• Court: Mich. prison OK to stop man’s kosher meals



ST. LOUIS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan prison inmate who says his kosher meals were illegally suspended isn’t getting any relief at a federal appeals court.

In 2005, convicted killer Phillip Berryman stopped receiving costly kosher meals at St. Louis Correctional Facility after he was caught buying non-kosher munchies at the prison store.

The 66-year-old Berryman said the snacks were for another inmate, but that defense was rejected. He sued, claiming his suspension from kosher meals was a burden on his religious liberties.

The appeals court this week said Michigan has a legitimate interest in maintaining discipline and ensuring that only inmates with “sincere beliefs” participate in the kosher program.

Berryman, who is serving a life sentence, now is at a Michigan prison in Jackson.



• Italian hotel mistakenly offers 1-cent weekend



ROME (AP) — You had to be quick, but what a deal.

A four-star hotel near Venice mistakenly offered the ultimate low-cost vacation — a romantic weekend in the Italian lagoon city for 1 euro cent.

Not surprisingly, the Crowne Plaza in Quarto D’Altino, 15.5 miles from Venice, received bookings for the equivalent of 1,400 room nights on the night the rate was posted on its Web site, the hotel chain acknowledged.

The hotel first thought a hacker posted the offer. But it turned out to be human error at the Atlanta, Ga., offices of Intercontinental Hotels Group, the hotel’s mother company.

A night at the 151-room hotel normally costs between $128 and $214.

The 1-cent rate was up only one night, but that was long enough for travelers to book dates running from October through 2010, a hotel official said. The hotel stands to lose 129,000.

Monica Smith, media relations manager for the hotel group in the U.S., said some 228 guests made reservations for the equivalent of 1,400 room nights while the error was on the Web site and the reservations would be honored.





• Return to sender: 2 Austrians rescued from mailbox



VIENNA (AP) — Austrian authorities aren’t about to give these pranks their stamp of approval.

Frustrated officials say rescuers have been deployed twice this week to break open large mailboxes after two children locked themselves inside in separate incidents.

Firefighters in the westernmost province of Vorarlberg say the latest incident occurred Thursday evening in the village of Schwarzach, where an 8-year-old boy climbed inside a mailbox and couldn’t get out.

Postal officials weren’t able to find the key, so rescuers used welding torches and bolt cutters to open the box and free the child. He was uninjured.

Authorities say an almost identical incident happened Monday in nearby Feldkirch, where a 4-year-old boy locked himself inside a mailbox.

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