Alibi V.28 No.38 • Sept 19-25, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: India

The “wedding” of a pair of frogs in India—meant to appease the god of rains—apparently worked too well, prompting a hasty divorce. According to The Times of India, the state of Madhya Pradesh was suffering from drought-like conditions in July, driving a religious group to hold a ceremony that wedded two frogs. Following a similar ceremony held in 2018, NDTV reported that the practice was an ancient one meant to please the Hindu god of rains, Lord Indra. But the most recent occurrence seems to have worked better than expected. Madhya Pradesh had already recorded 26 percent more rainfall than usual for the season, and many areas of the state are facing flash floods and torrential rains, causing authorities to open many dams in the area. The state capital reportedly broke a 13-year-old rainfall record last week. To battle the onslaught, Om Shiv Shakti Seva Mandal, the group that wed the frogs, held a rare ceremony at a temple in Indrapuri to “divorce” the amphibians. The animals were separated while participants chanted mantras. It is unclear if the ritual had any result. The area continues to see rainfall as of this writing.

Dateline: France

A French company was found liable for the death of an employee who suffered a heart attack while having sex on a business trip. BBC News reports that the employee, named as Xavier X in court documents, was working as an engineer for railway services company TSO when he visited central France on a business trip in 2013. While on the trip, X took part in what the company called “an extramarital relationship with a perfect stranger.” X allegedly suffered cardiac arrest following the encounter and subsequently died in the hotel. The state health insurance provider labeled the death a workplace accident, but the company challenged the decision on the grounds that X was not carrying out duties in any official capacity while interacting with the stranger. The provider claimed that sex was a normal activity “like taking a shower or a meal,” and a Paris court agreed, ruling that X's family was entitled to compensation. Under French law, an employer is responsible for any accidents that befall their employees on a business trip. An appeals court found the company was responsible for X “over the whole time of his mission.”

Dateline: Florida

A self-proclaimed psychic and spiritual healer was sentenced to prison for fraud last week after she scammed a woman out of more than one million dollars to lift a supposed curse. According to the Houston Chronicle, Sherry Tina Uwanawich, of Florida, met an unnamed woman in a Houston, Texas shopping mall in 2007. During their conversation, the woman told Uwanawich that she suffered from depression. Claiming to be a psychic healer, Uwanawich convinced the woman to come to her for spiritual counseling. For the next seven years, the woman visited Uwanawich twice a week. She was charged hundreds of dollars for each visit—supposedly to cover the price of candles, crystals and “spiritual work” performed by the alleged psychic. Uwanawich determined that the source of the woman's depression was a curse that had been placed on her Brazilian family. The psychic told her client that she could ward off the curse, but she would require much more money to do so. The woman reportedly paid Uwanawich with student loans, personal loans from friends and family, gift cards, a leased automobile and a personal inheritance. In 2014, while living in Florida, Uwanawich admitted to the woman that she had lied about the curse. She told the woman she was looking to turn her life around and promised to pay back the money she'd taken, which came to more than $1.6 million. She failed to do so. The victim of the con eventually went to a private investigator who reported Uwanawich to authorities. In a Florida court last week, a judge sentenced Uwanawich to 40 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. According to her lawyer, the alleged scammer showed no remorse before the judge and claimed the situation had caused her “emotional illness.”

Dateline: Kenya

A Kenyan lawmaker wants to ban farting on airplanes. Nairobi News reports that during a parliamentary debate last week, Kenyan member of parliament Dr. Lilian Gogo called for a resolution to keep people from passing gas on airplanes. “There is one irritant that is often ignored and this is the level of farting within the aircraft,” Gogo reportedly said. “There are passengers who literally irritate fellow passengers by passing bad smells and uncomfortable fart. If there is anyone given irritant that makes people fight on board, it is the fart. It is terrible within the plane.” When asked by temporary speaker Christopher Omulele how she planned to enforce such a rule, Gogo explained that airplane crews would receive “special training” to provide medicines like baking soda to passengers. “We should also have paramedics, who are trained in basic first aid included in the international and local flights,” Gogo said. She also said passengers' medical records should be made available to the flight crew before they are served specific foods—presumably those that cause gas—and alcohol. It is unclear if the proposed rule will become law.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.