Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

MARCH 9, 1998: 

Dateline: Afghanistan--Three Afghan men convicted of sodomy have survived their traditional punishment--being buried alive for 30 minutes. The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP)reported last Wednesday that Mullah Mohammad Omar, the head of the Taliban Islamic militia, ordered the three criminals be left for half an hour under the rubble of a stone wall which was felled on top of them by a battle tank. Their lives would be spared if they survived. The Pakistan-based AIP said that the men were found alive when the pile of stones was excavated and were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for their injuries. According to Orthodox Afghan Muslim law, a sodomite must be executed either by being pushed down a hill or by having a wall toppled on him.

Dateline: Germany--After more than six weeks in bed, three German couples have all been declared winners in a sleepover competition held inside a local shopping mall. The contest began as a promotional stunt for the A-10 shopping center in Wildau, just outside Berlin. The teams--two couples in their early 20s and one comprised of two housewives in their 50s--were competing for a $5,560 prize. Whoever stayed in bed the longest would win. But, after 40 days passed with no signs of weakness on anyone's part, the managers of the mall declared a three-way tie, awarding the prize money to each and every slugabed. The contestants, who were granted a shower, three meals a day and a 10-minute stroll every three hours, passed their time reading, playing cards and watching the passing shoppers.

Dateline: Mexico--Some 30 rifle-toting police officers raided a marketplace in Mexico City. The target: five traders accused of selling rubber masks with an uncanny resemblance to Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. Despite the government-sanctioned use of strong-arm tactics to stamp out novelty items, a local judge later freed the merchants.

Dateline: Italy--Villagers in the tiny town of Ivrea, 31 miles north of Turin, engaged in their annual orange-throwing festival last week. The citrus hurling is meant to recreate a battle fought centuries ago with swords and cross-bows in which a tyrannical king was overthrown. Tourists who arrive to watch the pulpy carnage are encouraged to wear red hats signifying them as "noncombatants."

Dateline: New York--A New York City glazier was sentenced to five years in prison for drumming up business for himself. Jason Harte, the 28-year-old president of Crystal Glass Co., was charged with conspiracy and grand larceny for smashing windows worth more than $155,000. Harte and two of his employees used slingshots, hammers and rocks to bust up windows in some of Manhattan's most chic boutiques--all of which were Crystal Glass Co. clients. The smashing spree took place between September 1996 and May 1997. Harte had pled guilty to similar charges in July of 1996 and was sentenced to five years probation.

Dateline: Florida--A 19-year-old Boca Raton man committed suicide last week in a most spectacular manner. After writing a suicide note on the soles of his shoes, he drove his car up to the sixth floor of a parking garage. The distraught young man got a nice running start, crashed his car through the concrete wall and caught some serious air before falling to his death. Beats carbon monoxide poisoning.

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