NewsQuirks 435

Safety FirstCattle on the Malaysian resort island of Pulau Langkawi have had their ears pierced and fitted with red plastic reflectors to prevent road accidents at night. Officials explained that mechanization in rice fields has left many of the island's cattle unemployed and untended. What's more, accident reports suggest the cattle apparently like sitting on the roads at night. Ismail Abu of the Automobile Association said the reflectors are a good idea but only a start, noting, "That takes care of the front of the cow. But what about the back?"Votes of ConfidenceHelmut Tuerk, Austria's ambassador to the United States, was voted president of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which handles matters of maritime law. His election marked the first time a representative from a landlocked country has been chosen to head the conference.Gustav Feissel, the United Nations Representative in Cyprus, proposed to help the cause of peace on the divided island by organizing a pop music concert featuring Greek and Turkish performers. Instead, he provoked a night of rioting in the divided capital of Nicosia that saw shop windows smashed, vehicles wrecked and bonfires lit. Thirty-nine people were injured and 55 others arrested. Despite the riots, Feissel hailed the concert as "a huge success."The Honeymoon Is OverVeneline and Mariete Vassilevi divorced after being married only a week when they learned they are twins. Agence France-Presse reported that the 25-year-olds were raised in an orphanage before being adopted by different families, one in southern Bulgaria, the other in Varna on the Black Sea. They met as students at the Varna Institute of Economic Science but learned their true relationship only after Veneline brought his bride to meet his natural mother, who fainted on seeing her daughter.The Hong Kong High Court annulled the 14-year-old marriage of Leung Cheung and Pan Oi-lin, five years after Pan was convicted of bigamy. The court overturned the conviction, ruling that Pan had not followed the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony because she failed to present her in-laws with a cup of tea.WhoppersSidonia Williams was arrested when she tried to pass a $1-million bill at a New York City department store. Police who searched her duffel bag found 194 counterfeit or altered bills. The New York Daily News reported that Williams told the authorities making money was her hobby; she made the bogus million-dollar bill, for example, by pasting zeroes on a $1 bill and duplicating it on a color copier. When federal magistrate Ronald Ellis tried to explain to Williams that the government doesn't make $1-million bills and that it is illegal for private citizens to make their own money, Williams disagreed, insisting, "In this case it was legal, sir."Want Fries With That?Short-order cook Hashiem Zayed, 59, fatally shot restaurant manager Helen Menicou, 47, after she berated him for making a customer poached eggs because the item isn't on the menu. Noting the two had worked together at the Pine Crest Diner for 22 years, San Francisco police Inspector Armand Gordon explained, "He was having a bad day."Nine-to-FiverJimmy Pacheco was kidnapped in Cucuta, Colombia, and held for a month, according to television news reports, to try to win some undisclosed concessions from his associates. Not wishing to upset Pacheco's family, however, his abductors let him return home every evening, then kept an eye on the house all night to make sure he didn't escape and abducted him every morning when he left for work.Winners & LosersThe New York State Council on Problem Gambling, whose toll-free telephone number is printed on state lottery tickets to help gambling addicts, said many of its calls come from people seeking help in picking winning numbers.Todd Sloane, a marketing executive with Publishers Clearing House, said many contestants worry that the prize patrol won't be able to find them to notify them they are winners. "We get thousands of calls from entrants," Sloane said, "warning us their house is hard to get to or they'll be at Uncle Jack's, whatever."Competition among coffin sellers in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, has become desperate, with eight shops located across the street from the city's largest hospital. According to television news reports, one shop's agent sneaked into several hospital rooms to disconnect oxygen to terminally ill patients whose relatives had visited the shop and might give it their business.Opportunity KnocksThe British sign-making company Bribex has begun seeking sponsors for street signs, among them Cadbury, Heinz, Lego, British Airways and McDonald's. "We are not going to brewers or tobacco companies," a company spokesperson told the Earth Island Journal. "We are going for companies that will not cause offense."After market researchers discovered that shoppers typically spend 24 minutes at mall food courts, malls have joined the list of "place-based" networks set up to target captive audiences on college campuses, doctors' offices, checkout lines and airports. The Food Court Entertainment Network's Cafe USA is in at least 35 malls nationwide, with 200 more projected. The channel shows a continuous half-hour of entertainment, trivia, skits, "Sesame Street" excerpts and ads. "Folks watch television," network president Jim Perkins said. "Importantly, most folks eat when they watch television."In September, stickers promoting the home-video release of "Liar Liar" began appearing on Granny Smith apples in Los Angeles and New York. The companies that devised the promotion, Universal Studios Home Video and the ad firm Fruit Label Co. of Santa Monica, Calif., said they are also planning a similar apple campaign for the video release of "The Lost World" in November.Litigation NationNorman Mayo, 61, filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle against the state's dairy industry, claiming that drinking milk all his life contributed to his clogged arteries and a minor stroke. "I drank milk like some people drink beer or water. I've always loved a nice cold glass of milk, and I drank a lot of it," Mayo said, adding he believes he might have avoided his health problems if milk cartons had borne warnings about fat and cholesterol. "If tobacco products can be required to have warning labels, why not dairy products? I think milk is just as dangerous as tobacco."Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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