Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

DECEMBER 22, 1997: 

Dateline: Canada--Unilever Canada Ltd. announced last week that it would legally challenge the Quebec government's massive margarine seizure from the Consomat grocery store in Alma, Quebec. Quebec law prohibits the sale of margarine that is the same color as butter. Said oleo product must be either white or markedly more yellow that its dairy cousin. Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch-owned company, intends to challenge the seizure and "to test the enforceability of the margarine color regulation" in Canadian courts. Some 440 pounds of Unilever yellow margarine were seized from the store.

Dateline: Germany--A German juvenile delinquent was injured recently when the cigarette machine he was trying to rob blew up. The youth was apparently using a can of hairspray and a lighter on the machine's change slot.

Dateline: New Zealand--Local pharmacist Brian Brewerton didn't want to play Santa Claus in the Kaikohe Christmas parade--he knew the hazards. Unfortunately for him, Brewerton's neighbors talked him into it. Brewerton was riding atop a fire engine in his jolly red suit when, halfway through the parade route, a volley of water balloons bombarded the ersatz sleigh. The 62-year-old Brewerton caught one in the face and suffered a black eye. Kaikohe, a small town in Northern New Zealand, garnered an international bad rep back in 1991 when it was reported that year's Santa was kicked in the shins by children shouting "mean old bastard" when he ran out of candies to distribute.

Dateline: Malaysia--Malaysia's Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism has got some interesting ideas for perking up the tourist trade in his cash-starved nation. The Minister told local papers last week that mass circumcision ceremonies, such as last weekend's 48-boy blowout, were "cultural events" that Malaysia could exploit as tourist attractions. The idea, apparently, is to charge a small fee for tourists who might, as the Minister put it, "enjoy watching something different from the norm."

Dateline: Florida--Miami Beach resident Todd Boucino pulled off a spectacularly unsuccessful bank robbery last week when he chose to rob a NationsBank branch on Washington Avenue, located just one block from the local police headquarters. The 28-year-old Boucino entered the bank, stuck his finger in his pocket to simulate a gun and told a teller to "give me all the money." The teller promptly ran away forcing Boucino to help himself. Once outside, Boucino--who had failed to obtain a getaway vehicle--tried to flag down a passing cab. The cab driver, noticing dozens of gesturing bystanders in the background, refused to pick up the bank robber. At that point "a parade of officers," including several off-duty police and at least one who was having a snack at a nearby diner, began chasing Boucino. The officers apprehended their man about a block later as he tried to climb into a second cab. Boucino was charged with armed robbery.

Dateline: Washington--Thought all the tobacco hoopla would be over with now that the big lawsuits have been settled? Think again. Last week, a House of Representatives hearing convened to look into the possibility that the majority of the tobacco company payouts will actually end up going to lawyers. It is estimated that between $7 and $19 billion will be paid out to lawyers. Some Florida-area lawyers, apparently, are charging upwards of $7,700 an hour for their time.

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