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 V.14 No.11 | March 17 - 23, 2005 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Cuba—Cuban President Fidel Castro celebrated International Women's Day by promising household appliances to all the ladies. In a five-hour and 45-minute speech delivered last Tuesday to throngs of cheering women, Castro pledged that 100,000 Chinese-made pressure cookers and rice cookers would be made available each month at government subsidized prices. The electric rice cooker is a prized possession in Communist-run Cuba, where the staple diet consists of black beans and rice. The cookers were banned nearly a decade ago when Cuba was plunged into economic crisis and power outages due to a loss of Soviet aid and oil. The cookers can be distributed now, Castro said, because Cuba is emerging from its longtime energy crunch. The 78-year-old leader spent two hours of his International Women's Day speech extolling the virtues of pressure cookers.

Dateline: Colombia—Police in Arauca have impounded a donkey involved in a traffic accident. The incident began last Sunday when a donkey named Pacho and a motorcycle collided on the street. “When there are road accidents and serious injuries, the vehicles involved are always impounded,” said Diana Rojas, spokeswoman for the Arauca police department. “We had to impound both the donkey and the motorcycle and put them at the disposal of investigators so they can decide what to do with them and whether to release them.” Pacho's owner, Nelson Gonzalez, said his donkey is not to blame for the crash and should be set free from the police impound yard. “Neither the donkey nor I were responsible because I was in front and the motorcyclist saw me,” he told RNC television. The motorcyclist suffered serious injuries and remains in the hospital. Mr. Rojas continues to visit Pacho on a daily basis to feed him.

Dateline: Spain—Athletes protesting the results of athletic competitions is nothing new, but German long jumper Bianca Kappler may be the first to actually dispute her win. Last Saturday, Kappler was awarded a gold medal at the European Indoor Championships for a leap of 22 feet, 10 inches on her final of six attempts. But she protested the results, telling judges that she deserved the silver. Kappler insisted that she couldn't jump more than 21 feet, 11 3/4 inches. Following her final jump, Kappler was seen looking at the electronic scoreboard in disbelief and laughing at the result. European Athletics Association spokesman Nicolas Russi said the judges agreed to resolve the issue by letting Kappler take her final jump again on Sunday. German team officials said the mistake may have been caused by human error.

Dateline: Brazil—The city of Montes Claros recently announced plans to auction off a trio of expensive penis enlargement machines to help pay an employee's salary. The unusual plan grew after a local sex shop went bankrupt, and a judge realized that an auction of the shop's remaining assets was the only way to guarantee the payment of a former employee. Judge Vanda Luci Horta Moreira told the Hoje em Dia newspaper, “In 12 years of being a judge and after working in 27 different towns, it is the first time that I have authorized such a thing. ... I am very curious to see how this auction is going to go.”

Dateline: China—Got a spare kidney? He Zhanze does. Two, in fact. The 53-year-old resident of Yongee village, Anlong town, Guizhou province, discovered he had four functioning kidneys after a health examination 10 years ago. He has now published his contact information in the Guizhou City Paper and is hoping to donate his extra organs to sick people. He says his family does not agree with his plan.

Dateline: Arkansas—A witness in a murder case was kicked out of court in Bentonville for being far too inhuman. Prosecutors sent out a batch of subpoenas for anyone who had contact with Albert K. Smith while he was in jail awaiting his murder trial. One of those subpoenas went out to 5-year-old Murphy Smith. As it turned out, however, Murphy was the defendant's dog. Albert had written his dog a letter from his cell, and that is how the shih tzu's name got on the witness list. Prosecutors realized the mistake last Tuesday after the defendants' brother brought Murphy in for questioning and a deputy would not let them into the courthouse. Dogs are not allowed on the premises. Prosecutor Robin Green said she apologized to the brother for any inconvenience. “The dog was friendly enough and probably would have been a very cooperative witness,” she later told reporters. Albert Smith is accused of shooting to death his ex-wife's boyfriend.

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


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