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 V.18 No.17 | April 23 - 29, 2009 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Russia—An immigrant from Azerbaijan living in the northern city of Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a miniskirt. The man’s arrest last week follows the detention of two other men from Azerbaijan—a majority Muslim, ex-Soviet state in the Caucasus—who confessed to murdering the girl. “They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles [$3,000] by the girl’s father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting national traditions and wearing a miniskirt,” a police source told reporters at Agence France-Presse. The girl, a university medical student, was abducted on the street on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and shot twice in the head.

Dateline: England—In attempt to either generate more headlines or prove its organization’s complete insanity, animal rights organization PETA has asked pioneering electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys to change its name. In a letter to the group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe to rename their group Rescue Shelter Boys to draw attention to the plight of animals raised in pet shops. “Dear Neil and Chris, You have many loyal fans of the Pet Shop Boys here at PETA. Will you please consider changing your name from the Pet Shop Boys to the Rescue Shelter Boys?” pleaded a letter to the group from Yvonne Taylor, PETA’s special projects manager. “Most dogs and cats sold in pet shops are sourced from profit-hungry breeders who may have bred them in cramped, filthy conditions.” The musicians, whose hits include “West End Girls” and “It’s a Sin,” declined the request, saying on their official website they were “unable to agree.”

“I was held by them for almost seven hours because having a stone pig apparently counted as harassment.”

Dateline: England—A 57-year-old father was dragged out of his bed and carted off to jail after a policeman neighbor deemed the ceramic pig in his backyard “offensive.” Robin Demczak told The Sun newspaper, “I was held by them for almost seven hours because having a stone pig apparently counted as harassment.” Demczak admitted that he and Police Constable John Ablett have been feuding over a footpath that splits their two yards in Witney, Oxfordshire. “PC Ablett had me arrested because he didn’t like me keeping my 12-inch porcelain model pig in the backyard. He seems to think it is offensive to policemen.” Demczak used to raise pigs in his backyard but got rid of them several years ago. He now uses his former pigsty as a storage shed. Demczak was eventually freed without charge after explaining that the statue of a black pig with white spots has been in his garden for eight years—four years longer than PC Ablett has lived next door. Although he was released without charge, the homeowner was ordered to remove the statue and to stop calling his outbuilding a sty. “The reason I call it that is because it used to be a piggery—it has still got troughs and slurry dips in the floor.” A Thames Valley police spokesperson told The Sun, “We can confirm that a man was arrested on suspicion of harassment in relation to the incident. He has been released without charge. But the investigation is still ongoing.”

Dateline: Wisconsin—A nurse at Dean Health’s West Clinic in Madison was called out of surgery so a manager could tell her she was being laid off. Dean Health said the surgery was minor and the patient wasn’t affected but admitted the untimely firing violated medical protocol. Dean Health spokesperson Paul Pitt said there was a period of time when a nurse wasn’t present in the operating room, which is a violation of patient care procedures. The Madison-based health care provider announced last Wednesday that it planned to “immediately” lay off 90 employees. At least one manager took the directive literally. Pitt declined to name the employee involved or to describe what kind of surgery she was attending when she was called away.

Dateline: Wisconsin—According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a man accused of slashing his mother with a knife and shooting her three times with an AK-47 told police he did it because she refused to give him $2 to pay a cover charge at a bar. According to the police report, 31-year-old Frederic W. Bertrang of Oak Creek came home from a bar at 10:30 p.m. last Thursday and asked his mother, Patricia Bertrang, for two bucks. After she advised him not to go back out again, Fred Bertrang slashed his mother in the left hand. Fred Bertrang’s brother, Michael Bertrang, tried to help his mother while his brother’s girlfriend, Jessica Brandt, called 911. Fred Bertrang then stabbed Brandt twice in the right leg and fled to the basement. There, he grabbed an AK-47 and started firing blindly into the basement’s ceiling. Patricia Bertrang was wounded by the gunfire three times in the left leg. Mr. Bertrang told police he was acting in self-defense.

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

 

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