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 V.13 No.21 | May 20 - 26, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Canada—A routine test of airport security turned into a Marx Brothers routine after security officers mistakenly sent a passenger home with a suitcase full of TNT. The TNT was supposed to be planted in the bags of a Montreal security agent. Instead, it somehow ended up stuffed into the luggage of an unsuspecting overseas passenger who arrived at Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport last Friday. The unnamed passenger went to a friend's house where he found the explosives concealed in a jam jar and placed inside his suitcase. The man immediately called Quebec provincial police. The TNT, which officials say had no detonator attached, was meant as part of a weekly test for bomb-sniffing dogs at the airport. Ironically, the dogs failed to detect the explosives. The passenger and his baggage were able to pass though airport security unchecked. “Our investigation is going to reveal exactly what happened,” airport security spokesman Pierre Goupil told TV network TVA.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: India—Jai Shankar is running in India's national elections on a most unusual platform. Wherever he goes, the 28-year-old would-be politician carries a live rat in his mouth. He says he's doing it to highlight the plight of starving farmers in his native constituency of Tamil Nadu. “The rat doesn't bother me,” Shankar told the Hindustan Times. “I have heard that farmers in far-flung areas have survived by eating rats.” Farmers in the Cauvery river delta have suffered tough economic times due to drought and severe unemployment. Shankar, a student, is an independent candidate for the Perambalur seat in India's Parliament. He doesn't expect to win, but hopes that his attention-getting antics will raise awareness of certain issues. “Rats are running all over the place,” He told reporters. “If this one runs away, I can always find another.”

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Japan—Japanese priests have scored only a partial victory in their attempts to stop a candy from being marketed under the name “Snot from the Nose of the Great Buddha.” According to London's Daily Telegraph, the priests have blocked the name from being trademarked. But vendors are still able to sell the confection to tourists who flock to the temple in the ancient capital of Nara, in western Japan. A spokesman for the company that created the candy three years ago admits that some employees had reservations about the name. By way of compromise, the ultra-polite “sama” suffix was added to Buddha in the product's Japanese name. The package still carries a picture of Buddha picking his nose.

Dateline: Australia—Senility: It's not all bad. A forgetful grandfather who mistakenly entered the same lottery drawing three times has come up a triple winner, taking home nearly $500,000. The suburban Syndey man took an overseas trip for his 60th birthday. According to the New South Wales Lottereis agency, the man entered the Multiweek Lotto before he left. Unsure if he was actually entered, the man called a friend and asked him to buy a lottery ticket with his favorite numbers. Upon returning from his trip, the man purchased another ticket, forgetting that he already had two of them. Amazingly, the man's numbers came up. “Having the same entry three times was not done intentionally and can only be described as the luckiest bungle we have ever made,” the man said in a statement issued though NSW Lotteries. The man took home $494,326. “I am due to retire soon, so the money from winning the Lotto three times in one night will certain make a big difference.”

Dateline: Florida—In what could be marketing genius or the most misguided promotion idea ever, the owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team are offering free beer to all season ticket holders. During the first Eastern Conference playoff game between the Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers last week, the St. Pete Times Forum's main scoreboard advertised the offer. Those who paid $100 toward 2004-05 season tickets were eligible for unlimited free beer during the game. Needless to say, police and several area chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving say the team's offer is irresponsible.

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

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