Hospital boss in hot water
A hospital director sent a memo to doctors and nurses asking them not to snort cocaine while on duty, the ANSA news agency reported on Saturday. Giuseppe di Maria now faces possible disciplinary action following the memo sent to medical staff at the Santa Catarina Novella di Galatina Hospital near Lecce. The memo was sent after di Maria received anonymous tip-offs about the practice at the hospital, the report said. Social services chiefs have opened an internal inquiry into the affair and also referred it to the local prosecutor’s office. Director of social affairs Guido Scoditti said he had no choice but to pass the matter on to the authorities. “The director of the hospital has certainly made an error. He should not have sent this memo. He should have informed me directly ... The alleged consumption of cocaine in a hospital environment should certainly not be dealt with in this way,” he said.
Group builds 9.5m snowman
A group has decided to make the most of winter, building a 9.5m snowman dubbed Milocinek, who wears a barrel for a hat and a road safety cone for his nose. A newspaper says several people labored for six days on their creation, which stands eye-level with surrounding two-story homes. The Web site of the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper says the snowman’s creators began their project out of boredom but became more ambitious as they went along. The snowman was completed on Friday near the town of Trzebnica. The newspaper’s Web site reported on Saturday that the snowman’s builders believe Milocinek is the largest snowman built in the country since winter weather set in more than a week ago.
Santas invade London
Hundreds of people dressed as Santa Claus descended on London on Saturday, startling commuters and tourists with a tide of seasonal cheer. Red-suited Santas poured through busy Liverpool Street railway station before walking across the city to Trafalgar Square. Others converged on the central square from the west and south. People posted photos on Twitter of scores of Santas marching through the city and clambering onto the lion statues at the foot of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. Organizers of the annual “Santacon” festive flash mob said it was “a nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonreligious and nonsensical celebration of Christmas cheer, goodwill, and fun.” Similar events were scheduled for New York and Beijing.
Branson to serve on flight
Virgin boss Richard Branson will serve as a flight attendant on an AirAsia X flight in February after losing a cross-dressing bet to rival Tony Fernandes, officials said yesterday. The two men laid the wager over whose Formula One team would place higher in this year’s rankings. Although both teams completed the season with zero points, Fernandes’ Lotus F1 team was placed ahead of Branson’s Virgin Racing by virtue of their better race finishing positions. “It’s confirmed February 21, 2011. Richard Branson will be a crew of AirAsia X,” Fernandes said in a Twitter post late on Saturday, adding that the flight will take off from London Stansted Airport, bound for Kuala Lumpur. Fernandes said last month seats on the flight will be auctioned off for charity. An AirAsia official said Branson would be required to wear makeup and high-heels, along with the regulation red stewardess outfit and would have to perform regular duties — including cleaning the toilets — during the flight.