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 V.19 No.23 | June 10 - 16, 2010 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: India—Media outlets are reporting that local police are keeping a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an alleged “special mission of spying” for neighboring Pakistan. The white bird was found by a resident of India’s Punjab state—which borders Pakistan—and taken to a rural police station near the city of Amritsar. The pigeon had a ring around its foot and a Pakistani phone number and address stamped on its body in red ink. Police officer Ramdas Jagjit Singh Chahal told the Press Trust of India news agency that the bird was suspected of landing on Indian soil with a secret message—although no note was actually found. To be safe, officials in the northern state ordered that the animal be held in an air-conditioned room under 24-hour-a-day police guard and that no one be allowed to visit it. According to PTI, senior officers have asked to be updated on the situation three times a day.

Dateline: Germany—A waste-treatment plant in Treuenbrietzen, southwest of Berlin, is experimenting with the idea of serenading its sewage with Mozart symphonies. Bosses at the plant believe the classical composer’s music could speed up the treatment process by stimulating activity among the microorganisms used to break down waste. Operas such as The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro are now being piped into the plant 24 hours a day via a series of speakers designed to duplicate the acoustics of a concert hall. It is hoped that, when combined with large quantities of oxygen, the sonic patterns generated will excite the microbes and help to break down sludge more efficiently. “If it means we can save 1,000 euros ($1,200) per month on sludge disposal, then it would definitely be worth it,” Detlef Dalichow, the plant's sewage manager, told the Märkische Allegemeine newspaper.

Dateline: England—At least 300 cheese-crazy athletes ignored a ban on a historic cheese-rolling contest after it was canceled over health and safety concerns. The 200-year-old tradition—held every summer at Cooper’s Hill near Brockworth, Gloucestershire—involves competitors chasing a seven-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down a 200-yard incline. The event was officially canceled in the wake of last year’s event, in which 18 people were injured. Ten of those were spectators. In 1997, at least 33 people were injured. Local police had warned there would be no dedicated medical help for casualties this year. But that didn’t stop several hundred people from organizing this year’s “unofficial” event. Six-time cheese rolling champion Chris Anderson, from Brockworth, continued his winning streak with victories in two races. “It’s just a tradition, and for me it’s hard to stay away,” Anderson, 22, told the Daily Telegraph.

Dateline: Florida—A 32-year-old man was arrested in the town of New Port Richey after deputies said he called 911 “multiple times” to complain that his mother took his beer away. Charles Lee Dennison was described as “very intoxicated” when sheriff’s deputies arrived at his home on Friday, May 28. According to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Dennison told deputies he wanted his mother arrested because she confiscated his beer. If she was not arrested, he promised to keep calling 911. A deputy charged Dennison with making false 911 calls and took him to jail in Land O’Lakes. According to the St. Petersburg Times, he remained there over the weekend, unable to make his $150 bail.

Dateline: Indiana—Police and fire officials in Merrillville believe a local resident may have committed suicide by turning his entire house into a gigantic bomb. According to the Post-Tribune, police removed at least 11 five-gallon gasoline cans and “a large number” of propane tanks from the charred remains of a single-story home on June 1. Also removed was the dead body of a man later identified as home owner Jonathan Krantz. The explosion and ensuing fire all but leveled Krantz’ house and even scorched the side of a neighboring home. “It sounded like a plane crashed, or lightning hit it,” next-door neighbor Troy Davis told the Post-Tribune. Davis was leaving for work when the home exploded. He walked outside to see debris falling into his yard and heard Krantz screaming inside the flaming building next door. “I was calling out to him, but you couldn’t get within a few feet of the house because of the heat.” The Lake County Coroner’s Office was forced to identify Krantz body by dental records. Relatives of the homeowner told police they had received a suicide note from Krantz via e-mail earlier in the week. Davis told reporters Krantz had been laid off several months earlier and spent most of his time in the house playing video games and watching television. “He was a little strange, but we never expected anything like this,” neighbor Carol Davis was quoted as saying.

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