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 V.13 No.43 | October 21 - 27, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Croatia—An 18-year-old Croatian has been arrested for stealing his father's police uniform and stop sign and using them to collect fines from motorists. The unnamed teen from Bisko stopped drivers and told them they had broken traffic laws and then fined them approximately $15 apiece. He was eventually exposed and arrested when a man on a motorcycle refused to pay the fine and alerted other officers when he became suspicious.

Dateline: Italy—Well, it beats the Popemobile. According to England's The Sun newspaper, bosses at Ferrari are planning to gift Pope John Paul with a $400,000 special edition racing car to celebrate his 26 years as pontiff. Chief executive Luca Cordero di Montezemolo revealed the plan at a recent meeting with Vatican officials. “We're preparing a special red Formula One car for him,” di Montezemolo told The Sun. The 84-year-old Pope was elected head of the Roman Catholic Church on Oct. 16, 1978.

Dateline: Bulgaria—A Bulgarian hunter managed to fight off a 700-pound bear, then nearly killed himself after tripping over his own rifle. Marin Cogev, 55, was hunting in the woods near Milkovica when he was attacked from behind by the wild bear. The bear tried to crush him with its arms, but Cogev managed to club the animal on the head with the butt of his shotgun and then fired a shot into the air. The startled animal released its grip and ran away. Unfortunately, when Cogev turned to go after the bear, he slipped, tripped and his gun went off. The bullet grazed his skull and he passed out. He was discovered a short time later by a fellow hunter who told reporters, “If the bullet had gone a few millimeters the other way, he would be dead.” The rescuer added, “It's amazing he managed to fight off such a huge bear and then tripped over and nearly killed himself.” The bear was later caught and killed by a team of hunters. Local media reported that Cogev was recovering in a hospital after an operation on a punctured lung and broken ribs, sustained when the bear hugged him.

Dateline: Sweden—Nine union leaders in the economically depressed industrial town of Trollhatten have quit after allegations they used membership dues to buy liquor, porn and sex toys. An internal audit by Sweden's second-largest union, Metall, exposed expense abuses by branch 112 in Trollhatten, where about 6,000 workers at a Saab car factory are facing down pink slips. A former cashier at the branch told public radio Ekot of drinking bouts and sex shop sprees during official visits to Denmark and Belgium. “The branch did not pay for sex services. That was up to individuals. But the costs surrounding those visits were paid by the branch,” said Tommy Larsson. “I can confirm they bought dildos with union money and shared them out.”

Dateline: Romania—Two people nearly killed when an enraged soccer fan tossed his TV out the window have refused to press charges because they understand how he felt. According to Ananova.com, Ghita Axinte, 43, said he was so angry that the national side lost their World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic that he grabbed his television and threw it out the window of his apartment in Pascani, Romania. The TV set crashed into a balcony below, narrowly missing two of his neighbors who happened to be discussing the match. Radu Demergiu said he was shaken up when the TV set crashed into his balcony, almost hitting him and his brother. Still, Demergiu said he completely sympathizes with Axinte and does not plan to take any legal action against the temperamental soccer fan. “At first I was shocked at my neighbor, he could have killed us,” said Demergiu. “But when he told me he had been watching the football I completely understood. We had also been watching it, and I was furious at the Romanian team too.”

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Minnesota—Police in Crystal found themselves in a bizarre string of celebrity-related crimes after responding to a call of a convulsing Elvis Presley impersonator. According to Police Capt. Dave Oyaas, the events began early Monday morning at a veterans hall. Police were called to the private club and found a man dressed as Elvis apparently in convulsions. When the officers approached, Oyass said the man suddenly jumped up, yelled “Viva Las Vegas!” and began performing show tunes. At about the same time, two women came up to the officers and said that a man dressed as John Belushi's character in The Blues Brothers had stolen their car and driven to a nearby airport. The ersatz Jake Blues led police on a high-speed chase around the airport before officers forced him to stop and arrested him. Oyaas said charges pending against the men could include disorderly conduct, fleeing police and drunken driving. The men had apparently been drinking together at the VFW hall before police arrived. Blood tests will confirm just how much the men had been drinking, but Oyaas said, “I would venture to say quite a bit.”

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

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