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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Beer run

Four Hawkins County (Tenn.) Jail inmates broke out of the prison last week, but they weren't trying to get away; they just wanted some beer. The Knoxville Times-News reports that guards accidentally left unlocked the cell doors of Ridgy Coleman, Jimmy Joe Stapleton, David Blizzard, and David Hopkins on July 15. The four prisoners allegedly walked out through a fire exit and a hole they made in the prison's fence, went to a local store, bought four cases of beer, and returned to the jail. Authorities charged the men with escape and bringing alcohol into a prison. "I guess they thought if they came back, they wouldn't be charged," said Sheriff Warren Rimer. "But they were wrong."

Having a ball

With $34,000, a person could purchase a nice sports car, make a downpayment on a house - or buy one European soccer ball. Bidding on the internet auction site eBay this month topped $34,400 for the soccer ball that star David Beckham kicked into the stands during England's Euro 2004 match against Portugal. Spanish fan Pablo Carral retrieved the ball and decided to see what it would fetch on eBay after a British newspaper offered him $22,000 for the specially embossed souvenir.

Tough on crime

Stubborn jaywalkers in the Czech city of Plzen had to dodge bullets as well as cars on July 19. The Czech newspaper Pravo reports that a police officer fired two shots at a crowd of pedestrians who ignored both his order to return to the curb and a warning shot. No one was injured, although one of the bullets hit a passing car. Authorities in Plzen say they are investigating the incident.

Town crier

One of the hottest bars in the Chinese city of Nanjing sports only a sofa, a few tables, and tissue paper - a lot of tissue paper. The AFP news service reports that the city's first "cry bar," where customers can sit and cry for $6 per hour, is growing in popularity. Owner Luo Jun says he opened the bar when clients of his last business said they often wanted to cry but didn't know when or where it would be appropriate to do so.

Fire starter

Adam Weber of Salt Lake City may feel like visiting Mr. Luo's cry bar (see "Town crier" above). Police say the 24-year-old Mr. Weber suffered severe burns when he lit "a large mortar firework" and tried to throw it out of a car he was riding in on July 14. The problem: He had forgotten to roll down the car's window, and the firework bounced back into his lap. The resulting explosion left driver Jared Williams with only minor burns to his back but Mr. Weber with second- and third-degree burns on his arms, legs, and torso. "He's going to be in a lot of pain," said Salt Lake County sheriff's Sgt. John Barker. "I don't think it's life threatening, but he's going to have a hard time."