A heavy turkey dinner caused one worker to sleep through his shift. Another said his false teeth flew out the car window as he was driving along the highway.
These were just two of the imaginative excuses employees gave bosses when calling in sick last year, according to a study released on Thursday by CareerBuilder, the jobs website.
Nearly a third of the 5,500 workers and managers who took part in the online survey admitted to taking sick days when they were not in fact ill, which experts said costs businesses money.
"These are funny explanations, but employee absence is a fairly serious issue for employers," said Patricia Purdy, vice president of core benefits with Chicago-based Pacific Resources, an employee absence management company.
On average, employee absences account for 35 percent of an employer's base payroll, Purdy said. When someone doesn't come to work, bosses have to pay overtime to workers who do, sometimes pay replacement workers, and absorb the costs of lower productivity, she said.
Only 24 percent of people said they used sick days to see a doctor, including one employee who called in because his "fake eye was falling out of its socket," according to the report.
One third of respondents said they used sick days because they just didn't feel like going to work. One said he was "too grouchy from quitting smoking" to go to the office that day.
"While some employers may be flexible with how employees use their sick days, 16 percent say they've fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse," CareerBuilder said.
Oct 26 2013
The Singapore expansion plans of an international dating service promoting adultery has ignited a social media protest and a sharp rebuke Friday from the city-state's social affairs minister.
Local media earlier this week reported that Ashley Madison, which offers a discreet dating service for those looking to have affairs, was planning a Singapore launch next year, sparking a Facebook petition that has drawn over 11,000 people so far.
The Canada-based website, which boasts more than 20 million users in more than 15 countries and is infamous for its slogan "Life is short. Have an affair", has been aggressively expanding in Asia, with recent launches in Japan, India and Hong Kong.
"I do not welcome such a website into Singapore. I?m against any company or website that harms marriage," Chan Chun Sing, Singapore's Minister for Social and Family Development, said in a Facebook post on Friday.
"Promoting infidelity undermines trust and commitment between a husband and wife, which are core to marriage," he said in a post he said was in response to media reports of the planned Singapore launch.
"Our marriage vows make it clear that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. This includes staying faithful to one another."
Elsewhere on social media, more than 11,000 people have liked the Facebook page "Block Ashley Madison - Singapore" since it was launched on Wednesday.
A description of the page states that it is a "petition that aims to gather sound-minded people to express our objection to the establishment of the shameless company - Ashley Madison, that thrives on shattered marriages, in Singapore".
"We need to send a message to the international business community that while we are happy to have foreign investors build businesses here, companies that promote ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
A woman was arrested after one of her daughter's told police that her mother is forcing her and her sister to prostitute themselves.
The mother, Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno, 45, of Colombia, has a family of 14 children, including 13 girls.
The mother is accused of pimping out her daughters as soon as they turned 12-years-old. The evil woman sold the virginity of her daughters for $200 each, police said.
After their first encounter at the age of 12, the mother then forced her daughters into prostitution to pay her bills.
Moreno was arrested in Bogota, this week after one of her daughters, who is now 16-years-old became pregnant, and contacted police.
The teen was angry after his mother ordered her to abort their child.
"It pains me that a mother would do this to her children," Police Chief Carlos Melendez, who is investigating the case, said.
The mother is being held in prison.
The man who impregnated the 16-year-old, was identified as Titus Cornelius Daza, 51. He was also arrested.
Both were charged with sex abuse of a child, and with the enforcement of prostitution.
A family was left in shock after their teen was found dead with his head missing.
A 17-year-old has been arrested for decapitating the 15-year-old, who was identified as Lee Heinrich Adams of Ravensmead, South Africa.
The headless body was found lying in an abandoned building, which once housed a school. The classroom was splattered with blood.
Adams' head was later found buried in the garden in front of the 17-year-old boy’s house.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said that after a thorough investigation, the 17-year-old was charged with the murder.
Police suspect that the murder was part of a satanic ritual, Traut also said. “Paraphernalia found at the suspect’s house suggests that Satanism is a possible motive,” Traut said.
Adams' mother, Gaynor Adams, said the last time she saw her son was on Thursday night, when she sent him to the ATM to withdraw money. “He never came back," she said.
"I cannot even describe what was going through my head. I felt shock and pain. He was my eldest son," the devastated mother said.
"I saw people at the school with dogs, but I did not know it was him until I got a call from the police and I heard my sister crying in the background,” the suspect’s aunt, Anne van Schalkwyk, whose house is across the street from the school, said.
“We never had something like this happen before,” Community Police Forum spokesperson Zelda Tarentaal said.
"This building is a breeding ground for crime. For the past 10 years, we have been asking for it to be removed," Tarentaal added.
“Whether this is satanic or dysfunctional, children are losing track of social values,” Cosatu regional secretary Tony Ehrenreich, who visited the Adams family, said.
Ehrenreich ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
It seemed like a dream come true -- a free holiday to Canada complete with new luggage -- until the Australian couple involved realised they had unwittingly become drug mules.
Australian Federal Police on Friday said the pair, a 72-year-old man and 64-year-old woman, told Customs officials they had some concerns about their bags when they returned to Perth International Airport on October 13.
On examination, some 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds) of methamphetamine was found stashed within the lining of each bag, which police reportedly believe were swapped while in Canada.
"The Australian Federal Police will allege the couple were victims of an elaborate scam and were unwitting participants in the drug importation," police said in a statement.
Authorities said the scam by a bogus Canada-based tour company calling itself "AusCan Tours" apparently targeted older people, offering two tickets to Canada, seven nights' accommodation and new luggage as a prize.
"The organisers of this scam went to great lengths to provide a facade of legitimacy," Perth airport police commander David Bachi said.
"Thankfully the travellers contacted Customs and didn't dismiss their concerns, allowing us to make the arrest."
Authorities arrested a 38-year-old Canadian man at the airport the day the couple returned and have since charged him with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
A raid on a hotel in the Perth suburb of Scarborough uncovered documents allegedly associated with the scam, along with electronic equipment, two suitcases (similar to the ones seized at the airport) and Aus$15,000 (US$14,422) in cash.
The Customs director at Perth airport, Jan Hill, warned travellers about carrying someone else's luggage.
"If you've been asked to carry something on behalf of another person, make the right choice and alert local authorities," she said.
(article cut to save bandwidth)
Oct 25 2013
A moose hunter in Norway accidentally shot a pensioner sitting on the toilet in a nearby holiday home.
The man had been aiming for the animal, but saw his wayward bullet pierce the wooden wall behind it and strike the unsuspecting victim.
Officials said the man in his 70s was rushed to hospital by helicopter from the site in the island Vesteroy, around 74 miles south of capital Oslo.
His injury was not though to be life-threatening. The moose also escaped unharmed.
Anders Stroemsaether, the policeman leading the investigation, said the hunter had been detained for questioning and the victim was likely to recover.
"He was in the toilet when he was shot in the abdomen," he told NRK.
"His injury should not be life-threatening.
"His wife is clear that she does not hold a grudge against the hunter who shot (her husband). She is of course upset by what has happened, but she is being taken care of by the police and her family.
"It is obvious that there is a risk involved in hunting. A hunter is always responsible for ensuring the background is clear when a shot is fired and everyone understands that what has happened here should not happen."
Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry has contacted organisers of a campaign to end the ban on women driving and told them they will be punished if they go on defying the male-only road rules, some of the campaign leaders said on Thursday.
The women organising the campaign have been posting online footage of themselves driving in Saudi cities, and have called on Saudi women with foreign driving licences to get behind the wheel on Saturday.
The campaigners hope to take advantage of the ambiguous nature of the kingdom's ban on women driving, which is not explicitly enshrined in either the kingdom's Islamic sharia law or its traffic code.
Saudi Arabia frequently earns bad international publicity over the issue, but any change in the effective ban on women driving might ignite the wrath of religious hardliners.
On Wednesday the Interior Ministry issued a statement reitering that it was illegal for women to drive, but the authorities now appear to be stepping up their efforts to quash the campaign by individually contacting women involved.
"He said he was calling on behalf of (Interior Minister) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and that I and any other woman should not drive and if we are caught we will be punished," said one of the campaign organisers.
The woman said she now planned not to drive on Saturday, although she still supported the campaign and had previously filmed herself behind the wheel in the city.
Another woman involved in the campaign, who also asked to remain anonymous, said she still planned to go ahead.
The Interior Ministry telephone calls follow a small protest by a group of conservative clerics demanding government action against the women. One of them, Sheikh Nasser al-Omar, described the campaign as a "conspiracy".
A ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nothing is sacred it appears in the high-flying world of pigeon racing in Belgium, where six birds were found to have been doped with drugs such as cocaine and painkillers, Belgian media reported Thursday.
Cycling-mad Belgium is used to hearing of sports stars pumped up on performance-enhancing drugs, but officials are now homing-in on the birds used in a sport which rakes in millions in breeding and prize monies.
The Belgian pigeon-racing federation sent samples from 20 birds to the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa after a recent exchange visit, two Flemish dailies reported.
Although tests on the same birds in Belgium had not revealed a problem, the South African lab did.
"Cocaine in one, painkillers and anti-fever drugs for another," the newspapers reported.
Belgian pigeon racing has acquired new-found fame recently with the 310,000 euros ($430,000) sale to a Chinese gambler of the country's top-performing bird "Bolt," named after six-time Olympic sprint champion, Jamaica's Usain Bolt.
The riches and glamour now on offer have brought with them problems of theft from breeders and racketeering.
Over the summer the star pigeon Bolt and hundreds of other Belgian racing pigeons were held up by Chinese customs in a row over their declared value which triggered a multi-million euro entry wrangle.
The sport sees specially bred and trained pigeons released from a specific location and race back to their home loft.
Twenty-four elephants lined up for a race Thursday on Sri Lanka's newest expressway, but thousands of spectators were left disappointed when organisers scrapped the event due to safety concerns.
The animals and jockeys were jostling at the start line on the Chinese-built 25.8-kilometre (16 mile) four-lane expressway from the airport to the capital when authorities had a sudden change of heart.
Police felt that the tuskers could pose a threat to the safety of spectators if one of them went out of control and the race was turned into a parade -- to the disappointment of the crowds and the invited media.
"We did not expect this kind of crowd today," provincial minister for transport and tourism, Nimal Lanza, told AFP.
"We have over 100,000 people at the starting point and another 200,000 at two exits of the expressway."
The road, costing $292 million, will cut travel time between the airport and the city by half to 20 minutes.
President Mahinda Rajapakse is set to ceremonially open it on Sunday.
Elephants are treated as sacred animals in Sri Lanka where they are paraded at Buddhist temple festivals and protected by law.
Walt Disney Co said it plans to open its first China store in Shanghai, expected to be its largest ever, underscoring the need to cater to the nation's growing middle class.
The 53,000 square feet Disney Store, expected to open in early 2015, will be located in Shanghai's financial hub and will have retail space and a Disney-themed outdoor plaza area.
"China's flagship Disney Store will feature the largest and most diverse collection of Disney products by local and international designers," Stanley Cheung, executive vice president and managing director, the Walt Disney Company, Greater China said.
Wal-Mart , the world's largest retailer, said on Thursday it plans to open up to 110 facilities in China between 2014 and 2016, in addition to the 30 it has already opened this year.
Disney is scheduled to open its first Disney resort in mainland China by the end of 2015. It operates a theme park in Hong Kong.
The Disney Store made its debut in 1987 and now spans 340 locations around the world.