Mad Minute stories from Thursday, March 16th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, March 16th

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LONDON (AP) -- British officials are trying to trace the owner of a trove of gold coins worth a "life-changing" amount of money found stashed inside a piano.
A coroner investigating the find on Thursday urged anyone with information to come forward.
When the piano's owners took it to be tuned last year in Shropshire, central England, it was found to contain a hoard of gold sovereigns minted between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.
Investigators have determined that the piano was built in London in 1906 and sold to a pair of piano teachers in Saffron Walden, eastern England. They are seeking information on its ownership before 1983.
Anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20, when coroner John Ellery will conclude his inquest.
If the gold's owner or heirs cannot be traced, it will be declared treasure, and the piano's current owners will reap the reward.
Officials have not disclosed how much the coins are worth. Peter Reavill, who assesses finds for the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme, said "it's a hoard of objects which is potentially life-changing for somebody to receive."

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -- A pastor in Sierra Leone has discovered the largest uncut diamond found in more than four decades in this West African country and has turned it over to the government, saying he hopes it helps to boost recent development in his impoverished nation.
Pastor Emmanuel Momoh found the 706-carat alluvial diamond in Yakadu village in Sierra Leone's diamond-rich east, and it was presented to President Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday, said presidential spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay.
The gem, a bit smaller than a hockey puck, is the second largest diamond found in Sierra Leone. In 1972, the 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone was found by miners and sold for about $2.5 million.
Momoh told The Associated Press that he turned in the diamond because he was touched by the development being undertaken in Kono District, where the gem was found. He cited road construction and improvements to electricity after almost 30 years of blackouts.
"I believe the government can do more, especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges," he said.
Sierra Leone's diamond wealth fueled a decade-long civil war that ended in 2002. Despite its mineral wealth, the country remains one of the poorest in the world.
It was not immediately clear how the pastor came across the diamond.
The president expressed appreciation that there was no attempt to smuggle the gem out of the country, and encouraged others to emulate the pastor's example. He promised the diamond would be sold to the highest bidder and whatever is due to the owner and government would be distributed accordingly.
"A gift from God, and it will be a terrible thing if anyone tries to do something criminal with it," the president said.
Spokesman Bayraytay said the diamond has not yet been valued and has been placed in the Bank of Sierra Leone.
The president has given "clear instruction to the Ministry of Mines that the evaluation, sale and distribution of the proceeds must be done in the most transparent manner," he said.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A former North Carolina trial judge says he illegally offered a law enforcement officer beer and money to produce text messages he believed would show his wife was having an affair.
Former state Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of promising gratuities to a public official.
A jury in October convicted Jones of crimes including bribery, but a different judge ordered a new trial. Two charges were dropped in return for Jones's guilty plea.
Jones lost a re-election bid in November.
Prosecutors said Jones promised cases of beer and $100 to an officer who would pressure his wife's mobile phone provider to provide text message records. Jones knew that was prevented by law except during a criminal investigation.

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JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) -- Police in Georgia are searching for an unhappy customer who threw her takeout order at restaurant workers.
Clayton County Police Det. Sefan Schindler told WSB-TV Wednesday the woman was upset because she said there wasn't enough seasoning salt on her French fries at a Zaxby's restaurant in suburban Atlanta. The woman took two takeout containers filled with food and tossed them over the counter.
Restaurant video shows the woman leaving with her order and then returning with a man to complain to a manager. The unhappy woman punched the register monitor. Schindler says she spewed curse words toward employees.
The man with her stood in silence during her tirade. News reports say the incident occurred March 10.
Schindler says the woman could face charges for damage to the property.

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ASHLAND, Pa. (AP) -- State troopers have charged two Pennsylvania women with disorderly conduct for a hair-pulling fight that erupted over a newly shoveled parking spot on a snowy street.
Troopers in Schuylkill (SKOOL'-kil) County say a 23-year-old woman claimed she shoveled the spot only to have her 43-year-old neighbor's husband park his pickup in it. It happened in Ashland borough on Tuesday night. The region took the brunt of that day's winter storm.
Police say the women argued about the parking space before pushing and punching one another, and then pulling each other's hair.
Both have been charged with disorderly conduct.
The citations are being mailed to the women.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Should a chimpanzee be treated as a person with legal rights?
That's what attorney Steven Wise tried to convince a state appeals court in Manhattan of on Thursday. Wise, who represents the Florida-based Nonhuman Rights Project animal advocacy group, argued that two chimps named Tommy and Kiko should be freed from cages to live in an outdoor sanctuary.
Wise has been trying for years, unsuccessfully, to get courts to grant the chimps habeas corpus in order to, he says, free them from unlawful imprisonment.
He says the apes, which didn't appear in court, deserve a better quality of life. If the court agrees, they would be sent to live with others of their species on one of 13 islands amid a lake in Fort Pierce, Florida, that comprise the Save the Chimps sanctuary.
A five-judge panel will issue its ruling in the coming days or weeks.
Kiko's keeper, Carmen Presti, says he's not giving up the chimp.
He and his wife rescued the deaf chimp 23 years ago from a life of performing at state fairs and in the television movie "Tarzan in Manhattan." Kiko is believed to have lost his hearing when he was beaten by a trainer, and has medical problems requiring constant attention.
"If he's taken away, he could die without his family to give him the special care he needs, and to bring him into the house to play," says Presti, of Niagara Falls, New York, where he runs the nonprofit Primate Sanctuary, whose rescue animals are part of a youth educational program.
Tommy was caged at a trailer lot in Gloversville, outside Albany.
His keeper, Patrick Lavery, calls all the lawsuits "a ridiculous thing." He told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he had temporarily cared for Tommy to spare him from being euthanized, then donated him to an out-of-state facility in September 2015. Lavery declined to provide further details, saying he didn't want to draw more attention to the chimps' legal drama.
Wise's Coral Springs, Florida-based Nonhuman Rights Project has a history of litigation linked to chimps that started in 2013, when a lawsuit on behalf of Kiko was first filed in state Supreme Court in Niagara Falls and in Fulton County on behalf of Tommy. The same year, another suit named Hercules and Leo - chimps being used for anatomical research at Stony Brook University on Long Island. They're now at a Louisiana research facility, Wise said.
In 2014, an Albany appellate court ruled that Tommy was not legally a person because chimps cannot have duties and responsibilities. Wise countered by citing primate pioneer Jane Goodall's court brief in which she says chimps do carry out duties and responsibilities in animal family settings and that apes have complex cognitive abilities allowing them to make choices.
However, legal personhood does not mean animals are expected to perform daily human tasks. It's a technical term that ensures legal entities - in this case, chimps - have basic rights.
Presti is not taking any direct legal action. But he has the support of attorney Bob Kohn, who also wrote a brief for the Albany appeal, saying, "There's no practical need to provide human rights to nonhumans."
Still, Wise remains doggedly hopeful - especially after an Argentinean judge ruled in November that chimps in fact have habeas corpus rights. "We will win, in the end," he said.
Presti has his own view of the litigation.
"Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," Presti said with a chuckle. "But I believe he's doing this for publicity."

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GREENUP, Ky. (AP) - A boulder that was at the center of a three-year dispute between Kentucky and Ohio may be getting a new home where the public can view it.
The Independent reports officials in eastern Kentucky will seek grant money to build a gazebo in South Shore where the 8-ton boulder known as Indian Head Rock can be placed.
The rock was a well-known landmark on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River before it was removed in 2007 by a group who took it to Portsmouth, Ohio, saying it needed to be protected. Kentucky sued to get it back. The rock was returned to Kentucky in 2010 and was put in storage.
Greenup County Judge-Executive Bobby Carpenter says officials want to exhibit the rock in a safe place.

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BERLIN (AP) -- A dog walker in the German capital can be thankful he turned out to be a fruitless target after his close call with a coconut cannon.
The man was walking in an industrial area on March 1 when he heard a bang and a ball-shaped projectile flew past him, hitting a nearby lamppost.
Berlin police say officers called to the scene were surprised to find a large homemade cannon capable of shooting coconuts at high speeds with compressed air.
A 23-year-old man told officers he had helped to build the cannon for an art project in the Antarctic and wanted to test it before it was shipped.
Police said Wednesday they impounded the cannon and prosecutors are investigating whether it breaches arms control laws.

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MURFREESBORO, Ark. (AP) -- A teenager has found a 7.44 carat diamond at a state park in southwestern Arkansas.
Officials at Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro say the rock found Saturday by 14-year-old Kalel Langford is the seventh largest found since the park was established in 1972. The park hasn't provided an estimate of the diamond's value.
The teen said in a statement Thursday that he spotted the diamond among rocks near a stream. He has named it "Superman's Diamond" and plans to keep it as a souvenir.
Park interpreter Waymon Cox describes the diamond as pinto-bean sized and similar in color to coffee.
The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States, the 40.23 carat "Uncle Sam," was unearthed on the land in 1924.

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A tasty mystery is brewing at an Ohio library after more than two dozen empty steak sauce bottles were found behind the books.
Jill Ralston, a spokesperson for the Avon Lake Public Library in Avon Lake, Ohio, said employees found the first bottle of A.1. steak sauce shoved inside of newspapers in January. They have since found another 30 bottles.
"There's no label, and the labels have been peeled, but you can tell there had been a label on them," Ralston told WOIO. "They're dishwasher clean, dry inside and out, just a hint of A.1. still lingering in the bottle."
Employees are perplexed because the bottle have been turning up in random place throughout the library. Ralston said most of the time they have found them behind books on the shelves.
"And some days we find multiples. There have been times when we've found many as three or four a day," said she.
Some people believe it could be local kids playing a prank, but Ralston played down that theory.
"I think they're being hidden during the day sometime, so that makes me think it's not a student because we're finding them after 3 p.m.," she said.
She did say that if it is in fact a game, the perpetrator should let them know the rules so they can play along.
"Are we messing up the game by finding them and removing them from the shelf? I have no idea," said Ralston.

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