Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
July 21, 1997:
Dateline: Sri Lanka--A mixed-up hitman hired to kill a wounded gangster in a Colombo, Sri Lanka, hospital mistakenly stabbed the wrong man to death. Sidath Thushara, 22, bumped off Vijaya Rajah, a cancer patient awaiting surgery for a brain tumor, thinking he was actually Saman Nilantha, a gangster who was being treated for wounds suffered in a knife fight. Nurses at the crowded hospital had moved Rajah into Nilantha's bed, while the alleged gangster was in surgery. Thushara was arrested as he fled the scene, a bloody dagger still clutched in his hand. We can only assume that the man who hired Thushara did not get a refund.
Dateline: Italy--On two consecutive nights, vandals with crowbars broke into the Rome Zoo and attacked the tapirs.
Dateline: Russia--The continuing debate over whether or not to bury old Vladimir Lenin once and for all took another turn for the weird last week in Moscow. On Sunday, a radical communist group claimed responsibility for planting land mines in an enormous statue of another giant of Russian history, Peter the Great. The group said the seven mines were intended as a warning to politicians who want to remove Lenin's body from Red Square. Police safely diffused the explosives with no apparent harm to Peter.
Dateline: Mexico--The tiny town of Villa Angel Flores got downright biblical last week. Motorists reported a rain of toads at about 11 p.m. Saturday in Mexico's Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa. According to the local newspaper, a "minitornado" had sucked up a cluster of toads from a nearby pond and dumped them on the town.
Dateline: Georgia--Bookstores are now crowded with successful computer guides labeled "For Dummies" and "For Idiots." An Atlanta-based personal computer company has jumped on the bandwagon with their new StupidPC. For $800 a beginner's model PC will be delivered to your home in a vintage VW by a personal technician dressed like a dweeb.
Dateline: Washington, D.C.--American beer companies are reacting strongly in Congress to a decision by the new U.S. Army Commander in Korea to cut the monthly beer ration from 30 cases a month per family to a mere eight. The problem? Apparently many families are unloading the excess beer on the black market for a lucrative profit.
Dateline: North Carolina--R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company bowed to pressure and, last Thursday, announced that they would be retiring their much-beloved cartoon spokesman Joe Camel. The decision came mere weeks after the tobacco industry agreed to a $368.5 billion settlement with state healthcare organizations. President Clinton had criticized the Joe Camel character for appealing to children. Camel had been Reynolds' primary spokescharacter since 1988.
--Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary
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