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 V.14 No.6 | February 10 - 16, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Holland—A group of homeless people are having a little fun in the sun thanks to a faulty ATM. The homeless people were given special state social security cash cards which allow them to take out up to $150 at a time. But a computer glitch at a Fortis Bank cash machine in Rotterdam allowed them to withdraw an unrestricted amount of money, the newspaper de Volkskrant reported. Amounts ranging from $450 to nearly $20,000 ended up being taken out by a group of at least 20 homeless people, and police believe that many of the people involved have gone on vacation with the money. An official with the Pauluskerk homeless shelter in Rotterdam said, “Those who took out large amounts of money have probably left the country and are sunning themselves on a beach in Spain.” More than $100,000 is missing from the Fortis Bank.

Dateline: England—An elderly couple tried to buy a copy of the wholesome 1957 Doris Day film Pajama Game at a Safeway supermarket in Taunton. When they got home, unwrapped the disc and popped it into their DVD player, however, the devout Baptist couple were greeted with a topless woman speaking Italian. Turns out the bargain disc was actually a copy of the Italian sex flick Tettore che Passione, or Breasts of Passion. “We are big fans of Doris Day and were looking forward to the film, but we knew something was amiss when a warning flashed up on the screen advising under 18s not to carry on watching,” 67-year-old Alan Leigh-Brown told reporters. “It was a pretty raunchy, explicit film. It certainly pulled no punches,” added the scandalized Leigh-Brown. “The film became progressively more graphic. There was no plot to it. It was just sex.” And the big punch line to this story? ... “My wife and I were very shocked, but we watched it until the end because we couldn't believe what we were seeing.”

Dateline: Mexico City—Prisoners in a top security prison are so scandalized by their recent loss of flat screen TVs, mobile phones, pizza deliveries and extended conjugal visits that they took out a full-page ad in the country's top daily Reforma to complain. The recent government crackdown in prisons, aimed especially at drug lords who are able to operate their empires comfortably from behind bars, has the prisoners at La Palma complaining about their now “subhuman” conditions. Over the past month, President Vicente Fox has sent troops into prisons across Mexico, including La Palma. In cell-by-cell searches, inmates have been stripped of their illegal luxuries. Conjugal visits have been halted as well. “This is degrading us, treating us like dogs, like animals, like we are worthless, telling us that we are in this place to be severely punished because we are the scum of society,” complained the expensive ad in Monday's paper. It was signed, simply, “The inmates of La Palma.”

Dateline: Slovakia—A man trapped in his car under an avalanche managed to free himself with the help of 60 bottles of beer and a whole lot of urine. Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain trail four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slavak Tatra mountains. He told the rescuers that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out. He quickly realized that the car would fill up with snow before he could reach the surface. Armed with the 60 half-liter bottles of beer he had purchased for his skiing holiday, Kral came up with a novel solution to his problem. “I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt,” Kral told the local media. Parts of Europe have been hit with the heaviest snowfalls recorded since 1941. Some places have registered more than 10 feet in 24 hours.

Dateline: Austria—A 35-year-old con man picked the wrong confidant when it came time to boast of his recent crime spree. The 35-year-old man, identified only as Roberto, was serving a three-month sentence in Vienna for a traffic offense. He ended up telling his cellmate how he had conned a woman out of almost $7,500 and had not been caught. He apparently persuaded the woman to sign up for four mobile phones for their new company and then ran up phone bills of more than $3,000. Unfortunately, the con man's fellow prisoner turned out to be the woman's husband, who immediately reported him to authorities. The county court in Vienna sentenced Roberto to a further 18 months in prison and ordered him to repay his victim.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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