Alibi V.28 No.48 • Nov 28-Dec 4, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Kenya

Some Kenyan women are complaining that thieves are stealing their undergarments, presumably for witchcraft. According to Nairobi News, residents of Mbiri Ward in Murang’a report that their underwear is increasingly being stolen and then left in the woods in a state of disrepair. The thieves have reportedly only taken undergarments, leaving money and valuables untouched. Believing the acts to be tied to witchcraft, locals have reported the thefts—which have allegedly been occurring for months—to police. Millicent Wangui, a victim of the thieves, told reporters that witch doctors use bras and underwear to break up marriages or make women barren. “They have stolen about 30 of my panties and this has caused havoc in my family,” she said. “We feel that the matter is connected to witchcraft where witch doctors have contracted some youth to only steal used women bras and panties to advance their work.” Local police are currently investigating the matter. Mbiri Chief David Gachanja said they have yet to establish a motive in the case. “We are wondering why anyone would only steal panties and bras and leave money and valuable household items,” he said. Last year, a thief was caught stealing women's underwear in a neighboring village. He reportedly confessed that a witch doctor had contracted him to commit the act.

Dateline: China

A man was admitted to the hospital after complaining of persistent headaches and seizures. Doctors found that he was infected with 700 tapeworms in his brain, lungs and chest. The Mirror reports that Zhu Zhong-fa, from Hangzhou in China, had been suffering from headaches and seizures for over a month when he decided to visit doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medicine, Zhejiang University. Zhu was diagnosed with taeniasis, a parasitic infection caused by tapeworms. It is believed he contracted the infection by eating undercooked or infected pork. Tapeworm eggs can survive in infected meat that has not been cooked fully. If the eggs enter the central nervous system, they can cause epileptic seizures and other neurological problems in an infected patient. Wang Jian-rong from the department of infectious disease, discovered around 700 tapeworms had taken up residence in Zhu's body. On video sharing platform Pear, Wang said the parasites had infected the patient's brain, lungs and the muscles inside his chest cavity. He said the infection had already damaged some of Zhu's organs. Taenaisis is treatable with laxatives and medicine, but Zhu's response to the treatment is still unclear.

Dateline: Austria

The Austrian government has decided to turn Adolf Hitler's birthplace into a police station to discourage neo-Nazis from treating it as a shrine. According to The New York Times, authorities have spent years deciding what to do with the yellow house in Austria where Hitler—the infamous leader of the Nazis during World War II—was born in 1889. Last week, the nation's interior minister Wolfgang Peschorn announced that the home will be converted into a police station as a message to white supremacists that it is not meant to be a shrine to the deceased leader. “The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis been permanently revoked,” said Peschorn in a statement. The building has reportedly caused issues for authorities for the last 70 years. The homeowner's refusal to renovate the building combined with the site's penchant for attracting admirers of the Nazi leader have made it difficult to find permanent tenants. The Interior Ministry took over the home's main lease to ensure it had the final say on the use of the building, but its owner refused to sell the property. In 2017, the Austrian government seized the home. A competition to redesign the building for its new purpose begins next month. It will be open to architects from across the European Union with the ultimate goal of finding a design that illustrates an “innovative use and function of the space.” The winner of the competition will be announced in 2020.

Dateline: Pakistan

The Arts Council of Pakistan is under fire from feminist groups after it was revealed that a panel on feminism was slated to be made up entirely of men. BBC News reports that the agency was planning to hold a discussion titled “Feminism: The Other Perspective.” Organizers said the panel was intended as a place for leaders to discuss their views on feminism, but critics on social media were quick to point out that none of the panel members were women. The only woman included in the event was discussion host Uzma al-Karim, who told reporters: “Our purpose was to get men having decision-making powers in major media houses and those with a following to talk about their understanding of feminism. We wanted to register their perception because they were in a position to influence public opinion. And that's why we called it 'the other perspective.'” Nevertheless, many found an all-male discussion of feminism in Pakistan—a nation known for oppressing women—distasteful. Social media users criticized the men taking part in the panel, accusing them of taking advantage of feminism to further their own interests. This public outcry prompted the event organizers to add two women to the panel—feminist Mehtab Akbar Rashdi and journalist Quatrina Hosain—and rename the panel “Understanding Feminism.”

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