Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

JULY 27, 1998: 

Dateline: Japan--An early-morning commuter train seems to have foiled a robbery attempt in western Japan. The train slammed into a 440-pound safe boosted from the nearby stationmaster's office at Tamamizu station in Kyoto prefecture. It is unclear whether or not the thieves abandoned the heavy safe or were hoping the train's impact would smash it open for them. Either way, the safe maintained both its integrity and its approximately $2,836 booty. None of the train's 30 passengers were injured by the crash, and services were resumed within the hour.


Dateline: Baltic Sea--Divers struggled in the icy waters of the Baltic Sea last week to fit a special harness around a sunken Russian ship filled with booze. Once the harness is in place, a floating crane will raise the wreck, which has been sitting at the bottom of the Baltic since being sunk by a German submarine in 1916. The two-masted sailing vessel Jonkoping was carrying 5,000 bottles of 1907 Heidiek & Co. champagne and 67 casks of cognac for the Russian army garrisoned in Finland during World War I. Claes Bergvall, leader of the Swedish salvage team, plans to sell the well-preserved liquor for a tidy profit. French wine experts who have tasted samples of the ship's boozy cargo have pronounced it "excellent." Each champagne bottle is expected to fetch upwards of $3,000 at auction.


Dateline: India--According to The Hindustan Times, a bride recently became so upset at her drunken groom that she called the police, had him arrested and promptly married someone else. Police hauled the inebriated groom off to the police station, while the bride and her family announced the wedding's termination to surprised guests. A gallant neighbor stepped up to the plate and proposed to the ex-bride. The two were promptly hitched. The original bridegroom was released from jail later that evening and returned home with a hangover.


Dateline: Texas--Three men possibly linked to a Texas separatist group have been arrested for plotting to kill President Clinton with a cactus needle. The three men were jailed several weeks ago for sending threatening e-mails to federal officials. An affidavit unsealed in a Brownsville, Texas, court last week accuses the men of developing a cigarette lighter that would shoot a cactus thorn into an intended victim. According to federal prosecutors who produced the affidavit, the thorn was to be coated with anthrax, HIV and the rabies virus for use on Clinton, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, FBI Director Louis Freeh and other state and federal officials. Prosecutors believe the men were also planning on mass manufacturing the deadly botulism bacteria using a homemade mixture of rotten chicken meat, dirt and green beans. The three suspects, who are believed to be part of the Republic of Texas separatist group, are being held in jail without bond on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.


Dateline: Washington--Finicky eater Shawn Richard Gamble demonstrated his recent displeasure with an Everett, Wash., eatery by putting a bicycle through the front window. The grumpy gourmand was dining at Ivar's when he asked the waiter to put his clam chowder in a blender. Gamble, who has his jaw wired shut, became a bit testy when the staff informed him that the restaurant has no blender. Gamble allegedly went outside and tossed his bike through the window in protest. Now Gamble has a broken jaw, a busted bike, a second-degree malicious harassment charge ... and no clam chowder.


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