GREAT DAY GREETING
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- It's a great day in South Carolina.
Or is it? There seems to be a difference of opinion on that.
South Carolina's governor wants state agencies to answer their phone by saying it's a great day in the state.
But two state lawmakers say state workers shouldn't have to do that, unless it really IS a great day.
They've introduced a bill saying no state agency can force its employees to answer the phone with that greeting as long as state unemployment is 5 percent or higher, and as long as there are people in South Carolina without health insurance.
A spokesman for the Republican governor says she stands by the greeting. She thinks it could help change the mood of state government.
STOLEN ENGAGEMENT RING
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A bride is supposed to have something borrowed -- not something stolen.
But police in Burlington, Vermont, say the diamond engagement ring that Ryan Jarvis gave to his girlfriend had been stolen from a jewelry store.
They say she didn't know that, when she decided to show off the ring on Facebook. And that helped police track it down.
According to a TV station (WCAX) Jarvis is accused of running off with the ring after asking to see it at the store.
Police say he's confessed, but he entered a not guilty plea yesterday to retail theft.
APIA, Samoa (AP) -- Tomorrow is Friday, December 30th. But not in Samoa.
The South Pacific nation is skipping that day, and jumping right ahead to the 31st.
The government of Samoa decided it wants to be west of the international date line, rather than east.
That's where the new day begins. It's the line that separates one calendar day from the next and runs roughly north-to-south through the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The move is designed to put Samoa on the same calendar as its trading partners throughout the region.
By government decree, anyone in Samoa who is scheduled to work tomorrow will get paid for it -- even though tomorrow will never happen.
SPECTER THE COMEDIAN
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- When he was in the U.S. Senate, Arlen Specter was known as a pretty funny guy.
And now that he's out of politics, he has time to try out his material for a new audience.
Specter performed the other night at the Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia. He got laughs at the expense of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and others. The targets of his jokes also included Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the crowd roared with approval at Specter's jokes.
The longtime senator told the audience that he's not exactly new at this. He said he's "been in comedy now for 30 years."
SALVATION ARMY-SILVER BARS
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) -- Someone apparently decided to get rid of some loose silver by tossing it into Salvation Army kettles in Fairbanks, Alaska.
And we're not talking about small change.
Mixed in with the coins and the crumpled bills, Salvation Army employees and volunteers found 10 one-ounce silver bars, in 10 different kettles.
They're valued at about $29 each, at today's prices. That won't make much of a dent in the Salvation Army's fundraising goal of $70,000 -- but Major Kevin Bottjen says it boosted the spirits of the staff as they came across the silver bars, one by one. He calls it an "awesome blessing."
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- When a Malaysian man proposed to his girlfriend, they never imagined they'd become role models for young romantics around the world.
The emotional video of the proposal at a restaurant has been viewed nearly 4 million times online within a week.
And it's picking up some celebrity endorsements. Ryan Seacrest finds it to be a heartwarming way to wrap up the year. Singer Christina Perri says it made her cry -- and she was honored that her song "A Thousand Years" was used in the clip.
It's quite a surreal twist for the groom-to-be. Timothy Tiah says he's always been allergic to the idea of getting hitched -- partly because some of his older friends suffered failed marriages.
But he says of his bride, "There's no other girl I've ever considered marrying."
Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.