NewsQuirks 460

Courtroom FolliesWhile a jury in Lewes, England, was debating the fate of two defendantsaccused of intending to handcuff and rob a store clerk, one of the jurorstried to show the others how effective the handcuffs were but got stuck inthem. The jury notified the judge, who summoned the fire department rescuesquad. Since a jury cannot be disturbed once it has begun deliberations, thecourt had to be reconvened and the jury brought out to allow the rescuers toremove the handcuffs. After resuming their deliberations, the jury found thedefendants guilty.Virtual RobberyA man robbed the Capital Bank of North County in San Diego, never claiming hehad a gun but showing the teller a photograph of another man holding a gun.Holy SmokesIn England, Gavin Rogers-Ball, 30, a member of the Wells Cathedral Choir, wasfired after being accused of bribing a 10-year-old boy in the choir to pretendto be ill during a long bus ride so the driver would have to stop, enablingRogers-Ball to take a cigarette break. A 15-year-old boy told authorities in San Bernadino, Calif., that he shot andkilled 4-year-old Rudy Padilla with a sawed-off shotgun after the boy failedto bring him cigarettes. "The 15-year-old told him to get him some cigarettes,and he didn't and so he shot him," police Sgt. Brad Ringnes said, noting theteen-ager claimed the shooting was accidental.Jumbo SexKim Lee Chong, 61, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for trying to have sexwith an elephant. After he was caught naked from the waist down standing on abox behind the animal, he claimed the elephant was the reincarnation of hiswife, who had died 28 years earlier. "I recognized her immediately by thenaughty glint in her eyes," Kim told the court in Phuket, Thailand.Fatal ArgumentsEgyptian house painter Seyyed Hashem Ahmad, 43, pushed Ensaf Mohmamad Selim,65, to her death from the roof of a three-story building in Suez after the twoargued over which one should be first to hang their laundry out to dry. In Hong Kong, Cheung Tat-kwong, 76, was convicted of beating roommate WongFai, 75, to death with a pole during an argument that began when Wong toldCheung to stop scratching his buttocks. In Romania, Florica Ifrimie hanged herself before her wedding after she andher fiancŽ could not agree on the menu for their wedding banquet. Police in Port Jervis, N.Y., charged Luis Deleg, 27, with fatally stabbinghis new bride, Tina Entwistle-Deleg, 30, at a party hours after their wedding.The two began arguing when Deleg accused his wife of being interested in hiscousin, according to Lisa Quinones, the bride's sister and maid of honor, whosaid, "I heard love, honor. I didn't hear kill in any of that ceremony."Super SizeAustralia's Defense Minister Ian McLachlan ordered Warrant Officer RayDouglas removed from ceremonial duties at the world swimming championships inPerth for being too "chunky." McLachlan spotted Douglas on televisionescorting swimmers to medal ceremonies and decided his bulk didn't befit themilitary's image, explaining that since the military participates in suchevents to boost public relations and recruitment efforts, it should make "thebest presentation possible." For the first time, this year's ready-to-wear show in Paris will featurefashions for full-figured women. "One out of six French women now wear supersizes," said Daniel Hajlblum, who is organizing the September show, notingthat between 1,200 and 1,500 French shops stock the larger sizes. Active church-goers are more likely to be overweight than less religiouspeople, according to Purdue University researcher Kenneth Ferraro. His studyconcluded that Southern Baptists were the heaviest, while believers from non-Christian religions were the least likely to be overweight. "Many 'firmbelievers' do not have firm bodies," he noted.Victim of the WeekDaniel Lima filed a lawsuit against the Minnichaug Golf Course in NewBritain, Conn., after an errant shot hit him in the nose. Lima demanded$15,000 in damages, even though he was the one who hit the ball. His drivestarted down the fairway, then hit a yardage marker and bounced back.Level the Playing FieldTo try to improve its losing record, the Argentine soccer team Racingorganized a full-scale exorcism of its playing field, featuring a stadium fullof fans and a blessing ceremony for the team and both goals. Club presidentDaniel Lalin told reporters the team was "uniting Catholicism with Racingism.It is an act of faith, the same faith showed by the fans who stoically go tothe stadium every Sunday." Despite the ceremony, Racing lost the game that followed, 2-0.Land of the Setting SunThe number of Japanese children who wear their shoes on the wrong feet isincreasing, according to the Yomiuri newspaper, which noted that in one Tokyokindergarten, almost half of the pupils had it wrong. The paper said it couldoffer "no credible explanation for the bizarre phenomenon."Another Hallmark MomentThe makers of Hallmark greeting cards unveiled a new line: sympathy cards forpeople whose relatives or friends have committed suicide. The card, whichfeatures a cloudy sky over a sailboat on a calm sea, offers the consolingsentiment that it is impossible to know the suffering of one who feels theneed to escape life but that "our compassionate creator" has already welcomedthe loved one to his bosom.Real-Life Book ReportsTraffic offenders in Benalmadena on Spain's Costa del Sol can avoid paying afine by reading a book instead. A spokesperson for the resort town noted inFebruary that more than 100 offenders had taken advantage of the offer.Offenders are quizzed about the book afterward; any who can't convinceauthorities that they actually read it have to pay the fine.In Heaven There Is No BeerMiller Brewing Co. canceled a television commercial that showed angelsdrinking beer after New Jersey clergyman the Rev. Edward B. Smart Jr.complained. Smart insisted the ad was blasphemous for implying that angelsdrink and that there is beer in heaven.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citingsource and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306. Fans of quirky news willenjoy the newest collection, "More Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest," by John J. Kohut &Roland Sweet (Plume paperback).


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