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May 19, 2006
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About 100 people were able to escape the perhaps-fatal effects of a sinkhole that collapsed under their one-story apartment house in eastern Sarawak, Borneo, in April, only because Renjis Empati, 57, had arisen in the middle of the night to go to the communal toilet. He noticed the ground moving and awakened all the residents. Said one woman, "If it were not for him, most of us would be dead by now." [Agence France-Presse, 4-7-07]

Pardon Me: Helen Gallo, 61, charged with shoplifting in Cape Coral, Fla., in April, told police she was forced to bypass the slow checkout line because her irritable bowel syndrome was acting up. [Court TV-AP, 4-18-07]

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, TV station photographer Gerry Edwards was fired in March for unprofessional conduct because a November funeral he was covering lasted so long that he had to urinate outdoors in an area that was visible to funeral guests. [Des Moines Register, 3-5-07]

Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, after the first Republican presidential debate in May, explained one awkward answer he gave (about firing a worker who was gay) by claiming, in part, that he was distracted by his need for a restroom break. [Tampa Tribune-AP, 5-13-07]