NewsQuirks 397

PARTY POOPERSScantily clad entertainers were banned in Jakarta this New Year's Eve. Nightclubs in the Indonesian capital regularly feature foreign musicians and dancers, some of them erotic, but a spokesperson for the head supervisor of foreign artists at City Hall said such bawdy revelry is not appropriate during the holy month of Ramadan, warning, "We will bring down any foreign artist who wears a bikini on stage."Rescue workers interrupted their Christmas party to climb a Welsh mountain after a climber reported seeing a man there with a head injury. When the rescue helicopter picked out the man with a searchlight and guided climbers to him, the 50-year-old explained he was a Buddhist who had climbed Cader Idris to spend the winter solstice communing with nature and told them to go away.WHY THEY CALL IT DOPETwo drug dealers accused of selling tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and funneling millions in drug profits to the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua spent most of the money on themselves, according to the Los Angeles Times. An associate of Norvin Meneses and Danilo Blandon told the newspaper the two men gave "well under $50,000" to the rebels fighting the Marxist Sandinista government in the 1980s and wasted profits by making bad investments and using drugs themselves. They consumed so much cocaine themselves that they nearly defaulted on what they owed to Colombian suppliers, the unnamed associate said, explaining, "Not only was this the gang that couldn't shoot straight, this was the gang that couldn't stay straight."Three college students enjoying the annual Fantasy Festival in Key West, Fla., were caught smoking marijuana under an air-conditioning intake at the police station. "We were all sitting in our office on Saturday night, and all of a sudden, heavy marijuana fumes started coming through the vents," Detective Alfredo Vazquez said. "We went outside and found three men huddled in the bushes smoking away on a joint."IT IS WRITTENMuslim clerics in Mogadishu, Somalia, announced it was blasphemous for women to wear veils imported from India that feature a printed verse from the Koran that was unintelligible because of a misspelling. The error was a serious mistake, Muslim leader Sheik Mohamed Moalim Hassan declared, but "putting it on the clothes of people is even worse. Your clothes become dirty, you use them in toilets and you may even throw them away. And there Allah's words end up in an unsuitable and miserable way."Citing Islamic law, Taleban leaders in Afghanistan have banned paper bags. "We respect paper, whether it is written on or not," said the Taleban administration's information minister. "We have announced that people should not use paper for bags or put paper on the garbage heap."WHEN PRODUCE IS OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE PRODUCEFans of the Gillingham soccer club in England who are caught with celery risk being banned from games for life. Celery is mentioned in a song popular with Gillingham boosters, who toss stalks in the air when it is mentioned. "We had incidents over a number of matches," the club's safety officer said. "We estimate there must have been boxes of it in the air. There is a safety implication here."CURSES, FOILED AGAINTwo would-be robbers gained entry to a San Francisco bank around 1 a.m. by accosting a janitor being picked up by her husband and children. The men locked the family in a utility closet, then waited nearly eight hours for bank employees to arrive. According to police Officer Patricia Burley, at 8:30 a.m. a teller arrived and was confronted by the men, who ordered her to open the vault. She told them that she couldn't because two people are needed, adding that the branch manager was outside. The gunmen dispatched her to get the branch manager, but once she was outside she and the branch manager ran into a nearby store and called 911. When police units arrived at the bank, the robbers had fled empty handed.In Philadelphia, a man identified himself as a police officer to Courtney Beswick, 28, then said he had a gun and demanded money. Even though Beswick is blind and couldn't see his assailant, he used his martial arts training to flip the attacker over his shoulder, then placed him in a wrestling hold until police arrived. The would-be robber, Anthony Ervin, was declared dead at the hospital after suffering a neck injury. Beswick, who wasn't injured or charged in connection with Ervin's death, in 1987 was named Most Valuable Wrestler for the Eastern Atlantic Association for Schools for the Blind.GRAND POTENTATETo honor Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej's 50th anniversary on the throne, the Population and Community Development Association performed free vasectomies on hundreds of his subjects eager to show their reverence. The daylong event was presented in a carnival-like atmosphere, with free food and drink and wives and children cheering on the men before and after the seven-minute operation.EXPERT CONSULTANTOfficers at Sweden's Karlberg military academy gave cadets a lesson in discipline by hiring a whip-wielding dominatrix to entertain them. One cadet reported, "It wasn't particularly pleasant."THE PEN IS MIGHTIERGerman penmaker Montblanc announced a recall of a fountain pen that retails for $900 by itself and $1,500 as a set that includes a ballpoint and a mechanical pencil. Part of a series named for famous authors, the pen was supposed to feature the engraved facsimile signature of Alexandre Dumas, who wrote The Three Musketeers and other novels. Instead, Montblanc said, the signature is that of Dumas's son, a lesser writer also named Alexandre. One retailer estimated that 700 sets had been sold, adding that "replacement will end up costing millions."


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