Dateline: California—Unable to purchase an airline ticket for Australia, 31-year-old Neil Melly of Canada stripped naked, scaled a barbed-wire fence at the Los Angeles International Airport, ran across the tarmac and attached himself to the plane's wheel well. Melly had tried earlier to buy a ticket for a Qantas Airways flight for Australia with only a credit card receipt. Ticket agents refused to give him the ticket. Melly ignored police officers repeated request to remove himself from the airplane's wheel well. He eventually complied when city fire fighters arrived. Melly, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had been listed as a missing person in Canada. He was booked on a trespassing charge and released. Airport authorities are looking into improving the fence Melly scaled.
Dateline: Germany—Germany's youngest ever elected politician, 18-year-old member of Parliament Julia Bonk, is already causing quite a stir. The teenage politico, who does not appear to believe in a “Just say no” message, recently told Bild newspaper, “I have taken drugs. Cannabis is totally healthy, and doesn't make you addicted.” Bonk went on to inform Bild readers that, “even heroin taken in a pure form is not addictive.” Bonk, a member of the left-wing Party of Democratic Socialism, has not gained much support from her political colleagues. PDS boss Peter Porsch told the newspaper, “These comments have stepped over the mark. I will be speaking to her and make it clear what we feel about drugs.”
Dateline: Romania—Police in Izvoare have arrested what could be the world's first blind car thief. According to police, 24-year-old Alin Popescu was having an argument with his friends. The friends allegedly called Popescu “useless” because of his lack of sight. Naturally, Popescu decided to prove them wrong by stealing a car. The sightless carjacker actually started out OK. He managed to break into a parked car without help, started the ignition with a screwdriver and drove off down a busy street. Unfortunately, the crime spree was short-lived as Popescu crashed into a tree, knocking himself unconscious, half a mile down the road. “I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do anything I wanted--despite my handicap,” Popescu told police. “I only crashed because I was not sure of the way home.”
Dateline: Taiwan—Bless the beasts and children ... but do so from a safe distance. A 46-year-old man identified only by his surname Chen was attacked at the Taipei Zoo after climbing into a cage with two African lions and attempting to convert them to Christianity. “Jesus will save you!” the man shouted at the lions lounging under a tree a few feet away. Apparently unmoved by his evangelical message, one of the male lions got up and bit the man on the arm. Zoo workers eventually chased the animal off with water hoses and tranquilizer guns. The man walked away from the scene with bites on his arms and claw marks on his legs. Newspapers said that the lions had been fed earlier in the day, which may have spared the man more serious injuries. “He took dangerous action today because he imagined he heard voices,” psychiatrist Teng Hui-wen told reporters.
Dateline: New Jersey—An Air National Guard warplane, flying a night training mission out of Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, missed its intended target by more than three miles last Wednesday and ended up strafing an elementary school in Little Egg Harbor Township. A cleaning woman heard a racket up on the school's roof shortly after 10 p.m. and called local police. Turns out, an F-16 warplane had opened up its 20-millimeter cannon and fired a burst of 27 rounds into the Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School. Fortunately, the school was not in session. The school's 970 pupils were out on Wednesday and Thursday because teachers were attending an annual convention in nearby Atlantic City. Four custodians were in the building at the time of the shelling, but no one was injured. Michael Dupis, president of the township school board, seemed unfazed by the rain of two-inch lead slugs on Little Egg Harbor Intermediate. “There will be concerns, but I feel confident that the military has done and is doing everything it can to safeguard against any occurrences of this nature,” Dupis told the New York Times. The incident is under investigation by Pentagon and state officials.
Dateline: Georgia—Michael Donald Marshall, 39, entered the Bank of America building in Kennessaw last Wednesday, told workers he had a gun and demanded $500. Workers were forced to point out to Marshall that the bank was still under construction, was not open for business and had no money to give out. Police arrived just as Marshall was exiting the unfinished building empty-handed. The suspect was charged with armed robbery and was also picked up on an outstanding warrant for shoplifting.