Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

FEBRUARY 9, 1998: 

Dateline: Norway--A student barred in 1981 from the University of Oslo is now raising a big legal stink. The one-time astrophysics student was ousted from class because his strong odor and tattered clothing drew complaints from students and staff. The man, whose name has not been released, has lived in a plastic-foam shack in Oslo since 1978. In his lawsuit against the state-funded school, the man is seeking readmission, despite his continuing personal stench. In an interview with the Verdens Gang newspaper, the man claimed that living in a shack and avoiding soap helps him achieve a deeper understanding of astrophysics.

Dateline: Italy--A new photographic ticket system is gaining opposition from some unusual opponents--Italian politicians who've been snapped in compromising situations. Police in Rome have begun parking along the side of highways and photographing speeding cars. The photos--showing date, time, speed, the vehicle's license plate and a clear view of the car's front seat--are then sent to the driver's home along with a ticket. At least two public officials--a senator and a ministerial official--are calling for changes in the notification system after photographs were sent to their homes showing them riding around with women other than their wives. The senator's wife discovered he was having an extramarital affair after receiving one of the photo tickets.

Dateline: England--Is nothing sacred in this modern age? Well, of course not. The time-honored tradition of British high tea has gone high tech. Brooke Bond, England's largest tea company, has just introduced tea in a can. For just under a buck, thirsty Brits can now purchase the pop-top tea at corner stores, where they are kept in heated cabinets at 133 degrees Fahrenheit. Purists may be offended, but stores are reporting swift sales.

Dateline: New Zealand--A Japanese tourist pleaded not guilty last Monday to charges of unlawfully possessing a penguin. Takehiko Yamasaki, 30, was arrested at Taiaroa Head in lower South Island for disturbing the habitat of nesting albatrosses and little blue penguins. The two species are protected in New Zealand. The birds normally nest far from civilization, but the protected habitat on Taiaroa Head is located only 16 miles from the town of Dunedin. Yamasaki was allegedly discovered inside a fenced-off area on Dec. 28. A subsequent search of the man's car uncovered a live penguin inside a bag.

Dateline: California--Kenneth Black, a former supermarket butcher, is suing a major supermarket chain for libel and slander, alleging he was wrongfully fired for cutting meat to resemble female genitalia. According to the lawsuit, Black was accused of sexual harassment by a female co-worker for "intentionally" cutting meat in a suggestive manner. The complaint resulted in Black's dismissal from his job at the Southern California-based Vons supermarket. "The cut of meat that ... allegedly resembled female genitalia was a standard cut of meat that had been customarily performed by meat cutters in excess of 20 years, and was commonly regarded as a standard cut of meat at grocery stores," Black claimed in his suit. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that Black suffered "injury to his reputation both as a meat cutter" and as a member of his community.


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