Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds and Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

MARCH 22, 1999: 

Dateline: Cyprus--A group of British Muslims jetting to Mecca delayed a Cyprus Airways flight with 160 passengers for 12 hours last Sunday after insisting on saying their prayers before boarding. The passengers failed to turn up in time for the flight to the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, and by the time airport staff managed to track them down and assemble them, the runway was closed for overnight maintenance. "We couldn't get them on the aircraft," said a Cyprus Airways spokesman. "We were trying to convince them to stop praying." To the credit of the devout day-trippers, and to the credit of Allah, the plane eventually arrived safe and sound in Jeddah the next day.

Dateline: Kenya--And to those who continue to doubt that God or other spiritual entities work in mysterious ways, witness the case of a Kenyan thief who took it upon himself to steal the collection plate from Nairobi's All Saints Cathedral last Sunday. When confronted with his larcenous actions, the thief ran from the church and onto a busy highway where he was struck and killed by a bus.

Dateline: Finland--A Finnish man had the final word in court last Monday when he blew himself to bits during the judge's decision. The 50-year-old man, who apparently didn't agree with the ruling, was in court to settle a dispute over a will in which he was a party. Seven other people were injured in the blast.

Dateline: South Korea--Police in Taejon, South Korea, have arrested a man for kidnapping a corpse. The suspect, identified only as "Lim," confessed to digging up the remains of the late father of a powerful businessman and demanding a ransom of some $650,000. Lotte Group chairman Shin Kyuk-ho received a phone call in early March telling him to check on his father's grave in Ulsan, about 230 km southeast of Seoul. Witnesses said three men in jeans had inquired at a nearby village about the location of the grave, which was discovered two-thirds dug up. The graverobbers called Lotte repeatedly, demanding the ransom and threatening to then dig up the grave of Shin Kyuk-ho's aunt if he did not comply with their demands. After the arrest of Lim, police found part of the missing remains on the roof of a video game parlor run by the suspect. Lotte Group is a major confectionery maker in Asia.

Dateline: Colorado--Judge Paul Sacco has concocted an interesting form of "aversion therapy" for people who violate the noise ordinance in his hometown of Fort Lupton, Colo. Once a month, on a weekend night, people who have been convicted of playing their stereos too loud are forced to listen to one hour of court-ordered music. Sacco mandates a varied playlist including Wayne Newton, Navajo flute music, bagpipes and John Denver music. During a recent session, the noise polluters were forced to listen to one of the judge's own jazz compositions, "I'm Sleeping in My Car." Most of the largely teenage offenders vow never to return. Ryan Bowles, a recent visitor to Sacco's music group, was scared straight by repeated airings of the "Barney" theme song.

Dateline: Tennessee--After his girlfriend dumped him last week, 28-year-old Knoxville resident Buster Mitchell decided to marry his car. Mitchell went to the county courthouse and tried to get a marriage license for himself and the love of his life, a Mustang GT. Unfortunately, the clerk wouldn't accept Mitchell's application--which listed his fiancee's blood type as "10-W-40." According to Tennessee law, only men and women can marry. "In California they are doing same-sex marriages," Mitchell told reporters. "Why can't we do the good ol' boy thing and marry our cars and trucks?" Undaunted, Mitchell now plans to seek a union at several choice wedding chapels in the Smoky Mountains.

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