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Departments : It's a Jungle Out There

Camel Jam

Some countries' cops have to deal with unique problems.

December 01, 2003  |  by Commander Gilmore


Israeli traffic cops in the Negev Desert area have high hopes that, with minimum expense, they can reduce traffic fatalities and injuries by about 50 percent. All it will take is some reflective tape and cooperative camel drivers.

"The camel safety problem is a serious one here," police commander Yossi Golan told reporters. He estimated there are about 5,000 camels in the Negev, about the same as cars and trucks, and they all share the same mostly undeveloped roads. Worse, most of the camel traffic runs at night. Hey, it's a desert, and the daytime is hot! No air conditioning on those units, you know.

In the past two years, Golan said, there have been 10 human fatalities, about 50 serious injuries, and a significant number of camels killed or crippled in camel-vs.-motor-vehicle collisions.

Finally, Golan said, he held a desert council of Bedouin elders, Transport Ministry officials, and camel herd owners, and came up with an agreement to put phosphorescent reflective safety striping on all of the Negev's camels. After the first day's 40 camels were "striped," it seemed to catch on as a "fashion trend," and they expect at least 1,000 reflectorized camels to be on the roads in the next two months.

Counterfeit Cheese

We don't know how many officers it will affect yet, but some Greek investigators will be getting new assignments soon. The good part is, they can snack on the job. The bad part is, it might kill 'em. They'll become Greece's first "Cheese Police."

Oh, chuckle-chuckle, kids, but it's no laughing matter to national authorities in Athens. Greek feta cheese is one of the country's most valuable exports, and "counterfeit feta" costs them enormously. After years of fighting for exclusive rights, last year the European Union voted to honor Greece's sole right to label cheese "feta," and it must be made from sheep's milk, or a precise mixture of goat and sheep's milk, from critters feeding on wild grasses and flowers in the hills. This only drove the feta counterfeiters deeper underground. And black-market feta cheese, poorly made and mishandled, can be deadly, harboring listeria bacteria.

"We will be merciless," Agriculture Minister Giorgios Dris told reporters. He has demanded and received from the government a "declaration of war on bad cheese," with authority to form a new unit he calls "The Feta Police."

Sex in the Fast Lane

If you've dreamed of "doing the nasty" while driving at high speed on a German autobahn, you'd better do it soon before there's a law against it. A 23-year old dude got away with it recently, though he's having to pay for a certain "peripheral effect."

The driver admitted to police that he was having sex with a blonde female hitchhiker, zooming along at 100 kph with her straddling his lap, when, at some "pivotal moment" in their relationship, he sorta lost it, veered off the highway, and flattened a road sign. Both ran naked into the woods, abandoning the car. When the driver was caught, frustrated prosecutors learned that all they could charge him with was hit-and-run on the sign.

"It's hard to believe," court spokesman Juergen Mannebeck said, "but, in fact, no law was broken with the intercourse on the motorway. It's a situation lawmakers never thought about." The woman, who left her clothes behind in the car, was never caught or identified.


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