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 V.22 No.4 | January 24 - 30, 2013 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Belgium

A 67-year-old motorist drove nearly 1,000 miles out of her way because her car’s GPS told her to. On Jan. 5, senior Sabine Moreau intended to drive from her hometown in Hainault Erquelinnes to pick up a friend at a train station in Brussels. The drive should have been 93 miles from start to finish. Instead, the global positioning system instructed Moreau to head south and keep drivingwhich she did, crossing nearly the entire European continent. Moreau logged more than 900 miles, leaving Belgium, crossing all of Germany, all of Austria and finally ending up in Zagreb, Croatia. During the two-day journey, Moreau stopped several times to get gas, slept on the side of the road, and even got into a minor fender bender. “I was distracted, so I kept driving,” she told El Mundo’s Brussels correspondent. “I saw all kinds of traffic signs, first in French, then German and finally in Croatian. But I kept driving because I was distracted. Suddenly I appeared in Zagreb, and I realized I wasn’t in Belgium anymore.” Back in Belgium, her friend took a taxi from the train station, and Moreau’s relatives alerted police to her disappearance.

Dateline: Germany

The family of a patient who died after surgery to treat prostate cancer is suing the hospital because they say surgeons left 16 different items inside his body during the operation. Dirk Schroeder, 74, reportedly suffered “appalling agony” for several months following his routine prostate operation. It wasn’t until a visit by a nurse in Schroeder’s hometown of Hanover, Lower Saxony, that the cause of the pain was pinpointed. Surgeons later removed 16 pieces of operating room equipment and supplies including a needle, a six-inch roll of bandage, a six-inch long compress, several swabs and a fragment of surgical mask. Schroeder passed away last year. His family has now launched a lawsuit against the hospital that did the initial surgery, seeking $125,000 in damages. The hospital, which has not been named, insists the surgical items entered Schroeder’s body “postoperative.”

Dateline: Spain

Zookeepers at the Seville Zoo say one of their chimps has become addicted to porn. The ape, named Gina, picked up the habit after a television set was installed in her enclosure for stimulation. Primatologist Pablo Herreros told El Mundo, “To enliven Gina’s nights, officials decided to install a Freeview television, protected behind glass, and gave her a remote control so she could change the channels herself.” Zookeepers monitored Gina’s television time to make sure she did not damage the new toy. “The surprise came when they found that within a few days, Gina was not only using the remote control perfectly well, but that she also chose the porn channel for entertainment, as many of us would have done,” said Herreros. According to the professional primatologist, non-human primates “possess an intense sexual life.”

Dateline: Ohio

A former high school teacher is suing the Cincinnati school district where she used to work for forcing her to teach young people. Maria C. Waltherr-Willard, 61, had been teaching Spanish and French at Mariemont High School since 1976. Waltherr-Willard says she has an intense fear of young people, and when she was transferred to the district’s middle school in 2009, she suffered severe physical and mental problems. Although the ninth-graders she previously taught weren’t young enough to set her off, the eighth-graders apparently were. In her lawsuit, Waltherr-Willard says that her phobia of young children falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act and that transferring her to another school caused her to experience general anxiety, high blood pressure and a gastrointestinal illness. The move allegedly caused the student-fearing teacher to retire in 2010. A statement from her doctor included in the lawsuit states, “The mental anguish suffered by [Waltherr-Willard] is serious and of a nature that no reasonable person could be expected to endure the same.” The school district has said Waltherr-Willard was transferred because the French program at the high school where she worked was being turned into an online course, and the middle school needed a Spanish teacher. Earlier this month, a judge dismissed three of the ex-teacher’s claims, but left the discrimination claims standing. Waltherr-Willard, who still gets 89 percent of her salary in retirement, is suing for unspecified damages.

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