NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Stories From Around The World That Failed To Make The Headlines
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London: A man who had changed his name to Free R Cannabis was convicted of possession of drugs at Southwark Crown Court despite his arguing that legislation banning cannabis amounted to a "deliberate oppression of civil rights". Mr Cannabis had been arrested outside the Home Office as he waited to present a plant to Jack Straw. He defended himself in court, dressed in hemp clothes and shoes made from cannabis plants.

Edinburgh: John Kamakaze set a new world record by spending 15 minutes suspended in mid-air by eight meat hooks embedded in his back and one in each leg. Mr Kamakaze, who claims that pain is all in the mind, told Reuters: "It didn't hurt a bit ... The only thing that hurts is a blister on my foot from walking about too much yesterday."

London: The number of people arrested for offensive and racist chanting at football matches increased last season from 10 to 33 according to official figures.

Zimbabwe: A man has been jailed for a month after he pleaded guilty to bottling his urine and selling it as perfume. According to local media, a woman who bought two bottles realised her mistake when she tried it out at home.

Tokyo: The world's oldest living twins, Kin-san and Gin-san celebrated their 106th birthdays last week. They were born on 1 August 1892. Gin says she is in much better shape than when she was 100.

Stockholm: The Swedish newspaper Metro has reported the case of a suspected drug smuggler who was caught by a moose. The man's car collided with the animal near the Norwegian border. He was taken to hospital with minor injuries and his car towed to a nearby garage where mechanics discovered 28kg of hashish in it.

Seoul: A businessman and a dog-meat dealer have been arrested on charges of supplying restaurants with 4,800 dogs that had died of disease or been used for medical experiments. The contaminated dog meat was sold at a fifth of the normal market price to meet a big demand. Most of the dogs had died of intestinal diseases, but 860 of them had been used to test rabies vaccines.

Washington: Researchers have found that the learning capabilities of rats may be improved by playing them Mozart sonatas before they are born. Rats who had been played Mozart learnt paths through mazes more quickly than those played white noise or music by Philip Glass.

New Jersey: the title of Miss Crustacean 1998 has been won by a hermit crab called Crabopatra. More than 100 people sang "Here it comes, Miss Crustacean" as the winning crab crawled down a runway decorated with flowers to receive the Cucumber Rind Cup. Crabopatra won the beauty contest ahead of 38 other crabs including one called Leonardo DiCrabrio. "This may seem like a Mickey Mouse event, and it is a Mickey Mouse event, but it attracts a lot of attention," organiser Mark Soifer said.

Montreal: According to a paper delivered to the World Congress of Sociology, children who are never, or hardly ever spanked do better on intelligence tests than children who are often spanked.

Tokyo: The Pure Love Alliance, a group based in the US, held its first rally in Japan to spread its message of sexual abstinence and to preach against the American culture of sex. "American culture is infiltrating the world, promoting the spread of things like prostitution and pornography," said 24-year-old Tricy Sincavage. "Our aim is to help clean things up." According to an AP report, however, the message is not getting through to everyone. "I don't know what they're talking about," said fried noodle seller Eichi Sasaki, 40. "Japan said no to sex before marriage at the turn of the century, but not any more."

Mexico City: Prostitutes have reached an accord with officials that allows them to continue working on one of the city's main streets, as long as they stay at least 20 metres away from churches, schools and hospitals, do not expose their intimate body parts or underwear and do not solicit minors. They must also be free of sexually transmitted diseases.

Australia: Police in the town of Kalgoorlie, a rough gold-mining town in Western Australia are reported to be trying to bring an old local tradition to an end. According to Reuters they are cracking down on near-naked young women, known as "skimpies", who work as bartenders and give patrons a glimpse of their breasts or buttocks for a small fee..

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