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 V.13 No.40 | September 30 - October 6, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Israel—Israel's Health and Agriculture ministries branch in Ashkelon last week seized 80,000 cans of dog food that had been disguised as foie gras for humans. The product, imported from Bulgaria, was originally labeled “chicken for dogs,” but was covered by two different fraudulent labels: “Domestic birds' liver pâté. Producer: S.E. Grenot, France” and “Pâté fois gras. Producer: Lovmit General Toshevo.” Although it is believed the products never reached store shelves, the Health Ministry warned consumers not to purchase products with those names. “The health risks from such a product are considerable,” Shirley Deri, a food engineer for the district of Ashkelon, told the Haaretz International daily. “It could contain microbiological pathogens that are lethal to humans.” The Agriculture Ministry is conducting an investigation.

Dateline: Guatemala—A soccer team has been ejected from a women's tournament because all of its members are prostitutes. “Just for being prostitutes, society marginalizes us, and we want to exercise our rights as women and mothers,” the team captain, Valeria, told Agence France-Presse. Last Monday, the team, known as Stars of the Line, lost 5-2 to the Blue Devils, made up of students from an exclusive girls' school in the Guatemalan capital. Shortly after the game, the Stars of the Line were kicked out of the tournament. Officials say the team was booted not because they were prostitutes, but because their fans were shouting rude words. “One, two, three, whore!” was the grandstand cheer according to the judges. “We have a lot of children here, and it is not very nice to hear such language,” said Eduardo Navas, manager of the Futeca stadium. Valeria, however, does not believe that excuse. “When they found out we were prostitutes, they tossed us out like cockroaches,” she said. “It is really discrimination.” Stars of the Line takes its name from Guatemala City's red-light district, known as the Train Line because it faces the city's railway line. The squad is drawn from the 200 women who work in Train Line.

Dateline: Germany—The Board of Petitions at the German Parliament has rejected an appeal to ban Santa Claus. Karl-Friedrich Lentze, 56, from Berlin wrote to the board asking that Santa Claus be banned because the bearded old man scares children. The Board of Petitions did not find that grounds for excising the holiday figurehead. “We will not be part of banning Santa Claus from public life. To the contrary, we look forward to the next Christmas holiday,” the German newspaper Bild quoted board members as saying.

Dateline: Pennsylvania—Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has ruled that the state's drunken driving laws do not apply to people on horseback. The court ruled last Wednesday in a case against two men in Mercer County, who were arrested for drunk driving in 2002. Keith Travis, 41, and Richard Noel, 49, were charged with drunk driving after a man in a pickup truck (who was also cited for drunk driving) rear-ended one of the horses. All three were leaving a rural bar on a dark country road. All three failed field sobriety tests, police said, but a judge threw out the charges against Travis and Noel after they argued that horses do not constitute “vehicles” under the state's drunk driving law. Justice Michael Eakin, the decision's sole dissenting judge, issued his opinion in rhyme and to the tune of the “Mr. Ed” theme song.

Dateline: Florida—A mental health counselor with a history of assault arrests allegedly ordered his two pit bulls to attack a group of people who were all hiding out in the same office building, riding out the recent Hurricane Frances. Ryan C. Moore, who treats anger management problems, was arrested last Friday and charged with aggravated battery for allegedly releasing his dogs and ordering them to, “Go get them.” William E. Schoonmaker, who operates an insurance company two doors down the hall from Moore's office, suffered deep bites to his stomach, face, throat and hands. Sabrina Stuart, who was also riding out the Sept. 4-5 storm in the same office building, was bitten on the leg. Stuart called 911, but the police were unable to respond due to the hurricane. Moore's dogs roamed loose in the building for an hour. “We were all trapped inside our offices, even though we wanted to get into the hallways where we felt it would be safer away from the glass windows,” Stuart said. “Bill Schoonmaker had a bunch of wounds, and I got my first-aid kit and bandaged him up as best I could.” Stuart told police she armed herself with a hammer, and one of the other people stabbed one of the dogs with a knife. Moore, who fled the building during the storm, was later found in his stalled car by police. The 54-year-old anger management counselor has been arrested in the past on charges of domestic violence, sexual assault and aggravated assault with a weapon. He was released last week on $100,000 bail.

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

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