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Jack's Bizarre News of the World

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Israeli Woman Swallows Cockroach, Fork

JERUSALEM - An Israeli woman swallowed a cockroach and then a fork she used to try to remove the insect from her throat. The winged cockroach jumped into the 32-year-old woman's mouth as she was cleaning her home in a village in northern Israel this week. "It's a bit of a strange story," said Dr. Nikola Adid, who operated on the woman Tuesday to remove the fork from her stomach. "This is the first time I've ever encountered anything like this. None of my medical colleagues in this country have heard of anything similar either." An X-ray showed the fork, lodged sideways in her stomach. Adid, a surgeon at the Poria Hospital in Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, removed the fork with laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure performed through a tiny incision on the patient's abdomen. The woman was recovering well, Adid said.

Japanese toymaker offers cat-language interpreter

TOKYO (AFP) - Takara Co. of Japan will launch a device that translates cats' meows into human speech in November after the smash-hit dog-language electronic interpreter Bowlingual, a spokeswoman said. The nation's number two toymaker aims to sell 300,000 units of the hand-held gadget by March 2004. "We do not have an immediate plan to sell (the product) overseas but this could be a possibility," said the spokeswoman. Shares in Takara soared 42 yen or 5.68 percent to end the morning at 781 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, in contrast to the key Nikkei-225 average, which slipped 0.9 percent to 9,663.07 points. Meowlingual shows "translations" of cat language on its liquid crystal display when held close to the animals, the spokeswoman said. The device will be priced at 8,800 yen (75 dollars), less than the 14,800 yen dog owners pay for Bowlingual. Bowlingual has sold 300,000 units in the six months to March 2003 since its launch last September, and would have sold more had supply kept pace with demand. The 120-dollar gadget ventured overseas to South Korea in late May and is set to make its US debut in August.

Norwegian "brown cheese"? It scared even the Belgian police

OSLO (AFP) - A giant block of Norwegian goat cheese gave security services at the Brussels airport a rude shock this week when they took it for bomb. The formidable block of "brunost" -- a dense brown cube -- had made it safely from Norway down to Belgium as a gift from a friend to Tore Fauske, a Norwegian living in England who was visiting Brussels. But when returning to Britain it sparked alarm from security handlers when Fauske sent it through the carry-on luggage X-ray machine, who believed it looked like a bomb. Fauske was stopped posthaste and made to reveal his belongings. "And the guards visibly retreated when I opened it!" he told the Norwegian daily Stavanger Aftenblad on Tuesday. In order to persuade them of the cheese's pungent, if harmless, character, Fauske had to unwrap the package and eat it to prove the cheese would not explode. Fauske was allowed to board his flight to England, returning from his trip lightened of the load of brunost, a Norwegian breakfast delicacy which boasts its own special cutting knife and leaves a lingering trace of caramel on the tongue.

Elderly Man Ends Argument with Grenade

BELGRADE (Reuters) - An elderly Serb ended a heated argument with his neighbor by lobbing a hand grenade and severing the man's arm, Tanjug news agency said Tuesday. Milan Djokic, 70, was charged with attempted murder and illegal weapons possession after attacking Slavko Grujic, also 70, in the northern town of Zrenjanin Monday. Grujic first caught the grenade and threw it back, but the device exploded on a second try by Djokic. Tanjug did not say what they were arguing about

Two Charged After Human Catapult Death

LONDON (Reuters) - British police charged two men with manslaughter Tuesday following the death of an Oxford University student who was flung from a giant catapult. Bulgarian Konstadin Yankov, 19, died last November when the stunt near the West Country town of Bridgewater went wrong. "He had been thrown by a replica medieval catapult and failed to reach the landing net," said a police spokeswoman. Yankov was on an outing with the Oxford Stunt Factory, an unofficial club at Oxford University where he was studying biochemistry. He had been the sixth person that day to be launched from the "trebuchet" catapult. Organizers said at the time Yankov had been properly weighed and that the machine had been correctly calibrated before he was fired in a 30-yard arc. They did not know what had gone wrong.

Unemployed Man Sent to Escort Agency

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Returning to work took on an unexpected meaning for an unemployed Australian man when the government's job network told him to apply to an agency looking for female escorts. The Australian Broadcasting Corp said an employment agency contracted by the government to help the unemployed find work matched the man to two advertisements seeking "Ladies of all Ages." "I don't think the government should be expecting jobseekers to apply for a job as a prostitute," the man, who asked to be identified only as Tom, told the ABC on Tuesday. The ABC said the advertisements had been included in Tom's list of possible options by mistake. Prostitution is legal in some parts of Australia but strictly licensed.

China's 'Loch Ness Monster' Resurfaces

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's legendary "Lake Tianchi Monster" has surfaced anew, with local officials reporting sightings of as many as 20 of the mysterious and unidentified creatures in a lake near North Korea. Sightings of the strange beast -- China's version of the "Loch Ness Monster" -- date back more than a century, but like Scotland's famed "Nessie" reports vary and remain unconfirmed. On the morning of July 11, several local government cadres caught sight of a school of mysterious creatures swimming through the lake in the Changbai mountains, in northeastern Jilin province, the Beijing Youth Daily said on Tuesday. "Within about 50 minutes, the monsters appeared five times," it quoted one of the officials, provincial forestry bureau vice-director Zhang Lufeng, as saying. "At times there was one, at times there were several. The last time, there was as many as about 20." He said the creatures, two to three kilometers (1.25-2 miles) in the distance, appeared only as white or black spots. But from the ripples in the water, he and others determined the spots were "living beings." Officials were not reachable for comment. In 1903, according to local records, a creature resembling a huge buffalo with a deafening roar sprang out of the water and attempted to attack three people before one them shot it in the belly six times. The beast roared and disappeared back into the water. A more recently documented sighting compared the head of the monster to that of a human -- except with big round eyes, a protruding mouth and a neck 1.2 to 1.5 meters long. It also had a white ring separating its neck and torso and smooth, gray skin.

Pensioner finds 'Nessie' fossil

A Jurassic fossil discovered in Loch Ness by a Scots pensioner could be the original Loch Ness monster, according to Nessie enthusiasts. The fossilised remains of a 150-million-year-old plesiosaur was discovered by pensioner Gerald McSorley, from Stirling, submerged in shallow water on the bank of the loch. The long-necked, carnivorous sea reptile which ruled the world's seas between 200 and 65 million years ago - during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods - bears a striking resemblance to modern images of the Loch Ness monster. Experts have described the find as extremely interesting, but stressed that it is not related to the famous creature. Loch Ness did not exist until the last Ice Age - which finished about 12,000 years ago. The fossil clearly shows four perfectly preserved vertebrae, complete with spinal chord, and blood vessels, set in grey limestone. Scientists at the National Museum of Scotland confirmed that the find - the first of its kind in Scotland for more than a century and the first ever at Loch Ness - is evidence that the 35-ft-long monster once existed in the area. Nessie hunters, who are keeping the exact location of the find a closely guarded secret, will now search the area further for more extensive remains. Mr McSorley, 67, found the fossil after stumbling in shallow water near the bank of the loch.

Women lie about sex more than men: study

NEW YORK (AFP) - Women are more likely to lie about their sex lives than men, according to a new US study involving a fake lie detector test. The study by psychologists Terri Fisher at Ohio State University and Michele Alexander at Maine University offers a new solution to a paradox that has puzzled sex experts for decades. In survey after survey, heterosexual men average more sexual partners than women -- a statistically impossible situation. Conventional wisdom had dictated that a man's desire to significantly exaggerate his sexual promiscuity was responsible for the anomaly, but the latest study -- published in the Journal of Sex Research -- suggests it is the women who are being economical with the truth. Women change their answers depending on whether or not they believe their responses will remain anonymous or they will be caught lying, the researchers found. The number of sexual partners a woman reported nearly doubled when women thought they were hooked up to a lie detector machine. "Women are more sensitive to social expectations for their sexual behaviour and may be less than honest when asked about their behaviour in some survey conditions," said Fisher. According to Fisher, women appeared to feel under pressure to meet expectations of being more relationship-orientated and not promiscuous. Fisher and Alexander surveyed over 200 unmarried, heterosexual college students aged 18 to 25. One group filled in questionnaires having been told the researcher might view their responses. A second group filled in the survey alone in a room and were assured the results would be strictly confidential. A third group were rigged up to a polygraph or lie detector -- although they were not told the machine no longer worked. Women who thought their responses might be read said they had had an average of 2.6 sexual partners, compared with 3.4 partners for those who thought their answers were anonymous. Those who believed they were attached to a polygraph reported an average of 4.4 partners. "You would assume that when a heterosexual man has sex, a woman is having sex at the same time, but the statistics always suggest otherwise," Fisher said. "That can't be true. We thought males would be over-inflating their experience ... but that's not what we found." Under the same conditions, men's answers did not vary significantly. Those attached to the lie-detector reported an average of 4.0 partners compared with 3.7 for men who thought their answers would be read.

Austrian convicted for offering kidney for sale on Internet

KASSEL, Germany (AFP) - An Austrian man received a suspended jail sentence for offering his kidney for sale on the Internet, a court in this central German city said. The 48-year-old factory worker tried to sell his organ for 66,000 euros (74,500 dollars) in a last-ditch bid to save his girlfriend's failing business. "I knew it was illegal but not that it was punishable by law," he told the court. Under Germany's transplant law, illegal trading in organs can carry a jail term of up to five years. The defendant, who lives here, was slapped with a four-month suspended sentence and a 2,000-euro fine. Prosecutors were alerted to the case when a journalist discovered the offer on the Internet in January 2001 and conducted negotiations with the potential seller using a hidden camera.

Man Dies Rolling Off Roof in His Sleep

BERLIN (Reuters) - The heatwave sweeping Germany claimed an unlikely victim when a man sleeping on a roof to escape the high temperatures rolled off, suffering fatal injuries, Berlin police said Wednesday. A tenant of the building found the 28-year-old still alive after his 70-foot fall, but he later died in hospital. The man had bedded down with two friends as temperatures neared 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in the German capital. The friends only learned of the man's fate after being awakened and informed by police. "The man must have ended up on the steep part of the roof and fallen off," said Berlin police in a statement. His sleeping bag remained hanging off the gutter of the tiled roof.

Groom Snatched at the Altar

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Police in Thailand interrupted a Buddhist wedding to arrest the groom after a woman claimed he had snatched her handbag five years earlier, a local media report said on Tuesday. Just moments after taking his wedding vows at the ceremony in northeastern Udon Thani at the weekend, police burst in and arrested Sowat Chantaphongm, 26, for his alleged part in the mugging of a 56-year-old woman, the state Mass Communication Organization of Thailand report said. The woman said Sowat was one of three men who approached her claiming their motorcycle was broken before holding her at knifepoint and taking 30,000 baht in cash in 1998. Sowat denied any knowledge of the mugging and vowed to clear his name.

Dumb Crime Dept.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - In the future, these Swedish burglars may want to have their glasses checked. Police said three men tried to break into an electronics store selling TVs and stereos Tuesday by drilling a hole through the wall from a neighboring suite of offices. The would-be burglars broke into a local newspaper's office housed in the same building early Tuesday morning in Vara, 325 kilometers (200 miles) southwest of the capital, Stockholm. Police believed they bored a hole into the wall using a power drill, but ended up breaking through into an optician's office, police spokesman Johan Svensson told The Associated Press. "They tried again on another wall, with the same result. And a third time," he said. When they punched through a fourth wall, they finally broke through to the store, but alarms went off and they fled without grabbing anything, Svensson said. Police are still searching for the men and no arrests have been made

BERLIN (Reuters) - German customs unwittingly auctioned a car containing 22 pounds of cocaine, the Customs Investigation Authority (ZFA) in the northern city of Hamburg said on Tuesday. The Chevrolet estate was originally imported from Mexico and impounded in 1997 after an X-ray revealed it was carrying 120 pounds of the drug. But that wasn't all. "The software used to scan the car in 1997 was not sophisticated enough to pick up the other 10 kilograms," said Hamburg ZFA spokesman Robert Duetsch. The car sat in storage until being auctioned off last month, whereupon the new owner discovered 11 bags of the white powder stashed in the boot, each weighing around 900 grams. The man immediately returned to customs with the drugs, which Duetsch said would have had a street value of some $564,000 in 1997.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Reuters):A note to all job seekers: you know that your employment interview did not go well when your prospective boss calls the police in to arrest you. Anthony Kaleb Phillips, 20 was hauled away from an interview for a job with a construction company in Stillwater, Oklahoma last week after employees recognised the job applicant as the person seen on a surveillance videotape robbing the same business just one day before, police said on Monday. Phillips is expected to be arraigned this week on burglary charges for stealing a $100 tool (63 pounds) from the construction company and about $1,000 worth of items from an employee's car parked at the office, court officials said. "When he went out there to apply for the job, there was no one there. So he just helped himself to some items and left," said Payne County Undersheriff Kenneth Willerton. "However, he was caught on videotape." A day after the robbery, Phillips applied for a job with the construction company, and was arrested. Needless to say, he didn't get the job.

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