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All the strange news that's unfit to print.


Not the actual eel.

GERMAN FAMILY HARBORS EEL FEELINGS
(Germany) Any time one of the Richter family wants to have a bath, they first have to kick their houseguest out. In a bucket. Aalfred the eel ("aal" is the German word for "eel") has been living in the Richters' bathtub for the past 33 years. "He was originally supposed to be served up as a delicacy but the children wouldn't let us kill it," said Hannelore Richter. By now, Aalfred knows when it is bath time and swims helpfully into a bucket lowered into the tub. "We don't make anything of it," Hannelore Richter said. "Aalfred is part of the family, period." Her husband Paul, who fished the slippery creature out of a canal in 1969, said he loved smoked eel but could not bear to smoke his own.

MAN COMPLAINS BAD ROPE SPOILED HIS SUICIDE
(Bucharest, Reuters) - A Romanian man plans to complain to consumer authorities about the poor quality of a rope he used in a failed attempt to hang himself, Romanian papers recently reported. "You can't even die in this country," 45-year-old Victor Dodoi was quoted as saying in the daily Adevarul. The newspaper said Dodoi's relatives found him hanging from a tree in his garden and managed to cut the rope with a knife. He was taken by horse-drawn cart and then by ambulance to a hospital in the northern town of Botosani. Dodoi said he would file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Authority about the quality of the rope, which was easily cut, as soon as he is released.

TRAPEZE ARTIST ATTACKS RIVAL WITH CASTRATION TONGS
(Berlin, Reuters) - A lovesick 58-year-old German man was sentenced to seven years in jail after attacking a factory worker with a pair of bull castration tongs in the western town of Duesseldorf, a state court said recently. The circus trapeze artist had tried to emasculate the man using the steel pincers after accusing him of having a relationship with his former girlfriend, a 46-year-old belly dancer who performed in the same circus. The trapeze artist inflicted serious injury on the victim, who worked at a local factory, with the tongs and a knife. But the factory worker was able to fight off the smaller attacker and prevent more serious injury. "Fortunately the factory worker didn't lose anything—except for a lot of blood," said Ulrich Tholer, spokesman for the Duesseldorf state court. The assailant was convicted of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. He was also fired from the circus.

CREMATION BLASTS A GROWING HAZARD
(Sweden, Reuters) - Dead people are increasingly going out with a bang in Sweden and the trend is posing serious occupational hazards for crematorium workers, a Swedish church newspaper reports. Kyrkans Tidning reported a growing number of explosions in caskets during cremations, sparked by undetected items including heart pacemakers, whose batteries ignite in the intense heat. Swedes have increasingly taken to cremation and the paper said next of kin and friends were adding to the problem by leaving explosive farewell tokens such as bottles of alcohol, ammunition cartridges and pieces of fireworks in the coffins. Silicon implants in women who had had cosmetic breast surgery were also known to have exploded during cremation.

A POLICE PAIRING: FRANKS AND BEANS
(Tennessee, AP) - Think of the famous police teams. Friday and Gannon, Starsky and Hutch—and now there's Franks and Beans. In Shelby County, Tennessee, Deputy Mike Franks' partner is Deputy Gary Beans. Their lieutenant says he already had Franks on staff when Beans walked through the door, and he knew what he had to do. Franks and Beans worked patrol together for a while and were switched to accident investigation two years ago. And yes, they've heard all the jokes. Franks says they're both known as the Beenie Weenies. Their boss might not be through assigning partners. He has another deputy named Costello.

BEACH CITY OFFERS $13 BEGGAR BOUNTY
(Hanoi, Reuters) - Vietnam's China Beach, which gained fame as the playground for U.S. servicemen during the Vietnam War, is offering $13 to anyone who turns in a beggar. "This is our latest effort to clean up the cultural environment of the city," an official from the Danang People's Committee, or the local government, told Reuters. He said the beggars would be sent back to their hometowns or put in vocational centers. China Beach is located in the city of Danang, which is 700 km (435 miles) south of Hanoi. The beach city received nearly 660,000 visitors last year, up 16 percent from 2001. The beggar bounty of 200,000 dong is a considerable sum of money for the residents. A third of Vietnam's 80 million people live in poverty, and the country's average annual per capita income is around $400.

CHILDLESS TURN TO MEALS OF TESTICLES
(Taiwan) Mouse testicles have reportedly become a hot seller in Taiwan since five infertile couples said they conceived after eating dishes containing the organs. The craze took hold after a bulldozer driver in the southern county of Pingtung and his wife conceived their long-awaited baby, the United Daily News said. The couple previously consulted western medical doctors, but were not given the cause of their infertility, the paper said. The man, identified as Hsueh Ting-fu, and his wife first learned that the mouse testicles were helpful to fertility when they were taken by a friend to a local restaurant to taste a dish made from the organs. They then bought a supply of raw mouse testicles at the restaurant, which became part of their daily meals until the pregnancy was confirmed.

MAN TELLS JUDGE HE WANTS JESUS AS LAWYER
(Missouri) - A southwest Missouri man can have Jesus Christ as his attorney, but only one licensed to practice Missouri law will be allowed to speak for him during trial on charges he tampered with a judge. Defendant Richard John Adams, who described himself as a patriot and a Christian, told the Ozark County judge presiding over his case that under that ruling, he was "being restricted to the devil." Adams, of Branson, said he refers to lawyers as "devils" because he believes the Missouri Bar Association "created the Federal Reserve through their unconstitutional statutes and case laws." Adams formerly associated himself with a militia and Christian Identity movement but has since said he's not a member of any group. Adams requested Jesus Christ as his trial attorney during a recent hearing. He listed "Christian brother" Lee Constance of Alton as co-counsel. Constance is not licensed to practice law in Missouri. Ozark County Circuit Judge John Moody told Adams it was fine for Jesus Christ to be his chief counsel, but no one—including Constance—could speak for him in the courtroom unless a lawful attorney.

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Russian Man Freezes Penis to Bus Shelter
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RUSSIAN MAN FREEZES PENIS TO BUS SHELTER
A Russian man had to be rescued after his penis stuck to a frozen bus shelter while he was urinating. The young man was on his way home from a bar in the southern city of Stavropol, in temperatures of -30C. He stopped to urinate, leaning against the bus shelter for support, but swayed at a crucial moment and his penis stuck to the frozen metal. The BBC reports the man was apparently taken by surprise by the cold temperatures, as Stavropol is normally one of the warmest Russian regions. A large crowd gathered, shouting advice. Finally passerby Valery Levchenko was able to free the man using a kettle of warm water borrowed from a chemist. The man reportedly refused further medical help before running off.

NORWEGIANS LAUNCH BEAUTY CONTEST FOR COWS
Farmers in Norway have launched a beauty pageant for cows. The winner will get the title "Miss Lista," after the region where it is being held. Two judges will examine each cow and consider their body, legs and teats. The Farsunds Avis newspaper reports, "If it becomes a success it will become a yearly event." The event is organised by Lista Produsentlag, the association of local dairy farmers.

SURGERY UNDER REVIEW AFTER METAL OBJECT LEFT INSIDE WOMAN
(Canada, CBC News) - A woman who walked around for four months with a 13-inch-long surgical retractor inside her abdomen is demanding answers about her botched surgery. The woman had abdominal surgery at Regina General Hospital. After the operation, she had persistent pain but the doctors couldn't diagnose the problem. It wasn't until the woman prepared to board a flight to Calgary that the problem was found by the airport metal detectors. Airport security guards couldn't find any metal on her person. A few days later, she went for an X-ray, which showed the retractor inside her body. "I would think that it would be an understatement to say surprise, probably more like horror, that this surgical device was left inside her abdominal cavity," said the woman's lawyer. "The retractor is two inches in width and 13 inches in length," he said.

MAN EATS SUSPICIOUS CHECK
(Virginia, AP) - A Washington, D.C., man ate the evidence after trying to pay with a suspicious check at a Stafford County Wal-Mart, police said. Deputies charged the man with assaulting two employees at the store, but said their investigation into accusations that he paid with a suspicious check stalled when he chewed it up and swallowed it, said Stafford Sheriff's Capt. David Roderick. He said a deputy found store security officers holding Khalid NajiAllah, 29, in the customer service area when he responded to a suspicious check call. The guards said the man had scuffled with them, knocking down one employee and elbowing another one. During the fight, NajiAllah ate the check, Roderick said. He was charged with two counts of assault and battery and one count of carrying fraudulent identification.

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