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 Mar 31 - Apr 6, 2005 
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Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary
Scott Rickson

Dateline: EnglandBreed animals, lose your dead mother-in-law. Five animal rights extremists were arrested for digging up and stealing the remains of an 82-year-old woman to protest an animal breeding farm in England. A 32-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were seized at a house in Gloucester, while at the same time three men were stopped by police in their car in Newchurch. Staffordshire police had spent five months investigating the desecration of Gladys Hammond's grave in St. Peter's Churchyard in Yoxall, Staffs. Detectives believe the dead woman's remains were stolen in protest against a farm in nearby Newchurch run by Mrs. Hammond's son-in-law, Chris Hall, who breeds guinea pigs for medical research. The arrests followed a series of anonymous letters, suggesting that those responsible might finally be willing to return the body. Detective Chief Inspector Nick Baker declined to say whether that involved any kind of deal, such as the guinea pig farm closing. Animal rights activists have picketed Mr. Hall's business at Darley Oaks Farm for nearly six years.

Dateline: BelgiumBelgium now has a new oldest living Belgian after it was discovered that the previous record holder actually died more than a half century ago. Angèle Vanmeerbeek was named the country's oldest living person last year after authorities determined she was 109. Unfortunately, when politicians went to congratulate her, they found she was no longer at the address in Charleroi where computer records said she lived. Officials were baffled as their records maintained she had not moved or died and they spent several months looking for her. But reporters of Het Laaste Nieuws have now discovered the bargeman's wife moved in 1939 to a small village near Paris where she died in 1954. Another woman, 108-year-old Maria Verkeyn from Zedelgem has now been named as oldest Belgian in her place.

Dateline: UkraineTo their credit, officials at Kiev airport refused to believe a woman when she tried to smuggle two bears on board an Egypt-bound plane, claiming that they were her pet Alsatian puppies. Officials stopped the woman when they heard noises coming from a box she wanted to carry on as part of her handheld luggage. The woman was allegedly taking the two puppies on holiday with her to the Middle East. The bears were seized and taken to an animal sanctuary in the capital where they will be looked over until a permanent solution can be found for them. The woman is now facing charges of illegal trading in bears, local daily Ukrainski Novini reported.

Dateline: IndiaAccording to the Deccan Herald newspaper, an Indian bride was married off to a clay pot by her relatives after her groom failed to turn up for the ceremony. Sativa, the bride from Jaunsar Babar, reportedly volunteered to take her vows with the pot after her fiancé Chaman Singh, an officer with the Indo Tibetan Border Police, got stranded on the border because of heavy snowfall.

Dateline: New YorkA woman in Albion got into an argument with her son over whether or not she had been drinking. Angered at the accusation, the 45-year-old woman drove to the nearest police station in Orleans County and demanded a sobriety test. The officers obliged, discovered she was, in fact, drunk and arrested her for driving while intoxicated. The ill-advised request happened after the woman went to pick up her son at a friend's house and got into an argument with him because he suspected she had been drinking. The woman is due back in court next month.

Dateline: MontanaPolice in Butte are searching for a larcenous leprechaun who robbed a laundry of $322 on the eve of St. Patrick's Day. The robber--wearing a fake black beard, mustache, black plastic derby and green kilt, according to police dispatch reports--flashed a gun at a clerk at the Front Street Laundromat around 11 p.m. last Wednesday and demanded all the money in the register. “It is Butte,” laundry owner Don Heffington told the Montana Standard. “Butte gets pretty crazy on St. Patrick's Day, and it was probably someone who needed a little bit more money for stimulants.”

Dateline: TennesseePolice in Mount Carmel say a low-speed chase with a drunk driver ended after he pulled into a Hardee's drive-thru to order some food. Officers say Jeffery Lynn Drinnon led them on the chase after driving away from a gas pump without paying. According to police, Drinnon didn't pull over despite the officers' flashing lights and siren. Police eventually busted Drinnon when he drove to a Hardee's drive-thru and rolled down his window. Drinnon, whom Mount Carmel Assistant Police Chief Mike Campbell described as the drunkest driver his officers had seen in a long time, was arrested before he could place an order.

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

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