Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

MARCH 2, 1998: 

Dateline: Brazil--A mentally handicapped teenager was found 1,925 miles from his home in Sao Paulo after he lost sight of his mother and wandered aimlessly for almost two years. Joao Aparecido de Souza, 19, was located near the city of Natal on the northeastern tip of Brazil where he had been living in the house of Ana Francisca do Nascimento, a cook who found him wandering the highway six months previous. Apparently, de Souza completed the nearly 2,000-mile journey from Sao Paulo entirely on foot. Do Nascimento told the local newspaper, Diaro de Natal, that de Souza is frightened to death of cars and would never hitch a ride. The young man was reunited with his family after a Natal neighbor heard his story and sent out e-mails to missing-persons departments across the country.

Dateline: Chile--A deeply indebted taxi driver has angered Chilean health authorities by taking out a newspaper ad offering to sell one of his kidneys. The man has already fielded 10 offers, one for $10,000.

Dateline: Israel--Unable to act on legal grounds, the director-general of Israeli Health Ministry is ordering that an HIV-positive prostitute, aged 70, be "located and persuaded to cease her employment." AIDS activists in contact with the prostitute say the woman has intercourse with six to 10 customers a day--mostly adolescents attracted by the woman's inexpensive 10 shekel ($2.80) price tag. Inon Schenker of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's School of Public Health urged the Ministry to take all means necessary to get the woman off the streets.

Dateline: India--Ten Bangladeshi boys--aged five to eight--were seized from smugglers en route to the Middle East where the children were to be employed as professional camel jockeys. Rescued from child traffickers six months ago in New Delhi, the boys arrived home in Dhaka last Wednesday. Police believe the children were lured away from their poor families by the prospect of high-paying jobs, especially in the Gulf states where camel racing is a popular sport among the oil-rich Sheiks.

Dateline: California--Last week, a Los Angeles couple broke into the record books when the mother gave birth to a twin boy some eight years after his brother was born. The couple's first child was born in 1989 as a product of in-vitro fertilization. After that operation, the couple's leftover fertilized eggs and sperm were frozen and forgotten. When the icicled embryos were discovered, the couple decided to have a second child, leaving their twin boys separated by nearly a decade.

Dateline: Washington D.C.--You've got to at least give the U.S. government credit for trying. The Wall Street Journal reported that some 3,000 taxpayers recently received notices from the Internal Revenue Service claiming that each owed the agency $300,000,000 in back taxes.

Dateline: Idaho--Radio station KLCE in Blackfoot, Idaho, helped two listeners flaunt fate on Friday the 13th. The couple was married after walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror and otherwise flouting the conventions of bad luck. After the ceremony, the couple released some mylar balloons, which promptly got caught in the station's power lines causing an explosion, which knocked out power to 3,000 nearby homes.

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