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 V.17 No.37 | September 11 - 17, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Australia—An elementary school in Townsville, Queensland, has banned cartwheels, handstands, somersaults and any form of gymnastics at recess. According to the Townsville Bulletin, a single forward roll is enough to get kids kicked off the playground at Belgian Gardens State School. Parent Kylie Buschgens told the newspaper she was dumbfounded when her daughter Cali, 10, was told she could no longer do cartwheels, even on the grass. Cali and a friend were busted under the school’s new zero-tolerance policy. Ms. Buschgens met with school principal Glenn Dickson and was told gymnastics activities were a “medium risk level 2” that posed a danger to children. “I said [to the principal], ‘What if she keeps doing a handstand?’ and he said she’d get into trouble,” Ms. Buschgens said. “I asked what would happen if she was a repeat handstand offender, and he said that would be defiance and it could lead to her being suspended.”

Dateline: China—State media reports that a drug-addicted Asian elephant has been returned to its home after completing a detox program to kick the heroin habit. The four-year-old animal, called Xiguang, allegedly became addicted to heroin after being fed bananas spiked with the drug by traders who wanted to capture it. Police arrested the traders and freed the elephant, who was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Xiguang was sent to a wild animal protection center on Hainan Island in southwest China for rehab. As part of his treatment, the jonesing pachyderm received methadone injections for a year at five times the human dosage. Last week, he was returned, clean and sober, to a wildlife park in Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province.

Dateline: Nigeria—A religious leader with 86 wives has accepted an Islamic decree ordering him to divorce 82 of them. A spokesperson for the Emir of Bida told BBC News that Mohammadu Bello Abubakar, 84, agreed to comply with the decree, which would strip him of all but four of his spouses. The former teacher and Islamic preacher lives in Niger State with his wives and at least 170 children. One of Nigeria’s top Islamic bodies, the Jamatu Nasril Islam, recently sentenced him to death for his wife-hoarding ways. Mr. Abubakar challenged Islamic scholars, saying there was no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives. “All my wives are with children and some of these are people I have married and stayed with for more than 30 years. How can they expect me to leave them within two days?” he reportedly told local newspapers. No word on which four wives Abubakar is keeping.

Dateline: Sweden—An elderly woman who misunderstood instructions while checking in at Sweden’s Stockholm-Arlanda Airport was whisked down a baggage chute after she placed herself, and not her luggage, on a conveyor belt. The 78-year-old woman, who was not named, was preparing to fly from Sweden’s main airport to Germany last Tuesday, the Upsala Nya Tidning daily reported. Believing she was following instructions, the woman lay down on an unmanned baggage belt and was swept off to the baggage handling center. She was discovered there by staff members and helped back on her feet. The woman suffered no serious injury and caught her flight as planned.

Dateline: Florida—Police in Port St. Lucie have at least one major clue to help in finding a cross-dressing purse snatcher: the criminal’s fake boob. Officials say a man dressed as a woman snatched a 72-year-old woman’s purse last Tuesday, leaving behind a water-filled condom stuck inside a sock. The elderly woman told police she was walking to her car in the Sears parking lot when the thief pushed her to the ground and ran off with her purse. When police arrived, they found the homemade breast, which the woman said popped out of the suspect’s tube top during the struggle. One witness told police the thief wore a denim skirt and a black tube top and fled the scene in a silver car occupied by two other men dressed as women. Police are processing the condom for fingerprints and will conduct a DNA analysis on a hair—possibly a chest hair—found on the condom.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to


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