Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 29th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, January 29th

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UXBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts couple have finally gotten the church wedding they always wanted - 70 years after first tying the knot.
The Telegram & Gazette reports 90-year-old Edward Gouin and 89-year-old Lena Gouin renewed their vows Saturday at the Roman Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Uxbridge thanks to some careful planning by their family.
Edward is Catholic and Lena is Congregationalist so a wedding in a church was barred when they were first married. Instead, they were wed in a church rectory.
Attitudes have since changed.
Edward says, "Today, it can happen."
The World War II veteran says the secrets to a long marriage are never go to bed angry and kiss your wife every time you leave the house.
The couple have three children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Archaic laws that are a holdover from a time when people fought in duels a la Alexander Hamilton and rode horses on highways would be struck from the books in Rhode Island if a lawmaker has his way.
House Majority Whip John Edwards picked some of the silliest laws to start with. Since at least 1798, it's been illegal to arrange to meet another person and engage in a fight. Testing the speed of a horse on public highways was banned in 1896.
"Right now I just picked the low-lying fruit," he said Thursday. "These are the most embarrassing of the group."
Edwards, a Democrat, has tried for years to create a joint committee within the General Assembly to review laws and recommend which ones are no longer needed. That idea didn't gain traction so he's now introducing bills to repeal old laws individually.
He has introduced five so far. He hopes to file up to 50 bills this year to remove arbitrary statutes and cumbersome regulations that he feels can choke the economy and cause confusion.
"People do spring cleaning in their houses," he said. "We need to do a little spring cleaning in our regulations and laws."
Edwards still introduced a bill to create a committee in case House leaders change their mind about the idea, but Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has felt that a committee isn't necessary. He wanted appropriate House committees to consider each law on its merits.
A look at the first laws targeted by Edwards:
SEAWEED: Edwards' bill would repeal a law restricting the amount of seaweed Barrington residents can take from the public beach to use as fertilizer and forbidding residents of other towns from taking seaweed. It has been on the books for about 200 years.
DUELING: Edwards' bill would repeal a law that forbids being the "second" of either party in a duel where a mortal injury is inflicted, which was a person who ensured the duel was carried out honorably. A separate statute bans dueling.
HORSERACING: Edwards' bill would repeal a law that makes it illegal to race or test the speed of a horse on public highways. The current law calls for a fine of up to $20 or no more than 10 days in jail.
DRIVING: Edwards' bill would amend a law that requires who pass another vehicle on the left to give a "timely, audible signal," such as honking or shouting. It would change the word "audible" to "visible," meaning the use of a directional signal. The original 1916 law specified that a bell or horn should be used.
TORPEDO PRACTICE: Edwards' bill would repeal a law that prohibits anyone from interfering with torpedo practice off Goat Island in Newport, Rhode Island. The U.S. Navy used to have a torpedo station there.
 
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A kangaroo named Paul has become the oldest living tree kangaroo in the country.
Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence says the Matschie's tree kangaroo turned 23 years, three months and four days old on Friday.
The zoo says it knows of no other male tree kangaroo to reach this age anywhere.
Paul has good genes. His mother lived to age 27 at the zoo in Miami.
To celebrate, Paul may get extra sweet potatoes, his favorite.
Paul retired two years ago so he's kept in a habitat that's closed to the public.
The zoo says Matschie's tree kangaroos are native to Papua New Guinea and live to about 8 years old in the wild or 14 years old in captivity.

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WEST COVINA, Calif. (AP) - It was less an arrest than a roundup.
Police say a donkey led more than a dozen sheep and goats on a stroll through a suburban West Covina neighborhood east of Los Angeles.
Police were called around 12:30 a.m. Thursday by reports of a herd of animals walking the streets.
The animals were finally corralled with the help of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities say the animals escaped their owners' property in neighboring Valinda through an unsecured gate.
The owner was contacted and took the herd back home.
No injuries were reported but police say it raised a few eyebrows among officers who thought they'd seen it all.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp wore a fake nose and sunglasses to try to help her daughter pass a 2011 Wisconsin driving test after she failed her initial attempt.
Stepp had her daughter, Hannah, introduce her when she addressed her staff for the first time Jan. 11 after President Donald Trump appointed the former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretary to be the EPA Region 5 administrator, the Chicago Tribune reported .
Staffers were nervous about meeting her because Republican Gov. Scott Walker's 2015-17 Wisconsin state budget eliminated nearly 19 scientist positions at the Wisconsin DNR. Walker appointed Stepp as secretary. During her tenure, the agency also scrubbed language stating that humans are causing climate change from its website and the number of environmental enforcement cases decreased sharply.
Stepp asked her daughter to introduce her in an attempt to humanize her, according to the Tribune. During the introduction, Hannah Stepp said her mother wore the fake nose and sunglasses so she could follow someone taking the Wisconsin driver's test. She said she had failed her first test and her mother wanted to learn the route to help her practice for her second attempt, which she passed.
She told the newspaper that her mom always carries a fake nose around.
Cathy Stepp issued a statement Friday through EPA spokeswoman Rachel Bassler saying "this was a lovely opportunity for my daughter to help me introduce myself to my new colleagues. She told an exaggerated, humorous story to poke a little fun at me. It surprises me that anyone would take it otherwise."
Bassler declined to comment when asked what parts of the story Hannah Stepp exaggerated. Hannah Stepp didn't immediately return voicemail, email and text messages.

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BEIRUT - An interactive map posted on the Internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.
The Global Heat Map, published by the GPS tracking company Strava, uses satellite information to map the locations and movements of subscribers to the company's fitness service over a two-year period, by illuminating areas of activity.
Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. The map is not live - rather, it shows a pattern of accumulated activity between 2015 and September 2017.
Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity. 
In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark - except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites - presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.
The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State said on Monday it is revising its guidelines on the use of all wireless and technological devices on military facilities as a result of the revelations.
The existing rules on the privacy settings to be applied to devices such as fitness trackers are being "refined" and commanders at bases are being urged to enforce existing rules governing their use, according to a statement from the Central Command press office in Kuwait.
"The rapid development of new and innovative information technologies enhances the quality of our lives but also poses potential challenges to operational security and force protection," said the statement, which was issued in response to questions from The Washington Post.
"The Coalition is in the process of implementing refined guidance on privacy settings for wireless technologies and applications, and such technologies are forbidden at certain Coalition sites and during certain activities," it added.
The Pentagon has encouraged the use of Fitbits among military personnel and in 2013 distributed 2,500 of them as part of a pilot program to battle obesity.
The Global Heat Map was posted online in November 2017, but the information it contains was publicized Saturday only after a 20-year-old Australian student stumbled across it.
Nathan Ruser, who is studying international security and the Middle East, found out about the map from a mapping blog and was inspired to look more closely, he said, after a throwaway comment by his father, who observed that the map offered a snapshot of "where rich white people are" in the world.
"I wondered, does it show U.S. soldiers?" Ruser said, and he immediately zoomed in on Syria. "It sort of lit up like a Christmas tree."
He started tweeting about his discovery, and the Internet also lit up as data analysts, military experts and former soldiers began scouring the map for evidence of activity in their areas of interest. 
Adam Rawnsley, a Daily Beast journalist, noticed a lot of jogging activity on the beach near a suspected CIA base in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Another Twitter user said he had located a Patriot missile system site in Yemen.
Ben Taub, a journalist with the New Yorker, homed in on the location of U.S. Special Operations bases in the Sahel region of Africa.
The site does not identify app users and shows many locations that may be connected to aid agencies, U.N. facilities and the military bases of other nations - or any group whose personnel are likely to use fitness trackers, said Tobias Schneider, an international security analyst based in Germany.
But it is not hard, he said, to map the activity to known, or roughly known, U.S. military sites and then glean further information.
The location of most of the sites is public knowledge - such as the vast Kandahar air base in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has publicly acknowledged that U.S. Special Operations troops maintain a small outpost at Tanf in the Syrian desert near the Iraqi border, which shows up on the map as a neatly illuminated oblong, probably because U.S. soldiers wearing Fitbits or similar devices either jog around or patrol the perimeter.
But the data also offers a mine of information to anyone who wants to attack or ambush U.S. troops in or around the bases, Schneider said, including patterns of activity inside the bases. Many people wear their fitness trackers all day to measure their total step counts, and soldiers appear to be no exception, meaning the maps reveal far more than just their exercise habits.
Lines of activity extending out of bases and back may indicate patrol routes. The map of Afghanistan appears as a spider web of lines connecting bases, showing supply routes, as does northeast Syria, where the United States maintains a network of mostly unpublicized bases. Concentrations of light inside a base may indicate where troops live, eat or work, suggesting possible targets for enemies.
At a site in northern Syria near a dam, where analysts have suspected the U.S. military is building a base, the map shows a small blob of activity accompanied by an intense line along the nearby dam, suggesting that the personnel at the site jog regularly along the dam, Schneider said.
"This is a clear security threat," he said. "You can see a pattern of life. You can see where a person who lives on a compound runs down a street to exercise. In one of the U.S. bases at Tanf, you can see people running round in circles."
"Big OPSEC  and PERSEC  fail," tweeted Nick Waters, a former British army officer who pinpointed the location of his former base in Afghanistan using the map. "Patrol routes, isolated patrol bases, lots of stuff that could be turned into actionable intelligence."
By no means is all the activity discovered related to U.S. forces, Schneider said. The perimeter of the main Russian base in Syria, Hmeimim, is clearly visible - as are several routes out of the base that are presumably taken by patrols, he said.
Other Russian bases also show up, but Iranians either don't use fitness trackers or prudently turn them off, he noted.
Strava apps and devices contain an option to turn off the data transmission service, making it more the responsibility of the user to ensure that security isn't breached, Ruser said. "It seems like a big oversight," he said.
Strava issued a statement overnight saying that it is "committed to working with military and government officials to address sensitive areas that might appear." An earlier company statement had urged its subscribers to check their privacy settings and provided a link to a site that explained how to do that.

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BERLIN (AP) - Police say two truck trailers loaded with 44 tons (48.5 U.S. tons) of chocolate were stolen in southern Germany and there's no sign of the sticky-fingered perpetrators.
Police said Monday the trailers packed with 400,000 euros ($496,100) worth of chocolate were stolen from an industrial park in Freiburg on Friday night.
One was found Saturday hauled by a Polish truck that had stopped at a rest area near the German-French border. The driver fled on foot and the trailer was still full of the stolen chocolate.
The second trailer was found in Lahr, also near the border with France. Two thirds of the chocolate - and the thief - were gone.
Police say they've launched a search for the thieves and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

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BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - An Texas inmate who had escaped has been arrested trying to break back in the prison with bottles of alcohol, tobacco and home-cooked food
The Jefferson County sheriff's office says 25-year-old Joshua Hansen of Dallas has been charged with escape and possession of marijuana. He was originally imprisoned on a narcotics conviction.
Deputies spotted Hansen Wednesday as he ran onto private land near the prison in Beaumont and grabbed a duffel bag containing three bottles of brandy, some whisky, tobacco and "a large amount of home-cooked food." They arrested him as he ran back toward the prison.
Nearby rancher Michael Latta told KFDM-TV that he has for years contended with low-level offenders who flee the facility only to later return.

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PARIS (AP) - Brawls have broken out in French supermarkets as shoppers scramble to get their hands on discounted jars of chocolate and hazelnut spread.
Chaotic scenes were filmed in several supermarkets across the country operated by the Intermarche chain, which offered massive discounts on jars of Nutella.
The promotion, launched on Thursday, reduced the price of more than a million 950-gram jars from 4.70 euros ($5.85) to 1.41 ($1.75).
In one video posted on Twitter, customers are seen shoving each other and shouting as they try to get as many jars as possible. According to Le Parisien newspaper, shoppers started to fight in the northern town of Ostricourt, prompting police to step in.
Intermarche did not immediately answer a message from The Associated Press seeking comments. Ferrero, the company that produces Nutella, decried the incidents and distanced itself from the supermarket chain.
"We want to clarify that the decision for the special offer was taken unilaterally by Intermarche," the company said in a statement. "We regret the consequences of this operation, which created confusion and disappointment in the consumers' minds."
The discount was meant to last until Saturday but stocks ran out very quickly at many supermarkets. Sales went smoothly in some places, however, with no incidents reported in several supermarkets taking part in the promotion.

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ROME (AP) - Italians fed up with the country's lousy postal service may now have found a culprit: Police say they discovered nearly a half-ton of undelivered mail in a rogue postman's garage.
The postal police said the 573-kilogram stash in the Vicenza home of the 56-year-old postman was the biggest seizure of mail ever undertaken in Italy.
The missing mail had been collecting for the past eight years and included utility bills, bank statements, old phone books and political propaganda mailings from the 2010 regional elections.
Police were tipped off when volunteers from a recycling center reported receiving 25 big yellow containers from the postal service, with mail still inside. The postal police say the mail will now be delivered to its rightful owners, a few years late.
 

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