World in brief

Foreign accent afflicts Scottish woman
A Scottish woman started speaking with an Italian accent after suffering a minor stroke, according to the Telegraph. Debbie McCann, 48, suffered what appeared to be a stroke in her home in Nov. 2010 and left her with a rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome. The Glasgow native now has a speech pattern most common to Italians. McCann also writes with a foreign accent, omitting words like “a” and “to” when writing. Only 60 people have been diagnosed with the syndrome since its discovery in the 1940s. There is no cure for Foreign Accent Syndrome, according to expert Anja Lowitt, who said the condition is sometimes permanent.

Begone, pot tourists
Coffee shop owners in the Dutch city of Maastricht have banned most tourists from their shops. CNN reported that foreign tourists, except for those from Germany and Belgium, will no longer be allowed within the coffee shops, wherein the Netherlands visitors can purchase and consume cannabis. Marc Josemans, president of the Society of United Coffee Shops, said they created the regulation in order to deal with the amount of tourists who visit the city each year and to counter crime caused by drug runners who also frequent the shops. Josemans said tourists bring traffic and nuisance. Maastricht plays host to 2.2 million tourists every year. Six thousand people visit coffee shops there everyday, three quarters of whom are foreign.

Anonymous good samaritan
An anonymous benefactor left 10 million yen in a toilet bowl in Japan with a note saying it should be donated to victims of the tsunami that hit the country last March. The bag of rolled bills was found in a city hall in the suburbs of Tokyo, BBC reported. The city hall said it would give the money to the Red Cross if not reclaimed within three months. Around $50 million in cash has been found in the Japanese disaster zone to date, while an additional $30 million found in safes.These occurrences are not unheard of in Japan. In 2007, a donor left 400 blank envelopes with 10,000 yen notes in them in the toilets of city halls across Japan, while 18 residents of a Tokyo apartment building found a total of 1.8 million yen in envelopes in their mailboxes. The person responsible for distributing this cash remains unknown.

Buried alive
A morgue in Turkey has outfitted all of its facilities to make sure people can get out of them in case they are not actually dead, MSNBC reported. The town of Malatya, in eastern Turkey, has equipped their mortuary with alarms and motion detectors to monitor any sign of life. Their refrigerators will also have door handles to allow people to climb out of their coffins and get out in the event that they were in a coma. The move is an effort to alleviate ancient fears of being buried alive.


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