Top10 list.

Milz’s entry was the only one that made all three lists, Impens said.

“It had all three of the things we think are important: It’s fairly short, humour is very important, and it’s timely,” he said.

The runners-up include this line from Ellen Everts of New London: “My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.”

And Daryl Lockwood of Waupaca submitted this: “My neighbour’s scarecrow was so good that the crows brought back the corn they stole last year.”


Free pot promotion brings in tons of food

SOQUEL, Calif. — A California medical marijuana dispensary has raked in food donations with a unique offer: free pot.

The Granny Purps dispensary in Soquel, about 60 miles (100 kilometres) southeast of San Francisco, offered a complimentary marijuana cigarette for every four cans of food a patient brought in this holiday season. Each patient was limited to a maximum of three cigarettes a day.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the dispensary took in 11,000 pounds (5,000 kilograms) of food and handed out 2,000 marijuana cigarettes between November and Christmas Eve, when the promotion ended.

The food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.


Package a false alarm

ROME — Bomb squad teams were dispatched to the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican on Wednesday after it reported a suspicious package — but it was a false alarm, police said.

Embassies in Rome have been on high alert for a week after anarchists mailed package bombs to at least three embassies in the Italian capital. Two exploded, injuring the people who opened them.

There have also been more than a dozen false alarms in recent days as embassy staff comb through mail backlogs following the Christmas holidays.

Police at the site of the Embassy, overlooking the Circus Maximus field, said the latest report was a false alarm.

An Italian anarchist group calling itself the “Informal Anarchist Federation” has claimed responsibility for sending the bombs to the Chilean, Swiss and Greek embassies to Italy, saying it was responding to an appeal by Greek anarchists to step up attacks.

Greek anarchists sent 14 mail bombs to various embassies in Athens last month and called on anarchists worldwide to unite and organize a “revolutionary war.” Two men were arrested for the Athens bombings. In addition, more than a dozen members of the group that claimed responsibility, the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire, are due to go on trial in Athens on Jan. 17.

Earlier Wednesday, two small bombs exploded in front of the northern Italian headquarters of a right-wing party, the Northern League, that is a member of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

Varese police inspector Carla Galluccio said no one was hurt. She said anarchists were believed responsible.

The anti-immigrant Northern League — whose founder Umberto Bossi lives down the block from party headquarters — once advocated secession for Italy’s prosperous north. It has been the target of previous attacks; Wednesday’s blasts shattered the office windows.