Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

MARCH 16, 1998: 

Dateline: England--Last Tuesday, the speaker of Britain's esteemed House of Lords, under fire for spending too much money on his personal apartment, appeared before a committee of MPs to defend his choice of wallpaper. Among the 650,000 pound ($1.07 million) expenses to redesign Lord Alexander Irvine's official flat at the 19th century palace of Westminster, Conservative member of parliament David Ruffley questioned the Lord Chancellor's decision to use a Victorian Gothic designer wallpaper costing some 59,000 pounds ($97,200). "It is a noble cause and future generations will be grateful," Lord Irvine told his detractors. "We are talking about quality materials which will last for 60 to 70 years." Irvine also defended his plan to "borrow" scores of artwork from state collections to help decorate his residence.

Dateline: Somalia--A seemingly hostile troop of monkeys attacked a soccer team in Burao, Somalia. Spectators and players were forced to flee the schoolyard soccer match when an unknown number of monkeys stormed onto the field, biting and scratching the youngsters on their legs. Police tried to disperse the primates/soccer hooligans by firing in the air. When the simians turned on them, however, the officers were forced to shoot the apparent ringleader. With their agitator dead, the monkeys fled.

Dateline: Vietnam--Due to a recent plague of rat infestations, Vietnamese officials are ordering a shutdown of that country's popular cat restaurants. As an alternative, the government is encouraging people to eat rats instead.

Dateline: Romania--Speaking of soccer-related tragedies, a struggling Romanian soccer team was forced to sell one of their players for meat. The Juil Petrosani soccer club traded midfielder Ion Radu to the second division club Vilcea for two tons of beef and pork. Club president Constantin Catuti hopes to sell off the meat to pay the other players' salaries. The club recently sold defender Liviu Baicea to another team for 10 footballs and a set of shirts and shorts.

Dateline: Wisconsin--Witnesses in Walworth, Wis., watched as an auto crashed into a 30,000-gallon liquid propane tank, touching off a raging fire that displaced hundreds and burned for 24 hours. Immediately after the crash, witnesses watched a man get out of the car, remove the license plate and run away. When the fire was finally doused, authorities found the very charred remains of a man's body in the trunk.

Dateline: Virginia--A fourth-grade teacher in Yorktown, Va., was charged last Wednesday with simple assault after trimming one of her student's nails. Carroll Comstock was summoned to appear before a magistrate judge next month and could face possible disciplinary action by the school board after cutting a nine-year-old girl's fingernails without parental permission. The student's mother, Rita Merrill, alleged that her daughter was singled out by her teacher for biting a hangnail in class a few weeks previous. The teacher sent a note home to the parents urging them to trim their daughter's nails. When the teacher observed unsatisfactory results, she apparently brought in a manicure set and did the job herself.

Dateline: Texas--Dallas TV station WFAA's attempt to become the first station in the nation to begin broadcasting an HDTV signal came to an abrupt halt after the digital transmission shut off wireless heart monitors at the nearby Baylor University Medical Center.

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