Tuesday, July 20, 2004

South African loses rare coin in meter

South African loses rare coin in meter

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African woman has mistakenly plunked a 100-year-old gold coin worth more than $1,000 into a parking meter while shopping without her glasses, a newspaper has reported.

"I can't believe I could have done something like that," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

The woman said she also believed she had spent an 1890 sovereign, worth a small fortune, as small change, the Cape Argus newspaper said on Wednesday.

The woman inherited the gold coins from her mother, but they became mixed up with loose coins she kept in a container and were transferred to her purse by mistake.

She told the newspaper she did not realise she had the coins with her and was not carrying her spectacles. She said she thought she put a Kruger sovereign, worth about 7,000 rand (624 pounds) in a parking meter in Paarl outside Cape Town.

She appealed to city authorities to keep a lookout for the Kruger sovereign when counting parking meter proceeds.

Internet extortionists arrested

MOSCOW. July 21 (Interfax) - Nine Russian Internet extortionists were detained in on July 20 and 21 in a joint operation carried out by the British high technology crime-fighting unit and the Russian Interior Ministry, Richard Turner, the press secretary at the British embassy in Russia, told Interfax on Wednesday. Law enforcement and government agencies of Australia, Canada, Estonia and the United States and companies in Britain and other countries aided the investigation, he said. The nine detainees are suspected of having blackmailed owners of online bookmaking companies into paying them hundred of thousands of pounds sterling, Turner said. The detainees first launched Distributed Denial of Service attacks on servers and company websites, Turner said. He said that in such attacks, servers are flooded with thousands of nonsensical queries, slowing down if not blocking normal incoming and outgoing traffic. Following this, they sent company owners a letter demanding money in exchange for ending the attacks, Turner said.

Drunken Flight Attendants Fight Passenger

Belligerently drunken passengers are the bane of flight attendants in Russia, but the tables were turned Monday night when drunken flight attendants attacked a passenger on an Aeroflot flight.

The "man-bites-dog" incident occurred on a flight from Moscow to the Siberian town of Nizhnevartovsk, when passengers say three flight attendants, all men, got stumbling drunk and beat up a passenger who complained about poor service.

The flight attendants were employees of the airline Aviaenergo, which is sometimes contracted by Aeroflot for domestic flights, Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said.

They started to cater to the passengers only 90 minutes into the four-hour flight and, according to passengers, were "visibly drunk," she said.

Dannenberg said passengers' accounts of what happened were still being checked out, but it seemed that the problems started when one of the passengers, Artyom Chernopup, who was flying in economy class with his girlfriend, asked the flight attendants to bring her some more wine.

"The attendants refused, claiming that they had already run out," Dannenberg said.

Unsatisfied with the answer, the passenger went to the kitchen and tried to pour wine into a glass himself, which sparked a fight with the attendants, she said.

Denis Aminev, head of the Nizhnevartovsk airport police, told Izvestia that Chernopup, a "powerful businessman" in the Siberian oil town, arrived at the airport with a black eye and was quickly sent for medical treatment.

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