Odd Stories of 2004
ZHENGZHOU, China: A Chinese couple raised their only child for 13 years in the belief it was a girl, until a visit to the local hospital alerted them to the fact that he was really a boy with underdeveloped sexual organs. They did not realize anything was wrong until they were baffled by a "reaction in the lower half of his body" whenever he watched pretty women on TV. Doctors concluded he was suffering from a rare disease causing sexual organs to be somewhat hidden from view and performed a successful three-hour operation to correct the problem.
RATCHABURI, Thailand: A group of Thai Buddhist monks were arrested and defrocked after holding a spate of rowdy drug and alcohol parties. Villagers complained about their wild behaviour and drug-taking at the local temple. Five of the saffron-robed monks tested positive for amphetamine pills and a sixth was blind drunk.
COSENZA, Italy: A driverless railway engine thundered nearly 200 kilometres (120 miles) through southern Italy at 80 kilometres (50 miles) an hour before staff managed to derail it. The driver had set the locomotive in motion, leaned out to see if the line ahead was clear, then slipped and fell from his cabin. Another railway worker tried to jump aboard and stop it but failed and the train gathered speed until it was finally switched to a track with a long incline and it smashed through buffers at a disused station before finally coming to a halt.
ZAGREB: A South African who fell in love with a Croatian beauty he has never even spoken to, travelled halfway round the world in search of the woman of his dreams. Keith van der Spuy saw the woman only twice, on a boat and in a nightclub, while on holiday in the former Yugoslav republic but could not get her out of his head and returned to Croatia weeks later, with two diamonds in his pocket, to track down the haunting blonde -- but, sadly, to no avail.
JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities seized a consignment of 80,000 cans of dog food disguised as gourmet goose liver pate. The Bulgarian product was originally marked as "Chicken for dogs" but was relabelled "Domestic birds' liver pate" and "Pate de foie gras". The importer had also forged a kosher certificate to fulfill the requirements of Jewish dietary law.
LONDON: An aide to Britain's royal family lost his job after attempting to sell one of Queen Elizabeth's traditional Christmas puddings on Internet auction site eBay. Ben Church, a 25-year-old office administrator, was sacked and marched out of Buckingham Palace after he tried to sell the pudding for 20 pounds (39 dollars, 29 euros). An unnamed colleague told the Daily Mirror: "It's really mean and petty to sack him so close to Christmas, all for the sake of a pudding."
SEOUL: Three South Korean dogmeat lovers face a 70,000-dollar lawsuit after cooking and eating their employer's pedigree dog. The men, employees at a car-hire firm, killed and served up the expensve Jindo dog in the traditional Korean soup dish, Boshintang, while their boss was away.
CLUJ, Romania: A dog owner was forced to leave his apartment after a court ordered his mastiff to be removed from the building because its snoring kept the neighbours awake. Whenever Attila Varga's Neapolitan mastiff Sumo snored, the walls of the neighbouring flats shook and burglar alarms went off. A disappointed Varga said: "We share the same bed and I've got so used to it that I don't even hear it any more."
ALDERSHOT, England: A drunken soldier sparked a major security alert after leaving a regimental party dressed as an Arab suicide bomber. Fifteen police cars, along with dog handlers were called out after a passer-by spotted someone near an army base wearing an Arab-style robe, a turban and false beard, as well as orange paper, wires and candles stuffed into a jacket to make it look like he was carrying explosives. The soldier, who was drunk, was ordered to pay a small on-the-spot fine.
HASTINGS, New Zealand: A mother has been breastfeeding her Staffordshire terrier puppy, saying she did not want to waste the milk after her own daughter switched to being bottle-fed. Kura Tumanako, said she saw nothing wrong with breastfeeding the dog as she wants it to protect her baby girl as the pair grow up. "He drinks more than the baby. It doesn't hurt, but it's a little bit ticklish," she said.
SLUNJ, Croatia: A Roman Catholic priest beat up a member of his parish, threatened others with a rifle and crashed his car in a night of drunken rage after a quarrel in a restaurant. Josip Stefancic punched a guest in the face, took a rifle and waved it other guests before fleeing in his car and crashing into a tree, refusing a breath test when police arrived at the scene. His bishop, Mile Bogovic, was surprisingly understanding. "Stefancic did not act alone. The wine was with him," he said.
LONDON: A number of wealthy clients of the smart London restaurant Zafferano clubbed together to buy one of the most expensive truffles in the world for 40,000 euros (53,000 dollars), but it ended up spoiling in a refrigerator. The 850-gram (30-ounce) delicacy from Tuscany was put on display at the restaurant but then the chef went on holiday after locking the truffle in the fridge and taking the keys with him. When he returned after four days, he found it had rotted, forcing the owner to throw the whole thing out.
CORDOBA, Argentina: Macho Argentine types received a slap in the face when a hair salon put an advert in a local newspaper for a stylist -- but said only gay men need apply. "I have nothing against heterosexuals, but women feel more comfortable if the person taking care of them is gay," the salon owner said. "I have had a lot of complaints in the past. Most male hair stylists are trying to pick up the women."
CHISINAU, Moldova: The president of first division football club Roso saw red when the referee awarded a penalty against his team, so he leaped into his jeep, drove it on to the pitch and tried to run the hapless official down. Mikhail Makayev chased the astonished referee around the ground for several minutes until he escaped by clambering up into the stands. The match was abandoned and Roso's opponents Poitekhnik were awarded the game 3-0.

GUWAHATI, India: An army officer was dismissed and another suspended after a court martial found they splashed tomato ketchup on civilians to make them look like dead Assam separatist rebels in a bid for a gallantry medal. Colonel H.S. Kohli took photos of civilians posing as corpses and gave them to his senior officers as proof of the killings, but records later showed no deaths had been reported.
PALEMBANG, Indonesia: A landmark bridge in Sumatra is in danger of collapse because too many men are urinating on one of its steel pillars. Surveyors have found that the Ampera bridge in Palembang has begun to lean at an angle and rocks slightly when traffic is heavy. Council spokesman Azmi Lakonisaid: "We are concerned that one of its main support piers has been weakened by urine, as it is a popular spot for locals to relieve themselves." He added that the acidic fluid's corrosive forces could lead to the eventual collapse of the bridge.
LONDON: British television watchdogs ruled that a pig which was sexually pleasured on camera by a minor celebrity did not feel degraded by the experience. Dozens of viewers had complained about an episode of a reality television show in which the audience were treated to the sight of Rebecca Loos, the self-proclaimed ex-lover of England football captain David Beckham, stimulating the boar for 10 minutes to produce a flask of semen. An animal charity condemned the scenes as "morbid and sordid" but the broadcasting standards body said the procedure was perfectly normal on a farm. "We don't believe that the scene was degrading or harmful to the boar," they ruled.
SHENYANG, China: A Chinese safari park decided to celebrate the New Year and the start of the Year of the Monkey by dying its primates bright red and yellow. But painting the monkeys was no easy matter job as they refused to cooperate. "We had to anaesthetize them first", a park spokesman said. "They seemed to be surprised at their new strange coats when they woke up. But after a while, they indulged themselves in pleasure."
OSLO: Until the divorce papers dropped into her letter box, a 22-year-old woman was unaware that she had been married to a complete stranger for a year. The woman's wallet was snatched some years ago and her identification cards were used in an Islamic ceremony to unite her and a Pakistani man in holy matrimony. She hopes to have the marriage annulled, but investigators have closed the case as they cannot find the man, believed to be operating under several different aliases.
HONG KONG: A five-year-old's innocent call to his mother landed his father in hot water. "Mummy, daddy brought a woman home and they are on the bed," the boy said and the mother rushed home to find her husband and his 20 year-old mistress canoodling and a vicious catfight broke out, which ended with the mother being arrested for possession of an offensive weapon, a kitchen knife she had allegedly tried to use and the mistress giving herself up to police shortly afterwards.


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