Las Vegas cab driver Gerardo Gamboa thought someone left a bag of chocolates in the back seat of his vehicle, but the stash turned out to be US$300,000 in cold hard cash. Now, Gamboa is winning honors for honesty after turning in the money he found on Monday. The money was returned to an unidentified poker player. Yellow Checker Star Transportation named Gamboa its driver of the year and rewarded him with US$1,000 and a dinner for two at a restaurant. Gamboa told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper that he had another passenger by the time he began wondering what kind of chocolates were in the brown paper bag. He peeked inside at a traffic light. “I told my passenger, ‘You are my witness on this,’” the 13-year taxi driver told the Las Vegas Sun, “and then I immediately called my dispatcher.” Gamboa took the six bundles of US$100 bills to the company’s main office, where Las Vegas police and casino officials linked it to the poker player.
It took several hours to verify the identity of the owner and return the cash.
Washington rides again
George Washington has made his annual Christmas Day ride across the Delaware River. Washington’s daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the river turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. The 61st re-enactment of it was staged on Wednesday. Hundreds of people gather each year to hear Washington’s stand-in deliver stirring words to the troops and watch three boats make the crossing from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. During the original crossing, boats ferried 2,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 18 cannons across the river. The troops marched 13 kilometers downriver before battling Hessian mercenaries in the streets of Trenton. Thirty Hessians were killed. Two Continental soldiers froze to death on the march, but none died in battle.
Eight die due to rains
Flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains have killed at least eight people and injured five on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent, officials said on Wednesday. The government’s National Emergency Management Organization said one of those who died was an 18-year-old college student. Five people were reported missing. Among the eight killed was a cousin of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Cassian Gonsalves, who died on Tuesday night when a landslide crashed through his house, Cassian’s cousin Mark Boyea said. In the heavily hit area of North Leeward in northwestern St. Vincent, a family of five was killed when a house was swept into their home. There was also extensive flooding and damage elsewhere in the eastern part of the Caribbean.
Settlement plans continue
Israel will announce plans for new settlement construction next week, coinciding with the release of a third batch of Palestinian prisoners as part of peace talks, an official said yesterday. “The Israeli government will announce tenders for new construction in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem which will coincide with the release of a third group of Palestinian prisoners,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Two previous rounds of prisoner releases in August and October have been accompanied by Israeli announcements of fresh construction on land the Palestinians want for a future state, provoking Palestinian ire.