Hello? You've Got a Virus

What happened to Prince Albert in a can?

Today's practical jokers are more likely to dial V for Virus, as mobile service providers in Pakistan have been inundated by calls from subscribers worried by a prank message that they could die of a deadly virus being transmitted via their phones, Reuters reported.

The rumor was so effective that some mosques in the country's biggest city, Karachi, made announcements that people were being killed by a mobile virus and they should be aware of God's wrath, Reuters reported.

In a prank reminiscent of the plot in the hit horror flick "The Ring," in which people die within a week after watching a video, the prankster warned users that a deadly virus transmitted through phones had killed 20 people.

There are more than 52 million mobile users among 160 million people in Pakistan.

Farah Hussain, a spokeswoman for Warid Telecom, told Reuters that their customer service centers had been inundated with panicky subscribers inquiring about the so-called virus.

The cellular operators moved to calm down subscribers and said in a joint statement: "These rumors are completely baseless. They do not make any sense in technological terms."

Gives New Meaning to the Term 'Bible Belt'

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A jail guard has been suspended after allegedly thumping an inmate with a Bible.

James Lee Sheppard, 56, has been charged with two gross misdemeanors for allegedly swatting a Blue Earth County Jail inmate with the book, grabbing him by the throat and slamming him against steel bars on Feb. 8, according to the criminal complaint.

A video shows a guard entering the cell of inmate Jeremy Hansen, 26. The guard then takes Hansen's Bible and strikes him in the side of the face with the book. The two exchange words as the guard walks away, said Mankato Police Officer Allen Schmidt who watched the video.

The rest of the confrontation was not captured on video because of an object obstructing the camera. But the complaint states that Sheppard walked back toward Hansen, grabbed him and pushed him into the cell bars.

Dennis McCoy, Blue Earth County administrator, said Sheppard was the first to report the confrontation. "He knew he violated policy and, to his credit, he turned himself in," McCoy said.

Sheppard declined to comment to The Associated Press. He referred calls to St. Paul attorney Brent LaSalle, who said Thursday that he had not been retained by Sheppard and so couldn't speak on the guard's behalf.

Sheppard, who was not jailed, is on leave pending further investigation.

He is scheduled to appear in Brown County Court April 26 on charges of mistreatment of an inmate and misconduct by a public officer.

Maybe You Shouldn't Do It Yourself

Americans are having just a little too much fun with guns. There are currently about 37,000 nailgun injuries a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters reported.

Since 1991, nailgun injuries have risen about 200 percent, the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.

"This increase likely corresponds to an increase in availability during the 1990s of inexpensive pneumatic nail guns and air compressors (to power the nail guns) in home hardware stores; however, no sales data are available for confirmation," the CDC reported.

But when the CDC looked at who was getting injured, it became clear that the number of work-related nailgun injuries had stayed stable since 1998. It was consumer-related injuries that had soared.

"During the 5-year period 2001-2005, an average of approximately 37,000 patients with injuries related to nail-gun use were treated annually in emergency departments, with 40 percent of injuries occurring among consumers," the report read.

Emergency departments treated three times as many consumers with nail-gun injuries in 2005 as they did in 1991, the report noted.

The CDC said more needs to be done to make consumers aware of the dangers.

Break-Up Gets Sticky

MANTORVILLE, Minn. (AP) — A Byron man, who distributed sexually vulgar stickers featuring his ex-girlfriend's name, phone number and address, has been sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to a felony harassment charge.

Thomas Carl Tiedeman, 62, who appeared in Dodge County District Court on March 21, was also ordered to serve five years probation, perform 32 hours of community service and pay a $100 fine.

The stickers included a photo of a woman, along with the phrase "call me now for the best," according to the criminal complaint.

The Kasson Police Department received reports in September that someone was placing the stickers on vehicles and buildings in Kasson.

On Sept. 28, Kasson police searched Tiedeman's home and found the photo used on the stickers. Tiedeman admitted to police that he had printed about 20 stickers and placed them on vehicles.

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