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The Independent Online
Some neglected news stories of the past week:

Not Minnie speaking

Customers ringing AT&T Corp in Philadelphia were surprised to be answered by a sultry voice saying: "Are you ready to get naked? ... If you want hard-core, uncensored, explicit sex now ... then come and, ummm, take it!"

The company had mistakenly transposed two digits in instructions on how to turn long distance phone points into flights or Disney merchandise.

Good news for bastards

Religious leaders in Israel have removed 350 names from a secret list of people considered to be "bastards" and thus denied the privilege of a religious wedding. But 3,800 names remain.

Students half-naked

Female examinees in Nigerian schools were required to remove their underwear, and males had to wear shirts and shorts inside out in a new campaign against cheating in tests.

Graduate totally naked

At a graduation ceremony in New York, a 35-year-old woman dropped her gown to leave herself naked except for leather boots, then read a poem to the audience. The authorities made no attempt to prevent her. "It would have been a real pretty sight to see us wrestling with a nude woman," said school superintendent Kevin Colpoys.

Fat cat passes on

Kitty Cat, a feline left $250,000 by her late owner in 1983, has died in Oregon at the age of 19.

Light taxation

Motorists in Shkodra, Albania, are refusing to pay a new traffic light tax because their city has no traffic lights.

Wine, women, no song

The provincial governor of Istanbul has decreed that all music must be switched off at 1am in order not to "destroy people's mental and physical health with noise". But parties and the sale of alcohol may continue.

No wine, no knitting, no chess

Shanghai stock exchange traders have been banned from drinking, smoking, knitting, gambling, opening canned drinks, sleeping, shouting and playing computer games, chess or cards. They will be reprimanded for keeping messy desks or not wearing red vests.

Return of the high fliers

A survey of 2,867 Japanese fathers indicated that 155 of them would like to be reincarnated as a bird. Just behind came 148 who wanted to be a woman. Baseball player (125), footballer (47) and guru of religious cult (8) also featured in replies.

Smelly politician

The Swiss President, Kaspar Villiger, was sprayed with manure while cycling near a farm. He said the farmer deliberately turned the jet on him and a colleague. "I don't believe he recognized us. He must have had something against cyclists."

Foot odour

A product that counteracts smelly feet has been launched in Japan. It is made from rotting soya beans.

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