In the news

Letter to IRS sends workers to hospital

OGDEN  -  Ten people were sent to the hospital after an employee at the Internal Revenue Service's busiest tax return processing center opened an envelope containing a blue powder-like substance.  Three employees who came in close contact with the envelope Wednesday night appeared to break out in rashes, but IRS spokeswoman Kim Carlos said it was not clear whether that was a reaction to the powder.  All 10 employees examined at the hospital were released.  The powder was taken to the Dugway Proving Grounds, an Army chemical and biological weapons testing site in western Utah. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Fri 24 Mar 2000

Stylists danced nude for salon's clients

LAVAL, Quebec  -  Women in Laval suspected their husbands and boyfriends were getting a bit more than a shave and a haircut at a local hair salon.  Apparently, they were right.  Police arrested eight people at Le Salon Sex Symbol, where stylists stripped, performed exotic dances, and talked dirty as they clipped clients' hair, said a Laval police spokesman, Guy Lajeunesse.  Three female employees and five male customers were charged with working in or frequenting a house of prostitution, according to a local newspaper. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Fri 10 Mar 2000

Doctor who carved patient is arrested

NEW YORK  -  An obstetrician who carved his initials into a patient's abdomen when he delivered her baby was arrested yesterday on assault charges.  Alan Zarkin, 61, was accused of cutting "AZ" with a scalpel into the lower abdomen of Liana Gedz, 31, after delivering her baby by Caesarean section at Beth Israel Hospital on Sept. 7.  Zarkin pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault at his arraignment.  Acting Justice Brenda Soloff released him without bail and scheduled a hearing for March 14.  Barry Fallick, Zarkin's lawyer, admits that his client cut the letters into Gedz but said his client is not responsible because he suffers from a brain disease that impairs his judgement. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

House struck by car for the 10th time

GOFFSTOWN, N.H.  -  Jeanette Brewer was lying on her couch when her living room wall buckled in.  Oh, well.  Another car crash.  Brewer says 10 cars have struck her house, which sits between a hardware store and a Chinese restaurant, since she moved there in 1966.  The crashes have caused more than $30,000 in damage, but Brewer said she has no thoughts of moving.  In the latest crash, Christopher Mullen, 27, of Goffstown, faces drunken driving charges.  Police also charged him with leaving the scene of an accident. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Drug-sniffing dog dies of overdose

LA CIENEGA, New Mexico.  -  A drug-sniffing police dog died after biting into a bag of methamphetamine.  Max, a 4-year old German shepherd, was going through a training exercise Monday when he stuck his head into an unlocked drawer that contained the drugs at the La Cienega Fire Department. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Man whose bike was sold to get new one

CONCORD, NH.  -  A man whose $2,400 bicycle was mistakenly sold while he shopped at the Salvation Army store is getting a new bike for Christmas.

Bryan Cote left his unlocked Trek bicyle near a dozen used bikes in front of the store while he bought a used table.  While he was inside, a sales clerk sold the bicycle for $15.  Cote said the bicycle was his only form of transportation; he has no car.  Police investigated, but said the bicycle was purchased legally.

Cote pleaded for the person who bought the bicycle to return it, but said he might file suit against the Salvation Army if he did not get it back.

In stepped Brad Hill, owner of Goodale's Bike and Ski in Nashua and Hooksett, where Cote had bought his bicycle.  Hill was thinking of replacing the bicycle himself to help out the Salvation Army, but also called a friend, John Burke, president and chief executive officer of Trek.  Burke agreed to replace the bicycle.

Trek officials said the new bicycle is on its way here from Waterloo, Wis., and they hope to make a formal presentation at the Hooksett Goodale's next week. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Enraged driver shoots failed Olds

SPRING HILL, Tenn.  -  A man was so incensed when his car broke down that he pulled out a military assault rifle and shot it, police say.  The sight of a man firing the AK-47 at the empty car startled motorists.  "I understand he unloaded three 30-round clips into the vehicle," Sheriff Enoch George said.  Boyd Kelly, 39, told police he was angry at the 1988 Oldsmobile for quitting on him just after 10 p.m. Saturday.  Kelly was charged with a weapons violation and freed on $2,500 bond. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Japanese again wins hot dog title

NEW YORK  -  Hirofumi Nakajima yesterday shoved down 19 hot dogs in 12 minutes to wih Nathan's Famous Hod Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island for the third consecutive year.  The 23-year-old, 135-pound champion from Japan finished ahead of Charles Hardy, a 387-pound, 29-year-old Brooklynite who put away 17 1/2 hot dogs. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Dead Honduran sentenced to jail

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras  -  A Honduran court has sentenced a dead man to 15 years in prison for a murder he committed in 1993, a newspaper reported yesterday.  The late Jose Rivas had been accused of the murder of a peasant named Crisanto Alvarado.  But Rivas, who was free pending trial, never survived to face his day in court as he was killed by an unknown assailant in 1994, La Prensa newspaper said.  Still, the case went forward.  The newspaper called the sentencing an example of disorder in the Honduran court system. (Reuters)

Boston Globe

Corpse in car; suspect got coffee

SPRINGVALE, Maine  -  A Livermore Falls man who was arrested after driving around with his girlfriend's body in the passenger seat will be held in the York County Jail while awaiting trial.  Charles Whitehouse, 29, was arrested Nov. 14 when he was stopped for speeding by a York County sheriff's deputy.  Seated next to Whitehouse was the body of Regina Trogdon, of Rochester, N.H.  Maine State Police Detective Jeffrey Linscott said Whitehouse admitted arguing with Trogdon over another woman before he strangled her with the cord from his sweatshirt.  After the slaying, Whitehouse drove around with Trogdon's body next to him and even grabbed a medium-sized coffee at a Dunkin' Donutes drive-thru while trying to decide what to do, police said. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Nine is the number for 9/9/99 newborn

BELOIT  -  Nicholas Stephen Wadle was born at 9:00 a.m. on the ninth day of the ninth month of 1999.  He weighed 9 pounds, 9 ounces. The baby was due September 15, but a Caesaeran section was scheduled for Thursday because of complications involving the mother, Mary Wadle.  The delivery had been set for 8:00 a.m., but another hospital emergency pushed it back.  Hospital officials tried to find mother and son a room number with a nine in it, but none was available.  So they received Room 2115, where the numerals add up to nine. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Sun 12 Sep 1999

Left-handed not more likely to die

LONDON  -  Left-handed people do not necessarily die younger than their right-handed counterparts, according to new research that is contrary to what some scientists have suggested. In a nine-year study, Dr. Simon Ellis and his colleagues at Keele University in England examined the link between left-handedness and the risk of dying earlier using 6,049 people ranging in age from 15 to 70. "Handedness did not make a significant contribution to the outcome of death," concluded the study. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Fri 29 May 1998

18-ton bridge stolen in Poland

WARSAW  -  An owner arrived at his riverside cottage last weekend only to discover he couldn't get near it - someone had stolen the 18-ton steel bridge that was the only way in. The 19th-century bridge was apparently cut into pieces with a welding torch and hauled away, police chief Zbigniew Skorwider said yesterday. The scrap value of the bridge was estimated at $1,200. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Wed 20 May 1998

Sex, education: Of distinctions in intimate life

CHICAGO  -  Americans with college degrees have sex less often than those who finished high school but not college, a study has found. Those who went to graduate school, it said, have even less sex.

The study, in American Demographics, was based on 10,000 interviews over the past decade. It was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

"Americans who have attended graduate school may have the money and the smarts, but they report being the least sexually active," said the study's authors, John Robinson of the University of Maryland and Geoffrey Godbey of Penn State. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Sat 17 Jan 1998

Pudding packs punch

LONDON  -  Security officers at Manchester airport have uncovered a new threat to public safety - the traditional English Christmas puddings that X-ray scanners are mistaking for Semtex explosives.

"The security system is designed to detect organic matter like Semtex, and Christmas puddings have an unusual density which alerts the system," an airport spokesman said yesterday on condition of anonymity.

Hundreds of Britons getting away for the holidays have taken along puddings - made of flour, eggs, suet, dried fruit and spices - which ooze brandy and calories.

Security officers have had to examine hundreds of bags before allowing them onto aircraft. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Thu 25 Dec 1997

Jury finds fraud in rat-tail fry tale

NEW YORK  -  A medical research expert who tried to extort millions of dollars from hamburger giant McDonald's by saying he found a french-fried rat tail in his son's meal was convicted of fraud by a federal judge yesterday.

Michael Zanakis, 44, of Harding, N.J., faces up to 4 1/2 years in prison after the Long Island jury at the US District Court in Hauppauge found he placed the rat tail in his son's french fries. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Tue 18 Nov 1997

Line spacing foils Braille grant bid

WASHINGTON  -  A grant request by a blind physicist who wants to advance a Braille system for computers was rejected by the Education Department because his typewritten application was not double-spaced.

"I'm blind. I couldn't tell it was single-spaced," said John Gardner, an Oregon State University professor. Senator Ron Wyen has asked Education Secretary Richard Riley to reverse the decision. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Tue 18 Nov 1997

Butchers reject term as metaphor

PARIS  -  France's meat trade has criticized the media for using the word "butchery" to describe massacres of civilians in Algeria or tourists in Egypt. The butchers' federation, concerned that their trade was getting a bad name, urged journalists "whose vocabulary has failed them" to use other terms like cruel, bloody, barbarous, ferocious or savage to describe the killings. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Tue 11 Nov 1997

Senator in N.H. wants toilet equity

DURHAM, N.H.  -  According to state Senator Katie Wheeler, a good way of measuring equality between men and women is to look at how long the lines outside public bathrooms are.

"It's a biological fact that women spend more time in bathrooms," said Wheeler, a Durham Democrat. "There are always lines at women's bathrooms. It is an issue." Wheeler called it a matter of equality, not just convenience. "I don't know a woman who hasn't said this is really unfair," Wheeler said. "A lot of women end up going into men's rooms."

To help fight this bathroom bother, Wheeler is drafting a bill aimed at bringing the toilet equity to New Hampshire. She wants to increase the number of women's toilets in public restrooms.

"I'm certainly looking for a practical solution," Wheeler said. "But if there is a way of achieving parity without great expense, then it's a public policy we should work toward." (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Tue 4 Nov 1997

Trafficker dies as condom bursts

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka  -  A man who swallowed 150 condoms stuffed with heroin and then tried to sneak past customs in the Columbo airport died when one of the condoms burst in his stomach, officials said yesterday. Mohammed Mansoor Faroos, 32, died Monday of a drug overdose, police officials said. (Associated Pre-xr-

Boston Globe, Wed 24 Sep 1997

Stride brings postal firing

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.  -  A woman who has been delivering mail for 18 years has been dismissed because her stride was too short.

"You were observed on June 9, 1997, to walk at a rate of 66 paces per minute with a stride of less than one foot," the US Postal Service told Martha Cherry, 49, of Mount Vernon. "At each step, the heel of your leading foot did not pass the toe of the trailing foot by more than one inch.

"As a result, you required 13 minutes longer than your demonstrated ability to deliver mail to this section of your route."

Cherry, whose height is just under 5 feet, 5 inches, filed a grievance with the carriers' union after she received the letter last month. "I'm devastated," she said. "I've walked that route for 16 years. I know the people, their kids, even their dogs. I care about them. I tried to provide good service for them, and now I'm out of a job."

The people along Cherry's route in White Plains have written dozens of letters in her support. One, signed by more than 40 residents, says, "If walking quickly is more important than kind, sensitive service to customers, then something is seriously wrong with the post office's priorities."

Pat McGovern, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, told Gannett Suburban Newspapers that Cherry had been warned once and suspended twice for similiar problems. She said letter carriers are occasionally followed by supervisors who compare the speed of delivery with the employee's previous performance.

Robert Morton of the National Association of Letter Carriers said the Postal Service's stance was "micromanagement". "Martha probably has gotten slower over the years, just like we all do", he said. "But that's just not acceptable to the Postal Service, even though her customers feel they're getting above-average service." (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Sun 14 Sep 1997

R.I. student's ethnic pride a little too explicit, school officials say

PROVIDENCE  -  When 16-year-old George Giovanis took off his clothes and streaked through Coventry High School, he said he was merely showing off his Greek pride.

Now, his four-month suspension from school has become the talk of the town.

Giovanis admits he ran naked during the lunch period on the first day of classes at Coventry High School before being tackled in the cafeteria by four teachers.

But he says it was no prank.

Giovanis said his sprint was done in the spirit of the ancient Greek athletes who competed naked in the Olympics. He said he wanted to show his support for holding the Olympics in Athens, which days later was chosen to host the 2004 Games. Callers to a radio talk show have said the punishment is too harsh, but some girls at the school say they were offended and wish he were expelled.

Superintendent John Deasy said there is no policy against streaking or nudity in school, but until now, one was never needed. "Students are expected to wear clothing in school", he said. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Sun 14 Sep 1997

Internet user put on probation

CICINNATI  -  An Ohio woman described by police as an Internet addict was placed on two years' probation yesterday for neglecting her three small children while spending several hours a day on her home computer. Police said Sandra Hacker, 24, kept her three children in filthy conditions in a separate room while searching the Internet. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Wed 10 Sep 1997

Territorial dispute on Mars

SAN'A, Yemen  -  Three Yemeni men claiming ownership of Mars have filed a lawsuit against NASA for landing on the planet, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil and Abdullah Umari have filed documents to a Yemeni court that they say prove their claim, the Al-Thawri newspaper said. "We inherited the planet from our ancestors 3,000 years ago," the Arabic-language weekly quoted the men as saying in one of the documents.

NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars on July 4, and its Sojourner rover began exploring the planet and sending back photos and data for analysis. "Sojourner and Pathfinder ... began exploring it without informing us or seeking our approval," the men said.

The plaintiffs demanded the immediate suspension of all operations on Mars until the Yemeni court delivers a verdict. They also asked that the court order NASA to refrain from disclosing any information pertaining to Mars before receiving approval from them or until a verdict is reached.

Asked for comment, Richard Cook, Pathfinder mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said, "It's everybody's. Mars is for the whole world to explore and to understand." (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Fri 25 Jul 1997

Man pulls cloth out of his head

STOCKHOLM  -  A man with a stuffed-up nose is breathing easier since he pulled out a 31-inch long cloth from inside his head. Goeran Rudolfsson had been bothered by congestion since having an operation on a brain tumor in June.

Blowing his nose one day last week, he felt something peculiar, Swedish newspapers reported yesterday. It turned out to be a cloth that had been placed in his head during the operation to absorb fluids and inadvertently left there, the reports said. Rudolfsson was able to grab one end of the cloth, and pulled the whole thing out.

Boston Globe, Tue 15 Jul 1997

Scorpions tickle in record attempt

GENEVA  -  In a bizarre Swiss world-record attempt, a woman covered herself with 82 large African scorpions yesterday, only to complain afterwards that they tickled. Francoise, a 30-year old Swiss fakir who also swallows sabers and spits fire, performed her show with a selection of scorpions from Senegal and Togo, some six inches long, at a fair near Lausanne before a crowd of some 100 people. Soon, there were scorpions crawling everywhere, over her legs, shoulders and chest. She wore a special, transparent bodysuit on which, she said, the animals felt safe.

Boston Globe, Thu 26 Jun 1997

Colombia tolltakers take toll seriously

BOGOTA  -  Firefighters arrived late to a blaze in central Colombia when overzealous highway tollbooth attendants refused to let them pass without paying, the newspaper El Tiempo reported yesterday. Private security staff moved in to calm the row that broke out but instead fanned the flames when they threatened to shoot the fire trucks if the firefighters did not pay.

The incident took place Tuesday on the road between Pereira, the state capital of Risaralda province, and neighboring Valle del Cauca province. The road is operated privately by Wackenhut, a multinational security company.

The firefighters finally left without paying but lost vital minutes getting to the inferno at a brick factory less than a mile away. Outraged fire chief Major Ramon Salcedo told El Tiempo: "In an emergency there's no reason why we should be paying highway tolls."

Wackenhut officials declined to comment to the newspaper except to say it was "rational" to suppose that in such circumstances emergency vehicles should be allowed through toll gates without paying. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Fri 20 Jun 1997

Sicily mayor yields to kisses

ROME  -  A Sicilian mayor has backed off a ban on kissing in public after a protest "kiss-in" in the main square, the newspaper La Repubblica reported yesterday. It said 50 youths outraged by Mayor Salvino Caputo's "censorship" kissed and cuddled in the cathedral square in Monreale Wednesday to make their point, risking a $118 fine. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Fri 20 Jun 1997

Iguana at wheel, owner in trouble

CLEARWATER, Fla.  -  Writing up this police report could be tricky. Suspect: 3 feet tall, scaly, orange and black, long tail. Offense: Driving down a crowded highway during morning rush hour. Detectives had to look twice to be sure Thursday. "It looked like this iguana was driving. He had his claws on top of the wheel," said Larry Sams, with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. John Ruppell was actually doing the driving, slouching down but keeping his eyes on the road. Detectives charged him with drunken driving. (AP)

Boston Globe, Sat 14 Jun 1997

75,000 roaches win her a prize

FOREST PARK, Ga.  -  A Georgia woman whose apartment was infested with more than 75,000 cockroaches won free insecticide and a cash prize this week after her problem was judged one of the worst in the country. Mary Esposito said cockroaches lived in her dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, coffee-maker, VCR, wallpaper, dresser drawers and bathtub faucet. Entomologist Austin Frishman visited the suburban Atlanta home Esposito shares with a teenage son Tuesday, setting up 72 bait stations and using six tubes of gel as part of a free treatment offered by Combat, a cockroach bait manufacturer. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Thu 12 Jun 1997

None too smart in this department

NEW LONDON, Conn.  -  Robert Jordan is a little too smart for his own good. He took an exam to become a New London police officer but wasn't called back for an interview because he scored too high. He filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging discrimination based on intelligence.

"I know I would be a good cop, but I had the misfortune of selecting too many correct answers," said Jordan, 46. "What kind of a message does this send to children? Study hard, but not too hard?"

Deputy Police Chief William C. Gavitt and the city's attorney, Ralph J. Monaco, said candidates who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave not long after undergoing academy training that costs $25,000. "We are looking for bright people," Monaco said, "but we're not looking for people that are so bright to an extent that they're not going to be challenged by the job."

The test company, Wonderlic Personnel Test Inc., said New London is not alone in screening out potential employees deemed too smart. The test is given to 3 million persons annually. (AP)

Boston Globe, Fri 6 Jun 1997

A collect call brings in escapee

GENOA, Italy  -  An escaped Italian prisoner was back behind bars after he lost his wallet and police telephoned him to come and collect it. Luigi De Chrico slipped away from a company where he was allowed to work during a four-month prison sentence in the central town of Terni, but he lost his waller containing identity papers and his cellphone number. A police officer called De Chrico on his cellphone and arrested him when he arrived - on a stolen moped - to pick up the wallet. De Chrico now faces fresh charges of evading jail and theft. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Tue 28 May 1997

But will he get free checking?

DALLAS, Tex.  -  Bulldozers surround the Dallas home of 90-year-old Roman Rodriguez, who says he's prepared to live in the middle of a drive-through bank unless the builders offer him more money. Rodriguez has refused to sell his home of 49 years to Overton Bank & Trust. After waiting more than a year, bank officials began building their bank around him. The ATM machine will be 15 feet from his bedroom, and drive-through customers will wait in line next to his kitchen.

Rodriguez says he will sell, if the price is right.

Dow Jones U.S. News and Features, Fri 23 May 1997

Man buys car for 10,000 bananas

PLAINVILLE, Conn.  -  It may pay to advertise, but a car dealer has learned that it also pays to be clear. Chris Pio had run an ad for a 1983 Cadillac that had said the "First 10,000 Bananas Takes It." Tony Quirion of Bristol took it literally and called a Hartford fruit wholesaler and priced 10,000 bananas for about $1,100, less than half the price of the Caddy. Quirion showed up at Chris' Auto Wholesalers on Saturday with the bananas and got the car. (AP)

Boston Globe, Mon 19 May 1997

Budapest eatery faulted on pricing

BUDAPEST  -  A Budapest restaurant that charged two Danish tourists and two companions more than $6,000 for dinner and drinks may be fined up to the legal maximum of $176, officials said yesterday. The US Embassy in Budapest warned Americans last week about overpricing and strongarm tactics in Budapest cafes, restaurants and nightclubs, but the restaurant in question, Dreher Halaszcsarda, was not among them. (Reuters)

Boston Globe, Thu 15 May 1997

Temple sold hair, raising millions

NEW DELHI  -  A Hindu temple raised millions of dollars by selling the hair of pilgrims who shaved their heads to demonstrate their faith, a news agency reported yesterday. The Venkateswara temple in Tirupati took in $1.82 million in hair sales the previous year. The temple's 600 barbers shaved the heads of 6.5 million Hindus, the agency said. Much of the hair is exported to the United States to make wigs. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe, Tue 6 May 1997

Stroke changes woman's accent

LONDON  -  A Scottish woman went to bed with a headache and woke up speaking with a South African accent, a British doctor said yesterday. Instead of her Scottish brogue, the unidentified woman in her 50's had a different voice with an intonation more familiar in Cape Town than in Edinburgh.

Doctors say she had a minor stroke and is suffering from foreign accent syndrome, a condition in which patients acquire a completely different accent after suffering a stroke. Only 12 previous cases have been reported. (Reuters)

Boston Globe

A dig brings jail for anatomy data

ATHENS  -  The parents of a Greek medical student have been sentenced to four months in prison for stealing bones from a cemetery to aid their son's study of anatomy.

Philip and Evangelia Danglis were found guilty of "disrespect of the dead" and sentenced Friday, official said. The move came two years after the wife of the deceased filed charges against the parents, accusing them of stealing her spouse's bones and mailing them to Bulgaria, where the Danglis' son was attending medical school.

The Danglis said their son planned to return the bones after studying them, officials said. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

In Singapore, a tide is turned

SINGAPORE  -  The Singapore government is flushed with victory, so to speak, declaring yesterday that it has won the latest war against dirty public facilities.

In a news release called "toilet alert," the Environment Ministry said the publicity drive to clean up public lavatories is receiving "overwhelming public support." In the week since the campaign was launched, 5,000 Singaporeans called the Clean Public Toilets hot line to identify "model" toilets and to vote for their favorites. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Brazil wife cages husband 13 years

BRASILIA  -  A Brazilian farmer caged like a rabid dog for 13 years by his wife and her lover was finally freed in a rescue mission by his cousins, the Correio Braziliense newspaper reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said Mariano Jose da Silva had been locked up in a windowless room, chained to the wall and with only a hammock for a bed, for over a decade after he caught his wife Antonia Maria in bed with the other man.

"At first I cried a lot. But then I got used to it," he said. (Reuters)

Boston Globe

Camel disease leads 5 to suicide

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia  -  Five Ethiopian camel herders have commited suicide because of a mysterious camel disease killing up to 300 animals every day, a state-owned newspaper said. (Reuters)

Boston Globe

Postal clerk held after bizarre acts

DENVER  -  A postal clerk was arrested after he arrived at work in a dress and then returned with several guns in his truck. John Pitney, 50, a clerk at the US Postal Service's terminal annex for more than five years, "exhibited some bizarre behaviour," said John Freeman of the Postal Inspection Service.

Pitney was still wearing the dress, as well as a gorilla mask and what investigators described as "a strap-on sexual device" when arrested. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Lovers are foiled in 3 suicide bids

TAIPEI  -  First they drove a car off a cliff. Then they tried to hang themselves. Finally, the two lovers held hands and jumped from the 12th floor of their hotel. All three times, they survived.

Huang Pin-jen, 27, and Chang Shu-mei, 26, landed on the roof of an adjacent five-story restaurant Sunday night and were in the hospital yesterday in stable condition with bone fractures, police in the city of Kaohsiung said. Kaohsiung police officer Chang Fang said the couple's parents disapproved of their relationship for unspecified reasons but "they agreed to settle their dispute." (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Indian women protest pageant

BANGALORE, India  -  Sixteen women stormed a showroom yesterday and smeared cow dung and coal tar on furniture, locks and soaps made by sponsors of next month's Miss World beauty pageant.

The city police commissioner, Sharat Chandra Burman, said officers arrested the women, sho say the pageant demeans women and mainly benefits cosmetics companies. The demonstrators carried patties of dried cow dung soaked in kerosene into the showroom in this southern city, apparently intending to set the goods on fire.

They shouted slogans against the contenst and smeared goods on sale with fresh cow dung and coal tar. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Computer software eats police records

MANISTEE, Mich.  -  Police have an all-points bulletin out for the man who sold them a computer program they say is eating up their case records.

The program, called Crime Tracker, was billed as a way for police to keep track of cases and was sold to about 25 police departments across Michigan. So far, four years of data cannot be found on Manistee's computer, and other departments are having problems too. Manistee has the records on paper, but it would take a full-time employee upto two years to reenter it into a computer.

The software maker is believed to be in Australia. (Associated Press)

Boston Globe

Jilted Indonesian unleashes cobras

JAKARTA, Indonesia  -  A jilted Indonesian woman released six cobras in a crowded karaoke bar in central Jakarta to teach her former boyfriend a lesson. She was arrested, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday. No one was injured in the incident. The woman accused her former lover, identified only as Tu, of having an affair with a co-worker, the agency said. (Reuters)

Boston Globe

Court orders man to pay in camels

GROZNY, Russia  -  A recently established Islamic court in Chechnya has ordered a man to pay 63 camels to the relatives of a person he killed in a traffic accident.

There's just one problem: there are no camels in Chechnya, a mostly Muslim republic in southern Russia. As an alternative, the convicted man can pay $63,000 to the family, the judges said. The judges later reduced the amount to $360 when the defendant said it would be impossible for him - or anyone else in war-battered Chechnya - to raise the initial amount.

The judges based the original award on a formula that equates one camel to two bulls, which Chechnya does have. A bull is worth about $500 in Chechnya. (Associated Press)

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