Odds & Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
DECEMBER 14, 1998:
Dateline: Brazil--Santa Claus is a jolly old elf--and now
we know why. Police in Rio de Janeiro discovered a stash of Santa
dolls stuffed with cocaine and Christmas tree ornaments filled
with marijuana in a shantytown near the city's center. Police
foot patrols found the Christmastime contraband in an abandoned
backpack with wrapping paper in it at the Coroa Residents' Association
headquarters. The neighborhood headquarters is used as a center
for wrapping and distributing toys during the holidays. The cocaine,
bundled in clear plastic bags, was stashed inside the Santa dolls
and under their fuzzy red hats. At Easter time, police found chocolate
eggs laced with the drug.
Dateline: Belgium--Detectives in Brussels have come under
fire for dissolving a human body in cleaning fluid while investigating
an alleged serial killer. Belgian police, investigating allegations
that a Hungarian clergyman murdered as many as 20 people and dissolved
their bodies in a cleaning agent, performed an experiment on a
dead body to see if the heinous crimes were possible. The body,
which had been donated to medical science, was submerged in a
vat of "Cleanest." Within 24 hours, it disappeared without
a trace. Early last week, several area newspapers lambasted the
detectives for having no respect for the dead. Daily tabloid Het
Laatste Nieuws quoted two professors of ethics who said they
had "serious reservations" about the grisly experiment.
Dateline: Germany--A German policewoman summoned to help
a man cope with his brother's suicide threats ended up shooting
both men dead last week. The unnamed, 23-year-old policewoman
from Munich shot twice at a 48-year-old man who stormed toward
her through his flat, brandishing a knife. One of the shots passed
through the paranoid schizophrenic and hit the head of his brother,
who had earlier phoned police for help. Authorities say the officer
fired in self-defense and have cleared her of any wrongdoing.
Dateline: South Africa--A famed ewe that helped raise a
wild elephant has been killed in Johannesburg, South Africa--most
likely by her adopted son. "Skaap"--the Afrikaans name
for sheep--was found dead last week in the shed she shared with
Jabulani, a two-year-old elephant she raised as one of her own.
Skaap gained national fame by raising the orphaned Jabulani at
the Hodespruit Breeding and Research Center for Endangered Species.
According to the evidence, the ungrateful child crushed his adoptive
mother to death--possibly by mistakenly pinning her in his sleep.
"He was gradually becoming more independent of the sheep
anyway," said Peter Rogers, the veterinarian who performed
the autopsy. Jabulani is scheduled to be released back into the
wild early next year.
Dateline: The Netherlands--The manager of a McDonald's
restaurant in Bodengraven, Netherlands, showed up to work late
last Monday and was promptly besieged by a police SWAT team. When
the fast food joint failed to open on time, Happy Meal-crazed
Netherlanders called police, prompting fears of a hostage-taking
situation within the restaurant. Several dozen police staked out
the premises for around an hour before a special team was drafted
to storm the building. Right about that time, the manager sauntered
in. The tardy employee told authorities that he thought he was
scheduled for the late shift.
Dateline: The Netherlands--Meanwhile, hairdressers and
hookers in the southern Dutch town of Goes teamed up to raise
money for World AIDS Day. For the special "knippen en wippen"
(cutting and boinking) campaign, stylists and streetwalkers donated
a portion of their weekend's earnings to local AIDS charities.
World AIDS Day fell on Tuesday, Dec. 1. It is assumed that the
extremely giving escorts from Goes' Sexclub Buro Karin practiced