Mad Minute

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A car wash worker in North Carolina found treasure amid the business’s trash when he discovered a $1,200 IRS stimulus check mixed in with the garbage.

Antonio Hernandez was taking out the trash at the Greenville car wash when he spotted the payment in the can, WITN-TV quoted his daughter, Michelle Alvarado, as saying.

Hernandez and Alvarado were able to track down recipient Charles Thompson, who said he was not even expecting to get a check after recently moving to a new address.

“I was behind on rent, I work construction so I work by the day, and I just try to keep going and going as best I can,” Thompson told the news station. “That money helped put me ahead and put me on the right track a little bit, to get back on my feet.”

Hernandez and Alvarado added that they were happy to help connect Thompson with the lost funds, even though they and Thompson had no idea how the check ended up at the car wash in the first place.

“It was very important for him to receive that check, especially in these uncertain times,” Alvarado said.

The IRS has been sending the economic impact payments to millions of Americans around the country as part of a rescue package aimed at combating the economic effects of shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic.


(FOX) A former BP employee who was sacked for mocking management with a popular Hitler meme has been backed by Australia's Federal Court Friday.

Three Federal Court judges upheld the Fair Work Commission's decision that BP technician Scott Tracey had been unfairly dismissed by the oil and gas company. Tracey had posted a meme depicting Hitler as an unnamed BP manager having a tantrum that workers were rejecting a pay deal.

The clip comes from the 2004 movie Downfall, and people frequently overlay humorous subtitles that change the target of Hitler's ranting to a more trivial topic, such as the lack of a camera on an iPod Touch or his inability to find Waldo.

Tracey had shared the meme to a BP employee Facebook group, and management fired him for breaching its code of conduct, citing that he "distributed material which is highly offensive and inappropriate." Tracey responded that he was unfairly dismissed, but the Fair Work Commission initially supported BP's decision.

Tracey appealed the decision, and the commission in February decided in his favor.

"Rather, the video, for satirical purposes, compared the position BP had reached in the enterprise bargaining process to the situation confronting Hitler and the Nazi regime in April 1945," the commission found.

BP brought the case to Federal Courts, but the court upheld the commission's decision, saying it was a legal one and not a subjective one, as BP attempted to argue.

Daniel Walton, secretary for the Australian Workers Union, welcomed the decision, claiming that BP had forced Tracy to endure years of stress.

"For BP to seriously allege Mr Tracey was actually comparing management to Nazis is embarrassing, but to drag this out has been pigheaded, mean spirited, and foolish," Walton said in a statement.

"Australian workers have always been able to take the piss out of their bosses, with their colleagues, in their own time. For BP management to spend so much time arguing otherwise reveals real arrogance,"

BP told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was reviewing the decision.

"We remain committed to upholding our values and behaviours consistently across our company, including at offices, refineries, and retail sites," a company spokesman said.


May 22 (UPI) -- A Missouri-based grocery store chain is finding creative ways to use its closed-down salad bars, with stores using them as beer and liquor bars, cereal bars and even an "energy bar."

Dierbergs Markets, based in Chesterfield, Mo., said its stores closed all salad bars due to COVID-19 concerns in March, and the bars sat bare until Rick Rodemacher, store director of the location in Manchester, Mo., decided to stock the one at his store with other items.

"He tried other fresh food items at first but when that wasn't really working he came up with the idea to place beer cans in the empty space," Dierbergs Markets said in a statement provided to UPI. "It started with beer cans and liquor bottles. Other have done their own versions. We now have a tiki bar, cereal bar and energy bar."

A photo of the Manchester store's booze-filled salad bar -- with the word "salad" crossed out on signs so they just read "bar" -- went viral after being shared on social media by customer Stephanie Hadfield.

The store chain has since shared photos showing relabeled salad bars filled with candy, cereal and energy bars.

"On an everyday basis, we challenge ourselves to build best-in-class displays. A crisis wasn't going to get in the way of our team's creativity," the chain said.


May 21 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts animal hospital shared a witness' blurry photo of a mystery animal that the photographer said appeared to be a monkey on the loose.

Shawsheen Animal Hospital in Tewksbury posted a photo to Facebook that was snapped by a member of the public who spotted what they believed to be a monkey wandering near the clinic.

"If you see this animal call the Tewksbury Police immediately!" the post said. "DO NOT touch the monkey!! Monkeys can be dangerous and can carry Herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans."

Dr. Michele Caruso of Shawsheen Animal Hospital said hospital staff members expressed disbelief when police contacted them to ask about the sighting.

"They asked us if we had potentially seen a monkey or lost a monkey. We laughed. We thought they were joking. They said, 'No, there's been a monkey sighted on your property,'" Caruso told WBZ-TV.

Tewksbury police said the animal in the photo has not been identified. Officers searched the area on ATVs and by using camera drones, but the animal could not be found.

"It's definitely not a dog, it's not a cat. It doesn't look like a bear. Someone said could it be a fisher cat," Caruso said.

Police said animal control officers are setting up cameras and traps in the area in the hopes of identifying and capturing the animal.


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Authorities in Turkey's western city of Izmir have detained an opposition politician after she shared videos of an Italian anti-fascist song being blared out of mosques' loudspeakers instead of the call to prayer, the country's state-run agency reported Friday.

The Turkish version of the song "Bella Ciao" was broadcast for a few minutes from several mosques in Izmir earlier this week, Turkish media reported. The incident, which occurred during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, caused outrage in the country.

Anadolu Agency said Banu Ozdemir, the main opposition party's former deputy chairwoman for Izmir, was detained late on Thursday on suspicion of "provoking public enmity" by sharing videos of the incident on Twitter.

Ozdemir has denied any disrespect to religious values and said that she shared the videos because she wanted to draw attention to the incident.

Authorities say the system that broadcasts the calls to prayer in mosques in Izmir was "sabotaged" and are investigating who was behind the act.

The song, used by Italian left-wing partisans during World War II, is popular among left-wing groups in Turkey and is frequently played at their gatherings.


(FOX) Now his political career may be dead!

The mayor of a town in Peru posed as a dead coronavirus victim — by lying in a coffin while wearing a face mask — to avoid being arrested for violating lockdown rules that he should have been helping enforce, according to reports Thursday.

Jaime Rolando Urbina Torres was out drinking with friends in Tantará on Monday night when he allegedly played dead to throw off cops who arrived to bust them for defying public health orders amid the pandemic, according to the UK's Evening Standard.

The mayor — who has already faced criticism for being absent for much of the time during the outbreak — is shown in a photo released by local police lying in a coffin with his eyes closed.

Torres was detained for violating curfew and social distancing laws, the paper reports.

Police claim the mayor staged the macabre scene to appear as if he was a victim of COVID-19, according to The Times. It wasn't immediately clear where he and his pals were drinking or why open caskets were nearby.

Torres has also come under fire by officials in recent weeks for failing to open emergency quarantine shelters and failing to implement safety checks, according to local media.


May 20 (UPI) -- A Florida man was reunited with his high school class ring 52 years after it was stolen during his senior year.

Allan Ackles said his 1968 class ring was stolen from his locker at Manatee High School by an unknown thief who took only the ring, leaving his wallet and watch untouched.

"I came back in after football one day and someone had taken the door of my locker and bent my door down and stuck their hand in and the only thing they took out was my class ring that I had just gotten," Ackles told WTVT-TV.

Ackles said he already had been preparing to part with the ring.

"I was all ready to give it to my then-girlfriend, but it never made it there," he said.

He told WTSP-TV the theft left him "extremely mad," but decades passed without any sign of the ring.

Moody Johnson said he was mowing grass on a property about six years ago when he spotted something shiny in the grass.

"I cleaned it up, put it away and just kind of forgot about it," he said.

Johnson said he came across the ring at his home recently and decided to do some amateur detective work.

"I knew that this person probably missed his ring as much as I missed mine," said Moody, who lost his own class ring while serving in the military in Germany in 1968.

Moody enlisted the help of the Manatee High School Alumni Association and the school's football coach. They were able to find a 1968 yearbook and connect the initials "AJA" to graduate Allan Joe Ackles.

Ackles was reunited with his ring Saturday.

"I'm glad I got that back. I'm like an old man with a new kid toy," he said.


Paris (AFP) - A mysterious figure who picks the locks of Paris parks at night for people who have been cooped up in the city's tiny apartments has become something of a folk hero.

Parks have been chained up in Europe's most densely populated capital since the coronavirus lockdown began more than eight weeks ago.

Despite the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo pleading with the government to allow them to reopen if people wore masks, ministers have been unmoved.

But as temperatures nudged towards 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) this week, an amateur lock-picker admitted that he has been opening parks at night to let hard-pressed Parisians sit on the grass and smell the roses.

A man calling himself "Jose" told the Parisien daily that he has been liberating parks in the poorer districts of northern and eastern Paris in a series of "Batman" style nocturnal actions.

Two handwritten posters hanging from the railings of the Parc de Belleville on Friday said "Thank you, Jose!", seeming to show that the phantom locker picker has generated a following.

Discontent with the closure of parks has been rising since France began to slowly relax its lockdown last week, with the police forced to clear the huge open lawns in front of Les Invalides in central Paris of picnickers twice in two days.

Officers had earlier dispersed hundreds of people from the banks of Canal Saint-Martin.

Jose, who claims he only picks locks as a hobby and makes an honest living from a "normal job", said: "Paris apartments are very small. We are supposed to be coming out of lockdown, but everything is closed."

Almost a quarter of Paris's population escaped the city -- often to second homes in the country -- during the strictest period of the confinement.

But the city's poor and essential workers were stuck in often tiny flats during one of the sunniest springs on record.

Hidalgo, who is fighting a re-election campaign, asked the government to treat parks like the city's streets and allow people to "stroll through them if they were wearing a mask, which should be obligatory".

But Health Minister Olivier Veran said the parks should stay shut as long as Paris and its surroundings remain in the "red zone" of infections.

He said the risk of people gathering and not respecting social distancing was too great.

But the mayor's supporters argued that it made no sense to allow Parisians to take metros or crowded suburban trains while denying them the chance of fresh air.


(Sky News) A Chinese man snatched from his parents as a toddler has been reunited with them 32 years later.

Mao Yin was kidnapped as he walked home from nursery with his father aged two-and-a-half in 1988.

After he was taken from the entrance of a hotel in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, his mother Lin Jingzhi quit her job and launched a decades-long search to find her missing son.

She sent out more than 10,000 flyers and appeared on a number of TV shows. Lin also joined a group of volunteers dedicated to finding missing children, providing information to police.

Her help saw 29 abducted children reunited with their families in China, but she still had not found her own son.

In April last year, police in Xi'an got a tip that a man in Sichuan Province, southwest China, adopted a child from Xi'an for the price of 6,000 yuan (£688).

After a series of investigations, Mao Yin's DNA was matched to his profile and authorities planned for a reunion.


(CNET) We have certain expectations of snow. We generally think it will be white, but in parts of coastal Antarctica it takes on a bizarre shade of bright green. It's a color we may be seeing more of as a warming climate impacts the land of ice.

Antarctica isn't turning into a giant margarita. The green is caused by blooms of microscopic snow algae. The blooms cover so much ground they can be observed by satellites.

A team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK and the British Antarctic Survey used satellite data and fieldwork observations to create a map of the green algae and predict future growth of the disconcerting green snow. They published their work in the journal Nature Communications on Wednesday.

The green snow appears along the coast. "They grow in 'warmer' areas, where average temperatures are just above zero degrees Celsius during the austral summer -- the Southern Hemisphere's summer months of November to February," said the University of Cambridge in a release on Wednesday.

Nearby penguin colonies appear to play into the algal blooms. We recently learned penguin feces can cause laughing-gas problems for scientists. It can also feed the growth of algae.

Climate change looks like it will play into the inadvertent "greening" of Antarctic snow. "As Antarctica warms, we predict the overall mass of snow algae will increase, as the spread to higher ground will significantly outweigh the loss of small island patches of algae," said University of Cambridge plant scientist Andrew Gray, lead author of the paper.

Scientists aren't just seeing green. Parts of Antarctica look like a rainbow. The researchers intend to expand their studies to include red and orange algal blooms that contribute to this multi-colored landscape. "Snow white" it isn't.