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 V.15 No.17 | April 27 - May 3, 2006 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: MalaysiaAccording to the New Straits Times, a man by the name of Yahaya Wahab nearly fainted when he received a $218 trillion phone bill and was ordered to pay up in 10 days or face prosecution. Yahaya told the newspaper he disconnected his late father’s phone line in January after he died and settled the 84 ringgit ($23) bill. But Telekom Malaysia later sent him a 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit ($218 trillion) bill for recent telephone calls along with the order to settle within 10 days or face legal proceedings. It wasn’t clear if the bill was a mistake or if Yahaya’s father’s phone line was used illegally after his death. “If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I’m ready to face it,” the paper quoted Yahaya as saying. “In fact, I can’t wait to face it.” A company official from Telekom Malaysia, who declined to be identified, said the company was aware of Yahaya’s case and would address it.

Dateline: CanadaAccording to the Edmonton Sun, 20-year-old Jesse Maggrah was saved from certain death by the gods of heavy metal. Maggrah was walking alongside the railroad tracks near his hometown of Red Deer, listening to the Norwegian heavy metal band Gorogroth, which he had cranked up on his portable CD player. Thanks to the loud music, he was unable to hear the approaching freight train. At the last second, the train’s horn cut through the screaming sheet of guitar noise. “I tried to jump out of the way, but I guess not in time,” he told the paper from his bed at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. “It was just instant. I was just walking and then I was on the ground. I wasn’t sure what happened. Then I saw the train stopped up ahead. I thought, ‘Holy crap, dude, you just got hit by a train!’” Engineers were able to slow the train to about 30 mph, but Maggrah was still thrown four to five yards from the track. “I knew I was alive, so that was good.” Maggrah suffered several broken ribs and is having trouble waking, but doctors expect him to recover. “Maybe the metal gods above were smiling on me and they didn’t want one of their true warriors to die on them,” said Maggrah. “Otherwise, I’d be up there in the kingdom of steel.”

Dateline: GermanyAn old-age pensioner from the northern city of Kiel recently flushed some 90,000 deutsche marks down his toilet. “He flushed the cash down the loo because he didn’t think it was worth anything,” said police spokesperson Uwe Voigt. Unfortunately, the deutsche marks--replaced in 2002 by the euro--could still be exchanged at any bank. Under the current exchange rate, the deutsche marks were worth about 30,000 euros ($37,000). Sewage workers were able to recover about half of the soggy bills from the 64-year-old’s plumbing. The rest was dredged out of neighborhood sewers, where it had created a bottleneck. “There may have been more cash that got away,” said Voigt. The man, who police say was living in “Spartan” conditions, has since dried out the money and taken it to a bank.

Dateline: FloridaLast Saturday night, 25-year-old Maria Ramoutar was traveling along I-95 toward North Lauderdale, coming back from a party in Miami Beach. She spotted a fiery car crash along Cyprus Creek Road. Instead of lending assistance, she stopped to videotape it with her cell phone. Later, she learned that the vehicle she videotaped was a Volkswagen Jetta her sister had been driving. “I picked up my phone and I decided to videotape it. I’m videotaping it; meanwhile I’m saying, ‘This is like the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve never seen a car in flames.’ The next day, I find out that was my sister that I videotaped. I couldn’t even help her. I was just right there when it happened,” Maria Ramoutar told South Florida’s NBC 6 News. Andria Ramoutar, 22, and three others were returning home from the same party as Maria Ramoutar when their car ran off the road, collided with a tree and burst into flames. Police believe the Jetta may have been racing another car at the time of the accident.

Dateline: FloridaA 76-year-old shuttle driver for an auto dealership in the Miami area is accused of going door-to-door in a Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood and offering to perform free breast exams for women. Philip Winikoff carried a black bag with him and told several females that he was a doctor from a local hospital. Amazingly, at least two women in their thirties took him up on his free door-to-door breast exam offer. One woman became suspicious after he asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a “genital exam” without putting on rubber gloves. The woman phoned the Broward County Sheriff’s Department and the suspect fled. He was arrested later inside another woman’s apartment in the same Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood.

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

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