Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
OCTOBER 25, 1999:
Dateline: Ireland -- Irish dog racing fans who paid nearly 1,000 Irish pounds ($1,350) for tickets to the richest greyhound race in the world on New Year's Eve are being asked to change their party plans and kindly ring in the new millennium on a different day. Three years ago, members of the "Millennium Club" at Dublin's Shelbourne Park dog track made plans to celebrate the dawning of January 1, 2000, with a banquet, fireworks display and plenty of cash prizes. Less than three months before the fateful date, however, the track's managing director has realized that hiring staff this New Year's Eve will cost 10 times that of a normal day. More than half the party's budget will have to go toward staff and catering, severely limiting the evening's potential 50,000 pound purse for top dog. The club is due to vote soon on the New Year's Eve date change.
Dateline: China -- A Chinese fugitive wanted for stealing $15 has been arrested after holing up for the last 12 years of his life. According to the Legal Daily, the man, identified only as Lu, allegedly stole the money from a house in the southern county of Xinyuan back in 1987. The police tried many times to locate the man. During yet another search of Lu's house last month, however, one of the policemen noticed something strange about a closet. They moved it and found Lu hiding in a three-foot hole he had dug underneath the closet. According to the newspaper, Lu had used the hole as a hiding place for the last 12 years, emerging occasionally at night for food.
Dateline: Brazil -- Father Marcelo Rossi, widely known as "The Dancing Priest," has topped the Brazilian pop charts with his second CD of aerobics music, which has spawned the hit single "Vira de Jesus" ("Jesus Twist"). The 31-year-old priest's music is based on the aerobics moves that he performs during his energetic masses. Rossi recently played before 120,000 fans at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã soccer stadium.
Dateline: The Netherlands -- Amsterdam's liberal drug policy suffered a minor setback last week when a regional court ruled that hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms" are legal, but drying said mushrooms is illegal. In the Netherlands' first case to target magic mushrooms, judges did not challenge the growing or selling of fresh mushrooms by more than 200 "smart shops" across the nation. The court in the southern Dutch city of Den Bosch, however, did sentence four men and one woman to community service for producing and trading dried mushrooms. Under Dutch law it is legal to grow and sell native plants, but "processing" those plants is not.
Dateline: Scotland -- Glasgow's Royal Infirmary has become the first sperm bank in the British Isles to import sperm from another country in order to bolster its dwindling supplies. Originally, the hospital had a steady stream of product, thanks to at least 15 suppliers, but that number has petered off in recent months. As a result of the crisis, the British Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority relaxed its stringent rules last week, opening the floodgates for virile Nordic sperm from Denmark to enter the country for procreation use.
Dateline: New York -- Brooklyn cabbie Mohammad Rahman, 36, is looking for a new career after racking up three accidents his second day on the job as a New York City cab driver. At 9 a.m., Rahman crashed into a parked car. The cabbie actually reported the accident to police, but claimed that the parked car had rammed into him. At 10 a.m., Rahman was stopped at a red light. When the traffic signal changed, Rahman waited for the crosswalk to clear, but cars behind him began honking. Rahman "got confused," stepped on the accelerator and ran over a 22-year-old New Jersey man. When police arrived at the site of Rahman's second accident of the day, he promptly smashed into another car. According to police, he was trying to flee the scene. But according to Rahman, he was only trying to park his taxi so it wouldn't block traffic.