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Couple survives nine story fall after “lover’s spat”

A couple survived a nine storey fall from the top floor of a Bangkok apartment block onto the roof of a car after a lover’s spat. Witnesses said the pair’s plunge was broken by trees before they struck the roof of a Honda sedan which crumpled beneath them. Neighbours said the couple had been arguing heatedly before the fall yesterday but there were no details on exactly how they tumbled from their top floor apartment. The husband was treated in a Bangkok hospital for multiple bone fractures, his wife, who landed on top of him, had been put in a torso cast with minor injuries (from Sydney Morning Herald, May 2004; submitted by Ian Scott).

Quiet crusade against deadly dams

It has been nearly four years since Frederick J House and his 14 year old son, Paul, drowned on a May afternoon while canoeing on the Perkiomen Creek. Rescuers said the pair apparently paddled too close to an unmarked “low-head” dam, a relatively harmless looking structure of a type that spans rivers and creeks all over Pennsylvania. But these dams, built to serve mills, factories, and canals in the 19th and 20th centuries, are not harmless. They have claimed the lives of so many swimmers, boaters, fishermen, and children that water safety experts call them “drowning machines”. For the last decade, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and American Rivers, an organization that promotes free flowing waterways, have been working to remove abandoned and unstable dams. More than 100 in Pennsylvania have been demolished. Two thirds of the removals have been financed with state and federal funds and private grants. The average demolition cost is surprisingly low: $50 000. Often, the work can be done with a backhoe. Scott Carney, a biologist with the Fish and Boat Commission who coordinates dam removals, said about 50 more dams in Pennsylvania are slated for removal, 15 of them in the Philadelphia area. “It’s the best thing for the environment, and it’s the best thing for public safety to get rid of these things”, Carney said (from RiverRevival Bulletin; submitted by Peter Jacobsen).

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