Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

NOVEMBER 16, 1998: 

Dateline: Israel--Israeli mayoral candidate Yigal Yanai woke up to find his name in the papers. Unfortunately, it was for his death notice. Yanai, an independent candidate in the town of Rosh Ha'ayin, read in Israel's largest paper that he had passed away just a week before municipal elections were set to start. The candidate, 46, tried to call friends and family to let them know he was still alive. Dozens of people still showed up at Yanai's door to express their condolences to his "grieving" wife. Police are investigating and have arrested a suspect for perpetrating the political fraud.

Dateline: India--After a week of panicked salt buying, the Indian Government and leading salt-makers tried to allay fears of salt-crazed consumers. Newspaper reports warned that the price of a one-kilogram (2.2 pound) bag of salt had jumped from six rupees (14 cents) to between 20 and 50 rupees (47 cents and $1.18). Long lines soon formed at salt sellers' stores in New Delhi and the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Last Tuesday, Tata Chemical and Hindustan Lever Ltd. both ran advertisements in leading newspapers assuring that their products were in abundant supply and available at their usual price.

Dateline: England--A chubby British railway manager known as "The Fat Controller" has admitted to stealing four locomotives, six passenger coaches, three breakdown coaches and 30 wagons. Barry Daly, whose nickname is derived from the "Thomas the Tank Engine" children's books, planned to sell the trains to a number of clients. At a trial last Monday, Daly admitted to "circumventing" the correct paperwork and dishonestly obtaining checks for almost 43,000 pounds ($71,000) in exchange for the purloined choo-choos.

Dateline: Thailand--Five Buddhist worshippers were killed and dozens more injured last Monday when three giant ceremonial joss sticks collapsed at a temple near Bangkok. According to police, the 79- to 88-foot joss sticks--the largest incense sticks ever built in Thailand--crumbled under their own weight after a night of heavy rains. The victims were among more than 1,000 Buddhists attending a religious ceremony at the Phra Pathom Pagoda to commemorate the 84th anniversary of the construction of a Buddha image at the temple. The gigantic joss sticks were constructed from thousands of smaller incense sticks bundled together and were due to be lit on Monday evening.

Dateline: Pennsylvania--"Mistress Donna," busted in suburban Philadelphia for prostitution, has asked police to return her sex toys. During the raid on Donna Gorton's Doylestown, Pa., home, police seized the tools of her S & M trade: whips, chains shackles, a dunce cap, potty chairs and a can of vegetable shortening. The Mistress, who is currently serving one year's probation, says she has an "emotional attachment" to the items. District Attorney Alan Rubenstein said he will return the disputed gear so long as Gorton does not use any of it for prostitution.

Dateline: Wisconsin--Gov. Tommy Thompson, stumping for a state-record fourth term as Wisconsin's top politico, thought he had found the perfect way to mix politics with Packers. At a rally before the Green Bay Packers/San Francisco 49ers game last Sunday, Thompson told fans to cheer every time the 49ers' punter--also named Tommy Thompson--ran on to the field. "Cheer Tommy Thompson! More! More! More!" instructed the Republican candidate. Unfortunately, the 49ers had waived punter Thompson and relied on Reggie Roby to do all their kicking.

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