NewsQuirks 477

Look at MeAmong the thousands of people who watched a woman identified only as Elizabeth give birth on the Internet were Florida law enforcement officials. They recognized her as Elizabeth Ann Oliver, 40, who was wanted on a series of bad-check charges dating back to 1989. After the authorities announced that they were seeking Oliver and her husband Gilberto, who accompanied her on the Internet delivery, Oliver turned herself in, conceding that using their real first names led to their identification. "They at first wanted us to use aliases," she said. "But I said how in the world am I going to remember to call my husband 'John' in the middle of labor?"Matthew Fenwick, 31, managed to elude authorities who accused him for molesting two girls until one of the victims spotted him four months later on the television game show "Wheel of Fortune." The girl's mother notified law- enforcement officials, who arrested Fenwick at his house in Olathe, Kan. He won $4,400 on the show but pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with the two girls.Government SolutionsSince Thailand's six-party coalition government of Premier Chuan Leekpai has a slim 12-seat majority in the lower house, it needs all its members of parliament to attend sessions to ensure quorums and win votes. Chief Whip Charoen Kantawong announced that he would take extraordinary measures to make sure the members attend sessions, declaring, "I will take a note of MPs who regularly disappear from house sessions and will inform their wives and appeal to them to discipline their husbands."Martine Aubry, jobs and solidarity minister of France's Socialist government, ordered investigators to monitor prominent firms -- raiding offices and photographing license plates in office parking lots -- to stop voluntary unpaid overtime in an attempt to create jobs. The International Herald Tribune reported that violators, estimated at 25 percent of the work force, routinely work overtime if necessary to get the job done since their pay is based on incentives, not union contracts. Businesses insist they need this kind of flexibility to remain competitive, but the government said it is more concerned with the country's 11.9-percent unemployment rate.Super StashesConnecticut police arrested Jason Ennis, 21, after he arrived at Bradley International Airport on a flight from Chicago and claimed a suitcase so full of marijuana that it broke open twice. Trooper James Norris said the suitcase first burst when a baggage handler put it on a conveyor belt leading to the baggage claim area. Authorities closed the suitcase and waited to see who would claim it. When Ennis picked up the suitcase, it broke open again. He was trying to cram the drugs back in when the police apprehended him.Local and federal drug agents found 12,448 marijuana plants when they raided a building in Eureka, Calif., that was disguised as a family's country dream house. The house turned out to be just a facade, with ground-level windows specially designed to create the illusion of looking into an ordinary home. Inside, the 4,000-square-foot structure was filled with a sophisticated growing and drying operation, using lights powered by a 125-kilowatt generator hidden in a nearby creekbed. "It was like a sea of green inside," Humboldt County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Knight said. "By the time we got through, we felt like we had wandered around a Hollywood set."Dress-Code LoopholeTurkish Islamist female university students in Istanbul reacted to a university ban on Islamic-style head scarves by buying shoulder-length, synthetic wigs to keep their hair covered according to Islamic tradition.Winner and Still HoldingShard Tappan, 28, and some friends in Mt. Clemens, Mich., were swimming in a pool when they decided to see who could hold his breath the longest. Tappan won, but after he had been on the bottom for five minutes, his friends pulled him out and found he had held his breath too long and died.Litigation NationWhile awaiting trial for robbing an Atlantic City, N.J., bank of $3,300, Mortimer Hetsberger, 22, filed a $1.2-million lawsuit against the teller he is accused of robbing. The civil suit accused Laura Gonzalez of defaming and slandering him by telling police he had threatened to shoot her if she did not hand over the money. Hetsberger insisted he merely handed her a note declaring "I want the money now."Name GameMen whose initials form acronyms with negative connotations (P.I.G., D.U.D., U.G.H.) died an average of 2.8 years sooner than those whose initials were meaningless, according to researchers at the University of California at San Diego. Men whose initials form positive acronyms (W.I.N., V.I.P., A.C.E.) lived an average of 4.48 years longer than those with meaningless initials.Noting that initials result in "psychological symbolic factor that can exert its impact cumulatively over the years," psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld, one of the researchers, explained, "You get teased at school, wonder what your parents thought of you, maybe fate is out to get you, but at every stage it's a little tiny depressant to be called PIG, or a little tiny boost to your esteem to be called ACE or WOW."A German court ruled that a 27-year-old mother who tried to give her son 12 names cannot exceed five names. The Duesseldorf court said that by trying to name the boy Chenekwahow Migiskau Nikapi-Hun-Nizeo Alessandro Majim Chayara Inti Ernesto Prithibi Kioma Pathar Henrike so that he would grow up "in the cultural spirit of the times," the mother had not fulfilled her obligation to make clear what people should call her child.In Guadalajara, Mexico, Cardinal Juan Sandoval complained that many parents are choosing un-Mexican names for their children, so he has begun changing them at baptism. One child whose parents wanted to call him Giovanni, Sandoval baptized Juan; he also changed a girl's name from Samantha to Maria. "They have strange names or of people from a very different culture, like an Eric," Sandoval told reporters. "Here we are called Juan, like I am."


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