Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

JANUARY 5, 1998: 

Dateline: Russia--Russian film director Yuri Kara announced last Monday that he plans to shoot the first motion picture in space as early as next August. Kara's film The Mark of Cassandra is an adaptation of the novel by Kyrgyzstan-born Chingiz Aitmatov. Two actors, a male and a female, have already been chosen for the leads. Medical tests have already been performed, and their space flight training is expected to begin in January. Russian space officials stress that no documents have been signed with Kara, and the project would require millions of dollars to get off the ground, so to speak. "Everything depends on technical conditions, including the actual state of Mir," said Russian Space Agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov. Andrei Maiboroda, deputy director for education and training at Star City, the cosmonaut training center, told reporters the actors would need at least a year of intensive preparation before their flight. Kara expects to spend no more than a week in space with his actors.

Dateline: Greece--Early last week, a Ukrainian jet with 60 people on board crashed on a remote slope near the Mount Olympus range. Three days later, a Greek military plane searching for the wreckage crashed en route to assist with the search. All five Greek airmen on that plane were killed.

Dateline: Thailand--Who says massage parlors contribute no social good? Not the employees of the Pavilion Traditional Massage Parlor in central Bangkok. The staff pooled their resources and contributed some 20,000 baht ($444) to save an Asiatic black bear from becoming the main course at a nearby Korean restaurant. The owner of the bear could no longer afford to raise her under the current tough economic environment and sold her to the restaurant. Bear paws are considered a delicacy by Koreans. The massage parlor manager found the 18-month-old bear, coincidentally named Harem, a new home at a state-run zoo in eastern Chonburi province.

Dateline: New York--The Daily News has reported that the Brooklyn Bridge will be put up for sale on television's QVC network. On Jan. 2, callers can phone in to the home-shopping channel and place bids on the world famous bridge. The auction is part of New York City's Adopt-a-Highway program. The highest bidder will have their name affixed to a plaque on the 5,989-foot landmark. Bidding starts at $25,000, and NYC officials will use the donation to remove litter, clean graffiti and clean stairwells at the 114-year-old suspension bridge.

Dateline: Tennessee--The nuns of St. Cecilia's congregation in Memphis have returned the Christmas tree they "stole" last week and apologized to the rightful owners. On the 19th of December, workmen were sent to pick up a tree which had been donated to the order. The workers found a tree on what they assumed to be the right porch, loaded it up in their truck and delivered it to the grateful nuns. Sometime later, the owner of the donated tree called to ask why it had not been picked up. The workmen were not able to remember which house they took the tree from and the embarrassed nuns were forced to place ads in the Nashville Tennessean newspaper pleading for the rightful owner of the tree to contact St. Cecilia's. Last Monday, the tree was finally returned to the proper owner.


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