Dateline: Brazil--Santa Claus almost got a cap busted in his ass while flying over a notorious Rio de Janeiro slum. A helicopter taking Santa to deliver presents to children came under heavy gunfire while passing over the Baixa do Sapateiro favela, or slum neighborhood. The flight was bound for a Christmas party last Sunday where Santa was to deliver presents to underprivileged children. The pilot flew back to a heliport where Santa was transferred to a car and continued on his journey. Charles Gonzales, the president of the Baixa do Sapateiro Neighbors Association, said his group picked up Santa after being notified about the incident. No one was injured in the attack, but at least two bullet holes were found on the helicopter. Police blame the attack on drug traffickers at war with a rival gang in the nearby Vila João favela.
Dateline: India--A Hindu holy man is recovering in a hospital after two men cut off his “magical” right leg and ran off with it. Yanadi Kondaiah, 80, claimed those who touched his leg would be cured of illness or have wishes granted. But the holy man’s claims seem to have backfired on him, after two strangers got him drunk and cut off his leg with a sickle. Police said Kondaiah, who lives in a village near the city of Tirupati, was approached by two men who asked him to help them with his magical limb. “They took him to a deserted spot on the outskirts of the village,” local police sub-Inspector Pendakanti Dastgiri said. “After the old man had passed out under the influence of alcohol, they cut off his right leg from the knee.” The victim was eventually found by a passing villager and taken to a nearby hospital. “This seems to be a case of superstition,” added Mr. Dastgiri. “The two people might have taken away the leg hoping to benefit from its magical powers.”
Dateline: New Zealand--A man who invented an eco-friendly toilet that uses worms to produce compost had to prove that the invertebrates were not “traumatized” before authorities would approve his product. An Auckland Regional Council official told Coll Bell to get an expert’s report on the psychological impact on the worms. “She felt that the worms were being unfairly treated and that it could affect them in a psychological way,” Mr. Bell told New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times. He said his “wormorator”--which he bills as an alternative to traditional septic tanks--was finally approved after a vermiculture expert reported the worms were in excellent health and breeding happily.
Dateline: England--A British Airways steward has been suspended for theft after he ate a muffin left over on a passenger’s meal tray. The worker was told to leave his post after he was reported at London’s Heathrow Airport last Monday. A BA worker told London’s The Sun tabloid, “The cabin crew member on a long-haul flight took a muffin destined for the bin. Now his career hangs in the balance. Everyone is up in arms.” The source said BA and other airlines had adopted a zero-tolerance approach that has left workers terrified. An airline spokesperson confirmed, “One member of cabin crew has been suspended on suspicion of theft. While such incidents are extremely rare, we take all allegations of theft extremely seriously.”
Dateline: Connecticut--A Santa at the Danbury Fair mall identified a very naughty woman when he claimed 33-year-old Sandrama Lamy copped a feel off Claus while sitting on his lap. “The security officer at the mall said Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted,” police Detective Lt. Thomas Michael said regarding the weekend complaint. Police quickly located and identified Lamy because the alleged Santa-groper was described as being on crutches. Lamy, of Danbury, was charged with sexual assault and breach of the peace. Police did not give the name of the Santa, but they said he is 65 and felt badly because children were waiting to see him. “He was apparently shocked and embarrassed by the whole incident,” Capt. Bob Myles told reporters. Lamy was soon released on a promise to appear in court on Jan. 3.
Dateline: California--The Napa Valley Unified School district has agreed to pay $95,000 in lawyer’s fees after preventing a student from attending class for wearing Tigger socks last winter. The district settled out of court rather than take the “Tiggergate” lawsuit to trial. Under the settlement, Redwood Middle School will no longer require students to wear only solid-color clothing or limit children’s choice of fabrics. It had done so for nine years before ending the policy this school year. “Wow, I think it’s, like, really great that we’ve got it finally settled,” said Toni Kay Scott, 14, who wore the offending Tigger socks on the first day of school last year. “It’s pretty awesome.” The school had argued the “school uniform” rules--in effect since the mid-’90s--were necessary to prevent gang violence. No word on what gang uses Tigger as its symbol.