tampabay.com

Punishment

By TIMES WIRES
Published October 13, 2006


Procreation beats execution every time

Drug trafficking gets you the death penalty in Vietnam, but pregnancy trumps the death penalty. Nguyen Thi Oanh, 39, was in line for the firing squad when it was discovered there was a commuted sentence in the oven. Hoa Binh's police chief said investigators are looking into how the woman got pregnant while incarcerated with other female inmates. (Apparently, he didn't read the Times' investigation of the Florida women's prison last month. If you missed it, read "Behind bars, sex charges the air" at links.tampabay.com.) There is still hashing out to be done. Vietnamese law prohibits pregnant women or women with children under 3 from being sentenced to death. But she wasn't pregnant when she was sentenced. So the lawyers are hard at work.

Its a hard time before retirement

See if your retirement planner endorses this idea. Timothy J. Bowers of Columbus, Ohio, is about to turn 63 and couldn't find a job that would support him until he gets to collect Social Security. So here was his plan: rob a bank (he got four $20 bills), hand the money to the guard, wait for police, spend a few years in prison. Depending on how you measure success, it worked. He asked for three years, and a judge gave it to him Wednesday. "It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan," prosecutor Dan Cable said. Prosecutors considered trying to keep Bowers out of prison and living life at taxpayer expense, but worried he might do something more reckless to be put behind bars.

BORDER PATROL

From the Donald, to the border

Donald Trump may have fired Raj Peter Bhakta from The Apprentice a couple of years ago, but Bhakta learned a lot about grandstanding before he cleared out his desk. Now he's running for Congress in Pennsylvania, and he wants to make hay on the immigration issue. So he went to Texas and hired a mariachi band and three elephants, above, with plans on marching across the Rio Grande and back to prove a point. He didn't make it to Mexico, so he didn't actually get to test the theory, but he nonetheless says he somehow demonstrated the need for a border fence. Bhakta is a Republican. Wonder if he would have used donkeys if he was a Democrat.

UPDATES

Ford hospitalized

Former President Gerald Ford, 93, checked into a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for undisclosed medical tests. His spokesperson said he was doing well, but gave no details. It's at least his fourth stay in a hospital this year.

Atlanta panda

The panda born at Zoo Atlanta 36 days ago, below, hit another milestone Thursday, opening her eyes during the exam of her mom, Lun Lun. She has come a long way since she was born at 4 ounces, looking like a pink stick of butter. Now she's a little less than 4 pounds. Two more months, and she'll even get a name name.