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Spectacular: Last year (according to a March 2007 Associated Press report), a computer technician for the Alaska Department of Revenue accidentally erased a disk containing all the data for paying the state's 600,000 residents their annual oil-revenue dividends, and a duplicate disk was also erased, and the fail-safe backup tape was discovered to be unreadable. It took two months of around-the-clock work for state employees to re-computerize all paper records. [CNN-AP, 3-20-07]

London's Daily Mail reported in April that it was probably a 17-year-old apprentice plumber, on his first day of work, who mishandled a blow torch and started the fire that quickly burned to the ground a waterside mansion in Devon, England, worth the equivalent of about $9.8 million. [Daily Mail (London), 4-17-07]

John Brandrick told London's Daily Telegraph in May that he will seek compensation from Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, England, because he's still alive. He was diagnosed in 2006 with pancreatic cancer, with about a year to live, and he quit his job, stopped paying his bills, and used his life's savings to enjoy his last days. However, he was recently told he merely had (non-fatal) pancreatitis, and now he's broke. [Daily Telegraph (London), 5-7-07]

 

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