Odds & Ends
Dateline: Indonesia—A dozen children were killed while taking part in an—obviously unsuccessful—ceremony to dispel bad luck in their remote village of Aceh last month. “There were about 37 kids gathered together on a wire-cable suspension bridge when it collapsed and fell into a river,” district chief Ibnu Hasyim told reporters for Agence France-Presse. The children were taking part in a traditional ritual ceremony to ward off misfortune after a measles outbreak in the area. The adults were throwing live chickens as offerings into the river when the bridge collapsed. Twenty five children were rescued with minor injuries, but 12 others were swept away by the river’s swift current.
Dateline: Ukraine—Three members of an eastern Ukrainian family died after trying to kill off some household pests with a car’s exhaust pipe. A couple in their 70s and their granddaughter were found dead in the basement of their home in Dnipropetrovsk along the Dnieper River. According to the Pravda news service, the 71-year-old grandfather attached a hose to the exhaust pipe of his ZAZ Zaporozhets automobile and snaked the other end through the window of the family’s basement in hopes of killing off some rats. After waiting around upstairs for some time, the man went downstairs to see if any rodents had been exterminated. Unfortunately, the high concentration of carbon monoxide in the basement caused him to pass out. When he failed to return, his 77-year-old wife followed him to see what had happened. Unsurprisingly, she also passed out. After grandpa and grandma both disappeared into the exhaust-filled basement, the couple’s 29-year-old granddaughter thought she’d investigate as well. She joined her grandparents in unconsciousness. Eventually, a second granddaughter went to the basement, but managed to escape before suffering carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities said she was lucky to survive.
Dateline: Poland—An artist is attempting to end a longtime feud between warring villages by exchanging nudie pictures. The Croatian Times reports that Dan Adamski has taken a series of black-and-white photographs of nude female residents in Gorzów Wielkopolski and nearby Zielona Góra and is sending the shots to the neighboring towns in hopes of ending their centuries-old feud. The artist is distributing the pictures in a series of artsy postcards. He told reporters he hopes that offering a glimpse of the enemy territory’s assets will help residents better appreciate their neighbors. “Art is unifying and humanistic,” Adamski said. “It touches us all.” So far, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through. “Well, their girls are stunning,” one Góra resident admitted. “But the people are still shits.”
Dateline: Mexico—A popular singer obviously spoke too soon when he denied press reports of his premature death. A few hours after denying the rumors of his demise, Sergio Vega—known to millions as El Shaka—was shot dead in his car. Vega, 40, was on his way to a concert in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa. His murder came mere hours after he told entertainment website La Oreja that online reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. Fans were posting condolences on the singer’s Twitter page, even as he was conducting the interview. “It’s happened to me for years now; someone tells a radio station or a newspaper I’ve been killed, or suffered an accident,” Vega was quoted as saying. “Then I have to call my dear mom, who has heart trouble, to reassure her that, in fact, I am still alive.” Shortly after the interview, Vega’s red Cadillac was ambushed by a gang brandishing automatic weapons. The singer, who was famous for singing narcocorridos—songs lionizing the lives of Mexican drug kingpins—was believed to be the target of rival drug gangs.
Dateline Georgia—A man accused of telling Atlanta police that he left an explosive device in the parking lot of a supermarket probably didn’t help his case any when he petitioned a Fulton County judge to have his name changed to “Mr. Lunatic.” On the night of Thursday, June 24, Allen Michael Cullpepper forced authorities to close down a section of Atlanta’s Peachtree Street for several hours after telling them he had manufactured an explosive device and planted it in the Kroger supermarket parking lot. No device was found. At a bond hearing the next week, Magistrate Roy Roberts told Cullpepper he would have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is a threat to persons or property before he could be released from jail on a $71,000 bond. Prosecutors asked that the bond be denied, noting that Cullpepper is on probation for a 2006 aggravated assault conviction in Cobb County and has other prior convictions for felony obstruction and making terroristic threats. After Roberts’ bond ruling, Cullpepper rose and made a request to change his name in court records to “Mr. Lunatic.” According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the judge quickly denied the motion and Cullpepper made no further comments.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.