Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
OCTOBER 18, 1999:
Dateline: Turkey -- In what could rank as one of the most inappropriate celebrations ever, citizens in the western port city of Izmir who came to mark the opening of a Turkish veterinary hospital on World Animal Day were shocked and dismayed when workers sacrificed a ram and a calf on the steps of the hospital in honor of a visiting minister. State Minister Yuksel Yalova intervened to stop the slaying of a second ram on his behalf. "On a day like this, especially at the opening of an animal hospital, scenes like that were really not appropriate," Yalova told local newspapers.
Dateline: Israel -- A Jewish extremist was convicted last Tuesday of placing a pig's head on the Muslim grave of 1930s Palestinian nationalist fighter Izz el-Deen al-Qassam. Qassam was a revolutionary Muslim cleric and an inspiration to the militant wing of the present-day Islamic group Hamas, which is opposed to the Palestinian peace movement with Israel. The Jerusalem District Court, however, found insufficient evidence that the defendant, Avigdor Eskin, was guilty of conspiring to catapult a pig's head into Islam's third holiest shrine atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Pigs are considered "unclean" by both Judaism and Islam. No date has been set for sentencing, but prosecutors will allegedly ask that Eskin serve jail time for his pork-related crimes.
Dateline: Berlin -- To mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the former East German communist state, modern-day Berliners rebuilt the Berlin Wall -- in chocolate. Italian confectioners wearing white bakers' hats stacked 45-pound chocolate bricks into a 39-foot long wall on Berlin's central square, near the site where the Berlin Wall once separated East from West. "The only kind of wall that could bring people together rather than divide them would be a wall of chocolate," organizer Eugenio Guarducci told reporters. The gigantic cocoa-flavored wall is one of the few public events marking the still contentious anniversary.
Dateline: Florida -- A 35-year-old transient named Herman Hill decided to rob a St. Petersburg-area Circle K convenience store last week. Too destitute to even afford a ski mask, Hill grabbed the best thing he could find -- a transparent plastic garbage bag -- and relieved the store of less than $100. Three days later, Hill was arrested breaking into a nearby home. In addition to the attempted burglary, the county sheriff's department charged the confessed crack addict with robbing the convenience store. Video cameras at the store had captured a clear picture of Hill's face -- despite the clever transparent disguise he wore.
Dateline: Massachusetts -- A quick-draw artist helped police nab a thief who made off with $100 from a New Bedford, Mass., art gallery. The unnamed suspect entered Gallery X on Sunday afternoon and chatted with one of the artists before snatching a large plastic jug containing donations and dashing into the street. Several members of the gallery canvassed the neighborhood looking for the thief, while the artist -- who did not want to be named -- banged out a quick sketch of the suspect for police. The picturesque thief was quickly apprehended at a nearby cafe.
Dateline: West Virginia -- If you didn't know any better, you'd think the members of the Black Diamond Girl Scout Council in Charleston, W. Va., had gone into a lucrative new form of fundraising. After deciding that their Web address (www.blackdiamond girlscouts.com) was too long, the organization traded it for another, more wieldy domain name (www.bdgsc.org). Earlier this month, however, an outfit called Internet Domains Group snatched up the former address and sold it to a Ukrainian-based pornography site. Eager cookie-seeking customers with the old address on their bookmarks are now greeted with a whole Web page full of young ladies engaging in entirely un-Girl Scout-like activities.