Dateline: Saudi Arabia—An 8-year-old girl who was married off by her father to a 58-year-old man has been told by a Saudi court she’s too young to get a divorce. Lawyer Abdu Jtili said the divorce petition was filed by the unnamed girl’s divorced mother in August after the marriage contract was signed by her father and the groom. The judge dismissed the plea because the mother did not have the right to file. He recommended the girl refile the petition herself once she reaches puberty. Relatives of the girl said the marriage had not been consummated and that the girl was still living with her mother. The case was handled by a court in Qasim province, north of the Saudi capital Riyadh. Mr. Jtili told the AFP news agency that he would appeal the judge’s decision.
Dateline: England—Security guards at Birmingham International Airport strip-searched a clown trying to board a plane dressed in a flashing police helmet, a red nose and size 48 shoes. Dave Vaughn, known professionally as PC Konk the Clown, was frisked by guards and ordered to remove his comedy police officer costume after setting off an alarm at the airport. Vaughn, 60, had been booked by Variety Club Midlands to perform for disadvantaged children on a one-hour circular flight known as the Search for Santa. “I couldn’t believe it when they told be to get undressed so they could search me,” Vaughn told London’s Daily Mail. “I showed them my police clown identity card, which had my picture next to my credentials as a member of the Criminal Insane Department, but I don’t think that really helped.” Security guards spent 10 minutes examining PC Konk’s outfit and eventually released him when they discovered his costume featured a metal band which held up his oversized pantaloons. The clownish crime-buster was allowed to board the charity flight, but not before handing over his plastic handcuffs, which were deemed a “risk” by airport security.
Dateline: Hawaii—To celebrate the U.S. government’s pledge to help bail out American automakers, a patriotic Chevrolet dealer in Hilo came up with a promotional stunt designed to “crush” its Asian competitors. “Today’s our ‘crazy cruncher’ Christmas sale,” James Severtson, general sales manager for Island Chevrolet, explained in the Saturday, Dec. 20 edition of Hawaii’s Tribune-Herald. “We’d like to send a message that the best way to support your country is to buy an American vehicle today.” The dealership hired the Hawaiian Rebel monster truck, a modified Chevy Suburban SUV, to literally crush a Japanese-made Honda Civic. With a radio station doing a live broadcast and dozens of onlookers crowded onto Island Chevrolet’s lot, the monster truck made its first attempt. As it mounted the Civic’s hood, the American SUV blew a gasket and lost all its hydraulic fluid, leaving the Honda undamaged.
“I showed them my police clown identity card, but I don’t think that really helped.”
Dateline: Washington, D.C.—At the behest of the government’s consumer protection agency, Hallmark Cards, Inc. is recalling some 7,000 jumbo-sized snow globes because they can act as magnifying glasses when exposed to sunlight and ignite combustible materials. Last Tuesday, the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission said Hallmark had received two report of the globes setting nearby materials on fire. No injuries have been reported. The snowman-shaped snow globes were sold in October and November at Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide for about $100 each. Consumers who purchased Frosty the Pyromaniac globes are advised to remove them from sunlight and return them to a Hallmark store for a refund.
Dateline: Utah—Police in South Salt Lake arrested a man they say tried to steal a firetruck so he could drive home to Washington for Christmas. Firefighters on a medical call heard the $500,000 vehicle’s air horn going off last Monday and ran outside. They found a man in the driver’s seat trying to drive away. After a lengthy struggle, firefighters were able to subdue the man until police arrived. Police say the 25-year-old man told them he wanted to go to Washington to see his mother for Christmas.
Dateline: Texas—An armed robbery at a fast-food joint turned into an escalating arms race after a robber equipped with a tree branch was chased off by an employee wielding a broom. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Michael Steven Reed walked into Eddie’s Fried Chicken wearing a rag for a mask and holding a branch over his head in a strike position. Reed, 50, allegedly demanded money from an employee. Instead of opening the cash register, the 56-year-old employee grabbed a broom and engaged in battle. The wooden stick duel continued until another employee rammed Reed with a chair. The would-be robber dropped his branch and fled. Police found him hiding behind a church trash bin. Reed was taken to jail and charged with aggravated robbery.