Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

NOVEMBER 2, 1998: 

Dateline: Japan--Police discovered three more suicide victims hanging in a thickly wooded area at the base of the famed Mount Fuji, bringing this year's suicide total to a record-breaking 58 bodies. In addition to the confirmed deaths, police believe about 40 others have attempted suicide in the forest this year. The latest three bodies were discovered during the annual pre-winter police sweep of the area, a dense stretch of woods on a cliff located northwest of Mount Fuji in central Japan. Last year, the spot claimed 55 victims, mostly by hanging. The place became famous after a notorious suicide handbook, published several years ago, named it as an ideal spot to do the deed.


Dateline: England--A mysterious plunge in the value of French 10-year bond futures on July 23 has now been attributed to an inattentive bank trader at Salomon Brothers in London. It seems that the online trader accidentally and repeatedly hit the "instant sell" button on his keyboard, prompting a wave of 145 separate sell orders for the 10-year French bonds. Prices were sent diving worldwide by the massive sell order. A multimonth investigation by the computer software firm Cap Gemini and the security group Kroll Associates concluded that the disputed trades arose as "a result of the prolonged, unintentional and inadvertent operation of the 'Instant Sell' key." No word yet on whether or not sex on the desktop or spontaneous napping prompted the "prolonged, unintentional" button mashing.


Dateline: The Netherlands--A Spanish soccer team spent a sleepless night in the Netherlands after airport workers in Seville refused to let the team come home after a disappointing UEFA Cup tie. Airport authorities refused the Real Betis soccer club permission to return to Seville immediately after the non-winning Netherlands match last Tuesday night. The club president offered each airport worker 100,000 pesetas ($728) as an incentive to keep the airport open for the club's charter plane. The offer was refused, however, and the team's plane had to wait until 5 a.m. to depart for home.


Dateline: Florida--The latest cash crop to fall victim to Florida's battles with statewide fires, El Niño heatwaves and a series of hurricanes is the state's lucrative dope trade. Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say they've confiscated only about half of what they usually nab. A mere 50,000 marijuana plants were seized during this year's spring to mid-October growing season. Arrests, however, were up slightly. The aggravated growing conditions forced many illegal harvesters to plant crops much closer to their property, making them easier to tend, but easier to spot.


Dateline: Wisconsin--Milwaukee residents Vyto and Diane Kapocius were surprised and elated to see the value of their property jump from a meager $137,200 to a whopping $1.2 million. Unfortunately, the sudden rise in living conditions forced the Kapocius family's property tax bill to go from $5,000 last year to $43,000 this year. So what accounted for the sudden appreciation of values? According to county tax assessors, the 250 fireplaces that the Kapociuses added to their 28-year-old house accounted for the dramatic rise in property value. Of course, the couple had not added 250 fireplaces in the last 12 months. They hadn't added any. In fact, the Kapocius house doesn't have a fireplace. Local authorities are investigating.


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