Dateline: Israel--Earthquakes are gay. At least that’s what a member of Israel’s parliament believes. Six earthquakes have hit Israel and the neighboring nations of Lebanon and Jordan in recent months. Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas party, has suggested the tremors are being caused by his country’s liberal laws on homosexuality. The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, decriminalized homosexuality in 1988 and has passed several laws on the subject since, including decisions to recognize same-sex marriages carried out abroad and granting inheritance rights and other benefits held by married couples to gay partnerships. Two weeks ago, to the outrage of the religious right, the country’s attorney general, Meni Mazuz, ruled same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. In what Mr. Benizri believes is no coincidence, an earthquake struck the region two days later. “Why do earthquakes happen?” Benizri said during a parliamentary debate on earthquake preparedness. “One of the reasons is the things to which the Knesset gives legitimacy, to sodomy.” Benizri told his fellow legislators the most cost-effective way of preventing future earthquakes was to stop “passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes.” The London Telegraph quoted Benizri as saying, “God says you shake your genitals where you are not supposed to and I will shake my world in order to wake you up.”
Dateline: United Arab Emirates--A vanity license plate bearing nothing more than the number “1” sold for a record $14 million at a charity auction last Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The winner, real estate mogul Saeed Khouri, wouldn’t say how many automobiles he owned or which of them would bear the record-breaking plate. “I bought it because it’s the best number,” Khouri told reporters. “I bought it because I want to be the best in the world.” Vanity license plates, especially those with single-digit numbers, have become a major status symbol in the oil-rich UAE since the government began auctioning them off last May. The previous record sale belonged to license plate number “5,” which sold for $6.8 million. Proceeds from the auction will go to a rehabilitation center for victims of traffic accidents.
Dateline: South Carolina--Authorities say a man drove a stolen car to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office to demand the return of nearly $2,000 seized from him during a drug arrest last June. Deputies said after they told Charles Chambers, 36, to leave last Tuesday afternoon, an officer noted the man getting into a car that matched the description of a vehicle stolen about three hours earlier. Another officer pulled Chambers over and told him to shut off the vehicle. The officer said the driver had to stick a screwdriver into the ignition because the vehicle’s key switch had been removed. Chambers was charged with possession of a stolen automobile, driving under suspension and a tag violation.
Dateline: Michigan--Midland City Police were at a loss to explain why a 32-year-old Bentley man embezzled 217 cases of Pepperidge Farms stuffing last week. The 217 cases, valued at $8,749, were stolen from a Pepperidge Farm storage trailer. Deputy Police Chief Robert Lane said each area distributor has access to the trailer and that the Bentley man worked for one of the distributors. “We’re not sure why he stole it,” Lane told the Midland Daily News. “The only thing I can assume ... is that he was going to sell it.” Police identified a suspect after talking with several Pepperidge Farm workers. Police obtained a search warrant after one officer saw some of the boxes of stuffing in the suspect’s garage. The man was arrested and is being held in Midland County Jail. Lane said 157 cases of stuffing were recovered and will be held as evidence.
Dateline: Nevada--A Las Vegas businessman convened a news conference last week to unveil a rare, never-before-seen nude photo of Marilyn Monroe. Unfortunately, what he showed to reporters turned out to be a 15-year-old poster of Madonna. The image of the Material Girl, posed in high heels and a handbag hitchhiking alongside the road in her birthday suit, appeared in her infamous 1992 photo book Sex. Lawrence Nicastro, 73, said he found the grainy poster-sized print last year while going through storage items at his home in Las Vegas. He believed it had been left by a customer at his service station in the Bronx in 1962. Nicastro and his wife, Phyllis, said they spent about four months researching the origin of the photograph and called in Chris Harris, a publicist and Monroe expert, for help authenticating it. Harris believed the image to be an authentic Monroe photo taken around the time of her film The Misfits. Harris and Nicastro promptly scheduled a news conference for last Wednesday to unveil the image to reporters. On Tuesday, the pair decided to give a sneak preview of the photo to The Associated Press. Upon seeing the image, AP reporters informed Nicastro the nude was a well-known picture of pop singer Madonna. “You’re right, it is Madonna,” Nicastro reportedly said upon closer inspection.