Wednesday, May 18, 2005
wednesday weirdness version 2.0
• Animal sacrifice could spark shark attack
• Impotent ex-husband must pay damages
Newlyweds sue... fortune cookies living up to their name... George was here... and another pizzeria oddity...
OTTAWA (Reuters) - A pizza shop owner who forced former Canadian immigration minister Judy Sgro to resign by claiming she had offered to help him avoid deportation has admitted he lied and has apologized, Sgro said Tuesday.
Sgro quit her job in January after Harjit Singh filed an affidavit accusing her of offering to help him stay in Canada in return for pizza deliveries and assistance with her election campaign. Singh was deported to India in February.
"I now admit I did not have a meeting with Judy Sgro and at no time did she request any campaign assistance from me. Nor did she help me with my immigration problems," Singh wrote in a letter to Sgro which she read out in Parliament.
At the time of her resignation, Sgro was also under investigation by Parliament's ethics commissioner for giving a temporary residency permit to a Romanian stripper who had worked on her election campaign. She also extended the woman's expired work permit.
The commissioner told Sgro this week that she had done nothing wrong but had been put in a conflict of interest by staff who did not give her all the details about the stripper.
ROME (Reuters) - An impotent Italian man who kept his problem a secret from his wife until after their wedding must pay her damages for 'eroding' her right to have a family, Italy's Supreme Court has ruled.
The woman, identified by the Italian media as Cristina S., was quick to get her marriage annulled in the 1990s after learning to her horror that her husband could not consummate it.
She then demanded damages, saying she had been robbed of her "right to sexuality" and the promise of a family. Despite losing legal battles in lower courts, she kept appealing, and finally the Supreme Court found in her favor.
"Her fundamental right (was) eroded to fully realize a family, as a woman and a wife, and eventually as a mother," according to excerpts from the court ruling published in Italian newspapers Thursday.
The amount of damages will be settled by a lower court in Sicily, where the unhappy couple were married.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Blood from sheep butchered in a religious ritual at one of South Africa's busiest tourist beaches could tempt sharks toward bathers, an official warned Thursday.
A small group called the Healing Oracle has carried out such sacrifices on a beach in the eastern coastal city of Durban, media reported. Its leader Prophet Moses Michael said it was inspired by the Old Testament to help cure sick people.
But biologist Sheldon Dudley of the Natal Sharks Board, which aims to reduce attacks on humans, said the blood may attract sharks even though the beach is protected by nets.
"Putting blood or offal into the water is simply not sensible," he told Reuters. "A shark in the vicinity of the beach may come to investigate."
Shark nets have helped to reduce attacks in South Africa and Durban has not seen any major incident in recent years. But three or four people are attacked every year elsewhere off the country's coasts, Dudley said.
Animal protection officers said they were also investigating cruelty allegations around the sacrifices, and an official supervising the Durban beach said they were unacceptable.
"A beach is a public place and we can't have animals being sacrificed in front of visitors and children," the beach official told Durban's daily news.
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A newly-wed couple in Shanghai have filed a complaint against a local hotel after the groom broke his arm during bedroom fun and games. Yu Haitao and bride Fang Shuling were taking part in traditional tease-the-newly-weds celebrations when Yu tumbled off the bed breaking his left arm, state media said on Wednesday.
"My husband slipped right after he stood up on the bed to get ready for the games," Fang told the Shanghai Daily.
"It happened within seconds without any big movement."
Yu, 28, who underwent a 20,000 yuan ($2,415) operation on Tuesday, and Fang said the hotel had provided unsafe facilities, the newspaper added.
The hotel management denied any responsibility.
Wedding pranks are a long-standing tradition in China, with friends and family given the chance to tease and heckle the newly-weds.
Many couples across China rushed to get married before the start of the current Year of the Rooster, believing it to be a jinxed time to tie the knot.
On top of that, the lunar cycle began relatively late this year, meaning the year did not contain "lichun," the auspicious day that marks the start of spring, thus earning it an added reputation for being unlucky for wedlock.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The cookie crumbled right for 110 people who chose Chinese food.
Betting on the numbers recommended in fortune cookies, they won from $100,000 to half a million dollars each in a multi-state U.S. Powerball lottery, organization director Charles Strutt said on Wednesday.
By the laws of statistical probability, there should have been only four or five winners among the 10.4 million ticket buyers in the lottery operated by the governments of 27 U.S. States, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But there were nearly 20 times that many, meaning $19 million had to be paid to unexpected winners in the March 30 drawing.
"Something was wrong; it was out of the realm of possibility," Strutt told Reuters. "So we suspected a great system error or a fraud. In the lottery business, you have to be naturally suspicious: whenever we see a statistical aberration we check it out."
Another possibility was a recommended lucky number in the media. So bewildered staff at Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball from Uniondale, Iowa, spent the next day scanning magazines recommending lucky numbers.
They even replayed and replayed an ABC television show "Lost" and an episode of soap opera "The Young and the Restless" in which Powerball numbers were discussed. No match.
When winners of the prize came forward to claim the prize on April Fool's Day, state lottery officials had instructions to grill the winners, Strutt said.
The first hint came from Tennessee, where the first three winners told lottery officials they took the numbers from fortune cookies. The story was repeated across America.
Tennessee and Idaho officials visited dozens of Chinese restaurants and traced the cookies back to a distributor in the New York area. The New York Times investigated the story, tracking the cookies to New York's Wonton Food, which calls itself the world's biggest fortune cookie maker.
And in fact, the cookie didn't crumble that finely.
The fortune cookie featured six lucky numbers. The first five were good enough for six-figure prizes, The sixth figure, needed for the jackpot of $25.5 million, was listed as 40, when the winning number was 42. A Tennessee man who shunned fortune cookie luck landed the biggest prize, Strutt said.
Wonton Food sales manager Derrick Wong told Reuters none of 110 workers at the Queens factory that produced the winning cookie had the luck to bet in the lottery.
The factory produces 4 million fortune cookies a day, at least 97 percent of which carry a string of six numbers. There are 10,000 combinations of numbers, all picked by workers drawing from 40 folded papers with numbers placed in a bowl.
"We're now going to go to use a computer (to pick the numbers) because it's more efficient," Wong said. "Using the computer reduces the chances of a repeat combination and we don't want that to happen."
Another executive at the factory, Richard Leung, estimated that the Queens factory had produced hundreds of thousands of cookies that carried the winning combination.
Lottery director Strutt said that some of the winners had eaten the fortune cookie in the days before the drawing, but one had kept the winning combination from a cookie crunched three years earlier.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - What price a silver spoon, the proverbial passport to a life of luxury and power?
Auction house Sotheby's is hoping up to $60,000 for the spoon that belonged to the first president of the United States.
The tablespoon with the George Washington crest is among the highlights of a New York auction on May 19 of silver and other items being sold by a direct descendant of Washington, Sotheby's said on Thursday.
There is also a silver wine cooler with an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000 and the sellers are hoping to raise another $40,000 to $60,000 for three of Washington's coat buttons mounted in gold as a pendant.
In a separate auction of American art, furniture and silver on the same day, a document case experts say was used by Washington during the Revolutionary War and as president is up for sale with an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000
The woman who sued her husband becuase he was impotent is just wrong! Yes it was wrong for him not to tell her before they were married, but it was even more wrong for her to sue him over it!
If she truely loved him, she would have tried to see if there was anything that could medicaly be done for him. If not they could adopt! Sex isn't all there is to marriage anyways! Well that is just MY opinion about this topic.
Blood in Ocean water = Sharks!! People what were you thinking? Obviously you were NOT!
The man who broke his arm in his newelywed suite seems to have more grounds to sue the family and friends who pulled the prank, than they did to sue the hotel!
Wow what a lucky accident that was, to have been one of those people who used the fortune cookie numbers and won!
That is an expensive Spoon!
You did it again Luciano! Great topics for today's Weirdness Wednesday! Thanks.