France lets nightclubs stay open all night

PARIS — Just in time for New Year's Eve, a new decree from France: Let them dance till dawn.

Despite France's reputation for bon vivants sipping Champagne until the wee hours, aficionados have been complaining that nightlife, especially in Paris, is in decline.

An Internet petition warns that the City of Light has become "Europe's capital of sleep" — and complains that musicians, DJs and partiers are heading instead to London, Barcelona, Prague and Berlin.

In a bid to bring them back, the government proclaimed last weekend that dance clubs across France can now stay open until 7 a.m., later than has been allowed in many parts of the country.

Year's best lie has a close brush with truth

MILWAUKEE — A jab at the woes of the nation's banks has been named the top tall tale of 2009.

The Burlington Liars Club bestowed its highest award Wednesday for this line: "I just realized how bad the economy really is. I recently bought a new toaster oven and as a complimentary gift, I was given a bank."

The quip earned Larry Legro of Sun Prairie, Wis., the dubious — but serious — distinction of being the year's World Champion Liar.

"I was ecstatic," said Legro, 58, a state health inspector. "I told people all year I was planning to win this contest."

At the end of chase, gift-wrapped marijuana

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. —A Nebraska trooper found an unexpected holiday present at the end of a police chase.

The Nebraska State Patrol says the trooper found 7 pounds of gift-wrapped marijuana inside an SUV that ran off the road during a chase in Morrill County.

The patrols says the trooper tried to stop the SUV for failure to signal on Tuesday. After a short pursuit, the SUV turned into a cornfield.

The patrol says the driver fled on foot but was captured a short time later. A passenger, who was pregnant, remained in the SUV and was arrested.

Mich. jail food takes a turn for the bland

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. —Failing freezers have forced Macomb County Jail inmates to forgo warm meals in favor of an endless stream of bologna and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sheriff's officials said Wednesday that mold was spotted last month in the southeast Michigan jail's 50-year-old freezers. But with no money for replacements, the sandwich diets may continue through early next year.

The Detroit Free Press reports that county officials warned commissioners as early as 2005 that the freezers needed to be replaced. Officials next month plan to ask commissioners for emergency funds to buy new refrigerators.