NewsQuirks 498

The Honeymoon Is Over After a year of marriage, Marius and Roxana Dumitrescu filed for divorce in southern Romania, citing "irreconcilable differences." According to court records, Marius wanted Roxana to wear mauve clothing, as his mother always did, but she preferred dressing in white, red and green.Curses, Foiled Again Police in Peru, Vt., arrested Hazard Campbell, 42, as a suspect in the abduction and assault of a 26-year-old Barnard woman after the victim said her attacker told her he had a "strange" first name and called his dog "Obie," short for Obidya. His dog's name was on record with the town clerk.Chicken Little Was Right The sky has fallen more than 5 miles in the past 40 years, according to researchers from the British Antarctic Survey, who checked records of radio waves bouncing off the ionosphere. Head scientist Martin Jarvis emphasized that the collapse of the upper atmosphere from 190 to 185 miles "is not in itself harmful to people," but, blaming global warming, he added it is just "another warning signal about what damage to the atmosphere can be caused by human impact." A 17-year-old Kmart employee in Prince Frederick, Md., was injured while working in a storage area when, according to Bo McKenny of the Calvert County Sheriff's Department, he went to grab something off one of the shelves and 21 toilet seats fell down on him.Forgotten But Not Gone Diane Thomas, 33, sought acupuncture treatment in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, from Dr. Kevin Thomas. After inserting needles in her neck, back, ankles and wrists, he told her to lie face down for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, he was called away on an emergency and forgot about her. So did the other doctors, nurses and clerical staff, who did not hear her cries for help inside the soundproof treatment room when they locked up the medical offices for the day. That night, the cleaning staff found the woman in her underwear and called a senior physician to remove the needles. To prevent further mishaps, the practice began issuing hand bells for patients to ring if they are ever overlooked.Poor Reflection After capturing just 17 percent of the November vote in Alaska's gubernatorial election, Republican John Lindauer blamed, among many others, the news media for contributing to his dismal showing, accusing one Anchorage television station of using a mysterious "radio-station mirror" to distort his words.Lost and Found When Los Angeles police officer Kelly Benitez, 29, stopped a beat-up Ford Thunderbird with expired license plates, he noticed the driver's last name and his were the same. After a few questions, the son realized the driver was his father, Paul Benitez, 49, whom he hadn't seen since he was 4 months old. As the two men embraced in the street, the father noted afterward, "cars pulled over because they thought I was wrestling with a police officer."Fur Fights Back Elephants in Uganda are thwarting ivory poachers by being born without tusks. Researchers at Queen Elizabeth National Park reported that 15.5 percent of the female elephants and 9.5 percent of the males are now tuskless, up from 1 percent in 1930. Scientists credit the genetic adaptation for the recovery of the elephant population in the park from 200 in 1992 to 1,200 today and in Africa overall from 500,000 in 1989 to 600,000 now.One Pill Makes You Larger After withdrawing his savings, pawning his wedding ring and taking out a loan, Romanian Georgio Barrsan, 56, spent the money on black-market Viagra and two prostitutes. He took six of the anti-impotence pills, but then fell asleep. He awoke 12 hours later to find the women and his wallet gone. Investigators discovered that instead of Viagra, Barrsan had been sold sleeping pills. Despite the customary reluctance of Japan's Health Ministry to approve foreign-made drugs, usually taking years and sometimes decades, if ever, it needed just five months to approve Viagra. Japan's NHK public television reported that a ministry panel cut through the red tape, even though birth- control pills and the anti-depressant Prozac have awaited approval for many years. Since Viagra's introduction last year, the $10 pills have sold for between $30 and $300 on Japan's black market. Travel agencies there have even organized tours to the United States that include appointments with doctors who write prescriptions for Viagra.Things That Go Boom Friza Borokhova, 74, Voya Borokhova, 44, Sophia Shomekova, 23, and two children, 4 and 2, suffered minor injuries in their New York City apartment while honoring the memory of a dead relative when they lit what they thought was a votive candle. It turned out to be an M-100 fireworks explosive.Vlad Cazacu, 43, a circus fire-eater in Romania exploded during a performance in Romania when he burped after accidentally swallowing some flammable liquid, triggering the blast.Bird Brains Investigators looking for pirated computer software at a house in Mountain Ash, South Wales, couldn't find the master disc's until the owner's parrot announced, "Under the mattress! Under the mattress!" They lifted it and found two cases containing some 200 games. "The parrot was giving us an earache," investigator Phil Jones of European Leisure Software Publishers' Association told reporters, "when it dawned on us what it was actually squawking." Police in Kvam, Norway, spent 10 days trying to locate the victim of a motorcycle accident near Bergen, Norway, using divers, cameras and dogs to search a lake next to the crash site. Finally, the desperate sheriff decided to test a folk saying that roosters can find drowned people. He and a deputy put a rooster in a cardboard box and rowed away from shore. After a few hundred feet, the rooster started crowing, and the sheriff spotted the body.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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