Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Switzerland

he Swiss government has declared that coffee is “not essential” for survival. According to USA Today, Switzerland began storing reserves of coffee before World War II in preparation of a possible shortage and has continued the practice ever since. Last week the Swiss Federal Council ruled that coffee is not necessary for the survival of human beings. The finding followed discussion of a proposed amendment to the “Ordinance on the Compulsory Storage of Foodstuff and Animal Feed,” which would end storage obligations for coffee. In a statement, the council said the Federal Office for National Economic Supply found that “coffee contains almost no calories and therefore does not make any contribution to food security from a nutritional point of view.” In the office’s report, it was noted that coffee was initially included in the list of goods that were being stockpiled for “psychological reasons.” According to BBC News, however, Reservesuisse, the agency that oversees Switzerland’s food stockpiles, says 12 of 15 companies that currently stockpile coffee are against the proposed amendment. The plan is now open for public comment, and a final decision will be made by the council in November. Switzerland currently has 15,300 tons of coffee in reserve.

Dateline: Papua New Guinea

Doctors in Papua New Guinea claim the country is facing a national crisis as thousands of men are receiving botched penis enlargement surgeries.
The Guardian reports that health workers across the country are taking advantage of insecurities and convincing men to have foreign substances injected into their genitalia. The alleged perpetrators are presumably practicing “off-license.” The injections are made with the expectation that a person’s penis will become larger, but doctors say the treatment causes penile disfigurement requiring surgical intervention. The substances injected reportedly include coconut oil, baby oil, silicone and cooking oil. Most cases of adverse reaction result in abnormal, lumpy masses growing over the penis or scrotum, which can make urination difficult. Many cases, according to doctors, result in ulcers that burst over time. Some of the men are unable to have an erection following surgical procedures, according to doctors. Akule Danlop, a surgeon at Port Moresby General Hospital, told reporters his clinic has treated at least 500 men with penile disfigurement and dysfunction over the last two years. He says he has treated men between the ages of 16 and 55. “It’s a bit frustrating to see these cases when you have other people who deserve [help] and then these people … do it to themselves,” he said.

Dateline: Mississippi

Residents of a neighborhood in Jackson, Miss., say bowls of mashed potatoes are appearing on their porches, and they want to know why. According to
WJTV in Mississippi, some neighbors living in the Belhaven neighborhood are concerned over the mysterious deliveries while others are amused. Attention was first brought to the bowls of potatoes last week when resident Jordan Lewis found a bowl of mashed potatoes left on her car and published a post about it on Facebook. Many of her neighbors came forward with similar stories. The side dish was found in various places, including inside mailboxes or on front porches. While some expressed concern that the food might have been poisoned to harm any animals who ate it, there have not been any reports of the potatoes being tainted in any way. The intention behind the deliveries remains a mystery and residents have not reported the incident to the police. Lewis told reporters that finding the mashed potatoes was in line with other experiences she’s had living in Belhaven. “This neighborhood does a lot of quirky things, we decorate road signs, we put Christmas trees in our potholes, so it’s not surprising at all, that’s why I love this neighborhood,” she said.

Dateline: Florida

A man was arrested last week after threatening to unleash an army of turtles to destroy a Florida town. CBS Miami reports that Thomas Devaney Lane is facing multiple charges of breaching the peace, misusing 911 and resisting an officer without violence. According to Indialantic, Fl., police, authorities received at least seven calls last week claiming a man was disturbing the peace at three different locations. Police reports say he even entered the police department and threatened the dispatch officer while pounding on the walls and glass. He allegedly left the building, but proceeded to call 911 and again threaten the dispatch officer. According to arrest reports, Lane was “yelling out obscenities constantly, calling himself the saint, saying his turtle army will destroy them and stating they would all see what would happen in an hour.” Officers finally found Lane sitting in his car, but he refused to come out. He allegedly continued to shout obscenities and refer to his “turtle army,” which he claimed would destroy the town and everyone living there. He was forcibly removed from his vehicle and arrested by officers.

Dateline: Malaysia

Authorities in Malaysia say delinquent crows are harassing the residents of Melaka and stealing women’s undergarments. According to The Straits Times, Melaka Historic City Councilor Tan Chin Gwan told reporters that it’s unclear why the birds have been targeting underwear left on clotheslines, but that the problem is getting worse. “I am still baffled by why these crows are snatching panties, and where they go to hide them,” he said. The crows are also reportedly stealing food from local hotels, schools and restaurants. Tan said the problem is having a negative impact on tourism, and the government has already begun culling the crow population.

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

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