Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
OCTOBER 11, 1999:
Dateline: Argentina -- Argentine officials have rejected an appeal from an exiled Paraguayan coup leader to delay his banishment to a frigid, wind-swept island until his hair transplants can take hold. Lino Oviedo, once the military strongman behind disgraced Paraguayan President Raul Cubas, fled his native land in March after accusations that he and Cubas plotted to assassinate the country's vice president. Oviedo was granted political asylum in Argentina and has been living in a luxury chalet outside Buenos Aires. According to Argentine officials, though, Oviedo broke the rules of his asylum by making political comments to a national newspaper. As a result, Oviedo has been banished to a remote ranch on the southern Patagonian island of Tierra del Fuego. Lawyers for the exiled officer have insisted that he cannot be moved upon medical orders. Oviedo's plastic surgeon apparently does not want the general's scalp exposed to sun or wind for several months. Despite the current condition of Oviedo's hair transplant, the Argentine government is sticking by its decision.
Dateline: Germany -- Alexandru Nemeth, a Romanian-born German metal worker, has gone from using homing pigeons to being a jailbird after his brilliant blackmail scheme fell apart. Nemeth had attempted to blackmail a German unit of Swiss food giant Nestle by lacing some of its products with poison. In order to stop the poisonings, Nemeth demanded 25 million marks ($14 million) in diamonds, which were to be placed in small pouches hung around the necks of pigeons trained to find their way home. Police followed one of the pigeons -- named "Charly" -- back to a lot rented by Nemeth. A Frankfurt regional court recently found Nemeth guilty of three counts of extortion and six counts of food poisoning. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail.
Dateline: Germany -- German customs officials last week seized 1,300 spiders from a woman who tried to smuggle them into the country in two suitcases. Trade in the oversized Mexican bird spiders, a protected species, is prohibited. The woman now faces up to three years in jail. Customs officials said 112 of the spiders, mostly pregnant females, died in transit. The illegal shipment has a market value of $475,000 and was the largest seizure of spiders ever made in Germany.
Dateline: Hungary -- According to local media, if a Hungarian husband and wife were not made for each other, they soon will be. Apparently, a married couple from the western city of Szekesfehervar have decided to switch places and are now undergoing dual sex change operations at the local hospital. Hospital staff have been shuttling the unnamed transsexual couple back and forth from the hospital to avoid the throng of journalists waiting to interview them.
Dateline: England -- Coventry City's soccer team has become the first English premier league club to endorse its own brand of condom. The souvenir condoms will be sold at vending machines at the club's Highfield Road stadium and in two city supermarkets.
Dateline: Iran -- An Iranian woman has finally decided to divorce her husband -- just 43 years after he ran out on her. "I searched the country in vain," the 68-year-old woman to the Sobhe Khanevadeh daily. "I've been waiting for the doorbell to ring for 43 years." The Iranian court said it would allow her to divorce her husband once it has established that he had been absent that long. Under Islamic law in Iran, it is very difficult for a woman to divorce her husband. Husbands, on the other hand, can divorce their wives any time they want.