You're not gonna believe this

Acting on a tip, deputies of the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Department in Louisiana last week recovered much of the cash that a masked robber had stolen at gunpoint from the Lucky Dollar gambling casino in nearby Greensburg several days before. Roughly $40,000, had been stuffed into three sacks that were tossed into a creek, the tipster said. Two of them were still full when the cops arrived. The third bag wasn't, but not because the thief had kept the money. Instead, a colony of beavers had managed to rip it open and had woven dozens of the bills into the mesh of sticks and brush of their dam. What's more, incredibly, each bill was still whole. Said one police official: "The casino people were elated" to get the money back, even though it was soaking wet.

A cut-through for countless ships reaches a milestone

This marks the 90th year that ships have passed through the Panama Canal, which, beginning in 1904, was built over nine years by 56,000 workers for $375 million. Roughly 5 percent of the world's maritime traffic passes through its locks, each 110 feet wide by 1,000 feet long. At the end of 1999, the US handed over this man-made wonder to the Panamanian government. Selected facts about the canal:

Length 51 miles
Ships transiting annually 14,000
Average transit time 8-10 hours
Fastest transit time 2 hours 41 minutes
Height differential from Atlantic to Pacific 6 inches
Height that vessels are raised above sea level
85 feet
Highest toll $226,194 (for a cruise ship)
Lowest toll 36 cents (for a swimmer)
Volume of water used per transit 52 million gallons
Distance saved between New York and San Francisco 7,800 miles
- Barwil/infoplease/Associated Press/

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